Word of mouth marketing is critical to a business – not only is it free advertising, but it is also among the most trusted recommendations a satisfied customer can make. Data shows that prospects trust product and service endorsements from people they know more than they trust and respect any other type of marketing.
According to web hosting company GoDaddy, 64% of business owners say word of mouth referrals are their main source of new customers. Why? People trust authentic reviews about a business more than that business’s outbound marketing efforts, such as digital ads, email promotions, and brochures.
Here’s how to set up a word-of-mouth marketing program at your business.
1. Offer outstanding customer service. Ensure accounts receive high-level service from the earliest steps, from initial brainstorming, through the ordering process, to final delivery and fulfillment. Encouraging satisfied customers to talk about you by word of mouth will be easier if they are satisfied with the service they have received.
2. Request a review. Ask satisfied customers for a testimonial about the service they received and request permission to include it on your website. Prospects who see you will be further encouraged to make a sale with you. Also ask customers to provide Google reviews and ratings on your Facebook page for additional social proof.
3. Provide hashtags. Advise customers to use a clever custom hashtag that refers to your business. When their products arrive, they can take a photo, post on social media, and reference your company’s work. This also gives you the opportunity to keep track of your social media footprint and discover who your happy customers are so you can continue to target them for future sales opportunities.
64% – The percentage of business owners who say word-of-mouth referrals are their number one source of new customers. (go daddy)
4. Surprise them. After a successful project, send thoughtful gifts for clients’ birthdays, work anniversaries, and even for their pets. They’ll appreciate receiving useful and fun items that they’ll love, and they’ll be flattered that you thought of them. Also, they may take to social media to say how much they appreciate your company, your work, and your kindness.
5. Offer a return component. Consider partnering with a local or national charity that is special to you and donate a percentage of the proceeds from promotional sales to benefit it. Customers will be happy to talk about your customer service and products, along with the cause you’re devoting time and energy to.
6. Create a sense of community. Submit a self-promotion that identifies customers as part of your “tribe.” It can be a t-shirt, tote bag, or drinking container with your logo on it, or even colorful stickers that are perfect for water bottles, notebooks, and laptops. Satisfied clients will be happy to discuss their experience with you and recommend your services to those who request it.