Word of mouth is the oldest and easily one of the most effective forms of marketing. The numbers don’t lie. 92% of consumers believe their friend’s recommendations for products and services and people are 4x more likely to buy something if a friend suggested it. Word of mouth marketing has an incredible value, especially when it’s coupled with an attention-grabbing digital marketing strategy. If you’re at a loss, here are some word of mouth strategies for small businesses.
Understanding Word of Mouth
Have you ever had a wonderful experience at a restaurant that you just had to tell your friends about? Your server was excellent, the food was made exactly to your specifications, you were greeted with a smile and seated promptly. If anyone asks for a recommendation of where to eat in the area, you think back to this experience. It’s this word of mouth marketing that helps small businesses thrive and grow organically.
1. Ask for Testimonials
Did you know that only 33% of businesses are effectively collecting and seeking reviews? Those numbers are surprisingly low in knowing that 79% of people trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations. Reviews make people feel comfortable. They provide proof of your services and your value. Post these testimonials on your website or simply encourage people to visit your Facebook page of Google listing and leave a message there. These reviews will pop up in your knowledge panel whenever customers search your business’ name, so they are especially helpful.
2. Provide Great Customer Service
This one is a given. Providing excellent customer service is one of the most effective word of mouth strategies for small businesses. Most customers who had a bad customer service experience with a brand will tell their families and friends then take their business elsewhere. By providing a negative experience, you’re losing valuable business. Treat customers with respect, be patient and transparent and train your employees accordingly. Learn from and listen to customer complaints. Handle these issues with care and apologize (even when the customer is in the wrong.)
Similarly, it’s important to communicate effectively. Make your contact information clearly visible on all branding material and on your website so that customers can reach out if they have a problem. Return calls promptly and keep in touch. Thank people who use your business with a hand-written card, coupon, or reward to make them feel appreciated.
3. Engage in Social Media
Talk to your customers. Like comments and reply to their posts. Brands who engage on social media gain more trust from their followers and consumers and thus increase sales. Similarly, encourage user-generated content (UGC). Offer promotions, discounts of features for sharing and creating photos and create a sense of community by showcasing this UGC on your website or social media pages.
4. Contribute to Your Community
Getting involved in your community is a great way to get your name out there. If you regularly engage in social responsibility or community building people will begin to take notice. By sponsoring a community or charity event, you’ll improve your business’s reputation and build trust. You can also increase your reputation by supporting community organizations by sitting on the board for hospitals or schools.
5. Give Lessons or Seminars
By offering lessons of seminars, you’ll soon find yourself known as the community problem solver. It might take some time and planning, but it can generate plenty of business by providing positive publicity. Create a lesson plan and stick to it. Put things in layman’s terms so that even a beginner will have an understanding of the subject. You’ll only damage your reputation if you let people walk away feeling as though they didn’t get what they came for.
6. Maintain a Positive Image
Of the word of mouth marketing strategies for small businesses, this one if one of the most important. Your business can do great work or offer great services, have great customer service and engage with customers, but if you’ve personally had a bad reputation, you’ll still manage to lose customers. Be polite, you never know who might be a potential customer. Small business owners don’t get a day off, so treat people with courtesy and respect.
Join a local networking group for small businesses, or community and industry groups. Help other people int hat group reach their goals and they’ll be sure to share the news with their friends and family who may be in need of your services. Also, remember to refer customers to other noncompeting businesses. Other companies are likely to refer people to your business if you do the same for them.
It’s important to use word of mouth as a foundation for growing your business and supplement it with other marketing. Digital marketing is the perfect way to boost your sales. The right agency and the right digital marketing strategy partners well with all of these word of mouth strategies for small businesses. Already using these techniques? Looking to take your marketing to the next level? Contact Colossus Media Group. Let’s build something together.