For most new entrepreneurs and small business owners who are starting out on a shoestring, the main form of advertising they will depend on will be “word of mouth”. Whether we like it or not, most of our customers will recommend or criticize our products and services in face-to-face conversations. After email, the telephone is the next best form of talking about new companies and new products.
Most business savvy entrepreneurs know that live, personal conversations with customers and prospects are the way our business grows, but how can we make sure positive word-of-mouth conversations are the end product of their experience? Here are a few proven methods to get folks talking about your new business, in a good way.
Dig into the nuts and bolts of how word of mouth works. Ask your customers what value they get from your company/brand. On top of asking them in person, don’t be afraid to use tools such as email surveys and online comment sections to gain more insight. Monitor web conversations to see how people talk about your company. Specifically what words, facts, credentials do they mention? Look for patterns and reoccurring themes.
Develop your company’s personality and be consistent with your message across all communications channels. Repeat your slogan or mission statement everywhere you go, if your statement is on target, others will start using the same language in their conversations. This is where training your employees can really begin to yield dividends. If everyone working for you is on the same page and believes in the company, your customers will too.
Make sure your company tells its story. As humans, we have learned to pay attention to and pass along good stories. Let your company’s personality shine through. Don’t just state that people need shoes. Tell the story, and show the proof of how your company provides a solution to a problem.
Develop a list of your top referral sources and then develop these relationships. Word of mouth marketing can be one of your most powerful tools if you do a little homework and let your company’s personality shine through.