It’s easier than you think!
It’s hard enough doing the job, let alone doing the marketing, too. If you’d rather leave the marketing up to the ones who do it best, this is for you.
Think about it—the best marketers are expensive.
But the second best are way more affordable and maybe just as effective.
We’re talking about word-of-mouth marketing.
If you’ve ever used a product that you loved or hated, you probably told a friend about it. Either “I found this tool you have to use.” Or “I tried this product the other day, and it was garbage. Don’t waste your money on it.”
Now that you think about it, there are plenty of tools or products you’ve tried—or not—based on what a friend has told you, isn’t that right? And you probably trusted your friend’s recommendation way more than a TV commercial or billboard ad.
Which is exactly why you need these 8 steps for getting your customers to do the marketing for you.
Offer great products and services
First and foremost, you need to have great products or services. They’ve got to be something special if you want to stir up conversation about what you have to offer.
If you don't have top-notch products or services, start there.
Amp up what you can. Get some new customers to try things out. Then get feedback from them. After some tune-ups, test what you’ve got on other new customers, and ask for reviews. Share those reviews on your website and encourage your happy customers to tell a friend.
That’s step one.
Provide excellent customer service
Step two is all about how you handle your customers before, during, and after they do business with you.
That’s right: customer service.
Two key steps in getting your customers to market for you are to focus on offering great products and services and to provide excellent customer service.
When a company gives excellent customer service, that’s what makes them truly stand out. And customer service can be a make or break for a business.
Remember the last company you swore you’d never do business with again? It was probably because they didn’t treat you right. Somebody on the phone was snippy… or worse, you never got to talk to anyone because of their automated, round-and-round-in-circles phone service. We all hate that.
But when you work with a company that treats you right and even goes above and beyond, you can’t wait to tell your friends about that experience. So that’s what you’ve got to do for your customers.
Treat them like kings and queens, and they’ll be loyal for life.
Create and use a marketing plan
Now that your products and services and customer service are high quality, time to get to the more technical tactics for getting your customers to market for you.
You must have a marketing strategy.
Start with two simple questions:
- What are you already doing to market your business?
- And how do you hope to improve with word-of-mouth marketing?
When you think about what you’re already doing, think specifically of the areas you could improve. What’s something you’d like to fix? If you find any strategy that wasn’t worth the time or money, get rid of it. Or if you’ve got a strategy that’s working well, how can you capitalize on it?
That’s when it’s time to set goals.
What areas would you like to improve? How will you improve? What will you measure? And by when do you hope to have those areas fixed?
By setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (as developed by George Doran), you’re creating goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It’s the smartest goal-setting strategy out there, and it’s going to help you grow your business.
Find your target audience
We’re talking about the people you want to reach. Either the ones who already love your company or the ones who will once they learn about you.
And the best way to find them is on social media.
One of the best ways to find your target audience–the people who love your company–is through social media.
So, do a bit of research. Find out which social media platforms are most popular for your key audience and make an account. And before you ask, no, you do not need to be on all platforms—especially if social media is a new step for your business.
If you get started on a couple of platforms that your audience spends time on, you’re headed in the right direction.
Now all you have to do is get really good at creating content for those platforms.
Engage with your audience
Since you’ve got accounts on a couple of platforms, that’s where you’ll want to engage with your target audience.
You could also engage with them through forums and other sites—even your own site if you have a comment section.
Either way, wherever your customers are is where you should be.
So, they post a picture on social media using your product and tag you. Write them a comment of appreciation.
Maybe they leave a bad review on your site. Comment back, apologize for any inconvenience and ask (or offer) how you can make it right. Pro tip: NEVER fight back in the comments section. That rarely ends well.
Or maybe they simply have a question about your service or something related to the field. Offer as much help and information as you can.
Even if the question wasn’t directly related to your product or service, they’ll remember you as the one who helped them. And one day, when they need your type of business, they’ll think of you.
Get influencers to spread the word
Can you think of any influencers or thought leaders you follow?
You watch their videos, read their articles, and have even signed up for their newsletters. They may not know you exist, but to you, they’re your best friend.
Getting a couple of influencers or thought leaders to spread the word about your company can be a highly effective method of marketing.
So much so that if they recommended a certain kind of hand soap, you’d consider buying it.
Those are the kind of people you need in your court, promoting your brand.
When you find influencers who genuinely love using your products or services, jackpot. When they spread the word about your brand, their followers can see their authenticity and passion. After all, it’s hard to fake telling people you love something if you hate it.
So, time to do your research.
Find a couple of influencers or thought leaders in your industry, reach out to them about your product or service, and see if you can strike up a deal with them to promote your business.
This is a popular one if you can afford it.
And there are a few methods you can use: affiliate programs, referral discounts, or loyalty programs.
With affiliate programs, let’s say Jane recommends your product or service to Sam, and Sam buys from you. Jane would get a portion of the sale because she recommended Sam to you.
Referral discounts work in a similar way, but instead of Jane getting a portion of the sale, she would get a discount the next time she bought from you.
A loyalty program is likely the most inexpensive of the three. Take a coffee shop punch card for example. Anytime you buy a coffee from them, you get a punch in your card. When you’ve reached a certain number, you get the next coffee free.
It’s not likely that you’d offer your product or service for free, but maybe at a discount. Or if you have any brand merchandise, like a T-shirt, travel mug, or fancy sticker, you could offer those.
Nothing like a good sticker to generate buzz.
Contribute to your community
This one is extremely valuable, and so it needs to be done tactfully.
If you help out in your community in a way that is relevant to your field, that’s good for visibility. But if you do it only for that, people will see right through you and run the other way.
The first reason for wanting to contribute to your community should be because you care.
The cause is near to your heart. The people are ones you’ve known for a lifetime. Or the project just plain brings you joy.
Those types of incentives should come first. The fact that it’s good for building brand awareness should come second.
So, take a look around your community. Where are you naturally drawn? What do people in that area need? And how can you contribute?
When you start there, you might even forget the reason why your company is growing. Instead, you’ll find greater satisfaction in your job and your life.
So, which tactic will you use first?
These are just some of the ways to get the word-of-mouth marketing train going in your community, town, or field.
Start by trying one or two of these marketing tactics, and watch your business grow!
Sure, it’ll take some effort to get things running smoothly. But once people start talking and your business starts growing, marketing your business might not feel like such a chore after all.
Feeling excited to try one or two of these tactics? Then start there, and watch your business grow.