Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth describes the information that is passed orally from person to person in an informal manner, information that is transmitted without being written down. Word of mouth may refer to an oral tradition of storytelling, but today it is mostly used to describe informal advertising.

Word-of-mouth advertising is important for every business, as each happy customer can steer dozens of new ones your way. And it’s one of the most credible forms of advertising because a person puts their reputation on the line every time they make a recommendation and that person has nothing to gain but the appreciation of those who are listening. What are you doing to make sure your potential ambassadors feel confident enough in your business to recommend it? What are you doing to trigger word-of-mouth?
Most of us would love to have more word-of-mouth marketing, but we aren’t sure how to get it. We assume that it’s entirely an organic process that happens on its own.
This does – and will – happen for you if you do a great job. But there are things you can do to encourage word of mouth. You can’t grow a Maize plant yourself, but you can water it, fertilize it, and make sure it gets enough sun.
Let’s talk about how.
Here are some tips to drive word-of-mouth marketing for your own business.

Focus on Delivering an Incredible Customer Experience.

Every day, your customers are having average experiences at the local store, bank, motor park etc. subconsciously their mind is searching out for exceptional service.
You can deliver this—if you’re willing to make the customer experience foundational in your business. A great product or service is necessary, but not sufficient. But when you pair a great product with a great experience? That gets people talking.
A lot of us stop at giving our customers their money’s worth. We can push beyond that. Analyze every aspect of your interactions. Are customers greeted by smiling employees in a comfortable (and spotless) store? Is doing business with you convenient? Does it make people feel special?
The little things matter. In a popular eatery on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, I am always greeted with smiling faces when I walk through the door up until I take my seat and even after my meal. In addition to the excellent reception, those little friendly gestures make a lot of difference and I have not ceased to recommend them to friends who visit or want to visit Lagos.
Don’t know how to improve your customer experience?
That’s okay; just ask. 
Collecting feedback as a regular part of your process will make customers feel valued. It will offer insights you never would have thought of on your own.
Imagine sending a handwritten thank-you note to a new customer. She sees it in the mail when she gets home from work. And when her friend comes over for dinner, she spots it on the kitchen table. They get talking and voila. That’s the power of word of mouth.

Ask!

For some, it is only natural they tell others about your business depending on how well their experience with you was. But for a select few, they would need a tad bit of encouragement to do so.
All it takes is to ask.
I once bought a shoe at a local store in Akure, Ondo State. The store owner was so friendly and the compliments he threw from left to right as I browsed for the shoe I would finally buy cemented my customer journey. 
When I had settled payment, he quickly urged me to tell my friends about him and I did. 
This is technically referral marketing, a subset of word of mouth. But it’s amazing how many small businesses forget to do this.
There are different approaches to this, but I would personally recommend doing it when the experience is rather fresh in your customer’s mind
So why not give it a try?
The worst thing someone can do is say “no.”

 Use Valuable Incentives to Get Customers Talking.

Some customers will tell their network about you on their own. Even more, will do it once you ask. But if you really want to get your word of mouth going, offer a valuable incentive to spread the word.
An incentive shows customers just how much you appreciate their recommendation. It shows that you put in the deliberate effort and thought into appreciating them. A heartfelt thank you would do, but just imagine if you did a bit more.
What you choose for your incentive is only limited by your imagination. Some of the more popular ones are:
  • Cash
  • Discounts on future business (for the advocate, new referral, or both)
  • Exclusive access to upgrades or new products
  • Gift cards (even if they aren’t meant for your business)
  • Store credit
  • Swag (t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, USB drives, etc.)
These incentives require your time, money, or both. But they are some of the best investments you can make because of the incredible power of word-of-mouth marketing. Remember, the people who receive the referrals are much more likely to buy because they already know and trust their referral source.

Create a referral program, then streamline it. 

 If you can, take it a step further by creating formal referral programs. It makes spreading the word easy and quick, measures the results of your campaigns and makes it worthwhile for both parties with an incentive attached.
 
 By making the referral process as simple as possible. And capitalizing while you’re still top of mind before they get overwhelmed and forget about you.
One way that can work is to pre-print referral cards and give them to customers when they leave your store. Wii Technologies, a tech company in Akure, Ondo State is one example. When they deliver their products and offer their services a pre-printed card is always attached to the product delivered. It makes the referral process quite easy because all the details necessary for a continuous customer journey is provided.

Give your customers something to talk about.

We live in a time of extraordinary innovation. New virtual communities and marketing channels pop up all the time, and we can drive ourselves crazy trying to keep up with every one of them.
Plenty of those channels can work well. But we can’t afford to overlook the oldest strategy in the small business marketing playbook: word of mouth.
At the end of the day, the easiest way to generate word of mouth marketing in this digital age is to offer unique jaw-dropping experience.
Give your customers an experience that they can not get anywhere else.
 


Leave a Reply