According to a study carried out by American Express, the average consumer spreads the word about a positive brand experience to at least 15 people, and a negative brand experience to at least 24 people. Furthermore, studies have found that 70% of buyers trust recommendations from friends or acquaintances, but only 10% of people trust paid advertising.
Large businesses have an obvious advantage over small businesses when it comes to marketing budget size, but don’t let this deter you if you operate a small business. Small businesses are at an obvious advantage in that they can capitalise on word of mouth marketing – which doesn’t cost a penny. By offering your customers a positive experience, they’re guaranteed to speak positively about your brand to friends, relatives and acquaintances.
Here’s how to improve your chances of success with word of mouth marketing:
Encourage Customers to Share their Experiences
Tourism Australia is a fantastic example of a brand that deeply engages with its followers and encourages them to share their own experiences (which are then published on their Facebook page). London-based online retailer, Boticca, takes things one step further by publishing customers’ Instagram shots on the homepage of their website. This is a great way to get customers deeply involved and affiliated with the brand, encouraging followers to share and link to their personal photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. The images also act as testimonials for potential clients. This is a great way to organically spread the word about your business and more and more brands are adopting this strategy as they realise the value and potential this free marketing strategy possesses.
Offer incentives such as a money off coupon or a Buy One Get One Free voucher to every customer that refers a friend. Many businesses have adopted this strategy and have achieved a great deal of success from it, as everyone loves to receive a discount or free item. This often results in a chain reaction where the referred friend consequently refers a friend of their own, and so on.
Request a Referral
If a customer has voiced their satisfaction about your brand, don’t be afraid to ask them for a referral. As soon as a sale has been transacted, ask them to tell a friend about it, whether through a message featured on your physical receipts or within an email following an online sale. Since the transaction will be fresh in their minds, they will be more likely to oblige.
As you can see, word of mouth referrals are incredibly powerful. As a business, you need to take full advantage of them in order to increase traffic to your website, enhance leads and boost sales. Although there are plenty of other marketing strategies available for small businesses, word of mouth marketing is not only free of charge but also incredibly effective.
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