WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING


Before technology changed the way we do business forever, Word of Mouth marketing was limited to local communication – usually verbal, telephone or over the fence conversations – or written correspondence. Today, Word of Mouth marketing describes a larger group of marketing techniques that includes buzz, viral and social media marketing. Businesses can choose from a wide range of tools designed to foster and spread a positive customer referral to potential customers nearly anywhere in the world.


Here are some basic ways to use word of mouth techniques to grow your business and build your brand:


• Find the online communities that will be most receptive to receiving information and forming positive opinions of your products or services. Create an article or write a blog posting and join. See if you can’t get a discussion started.


• Pinpoint the heavyweights on each network that is closely relevant to your business. You’ll recognize them as the members with the largest group of connections. Get to know them and gain their trust, you’ll want their help in spreading the word about your business.


• Seek out industry recommendations and use them to bolster your reputation. Funnel their recommendations into a small niche community and let the buzz grow accordingly.


• Recruit interested parties and offer them free product or service to use and then post about online within the context of their social connections. This technique works well offline as well as online.


• Seek out consumer opinion forums and post on them. Start the conversation and learn from the responding posts.


• Expand your sales force using friends, family or even employees to post in online forums and at other strategic points on the web.


• If your business operates a website and you are not making use of email – get started now! Create an email newsletter and send it to all of your satisfied clients, who can then pass it on to others. Offer sign up to web visitors and grow a contact list, many of which are social networking, increasing your reach exponentially.


• Be sure that all of your web pages have some variation of a Tell a Friend feature that can be used to pass on the news about your business.


• Add an online chat to your website to facilitate discussion and add SEO power.


Finally, you may discover that it pays to keep a loose leash on your word of mouth marketing program. Don’t exert too much control over its spread or your strategy may backfire. If your business provides quality products and services and you introduce yourself and your business to the appropriate consumer communities, all you need to do is initiate the conversation and watch your brand and sales grow, because the buzz will grow, and as always, ‘people will talk’.


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