If you’re looking to grow and develop your business, then having a marketing plan in place is essential. The best marketing plans combine a variety of strategies and media in the most effective way to reach your target market; things like targeted advertising, social media and PR.
But there is one powerful marketing tool that many people overlook when writing their marketing plans – word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most cost effective ways to get your name out there. It’s an easy tool to forget, because many assume that it’s entirely organic and without your control. But in actual fact, there are a number of things that you can do to cultivate word of mouth, and including these actions in your marketing plan will ensure that you are getting the maximum value from your existing network of contacts and clients.
So how does word of mouth work? Well it’s simple really: happy customers that love your products and services will naturally spread the word about your business to their friends, family and co-workers, thus creating more awareness of your brand and more customers for you!
The majority of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a recommendation from someone that they know, than traditional advertising. Why? Trust. We’ve all become a bit savvy to commercial adverts, feeling that the big companies behind them lack authenticity. A recommendation from a friend or contact is much more personal and more reliable as a genuine source of information about a product or service.
So, what can you do to encourage word of mouth? How do you generate contacts? How do you begin to get your name out there to individuals and companies? What can you do to encourage your clients to talk about your service or products?
Here are our top 3 tips for propagating word of mouth marketing for your business:
1. Join or participate in networking groups
Joining a networking group will help you to form and strengthen relationships with like-minded business people. Attending events regularly will give you the opportunity to tell other delegates about your business and swap contact details so that they can contact you directly or pass your details on to someone in their own network – you never know, they could become a regular referral partner!
2. Start a referral scheme for your customers
Happy customers will spread the word of their own accord, but to encourage this further you could offer them an incentive through a referral reward scheme. This is where you thank customers for making a recommendation with a small reward such as a gift voucher or discount off their next purchase. Just make sure you clearly define the terms and conditions of your scheme before you start.
3. Strengthen your relationship with your customers
It’s important to work on building a strong, personal relationship with your customers so that they feel compelled to spread the word about your brand. Using a CRM system to keep track of your communication and customer information (things that are unique to them, like their favourite product), will ensure that your customers feel well looked after, no matter which team member deals with them. Email newsletters and social media are also great ways to keep in touch without being too pushy, and keep everyone informed of your latest company news.
Word of mouth marketing is a very powerful tool – if you take the time to proactively encourage it, you will be amazed how many referrals you receive. Remember, above all, put your customers first and always try to go above and beyond their expectations 🙂