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Making WOM Marketing Count!

Despite the rise of social media, many recommendations still happen offline, with people sharing their experiences with friends over the phone or face-to-face.

Word-of-mouth marketing works for companies of all sizes, but you might just have a leg up if you’re a small local business. A new restaurant is a perfect example. If a friend tells you about a wonderful dining experience at a spot nearby, it’s easy to check it out for yourself. If during your meal, the owner greets you at your table and makes sure you’re enjoying yourself, that leaves an impression. You may even return repeatedly and form a relationship with the owner and staff.

With local small businesses like this, there’s an opportunity to have a stronger connection, more personal attention, and a higher level of satisfaction than customers typically receive from larger companies.

Another example would be local banks. There’s simply less distance between the management and customers. Local banks are also more invested in the communities they serve. Familiarity and commitment help build trust, and people want to do business with companies they know and trust.

While there are no prototypical word-of-mouth marketing campaigns, the options are limitless. Here are a few to try:

  • An email campaign where you encourage your subscribers to forward a message to their friends
  • A referral campaign where your readers can send new customers your way, perhaps with a discount or perk
  • Creating shareable content on your website
  • Producing event marketing with the intention of having your best customers or clients bring their friends
  • An ad campaign designed to generate conversation

The strategy is to encourage communication and customer recommendations. Here are three highly effective word-of-mouth strategies.

  1. Have a good founding story. When people recommend a company they like to explain the background, the reason the company was started, and so forth. You want to feel a personal connection, and if there’s a story you can relate to, you’re more likely to recommend them. For more information on creating a compelling brand story, check out this post on finding your brand’s content marketing narrative.
  1. Treat your customers like gold. Don’t fall out of balance by always offering great deals for new customers or clients. When you sacrifice current customers to gain future ones, you make it more difficult to get referrals from those who are satisfied with your business. Keep current customers extremely satisfied, and it will encourage them to spread the word.
  1. Find ways to show that you care for your current customers or clients. Even small gestures can have a big effect. A local wine shop called the Princeton Corkscrew keeps a record of past purchases and credit card number which makes it incredibly easy for customers to call them up and ask the shop to send the same wine they got last time.

People are likely to tell everyone they know about a bad experience with a business, but they’re usually thrilled to pass on information about good experiences, too. And that’s what word-of-mouth marketing is all about.

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