If you are a traditional contractor, such as a landscaper, home builder, or painter, you are probably very aware that referrals are your primary source of new business.
What may surprise you, however, is that referrals are absolutely essential for digital and virtual businesses, such as mine in website design and social media management.
One might assume that since my business is building and online presence for other businesses that my source of new business would be my website or social media accounts.
What is that? Well, remember the old adage that "people do business with those that they know, like and trust?" That goes ten-fold for web designers. If you have not had a bad experience with a web designer, rest assured that if you ask one of your friends or business acquaintances, you will uncover a story of a website "held hostage" or a web designer that vanished, nowhere to be found. As a result, people are very leery of web designers that they do not know personally.
That is not to say that my website and social media presence is ineffective. On the contrary, I find that many of my potential clients have visited one or more of my online media channels to learn more about me or my business. Maintaining a strong online presence as a contractor creates a powerful stream of public relations to reinforce what people learn elsewhere.
But when it comes down to it, most of my new business is done with a face-to-face meeting and a handshake.