Word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods of service promotion. Most good marketers understand this. Aside from the usual Tom Peters style exclamations of “EXCELLENCE!!!!!” there are things you can do with your business, and your products, that will help word of mouth along. Most customers, if they see fit, will want to recommend your service. The problem is that they often can’t remember your company/product name, don’t know when it is appropriate, or wouldn’t recall that you served them in the first place. The main target of your activities should be the influencers, or the sneezers, who will pass your message on. Also, remember, marketing and communications are all an opportunity to wow your customers.
- Branding. The core of any good marketing program is strong branding, from the logo to the name to the person who answers the phone. If your customers are familiar with your company name, in every contact they have with you, they will have a better chance of remembering you.
- Get people actively talking about you. Good marketing is not about just fitting your niche well. It is also about grabbing people’s attention, and tickling their wallet gland. Nothing attracts a person’s attention than doing something that stands out like monkey nuts. Have a huge goal that makes you stand out.
- You could give away your service, but look for a large group of people that could benefit, like a local soccer club, pensioners club or environmental group. Make sure they know who the donor is though.
- Encourage people to give referrals. Here I am talking about “bring a friend” programs, asking for referrals is a little pointless, and I would say that paying for referrals doesn’t work for everyone. Also, why not make your bring a friend program permanent? If someone brings a friend, why not make a HUGE deal out of it?
- Clever Naming. Not just your company, or your product, but also your promotion. Make your latest giveaway easy to talk about by shorthanding the program contents.
- Use social media as much as you can (without wasting too much time). Use Twitter, blogging etc, to build a network of influencers and other high flyers in your industry. Whatever you do, almost guaranteed, there will be a customer writing a blog about you. Reach out.
- Create a group of “Exclusive” customers. Use these customers to bounce ideas, products and marketing off. Make them feel special and reward them. Make them your “secret” army.
- Remember communication is two way. If you are sending out invoices, proposals etc, make sure there is room for your customer to respond and give feedback. Opening a direct line of communication means that people will remember you more frequently.