Word of Mouth Marketing gets a lot of attention, but how many small businesses are actually deploying a successful Word of Mouth Marketing strategy?
Certain businesses and their products are a natural. They are cool and worthy of talking about. Think Apple. They just make products that people love to talk about, and they even get folks who don’t like their product to talk about them. But what about the other 99% of the products that fall closer to mediocrity? They are solid offerings, but they just aren’t sexy … or at least we don’t think so.
You Have to Ask for the Referral
Small business marketing expert John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing has devised a whole system of Referral Marketing, which is really just a planned approach to help you start to get your customers talking about you and your product offering.
“The power of glitzy advertising and elaborate marketing campaigns is on the wane; word- of-mouth referrals are what drive business today. People trust the recommendation of a friend, family member, colleague, or even stranger with similar tastes over anything thrust at them by a faceless company.
Most business owners believe that whether customers refer them is entirely out of their hands. But science shows that people can’t help recommending products and services to their friends—it’s an instinct wired deep in the brain. And smart businesses can tap into that hardwired desire.”
John’s point is spot on, and although asking for a referral is awkward for many business owners and their front line staffing, it can pay big dividends. People love to talk about their purchases, and share their favorable experiences, and when given a subtle nudge become excellent brand evangelists.
The Hidden Benefits of Asking
One of our clients, a local furniture retailer with seven locations in Metro Detroit, has experienced remarkable ROI by adding a bit of Word of Mouth and Referral Marketing to their arsenal. Originally designed to help build a strong Facebook fan base, Gardner White Furniture added some branded content to the delivery paperwork when the customers furniture is delivered that encourages the customer to snap a picture and share it on the Gardner White Facebook Fan Page. What happened was a bit of a surprise. Not only did customers become Fans (with fairly strong engagement and pictures of their new furniture) they also added testimonials of their shopping experience to each Facebook post.
We repackaged the content to stream on the company web site, as well as an iFrame application back to their Facebook Page so that the testimonials were all grouped together. All in, they have received about (250) detailed reviews and just under (7,500) Facebook Fans!
So, the moral of the story is, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral, and if executed in a planned and meaningful way, your happy customers are more than willing to talk about their experience with you and your company.