The Best Word Of Mouth Strategy For Small Business Marketing
We all know that word of mouth (WOM) is the best advertising there is. According to Nielsen’s April 2012 Global Trust in Advertising report, 92% of consumers worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than any form of advertising. Despite the fact that we all know this to be true, I find that the vast majority of businesses that I consult have no word of mouth strategy as part of their small business marketing mix. This additional chart from the Kelly Fay Group gives additional statistical proof to the power of WOM.
I strongly urge any small & medium business owner, that as part of any social media marketing strategy, that one develops the foundation of word of mouth marketing as well. Let me dispel the first major misconception about word of mouth marketing: It happens on its own. The fact is that we now live in a hybrid world where social media can propel word of mouth life never before. As many online marketing pundits have pointed out, such as New York Times best-selling author, David Meerman Scott, the playing field has been leveled and your small/medium business has a better shot of gaining crucial exposure like never before. But this does not occur spontaneously.
Where To Begin
I have found that before we get into the mechanics, we need to address your mind-set. You will need to detox your “marketing mind” of all the past and false sales advice. Most marketing failure comes from non-comprehension of its basics. Marketing as an art/science is loaded with misunderstood terms, as well as false conclusions and advice. As a result, the business world experiences epic fail. This is true in any field of endeavor, but particularly in the field of marketing. In its place, most business people then resort to economic measures to cut back on marketing expenses as a solution. This is a deadly trap as only effective marketing can generate needed sales. With so many experiences of poor marketing performance, who can blame them for cutting back on their marketing budget.
The Answer Is To Seek & Learn Proven Methods
I know, but where are the proven answers? To whom do I turn to without getting the typical Marketing Guru or Marketing Ninja? Well, start reading and start connecting with those who have proven successful – statistically. They do exist, but you will not see them if you let your “marketing mind” stay intoxicated in losses, false information and confusion. Seek and ye shall find!
Three Affordable WOM Methods I Know That Work
1. Asking. I know of over 90 ways to ask for referrals, of which most businesses perform maybe 2 to 5 of these methods. Case Study: In a past organization I worked for we put in a very strong referral marketing program. We called and asked existing members if they knew of anyone else that would benefit from our services. In fact, I did nothing else as my job description. Within less than a year, new sales from referrals almost tripled.
2. Email marketing. Still out-performs social media in terms of ROI. Most businesses do not collect emails of clients into a database and consistently send specials, unique offerings, news, etc. Now with services like ConstantContact and MailChimp, you can make your emails aesthetic, effective and full of share options with social media buttons.
Case Study: I had my favorite coffee house start collecting the emails of their existing clients after being in business for 7 years. They started emailing once to twice a week and sales are now up 15% within 6 months with no other consistent marketing actions taking place. People are now spreading the word for them, as well as being reminded to come back.
3. Social Media. LinkedIn is for the B2B crowd. LinkedIn is great for making connections and sharing your information and industry knowledge to your connections. Facebook and Twitter are better suited for the B2C crowd. Build the followers and then engage them by holding contests, giving offers and otherwise make it engaging and internet. Case Study: Within one week of being active on LinkedIn, I contacted an old friend who had changed firms. We connected and I told him about my company. Within a week, we set an appointment and I him for a very large marketing consulting program. Moreover, he immediately gave me a referral for personal friend of his for a similarly priced marketing program. One week on LinkedIn and I will bank over $20,000 in sales this year. Not a bad week! And I just keep going still, week after week.
There is no need to sit wondering how to get your WOM marketing off the ground. Get educated, get active and connect with those who have demonstrated success with the methods I have shared with you today.