- Business and Employment
48 Word of Mouth Advertising Business Ideas
Advertise Your Business for Free with Word of Mouth Marketing Tactics
Traditional advertising costs money, and isn't very effective in many circumstances. What about word of mouth advertising for your business? It's free, and it's the most effective type of marketing. When you buy something do you head to YouTube to research commercials, or do you head online to read reviews, or maybe call a friend or family member to ask their opinion of a local plumber? You use word of mouth, and you trust it, whether you realize it or not!
So how can you utilize word of mouth advertising for your business? You can with the ideas below, which will help you spread the word without spending a dime. Yes, they'll take time, but they'll generate great results. Time is money, and you were going to spend money on paid advertising anyway... so why not spend less and invest that time back into marketing via word of mouth?
23 Ideas to Start Your Word of Mouth Marketing Campaign
Start telling the world about your business and start getting referrals!
1. Tell your friends to spread the word.
2. It seems obvious, but tell your family (and tell them if you are offering referrals).
3. Email your friends and family. Send them a reminder after a few weeks so they won't forget.
5. Become active on a social network. Try Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Master just one of those before you spread your wings (or spread yourself too thin).
6. Encourage others to talk about your business by offering a truly one-of-a-kind item. If you can make it customized, this is key.
7. When someone asks you about your business, know what you're going to say. Have a script ready and prepared, so it's easy to remember and sounds interesting.
8. Talk more about your business, to anyone who will listen. If you're interesting, they won't be bored, and most people ask "what do you do for work?" when they first meet you anyway.
9. Make your reputation known to the public by displaying your online reviews in your store, or posting words of praise on your website. The more, the better!
10. Be more honest in your approach. For instance, don't sell a product to them that doesn't suit their needs. While they might not purchase your product now, they'll remember your sincere approach and tell potential customers absolutely everything about your business (and they'll pass the word along).
11. Encourage employees to talk about your business by having open, honest communication with them. Let them give feedback, let them openly discuss issues and be a part of decision making, then they'll reward you by talking about your business with their friends and family.
12. Ask your happy customers if they can be contacted for a referral (or reference), then tell your customers that the list exists if they need it.
13. Attend a local business group where you can network with other business owners. They'll talk about their business, you'll talk about yours.
14. Join Sphinn and network with other search engine marketers. You'll get ahead on this site if you have something useful.
15. Make it easy for customers to find you. Are you listed in the Yellow Pages, and can they find you easily online? (This is where that Squidoo lens might come in handy)
16. Think of products or services that you've personally recommended to someone. What was the thing that made the product so good to stick your neck out and tell someone about it?
17. Offer something on your website that is a useful tool for many people. Not only will you attract links, but visitors might remember the name of your website. A useful way to brand yourself.
18. Be a know-it-all. Nothing instills confidence in buyers like knowing that the person that they're doing business with is a professional in their field. Answer questions to customers problems and display them on your website, or in a related forum. The point is, you want them to feel comfortable spending their money with you.
19. Speaking of helping people, you can help buyers out by making it easy for them to find the information that they need. Have you ever considered making a part of your website a resource for your targeted buyers?
20. And speaking of helping once again, why not associate yourself with a charity that's somehow related to your business? While it may not be free, it's a charity, and people like helping businesses that help charities. Don't be shy about your association with this charitable cause, tell people.
21. Have customers fill out surveys. Create an online poll or create a hand written one so customers can anonymously submit through written forms to tell you what they do and don't like about your business.
22. Simplify your payment methods as much as you can. Offer easy online payments with secure checkout pages. Accept credit cards as well as PayPal, and you could see your website's business pick up in no time.
23. Treat everyone the same -- with a great deal of respect and courtesy. Treat vendors, suppliers, customers and employees the way you'd want to be treated. It's not just customers that spread the word about your business, it's everyone you deal with.
Paid Advertising vs. Word of Mouth Marketing - Which is more effective for you?
What's the better method of advertising your business? Which do you prefer, and which has delivered great results for you?
Should you rely on paid advertising, or just word of mouth marketing for your business?
No way, you need paid advertising to survive.
Inspire Customers to Rave About Your Business - Marketing Without Advertising, one of my favorite business books
This is one of my favorite business books, and a strong influence on this page that I built. If you're not convinced that word of mouth marketing is important, think again! With sections on analyzing your current business to encouraging employees and family to brag about your business, this book will take you to the next step in encouraging happy customers to willingly and enthusiastically promote your business.
If you don't ask people to spread the word about you, they might not! Be clear with family and friends that you're looking for referrals, and tell them how you can compensate them.
Knowing When to Quit - Sound advice from Seth Godin's "The Dip"
We're told from a young age, "never quit!," but it's not the best advice all of the time. Seth points out in his book, The Dip, that quitting can be a good thing, if you know when the right time is to do so.Are you pulling the plug at the right time? Accepting failure, moving on (or in some cases selling your project, whatever that might be), and knowing the signs of an oncoming "dip" are all something that are very important with any new venture you tackle.
Is it time to try something new? "We fail when we get distracted by tasks we don't have the guts to quit"- Seth Godin.
25 More Ways to Advertise with Word of Mouth Marketing
More ideas to help spread the word about your business
24. Make the most use of online customer reviews as possible. Getting bad reviews? Fix the problems. Not getting reviews? Ask customers to go online and post them.
25. Handle situations that affect your reputation negatively with dignity. Rectify the situation anyway possible, don't leave your customer hanging (and ready to tell the world that you're no good to deal with!).
26. Branch out part of your business into something that's new and exciting. Offer something brand new that no one is doing, and then educate people about it. An example: if you're a photographer, offer to restore their VHS tape videos and put them online privately for them to watch.
27. Have some sort of insurance policy or guarantee that makes you more of a comfortable purchase, for new buyers especially.
28. People hate spam and heavy sales pitches. Try to eliminate any uncomfortable situations for your buyers, and unwelcome solicitations or messages.
29. Tell your customers how they can use the product they just purchased. Don't just let them leave with it, tell them how they can use it, or how they can reach you for more ideas.
30. Let people know what the differences are between your business and someone else's. Point out the pros of yours, vs. the negatives of someone else's, as long as they are fact.
31. Brag about your credentials. Tell everyone how you're qualified, what school you went to, what degrees you have, awards your community has given your business, and what certification employees have gone through. Don't belittle even small achievements.
32. Reward people that send business your way. Don't just ignore it, thank them at least, and even better, send them a gift, take them to lunch, do them a favor -- something to let them know that they're appreciated and that makes them want to send more people to you.
33. If you're particularly knowledegable in your field and have a lot of information to share, consider a blog on your website, but be prepared to tend to it on a regular basis (or don't bother setting it up).
34. Don't forget the coupon, coupon code, and freebie method. People love free now more than ever. Offer a steep discount or something free and word will spread.
35. Encourage interaction from your customers in store or on your website through a contest. Offer the winner something worth their time and effort, or you probably won't get good results.
36. Run an event in your business that really generates excitement. If you're a local deli, have an event where you pay homage to the meatball sub and the history of Italian eating.
37. Start spreading out to areas that you aren't. If you sell a product that's completely unique, Ebay might be the place to go, or maybe Etsy.
38. Go completely ad free on your website, then display that fact proudly somewhere on your site.
39. Head to a trade fair, event, or show that is based on a field that your business is related. Don't focus on quantity of people that you meet, but making one or two really good connections instead.
40. Don't forget to ask family to refer people to you. They might not otherwise!
41. It's a TV age that we're living in, and some people just don't like reading. Make your message, service, or business available via video so potential customers can see you and your work in action.
42. Don't use words that your customers can't understand, and if you do, explain what that word means (without being condescending).
43. At your next event, give away t-shirts or gifts commemorating the event as door prizes, or hold a raffle.
44. Ask your friends and family to bookmark your site on social networking sites, as well as link to it on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
45. Just like video, photos are essential for your business. Show them pictures of work and products that you've made on flickr, the photo sharing site.
46. Abandon your old ways of stale advertising. Flyers, direct mail, telemarketing, purchasing email lists, these are all old-school style methods that are costly and getting less effective.
47. Don't hide. Make yourself available for any customer that wants to see you, whether that means online or off. Don't become less active when business picks up, or you can expect business to drop off.
48. Entice your customers to stay connected as much as possible. Don't ask them, just make them really want to stay in touch, whether that's email, RSS feed subscription, to follow you on Twitter, or your send event updates.
How Smart Companies Get People Talking - Seth Godin's acclaimed book on word of mouth marketing
How do you make people enthusiastic enough to promote your product for free to everyone they know? Many businesses have had huge success with this method, and haven't spent a dime on advertising, while other big advertising campaigns fail. So what's their secret? Seth Godin goes over this concept in his well reviewed book here, How Smart Companies Get People Talking.
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Have a proven method of word of mouth advertising/marketing that's working for you? Or do you have a question that needs answering? If I can't answer it, one of the other guests to this page might be able to help you!
You don't have to be a Squidoo member to comment, but you can join up and make a lens (for free) to promote your business here. Just make sure it's worth looking at!