Word of mouth marketing has always been one of the best and most cost-effective ways to boost business.
It doesn’t cost you anything to get customers talking. You just need to do what you do best – provide great products or services that customers can’t help talking about!
Marketing through word of mouth happens somewhat naturally for most businesses because people enjoy talking about good experiences they’ve had with different products or companies. These days, word of mouth marketing strategy is taking on a new form through the Internet, and it’s becoming more vital than ever that companies have a plan in place to promote marketing through word of mouth.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some proof:
Ever wondered how much word of mouth marketing actually does work?
It’s a little difficult to track, but lots of studies these days are looking at the impact of word of mouth and suggestions from friends on spending and buying habits of consumers.
Here are just a few statistics to consider:
(Statistics from Ink Foundry and Buzz Canuck)
As you can see, word of mouth advertising is crucial for any business’s growth.
It’s becoming even more so, as people start to trust direct advertising even more and may even shun companies that bombard them with too many advertisements. While there’s no doubt that a good advertising campaign can still be successful, your business will grow the most if you provide customers with great service and products and use word of mouth to really get the word out about your business.
Social media is one of the best ways to boost word of mouth advertising for your business. For instance, if you have a business Facebook page, current customers may “Like” that page. This makes word of mouth advertising happen naturally, since others can check out their “Likes” and may decide to ask your clients about your business when they see it in their Facebook lists.
Also, starting a company blog can be a great idea. Many times when readers enjoy your blog or find it informative, they’ll post it to Facebook or Twitter. It’s crucial here that you use a toolbar that makes this a one-click operation! Then, others will read the blog to see what the hype is all about, and it will snowball naturally from there.
Here’s another idea: give things away.
Giveaways on Facebook, through your blog, or at your regular business location are a fantastic way to build word of mouth recommendations. One easy way for small businesses to use Facebook for giveaways is to post a photo of an item to be given away. Have people who already “Like” your business’s page tag themselves in the photo. When they tag themselves, the photo will go out to their network, so it will continue to grow. Each photo can be tagged up to fifty times, and you can do a drawing with the fifty names in the photo to give the item away for free.
Of course, sample services and products are also a great option, too. People love getting things for free, and they’re more likely to talk about your products or services if they get them for free and really love them.
The most important aspect of word of mouth marketing strategy is to provide good customer service.
Adopt the “customer is always right” policy. Sometimes it will lose you a little money, but in the long run, it will gain you respect, customers, and word of mouth advertising. Interact directly with your audience, and let them know you’re there to solve any problems they might have with your products or services.
Not sure what you can do to improve your customer service? Here are just a few ideas:
Have a well-trained staff. Customer service starts with the people directly representing your business. Whether it’s just you and a business partner or several clerks in the storefront, make sure everyone who is part of the business knows what you expect when they’re dealing with customers. Set company policies for greeting and speaking with customers, and stick with them.
Communicate with customers. With the advent of Internet marketing and social networking, this got both harder and easier. You have more ways than ever to communicate, but you also have to keep up with all those lines of communication.
If you have a customer service email address, make sure someone is checking it and replying to emails at least once a day during the business week. Ensure that someone answers all comments on your blog posts and Facebook wall. Most importantly, make sure customers can get through to your business on the phone! Despite the advances made with automated messaging systems, most of the time, people still want to talk to a real human being, so make sure your customers can do this, whether they’re placing an order or reporting a problem with your products.
Give your customers a say in how your business looks and operates. Take Facebook polls, ask specific questions of your customers in blog posts. What would they like to see change about your business, your services, or your products? You don’t have to listen to everything your customers say. (They aren’t the ones running the business, after all!) But you do need to make sure to implement the best suggestions you get and to make your customers feel like you hear what they’re saying. Just feeling like they can give you suggestions will make your customers feel like participants in your business, rather than passive receivers of goods and services. This makes a world of difference in how they look at you and the products and services you provide!
Word of mouth advertising can seem to be a little hard to get rolling at first. Eventually, though, it will just come naturally. The more customers you can please on a daily basis, the more they’ll tell their friends and family about your business, and the more your business will grow.