What do other people say about your brand? Do you have raving fans who recommend you to others?
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is one of the most positive forms of advertising. Although some peer-to-peer talk happens organically and is impossible to track, you can embrace this form of promotion with a variety of campaigns and track the results quickly.
Researchers found that about 93% of consumers between the ages of 35 and 54 always read online reviews before spending their money. Others’ opinions have much more weight than anything a company can say about itself.
Knowing word-of-mouth marketing is useful, and figuring out how to get the buzz going are two different things. Fortunately, there are some proactive steps you can take that will get your current customers talking and encourage them to share your business with those they know.
Tip 1 — Tap Into Influencers
Some people have a large social following, and others listen to them because they are authentic and upfront in what they share. Find a few influencers whose audiences match your buyer personas. Send them free products, schmooze them and get them on board with the benefits of doing business with you.
Next, approach them about doing an influencer campaign. You must first develop the relationship and then pitch your idea.
If a few influencers talk up your products, their fans will see the recommendation and be more likely to convert into customers. More experienced online celebrities know what their audiences respond to best and can guide you toward the best campaign possible.
This type of WOM is quite easy to track. Create a landing page and have the influencer use that link. You can also see where traffic arrives from, such as a social media site or the influencer’s web page.
Tip 2 — Grab Foot Traffic
Although not technically word-of-mouth, there is a way you can toot your own horn without seeming overly self-promotional.
Placing banners and flags outside your store grabs the attention of passersby and encourages them to take note of your business. If you come up with a sign catchy and bright enough, it might get citizens in the community talking about a grand opening or other special events.
Billboards are another way to generate some buzz. Create a bit of mystery with a series of signs that get people talking. Reveal something about your business or a promotional event at the end of the sequence.
Tip 3 — Encourage Shares
Customers who love your company are happy to tell others about you. They don’t always think of it on their own. Sometimes, they need an invitation to tell others about your business.
Be honest that you’re trying to grow your operation and ask them if they’d consider referring friends they think might be interested. It sounds so simple, but it truly is an effective way of getting WOM going.
Tip 4 — Go Out of Your Way
Have you ever had a customer present a unique circumstance to you?
When people open up about difficulties, you have an opportunity to go above and beyond and show how much you care. For example, someone calls to see if you have delivery because their elderly parent lives alone and needs a product you sell. However, you don’t currently deliver.
Can you figure out transportation? Not only that, but maybe you set up a weekly or monthly drop for the parent?
The adult child is likely to shout your praises from the rooftops, or at least on Facebook. The elderly parent will tell their friends and family what you did for them.
You can’t buy this type of WOM marketing. It comes organically from putting the customer first and thinking outside the box. You may even get some media attention for your efforts, although that is never why you should be customer-centered.
Tip 5 — Reward Referrals
One of the easiest ways to track word-of-mouth mentions is by offering rewards for referrals. This model is relatively simple. A customer sends someone your way, they mention the customer and you give the referrer credit on their account or some other agreed-upon prize.
This type of referral is quite easy to track. You can see on each account who is sending new business your way. Some offers may be more attractive than others, so that may form your marketing strategy as well. If a 20% discount garners you 50% more qualified leads, then that is your golden ticket to WOM marketing.
Tip 6 — Try User Content
Engaged customers are much more likely to share your business with those they know. The digital realm is a perfect environment for this strategy.
Create a poll and ask your target audience to participate and share it. Have customers upload a photo using your product. Run a contest where participants’ friends and family vote for them, and the person with the most votes wins.
You’ll save time and effort from creating your material, but you’ll also engage your current customers while getting your business name in front of new leads. It’s a win-win-win situation.
Prepare Your Word-of-Mouth Strategy
Before you step into the exciting world of WOM, make sure your business is ready for new clients. Your customer service model should be exemplary. Logistics and sales need to flow smoothly. Look at each aspect of your business and make sure it’s running at maximum effectiveness. Then, send your WOM campaigns out into the world and start growing your business exponentially.
Learn more about the different types of WOM marketing in this article here.
Lexie is a graphic designer and marketing enthusiast. She loves checking out local flea markets and taking her goldendoodle on hikes. Follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner and check out her design blog, Design Roast.