Word of mouth is often seen as the holy grail of marketing. It’s low-cost, effective, memorable, and often viral advertising for your business. But how do you become the talk of the town? How do you get to be the local business that everyone is buzzing about?
Here are 5 easy ideas that you can implement today:
1. Encourage Facebook Check-Ins
Unfortunately, visibility on posts from Facebook Pages has dropped to single-digit percentages. It’s dropped so far because Facebook has really doubled down its focus on the personal side, meaning content from friends is getting all the love. So how do you tap into that?
One way is check-ins. Years ago, they were all the rage. Nowadays, they’re more of an afterthought. Yet, “checking in” to a location is still a big call to action that people see when they open the Facebook mobile app. Take advantage of this by encouraging your customers to “check in” on Facebook from their phones when they come in. Since the average person has a few hundred friends, each check-in will reach hundreds of people—for free!
Offer something small for free as an incentive. The word of mouth potential is well worth it. As a bonus, you can encourage them to check in with a photo. Check-ins with photos of smiling customers and their friends make these posts even more engaging.
(Fivestars businesses: Every new customer visits 5 times on average – always encourage your customers to check in to your business (or sign up for Fivestars) with their phone number or the Fivestars mobile app. The more they check in, the more rewards they get, and the happier they will be!)
2. Buy One Get One (BOGO) Free Deals …with a Twist!
BOGO free deals are powerful motivators. Add a twist to pump up the word of mouth factor: tell your regulars that in order to claim this special “BOGO free” deal, they have to bring a friend. You could even specify that the person they bring has to have never been to your store before. It’s a fun way to engage your regulars to be social and to introduce your store to their friends.
(Fivestars businesses: Review your current rewards structure and update it to continue delighting your customers. Read more about how to get new customers in the door easily with a generous Acquisition reward and edit your rewards or create a promotion on the Dashboard.)
3. Appeal to Your VIPs
Yelp. Love it or hate it, online review sites like Yelp are often where a substantial chunk of word of mouth happens—and they’re here to stay, so you might as well work them to your advantage.
One way you can do this is to leave feedback cards on your tables. Add an incentive to fill them out (like a monthly raffle to get a free item) and as the cards come in, keep an eye for the really good comments. When you get one, reach out to the commenter to thank them personally—and also ask them to write a Yelp review.
What’s the harm? They already love you. Appealing to them personally goes a long way.
4. Give Away Some Swag
Swag can be anything with your logo on it—a nice tote bag, a coffee mug, or a t-shirt. Swag is great for bringing in an extra line of revenue, but it’s also great advertising. Consider giving some of this swag away for free, to thank regulars who make large purchases for their loyalty. If the design is eye-catching and attractive, and if the item is well-made, your regulars will want to use it regularly—and get you free word of mouth all around town!
(Fivestars businesses: Learn more about how a Fivestars business creatively uses swag as a part of their customized rewards structure to get customers to spend money and earn points!)
5. Generate Stories Worth Sharing
What’s a story worth sharing? It’s anything that will prompt sharing on social media. It could be something simple, like having a contest or giving away a cute stuffed animal with your store’s t-shirt on it or celebrating a customer’s 100th visit to your store. It could be doing something crazy like giving away free ice cream or a free retail item for a limited time—anything that’s a story that people will want to share. Experiment and see what kind of social media buzz you get!
Generating word of mouth for your business doesn’t have to be complicated. Play around with these ideas, see what happens, and feel free to comment below and share!