Word of mouth is still king
Word of mouth is still king
Word of mouth advertising is one of the oldest forms. Simply put, it is the means of one person telling another person something about your business. It has always been one of the most powerful tools to have as an advertising medium. Ask yourself, are you more interested in listening to what a commercial has to say or what your best friend has to say? Who is more believable?
As a business, part of your advertising plan should focus on word of mouth advertising. OF course, it is important to point out that today; word of mouth advertising is not just one person telling another of a product, as in one woman telling another woman about a product they love. Rather, there are many online and off line methods for delivering a word of mouth experience.
In this chapter, we focus on a few methods of advertising that can help you to pull out those recommendations that you want to get from others. How can you get recommendations and referrals from the customers you already have or the ones that you will be getting?
Focus On Customer Service
The first and most important element of advertising is not spoiling the business that you have. Each customer that comes into your doors needs to be a customer treated as if they are the most important customer for the business. Although this may seem difficult to do, it is all about delivering a quality service and smiling.
Customer service is important to business success. If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, you tell your family and friends about it, and stop them from going there. Not only does the business lose your business but that of your family and friends, too. What you want to create, on the other hand, is an atmosphere in which the words being passed on are top quality recommendations to visit your establishment.
If you are not sure what you can do to improve your customer service, go right to the source: your customer. Find out from them what you can do to improve your overall experience.
If your business is a locally based one, as opposed to one that is Internet based, focus on local offers that can help bring in customers. For example, a customer comes in to your hair salon. You know they had a great experience and so you offer them a discount card and one for their friend. If they pass on the card, you have an opportunity for them to tell the potentially new customer about your salon. This is easy advertising!
Be Active In the Community
Another way to generate more word of mouth advertising is to let others know about your business by allowing them to get to know you. Be an active role player in the community. Churches, community organizations as well as government offices are great ways for you to grow your local popularity. Introduce yourself to your customers. Shake their hand. Be present in your place of business.
Sponsor Local Activities
It does not have to cost you much to sponsor a group of local baseball players or to buy the t-shirt uniforms for the school’s soccer team. It does not cost you anything to host a fundraiser for a local person who is ill where you donate your profits. However, these types of actions get your name in front of the masses. They are all instances that you can show that your business is the business in town to be involved.
Ask for the Recommendation
Unbelievably, one of the best ways for you to get the customers to respond to you is to ask for a recommendation. For example, you have saved someone $250 off his or her car repair bill. That is nothing to be shy about. As the customer is happily paying their now discounted bill, you can easily say to them that you are looking for new clients. Would they please recommend your service to their friends and family?
When you ask for business, even if it is simply by asking for a group of customers to come back again, you allow those customers to feel welcome within your business. More so, they are happy to tell others about their experience, especially when asked to do so.
Here are a few more, short and easy ideas for building up your business through word of mouth advertising.
Ask Customers to Complain
Did you know that most customers who have a bad experience never report that experience to the business? However, they do tell family and friends about it, or even worse, they get online and start talking about it. Ask customers to tell you of the problems they have with your business.
Keep the Promises You Make
As a business owner, if you promise to do something for a customer, you had better do it. The negative word of mouth advertising this will cause is enough to cause any business to struggle significantly. However, when you do keep your promises, customers will respond to that as well.
Do More Than The Minimum
Next, work on going over the expectations of your clients. You do not want to do the bare minimum or to get the basic level of acceptance. Rather, you want to focus on beating their expectations so that your business can flourish when they come back repeatedly so you can take advantage of what you have to offer.
Satisfy the Unhappy Customer
The customer is never wrong, even when you know they are wrong. It happens within every business. A misunderstanding leads to a confrontation. You do not want to stand down or to lose business. How do you handle the angry, unhappy customer? Do what you can to satisfy them. In fact, many studies show that when an unhappy customer is satisfied, they become a lifetime customer of the business, simply because the business listened to them and fixed the problem.
As for Repeat Business Later, Too
At first, you may ask for a customer’s repeat business when they are leaving your establishment or even through your invoice online. However, in a week or so, give them a call. Send them an email. Send them some mail. Ask them to come on back to experience what you have to offer again.
Look Them In The Eye
When you are working with customers hand in hand, shake their hand, look them in the eye and let them know how important they are to you. This establishes a bond of trust and it helps to develop customer loyalty. Reach out, ask for their business and thank them for visiting you. This will make a difference.
As you will notice, virtually all of these word of mouth advertising methods are free or inexpensive. They make sense. They should be part of your advertising plan without fail. If they are not, add them in to the mix to ensure that your business has the foundation it needs to excel in 2016.