That kind of buzz –known as word of mouth–is within your control. When you achieve that status you will find that the leads you receive from this level of word of mouth are nearly guaranteed business. Yet, maintaining or sustaining this level is a persistent way of being.
Word of Mouth 101
Word of mouth (WOM) refers to oral communication from person to person. Storytelling is the oldest form of word of mouth, oral history is another important form, as is word of mouth marketing. According to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) word of mouth marketing is the “act of giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place. It is the art and science of building active, mutually beneficial consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-marketer communications.”
Word of mouth marketing is a highly valuable way of promoting a product or service, as it offers your product or service the credibility of the endorsement of the person passing the information along.
So, how does one go about generating positive word of mouth marketing? According to WOMMA, all word of mouth marketing techniques are based on the concepts of customer satisfaction, two-way dialog, and transparent communications. The basic elements are:
- • Educating people about your products and services
- • Identifying people most likely to share their opinions
- • Providing tools that make it easier to share information
- • Studying how, where, and when opinions are being shared
- • Listening and responding to supporters, detractors, and neutrals
Sound complicated? It can be. Or you can keep it simple:
- • Ask for referrals
- • Deliver excellent customer service
- • Pick a social media tool (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Meetup) and use it
- • Connect clients with other clients
- • Share your expertise with others
These are some of the basic ways you can increase word of mouth about your business.
Being an Expert
Becoming the person that people in your circle know as both an expert or superior at what they do, coupled with many kind acts, will turn you from ordinary to special, and help you to generate positive word of mouth. You will be on top of client’s minds, and spoken about whenever the topic of whatever it is you do comes up. Small touches such as forwarding links to articles or wishing them a happy birthday will go a long way to say simply that you care.
Being this way, you will need to put yourself out there. Join networking groups, interest groups, clubs and Meetups. Either find people with like-minded interests or business networking groups where you mingle and talk to people about what you do. Don’t make it about collecting business cards, but about making an impression.
Providing free advice that you might normally be paid for can go a long way. That person might live or know someone who could become your biggest client. And that person may find themselves talking with your future big client all about how kind you were, and how in a room of people looking to get more business you were doling out memorable and useful advice.
You never know where and how business will come from, but along the way being remarkable will help keep your name in other people’s conversations.
Additional reading: Word of Mouth Marketing Blog. Read the blog, sign up for their newsletters.
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