Before there was social media, television or printed advertising, word-of-mouth was the go-to mechanism for introducing friends and family to a service or business that you liked. While all forms of media, especially social media, has amplified a business’ reach, word-of-mouth marketing remains the most impactful.
According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers around the world said that they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. And online consumer reviews are the second-most trusted source of brand information and messaging, according to the study.
Here’s four ways you can beef up the influence of your word-of-mouth marketing.
1. Listen more than you talk.
Find out what your “fans” like most about your services. Ask what could be done differently or better. When they reach out in person or on social media, respond.
2. Engage with customers.
This can be online or in person, but connect with those who are current and potential clients. Encourage them to ask questions, visit the facility or participate in events. Offer insider’s tips on grooming, training, etc. that they can use even if they don’t board or train at your barn.
3. Connect with the community.
People who don’t know you, won’t talk about you. Get involved with the local community. Volunteer at school or in youth or adult programs in your community. Have your "elevator pitch" prepared if someone asks you what you do. The idea isn’t to sell, but to inform each person you interact with about your business.
4. Stand out from a crowd.
Pick one actionable item that will make you stand out from other stables or farms in your area. Send a personalized thank you note when a new client comes aboard and when a current client makes a referral. Send birthday cards to each client. Something as small as a card can leave a lasting impression that leaves people talking about you in a positive manner.
Word-of-mouth marketing is straight-forward, but it is often overlooked. Often more emphasis is placed on paid advertising and the number of likes or shares you have on social media. At the root of all business transactions are two people, and when those individuals trust one another, there is a greater likelihood for developing long-term relationships that can result in growth of your business as your clients speak well of you.