Why Word-of-Mouth Matters, and How to Encourage It
You can market your company through various print and digital advertising methods and successfully generate sales. But, doing so costs your company money, and it isn’t as persuasive as genuine social proof.
On the contrary, word-of-mouth is free, and is an extremely powerful thing. It increases your brand awareness and more often than not leads to an increase in sales - if that word-of-mouth is positive. That’s because word-of-mouth is:
- Pervasive: 83% of Americans have made a recommendation via word-of-mouth, and 55% make these recommendations on at least a monthly basis.
- Trustworthy: People are 90% more likely to trust and make a purchase from a brand recommended by a friend, and 92% of people believe these suggestions more than advertisements.
- Impactful: 50% of Americans would choose to go off of word-of-mouth recommendations if they had to pick only one source of information to use.
- Valued: 74% of individuals identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchase decisions.
You should be taking actions that encourage people to talk about your company to others.
How to Encourage Word of Mouth
Besides directly asking for your clients to spread the word about your business, there are a few other methods that you can utilize to encourage them to do so.
Provide Superior Customer Service
If you want your clients to spread the word, make sure that you are keeping them happy in terms of the service you provide them: 71% of people will recommend a business because of a great customer service experience they had. Work on going the extra mile to keep them happy.
Make it Easy for People to Review You
Online reviews can also be influential word-of-mouth pieces. So, make sure that is is easy for your clients to provide these reviews. Your website should have a place where people can submit testimonials to you, located in an easy-to-find place and utilizing a very short form. Make sure you promote that page through your marketing efforts. You can also collect reviews via email. Make sure your website has a page that features these testimonials you receive.
When you receive these reviews in places other than your website like on Facebook or through Google, be sure to respond to them. This is especially important when there is any sort of negative feedback within their message. By mediating negative situations through the comments of these reviews, it shows that your business actively works to improve itself, which lessens the impact that negative reviews can have.
Once you receive these reviews, you should be asking these individuals if you can use their words in your marketing efforts. While this isn’t a typical word-of-mouth showcase, it is still a powerful social proof.
Have a Referral Program
Consider creating a formalized referral program for your company that gives an incentive for people to recommend businesses in need of managed services to you. Once you have that program created, create a page for it on your website that outlines how your program works and includes a form for them to submit. You also need to promote your program to your clients by highlighting the benefits they will receive if they submit a referral to you.
Target Local Influencers
In your local area, there are probably certain business owners that have a lot of influence due to the number of connections they have throughout the community. It’s likely that these individuals are a part of your Chamber of Commerce and other local business organizations. If you aren’t already, become a member of these organizations and start to network with these individuals.
You can also work to target your more prominent clients as they might have connections with businesses nearby in the same industry. See if they would consider spreading the word if they are satisfied with the services they receive from you. You can also get them to participate in a case study or video testimonial, which you can then use in your marketing.
Get Involved with the Community
Outside of your local business organizations, consider participating in or sponsoring festivities in the area. For example, have your employees march in your town’s Memorial Day parade with a banner. You could even hand out small branded items while marching for added effect. Or, you could sponsor a community festival, carnival, or other event. Often, these events will accept multiple sponsors so you won’t have to forfeit too large of a monetary sum to do this. You can even sponsor local sports teams. Having your company’s logo on a community event or team t-shirt shows that you care about community well-being.
While this sort of involvement may not showcase your company’s service offerings and expertise, it can be successful in increasing brand awareness and generating positive emotions about your brand. This is good: brands that inspire a higher emotional intensity receive 3x’s more word-of-mouth than less emotionally-connected brands.
It’s Time to Get People Talking
It’s time to get started working on generating positive word-of-mouth about your business. If you would like further suggestions on going about this, reach out to us for help.