How to get more people talking about your business online
As a small business owner, you probably can’t afford elaborate and expensive marketing tactics. And if you’re on a limited budget, growing your business might seem impossible.
So, how can you promote your business when you have little money to invest in online marketing? The answer is simple: you get your existing customers to promote it for you.
This is also known as word-of-mouth marketing, and it’s still one of the cheapest, most effective tactics to boost visibility for your brand and get more customers.
In this post, we’ll explain what word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is and how to go about enticing more people to talk about your small business online.
What is word of mouth marketing?
Research shows that 83% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family and friends over all other forms of advertising. So, if there’s something you should never underestimate it’s the power of a recommendation.
Traditionally, WOMM occurs when a customer recommends or promotes a business or a product or service to another person.
Today, WOMM occurs not just offline, face-to-face, but also online, on blogs, groups, forums, and social media platforms. And it still works wonders.
Why? Because when an existing customer recommends your brand to other people, they are more likely to give it a shot.
But the key here is getting people to talk about your business online and recommend you to others. So, how do you do it?
Read on as we share a few ways to encourage your existing customers to talk about business online and help bring in new customers.
Go above and beyond for your customers
There’s a reason why you rarely hear or read about average customer experiences. If the experience is average, there’s really nothing to share, is there? But if the experience is amazing or terrible, you can be sure people will talk or write about it online.
So, if you want to get people talking about your business online, you need to give them something amazing that they can rave about. Providing an exceptional customer experience and going above and beyond customer expectations can motivate them to spread the word about your business.
This can mean be anything from fast delivery as promised and a no-questions asked, hassle-free return policy to friendly customer service where your customers feel like they’re talking to a caring human being who genuinely wants to answer their questions or help solve their problem.
The idea is that no matter where people are in the customer journey – whether they’re in the research phase and have questions or they’ve bought your product but need assistance using it – you need to go the extra mile if you want to stand out from the crowd and get them talking about you online.
And if customers have a bad experience, go out of your way to make things right as quickly as possible. That can make the difference between a harmful review and a positive one where you proved you care about your customers’ happiness more than you do about making money.
Provide a speedy response
You know what else gets people talking? Speedy customer support.
People don’t like waiting around to receive answers to their questions. When they send you a private message on Facebook or Instagram, they expect you to reply in a matter of minutes. If you take too long, they’ll just go to your competitors instead.
Now imagine one of your customers has an issue with a product they bought on your site. They’re already frustrated and want their money back. If you take too long to answer, they’ll immediately feel taken advantage of and the next thing you know, a negative review pops up where they call your business a fraud.
If you want to encourage people to share positive reviews about their experience with you, you need to respond right away to whatever questions or complaints they have.
In fact, according to a Nielsen-McKinsey study, 33% of customers would recommend a brand that offers a quick but ineffective response.
In other words, even if you don’t manage to provide the solution they’re looking for, customers are more likely to recommend you to other people if you provide a speedy response.
Educate, delight, and entertain them
Never underestimate the power of amazing content. It not only helps prospects to find you with ease at the top of the search engine results but it also can get people talking.
For example, if you are a nutrition coach, one way to get people talking is to offer a fantastic resource for free. This can be an entire week’s menu where you share healthy and delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that they can easily prepare at home, no matter their budget or cooking skills.
It can also be a weekly webinar, YouTube or podcast episode where you answer people’s questions and provide solutions to their specific problems.
If you provide free educational, delightful and fun content that’s relevant to your audience and packed with actionable tips, advice and examples, you’re bound to get people sharing and talking about your brand online.
Celebrate their special life events
If there’s one thing that can set your small business apart from competitors and big brands, it’s showing you’re human and that you really care.
Imagine you’re travelling abroad and you check into a hotel. When you go into your room, there’s a box of chocolates and a card that says “Happy birthday. Thank you for choosing to stay with us on this special day!”. How amazing would that feel? You’d likely take a picture right away and tell everyone about this lovely gesture.
These kinds of small, inexpensive gestures have a bigger impact on your customers and your brand’s reputation than you might think. It shows that you’re one of those businesses that goes the extra mile to make customers happy.
So, think about ways you can apply this to your business. For example, if you ask for customers’ dates of birth when they sign up for your email list or purchase a product, use that information to celebrate with them and make their special day a little more special. You could send them a discount on their birthday, a coupon for a free product or maybe free delivery on their next order.
Get involved in your community
Doing good can only do good things for your word of mouth. Whether you volunteer at a local charity, sponsor a local youth sports team or organise a charitable event yourself to raise awareness on a cause that matters to you and your community – doing good is bound to get eyes on your brand and people talking.
One word of advice though: do it because you genuinely care about your community and the cause your support. You audience is smart and they’ll be able to tell if you’re just doing it for the attention.
The only way to get people talking about your business online is to give them something worth talking about. So make sure you do your best to go the extra mile on everything from providing friendly and speedy customer support to celebrating not only their milestones and special events but also the community you live in.