I’m looking to buy but I’m just not sure. Consumers in this situation often turn to someone they trust for help. These word-of-mouth (WOM) interactions can have a significant impact on their purchase decision. In fact, 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. That’s why it’s important for businesses to understand and encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Here are some ideas to help others spread the word about your small business.
Why the Fuss?
Word-of-mouth buzz is what happens when a satisfied customer tells other people about your business. It can help build your reputation in the community. But it’s more than just branding. It adds to your bottom line. That’s because 20 to 50 percent of purchases are the result of a word-of-mouth recommendation.
Social media has fueled the power of WOM by making it much easier to spread the word about a business. People can tweet a message on Twitter or post a comment on Facebook to all of their contacts—instantly. Then, those individuals forward it on to the people in their network. Exponentially, the word spreads in a matter of minutes.
So want to increase sales? Create opportunities for others to share their experiences about your business.
How to Encourage WOM
Here are some ideas to help customers name-drop your business to others:
- Get Social – Get your customers to “like” your Facebook page, “follow you” on Twitter or “pin” you on Pinterest. Each of these gets the attention of their circle of friends. That creates visibility for your business. Some businesses offer a coupon to people who connect with them on one of these sites.
- Ramp Up Reviews – Consider adding a feature to your website where customers can post a review of a product they purchased or the service they received. Another option is to participate in sites like Yelp. Business can have a free page on this popular app and the public can post reviews.
- Offer Incentives – Give current customers an incentive to refer others to your business. For example, a restaurant might offer a two-for-one menu when customers bring in a friend to try out your eatery. A tax preparation business might pay a “finder’s fee” when they refer a new customer.
- Empower Employees – Give your staff the ability to offer unexpected service to regular customers. For example, a car wash attendant might offer free beverages to a customer who just picked up the kids from baseball practice and stopped to wash the car on the way home. It’s just the kind of event that gets mentioned on the customer’s Facebook page.
Word of mouth from your customers can be a powerful way to grow your small business. So put some “wow” into your WOM by encouraging your customers to name-drop your business when they talk to family and friends.