Small businesses often find it hard to compete with larger companies when it comes to raw marketing power. However, instead of simply copying what the industry leaders are doing, you can adopt a different approach. Thankfully, many strategies are better suited to your budget and resources. Today, we will be looking at seven different word-of-mouth marketing strategies for small businesses that you can implement immediately.
- Give customers something to talk about
There’s no other way to say this, but if you want people to talk about your business – your products and services need to be exceptional. You need to provide a fantastic customer experience and offer extensive support. At Welcome Wagon, we believe that quality speaks for itself and that you should let your customers feel appreciated from their first interaction with you. Without a quality product, no amount of marketing will help you get return business from your customers. Therefore, our suggestion is to make sure you improve your basic products and everyday customer interactions. Only then should you start thinking about investing more in various marketing campaigns.
- Improve your visibility
You will also need to get the ball rolling if you want to achieve any sort of online recognition. Even with the best word-of-mouth marketing strategies, you’ll want to make it easy for people to find you. There isn’t much point in word of mouth without good online visibility. You can set up online profiles for your small business on multiple platforms. However, often overlooked forms of advertising are business directories. Getting in the right directory can make your company a recognizable household name. When someone mentions your business, that should ideally ring a bell, and people should know who you are.
Another way to boost visibility in online spaces is to claim your Google Business profile. Many online tools are available, but Google’s own listing can get you on the map pack and bring up your rank on local searches. You should also check if there are industry-specific listings or online forums. Make a presence there and start connecting with your audience.
- Focus on your area and attract local customers
An essential part of any marketing campaign is defining your target demographic. Of course, there are many ways to segment your audience, but we recommend that you focus on your area for word-of-mouth marketing strategies for small businesses. Forget about the broad, international market and put all your effort into attracting local customers. If you plan to run any online ads, be very specific about the location settings. If you cast a wide radius, some of that advertising could be lost on users who will not purchase from your business.
This can be especially important for service-based businesses whose customers are typically locals. Would you go across town if a suitable alternative was available in your neighborhood if you need a service? For this reason, it makes more sense to sponsor a local community event than it does to pay for an expensive nationwide TV ad.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews
Progress is unstoppable, and the Internet of Things has seeped into every facet of society. Nowadays, word of mouth doesn’t necessarily need to be face to face. Most people can’t even be bothered asking their friends for a recommendation. Why would they, when it’s so much more convenient to pick up your smartphone and do a quick search? Realistically, folks still want to get a recommendation, except now they turn to online reviews and customer testimonials.
Since that’s the case, you should make it easy for users to leave reviews. Give your users a URL for Google reviews, or send them a link to the platforms you are using. We suggest that you don’t directly reward or compensate customers for reviews. That may go against the terms of service of various platforms. However, you can kindly ask your users to give you a review if they are satisfied with the service you provided.
- Foster communication
If you want to have people talking about you, you might as well start the conversation. Invite your users to leave comments, respond to them and strive to have an advice discussion about your business. Comments are a great form of user engagement that can boost your SEO. The best place to have this kind of user communication is on social networks. Social media marketing has become huge, and small businesses can easily find their niche. There are even specialized micro-influencers who cater to all sorts of interests. You should have no problem finding someone whose audience overlaps with your target demographic.
- Have personalized merchandise or gifts
An innovative way to win over the sympathies of your audience is to have a gift book or other physically printed product for your brand. People usually attribute this form of promotion to large businesses, and they are generally more receptive to small, local businesses. Most people can scroll over your ad in online spaces without thinking twice. Speaking directly to your customers through something they can hold is an excellent way to get their attention.
- Develop a referral program
Rewarding the loyalty of your customers will surely impress them and get them talking. Referrals have a dual benefit of both rewarding current customers and expanding your reach to a new audience. People are much more likely to make a purchase when friends directly refer them. You can give your customers a small discount on a future purchase, a gift, free shipping, or some other perk as a reward.
There is no lack of word-of-mouth marketing strategies for small businesses. The trick is finding the ones that complement your existing marketing efforts and go well with your brand’s values. However, every marketing strategy needs to be carefully planned. Word-of-mouth recommendations can play an important part in your overall business plan. Now it’s up to you to impress your customers and get them talking about your business.