A Systematic Approach to Word-of-Mouth Marketing for Small Businesses
If you're like me, you network a lot. But if you rely on referrals alone to build business, it's risky. That is, unless you implement a system. Because it's one thing to ask for a referral and it's another to systematize the ask!
To gain from the potential of word-of-mouth, small business owners need to implement a systematic approach to actively cultivate positive customer experiences.
So what are some practical ways to systematize word-of-mouth as a marketing strategy? Here are 8 ideas to get you started:
1. Give 'Em Something to Talk About:
At the heart of any successful word-of-mouth strategy is the delivery of exceptional customer experiences. Satisfied customers are more likely to become enthusiastic brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences with friends, family and colleagues. Ensure that your products or services meet or exceed customer expectations. Then, make it easy for them to share their experience. Include it in your email newsletter, ask for them on social media. Heck, you can even run a marketing engagement campaign to collect them over a certain period of time then use them all year long.
2. Let's Get Digital
In today's digital age, word-of-mouth extends beyond face-to-face conversations. Online reviews and social media play a significant role in shaping public perception. Establish a robust online presence by maintaining active and engaging social media profiles, responding promptly to customer reviews and encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences online. This not only amplifies positive word-of-mouth but also helps you manage and address any negative feedback effectively. Be active in the conversation of social media, versus only posting information.
3. Gift Their Gab:
Take a proactive approach to word-of-mouth by instituting a structured referral program. Incentivize your existing customers to refer friends, family or colleagues by offering discounts, exclusive deals or other valuable incentives. This not only encourages existing customers to become advocates but also attracts new customers who come through trusted recommendations.
4. Go Loud and Proud:
Customer testimonials are powerful tools for building trust and credibility. Actively collect feedback from satisfied customers and showcase their testimonials on your website, social media platforms and in marketing materials. Potential customers are more likely to trust the experiences of their peers. Authentic testimonials provide social proof that can significantly impact purchasing decisions.
5. Get Engaged!
Create a sense of community around your brand by fostering engagement both online and offline. Encourage customers to share their experiences in dedicated online forums or social media groups. Host events, workshops or gatherings where customers can connect with your brand and each other. Building an engaged community around your business not only strengthens relationships but also provides a platform for organic word of mouth to flourish. Key tip: You have to care about their real-world challenges and do what you can to solve them -- even if that means sending them resources outside of your own business.
6. Create Champions and Cheerleaders:
Identify influencers or brand ambassadors within your niche who align with your brand and business. Collaborate with them to amplify your message and reach a wider audience. Influencers can leverage their credibility and reach to spread positive word-of-mouth, introducing your brand to new potential customers. Ensure that collaborations are authentic and align with your brand identity to maintain credibility. Staying true to who you are as a business is important to keep in mind.
7. Keep Talking:
Regularly engage with your existing customer base and network to stay top-of-mind. Send personalized emails, newsletters or exclusive offers to show appreciation for their loyalty. By maintaining an ongoing relationship with your customers, you increase the likelihood that they'll continue to refer your business to others.
8. Watch it! Metrics, that is...
Implement tracking techniques to monitor the effectiveness of your word-of-mouth strategy. Track key metrics such as referral rates, social media mentions and customer sentiment. It takes a bit of strategy to decide how you'll track your efforts - but it's worth it! Analyze your data to identify patterns, measure the success of specific initiatives and make informed adjustments to your strategy as needed.
In Sum: Using Word of Mouth As Marketing Requires a System
Word-of-mouth marketing can be an effective strategy for small business but you'll get more results if you strategize and systematize it. Remember, word of mouth isn't just a happy accident – it's a well-crafted effort that puts your satisfied customers at the forefront of your growth.
Need help creating a systematized word-of-mouth marketing strategy? Book a call here with us and we'll help you!