According to a Nielsen survey conducted in 2015, 83% of people trust recommendations from people they know. 66% of people trust consumer opinions posted online and only 56% trust the advertisements in the emails they’ve signed up for. Additionally, recommendations from people are one of the few advertising channels where the per cent of global respondents who completely or somewhat trust advertising format matches the per cent who always or sometimes take action on the format. What this essentially means is that word of mouth is still the most effective way to market your business. But how do you do it? Here are 5 tips.
1. Deliver a Remarkable Customer Experience
More businesses are centred today than ever before. Earlier when business was nothing more than a place to transact money for goods and services, customers liked the venues that offered them more value and comfort. They preferred them over others and told their friends and families about them. But today, most businesses offer value and comfort, though a bare minimum of it.
So how do you stand out enough today that customers start talking about you? By offering unparalleled customer experience. You can do this by analyzing every step of your customer’s journey and make sure doing business with you is more than getting good value for money; it’s convenient and makes them feel special. For example, a grocery store could politely greet its customers and direct them towards the produce they want, or a casino owner might allow players to play without a deposit in casino.
2. Incentivize Spreading the Word
Will other methods will increase word-of-mouth for your business, you take it up several notches by incentivizing your customers to spread the word about you. Offering incentives also shows your customers how much you appreciate their help in reaching more people. Though your imagination is the limit, you can use any of the following methods:
Special access to upcoming products or upgrades
Discounts on future business
Store credit that can be used in many ways
Gift cards that may or may not be meant for your business
Merchandise like t-shirts and coffee mugs that customers can show off
3. Give Them a Nudge
Where on one end you don’t need to do anything for customers to talk about you and on the other, you might need to offer them incentives to do the same, in the middle of the spectrum, there are some customers that’ll spread the word with a small nudge. This nudge can be simply asking them to tell about you.
This is essentially referral marketing, but extremely subtle. You can do this during any point in the customer’s journey but the best time to do it is during one of the peak points. For example, you could thank them for trying your service, offer to help in any other way possible, and request them to direct their family, friends, or colleagues your way if they think you could help them.
4. Be Proactive
Every experienced business realizes that word-of-mouth marketing works both ways. Negative reviews spread just as fast as positive ones, if not faster. This is especially true for online review sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Thus, it’s important that you’re proactive towards the spread of word and not busy putting out fires all the time.
For negative reviews, make a note to always address them directly and attempt to rectify the issue as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to offer them their money back. To the numerous people who read these sites, you’ll come off as someone who’s at least trying to fix things. Don’t let positive reviews fly by your radar either; reward them or make them feel special in some way.
5. Simplify the Referral Process
You’ve used various methods like delivering remarkable customer experience, incentivizing spreading the word, giving them a nudge, and being proactive, but even your best efforts won’t bear fruit if the referral process is convoluted. Most customers who would want to refer your business would postpone the process and eventually forget all about it. Thus, you need to simplify the referral process by taking steps like handing out pre-printed referral cards when customers leave your store or emailing online referral links to your receipt and/or thank you emails.