Word Of Mouth Trumps SEO

word of mouth

There’s so many people that I meet who own businesses and make 6 figures. Straight up. They drive nice cars, they live in beautiful houses, their kids all go to private schools, they have plenty of holidays and overall their lifestyles seem great.

And yet so many of these business owners don’t even have a website, let alone all the social media accounts that most have. If they do happen to own a website, it’s plain, barely ranking and simply shows their opening hours or ways to get in touch.

That’s it…Basta!!!

One of the guys whom I know owns a mobile car wash. So the next time I bumped into him at the gym I was eager to buy him a coffee and work out how he was getting all his business. And that’s exactly what I did. The next time I saw Max, I had to ask…

Max, you have such a great lifestyle, how is it that you market?

I don’t

What do you mean?

All my customers come from word of mouth.

How about when you started?

I did flyers, ads, bits of everything. But within a year, it was word of mouth.


Now Max is the type of guy who is not keen to grow. He’s a one man band and offers a unique valeting service at your house, office, wherever.

But when we think about word of mouth – it often goes without saying that in those 3 words are 2 presuppositions:

  1. the person spreading the word used the company 
  2. the person spreading the word also was happy with their services

Hence why they’re referring them in the first place.

Max had clearly developed a client base of people who had been extremely happy with his services. And Max was expensive. There’s no denying he’s at the premium end of the market. But that aside, he was still at capacity.

What was more interesting is when I started searching keywords for the phrase mobile car wash or mobile car valet – there wasn’t heaps of traffic. Especially for the towns he worked in.

Now whilst we’ve all come across this several times, and even written about Coffee Monmouth and DIshoom’s massive success from word of mouth, it did make me realise one more thing. Doing SEO is about capturing the searcher. That it’s core proposition. But often what I’ve found with word of mouth is that it can create new customers. In Max’s situation I can imagine one of his clients saying to a friend:

I know this guy that does mobile valets. he’s amazing…

And even though the friend hadn’t necessarily wanted that service, just knowing of its sheer existence meant that Max had a greater chance of getting a call from him one day.

So what have I gleaned. Well, I’m constantly fascinated by word of mouth. It’s something that can trump SEO and Social and all the other techniques out there. It creates new customers and gets over the biggest hurdle people often have when using a new service, TRUST!


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