One barrier that most businesses face is the idea of investing in the acquisition of new customers.

For most businesses, spending money to enter new markets, to launch a new product or grow an audience is an essential part of the marketing mix. How often are you introduced to a brand via a Facebook or Google Ad, or a billboard at the train station, for example.

But this isn’t a blog encouraging you to spend your marketing budget.

This blog is about expanding your reach, bringing in new customers organically, without spending a penny.

What is organic marketing?

Organic marketing is essentially any marketing which doesn’t involve paying for visibility.

Think blog posts, reviews, social posts, SEO, case studies etc.

These don’t require a budget as part of a paid-for algorithm or influencer campaign.

Instead, they take time, effort and authenticity to build.

The reward? Organic methods generate brand awareness and build a connection with an audience. This might be by educating them about a product or service at key points of the purchase cycle, or by attracting new leads with entertaining content.

An important element of your organic marketing strategy is customer testimonials, reviews and referrals.

People trust other people, 89 per cent of consumers worldwide read reviews before buying products.

It makes sense, that customers trust other customers more than businesses themselves.

Online comments about you, your business or your product are considered to be ‘social proof’ and hold a lot of power. They can contribute to lead building, converting a sale, and of course, turning a customer off. In fact, authentic customer referrals are the biggest client driver for my own business.

So whilst ‘free’, you should always invest in your product or service, and reputation management.

What do you need to gain organic referral?

To give yourself the best chance at generating valuable positive referrals, you need to make sure that you can answer each of these points:

Service/product – Do they meet the customer expectations? Are you delivering what the customer wants?

Quality – Are you delivering the right service/product? Is your website full of really helpful content?

Experience – Are customers satisfied at each touchpoint? Are you guiding the customer through the process, such as post-sale emails, live chat or a phone number for complex queries?

Satisfaction – Are your customers/clients pleased? If so, do you ask them to share reviews?

Target customers – are your customer aligned to your business? You need to give the right customer the right product/service at the right time.

The end-to-end process must meet their expectations.

And once you’ve achieved those, you need to maximise the power of word-of-mouth as part of your marketing mix.