highlighted post -

Getting others to grow your business

June 29, 2012

Who are the influencers in your industry? If there were 5 people you wish were talking about your business who would they be? How many of your existing customers love you and tell others?

A recent study suggest 92% of people trust recommendations from friends/colleagues when making a purchase decision. This compares to 47% for TV ads and 40% for paid search ads. How can you find the people with the most influence and get them to help market your business?

Here are a few things that can help generate positive word of mouth:

Deliver a great product/service

• If you don’t offer a great product/service then no-one will recommend you, so start here.

• Surprise and delight your customers – what little extras can you deliver to ensure they remember you and spread the word?

• Turn negatives into positives – deal with a complaint well and you can often turn that person into one of your strongest advocates. Be honest, transparent and if you have made a mistake, go the extra mile to correct it.

• Ensure 100% satisfaction – don’t just deliver your product or service and walk away. Follow up and continue the relationship.

Who are the influencers?

• Which of your customers, friends or colleagues love you and have a great network you can tap into?

• Use social networks like LinkedIn to find people with your industry. Prove your value by contributing to forums, discussions and blogs.

• Use online ‘influence tools’ like Klout.com – type in keywords around your industry and location – who has a big influence in your industry that you can target?

Help them spread the word

• Don’t be afraid to boast about your successes, previous clients and put this content on your website/LinkedIn page etc. 70% consumers also said they trust opinions from people they don’t know online. This can be a powerful form of marketing.

• Provide incentives to others to generate referrals (free products, discounts etc). Most big brands do this. Why? Because it works!

• Find other companies that compliment your product/service – promote each other e.g. wedding photographer and caterer, IT consultant and Web Designer. Form alliances and you can benefit from each others base of customers.

• Stay top of mind with your customers – regular communications (emails, social media updates, blog posts etc) can keep you top of mind and increase the chances of someone recommending you if asked.