Most people are familiar with the phrase "word-of-mouth" when it comes to business and marketing. It simply refers to everyday customers who share their experiences about products and services with other consumers like their friends and family members. It’s essentially free advertising.
These natural conversations are a major contributing factor to how a brand is ultimately perceived. One recent study performed by HubSpot, indicated that over 90% of consumers trust the opinions of their friends and family over almost everything else, so having your business be a part of that conversation (in a positive way, of course) is critically important.
So how do you make sure that your business is being talked about in all the right ways? The answer is simple…by keeping a few key things in mind.
1. Encourage Customer Testimonials and Reviews
Whenever you can do so naturally, always request honest reviews of your business. Take some of the most positive ones and put them on display – in your store, on your website, or on social media.
Another recent study indicated that 70% of people say they trust fellow customer reviews online, so it's easy to see why this is important.
As a community bank, we have a dedicated resource for highlighting the real stories of our satisfied customers. This is because, in our opinion, our customers always say it best.
2. Create a Referral Program
Satisfied customers are already more likely to tell people about your business, so don't be afraid to reward them and encourage them to do just that. Incent them by way of a referral program.
A trusted referral is a terrific word-of-mouth source. Always be creative in your incentive – you could offer discounts for referrals, cash bonuses, or even free goodies and swag.
3. Provide Quality Service
You may feel this goes without saying, but quality service is key to positive word-of-mouth.
Always make sure that you have the best staff to advocate for your business. Likewise, inspire your associates to strive for every customer interaction to be the most positive that it can be.
Everyone loves free stuff! Giveaways are a perk that give your customers something to talk about and nourish customer engagement. Paired with the opportunity to share the giveaway or contest with a friend, it becomes an easy way to expand your reach through each individual’s network.
This is especially helpful when you're launching a new product or service. Consider it the "try before you buy" approach.
5. Boost Your Business with Social Media
Whenever you interact with customers on social media, keep the conversation positive. Focus on what they want to learn, and what they are more likely to share.
This can include information about your products, services, and current promotions. It can even extend to sharing local news and updates pertaining to your business.
You could also use social media as a chance to highlight your workplace culture and show off positive reviews. Spotlighting your associates is a great opportunity to relate to your customers because it puts a friendly face to your company. Finally, don’t forget to show how your business supports the local community.
6. Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility
These days, consumers want to support businesses that share the same values they do. This is why corporate social responsibility is more important than ever, and is part of our core values as we work hard to serve our communities.
It’s all about making a real, long-lasting difference by taking steps to impact the lives of your staff, your customers, and those in your community in the most positive way you can.
When a brand gives off an uplifting vibe, people naturally want to stand behind it. They want to support it and encourage friends and family members to do so as well.
7. Support Other Businesses
Finally, one of the best ways to generate positive word-of-mouth for your business is to always advocate on behalf of other businesses in your area.
You're a community – you're all in this together. Therefore, you should always shop local whenever you can. The more visible you are in the community, and the more support you offer to other businesses, the more likely people are to eventually return that favor by spreading the word about your business and what you do.
Positive word-of-mouth can be one of the most important marketing tools available to you. Few things are more effective than having customers vouch for your business organically and share positive reviews in an unsolicited way!
It's also important to remember that this doesn’t happen automatically. You’ll need to make a commitment to increase positive word-of-mouth by offering a great experience, superior service, and great products – every day.
Your business can also earn an endless stream of positive shout-outs for supporting the communities around you. Always remember that a commitment to giving back and giving your best will always be two of the major keys to your ongoing success.
To find other tips and inspiration, check out our other business articles.