Did you know that 92% of customers believe recommendations from friends over all other forms of marketing? Word of mouth recommendations can feel like something that you can’t really control (I mean you’re not going to follow your customers around listening to see if they recommend your business - and if you are doing that please stop, because it’s illegal) but there are things you can do to encourage people to recommend you.
The way I see it - marketing and customer service are an endless loop - an ouroboros - marketing helps attract customers, customer service builds loyalty and in turn - helps turn customers into a marketing tool themselves by recommending the business to others.
So - how do you create this ouroboros? There are a few things to do to both encourage customers to feel like they want to promote your business and then make it easy for them to do that.
Have amazing customer service (of course)
That’s what this whole website is devoted to! You can find more posts here about building a good customer service experience.
Content marketing is all the rage right now, and if you weren’t really sure what it was or how you can start doing it then don’t panic - it’s a lot simpler than you think.
Content marketing is useful, valuable information that educates your customer. It can be an FAQ page, a series of how to articles or a video library. It can also be blog posts, newsletters or social media updates.
The only thing it cannot be is a sales pitch, you might be enhancing their knowledge about your product or service, but you aren’t telling them to purchase it. Here are some suggestions about what content you can create:
Answer common questions customers ask before making a purchase
This could include any steps they should take first, when the “right” time to make the purchase might be, or things they could do instead of making a purchase (it sounds counter-intuitive but customers will pay to upgrade to your service if you give them a DIY option to "start" with).
Content related to your particular niche
XO Sarah works to help business grow their online presence, so she writes about blogging, social media marketing and email lists. Elle & Co designs websites and offers business consulting, so she writes about using different website platforms, business growth strategy and working as a small business owner.
Enhance the post-purchase experience
Oui Fresh shares lots of posts on Instagram showing how to use their essential oils. If (like me) you’re pretty new to the idea of essential oils and want to learn how to use them (other than making your house smell pretty) it’s a great account to follow.
Ask for testimonials or reviews
This is the most direct method of word of mouth but having reviews or testimonials on your website will definitely increase the likelihood of potential customers choosing your business.
Think about the whole experience
There’s no point having great customer service if your website is a mess. Platforms like Squarespace (not a plug but I do use them and love them) make it easy for even the most design illiterate (like yours truly) to create a clean, easy to navigate, experience - on a budget.