In this modern day and age, businesses rely heavily on technology, such as social media, digital billboards, TV and radio adverts for marketing purposes. However, technology cannot guarantee that your business will gain popularity or even referrals. Many business owners still find themselves wondering how they can actually get people to refer their business through word of mouth (WOM). A recent survey was completed that 7500 small business owners agreed that the best way to acquire local customers was through mouth-to-mouth referrals, but the big question is how?
Here are some ways you can get word of mouth referrals for your business:
Perfect your local listings
Realistically speaking, when someone refers your business to another person, the first thing that person will do is search your business online and see your business reviews. It is very important to claim your Google local listing so that when people search for your brand, they can find it, along with 10 written reviews that will help clients trust your brand more. You don’t have to just stick with Google, you can extend your brand to feature your listing on other search engines as well, such as Bing. Just remember that your rating doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. Research has shown that 94% of people would go for businesses that have a 4-star rating.
Make your company memorable
Treating your customers well and giving them the best service is very important in growing your relationship with your consumers, but is it enough to get your consumers to spread the word about your business and its services or products? There are many ways to get word of mouth referrals. Here are some examples of how to make your business more memorable:
- Take pictures with satisfied clients: You can consider taking a picture with every happy client you get, posting it on your Facebook page, and tagging that client. That way you will be marketing your good services and gaining more potential clients at the same time. It will leave people curious and they will want to experience or see for themselves what was so amazing about your services.
- Leave a lasting impression: You don’t want to go overboard buying expensive gifts for clients, but you can give them little tokens to ensure that they will remember you. You can try branded keyring holders saying, “Thank you for the support, hope to see you soon!” with your company logo, or you could try branded mugs and stationery. These ideas might sound a bit crazy, but this will keep your company in the minds of your clients the next time they need a service or product that you happen to offer.
Empower your referral network
The whole idea here is to stay at the top by expanding your customer base. A great way you can do this is by empowering your customers. This can be done in many ways, such as joining referral networking groups like BNI, Alignable, LinkedIn, or Nextdoor. Once your networks have been established, look at people in your local area or people who have similar customers as you.
Now that you have your networks, you need to keep it flowing. Think about things you would like your network to know about you every month. It could be anything like product launches or specials/discounts, or even company events that are coming up. The golden rule is to always keep your consumers in the loop on what’s going on in your business so that you maintain some sort of connection with them.
Get ideas from your employees and set time aside to think of ways that will empower your consumers to promote your brand through WOM. Here are two ideas that you can implement to improve your referrals:
- Competitions: Create a competition that requires your consumers to participate by getting their friends, colleagues, and family involved. It can be anything from sharing the competition on Facebook or nominating people to take part in the competition, etc. This is a fun and interactive way that will allow your target audience to feel empowered whilst also promoting WOM at the same time.
- Reviews: Improve your Google listing by making sure that all of your information is complete. Ask at least 5 people to write reviews on your business or even add photos. This is a win-win situation for both you and your clients because they will appreciate that you value their opinion and you will be gaining a beneficial review of your business.
Make it easy to get referrals
By making it simple for your customers to give you referrals, you will ultimately gain more referrals. You can do this by means of adding links to your newsletters that will direct your consumers to Google reviews or you can send them emails with links for referrals. You want to always make your review process quick, simple, and convenient. No client wants to read a long survey or questionnaire that will require lots of time and effort to complete. Keep it short and sweet.
Track your efforts
Monitor and track the results of your offerings. Pay attention to see what works for your brand and establish platforms that you may not be tapping into yet. For example, if you are in the hospitality industry, you could try to utilise TripAdvisor or Zomato as a means of gaining referrals. You could ask people to go on these above mentioned sites and leave a review or rate you. You can then display these ratings and reviews on your social media accounts and your website. Do some research and see what platforms your consumers use the most and implement it into your marketing efforts. You can start off by using one rating system and expand it to two or three.
Always promote your referrals
As more word of mouth responses roll in, you should be promoting them. Share positive comments or reviews on your social media accounts, on your website, or in a newsletter. This can turn into a ripple effect because if your customers see that you have promoted their positive review or comment, they might share it on their Facebook or Twitter accounts, and it will just escalate from there to more and more people that might potentially turn into future referrals.
You can also use all of your positive comments and reviews to keep your staff motivated and aware of how well your company is doing. At the end of the day, if your employees are not motivated to provide the best service to your customers, you will receive less and less referrals.
Reach out and repeat
Consistency is key! As you start the process, you will start to see progress. You will have more sales leads and your sales stats will increase. You will also notice more clients calling that have been sent directly by people who are satisfied with your company. They may call to get more information about your services or they may even call to purchase something as they are already sold on your brand. However, never get too comfortable. Always try to improve your brand by increasing your marketing and customer satisfaction activities. Always pay close attention to what is working and stay consistent with it as it will never be a once-off effort. Remember – when you reach out to consumers, you must always repeat.
Always say “thank you”
We are heading towards the holiday season, but that isn’t any reason not to pull up your customer base. In fact, it is a perfect opportunity to acknowledge your gratitude towards people who fuel your business, Write down a list of your top customers and send them a personalised thank you card. This is the perfect way to let your customers know that they are valued and it will improve the chances of your clients using your services again (and referring it) in the New Year.
Get the word out
Now that you know some tips on how to get more WOM and referrals, it is time to spread the word about your thriving brand. However, as we all get busy and consumed by our day-to-day responsibilities, you may not have the time or energy to market your brand in the hopes of obtaining more customers at the end of each month. We here at Cognite can save you time and manpower by taking over your marketing efforts.
Ask us how we can market your company by handling everything from your brand strategy, corporate identity, websites, advertising, and social media.