Eight best ways to get word-of-mouth marketing

Thinking of rebranding?
Bernard Kelvin Clive, Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, making a point at the maiden Brand-CON Africa in Accra

How do you get people to talk about your business and spread the word? Word-of-mouth marketing can make all the difference in how successful your product or service becomes, and it doesn’t cost you a penny to implement.

Let me start by sharing these two stories with you to serve as a window into all the other aspects of the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

The first is this, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I came across a post by Debs that immediately piqued my interest. Debs is a social media friend, and we both attend the same local assembly. She only posts on her timeline on occasion, but she actively comments on posts made by friends.

She had shared a picture of a beautifully designed cake with an overwhelmingly positive review. Wow! Coming from Debs, I have to believe in that sugarcraft. She had apparently seen other exceptional cakes made by the same person and had been highly recommended to contact her. Debs needed a cake for a special occasion in a hurry.

She had, however, contacted the cake designer rather late, but with a sophisticated cake design request to be delivered the same day.

Akua Yeboah, the designer, accepted the challenge and delivered an amazing cake with every detail requested in six hours. Debs was blown away by the experience; she stated that in that short period, she had called Akua several times, but Akua always gave her a positive and friendly reception. Debs couldn’t contain her excitement after the professionalism, amazing cake design, and unforgettable customer experience, and she had to share it on Facebook.

Debs gave that positive review because of Akua’s acts – that’s word-of-mouth marketing right there. And, yes, I would like to hire Akua of Bakeciti to design some cakes in the near future.

The second is this, I came across a post on social media made by Kanyir Nyuur (you can find her on Facebook), in which she related an amazing experience she had at one restaurant. She described how the server was really friendly, professional, and lovely to each and every person he served. She became a regular customer of the restaurant as a result of her attitude and experience, and she eventually had to share this on social media. That is free word-of-mouth marketing and referrals to many people. I made a mental note of it and plan to visit the eatery someday. And I’m sure many others would do so.

Interestingly, the restaurant in question came to comment on the post to thank her for the unsolicited positive review that created a buzz for the business. That is something organizations must learn to do on social media, using social listening tools to track brand references.

The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Now this is it, whether you want to get more sales or get your business on the map, here are eight ways to get more positive buzz for your business through word-of-mouth marketing

  1. Grab their Attention: Attract new customers

Every business seeks attention to drive home its message. Just like a guy trying to woo a lady, he courts her attention first.

John Rohn once made a profound statement that goes like “To attract attractive people, you must be attractive”. Well, that is right in many ways, for a business seeking to attract new clients and keep them doing business with you, you must ensure you have all the right things that will get their attention.

The attention of people is one of the most valuable assets in this digital age. Creating a product or service that attracts them is how one gets attention. Unless you actively try to get the attention of the right clientele, you will be missing out on a lot of business. Think about what will attract the ideal client to your product or service. What are they paying attention to that your competitors are not providing? How can you bring those things to them?

Once you have attracted new people and ensured their ongoing loyalty through great customer service, remember to nurture relationships with your customers by communicating with them regularly. There’s nothing worse than feeling like your only option is to hound potential clients for work but leave it too long between communications and face losing important contacts because something more urgent comes up in their lives. It’s hard work getting attention from new people – do everything possible to keep existing ones!

  1. Keep your existing customers happy – wow them!

Just like a happy kid with candy, a delighted client can’t just keep quiet. When you satisfy your customers, they’ll want to spread a positive buzz about your company.

Start by anticipating and meeting their needs, and always respond quickly with friendly service. If a customer complains or if there’s a problem with a purchase, make it right. And if possible, reward regular customers— treat them well! Do all of these things consistently, and you can build a large base of enthusiastic, loyal customers who will do your marketing for free (and even pay you more in return).

Take time to know your customers. Getting customers talking about your business can be powerful—but it’s not something that will happen overnight. Getting your name out there is a long game and a process that starts with developing relationships with people you know, especially friends and family. From there, you want to learn what they like (and don’t like) about your products or services. This information can help you tailor your message and reach more people who are likely to become repeat customers. Build Advocates: Businesses of all sizes rely on satisfied customers who believe in their product or service enough to spread word-of-mouth recommendations. Identify key advocates in your network; people who are comfortable talking about what they like, why they recommend it, and why others should try it too.

Do your best to wow your existing customers as much as you can. Remember that if one person talks about how great your company is, chances are a few other people may also hear about it. The hope here is that once you gain these advocates, they will refer friends, family members, and colleagues to do business with you over any of your competitors. Give them freebies!: Because word-of-mouth marketing relies so heavily on happy experiences, consider giving away samples or small gifts at every opportunity.

  1. Value the Customer Service Experience

Beyond having a wonderful product and service that customers require, you must continually wrap all of this in an outstanding customer experience. Exceeding customer expectations and taking care of customers are key to increasing your chances of getting them to do business with you again. When people know they can count on you, they’re more likely to recommend your company to others. You could be missing out on all kinds of opportunities if you don’t keep an eye on what clients want, how they want it, and when they want it.

Take note of common complaints by your customers and address them effectively. Additionally, make sure you praise customers for giving good feedback—positive reinforcement goes a long way toward improving business operations in all areas.

  1. Use Social Media but Differently

A lot of people think social media is all about self-promotion, but that’s not really how it works. Social media works because you care enough about your business and customers to post information they want and need.

Use social media as a tool to build relationships with your customers. Focus on providing content that meets their needs. It shouldn’t be always about your brand, products, and services, turn the raider on the customers. Serve and celebrate them.

Posting sales is okay every once in a while, but don’t make it a habit! When you take time to develop relationships with others and share their posts too, they will remember you when they have a question or problem. They will talk about your brand as well—and not just with their friends—but also within their industry groups where other potential customers live.

Now that’s value!

Consider celebrating a fan of the week on your social media page? Think of how it will make the customer feel, and possibly spread the news to his friends.

  1. Treat Customer Service as an Investment Not an Expense

Every act that contributes to the well-being of customers should be viewed as an investment with the potential to generate profits.

Making your customers happy should be your priority, but oftentimes it’s overlooked in favor of simply getting more business. It is a common misconception that customer service has little impact on whether or not someone will return and spend money with you. The truth is that happy customers tell 3x as many people about their experiences than those who had a bad experience.

However, unhappy customers tell 12x as many people about their experience. If there are two restaurants on each end of town one had a line around the corner and one didn’t, what do you think it would take for people to choose which restaurant they wanted to go to? Who wouldn’t love to be treated as King or Queen? People love to stay go where they are celebrated.

An outstanding customer experience will raise enthusiastic fans to help spread your business through word-of-mouth. A great way of doing so is by providing exceptional customer service. This can be accomplished through being polite, having great hygiene (or smelling nice if working at a restaurant). Things like remembering details such as names and preferences add a lot to a customer.

Treating every encounter with customers as an opportunity to impress them makes sure that you keep them coming back for more!

  1. Reward your loyal customers

Reward customers that go out of their way to stay with you rather than your competition.

Your customers are just as interested in getting something out of their loyalty as you are. Where possible, give them some type of reward or special treatment. Offer loyalty bonuses.

For example, If a loyal customer recommends your business, send her coupons or discounts for her next purchase.

You can also create your own loyalty program where you award points for recommendations and rewards when customers accumulate enough points. These types of incentives make customers feel valued and more likely to promote your business. It’s good for everyone when people talk about how great you are!

  1. Ask your clients for recommendations, reviews, and referrals

If you never ask for referrals, you are leaving a lot of potential clients on the table. Ask away!

It’s simple: Any brand, product, or service that is referred to by people you trust, largely becomes the preferred one. So stop doing cold calls and spamming your customers and ask for a referral! Start by asking clients if they know of anyone else who might need your services. They will probably have at least a few connections who could use what you do. This also helps build better relationships with current customers because it makes them feel needed and important in your success too.

Asking triggers word-of-mouth marketing. You can thank them later with a gift, discount coupon, or something similar.

For other types of businesses like retail stores or food outlets, consider installing customer feedback stations where customers can leave their comments on each item. You can incorporate these comments into your newsletters as testimonials (with appropriate details removed).

Of course, be sure not to let any actual competitors see these comments! You can also create simple postcards encouraging people to give reviews on popular review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Keep track of new leads and potential sales generated from each source. The more avenues used, the more powerful your word-of-mouth marketing campaign will be.

  1. Say Thank You! And Follow up!

People love to be appreciated, do so as often as you can.

By thanking your customers for their patronage, you’re sending a positive message that they can expect good service and quality products with every purchase. This simple act of gratitude sets you apart from your competitors who don’t use thank-you notes and makes it more likely that consumers will buy from you again, which drives more positive word of mouth. There are several easy ways to say thank you.

Take a few minutes after each business transaction (whether a one-time sale or an ongoing relationship) to send a handwritten note that tells customers how appreciative you are for their business and invites them back into your store. Just like a smile goes further than words, saying thank you goes further than not saying it—and nobody expects businesses to be nice!

Learn to follow up on your clients, especially after the first transaction or encounter. Everyone is busy, and you don’t want to be a pest. So as soon as possible after you meet someone who could use your product or service, send them an email with something brief about your company—and then put them on a follow-up list so you can reconnect in a couple of weeks. After that, reach out occasionally with news about something special or to see if they have any questions or need assistance.

These emails should never be longer than one or two sentences; just say hi and ask if they have any questions. If they respond positively, talk over how often they’d like to hear from you (weekly? monthly?) and then follow through! You can use get these automated using email marketing services such as Sendinblue, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, AWeber etc.

Bernard Kelvin Clive is an Author, Speaker. Lecturer and Corporate Trainer. Bernard is a brand strategist at BKC consulting and runs the monthly Branding & Publishing Masterclass. visit www.BKC.name


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