Word-of-mouth marketing is perhaps the oldest form of marketing that exists, not only that it’s still one of the most effective forms of marketing. It’s just common sense that when someone you know tells you about a great product or great service this word-of-mouth marketing outperforms other forms of advertisements.
If you want your current customers or contacts to give you referrals, it is important that you tell them that is what you want. The more you tell your contacts that you want them to recommend you to others, the more likely they are to do it. Every single business should develop a referral script, which should be used once a project is complete while the customer is still at their highest level of satisfaction. Something like “my business is expanding, who do you know that could use my services and would you mind me using your name?” there are lots of variations you can use, the important thing is to develop your own script and use it.
A great way to encourage people to give you the ideal type of referrals is to tell your customers and contacts exactly what type of clients you are looking for. That way they can be sure to tell the right people about you and your products and/or services.
The more you can help everyone you come into contact with, even if you cannot service them directly, the more you’ll be seen as a resource center. This could be accomplished in person simply by putting different people together, or online via content marketing. People will learn to trust you enough to recommend people who can be your actual clients.
I used to be a big fan of providing incentives to your contacts that recommend you to others. Some people have successfully given coupons and discounts to those who have recommended them, with great results. However I am now of the opinion that a more personal reward works best, not all of the time but on occasion and out of the blue.
Ask for testimonials from your currently satisfied clients to share on your social media channels, share around your website, and within your sales pages. Once you receive a testimonial there are many ways in which you can use them to get more business, and just like referrals never be afraid to ask for a testimonial.
One way to really push your word-of-mouth marketing is to build a community of customers who can speak with authority about your products / services and awesome customer services.
A really fabulous way to create momentum in your word-of-mouth marketing is to open an affiliate program for customers only. They are the ones who can really speak about your company and the quality of the products and services you offer, they have experienced it after all.
Many people with whom you have casual contact through networking events can be a wonderful resource for referrals. There are many networking groups that you can join to help you get the word out and I know of lots of businesses that have grown into big businesses doing nothing more than networking.
Word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the best forms of marketing available and one of the least expensive and most fun. All you have to do is live up to your reputation and continue to under promise and over deliver so that your clients are thrilled by your products and services enough to keep the word-of-mouth going.