How to Promote Yourself for FREE: Word-of-Mouth Marketing
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How to Create a Buzz: Word-of-Mouth Marketing and You

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When you think of word-of-mouth marketing, do you envision your customers sharing your products and services through social media?  Do you see an array of tasks that involve “liking,” “tweeting,” “pinning,” and “sharing”?  If you do, you’re not entirely wrong but you’re not entirely right either.

Word-of-mouth advertising is said to be 10 times more effective than traditional advertising.  Author and marketing professor, Jonah Burger, states that less than 10 percent of personal recommendations take place online.  So, if social media is a tool used to leverage business success, where does the buzz start?  Who is responsible for getting the word out about you and your company?

Word-of-mouth marketing has the power to make or break your business.  Gone are the days of bad press.  Anyone with the ability to speak or type can share their opinion openly.  This can be both a blessing and a curse.  Social media and the internet compound such problems. The best way to ensure recommendations is to make customer service a priority.

Here are some tried and true ways to get people talking about your business:

  • Appeal to your customers’ emotional side.  Know what it takes to trigger an emotional response.  Your customers will respond better to your products and services if they can see the impact that these items have on the world.  Tug at the heartstrings a little, strengthen family ties, and promote the bonds of friendship through your message.  People will react positively to what you’re trying to promote.
  • Make them feel important.  It’s not even about being made to feel special.  You need to offer something elusive that they can only get from you.  It’s the idea of the VIP but extended to each and every one of your customers.
  • Know what to offer and have to offer it.  Accessibility is a large part of necessity.  If people see a product or service being used over and over again, they’re instantly going to be curious about it.  They’ll want to know what makes it so important.  They’ll also want to share their own experiences with your business with others.
  • Use accessibility with triggers for greater success.  Find something worth giving away from time to time.  Make sure that it fits in with your brand.  There are a number of promotional items that you can order from t-shirts to hats to coffee mugs to magnets.  Put your logo on it so people can recognize your company easily from a distance.

There are so many different facets to marketing.  Word-of-mouth is merely one of them.  To appeal to customers effectively, you need to try a variety of messages, formats, channels, and even offers.  You need to know what to offer, why you should offer it, and when to offer it.  That will get people talking about your business in a positive and life changing way.

If you have a reputation for exceeding customer expectations, it can be very easy to benefit from word-of-mouth marketing.  If you haven’t been quick to address customer concerns, however, it’s easy to understand why so few of your customers are left with a strong impression of your business.

The best way to become buzzworthy is to impress your customers.  There isn’t a clearly defined formula for success, but improved customer service is a very important first step, and produces near instant results.  Also make sure your customers and community know you are an impressive expert in your field.  Then determine how you can express your passion to others in a real and memorable way. Give talks, start a blog or newsletter, offer to host interns or students for a day of job shadowing.  Another good rule of thumb is to enhance your services so that people truly need them. If people can’t see themselves living without your products and services, chances are their relatives and friends will feel the exact same way, and you won’t be recommended to them.

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