Word of mouth is the most valuable form of marketing there is; it’s effective and it’s free!
Each of your existing clients has the capacity to bring new business to your door and it won’t cost you a cent.
You: Provide your clients with a quality service which shows them you care about their business and are willing to go the extra mile to meet their needs.
They: Are so satisfied with the service you provide, that they can’t help but tell their friends, family and business associates about your service.
Before you know it, word of mouth about your service has spread and you’ve got new clients lining up to see you – all based on your reputation of providing good service!
It’s a simple fact of human nature that if we buy an awesome product, eat a fantastic meal or simply receive good service, we will tell others about our experience. This habitual sharing, known as ‘word of mouth’, helps every business grow their client base. Often it is far more successful (and cheaper!) than any paid for marketing campaign, which is why superior service and extra effort are essential to the long term success of your business.
Unfortunately, long term success does not happen overnight. That’s why it is important to continue to cultivate positive relationships with your clients on an ongoing basis. Wishing them a happy birthday or making time to see them out of hours helps build a positive client experience and reinforces to them the reasons why their friends and family should hear about the great service you offer.
So what can you do to ensure word of mouth helps your business grow?
- Relationship Marketing: Relationship marketing is one of the most important areas to concentrate on for retaining your clients. A client doesn’t just exist when you are doing business with them. Get to know your clients needs, what’s important to them and make sure they know that you care about them. Keeping in touch, remembering important dates and generally being more than just a service provider is always appreciated – and a great way to prompt word of mouth. (Read our blog on Relationship Marketing to find out more.)
- Make a request: Ask your clients for referrals, a reference and/or a testimonial. If you have profiles on online directories, find your listing on each of them and send a link to your client along with a request for a review of your service. Warning: Before you send such a request ensure your client is 100% happy with your service. If you request a testimonial from an unhappy client you may find negative word of mouth ends up costing you business! An unhappy client is naturally driven to spread negativity and poor reviews about your service, so make sure your existing clients are happy in the first instance before worrying about new ones!
- Referral Incentives: How much is a new client worth to you? An hour or two of your time, a small (time limited) discount on an additional service? These are both good incentives to provide to an existing client in return for recommending your service to their friends and contacts. A free consultation to any clients they refer to you should always be offered as a show of good will.
- Team Up: An affiliation with a related local business ie: a solicitor or business provider such as a distributor or commercial cleaner is also a good avenue to explore. A good two way incentive needs to be established here so that both businesses benefit as a result of the relationship.
These are all great ways to encourage word of mouth about your business but at the end of the day the best of all is to just deliver great service right from the start!