Everyone knows about word of mouth marketing. It’s the equivalent of playing a game of Telephone as a kid, in which you whisper something to another person, and they repeat that word to the next person, and so on. Usually, the word at the end turns out incredibly differently compared to the original word. In terms of word of mouth marketing, and depending on the business itself, things turn out very differently. Either the name of the business is raved about positively, encouraging others to check out the services or products, or negatively—and we all know how that looks.

Obviously, a business should be spoken about via word of mouth marketing positively; this will help garner success, especially on a local scale. You need to be an extraordinary business for this strategy to work, and you need to know how to encourage the strategy in a positive way overall. In order to do that, we have some tips for you. You may find them easier to do than you may have even realized!

A Few Pointers Before We Start

Just because word of mouth marketing is effective does not mean it should be your only marketing strategy. Like everything else, there are downsides as well as upsides to word of mouth. While we are going to focus on supporting the upsides most of all, it’s important to keep the downsides in mind as you’re implementing this strategy:

  • Or, in this case, lack thereof. Should a customer end up having a negative experience with your product or services, it’s very likely they will share their experience with others and there is no stopping them. Now that we have social media, there’s a bigger audience to vent towards!
  • Difficult result evaluation. Word of mouth marketing is incredibly difficult to measure compared to online and even traditional marketing methods. The reason is because word of mouth doesn’t take place within surveys, but rather during informal conversations. Unless you are directly involved with that conversation, it’s tough to figure out if business improvements came from word of mouth.
  • Word of mouth marketing may be the most effective marketing, but it is also the slowest kind. It takes a lot of time to see it in effect, especially if your business is brand new to your local community or a smaller one.
  • Potential for abuse. Some business owners view word of mouth as something so valuable, they will resort to creating fake identities and posting their own product reviews to generate conversations. This is a really good way to tarnish your reputation as a business owner and as a human being in general! The best word of mouth marketing comes from honesty and satisfaction, not trickery and deceit.

If you still consider word of mouth marketing to be of value to your business, you are determined to produce it positively, and you understand the downsides and want to continue forward anyway, then read on.

1: Be Credible

Credibility is a great asset to have as a business owner. To do that, you need to be able to possess the following traits (this will apply to you, your staff, and your business’s brand):

  • Honesty
  • Consistency
  • Emotion
  • Sincerity
  • Sensitivity
  • Objectivity
  • Knowledge
  • Confidence
  • Trust

Having all of this mind can not only solidify your brand but also add some credibility to the services or products you have to offer.

2: Be Engaged

Encouraging word of mouth must extend beyond real life conversations. It needs to be present online too, or you will not find the success in word of mouth you are looking for. Yes, this means you will need to have a website and social media in order to build the credibility we mentioned before.

Be active on all of the social media channels that seem to gather interest in your business the most. If you have something to say about a subject floating around related to your industry, respond to it with content (your choice—it could be a video, blog post, podcast, etc.).

Being engaged should extend to your local community as well. If there’s an event coming up you think you can support, reach out to the organizers and take part. Follow through with any contests you want to hold both offline and online (everyone loves a discount!). Promptly answer any comments left from your customers (even the negative ones); thank those who are loyal and apologize to those who feel wronged. The more you delay from responding, the less likely people will refer others to your business.

3: Be Friendly

Make it a point to always have your customers greeted with a friendly ‘hi’, especially if they’re regulars. Take the time to refer to your customers by their names if you know them. It only takes a few seconds of friendly smiling and a touch of small talk to help make people feel welcome in your business and like they’re dealing with friends, not just another business owner. Your staff (if you have any) should also do the same. Even if the customer is angry or rude, you and your staff should be respectful and friendly.

4: Be Thankful

This is an action that should be done at every turn for your customers. Say thanks whenever they leave a nice review, have the staff say thanks after the customer leaves, say thanks on the receipts they may receive, and say thanks in a handwritten card to new and returning customers. This will show people that you genuinely care about their well-being even after they no longer have need for your services.

5: Be Willing to Go the Extra Mile

If you’re proud of the product or services you offer, and so are your customers, show it! Ask them if they praise you if you can publicize their positive reviews on your website and social media. Keep in touch with them even after they have stopped being customers; you can do this by having them on your e-mail newsletter list. If you win an award or are talked about in your local news positively, show off your achievements both in real life and on your website. These are all good ways to add incentive to people to refer your business to others.

Basically, how you sell your business and what you sell should exceed their expectations of you. You can do this by bearing the following in mind: treat your customers how you would want to be treated. Odds are high that if you can’t stand your own product (and if not, why are you even a business owner?!), neither will your customers.

At the end of the day, word of mouth marketing is only one strategy to keep in mind. It may be cheaper than traditional marketing, but its downsides could spell bad news for your business! Online marketing is just as cheap as word of mouth, it spreads the good news about your business faster, and when combined with positive word of mouth marketing, the two strategies can accomplish great things. If that sounds exactly like what you want for your business, give us a call at V3 Media. We are also happy to offer one-on-one consultation regarding anything to do with marketing, whether offline or online!