It has often been said that word of mouth advertising is both priceless and free, and that is certainly the case. This unique form of advertising cannot be purchased with even the largest marketing budget, yet its influence on would-be customers is so large it is nearly incalculable.
Studies have shown that consumers place a greater value on the direct buying experiences of their peers than on anything else. No amount of slick TV ads, clever radio spots or pop-up ads comes close to the influence word of mouth advertising can provide.
So how do you generate the buzz you need to differentiate your brand and boost demand for your services? How can you enjoy the business benefits and sales growth that only word of mouth advertising can provide? Here are eight effective ways to generate word of mouth advertising for your small business.
1. Focus on building your brand.
If you build a great brand and generate a loyal following, the word of mouth advertising will take care of itself. If you want customers to become brand ambassadors, focus your efforts where it counts.
2. Engage on social media.
Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can be your best friends in the search for word of mouth advertising. Reach out on social media, talk to customers, solve problems and build your referral network one person at a time.
3. Reach out to past customers.
Whether you have been in business for six months or six years, you have a database of buyers, so use it to your advantage. Reach out to those satisfied customers, ask for testimonials and post those positive reviews on your website and social media channels.
4. Set up a formal referral program.
Word of mouth advertising is good for your business, but it can be good for your customers as well. A formal referral program is a great way to reward those brand ambassadors with prizes and other goodies.
5. Exceed customer expectations every time.
When you deliver world-class service to your customers, they will take notice. The easiest and surest way to generate word of mouth advertising and gain brand ambassadors is through exceptional customer service.
6. Be proactive about customer complaints.
Not all customer experiences will be positive ones, but the right approach can make all the difference. Being proactive about complaints can turn dissatisfied customers into your most loyal brand advocates.
7. Reach out to influencers.
The role of influencers on social media has been hotly debated, but they can play a part in your quest for online buzz and positive word of mouth advertising.
8. Share positive reviews and customer testimonials online.
When you do receive positive attention and word of mouth advertising, do not keep it a secret. Share that valuable information online, where the world can see it.
Building buzz for your business and your brand will take time and effort, but the steps you take today will pay dividends tomorrow. Word of mouth advertising is not for sale at any price, but it is the most valuable form of marketing your company can receive. The eight strategies listed above will give you a starting point, but the rest is up to you.