Word of mouth marketing is an effective and inexpensive way to bring in customers/clients.
Getting a recommendation about your business from a friend or acquaintance can be a confidence booster potential customers need.
Here are a few ways to generate a great word of mouth for your business.
Word of mouth drives sales because buyers want to be sure they are making the right choice when they make a purchase. Hearing other people say good things about a product or business helps build a buyer’s confidence that their purchase won’t be a mistake.
Many businesses think of word of mouth marketing as free advertising. But word of mouth is so powerful that even big businesses pour millions of dollars into advertising campaigns to make consumers think everyone has a great experience when they purchase their products.
When you think about Burlington Coat Factory ads, you see individuals bragging about how much money they saved on clothes or DSW Shoe commercials where one woman runs up to another and says, “Where did you get those shoes?
Small businesses don’t have this kind of money to spend.
Here are a few ways to generate great word of mouth for your small business:
1. Provide excellent customer service. Treat your customers and prospects the way you’d like to be treated yourself. Smiles at point of sale mean a lot. Answer your phone immediately—don’t let them wait.
2. Be friendly. If you have clients that come into your establishment, smile and say “Hi” and ask how they are doing today. Use their name if you know them.
3. Return calls promptly after the sale as quickly as you did before the sale.
4. If a customer calls with a complaint about your product or service, don’t argue with them or point fingers. Apologize, even if you think the customer may be wrong, correct the problem or offer a refund. By handling problems quickly and efficiently, you and your employees can turn angry customers into fans and advocates.
5. Be personally visible to your market. Join networking groups and industry groups that your customers join and be a regular attendee at the meetings. Talk to the people you meet to find out what they do and what is important to them and what challenges they face. When you can, give them tips or point them to resources they need. Your goal is to be thought of as a friend and problem solver, not just a salesperson.
6. Be active in social media. Set up Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Choose the social media that you are most likely to reach your target customers. A social media “share” spreads the word of mouth about your company to all the people who follow and like the customers who share your information.
7. Add social share buttons to your website and email messages. The easier you allow for customers and prospects to share your information and promotions, the more they will do so.
8. Offer to be a speaker or give seminars. Be sure your talk delivers plenty of useful content. Delivering useful, fact-filled information and problem-solving tips about issues common to the audience will set you up as an expert and the go-to person to solve the problems you talked about.
9. Be involved in your community. Whether it’s sponsoring a little league team or an organization event, your participation will help you and your business name be remembered.
10. When people praise you, ask if you can use their comments on your website and promotional material. These are testimonials you can use to help prospects hear good things about your business.
11. Hone your networking skills. Join and become active in local business, community and industrial groups that attract your targeted customers. Win respect and business by helping others in the group achieve their goals.
12. Refer business to noncompeting businesses. When you refer customers/clients to others, those businesses are more likely to refer business to you.
13. Make your business name and phone number easy to find.
14. Last but not least, thank people who refer business to you. How you thank them will depend on your business. The thanks may be in the form of a hand-written thank you card, coupon, cash reward, or whatever is practical and ethical for your line of business.
Thanking those who help you will make them feel their efforts are appreciated which will make them be glad to recommend you to more people.
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