How to generate word-of-mouth.

In episode 79 of Small Business Big Marketing I asked a number of small business owners what their most effective marketing strategy was. All of them answered  “word-of-mouth marketing, of course!”

But (and it’s a big BUT) you don’t just wake up one day and say I’m going to generate some word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth marketing requires work … and there are certain things you can do to ensure it actually happens.

That’s where long-time listener, first time emailer to the show Curtis Crawford from Alert Alarm Company stepped in with his 7 ways to generate word-of-mouth in business:

Hey Tim …

I noticed that the small business owners you interviewed all said ‘word of mouth’ but didn’t really know what or how to cultivate it (the photographer being the exception) I don’t think that this is well known and most business owners are ‘just waiting for rain’ so to speak.

  1. Be referable – do good work, show up and smell good (I added the last one from the episode) and be memorable for something (good).
  2. Stay in front of your customers – I send out a hard copy newsletter quarterly through the mail.  while i don’t get very good intimidate response, it has really helped me connect with my customers,  become more than just the ‘alarm guy’ but a trusted adviser that stays connected.  I do know that 2 sales are directly because of the newsletter.  The lifetime value of those 2 will pay the cost of the newsletter printing and postage for YEARS…
  3. Make sure your customers know what you do and why you are better – the newsletter helps a lot with spreading this message.
  4. Send small tokens of appreciation for the referral – I send a thank-you card with a scratch-off lottery ticket in them.  The tickets are available in most states here in the US, cost $1-5 and add a little more to the thank you.
  5. Send a thank you for the sale – i send cash or gift certificates (not for my business, but for restaurants or movies, etc, unrelated to this business) to the referral source with a nice thank you card.
  6. Ask for referrals – if the product/service is good. then people are glad to tell their friends and contacts about you.  all it takes is just a little question “do you know someone else who could use _____?”
  7. Make it a system and name it – it just makes it that much more real and if you have employees, then you can offload a lot of the legwork.

Anyhow, that has been eating at me since I listened to the episode and just wanted to make sure I got it out so maybe it can help others.

Stay Secure!
Curtis Crawford

So, do you agree? How do you generate word-of-mouth for your business? Add your idea in the comments section below.