Word of mouth marketing: 4 ways to turn your customers into promoters

Word of Mouth marketing is widely recognized by marketing professionals as the most effective form of marketing. It is perhaps one of the hardest to control and facilitate as well.

This form of marketing should be every small business’ main marketing tool because it grows sales without you having to invest any money in advertisement. Impact reported that people are 4x more likely to buy when referred by friends and word of mouth marketing generates 2x more sales than paid ads. It is great to know the importance and effectiveness of word of mouth marketing, but where exactly do you start?

1. Ask for Reviews

Perhaps the simplest way to facilitate word of mouth marketing is to simply ask for reviews. You can do this both at the point of sale or conduct a customer survey at a designated time. Let’s address asking for reviews at the point of sale first.

One of the best examples of both the importance and proper execution of asking for reviews at the point of sales is the e-commerce giant, Amazon. How often do you find yourself browsing a particular item on Amazon and see two items priced the same, which do you choose? We are tempted to say that you choose the one either with the most reviews or the one that is rated higher. This is exactly why those customer reviews are important. A few days after your order, Amazon also traditionally asks you to leave a review for the item you just purchased. They do it in this short time frame to capitalize on your initial impression. As time goes on, the less enthusiastic you will be about leaving a review.

If you do not collect reviews at the point of sale, you can also conduct customer surveys. Develop a list of questions either about your product or survey that you plan to use in your future marketing. Send that link to existing customers and encourage them to complete the survey. We suggest adding an incentive for customers like a gift card/discount on your products and/or services, or a gift that you know they will enjoy. If you do not have enough cash to support multiple rewards, have a random drawing for one lucky customer who has completed the survey.

2. Create a referral program

A referral program can be a great way to not only create word of mouth marketing but also increase customer loyalty. Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer, has a great referral program passing benefits to both the existing customer and referred customer. The secret behind this, which we will discuss later, is the quality of products and services. Customers are less likely to refer others if they felt the product or customer service did not meet their expectations.

This is also an effective program because it turns those customers that would be on the fence about referring your business to advocates since they now have an incentive to tell others.

3. Viral marketing

Another marketing tactic that is effective when trying to create word of mouth marketing is viral marketing. This type of marketing involves getting your customers to post about your product. An example of an effective viral marketing campaign was the 2014 ALS challenge. This involved an individual posting a video on social dumping a bucket of ice water to bring awareness to ALS and challenging a few of their friends to accept the challenge. If they did not, they had to donate $10 to the ALS Association.

Your viral marketing campaign does not have to be as elaborate as the ALS challenge, but we suggest finding a way to get your customers involved. A simple way to do this is encourage people to post a picture or video online using your product or services and using a particular hashtag. Make sure to highlight those customers that participate.

4. Prioritize Customer Service

Excellent customer service should be your number 1 priority for small businesses. Restaurants for example are dependent upon good customer service. Would you be more likely to refer a restaurant with just good food but ok service, or a restaurant with good food but great customer service? Customers do not go out of their way to refer a business where they experienced subpar treatment, but they are likely to leave a review or refer a friend when they feel their experience should be shared. This also goes for negative experiences as well. You never know just how much business you may lose from an extremely unsatisfied customer.

Spartan Marketing Group does offer individual services for businesses where we will coach you through how to implement word of mouth and other marketing tactics. Contact us today to see how we can help your business grow.

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