Despite being human kind’s chief marketing tool for the past 100,000 years, word of mouth doesn’t quite cut it anymore as a sole strategy. It makes sense that up until recently-ish, smaller communities and less saturated industries lent better toward word of mouth as a means of spreading the word about your business.
Even still today people are always going to trust the testimony of a fellow customer over anything they read or hear from a business itself, but rather than being a staple of pub chit-chat and neighbourly conversation, it has altered with the tech boom, leading to a greater focus on online reviews and social media hype.
So, not only is it inadvisable to rely on word of mouth due to it’s narrow approach, but the way in which word of mouth functions in promoting your business is fundamentally changing as well.
The Right Audience
Promoting your business outside of word of mouth is about inbound marketing and generating inbound leads then turning those leads into sales is about targeting the people that want what you’re selling. So, if you’re relying on word of mouth for people to find out about your business then how do you know they are the type of person that needs what you have to offer?
You want to be confident that a customer is likely to engage in repeated business with you, not constantly worrying about whether it was a one night fling and if they’ll call or not.
Butter ‘Em Up
As we jotted down in our post on The Value Of Customer Reviews On Your Website, people are naturally skeptical about your business and whether or not it’s the real McCoy. It’s all about reviews and how you come across to the public – folks today are rarely going to make a purchase the first time they hear about you, so you have to show them that you aren’t playing around.
According to marketers Xcellimark, 80% of sales occur only after at least five touch points. This means potential customers are going to need some herding in your direction. Use blogs, newsletters, automated email workflows and free trials to channel first time hits into loyal customers. You can’t leave it to chance, you need to interact with people if you want them to buy into your business.
A useful method of attracting business, definitely. But, how can you expect them to take if you’re only relying on word of mouth to disseminate the information? If you want to make people feel like they can’t afford to miss this opportunity to do business with you then you can’t hit and hope someone hears about your offers through the grapevine.
Target your promotions to specific areas of your demographic and brandish them across your online platforms. Get the word out there and don’t rely on hearsay to do the work for you.
Do you have a website? Social media accounts? A YouTube channel? A blog? These platforms are the ideal conduit to wider audiences and they don’t have to cost you a penny.
Think, if one person leaves a good review on your business’ Facebook page, then how much faster is that going to circulate around your target demographic compared to word of mouth? It’s a no brainer. The same goes for using video and YouTube. You want to generate interest in your business and have control over doing so. Making a free account and uploading topical videos on your industry and what it is you do, with links to your website, blogs, social media accounts and newsletter will push people toward your business and ultimately drive sales.
Having word of mouth as your marketing strategy is, in all honesty, a bit lazy. Maybe that’s all you use now and you might be happy with the amount of business it generates, but you’d be mistaken if you thought you couldn’t do better just by investing some time into establishing yourself online and reaching out to your customers that way.
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By Oliver Roche
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