The right marketing and advertising campaign can garner results, but even today – or especially today – nothing beats word of mouth for generating customer interest and instilling trust in your product or service. Traditional word-of-mouth marketing grew out of individual relationships and spreading the word one person at a time, but using social media, businesses can expand this effort a thousand-fold and bring in customers far beyond their immediate geographic region.
Keep these tips in mind as you plot out a word-of-mouth marketing campaign:
1. Offer something worth talking about. People won’t get on the referral bandwagon if your product or service doesn’t excite them in some way. How does your offering improve a customer’s quality of life? Is it groundbreaking or innovative in some way? What is there about it that’s likely to get people talking?
2. Feature testimonials on your website. Research continues to show that consumers routinely check out online reviews before making a decision to buy. Getting customers to favorably review your business on Yelp and other third-party sites is great, but what about highlighting a glowing customer testimonial on your own site as well?
Remember, people most frequently conduct online searches by typing in “name of a business plus reviews.” Keeping a fresh stream of testimonials on your site boosts your company’s search rankings and increases the odds that people will come upon favorable reviews first. (One additional tip: Wherever possible, add a photograph to a person’s review. This helps build confidence among prospective customers that people hyping your business mean what they say.)
3. Ask for referrals. Many businesses still neglect to ask for referrals from their satisfied customers. Take every opportunity to solicit the names of friends and colleagues whom your customers think might benefit from your product or service. Add a “referral button” on your site. Consider rewarding people who provide successful referrals by offering them discounts on future sales.
4. Make it easy for people to share their reviews. When you receive an enthusiastic review, don’t be shy about sharing it across different social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). Include widgets on your site so people can easily share those reviews with others in their networks.
5. Create online groups and pages. On your Facebook business page, prominently display news about your company and customer testimonials as they come in. Other sites like Tumblr and Instagram also present opportunities to get the word out. If one doesn’t exist already, create a LinkedIn group for people interested in your offering and invite them to share related questions and opinions. This establishes trust, which leads to favorable recommendations down the road.
6. Seek out influencers. There are people in every field who influence consumer behavior and help form opinions about where and what to buy. Find a group of influencers in your business and invite them to test your product. Favorable testimonials from key individuals are invaluable and should be shared with the world.
A focus on word-of-mouth marketing can produce significant ROI. When your product or service generates positive reviews, make sure everyone knows about them. These days, there are plenty of ways to get the word out.
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