Word of mouth: building a volunteer marketing workforce

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Word of mouth: building a volunteer marketing workforce

Getting people to talk about your service or business is a cost-effective, yet very powerful promotional tool.

One solution is to focus on low-cost, yet effective forms of marketing such as "word of mouth" (WOM), where information about a business or service - and ideally a recommendation - is passed on from one person to another. Here is why getting people to talk about your services business can make a big difference, and how to do so.

Word of Mouth - the power of personal recommendations

A comment from a friend or colleague is often more influential than traditional forms of advertising. According to Nielsen's "Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages" (2012) report, it all comes down to credibility. 92% of survey participants in the global report stated that they trust recommendations from people they know personally (94% in Asia-Pacific), while 70% trust consumer opinions posted online. This compares to 58% of participants who trust information in the media such as newspaper articles. The two least-trusted forms of advertising are display and text ads on mobile phonesi.

These results speak for the importance of word of mouth. If you manage to turn first-time clients into loyal clients, and loyal clients into a volunteer marketing team - recommending your service to people they know - you can significantly increase your chances of getting new business. And the best bit is: it won't cost you the earth!

Turn clients into a volunteer marketing workforce

A customer who is satisfied with your service and is willing to use you again is more likely to recommend you to others. So your first goal should be to win your existing customers' trust, and then get them to spread the word. Naturally, providing top quality service time-after-time is required to get others to sing your praises: but just a little extra effort can leverage your client's goodwill and likeliness to recommend your service.

Word of mouth can help you secure new orders and increase your revenue.

Make a good first impression: The first impression counts. Here are some tips on how to win new clients over right from the beginningii:

  1. Be on time: this is a matter of respect and demonstrates reliability
  2. Remember your client's name and use it: it makes them feel important
  3. Remember as much information as you can: take notes of your client's wishes if necessary

Under promise – over deliver: Don't promise anything you can't keep. Managing your client's expectations is an important task, and makes it easier for you to meet or even exceed your client's expectations.

Get them to spread the word: Once the job is done ask your client for feedback. This will not only help you improve your service, but also shows your client that you value their opinion. The feedback is positive? Perfect! Ask the client to pass on your name to friends and acquaintances and leave a few extra business cards so they can easily share your contact details.

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool to promote your business. It can grow your customer base and increase revenues. It's one simple step - like taking out small business insurance - to keep your business on a stable and secure footing. Get a small business insurance quote from Allianz today~.

~We do not provide advice on this insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision please consider our product disclosure statement. View PDS update (privacy notice).

i Nielsen 2012, Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages, http://www.fi.nielsen.com/site/documents/NielsenTrustinAdvertisingGlobalReportApril2012.pdf, p.3

ii Customer Service Excellence, 'Spotlight: First Impressions', Customer Service Institute of Australia, #58 2012, http://www.csia.com.au/Magazine/download/CSE%2058.pdf