Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM)…
Highly effective. Cheap. Gotta love it! (read more about WOMM and why it’s the best here)
BUT… there’s a HUGE problem with it. It’s out of your control. You sit back and hope your clients do the work for you. Sometimes it happens. Many times it doesn’t. That’s how it goes, right? (SPOILER ALERT: The answer is “NO, that’s not how it should work, and here’s how to take control of it!”)
I’m sure at some point you’ve experienced the amazing power of WOMM. So I’m not going to start telling you that…
- 92% of your clients trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of marketing. (source: Nielson)
- People are up to 4x more likely to buy when recommended by a friend (source: Nielsen)
- It is a MUCH cheaper way to advertise your business
No, I’m not going to waste your time with any of that. Instead, I’m going to address the problem with a passive approach to WOMM. It shouldn’t be that way. You can be proactive with WOMM, here’s how:
- Ask for referrals from the get go
Obvious, right? So why aren’t you doing this every time?! It sounds something like this: “I promise to do everything I can to make sure you and your guests have an amazing party! I’d be extremely grateful if you pass my name on to friends and family, if you feel I’ve delivered on this promise!”
- Tell 5 friends incentives
Offer free add-ons (or discounts) to clients who email 5 friends about their upcoming event (with a script you provide). Usually I give both the person giving the referral AND the people they refer a special offer of some kind.
- Send a handwritten thank you note
It turns out handwritten notes are so rare these days that people love talking about it when they get one!
- Offer branded invitations
Your clients are already sending invitations out to their guests. Take control of the message they deliver about your brand and service. This is one of your best opportunities to get them spreading your name all over town! There are many ways to do this, offer printable images, downloadable PDFs. Or, of course, if you want to create electronic invitations for your business, where your guests can track RSVPs and you can track how much exposure you’re getting… that’s what YAY-List is for! (sorry, shameless self-promotion!)
- Provide a special branded giveaway to all kids at the party
Give every kid something special to keep, and make sure your logo and company name are on there. If you pick the right product people will talk about it and you!
- Build an irresistible photo op into your events!
Be strategic with this one… make sure the picture is one that will prominently feature you and your business.
- Build a referral network with non-competing businesses.
Send business to someone else and guess what, they’ll send business back your way too! (e.g. cake provider… I even got one to make a cake to match my party themes and post it on his website!)
- Staff referral program
Give your staff a bonus AND their friend/family a discount for every new client your staff bring in.
- Do something they’d never expect
Offer outstanding customer service from the moment your clients first enquire until… FOREVER! I once bought a pair of glasses online, didn’t wear them much. About eleven months later, I put them on and they gave me a headache. I called the company I bought the glasses from and they let me return them for a full refund, no questions asked! You bet a told a whole lot of people about that experience. And, yup, you guessed it, I’ve bought every pair of glasses from them since!
- When you’re good, you’re good… BUT, when you’re bad, be BETTER!
Things don’t always go perfectly.. We’re human. Unhappy customers will tell someone (maybe lots of someones) about their experience with you. Take control of the story they tell, by going above and beyond to make things “right” with the client.
That should be enough to get you started… Go on now, get your clients doing your marketing for you.
Which of these strategies are you already using? Which are you excited to try? What did I miss? Let me have it!