Let’s face it, marketing your business can get expensive. There’s always something that you can spend money on, whether it’s fliers to hand out or Facebook adverts. By contrast, getting your name out there by word of mouth is completely free.
But how do you do it? After all, you can’t force people to recommend you. The good news is, there are steps you can take to make it more likely. Here are just a few…
Why does word of mouth matter?
We all love free advertising. But if people hear about you by word of mouth, there’s an added benefit. There’s absolutely no obligation on anyone to recommend your product or services, even if they’ve worked with you. In fact, people are much more likely to share a bad experience than a good one. That’s why a recommendation is so powerful. People are much more likely to trust their friends’ opinions. It’s why Facebook has those little pop ups that tell you what your friends like.
Of course, a recommendation might also show that you have friends who support your business, but that’s wonderful in itself. For every friend who supports me I can guarantee that there’s one who thinks I have it easy because I ‘work from home’ so can do whatever I want. I expect you’ve had the same.
How do you describe what you do?
If you want to encourage people to talk about your business you need to make it easy for them. Some businesses lend themselves to this really well. If a friend was looking for a florist, cake maker or cleaner I could just give them some names. They provide a service that does what it says on the tin. The only variation is if they specialise in something in particular.
What if your business isn’t so clear cut? Then you need to think about how you describe yourself. Think of it as a 30 second pitch. I help businesses to find new customers by telling their story through blogs, newsletters and their website. Simple, but it’s taken me two years to get it that way. Think about how you can condense what you do into a single phrase so that other people can use it too.
Build your network
I know that the idea of networking makes some of you cringe. You’d rather hide under a rock. Unfortunately, if you want to be found you need to be out in the daylight. The more people know about you, the further word of mouth will spread.
There are some networking organisations that insist on members making a certain number of referrals. I know people who really love working that way. It’s worth investigating if you think it might be for you. Personally, I prefer a different approach.
I don’t like recommending people just because we’re in the same group. When I recommend someone it’s because I know they’re good at what they do. That could be because I’ve used them myself or just because I know them. I recommended a childminder before I’d used her myself because I’d been around her with children and knew she had the right skills.
How do you encourage your customers to spread the word about your business? Leave a comment and let me know!
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Try these great strategies from Inbound to encourage word of mouth sharing online.
Of course, you could consider offering an incentive.