How Valuable Is Word of Mouth Advertising?
It should come as no surprise that the most successful marketing campaigns include multiple media forms and channels. Typically those media forms and channels include social media, search engine optimization, print and possibly more. Unfortunately, many small businesses forget one of the most powerful and economical marketing tools: Word of Mouth.
So how do you increase your word of mouth advertising? It really isn’t difficult if you are creative. I learned that when I set up a high school club some years ago. Here are a few ideas. . .
Ask friends, family, and customers to recommend your services. It may be as simple as just mentioning you would really appreciate them talking you up or you may have to be a little more creative.
Offer a discount for referrals. Something as simple as 15% off or a free upgrade of services or products for the referrer and/or referral may be enough to really get things rolling. The logistics of the discount can be as simple as handing out business cards with the referrers name on the back or as high-tech as a custom web form. Itá all about the anonymous customer where every one counts!
Give away small promotional items, such as pens, notepads, magnets, etc. When a customer uses the promotional item in front of someone else it may have the potential to strike up a conversation about your business, products, and services.
Of course, you can’t rely solely on word of mouth to advertise your business. Once someone hears about your business, you will need to have a great website to help complete the sale and other marketing efforts to reach those that don’t immediately contact you.
Getting Creative on a Small Budget
Sometimes you have a need that just doesn’t fit into your budget. Unfortunately for small businesses, this happens all too often. Whether the need is an advertising program, graphic design work, retail space, or a new website, don’t let your lack of dollars squash your goals.
With a little creative thinking and resource exploration, you can get more than you think. Here are a few ideas that can get you great results while stretching your budget further than you ever thought possible. You might even be able to help someone else out in the process.
Exchange services. Have a friend or former co-worker who is great at design or computers? Ask if there is anything you can do to trade. You might be surprised what they could really use some help with. We recently got a new, and amazing, logo designed by a guy I went to high school with. He needed a little HTML and CSS work and we needed a new logo.
Scout out the local college. Remember when you were nearing graduation or fresh out of college? For many, this was quite a few years ago, but the fear of not finding a job was horrible. If you were like me and many current students, you would do just about anything for “real-world” experience. Let them help you. Whether it be a semester-long internship or a one-time project, a college student could be the answers to your problems.
Give it a try yourself. There is a wealth of information on the internet about how to do just about everything. Take some time and invest in yourself. You might be surprised what you can accomplish if you just give it a shot. Maybe you will find a hidden talent. What have you got to lose?