How to accelerate “word of mouth”

Vintage Women SecretsBy Mandy Marksteiner

Many business owners rely on “word of mouth.”

But that doesn’t mean you should sit with your hands folded and wait for people to say nice things about your business. There are several things that you can do to speed up the process. Read on for some inexpensive marketing tactics that build your reputation and encourage your customers to tell their about your services.

Let’s get started!

First, ask yourself: Who do I want to reach?

Do you ever worry that there are still people in town who have never heard of your business? Stop worrying, because you don’t need EVERYONE in town to know that you exist.  Identify the small group of people who will be your best customers. Direct all your energy to reaching those people.

 Talk to your ideal customer and exclude everyone else. For example:

  • Parents of toddlers are invited…
  • Are you going to prom this year?
  • Read this if you’re about to retire…
  • Do you own a stucco house?
  • This class is exclusively for experienced oil painters

This does three things. 1) It saves time and energy. 2) When you call out a specific type of customer in your ads, your press releases and your website, that ideal customer will know that they’ve come to the right place. 3) People who know someone who fits that description will be more likely to pass on the information.

Host an event where your customers will want to invite their friends

First thing, if your event is obviously a sales pitch, your customers won’t invite their friends because they don’t want to make their friends uncomfortable. When you plan your event ask yourself if it is truly fun or truly valuable.

 I’ve recently seen a couple good examples of events that would get people to talk:

A financial advisor invited me to a free seminar for women investors and dinner was included. Because she identified a target audience, and offered a free meal I quickly invited two friends. A local salon invited me (through their email newsletter) to a class where they teach you to put on eye makeup. It sounds like fun, and the entry fee can be used towards the purchase of their makeup. So I’ll probably invite a couple of friends.

Spotlight your clients’ success

One of my PR clients hires me write articles, but they are rarely about himself. He always asks me to write stories about the great things his customers are doing. That way, when the articles come out his customers share the stories on social media and people remember that my client gets great results.

Last summer I got my hair highlighted and cut by Chelsea Bartlett (who is now the owner of Vintage Hair Co). When she was done, she asked if she could take a picture and put it on Facebook. Since the haircut looked great, I happily agreed. Once the picture was up about at least 60 of my friends liked it and commented on it. It was a win-win because I got to show off my haircut and she got to show off her work.

If you help your customers look good, feel good, make more money or solve a problem, tell their story, not yours. Because potential customers are much more interested in what your customers have to say about you than they are about what you have to say about yourself.  If the potential customer is struggling with a similar problem, the customer success story will be very powerful.

Reward your customers when they give you a referral

Make a habit of thanking everyone who gives a referral or recommends you. You may not always know who gave a referral, but when you hear about it send a thank you note, give a discount, or provide a free service of some kind. When you say thank you for the referral, your customers will feel appreciated and be much more likely to do it again.

If you sell great products and provide excellent service, word will get out. But there are little things you can do to make it easier for your customers to pass it on. If you have any questions about building a referral system, give me a call at 505-515-7001 or send a note at email@mandymarksteiner.com.

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