Word of Mouth Marketing
We’ve captured the winning strategies of the big ad agencies, and we’re going to share with you exactly what you need to do if you want to grow your business. In this report we are going to lay out the three growth strategies of Word of Mouth Marketing: Collect, Reach, and Convert. Together, these strategies form the basis of a program we’ve used to help over 6,000 businesses generate over 300 million in revenue. When followed, you can leverage these strategies to obtain more referrals, stay top-of-mind, and increase buying frequency among your customers.
The secret is in the Word of Mouth Marketing Cycle. Word of Mouth Marketing is the single most powerful marketing tool any company has but few understand how to leverage it.
#1: Capture Your Customers
If you walk into a Starbucks, they know exactly how many Vanilla Lattes you’ve had this month, your birthday, and whether or not you are one of their best customers. The big companies know that success is not only identifying new customers but taking the time to understand and engage with the customers you already have. Top-of-mind strategies geared towards your current customer base not only improve the frequency with which they buy, they greatly improve how often your current customers think about and refer your business. At boomtime, we’ve identified the most effective strategies to leverage your current customers based on our experience developing Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies for over 6,000 businesses across the U.S.
How can you focus more on the customers and referrals you already have?
You have to COLLECT the contact information for every customer and referral you come into contact with in-person and online.
Collect Strategy #1: Use Rewards
A reward is anything of value to your referrals or customers you can provide in exchange for their contact information. This report is an example of an Information Reward. We’re putting our most valuable discoveries in text so that you can evaluate our process and understand why our system works. At the same time, we are giving you strategies that you can implement and get real results.
The type of reward you use will depend on your business. Most businesses will use 1 of 2 types of reward.
Information Rewards show off your expertise, demonstrating a solution to your prospective customer’s problem or pain-point. For example, MagTec, a client of ours, offers a free report that explains 5 important things about water conditioning.
The picture above is an illustration of a “light-box”, essentially an offer that appears when a referral visits your site. This works because any referrals who visit their site are there because they are in need of water conditioning. By providing a report that discusses the 5 most important considerations when buying a water conditioning system, MagTec is serving the information needs of its referrals while also collecting the information that will allow them to reach out to those same referrals in the immediate future.
Value Rewards – provide a tangible value for the potential customer. For example, if you own a local restaurant you can offer a free lunch entrée when a customer brings a friend.
This works because anyone who visits a restaurant site is there because they are interested in visiting. By offering a free lunch special to anyone who joins the mailing list they are capturing the information of current customers who are already fans of the business. This opens the door for the restaurant to open a conversation with their customers later on. They can let them know about promotions and increase the frequency with which they buy.
For referrals who haven’t tried the business, this offer is a compelling reason to try the business. By using a light-box reward the restaurant is exponentially increasing the number of referrals who convert into paying customers.
If you are not using a light-box reward strategy like these, you ARE losing valuable opportunities daily. Using rewards is the best way to provide value and get your referrals to gladly volunteer their contact information.
Collect Strategy #2: Collect Information In-Store
In the same way that a light-box allows you to collect information and start conversation with your existing website visitors, a tablet serves to provide valuable offers to visitors to your storefront. This is a great strategy for retail businesses to increase the frequency of visits from existing customers.
Tablets are the perfect way to collect contact information from visitors to your store. The best way to entice customers to provide information in store is to give them a compelling offer. At
boomtime, we work with clients to develop compelling offers specific to the retail store and clientele that patronize it. You will want to place the tablet at your point of customer contact. Either at your front register (for retail), your showroom, or trade-show booth.
Strategy #2: Stay Top of Mind
Large companies stay in regular contact with their customers across different channels, and understand the power of email. If you have an email account, there is no doubt you are receiving emails from some of your favorite brands. Each of us regularly receives discounts, reminders, and alerts from top companies.
That’s because email marketing simply works. Despite the meteoric rise in social media use among consumers, email is still the best marketing channel to use when it comes to consumer engagement. Paired with the right automation technologies and techniques, Your ROI will skyrocket!
Not convinced? Here are some quick facts:
“Your emails get delivered more than 90% of the time, while your Facebook posts get delivered 2% of the time… If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to your email list or gaining a new Facebook fan, go for email every time”. – Nate Elliot, Forrester Research
“Small business owners estimate that getting an extra hour in their day back from doing their own email marketing (and other activities) is worth $273/hour.” – Constant Contact
“Email marketing has an ROI of 4300%” – Direct Marketing Association
How do you stay Top-of-Mind and increase ROI?
What the winning companies do is create a communications plan: map out your promotional calendar and integrate it with your communications.
Consistency is the key. By staying in front of your customers on a regular basis with compelling offers you ensure that your business is Top-of-Mind and you bring them back more often.
How many times have you wanted to get an email blast out to your customers, but just couldn’t find the time? You’ve got a business to run but the bottom line is that it has to happen: by far the easiest way to increase frequency in your existing customers is to stay top-of-mind.
This is where experience comes in: You have to stick with it to learn what makes a compelling offer. Without building experience you are not going to know what is going to work and when. The best way to build experience and learn how to communicate with your customers without becoming overwhelmed is to build your schedule in advance and automate the process.
Automation allows you to talk to your potential customer at the best possible time, when THEY are ready. You need to set up your automation to trigger when a potential customer takes an action on your website, your ad, or through email. The first step of your automation process is your compelling offer. Your potential customers will see your offer and give you their information in exchange for an email containing access to that offer, or “Reward”.
Remember the light-box from the first strategy? The light-box is one of the most effective triggers you can use to set an automation in motion. You will not only receive a potential customer’s information when they give you their information via their light-box, your automation will automatically deliver the Reward and follow up with the customer with a series of emails designed to introduce them to who you are as a business, what you have to offer, and what to expect when doing business with you.
Your information or value reward should be followed by your Introduction Letter. Ideally, this letter will be sent within 48 hours of your Reward to literally introduce you to your email audience. This is the first in a series of emails your will send and should have a format similar to the one outlined below:
- Introduce “the face” of your business
- State the “why” of your business or give a brief history of your business
- Talk about what you do, and what your business does in broad terms
- State a problem your business solves and relate it to the “face” of your business.
- Tell the short version of how you solve problems in your business
- Make a promise
The goal of each one of these steps is to make your company more approachable, and more human to your prospective customers and current customers. Remember, you are starting a conversation with valued customers and you want to create a sense of familiarity so you can continue the conversation in the future.
Strategy #3: Create a Conversion System
When you get a referral, what do they do? The same thing that you and I do: They Google you. What is the first thing they find? Your website.
Is your website an active part of the sales team?
I’m not talking about how beautiful it is (or isn’t), but how good it is at converting referrals into customers?
Most small business websites are passive, equivalent to an internet billboard and without the right strategy. With an online billboard you are missing the opportunity to really communicate with your customers. The nature of Word of Mouth has changed.
What has changed?
What has drastically changed is what happens when you get a referral now. When a bride-to-be hears what service she should use, the days of her just calling that service are over. Now, she’s going to search for that business online and find its Google+ page. When she arrives there, If the picture she sees looks like a shack on the side of the road, the bride isn’t going to trust her wedding to that business. As a result, a referral is lost, and thousands in revenue are lost without the business owner ever even realizing it.
Local SEO is the most critical factor in making your website visible to your customers. Big search engines need to confirm that your information is accurate before they serve it up to the thousands of information hungry searchers in your area. How do you let Google know your business is legitimate?
Register your business with Google My Business to confirm that your business is legitimate and your information is accurate. You’ll want to make sure that your My Business profile is consistent with the business information you have posted elsewhere online. Otherwise, you will want to change any other profile you have to exactly match your Google My Business profile.
70% of small business website traffic is on a smartphone. Go pull up your website on your phone. What does it look like? Since that is where most of your customers are, make sure your website is designed mobile first.
This is a point that can’t be stressed enough. If the majority of your website views are not already on a mobile device, they will be soon. And the major search engines have followed suit by emphasizing mobile optimized sites and hiding the rest.
Even if your customers go directly to your URL via mobile they are likely to leave before reading your most valuable content if they find a site that is difficult to navigate.
Mastering Word of Mouth is not easy but it is necessary for you to capture more referrals for your business. The Word of Mouth Marketing Cycle is more than the sum of any of its parts. It is a method of coordinating your marketing efforts in a way that allows you to capture more referrals and increase understanding between you and your customers. The boomtime Word of Mouth Marketing Cycle goes beyond traditional Word of Mouth and incorporates the most impactful online business to customer and customer to customer strategies. Whether you do it for yourself or you have boomtime do it for you these are the marketing strategies you need for increasing Word of Mouth in the modern business environment.
The program outlined above improves your online presence, engages referrals in person and online, increases the rate at which your customers buy, empowers you to amplify your Word of Mouth in a way that multiplies your referrals, and plants the seeds for long term communication with your current customers and prospective customers.