When it comes to the differences between small start-up ventures and large successful companies, marketing budgets and available capital for promotional campaigns are always highly indicative. The former can just about justify LinkedIn Premium, while the latter can afford to splash a significant amount of cash on all singing, all dancing strategies. What always unites the two however, no matter what their budget, is word of mouth marketing (WOMM) and the impact what their customers are saying is having on the success of the business.
You can pump hundreds and thousands of pounds into expensive marketing strategies and outsourced expertise but if what people are saying about you or your business isn’t great, it’s pretty pointless. First-hand reviews, personal experiences and customer opinions are absolutely paramount in establishing the reputation of your brand so it’s essential that you’re doing everything in your power to make sure what they’re saying is positive. As a customer you most likely rely heavily on the outlook of others to influence your own decisions so bear this important fact in mind when you’ve got your business owner hat on.
The influence of technology
When you think of WOMM, you might think about conversations on the bus or catch ups over coffee involving discussions about the latest products and services people have been loving or hating. Previously this was precisely the case but the concept of ‘word of mouth’, in recent years, has fast become something more metaphorical all together as customers look to digitalisation and technology to voice their opinions.
Increased access to the internet and the rise of social media means that consumers are more widely connected than ever before and more able to broadcast comments to an international marketplace. WOMM is no longer a passing comment made in idle conversation; it’s a tweet, it’s a Facebook post, it’s a Google review and all of the above are out there in black and white for the world to see. These days customers have the ability to make or break your business at the touch of a button so it’s vital that you give them the right motivations.
Capitalise on your WOMM potential
From a very young age we learn the power of word of mouth. While it becomes less about who kissed who at the weekend and more about whose business venture is more successful, it is a force to be reckoned with and we’re here to help you get the most out of its advantages. WOMM is extremely influential but also cheap to maintain so there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t want to capitalise on its boundless potential.
Of course this starts with providing products and services that people want to talk about – that’s a no brainer – but you can also carry out a whole host of additional things to positively influence what is being circulated about your business. By taking the following pointers on board, you will learn how to infiltrate the dialogue between your existing and potential customers, and have an advantageous impact on your WOMM.
Make yourself a regular on the networking scene – Business networking events might seem like a right pain in the behind and a complete waste of valuable time but they are great for building connections and brand exposure. Make time in your diary to get to a couple of industry-specific events a month to help your message reach the right target audience. There is nobody who can discuss your business more concisely than you and sparking conversation with new people on a regular basis is the perfect way to spread the word. Think about taking samples or marketing literature so people have something tangible to remember you by.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews – Customers just love to express their opinions and have their voices heard because as we all know, the customer is always right. Whether you believe the last part of that sentence or not, it is essential that you make it as quick and easy as possible for consumers to document their opinions. If someone has something nice to say about you, then you’ll want to do everything in your power to enable this. Encourage customers to post comments on their social media profiles, take advantage of Google Reviews and provide somewhere on your website specifically for customer feedback.
Offer referral incentives for your existing customers – In the same way customers like to be heard, they also love to be rewarded so referral incentives are a great way to get them to help you spread the word. This is something we take advantage of ourselves as we offer existing customers a £150 cash reward as a little gesture of gratitude for pointing a new client in our direction. If you can’t justify investing cash into financial motivations, you could offer a mutually beneficial discount scheme in which both existing and new customer benefits from a bargain.
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We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!