Word-of-mouth: We know what it is, and we know it’s recognized as one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. But how do we generate it?
Contrary to common assumptions, great word-of-mouth isn’t exactly free. The best kind happens not randomly, but by design and with structure. It will take some planning on your part to get the most out of this type of “campaign.” So then, how do we develop strong word-of-mouth marketing?
Here’s how to set yourself up to generate successful (i.e. positive) word-of-mouth…
1. Serve more than just your customers.
Surprisingly, great customer service does not necessarily result in great word-of-mouth. As crucial as happy customers are for generating active and ongoing word-of-mouth, they’re not a one-and-done solution for increasing your volume of leads and sales.
Unfortunately, people are simply more likely to talk about your brand when they have something negative to say than when they’re pleased with their experience. Even fantastic, memorable service can mitigate negative comments, but doesn’t cultivate positive ones.
There is, however, a large group of potential word-of-mouth generators to consider and keep happy: vendors, creditors, lenders, the guy who stocks the vending machine, your internet service rep… the list goes on. While high-quality products or service may lead to prolonged business with existing customers, integrity and attentiveness during every interaction will serve you immensely across the board. Remember, you are a direct reflection of your business!
2. Start internally.
Establishing an internal company culture that is positive and supportive is another good way to prevent negativity from being unintentionally spread within or outside of your company.
Attitudes are contagious, so cultivating a happy work environment where your team members feel encouraged and valued will speak volumes about the way you do business. While you can’t control potentially negative outside factors like industry climate, the economy, or your competition, you can control how you respond to those things and lead your team well through challenges to generate positive word-of-mouth.
3. Foster outward growth.
First, acknowledge the value of “free” advertising that word-of-mouth brings. But also embrace and pursue the massive impact of networking. Being active and connecting with others on LinkedIn is a good practice, but it’s not enough. Investing time and effort into your network is essential to developing the word-of-mouth you’re hoping for.
Focus on diversifying your network, making stronger connections within your industry, and checking in with your existing contacts. Not only will being part of a powerful network help you personally, it can also help you reel in more referrals through word-of-mouth.
4. Incentivize the chatter.
People want the security of choosing a business that others already recommend, rather than taking a risk solely based on advertisements. Customers who come to you by referral will typically trust you more from the get-go, making it easier to close and grow those accounts.
Incentivizing people who refer your business can help spread the message that you’re looking to grow and willing to invest in new relationships. Inexpensive incentives could include free estimates, additional products at no extra cost, free consultations, a discount on a customer’s next order, or even free swag or gift cards. The more memorable and unique the incentive, the better… So don’t be afraid to get creative! Just make sure that your incentives align with your industry and audience.
5. Celebrate the compliments.
Take advantage of user-generated content. If your customers are posting pictures of your product or the results of your service, leaving good reviews, tagging you in posts, mentioning you in their content… give ‘em some positive reinforcement! They’ve put in the time to make your name known. So give them a shout-out, respond to their feedback, repost their picture, share their kind words on your own platforms. It matters.
After implementing these 5 foundations for generating word-of-mouth, you’ll be well on your way to making this “free” form of marketing all it can be for your business. The only thing you stand to lose is time. That’s where we come in!
Let us serve as an extension of your internal team to manage and enhance your brand’s reputation. After decades of doing it for other brands, we know exactly what it takes to improve your customer experience and help generate positive word-of-mouth. Start the conversation today to see how we can help your brand thrive!
Our decades of experience in full-service marketing has generated continued growth for hundreds of brands across all industries. From research and strategy to design and development, Asen’s here to help you thrive.