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.