In modern business, is it enough to only find new clients? No, this isn’t a trick question.
While a high number of new buyers is, of course, an important ambition for any company, more and more focus is shifting to how to turn existing clients into brand promoters, and how to build a network of word of mouth marketers.
The purpose? To enhance the number of new clients a business receives and the number of returning customers, where a 5% rise in retention rates can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
After all, who are we more likely to trust, a family member or a company? While 75% of people don’t believe advertisements, 90% do believe in brand recommendations from friends.
Happy clients or customers may use their own initiative to share your business, but in order to be truly successful, you need to create an army of these brand ambassadors. Our blog explores a few ways you can encourage positive reviews and enhance your word of mouth marketing.
Provide Great Customer Service
It goes without saying that if you want to benefit from word of mouth marketing you need to provide a product or service that exceeds expectations. Alongside this, your quality of customer service needs to be on par with your product.
How often have you had a phone contract that, while achieving everything you’ve wanted, has been ruined by the one time you called customer service and were left on hold for hours?
A dissatisfied customer will tell, on average, between 9 to 15 people about their experience, while happy customers will tell about 4 to 6 people.
Great customer service is not just about meeting expectations, but about exceeding them. Take the time to get to know your clients and customers and send them helpful information designed not just to make sales, but to also help solve problems.
Host Client Reviews
Outside of recommendations from friends, consumer opinions are the second most trusted authority on brand quality, with 70% of people believing them.
These reviews are a vital part of a person’s path to purchasing, being used as a research method to determine quality. As such, sharing the opinions of your clients is important to inspiring confidence.
So valuable are they, that, on average, client reviews raise sales by 18%.
Alongside encouraging word of mouth marketing, publishing client reviews can also have a positive impact on your search engine optimisation (SEO), helping improve your visibility online. Using a system such as Google My Business can provide your business with a platform upon which to host these reviews and as it’s Google, will do no harm to your SEO ambitions.
The best way to create a strong word of mouth marketing network is by creating an environment where it is beneficial for existing clients to refer you to their peers.
Providing incentives for these referrals is a great way to create this mutually beneficial relationship. Consider discounts for both the referrer and the referee, or offering free trials.
Whatever you choose, ensure the referral process is transparent and simple by clearly laying out the terms and conditions of referrals on your website. Also, ensure your clients have everything they need, such as service lists, your contact information or relevant information leaflets.
Another incentive is simply taking the time to refer your own customers to your client’s business. Nothing turns a client into a brand promoter quicker than helping their business as much as they help yours.
Before you dive headfirst into incentives, there is one very simple technique for increasing referrals…
Ask for them.
It may seem a little forward, but if you’re providing a great service, asking your clients to suggest other people who could benefit may be the small nudge they need to start sending their peers your way.
Involve the Community
Another way to build the buzz around your business is by going the extra mile to support the community. Free workshops provide a great way for people to become familiar with your business and the benefits you provide.
Legal firms may consider providing free drop-in sessions, while recruiters could provide CV writing support. If you are a business targeting local customers or clients, involving the community in this way can easily drive positive publicity and increase your standing.
Ultimately, these events allow you to engage a larger audience, which in turn improves word of mouth marketing and gives you the chance to gather valuable feedback.
If you’re not in a position to host community support events, consider sponsoring them to spread your brand name.
Build Relationships With Influencers
Every industry has their influencers. These individuals garner huge amounts of attention, often on social media, and their opinions are taken seriously by thousands, or even millions, of people.
Why is this so important? Well with 47% of customers saying they use ad-blocking technology, traditional advertising practices are no longer as effective as they once were. As such, marketing is shifting to influencers who have a large audience and can fill this hole.
When these opinions take the form of product recommendations, word of mouth marketing can quickly gather pace. In fact, on Twitter, 40% of users say they have made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s tweet.
Building a relationship with these influencers is key to improving purchasing habits. And the best bit? Social media is free, so you can start engaging with these influencers today.
If you want to really grab these influencers’ attention, provide them with samples of your best products or services. As the saying goes, seeing is believing. This technique is perhaps best recognised in the clothing industry, where free items are regularly being sent to influencers and celebrities, but the technique is effective in many other markets also.
You’ll have probably noticed that all the steps for improving word of mouth marketing have so far involved engaging with individuals, but what do you do when your customers make a purchase and don’t hang around to leave a review?
All too often, businesses let happy customers slip through their fingers by not following up with them once they have made their purchase. This is where email marketing comes in.
An incredible 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their best tool for customer retention, and it is easy to see why. By emailing customers after they have purchased you can stay connect and nurture them into being brand promoters.
This nurturing can be done by asking for them to leave reviews, sharing valuable content, or providing exclusive offers to existing customers (both one-off or in the form of a loyalty scheme). Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to remember that these emails are designed to provide value. As such, use them sparingly. No one loves being bombarded by emails.
Creating brand promoters is essential to your business’s success, with word of mouth marketing being a primary factor between 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions.
In this consumer-driven world, your business cannot afford to ignore the opinions of its clients and customers. This kind of marketing is just one of the elements that makes up a successful marketing strategy.