Small businesses do not have the enormous marketing resources of large businesses. Then how will they compete effectively in the market? The answer is word of mouth marketing, a potent tool for attracting new customers.
We look at ways to get word of mouth publicity.
- Goal setting – Set concrete and tangible goals for word of mouth. Vague goals should be avoided. The key is to set measurable goals, this way you will be clear on what you have to do.
- Rewards System – Have a system in place for generating referrals. Offer bonuses, freebies and discounts to customers who refer other customers.
- Special deals – Give new customers bargains, special offers so they are attracted to try your business. News of such incentives spreads fast.
- Harness the power of media – Leverage public relations to promote your business. This should be a continuous process so that your business remains in the public eye. Develop good relationships with local journalists, bloggers and update them with your business’s achievements and future plans.
- Provide superior products and services – Customers will recommend you only if they are happy about your product/service. You should meet and surpass customer expectations portrayed by your ads and sales pitch. Note that word of mouth can be either positive or negative.
- Exemplary customer service – Treat existing and prospective customers the way you would like to be treated yourself. Smile at customers. Be courteous. Answer all their questions with patience. Don’t keep customers waiting. Attend their calls. Keep them in the loop regarding changes or delays.
- Supply the right marketing tools to customers – These could be newsletters having useful content, branded t-shirts, brochures, souvenirs and more. So customers are well equipped to spread the good word about your business.
- Identify influencers – There are people with excellent reputation and have a large network. Connect with them and request support. You need to convince them so they can spread the good points of your business with conviction.
- Mutual referrals – If you refer other firms they will refer you in return. This way you mutually benefit and grow.
People trust other people’s opinion and feedback rather than big and costly marketing campaigns. Word of mouth publicity is free and one of the best ways to attract and keep customers.