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Word of mouth is still the most effective way to attract new customers to your business. Yes, there’s a multiplicity of sophisticated marketing techniques available to today’s businessperson, including some which leverage revolutionary digital technology and data analytics. We have so many market probing tools and advertising channels, that our problem tends not to be finding one, but choosing from a wide range of cutting-edge alternatives.

Still, good old conversations with family and friends does far more to spread the word about brands than huge shiny, big budget publicity campaigns.

That’s because we tend to trust the testimony of people we know than the words or pictures of adverts and salespeople. Afterall, the latter want you to buy their product; they might as well be spinning stories to make you purchase their wares. But your friends and family are less likely to have any stakes in the brand’s success or failure, and they presumably value your trust far more than a business brand. If they recommend a product, they may be doing so honestly.

But how do you spark positive stories about your business? How do you make them spread?

There’s only so much you can do to control the way people share information about your business. However, you can ensure that most of what is said is positive, even good enough to draw in customers.

Here are seven ways to make word of mouth work for your enterprise.

  1. Sell great products

If you’re giving your customers great value for their money, they’ll gladly let other people in on your offerings. While it’s also important to refine other aspects of your business, make sure to get your product right first. It’s the foundation upon which your marketing will be built, whether it’s word of mouth or some other strategy.

One aspect you should zero in on is your product’s uniqueness. Is there something about it that makes it stand out from similar brands? Harp on it- especially if it’s the sort of thing that attracts your typical customer.

  1. Offer brilliant customer service

Customers are usually impressed when they’re treated with courtesy and great regard. They take note when their requests are promptly attended to, and are pleased when their complaints are swiftly dealt with. These sorts of instances are crucial in forming customers’ impressions of a brand; you should be careful to get them right.

  1. Understand your target market

The sort of messaging which resonates with young university undergraduates might not cut it with middle aged business executives; that latter group might need something other than the hip and suave lingo that young people might be swayed by.

But your understanding of your customer base should reach beyond marketing language, to their motivations for buying. Motivation may stem from group sentiments, such as the need to feel a part of (or identify with) a cultural or economic group. So you’ll have to understand how they identify themselves, and how their demographic and psychographic group orientations affect their purchasing decisions. When you do, you’ll be able to present your product to them in ways that’ll make it a potential hit with the social groups you’re targeting.

  1. Get interactive on social media

Your social media pages can be great channels for connecting with customers and the wider public. You can achieve this by engaging them on your platforms, in real time. Answer their questions and appreciate their compliments.

The more involved you are with your followers on social media, the more positive their view of your brand is likely to be. This also depends on the quality of your service and other aspects of your business.

You could hire a social media manager who knows the various social channels well, to handle content and engagement on those platforms.

  1. Use customer testimonials

As we’ve already noted, people tend to trust the reviews of other persons who have used a product better than the product descriptions as given in an advert or by a salesperson. If you’re able to get some testimonials from customers who are pleased with your product, you can post them on your website and social media pages. They’ll get the first time visitor more interested in checking your product out.

  1. Run customer referral programs

You can give your customers an incentive to spread the word about your business with referral programs. Offer them discounts and freebies in exchange for their bringing other people to your business.

  1. Initiate community projects

When your business is visibly involved in community building activity, its public profile will get a positive boost. Consumers like to associate themselves with socially conscious brands. If your business is seen to be supportive of socially responsible causes, it will gain a reputation that could rub off positively on other aspects of its engagement with the public- including its sales.

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This article was first published on 7th August 2018


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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