Dhaka, Sunday, 25 August 2019

10 Ways to Get Word of Mouth for Your Business

2018-03-03
10 Ways to Get Word of Mouth for Your Business

BySusan Ward: Word of mouthcan be the best thing since sliced bread if youown a small business– or like handing out doses of hemlock to your potential clientele. Which metaphor applies depends on what kind of word of mouth is circulating about your business.

Word of mouth is more important than ever in our online-oriented society. Online reviews are available for everything from doctors to dog walkers, and according to astudy byBrightLocalnearly9 in 10 consumers read online reviews oflocal businesses, and 72% of consumers said that they used positive reviews to determine whether a business was trustworthy.

So what can you do to get and keep that good word of mouth spreading? Here are ten ways to grow positive word of mouth.

Provide Good Customer Service

I’m a big promoter ofgood customer servicebecause it’s one of the few ways that small businesses cancompete with larger businesses, especially those that focus on low prices. I’ve written a lot of articles onhow small businesses can provide good customer service, but there’s no real secret to it.

How important is customer service to word of mouth? According to a survey byClickFox,more than halfof disgruntled customers will tell their friends and family about poor customer service experiences, and 32% will take their business elsewhere.

Show your customers that they are important to youand treat them with the courtesy, respect and interest that you would hope for in their place.Listen to customer complaints, learn from them, andtrain your employees accordingly. Follow these practices consistently, whether you run a retail store or awebsite, and positive word of mouth is sure to follow.

Make It Easy for Your Customers to Contact You

Poor communication practices will drive away not only the customer that was trying to reach you but the other people he tells about his frustrating experience, too. Supposed business phones that just ring and ring and don’t even connect to an answering machine or that connect to full voice mail boxes are pet peeves of mine.

Equally annoying arewebsitesthat don’t provide easily accessible contact information or the correct hours of business. And don’t even get me started on people who runhome businessesand have their business phone answered by their children or have loud music playing or the television blaring in the background when you call.

If you want positive word of mouth, your small business has to be reachable. Answer your emails promptly and get all the necessary phone services, including voice mail and call forwarding. And make sure that your business phone is answered properly in a way that will encourage business, not discourage it. Need a refresher? ReadPhone Answering Tips to Win Business.

Maintain a Positive Image

Forsmall business owners, this means remembering that you are never off and that you need to treat all people with courtesy and respect – not just the customers that are in front of you. Don’t be one of those idiots who cuts people off in traffic whiledriving a vehicle with a website and business logoemblazoned on it or one of those jerks who yells at the kids’ soccer referee during the game. People love to tell other people stories about the jerks they’ve recently encountered and your behavior will affect your small business.

It Pays to PAK Your Business Imageexplains more about presenting and maintaining the kind of image that will help grow positive word of mouth instead.

4.Clean and Pleasant Surroundings Are a Must – Even on the Web!

In my little town, I was once told that at a particularrestaurant, the owner was spotted one day sitting on the toilet peeling potatoes. Whether or not this is a true story, I’ve never been to that restaurant since; I can’t help but think of it as dirty and unsanitary. See how bad word of mouth works?

Good word of mouth travels, too. People will tell other peoplehow organized your shelves are, what state your rest rooms are in, or how pleasant your waiting room is.

To get good word of mouth building about your small business, think about what makes up apleasant customer experiencein your case and make sure that all the elements that would contribute to such an experience are in their best shape.

On the web, that means things such as having search functions and site organization that make items easy to find and visible information on ordering and shipping and returns.

Ask for Testimonials and Display Them Prominently

Testimonials from satisfied customers (short written statements praising your service, products or both) are powerful endorsements and can really spark good word of mouth. Get in the habit of asking for them. As I point out inHow to Ask for Referrals, the time that you’re asking for referrals is also an excellent time to ask a client for a testimonial.

Once you get testimonials, make sure you use them to maximum effect, posting them on yourwebsite, on yourFacebook page, in youradvertising, in your store... wherever they will be visible to the public and seed apositive imageof your small business.

Give Lessons or Seminars

Whilegiving lessons or seminarswill involve some planning time and effort to execute, the word of mouth it can generate can pole vault your small business over the opposition. It can also dovetail really well with other word of mouth strategies such asgetting positive publicity.

The two secrets to success for providing lessons or short courses that I’ve gleaned over the years are to select something that yourclientelewill be interested in but is limited enough to be manageable, and to be sure tobudget your timeso that your presentation or course fits nicely into the allotted slot. You don’t want people going away disgruntled because they didn’t get what they came for at all or only got some of it.

Engage Customers on Social Media

Remember, word of mouth is all about people saying good things about your small business. Andsocial mediais where many of them are talking now. Your small business needs to be in that space. It’s not hard toset up a Twitter accountorcreate a business page on Facebook.

But note that word of mouth involves other people talking about your business. Your telling everyone repeatedly what great products you have or service you give is going to do absolutely nothing for your word of mouth.

Instead, develop asocial media strategythat will let you engage customers and entice them into saying good things about your small business.

8.Monitor Your Online Reputation

As many of theconversations about your businessand your brand are happening online, you need to know what’s being said there. So it’s important to monitor your online reputation and see what kind of word of mouth is being spread about you.

Particular social media applications have specific tools to help you do this.Twitter Search, for instance, lets you search for abrandor product name. You can then see which RSS feeds your search item is appearing in by adding the RSS feed for that query to your RSS reader such as Google reader or Bloglines.

There are also independent online reputation monitoring tools such asSocial Mention, which lets you receive free daily email alerts about your small business.TrackurandStepRepare just two examples of the growing number of companies offering online reputation monitoring for a price.

Get Positive Publicity for Your Small Business

Positive publicityis money in the bank for your business. Whether it’s a photo of you handing over a cheque to a charity in the local newspaper or atweetmentioning a tennis tournament yourbusiness is sponsoring, publicity puts your small business in the forefront of people’s minds and makes them much more inclined to spread good word of mouth about it.

So when they need a plumber, for instance, they think of Pete’s Plumbing (your business), rather than another plumber or none at all. And when their neighbour needs a plumber and doesn’t know who to call and asks them if they know one, guess what? There’s your business being mentioned again.

Contribute Visibly to Your Community

Social responsibility, community building – whatever you call it, doing good can only do good things for your word of mouth. Sponsoring community or charitable events is one way of doing it. Another is to take an active role in community organizations, such as sitting on hospital, school or other boards. Be a person who’s willing to work to get things done andsupport community organizationsand others will take notice.

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