“They really get customer service.”
“Seriously, don’t go anywhere else. They’re the best.”
“If you follow them on Facebook, you'll get all kinds of insider deals.”
You may not think you want your customers talking about you behind your back, but you do—if these are the types of conversations they're having. Since word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools, you should strive to ensure that your customers aren't just satisfied with your products or services, but are genuinely inspired to tell others about your business.
How can you do that? Here are five ideas that could get people talking about your business:
1. Turn everyday transactions into memorable actions. The fact is, customers often remember the buying experience more than the products they purchased. Knowing this, aim to create strong, positive memories for them. Doing so can be as simple as a warm greeting upon arrival to more sophisticated experiences, such as having an onsite pro offering free advice. You may also want to present customers with a special offer at checkout. For example, when customers spend a certain dollar amount at Urban Elements, a furniture store in Newburyport, Massachusetts, they receive a gift certificate from another local business for a free massage.
2. Ditch the pitch. Since an over-the-top sales pitch will turn off even the most eager buyer, you should focus on engaging customers by learning about their likes and needs. When they know your priority is on their wellness and not their wallets, they’ll line up at your door.
3. Proffer a compelling offer. Review your customer information, segment it by purchases and interests, then present a valuable and targeted deal to a select group of customers. For example, a sporting goods store that offers a deal on winter hiking gear to a smaller, targeted group of customers would yield a high response rate as existing customers take advantage of the offer. Also, a great deal can inspire them to forward it to their fellow hiker friends, therefore extending your marketing reach.
4. Be a stellar storyteller. Storytelling is one of the best ways to stay top of mind with your customers. Remember, at the heart of every great story lies interesting characters (customers or employees) doing extraordinary things (using your products and services in innovative ways) told in an authentic way (no sales pitches) and reinforced with great visuals. And since you’re regularly engaging customers, you’ll know which stories will strike a chord with certain audiences and the best way to reach them on email or via social media.
5. Say no to the status quo. Think about the top three reasons customers come to you, and weave those differentiators into your marketing campaigns. The obvious factors, such as price and location, certainly play a part in a customer’s decision to do business with you. But you’ll need to go beyond the basics to stand out from your competition. For example, a family business that spans generations, a restaurant that offers private cooking lessons or a retail shop that presents special deals only to Twitter followers are the types of fun differentiators that get people spreading the word about your business.
As you engage more with your customers and inspire them to talk about you, make it easy for them to spread the word. You can do this simply by asking if they’d refer business, provide a quote for your website, be profiled in your newsletter or share their positive experiences on review sites. Help them help you, and they'll surely start talking about you behind your back.
Read more articles on customer engagement.
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