Word of mouth is arguably the most powerful weapon in any small businesses marketing arsenal.
A recommendation from a friend, colleague or expert will often tip the balance for a perspective customer, and is more effective than any advert ever could be.
Although a lot of these recommendations will come from great service and/ or products, you don’t have to sit back and hope people recommend you.
Here are the ways you can be more proactive in encouraging people to recommend you.
Give customers something to pass on
At the end of your transaction/ correspondence with a customer, send them something tangible they can pass on to friends and family.
This can be as simple as a handful of business cards, a leaflet with your contact details or a full blown brochure.
Distribute discount/coupon codes
You can encourage your customers to refer people through financial incentives that they personally benefit from.
For example, give them access to coupon codes they can spread around, which in turn gives them money off their next order if someone then uses it.
Formal referral program
A fully formed refer a friend program can help to bring a structured approach to your word of mouth marketing. Refer a friend schemes are popular amongst customers because they give them the opportunity to earn money, credit or prizes for referring new customers to you.
Incentive for leaving reviews
You can also look at offering incentives for customers to leave reviews on 3rd party sites e.g. “review us and we’ll credit your account £5”
The likes of Groupon and LivingSocial made a lot of waves in the online marketing community, but you don’t need to sign up to their services to use group activated deals.
The idea is based around customers getting a certain number of friends to sign up to a deal in order to enable the whole group to get a discount.