Let us suppose, the water pipe in your house is leaking, and you need to call a plumber. You are probably going to ask a friend or a relative to send you the contact details, right? And, the friend will only send you the details of the one, whom he feels is the best. This is how word-of-mouth publicity works. If you are a small business owner, word-of-mouth publicity is very important for promoting your business and securing work.
The idea that customers can promote your business is not a new one. For a long time, peer reviews and personal recommendations have influenced the way people purchase. Today we have more sophisticated systems and processes to bring clients-social networks, good content, and some smart marketing techniques, all of these helps to grow your business.
Forms of word-of-mouth publicity
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) or advertising can happen in two forms:
- Amplified WOMM: In this form of marketing, the marketer tries to encourage the customers to share their experiences with the small business. Marketers design the campaigns in which the consumers tell nice things about the brand.
- Organic WOMM: Organic word of mouth marketing happens when customers get a good shopping experience and want to share it with their friends or relatives.
How can you use word-of-mouth marketing for your business?
If you are a small business owner who doesn’t have a huge advertising budget, you can still attract customers. According to a recent survey, 75% of people can be sceptical about AdWords, but 92% will believe recommendations from friends. In this article, we will look at some specific ways to get your small business's customers to market your brand.
1. Start with your own people
Your employees know your company the best. So, why not utilise this asset to promote your business? Depending upon the brand, usually happy and jovial employees put forward the fun face of a company to customers and spread positive vibes. While updating your employees on how they can provide more value to the company by speaking about your business, make sure that the message is noteworthy.
Your staff can spread good things about your business on their social networks. Their family and friends would listen to their opinions and just might be your next customers!
2. Give your customers something to talk about
People are more likely to share positive experiences. You should keep that in mind while providing any service to your customer. Also, your business must have something buzzworthy or noteworthy happening around it-otherwise it won’t be worth sharing.
3. Go the extra mile
When someone does a decent job for us, we might be grateful. But, when someone goes above and beyond our expectations we are thrilled! The best way to encourage a client to recommend you is to deliver an outstanding job or product that will create good value for money.
Collect contact details and shopping preferences of the customers, and use this to build up an effective marketing strategy.
4. Ask for referrals
To build your customer base, you have to help clients refer you. Once you have completed a sale or finished your work, ask them to recommend you to friends and family. Explain to them what your long-term goals are, and what you want to achieve. Don’t forget to thank your old customers when they recommend you. You can also give them some discounts or other incentives.
Make it easy for your clients to refer you by giving them all relevant information like your contact details, product list, etc.
5. Functional Website
If people have a tough time navigating through your website, they won’t recommend it to their friends. So, build an easy-to-use website that will visually appeal to the consumers. Your promotions through Google Ads, newspapers and social media would lead people to your website. They might make a purchase there.
Keep the checkout process short and simple. If your customers have a hassle-free experience while purchasing through your eCommerce site, there is a high probability of them recommending it to others.
6. Refer your clients
Referrals can work both ways. If you have a client who provides great value and does a superb job, then you can tell the world about him. Make an introduction, and tell about his products or services in your network. You can be sure that he will also return you the favour. This will be mutually beneficial.
7. Ask for ratings and reviews
A new customer who comes to your website essentially has zero knowledge about you or your brand. He or she will also be apprehensive about giving sensitive details like credit card numbers to a website that they know little about. At this stage, you have to step in to dispel their fears.
What you can do is to show them that other customers have used your products, and they are satisfied with them. Engage with your customers, even when you finish the job. Become a brand they trust, and they will have no hesitation recommending you.
8. Use Social Media
Can you imagine a world without social media? In the olden days, if we needed something, we would ask a friend or a relative about it. Now, we just need to post on Facebook or Twitter, and contact will give us a suggestion in just a few minutes. You also can take advantage of this feature in promoting your business.
If you run a business, you should target the social circle of your existing customer base. Get some happy customers to tag you and your business on social media, and share testimonials. You can also create a hashtag (#) for your brand and include it in your posts. The more visibility your hashtag gets, the more likely your customers will use your hashtag. This makes it easier to find and repost user-generated content.
9. Engage Influencers
Influencers are those people who have an attractive personality and garner the attention of others without even trying. They can be among your friends or professional contacts. You can ask them for their support, and they will be telling about you in their circles, creating new opportunities for you.
10. Phone a friend
Despite the rise of social media, you can still do WOMM offline, such as calling a friend. This is especially effective with Gen Z, who always have a mobile phone in their hands.
11. Develop Relationships with Clients
Focus on relationships with your clients, to make it easier for people to recommend you. You will be surprised to see how an emphasis on relationships can lead to referrals. Remember, that people refer others because they want to share something that they love-not in the hope of getting a gift voucher.
12. Humanise your brand
Build a strong connection with your social media audience by humanising your brand. Ask for feedback from your audience and reply to comments and remarks, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. If people leave negative comments, guide the conversation and fix the problem.
Remember that the best PR practice is to be open and get ahead of an issue before it becomes a problem.
13. Promote User-Generated Content
User-generated content ( UGC) or User Created Content (UCC) is content that your customers create and post online. It could be images in an Instagram post, of them, wearing your product, or YouTube videos of them unboxing your items. These posts will be much easier to find once you have created the hashtag for your brand.
Advertisers spend a huge amount of money trying to get their message across. But for many companies, word-of-mouth is the most cost-effective way to generate leads. Think, how your business will grow if every customer just tells two people, how good you are.
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Q. What is the most important thing that ratings and reviews tell new visitors?
Ans. They convey the message that other customers have bought from you.
Q. How much does word of mouth influences customers while making purchases?
Ans. As per a study, 74 per cent of customers are influenced by word of mouth while making purchases.
Q. What is the most important thing you can do to get customers to talk about your business?
Ans. Providing outstanding service is the best way to create a buzz among customers.
Q. Which demography is most influenced by reviews and ratings?
Ans. Gen Z and millennials most commonly read product reviews and ratings before parting with their hard-earned money.