Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate awareness of your business and drive growth. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.
Word of mouth occurs spontaneously when customers recommend your products or services, but you can inspire and motivate people to talk about your business.
Asking for online “likes” and reviews is a great place to start creating buzz, but your efforts will have greater impact if you provide customers with engaging, meaningful experiences to drive word of mouth.
Here are five word-of-mouth marketing strategies to test in your business:
- Always remind customers that referrals are appreciated, and thank them in advance for spreading the word. Deliver your message in writing … on an invoice or receipt, social media post, or poster in your place of business, if customers come to your site. The key to this strategy’s success is that people generally feel good about helping others. Asking your satisfied customers to help your business grow gives them an opportunity to help you.
- Incentivize word-of-mouth recommendations with an ongoing referral reward program. Offering thoughtful rewards that make the referring customer feel truly special will inspire greater participation in your program.
- Run a charitable event that is meaningful to your customers; for example, you can donate a percentage of sales within a specific time period to a good cause in the community. Customers feel good because they are making a contribution, even though they’re not actually donating money out of pocket. Faithful supporters of the cause will help drive customers to your business to help boost sales — and donations — during the promotion period. If your business isn’t community based, look for a national cause that is a good fit with your customer base.
- Align with local schools and other institutions to create interest in your business. if you have a customer-facing business location, consider recognizing local high school athletes and exhibiting student artwork to generate foot traffic.
- Don’t forget about making it easy for other businesses and vendors to refer your business to their customers. Provide these partners with referral templates that can copy and paste into emails, cards or brochures to distribute, and even samples if applicable. Offer to reciprocate and send your customers their way.
YOUR CHALLENGE: If you’re not currently using word-of-mouth marketing, try these strategies one at a time and monitor results against costs. Over time you’ll discover the right combination for your business.
If you would like a complimentary coaching session or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-739-3079. Let’s work together to help your business grow.