Have you ever received an amazing restaurant recommendation from a good friend? How likely were you to take it? According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers take recommendations from loved ones or peers over any other forms of advertising.
This kind of word-of-mouth marketing is a golden ticket to loyal customers. As McKinsey & Company summarised, “Word of mouth can prompt a consumer to consider a brand or product in a way that incremental advertising spending simply cannot.” Instead of pumping your resources into a targeted marketing campaign, foster powerful results with these 25 word-of-mouth marketing ideas:
1. Track Your Data
If your word-of-mouth marketing is not creating any buzz, there is probably a good reason. Dig into the data from your revenue stream to try to identify the gaps. There’s a chance you receive referrals, but poor customer service means you don’t keep them. Start with the numbers to assess the problem.
2. Know The Industry
Some industries are more likely to benefit from referrals than others. For example, 64% of people have recommended a restaurant while less than 10% have recommended a yoga instructor. Do research to identify the average referral rate for your industry and shoot for that goal.
3. Build A Strong Referral Program
Referral programmes vary in their strategy, but they all have the same intention: encourage customers to refer their friends. Start by offering a discount to loyal customers who refer your service or product.
Go out of your way to thank them, too! When these customers know how much of a positive impact word-of-mouth marketing has on your business, they’re much more likely to advocate for your brand.
4. Host Community Events
Top-notch businesses often host community events, giving their customers the opportunity to bring friends and neighbours. By engaging a bigger network, you encourage people to spread the word about your business.
5. Talk to Customers Every Day
When new Greek restaurant Saloniki opened this year, their manager made sure to walk around and check the satisfaction of their visitors. He spent a minute or two truly engaging with each customer, which added momentum to their word-of-mouth referrals.
6. Work With Bloggers
Local bloggers have incredible platforms to share thoughts about your business, and most loyal readers trust them like friends. To increase brand awareness and popularity among a certain group, reach out to bloggers with your target audience. Ask them if you can sponsor a blog post.
7. Pre-Release a Product or Service With a Select Group
Are you launching a new restaurant? Consider opening early for influencers in the community and potential customers. By leveraging exclusivity, business leaders increase the likelihood these people will share their experiences with others.
8. Create a Visual Brand
A visual brand is the face of a business website, brick-and-mortar store, and social media accounts. Work with a graphic designer to create a resonant visual brand that sticks in the mind of customers. It’s an essential piece of building a strong referral network.
9. practice Transparency
Customers appreciate — and stand behind — authenticity. Practising transparency means supporting your brand identity with real examples what sets your company apart on a day-to-day basis. Start with something simple, such as sharing the achievements of employees on social media.
10. Tell Your Origin Story
If people know how and why business leaders built their companies, they’re more likely to feel a strong emotional connection. Trigger a connection with customers by telling your brand story on the “about” page of a website alongside photos or interesting tidbits. These details spark extra involvement in the community.
11. Make Communication Personal
When Zappos’ customers need help, their team goes over the top to make a personal impact. Their CEO highlighted a surprising aspect of their success — they use the telephone. “As unsexy and low-tech as it may sound, the telephone is one of the best branding devices out there,” says Tony Hsieh.
12. Sell Your Swag
From branded t-shirts to notebooks, great swag can bring attention to your brand. Companies that give away or sell some of their branded products spark conversations out in the world.
13. Value Your Employees
Word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t just start with customers. It can also come from best employees. Treat team members well, and they are likely to encourage their friends and family to support the business and the job they love.
14. Address Criticism
Rather than turning a blind eye to criticism, the businesses meet each customer complaint with a receptivity and openness. Research shows that people are much likely to work with a company after a poor experience if they resolve the issue.
15. Highlight Customers
The tech company Grasshopper regularly features their clients on their blog. These customers are likely to return the favour by referring Grasshopper to their own network acquaintances. Mirror their technique by featuring the work and contributions of customers through your own platforms.
16. Talk About Your Business
Rather than trying not to mix business and personal life, use social events as a venue to tactfully spread the word about a company. These serendipitous personal connections add extra weight to word-of-mouth marketing.
17. Aim for Crowd-Sourced Content
Forward-thinking brands always encourage customers to share their experiences through crowd-sourced social media content. Develop hashtags and share their content — everyone loves to see their posts getting extra attention.
18. Carry Business Cards
Give your friends, family members, and any like-minded companies small stacks of business cards. Ask them to hand the cards out to anyone who would benefit from your product or service.
19. Boost Social Proof With Reviews
Creating more social proof increases the likelihood that people will go out on a limb and recommend your brand. To start, ask your loyal customers to write reviews of your business on Yelp and TripAdvisor.
20. Build Authority in Your Niche
Do you have opinions on industry topics or events? Share a unique perspective with consistent, and well-positioned blog posts. By blogging, business owners build authority in their industries.
21. Network, Network, Network
A lot of people shy away from business networking because of its association with forced relationships. But if businesspeople view these opportunities as prime moments to share your business’ mission, you can create authentic connections that drive word-of-mouth marketing.
22. Just Ask
Research conducted by Search Engine Land revealed that 16% of people will recommend your business if you ask them too. Although this number seems low, it can make a significant impact on your revenue stream with very little effort.
23. Develop Partnerships with Other Brands
Consider partnering with other brands to support each other’s word-of-mouth marketing. Make sure to choose businesses that expand your customer base in the right direction. Share ideas and develop a referral campaign that benefits both companies.
24. Change Your CTAs
Calls-to-action (CTAs) usually prompt customers to move through the sales funnel or make a purchase. Instead, some companies will ask them to refer a friend. ReferralCandy brought attention to a clear CTA from Premier Estates Wine, for example, which incentivises customers with gift cards.
25. Teach Classes
Let’s say that a business owner runs a chain local bakery. By teaching baking classes, he or she can bring attention to their business and transform brand awareness.
These 25 ways to boost your word-of-mouth marketing are only as good as the product or service. As a marketer, you can foster a conversation about a brand, but you can’t control what people say. To maximise impact, always bring it back to a business’ unique value proposition and ensure it’s in line with marketing messaging.