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This $500 Million Company Still Uses Word of Mouth Marketing. Here’s Why Entrepreneurs in Asia Should, Too

This is why you should learn from the best.

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BY Tommy Mello - 10 Feb 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Do sharks ever stop swimming? Probably not, right?

But for one reason or another, some of us just stop working hard once we learn enough to do ok in business. Listen, if you want to be truly successful in growing your business, you never stop learning from the best in your industry.

That's why I see myself as a student for life. I'm always excited about learning from the best home service business owners and leaders.

And today I have some killer marketing insights to share with you, because I had the fortune to interview a $500 million company president, Craig Smith, on my podcast. Craig runs the operations of HomeAdvisor, the world's largest digital marketplace for home services.

While hearing how they have grown is obviously impressive, what really blew my mind is how dedicated Craig is to customer experience, and that reflects well in their marketing. On that note, here are the three marketing insights that stuck with me the most:

1. Be highly responsive to customers.

From Craig's experience working with his company's customers, 15 minutes seems to be the magic number for these home service entrepreneurs to get back to potential leads. This works amazingly well for smaller companies that don't necessarily have a big marketing budget.

Well, I couldn't agree more. Being hyper responsive is a powerful business advantage. I will let the stat speak for itself: according to a HBR study that analyzed 1.25 million sales leads, replying back potential customers within one hour gives you seven times the chance to close a sale than if you replied within two hours. This is gold, especially when we are in a market where more and more Millennials are spending good money, and these customers expect instant responses to their queries.

2. Take the long term view in marketing.

While Craig says that fast growth is great for any business, sustainable long-term growth is a lot more important. It took 17 years for his company to get to where they are today. Having a long term vision helps keep their marketing strategy focused as well, as they focus on only bringing onboard quality service providers.

For me it was exactly the same situation. It took me close to a decade to build up my $30 million garage door business. While I have other ventures, I still stay ultra-focused to keep growing that core business to new heights. For example, I write my 2020 goal of hitting $100 million on my washroom mirror and work every day towards that one goal. And to get there, we focus on delivering high quality work at great speed, and promoting that in our marketing, instead of selling to every Tom, Dick and Harry.

3. The best marketing is word of mouth.

Even at Craig's company size, they still care about delivering an outstanding customer experience. He made a great connection between customer satisfaction and business growth when he said: "If you build a core base of loyal fans who really love your business and your product. You won't have to grind to get to every quarter."

Man, I've got to tell you that word of mouth marketing is often all that you need to run a tremendously profitable business. I get 40 percent of my business from referrals. And when I say word of mouth, obviously it's the quality of customer service, but it's also about the brand image you're projecting with your technicians and trucks. When you walk into a customer's house, you need to represent yourself like a doctor in a hospital, like the president in the White House... and like Tommy Mello in the garage door business. (Just kidding on the last bit, but you get the point.)

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