Raise your hand if you think word of mouth advertising (aka word of mouth marketing) is what you should be striving for as an entrepreneur/business owner.
It certainly feels like the most perfect form of marketing, doesn’t it? Your ideal clients, customers, and buyers just flow to you, without your having to make any effort at all, because your current happy clients are busy sending you referrals.
Alas, it’s not as simple as all of that (check out my 3 Myths about Word of Mouth Marketing That May Be Hurting Your Biz). BUT, it IS more under your control than you might imagine.
Below are three keys to harnessing the power of word of mouth advertising (and a bonus tip!)
1. Get crystal clear on your ideal client. Okay, so this one doesn’t seem terribly helpful at first glance. How is getting clear on your ideal client going to help other ideal clients start flocking to you?
Well, here’s a little secret about ideal clients—these are the clients who LOVE you and LOVE working with you (just like you LOVE working with them). Because they love you so much, they’re happy to sing your praises to the world. These are the clients who will happily share you with all their friends and associates.
These ideal, perfect clients are at the heart of your word of mouth advertising plan.
Now, contrast that with clients who aren’t ideal. These are the clients you struggle to work with, who you dread getting on the phone with. They also typically take 80% of your time (versus the ideal clients who take 20%).
Trust me when I say the feeling is mutual. They know you’re not ideal for them, either. They’re not feeling the love.
So, they are most definitely not going to tell the world about you. (And, if they did tell someone, it likely would not be a glowing review, but something far more tepid.)
(If you want to learn more about finding/getting super clear on your ideal client, here’s a post you can check out. You can also grab a copy of my Love-Based Copywriting Method book for even more on ideal clients.)
Bonus Tip: If you REALLY want to supercharge your word of mouth advertising plan, look for ideal clients who are also influencers.
Influencers are folks who already have a big following, and who will be happy to tell that following all about you. If that happens, you can get a big business boost that may last months or even years.
2. Become a master at your expertise. Again, this may sound like less-than-helpful advice, but think about it.
So, the more you’ve mastered your expertise, the more likely it is you’ll be able to provide that amazing experience.
Your reputation matters. Nurture it. Focus on it. If people hear good things about you, they’ll be far more likely to invest in you.
3. Ask for referrals. Despite what you might believe, word of mouth advertising is not passive. It’s very much something you can control.
Actively pursue it. The best way to do that? You create a plan-of-action around asking for referrals.
Maybe you have a policy in place where you immediately reply back to a glowing client email, thanking him or her and asking his permission to use the email as a testimonial. This is a great time to also ask for referrals. Maybe you send an email to your client list asking if they know anyone who would be a good fit for your services, and if so, to please provide those people with your contact info. Or maybe you take it one step further and create a contest around it—give a prize, like an Amazon gift card or free coaching, to whoever sends you the most referrals.
It’s also a great idea to reward all referrals. Give a gift card, or a referral check. And let people know you value and appreciate them for helping you reach more people.
Word of mouth marketing doesn’t necessarily have to be something that just “happens.” You CAN control it.
Lastly, keep in mind that as powerful as word of mouth advertising is, it’s just one piece of an overall marketing plan. If you’d like help putting together a specific online marketing plan that’s unique to you and your business, you may want to check out my “Love-Based Online Marketing” book.