5 Tips for Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Most business owners know about word of mouth marketing. “How do I get people to talk about my product/brand/company?” is a common question we hear. Today we’ll look at five ways you can start and see some instant results in your marketing efforts.

1) Ask Your Customers the Hard Questions

These aren’t difficult questions, but sometimes the answers might be tough to hear.

  • Would you recommend us?
  • How likely would you be to recommend us on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest, 10 being the highest)?

If the answer is 9 or 10, you are doing a fantastic job and this customer is likely already talking about you very favorably. Between 7 or 8, and the customer is satisfied with you – until something better comes along. Anything lower and you are in danger of losing the customer. Find out why and rectify it!

(For more on this, check out Net Promoter Score.)

2) Nurture Your Evangelists

Find the people who are singing your praises from the rooftops. You now them: the enthusiasts who are gung-ho on everything you do or say, the ones who provide unsolicited advice yet seem to support you know matter what you do. Chances are they’ve already helped you with word-of-mouth marketing.

Make a point of asking them to refer you or provide written (or even better, video!) testimonials. Then share them!

Note: Keep your fans even closer by asking them why they love your business – they will provide key insights into strengths that you might not even know you had.

3) Find a Way To Blow Them Away (a.k.a. Do More of What You’re Great At)

You’re familiar with the idea of playing to your strengths. What are you great at? Customer service? Speedy delivery? Handling queries? No matter what it is, it’s a platform to blow your customers away with your awesomeness.

There’s a reason it works. By enhancing the skills/services you or your business are already proficient at, you stay efficient and get a better return on your time and energy than slogging away on something that a) you’re not very good at, b) makes you miserable, and c) might not make that much of a difference in the long run.

As a business, it’s definitely better to be awesome at something (and be not-so-great at another thing) than to be mediocre at everything!

4) Entice People by Giving Something Away

How better to find potential customers than to invite them to try your product? One practice that hasn’t changed over the last 50 years: in any supermarket you will still see someone cooking up and giving away samples – from cookies to pizza to everything in between.

More than ever, consumers are conscious of their dollar, but by giving away small quantities you can find new customers. If you can’t give away physical samples, try offering a risk-free trial period or even a prize giveaway. We utilize this at CityMax with our 10-day free trials, and last year our iPad contest drummed up some hype (pictures and comments here).

5) Create/Join a Community

While Twitter and Facebook are not for every business, there is a reason why they are catching fire. These channels allow for direct, real-time communication between businesses and customers (existing and potential) in a public forum. If you make a customer’s day, they will likely share it with their networks instantly. At the same time, if you provide poor customer service or have a rude interaction, rest assured it will spread 10x faster than ever before.

Find out where your target market lives online – is it an existing blog or forum? Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn and Quora are also excellent places to find existing and potential customers. Remember: the key to participating in a community is to provide value and relevant content, establishing your credibility as a business.

These are just a few ideas to start building buzz around your brand. What are your favorite methods to generate word-of-mouth around your business?