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Grow Your Business with Word-of-Mouth Marketing

March 12th 2022

Fifty percent of Americans would choose word-of-mouth, meaning recommendations from family and friends, if they had to choose one source of information regarding a potential purchase. That’s the power of word-of-mouth marketing, which is based on trust and credibility. In fact, 41% of Americans trust word-of-mouth recommendations over social media suggestions. Yet, surprisingly, only 33% of online businesses use word-of-mouth marketing. 

So how can you grow your business through word-of-mouth? By taking steps to exceed your customers’ expectations on all fronts. 

3 Steps to Encouraging Word-of-Mouth

Although word-of-mouth is hard to control, you can certainly increase the odds of generating positive recommendations by doing the following:

1.Focus on superior customer service

Word-of-mouth marketing involves getting people to talk about your business, and the very best way to encourage positive word-of-mouth is by blowing them away in terms of the quality of the overall experience of doing business with you. That means providing an aesthetically pleasing environment, whether you’re in an office that provides tax accounting services or a nail salon. Try to take your customers’ breath away as soon as they step into your business space, through how it looks, feels, and smells.

After making a great first impression, provide excellent service. That includes exceeding expectations on all fronts. If you’re a housecleaner, you might do a top-quality job of actually cleaning and disinfecting, and then also leave behind a batch of homemade cookies for customers. If you run a restaurant, maybe you make a point of learning your customers’ names after their very first visit, so you can greet them when they return and immediately serve their preferred beverage. Or if you’re a freelance writer, in addition to delivering the article you were assigned on time, maybe you also deliver some suggested Twitter or Instagram copy for your customer to use in conjunction with the article.

And if there is a problem at some point, correct it quickly and go overboard in making it right for your customer. For example, if someone buys a product at your retail shop and it breaks on the first washing, don’t just offer to replace it—replace it for free and then offer a credit on a future purchase. By going above-and-beyond, you’ll give your customer a reason to rave about the terrific service they received at your store, rather than ranting about their disappointment. The more you do to please them, the higher your chances of eliciting a positive response and recommendation.

Delighting your customers is an essential first step. Because if your clients are happy with what you’ve done for them, they are much more likely to want to tell all their friends and neighbors about what it was like to do business with you.

That’s positive word-of-mouth in action.

2.Ask for positive reviews

Although generating positive chatter about your business may be foremost in your mind, it is probably not in your customers’. Many people want to be supportive of businesses they like, but may need prompting, or instruction, regarding how, exactly, they can do that.

So, tell them.

Request that they:

  • Write a positive Yelp review
  • Write a positive Google review
  • Respond with a positive recommendation when people ask for them on NextDoor
  • Share a photo and review on Instagram
  • Comment online when others ask for recommendations or opinions
  • Mention it to friends who are looking for guidance on Facebook
  • Give a five-star rating on Amazon or whatever platform you sell on
  • Offer a testimonial you can use in your marketing materials, or online

Let them know that in addition to their continued patronage, telling their network about your company is nearly as valuable.

  1. Build a community

Since 71% of consumers tend to buy based on social media referrals, bringing people together in an online community can encourage them to buy more from you. The good news is that setting up a free Facebook group is easy, and creates a way for your fans to connect.

Inviting customers and prospects to join your free community provides an effective way to engage with them. You can share information about the business, announce new policies, new products and services, new employees, as well as good news and customer stories.

Within your group, you can provide tips for the best ways to use your product, when your service might be most needed, or how to care for purchases. You can ask for feedback on new product ideas, branding designs, or upcoming events. You can also host online presentations or webinars, sponsor contests and giveaways, and spark discussions that would be of interest to your tribe. The more frequently they return to your group for content, the more positively they’ll feel about your company. That’s the value of word-of-mouth.

And because word-of-mouth is 10 times as effective as traditional advertising, says Professor Jonah Berber, author of the bestseller Contagious, you might consider reallocating some of your marketing budget to improve and enhance your customers’ experience of doing business with you.

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