According to this study done by American Express, the average consumer tells 15 people about their good experiences and 24 people about their bad experiences. Yikes! Even more importantly, a recent report from Forrester said 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends but, only 10% trust advertising paid for by the company itself. The great thing for small businesses is that this presents a huge opportunity for word-of-mouth advertising that doesn’t actually cost you any money. By giving your customers a good experience, they’re going to tell people about you. Here’s how to help them help you:
Allow User Generated Content on Your Site
There was an article on Marketing Land last week discussing how Bottica, a fashion website, is now using customer submitted photos on their website’s homepage. They are essentially getting user-generated content that acts as a testimonial to potential customers, and it encourages their thousands upon thousands of Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook fans, to share/link to their personal photos. People love to see themselves on the homepage of a popular brand, and the idea is catching on with other websites as well. That’s a pretty solid strategy for link building as well as word-of-mouth marketing.
Be Present on Social Media
By its very nature, social media is the perfect channel for encouraging customers to discuss your business. One raving post could get their opinion in front of a person’s entire audience! Millennials are especially well-known for telling everyone about their likes and dislikes, including their family, close friends, classmates, colleagues, and beyond. The big catch here: you have to actually be present and authentic on the social media platform to fully reap all the benefits of being tagged and posted about.
Ask For it
There’s no shame in asking satisfied customers to tell their friends and family about their experience. Integrate these calls to action right at the point of sale so their good experience is fresh in their mind. For example, at the bottom of your receipts, invoices or other customer communications that follow a sale, you could ass a simple message such as “Did you love your experience with us? Tell a friend!”
It may be helpful to offer a specific incentive to those who help out your word-of-mouth marketing. Can you offer a discount, special pricing, or free item to both the person who recommends you and the person comes you to via the referral? Treating these Leads as valued individuals serves two goals. It reinforces to your customer that you appreciate the business and it continues to build on the trust that the prospect is already feeling due to a personal referral.
Word-of-mouth marketing is often considered the gold standard in Lead generation. For every Lead you can work to attract through great SEO and well-written content, a happy customer can effortlessly send you numerous referrals that become profitable customers for life. Yet many small business owners believe that word-of-mouth marketing is something that occurs by accident and can’t be encouraged. Not so! Be deliberate in your efforts and your word-of-mouth marketing will begin to increase, bringing you more potential customers that are ready to make a purchase than ever before.
Delighting customers into becoming evangelists for your brand is huge in the inbound marketing methodology. We go into this concept in more detail in our free eBook The Beginner’s Guide to Inbound Marketing. This book will walk you through and give you a roadmap for success, while touching on all parts of Inbound Marketing and help you set up a game plan. Download your copy today!