The best advertising for your small business is word-of-mouth referrals. After all there is nothing like a satisfied customer’s testimonial to get you more business.
Think about the last time someone referred a company to you. What was your reaction? Since it came from a friend you trust, you will give the business a try right? If your friend had a really awesome experience then you are pretty well assured of getting the same. If they got excellent value for the price, well then it’s a slam dunk!
Having your customers do your marketing for you is extremely affordable. There is no marketing cost to you, and your sales effort is minimal. So how do you get your customers to recommend you?
Here are just a few simple things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting your customers to promote your business:
- Be professional, friendly and reliable
- Provide excellent customer service
- Sell quality products or services
- Stand behind your product/service
- Provide amazing value for the price
Follow the golden rule: Run your business with a high level of honesty, integrity and trust. Treat all customers as you expect to be treated. Blow them away with customer service and not only do you have a customer for life, but you have a very willing and able “sales” force at no extra cost.
One of the most powerful ways your customers spread the word about you is on social media. So be sure to establish your company on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and any other channels that work for your industry.
This way you can “monitor” the conversations, give a shout out to those customers that recommend you…and join in the conversation when a satisfied customer speaks well of your company.
Are there any hard-hitting issues in your industry? If so, establish your position on these issues. More importantly know your competitors point of view. Be ready to weigh in on any facet of your product, service, company or industry.
Be transparent and engage in social media conversations on these issues. “Putting your money where your mouth is” fosters trust and respect.
Understand that you give up control of the conversation when you ask for word-of-mouth referrals. That could be a good thing….or a bad thing. Social media is a very powerful outlet that could do a lot of good or harm to your business.
That’s why it’s important to be honest and transparent. If there is an issue with your product or service, be honest about it. Explain, the issue, don’t make excuses and tell your customers how you are going to resolve it.
Ultimately word-of-mouth referrals depend heavily on the quality of your product or service. If you don’t stand behind it 100%, how do you expect your customers to?
People will recommend a business they themselves had a great experience with. People want to do business with someone they like and trust. They will very happily share that experience with friends and in turn gain “stature” with their friends.