Word of mouth marketing is great if you can leverage it to deliver results for your business. It is often viewed as being “free” which isn’t always true, but people are more inclined to trust a recommendation than an advertisement so it is often a more effective marketing channel.
Recommendations from friends, family or influential figures can all help build your business’ reputation. Being able to access these people to encourage them to recommend you is the difficult bit.
Here’s ten ideas to implement in your business to improve word of mouth recommendations.
1.) Encourage word of mouth by incentivizing – give a discount to the recommender when a new customer is acquired from their recommendation. This is the classis “friend get friend” model used to leverage word of mouth.
2.) Give additional business cards to your customers (particularly if you are a tradesperson) so they can easily and accurately pass your details on.
3.) Use social media. Social media can be viewed as being word of mouth for the modern age – if people use your brand or business name in a conversation and it’s positive then share that information.
4.) Embrace review sites: TripAdvisor, Revoo and countless others all provide a platform for capturing and sharing people’s impressions of your business – share these but also encourage people to leave reviews.
5.) Use case studies – particularly if you are in a complex business to business arena. Case studies not only explain the benefits of your product or service but also highlight the customer – thereby giving some endorsement. Sharing this via your website and social channels is word of mouth. Some businesses also find them useful to talk through with prospective customers at sales meetings.
6.) Add sharing tools to your website and emails. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., (whichever is appropriate to your business) and bookmarking tools such as Digg and Delicious. By making it easy to share you are encouraging word of mouth recommendation.
7.) Ensure that you only provide a top quality product and service. Customers will only recommend you if they are happy with the product and the experience that they had purchasing from you. To achieve a good level of word of mouth recommendations the culture of your business has to be right – with every employee being engaged with your values.
8.) Establish your business as the expert in your field and offer to be a speaker – at seminars, conferences, industry meetings. By providing useful information about how you can solve a problem you can start to create a buzz around your business so yours is the name that people remember.
9.) Collect your customers thoughts by surveying them and ask them if they would recommend your business. Using a statistic such as 95% of our customers would recommend us can help build trust and therefore works as indirect word of mouth.
10). Don’t sacrifice current customers to try to gain new ones. Offering great deals for new clients or customers can alienate existing ones, keeping your current customers extremely satisfied will encourage them to spread the word about you and your business.
Remember people are likely to tell everyone they know about a bad experience – but will also tell people when they are delighted by something. Delight all your customers, everyday.