If you are a movie buff, you probably know that a good low-budget film often depends on word-of-mouth publicity. The same holds true for any other business with limited marketing spend. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective and inexpensive tool for small business marketing. It is a tool to create awareness, promote your brand, push sales and retain your customers.
Friends and family are the most trustworthy sources of information for most customers. Recommendation from acquaintances instills confidence in buyers to go ahead with the purchase without worrying much about the quality of the product from a lesser known brand. Though small businesses can’t compete with their larger counterparts in terms of marketing spend, they can certainly standout in their niche through Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM). Let us take a look at how you can do just that.
Offer superior customer service
Customers like to be pampered. Go all out to show that you care for them. Dissatisfied customers or the ones who have had negative experience with your company will badmouth you at every given chance. Make sure their next experience is the best. Nurture long term relationship with your customers. Be available to them. Constantly ask for their feedback. Respect their opinions even if you don’t agree with some of them.
Target your influencers
Contact bloggers and experts in your field and ask them to review your product in exchange for a free sample. Identify your influencers using a targeted influencer marketing strategy. They don’t have to be people with a huge following, instead focus on their relevance to your brand.
Watch how Reckitt Benckiser planned a word of mouth campaign to promote Dettol use by distributing free samples to influencer moms in China and encouraged them to distribute to 10 others.
Be active on social media
Presence on social media is a necessity. You must explore all possible platforms where your customers reside to interact with them. If your target group is millennials, Instagram is a great platform to engage them. Share your stories, post product pictures, and ask for their opinions. Use Facebook to share interesting information about your products, something new in your field or even beyond. Use videos as much as you can.
Exceed customers’ expectations
Do you hear people saying the service was as per their expectation? This is the bare minimum they expect from you. If you are unable to do that, your reputation goes for a toss. To have your customers talk continuously about your brand, you must go out of your way and deliver above average customer experience.
For example, Pizza Hut uses a humanoid robot called Pepper to take orders in the restaurant. Small business marketers in every field are coming out with innovative ideas to bring a smile on their customer’s face. Think creatively and plan.
Run a live call center
Outsource live call center services and provide live chat, email and phone support to your customers. Live call centers co-ordinate in real-time with customers. For example, ecommerce giant Amazon calls customers instantly as soon as they request a call back while purchasing. All issues regarding the order are resolved instantly. Hewlett Packard technical desk executive takes hold of customer computer screen to fix the issue while customers are on call.
Be highly responsive to queries
In this digital era, customers run out of patience at the drop of a hat, especially dissatisfied customers. Respond as soon as possible when customers write to you over emails, live chat, social media or phone. If you run a Facebook page, you will know that Facebook rates your level of responsiveness. The “very responsive to messages” badge on your page shows your customers how quickly and consistently you reply to private messages.
Reward for referrals and tasks
Customers love to talk about your products if you give them incentive to do so. Start an automated referral program to give discounts for every friend they refer. The chain goes on and so does your publicity. You can even start a hashtag contest on social media and ask customers to do a task.
For example, High Society Freeride, an outdoor and sporting goods store engaged users through Instagram hashtag contest. Customers were asked to show things they love to do in the great outdoors using hashtag #OneLifeMakeItCount with a chance to win $100 gift certificate.
Small businesses don’t have the luxury of a large conglomerate that manipulate customers at times and even send curt responses. You have to be friendly and polite in every conversation you have with your customers. Please them at every interaction through personal greetings. Make their experience pleasant by thanking them for using your services. Give them respect and they will remember you and talk positive about you.
Keep in touch over emails, send coupons or offers
Customers have a short memory span. You have to remind them that you exist and you are there for them! Use content marketing strategy to focus on your customers’ interest and send relevant content through newsletters. Send coupon codes or offers. Alert them about new products or something new that concerns them. Maintain a human touch by addressing them by their first name, recalling their interests and make it easy for them to connect with you.
Small business marketers tend to use the competition argument when asked about their limited reach. Build a capacity to beat this argument by being an expert in your niche. Be a thought leader and express your opinions publicly through social media or with the help of journalists. Actively participate in events and seminars related to your field. Customers trust people with clear thoughts.
Let your customers do the talking
Superior customer service and customer experience are highly valuable in word of mouth marketing. Use social media to engage with visitors. Clear all their doubts by quickly responding to their queries.
Live call center support, targeting influencers, and rewarding customers are interesting ways to optimize your campaign. Bring these novel methods to practice and you’ll find customers talking about you in the best ways possible!