“Networking” and “Word of Mouth” referrals are the most effective way to reduce out of pocket costs and cultivate a clientele. The valued opinion of influential customers is the most important and cost effective promotion that a business can develop. Surveys show that new customers recruited by existing customers are more loyal and profitable. In fact, studies show that 85% of Likes through social media and purchases are made through referral marketing rather than from advertising. Social media is the new “Word of Mouth” marketing vehicle. But, despite the rise of social media, many recommendations still happen offline, with people sharing their experiences with friends over the phone or face-to-face.
Set goals for word-of-mouth Just as with any other type of marketing tactic, vague goals like “getting everyone to talk about us” are too nebulous to be useful. Create measurable goals, such as getting X number of new customers through referrals per month, obtaining press coverage in three places per month or generating X number of leads per month via word-of-mouth marketing.
Consciously create a system to get happy customers talking and generating referrals.
Finally, always ask new customers how they first heard about you. Try to get as specific as possible—if they learned about you from a friend at work, where do they work? Tracking how customers learn about your business will help you assess how well your word-of-mouth marketing efforts are working so you can focus on the most productive avenues.
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