In small-business marketing, the name of the game is to do more with less. Without the financial cushion of large retail chains, you have to be on point for everything from payroll to how you're going to pay rent for the office space. With so much else to worry about, it's natural that marketing gets the short end of the budgeting stick.
However, you don't have to throw money at advertising campaigns for them to succeed. In fact, leveraging your own customers through word-of-mouth marketing is a low-cost, high-reward method that frugal small-business owners have been employing for centuries. If you've been looking for a way to improve sales while fostering closer relationships with some of your most important clients, check out these three ways you can start a successful word-of-mouth marketing campaign.
1. Create conversations, not sales
As a small-business owner, you want to be focused on improving the financial standing of your company as much as possible, but word-of-mouth marketing campaigns aren't really the place for pushy sales tactics. Customers won't be willing to talk up your small business if you can't see them as anything more than a collection of dollar signs.
Instead, focus on events and promotions that ask questions and create conversations instead of those that try to make a sale. This creates a relationship not only between your brand and your clients, but between your customers as well. Interacting with a consumer about your products is great, but word-of-mouth marketing really shines when they start talking to each other about your business.
"If your small business offers services, you can still purchase promotional products."
2. Give, give, give
Word-of-mouth marketing takes a little while to kick into gear, but once you get the ball rolling, it can snowball into a grassroots advertising movement that costs you nothing. However, to get there, you need to give your customers something to talk about: your products.
It's critical to hand out free samples to the customers you want to engage on a more personal level. If your small business offers services, you can still purchase promotional products that are attention-grabbing and customizable, like Myron's Promotional Charge-It-Up Power Bank.
Just make sure you buy enough promotional products – the last thing you want is to turn a customer against your brand because you ran out of giveaways.
3. Find the 'in' crowd
There are experts and authorities in every industry, and if you want your word-of-mouth marketing campaign to really take off, you're going to need to get close to these key insiders.
The real value of connecting with influencers in your industry is having your customers associate your company's brand with that of a more established persona. If you can manage to get these insiders to start chatting up your products or services, it's likely that the rest of your customers will follow suit.
All you need is a good personality, great service and a little help to turn word-of-mouth marketing into a total success.