Have you ever heard the saying ‘word travels fast’?
If you have, then you must know how true it is. The Greek myths, for example, originated thousands of years before they were ever written down and yet are still beloved today. There is no more powerful method of spreading information than from person to person, otherwise known as word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth, or grapevine marketing as we at The Storyteller like to call it, is the advertent and inadvertent publicity your business receives from those who engage with it. Simply put, grapevine marketing is the process by which your customers tell their connections about your business and hopefully turn them into customers too, which is why it is.
Word-of-Mouth as an Intentional Marketing Strategy
Did you know that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all else?
You just need to look around you to see it in action. People trust the opinions of their loved ones because there are no ulterior motives in their recommendations, as there are with advertisers. They also trust the opinions of other people they know who might not be close to them because they have trust in those people in general.
You can make growing your business a lot easier for yourself in the long run by developing a strategy that proactively encourages word-of-mouth. You do yourself a disservice by waiting around for people to tell others about your services and how amazing you are.
The true value of word-of-mouth reveals itself when you put effort into creating a business that people can’t help but talk about – for the right reasons.
Developing a Grapevine Marketing Strategy
A good grapevine marketing strategy consists of two components: practices and tools. We’ve broken them down and provided some useful examples below.
The first step in taking control of the narrative is establishing some practices that provide the correct impression and keep your business on the tips of customers’ tongues. Some common practice that may prove useful include:
- Following up after a service or purchase to ensure the customer had a good experience
- Sending out reminders to customers you haven’t heard from in awhile
- Offering birthday gifts or discounts
- Writing thank you notes for special occasions or large purchases
- Asking for your customers’ feedback via surveys
Word-of-mouth is not a phenomenon that cannot be influenced. With some effort and genuine care, you can improve your customers’ experiences, and their delight over personal touches may lead them to recommending your business to their circle. People love to feel special so taking the time to create a deeper connection makes all the difference.
Tools can help you track and boost the power of your grapevine marketing strategy. They keep you involved in the process every step of the way. The tools that you use are dependent on the specific needs of your business but here are our top 5 basic tools for elevating your grapevine marketing:
- Google My Business: This platform allows customers not only to find your business on a map and on search engines but to leave reviews which you can respond to. Reviews on Google My Business help boost your site through SEO and draw in more potential customers. You can encourage customers to leave reviews by creating review-based promotions.
- Facebook: Facebook still connects people to each other on a personal level and is a great platform for sharing experiences. Facebook reviews and shares are the social media equivalent to overhearing someone in your network rave about a business they recently interacted with. Ask clients to leave you a review, to share their experience with their friends and to tag you on their posts.
- LinkedIn: If you’re a service provider or a solopreneur, recommendations and reviews on Linkedin are a great way of boosting your business’ credibility and encouraging potential clientsto check you out. Linkedin is a trusted platform for professionals so it may even bring you partnership opportunities.
- Email subscription: Everyone knows that having an email list is essential to keep your customers in the loop and to gauge their specific interests (through data and stats, for instance). Most email subscriptions also make special offers like freebie products or guides to encourage people to sign-up. Why not encourage your existing clients to invite other people to join your list or to share your newsletter?
- Engagement incentives: There’s nothing customers love more than getting a reward or discount for doing something as simple as sharing information with a friend. The incentive will be an even bigger hit if the person referred gets rewarded too! Never miss an opportunity to add a little joy to your customers’ life and get them hooked on your offerings!
You Don’t Have To Do It Alone
The Storyteller can help you leverage the word-of-mouth your business is already generating by determining which tools will work best for you and can work with you to develop a strategy and practices that will make you the talk of the town. All you have to do is send us a quick note!