When customers feel driven to tell their friends about a wonderful experience they had with a company or post about it on social media, you know those customers were really satisfied with the firm's products or services. And that, my friend, is one of the most potent marketing tools at the disposal of a small business owner.
According to the findings of the 2019 Small Business Marketing Report that QuickBooks and LinkedIn produced, the influence that word-of-mouth referrals have on consumers' decisions to make purchases cannot be replicated by any amount of advertising, marketing technology, or promotional efforts, not even close. Similarly, 83 percent of customers place more importance on the recommendations of close friends and family members than on any other type of advertising.
Word-of-mouth marketing refers to the actions brands take to get consumers talking about their products or services with other consumers. Examples include product giveaways, brand ambassador programs and buzzworthy experiences created for customers and influencers.
Word-of-mouth marketing is about real people sharing their thoughts about your brand and products, thereby indirectly encouraging more sales and recommendations for you - like a ripple effect.
What does this imply for locally owned and operated businesses? Never undervalue the effectiveness of referrals from satisfied customers to their friends and family. They are now one of the most successful ways and will continue to be in the foreseeable future to generate new consumers and expand your sales.
It is tempting to provide your customers with the best service that you are capable of providing, then to kick back and wait for new business to come in as a result of referrals from the customers’ friends and family. However, this is in no way how things often play out at all.
As the owner of a small business, it is vital that you actively (and courteously) encourage your satisfied clients to spread the word about your brand and refer new customers. This will help you grow your business. The following is a list of five strategies that can be put into action right away in order to increase the amount of recommendations you get.
To promote user-generated content
For those unfamiliar, user-generated content, also known as UGC, may be found in the form of consumer-posted social media updates, films, blogs, and other forms of digital material related to a particular brand.
It is comparable to the method of marketing known as word-of-mouth and it takes place on social media platforms. In addition to enhancing the credibility of your business, it also gives you the ability to communicate with a far larger number of people in a way that is both productive and cost-effective.
The challenge at hand is how you may incentivize your users to produce their own user-generated content (also known as “UGC”).
Running a contest or campaign that promotes and incentivises your customers and followers to share user-generated content with their social media networks is one innovative approach.
You want it to be something that people look forwards to doing so that they can promote your company on their social media profiles, and you also want it to be something that will benefit them in some way when they do it.
You can also come up with a campaign idea that is enjoyable for your customers and naturally spreads the word about your brand by capitalising on our natural urge to compete with one another, which you can do by harnessing this desire. In addition, you may come up with a campaign concept that is enjoyable for your customers and naturally spreads the word about your brand. Then you may get a head start on the competition by recruiting a few of your most vocal customers or influential people of the community to assist you in spreading the news throughout their own networks. This will allow you to get an advantage over the other businesses.
Create a referral programme
Even the most contented of your clients might not immediately consider recommending your company to others. However, suppose you formalise the process and develop a referral programme that communicates this possibility to your clients. In that case, it becomes much simpler to manage, streamline, and optimise the potential of referral leads.
Referral programmes are a wonderful marketing technique because they offer an incentive to the customers you already have and encourage them to spread the word about your company by telling their friends and family. But keep in mind that the most important factor in determining the success of a referral programme is whether or not it offers participants rewards that are truly valuable. It ought to be huge enough to persuade your customers to go the extra mile, which will bring potential customers back to the front door of your company.
You might want to think about offering clients incentives like as gift cards, product freebies, discounts, cash, and loyalty points that can be utilised for future purchases in the event that they shop with you frequently.
You should carefully consider how you will reward your existing customers for bringing in new business, taking into account the nature of the goods or services you are offering as well as the typical lifetime worth of a client.
A reward or incentive should always be proportional to the amount that your business stands to gain from the acquisition of each new customer. A gift certificate for a neighbourhood coffee shop in the amount of $5 may be all that is required in certain situations. Nevertheless, the incentive must always be proportional to the amount that your business stands to gain from the acquisition of each new customer. Offer meaningful referral incentives to your clients. They will be more likely to think about who in their personal and professional networks would suit your company.
Cultivate brand evangelists
Customers who willingly tell their friends and family about their positive experiences with your company and engage in their own word-of-mouth marketing are referred to as brand advocates. They are a valuable asset, thus making sure that they are well taken care of should be one of your primary concerns because of this.
There is a wide variety of different ways in which customers can assist you in spreading the word about your company. Sharing your material, providing positive feedback on discussion boards and review websites, and giving your company an organic shoutout on their social media channels are some of the methods that fall under this category. Customers who are loyal to your product and eagerly recommend it to others are likely to be advocates of your brand.
Take, for instance, the marketing effort for Popeye’s chicken sandwiches. The brand’s most devoted fans flocked to Twitter as soon as they heard about the new sandwich the company was releasing. They deluged the website with complimentary reviews and memes, which sparked a social media conflict with its rival Chick-fil-A.
One tweet sent out by Popeye’s generated more than 87,000 retweets and more than 325,000 likes over the course of the subsequent two weeks. As a result, the company received more than $23 million in advertising value without having to spend a single dollar on it. The extent of their enterprise’s performance was significantly impacted by the efficiency with which their brand evangelists wanted to disseminate the news and promote their prefered chicken brand.
It is vital for a business owner who wants to channel these champions towards meaningfully spreading the word about their company to identify this group of people and create long-term connections with them. If you want to do this, see the previous sentence. You may demonstrate thanks for their contribution by inviting them to launch events, showcasing their work on your social media platforms or blog, and giving them a little gift of some kind.
You may show appreciation for brand advocates’ work by cultivating your ties with them and rewarding them when they bring in further recommendations.
Overdeliver and create lasting connections
A strong relationship with each individual consumer should be considered the cornerstone of any word-of-mouth referral scheme. And this is not something that can be acquired in a single day.
When the priority is focused on establishing genuine connections with the customers one serves, it is much simpler to receive recommendations through word of mouth. This is because satisfied customers are more likely to talk favourably about a company. You have delivered an experience that encourages individuals to talk positively about your business and motivates others to do the same. This will result in increased awareness and sales of your product.
In addition, there are a variety of ways that you may use in order to engage with your customers and develop ties that will remain. You could start a blog to interact with or offer a voice to your consumers, engage with them on social media, listen to what they have to say, deliver a personalised experience, or run a robust loyalty programme. All of these options are good ways to show your customers that you care about them. All of these possibilities are wonderful methods to demonstrate to your clients that you value the feedback they provide and are grateful for the business they provide.
Working together with influencers
In addition to the tried-and-true approach of marketing through word-of-mouth, influencer marketing is an extra genuine and relevant marketing channel that may work wonders for your company.
You will need to create some noise about the introduction of a referral programme to reward your consumers if you decide to implement such a programme. And a fantastic way to achieve it is to form partnerships with the appropriate people who have power in your industry.
Collaborate with influential individuals in order to get your referral offers publicised on the social media and blog pages of those individuals. You could also include them in your referral campaigns and provide them with a one-of-a-kind coupon code to distribute to the people who follow them on social media. Another possibility is that you could combine these two strategies. You can get in touch with their audience and gauge how well the relationship is working by delivering promotional materials and getting their attention.
This strategy is applicable to a far wider variety of companies than simply luxury watch brands or tourism enterprises could ever hope to be the beneficiaries of its implementation. You have an opportunity to get your message in front of more targeted customers on a particular social media network if your customers (and potential customers) use a particular social media platform to spend time following prominent influencers.
Simply putting out the request for further testimonials and recommendations is the most effective method. The manner in which you choose to carry it out is the critical factor. Here are four ways to approach your satisfied customers for references without coming across as desperate or impolite.
Send personalised emails
Email marketing is by far the most efficient method for reaching out to current and potential consumers. It is personal, discreet, and economical all at the same time.
You have the option of simultaneously sending an email to each and every client listed in your database. Sending personalised and targeted emails to consumers who have recently connected with your business, left a favourable review, or made a purchase is likely to result in a higher return on investment (ROI), provided that the appropriate tools are utilised. The challenge is in attracting the appropriate clients at the appropriate times. Because their previous interaction is still fresh in their memories, they are more inclined to recommend your company to others.
Be sure to send personalised emails that include a title that draws the attention of the reader, content that is simple and easy to understand, a clear call to action, and visual appeal. You may also send a post-purchase email to your customer while they are still satisfied with their purchase and mix that with your referral incentive. This is something that may be learned by looking at the email example that ZooShoo provides.
On your website, provide social sharing links
Customers initially go to social media platforms to talk about their interactions with various brands in this day and age (both good and bad). If you embed social sharing buttons into the most significant pages of your website, it will be much simpler for your customers to spread the news about things they enjoy doing.
It is possible to include social sharing buttons right into your product pages or even within the text of your blog posts to assist in increasing the amount of traffic generated and optimising customer interaction. Here’s an illustration of how I include social sharing options in a thoughtful manner into the content of my own blog.
You are not limited to placing share buttons solely on product pages and the body of blog entries, though; you may include them anywhere you like. Make the most of the opportunity to capture the happiness of your consumers by making a request for a share on the post-transaction page, which shows immediately after the user has finished making a purchase. Utilizing a programme such as AddThis will even allow you to pre-populate an example message for you to use later.
Automate requesting referrals
There is a good chance that you do not have enough time to contact each of your customers and ask for a reference. By automating your recommendation process, you will save both time and effort. You may include information about your referral programme in your email newsletters, throughout your website, and in the emails sent after a customer makes a purchase.
In addition to this, you need to ensure that regular reminders regarding the referral programme are included in your social media calendar. The next step is to continue informing customers about the programme at predetermined intervals. This will ensure that they keep the programme in the forefront of their minds.
Post a message on the gratitude page
On a company’s website, the page that says “thank you” is typically the page that gets the least amount of visitors. This page is the one that a customer sees for the very final time on a website after they have finished placing an order for a product or signing up for a service. These pages are routinely ignored, and as a result, they are virtually always empty. They do not make use of opportunities for more meaningful interaction or the cultivation of relationships.
You just made a sale to somebody. Congratulations! Congratulations! What about making it a win-win situation by asking them to refer a friend who also receives a discount on their initial purchase and rewarding them with a discount on their next purchase if they do so?
On their thank-you pages, Dropbox incorporates this strategy to great success. Additionally, it has developed into a primary source of referrals for their company.
Have good feedback from customers? It is time to put on a show for them.
What is the use of collecting evaluations and testimonials if they are not disseminated to the widest possible audience? Doing this makes it much simpler for potential clients to place their faith in you. The fact that you are presenting these assessments in a prominent location where they will have an impact is what really counts.
This is the section where you should highlight your reviews.
Because people are most likely to visit your homepage, putting reviews there is one of the most important things you can do. There is a good possibility that first-time site visitors will read testimonials before making a purchase, regardless of whether they are shown on a banner at the top of the homepage or farther down in a distinct area.
If you have a large number of testimonials that you want to promote, you might consider developing a landing page that is only devoted to showing your most appealing testimonials. You should think about adding video testimonials to your website in addition to displaying images in order to increase the amount of interaction that is taking place on your site. This is something that the Shopify team has done.
Exit-intent popups are presented to the user if the exit-intent technology determines that the user is about to depart the website without completing a transaction or carrying out the activity for which the website was created. It is meant to be the visitor’s last chance to be persuaded into becoming a subscription to the publication in question.
We know that receiving good customer feedback is an excellent method for establishing trust and influencing buying decisions. Because of this, placing them on the popup message that appears when a visitor is about to leave your website might be an effective strategy to get them to reconsider your product or service. Take into consideration the witty example provided by Monday.com.
You may add testimonials to a sidebar on your website in a classy manner if you do not want to clutter the homepage of your website, but you do want to display them. As a prospective customer navigates across the website in search of information before making a purchase, sidebars may be displayed on each and every page.
If you are selling a service or a higher-touch product, you need to create a sales page that outlines the benefits that clients will experience from working with you and tells them why they should buy from you. Because this is where you want to persuade your visitors to become paying customers, it is essential that you showcase any testimonials you may have received in the past.
Take, for instance, the page on my website that discusses my content marketing services and includes a number of video testimonials and quotations. The presentation of testimonials at this location has shown to be a practical prod. Several different clients have mentioned to me that these testimonials played a significant role in their choice to engage with me.
If you operate a small business, you can pretty much count on having certain financial limitations. And this is the most beneficial aspect of referrals received through word of mouth.
If you want more people to get interested in your company and the things it offers, referrals are one of the most successful marketing tactics there is. They have the potential to result in a continual flow of new customers as well as enhanced sales numbers, and this is true irrespective of the industry in which you operate.
You can rapidly expand your company and the amount of referrals you get by immediately putting into practise the strategies that are outlined in this article.
The great majority of firms that are run on a day-to-day basis do not take part in large investment rounds led by significant players, do not employ former executives from global corporations, and do not take part in large merger and acquisition deals. They are not anything special; they are simply regular businesses that are doing well and expanding. However, if your company is thriving or you have a significant piece of news, it may appear that public relations are a faraway dream.
When a company wants its name to be seen in lights over Broadway or, in the case of the media, in The New York Times, Forbes, and Entrepreneur, I like to refer to this as “Lights over Broadway PR.” This is when a business wants to see their name in lights over Broadway. The irony here is that the majority of the time, consumers do not read these news sites.
Instead of sitting around and hoping for the proper moment to pitch national news networks, I thought I’d give you some do-it-yourself public relations strategies you can begin using immediately. These strategies are not intended to be resource-intensive, meaning that you will spend time and money on them; rather, in the end, they will reward you with incremental PR victories that you can utilise to push your PR success further.
One of the greatest mistakes you can make in public relations is to “do PR” and be featured in the news without giving it any thought or planning. And yet, I find that the majority of companies who engage in PR outreach do just this: they do not have a purpose and instead only aim to gain mentions in the news. This accounts for ninety percent of the companies that engage in PR outreach.
During the onboarding process for JustReachOut, you will be asked to detail the aim and purpose of your public relations campaign. On the basis of these and other replies, we will then offer a particular strategy and tactics plan.
In most cases, you should choose one of the following three primary goals:
There are normally four primary goals that you want to accomplish with your campaign:
Establishing your aim and purpose should be your first item of business. This is certainly the case, and it is much more so in the case of smaller enterprises in which employees are required to wear numerous hats. I also understand that most small firms do not have the time in the day to test out PR as a branding exercise, and this is something that I respect. This demonstrates that all of the public relations-related activities you engage in need to be targeted and goal-oriented to develop a metre of success independent of sales measurements.
To be successful in public relations (PR), you need to do more than just pitch the features and benefits of your product or service. Reporters and journalists are not very interested in hearing your business pitch. They have a job, and they cover a certain beat, so how are you going to make their next post stand out, in addition to getting a lot of people to read it and share it?
Your task is to essentially examine the three or four most recent articles that this journalist has written and select what the next headline will be. This next headline should be something that blends in nicely with the articles that came before it and also symbolise something really distinctive. To even begin to think about acquiring earned media coverage, you really need to conceive of an angle around your product or service that will make it a good narrative. This is a prerequisite for even thinking about getting earned media coverage. Suppose you have developed a solution that solves a significant issue that has been plaguing your sector; here are some things you should ask yourself:
Take a look at the queries journalists are sending out in search of an authority figure to cite in the pieces they are producing. This can help you come up with some ideas for this section. The number of queries submitted by journalists seeking an authority figure to quote in their articles each day is in the hundreds of thousands. This is a treasure trove of opportunities to get your work featured and will also give you a solid grasp of the kinds of things you should be presenting.
Data, insights, or any kind of study may give significant insight and are always an excellent approach to start a conversation with a journalist. Start a conversation based on both good and negative feelings; this is why I will always propose finding strong metrics to support any tale or message you want to share with others.
Metrics are extremely appealing to reporters and journalists and are much more appealing when presented in an attractive graphic manner and adequately explained.
Another illustration of this would be the corporate social responsibility campaign you are about to launch. Again, this is a terrific tale with plenty of graphics to share of your efforts and success across numerous platforms, not just PR. Share it with the world!
It takes time to craft a narrative and message that would resonate with a reporter or newspaper; thus, it is important not to become frustrated if there are no immediate results. Instead, you should concentrate on honing in on your message. Once you have an idea of your company’s objective, things will become much more straightforward.
The three types of reach that PR possesses are earned, owned, and purchased media reach. Earned credibility, which is the sort that we discussed in point number two, may be challenging and achieving it might take some time. Let’s discuss paid and owned forms of media.
Paid media. When you advertise in paid media, you are purchasing exposure. Consider the paid social media posts that show up in your news feed. One company developed a piece of content using targeting data and then paid to have it displayed at the top of search results.
This seems like the best possible strategy, doesn’t it? Bear in mind that bought media has the potential to turn into a money hole with no results since you did not have a goal beyond increasing the number of people who visit the website. Or, the narrative you are presenting is not compelling enough for the audience you are trying to reach to click through.
The ability to conduct several tests and receive actionable information in return is one of the many benefits that come with paid media.
An other strategy would be to make use of any earned media coverage you obtain and simply promote the post so that a larger audience sees it. Be sure to adjust the demographic settings so that they are appropriate for your target market. For an audience consisting of everyone who has visited your website during the previous three hundred and eighty days, this kind of advertising performs quite effectively. This broadens the audience that is exposed to the piece, which in turn broadens the audience that is exposed to your brand.
Using this strategy, you will be able to evaluate the viability of your story ideas before presenting them to journalists.
Some additional paid media examples include:
Owned media. Owned media consists of any and all media properties that are in your possession and under your control. These are the following:
Selling owned media may be a challenging endeavour for pretty much everyone. Because the majority of the media that you “own” is focused on marketing and sales, there is often very little appeal in constantly having one’s purchasing decisions influenced by advertisements.
Your efforts with owned media ought to be on producing high-quality content that does not need anything in return from the audience. Aside from the advantages of search engine optimisation, having high-quality owned media allows you to reference insights directly to your website. I am aware that this is challenging, particularly if you are a one-person operation or a bootstrapped organisation.
If you happen to have a fantastic piece of owned media that converts well or attracts a significant amount of traffic, then you might be able to enhance your reach by using sponsored media. Once more, the objective here is to bring your brand to the attention more individuals’ attention and raise their recognition.
Earlier, in the second point above, we briefly discussed this. Commenting on important news that pertains to your sector is an easy way to break into the world of public relations (PR), expand your network of media contacts, and increase industry awareness. I say this for a straightforward reason: websites like Help a Reporter Out and JournoRequests make it very simple to locate chances to be featured in the media. All you need to do is schedule at least sixty minutes, but no more than an hour, every single day to go through any prospects and compose some answers.
This course of action is highly recommended for companies who are having trouble crafting their narrative or messaging but are aware of the benefits of public relations. Because of your knowledge in the sector, you offer comments on events and news, which means that you will unavoidably be in contact with the most important reporters in this sector, and you will do so consistently.
To tell you the truth, this is not a terrible approach to start coming to grips with the world of public relations (PR), especially considering that you are contributing nothing but insight and information while also helping to create relationships with the media. This is the formula for long-term success in public relations. In the end, if you have a narrative to tell and PR goals in mind, you will be able to interact with your media contacts and pitch your tale to them.
It will be easy if you have a narrative to tell throughout the pitching process. If not, you may receive comments that may be acted upon to make adjustments. In either case, being an industry expert is a fantastic way to get started because it calls for a relatively small investment of time and money.
You undoubtedly already have an idea of the potential advantages of investing in public relations, despite the fact that small firms rarely have the financial means to do so. These do-it-yourself public relations strategies are designed to provide you with an opportunity to test the waters without plunging headfirst into the pool.
You may begin working towards your goal of raising brand recognition by devoting only one hour daily to one of the abovementioned strategies. Building relationships with media outlets and doing experiments with paid media are two of the best ways to collect insights and data that may assist with understanding and sales.
THIS WEBSITE IS ONLY INTENDED TO PROVIDE GENERAL ADVICE; IT DOES NOT PROVIDE PERSONAL FINANCIAL OR INVESTMENT ADVICE IN ANY FORM. ALSO, CHANGES IN LEGISLATION MAY OCCUR FREQUENTLY. BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTIONS DEPENDING ON THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU SEEK OUR OFFICIAL ADVICE FIRST. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN OBTAINED FROM SOURCES THAT EWM ACCOUNTANTS & BUSINESS ADVISORS BELIEVES TO BE RELIABLE; HOWEVER, WE MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES AS TO THE ACCURACY OF SUCH INFORMATION AND ACCEPT NO LIABILITY IN CONNECTION THEREWITH. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CONSULT WITH A TAX ADVISOR, a CPA, a FINANCIAL ADVISOR, an ATTORNEY, AN ACCOUNTANT, AND ANY OTHER PROFESSIONAL THAT CAN HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND AND EVALUATE THE RISKS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH ANY INVESTMENT.
Guest post by : team Form -
Like this? Share it...