Word of mouth marketing has been around for as long as humans have been communicating. Now, instead of asking each other about the best spices to buy along a trade route, we go online for reviews of brunch spots and sneaker shops. The internet has made it easy for customers to share their good and bad experiences with their networks. For that reason, good word of mouth marketing is your most valuable tool for retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.
How do you ensure that your business has a positive reputation? Here are a few tips:
Reward loyal customers.
If you keep your existing customers happy, they will be great ambassadors for your business. Wow them by offering exclusive perks. For instance, offer loyalty cards, or send special promo discounts through an email newsletter or social media. In turn, they may reward you with testimonials to use on your website, which is powerhouse word of mouth marketing for your brand. Furthermore, provide an incentive for referring friends to your business — 67% of people report being more likely to purchase a product that a friend has recommended on social media.
Attract new customers.
Get to know your existing customer base — Square Analytics can help with this (and it’s free to use with your Square account). Then, go deeper and consider new ways to promote your business to new customers. Build social media accounts — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter — that make sense for your business. Post shareable content (think: infographics, photos, contest announcements and videos) to help expand your reach. You’ll also want to showcase your own profile through media reviews, local community events and direct interactions with customers. You may even opt to pay for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram adverts that target your desired market.
Be sure to read your reviews on sites like Yelp — and respond to any negative comments in a quick and sincere manner. Most people (88%) trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so you don’t want to miss out on this persuasive form of online word of mouth marketing.
Work with influencers.
Look for members of your community who have an opinion that matters. Depending on your industry, it could be a specific person, brand or group of people. Look online for social influencers. For example, if you own a coffee shop, get to know your local food bloggers, or if you own a clothing shop, make sure you’re engaging with fashion Instagrammers.
Some influencers work on a ‘pay to play’ basis and might expect payment for posting about your product or service. Others work on an ‘in-kind’ basis — payment in the form of goods or services you provide. And, fortunately, there are usually influencers out there who won’t expect anything in return. They’ll promote your business simply because they like it. Check out our guide to How to do your own PR for tips on working with media to gain the ultimate reputation.