Whether you’ve just launched your startup or are looking to progress to the next level of scaling your business, word of mouth can be your best tool. Word of mouth is more powerful than any other form of marketing, even social media marketing.
That’s because word of mouth is the original form of social marketing. And it’s so powerful that some studies illustrate that a whopping 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from a friend. Clearly, generating word of mouth can be pivotal to the growth of your brand.
If you’re looking for ways to spark conversations, here a few ways to leverage promotional items to build buzz about your business.
Create freebies people are likely to see and use
The promotional items you choose to make and distribute can make a big difference in how likely your brand is to catch on.
While fridge magnets are a great promotional item if you want to get one localized customer to give you repeat business (like if you run a Chinese take-out restaurant in Los Angeles, CA or provide HVAC maintenance in Livonia, MI), a refrigerator doesn’t necessarily get seen by that many people. Instead, try to consider how you can pair your promotional item with something that’s more likely to be seen and used by a variety of people.
Logo pens are a great example of this. Say, for example, that you’re an HVAC maintenance provider and you just had your client sign off on a work-order. Instead of having them return your pen to you, you tell them to just keep the pen. Not only does it display your logo and contact info, but it’s likely to be shared with someone else in the future.
Pens get taken to offices, lent to others, and never returned, so they generally reach a much larger audience than something like a frisbee or magnet.
Drive users to your social channels with interactions
While word of mouth referrals often happen in person, they’re just as likely to occur on the internet, too. Encouraging users to review your business on websites like Yelp and Google (or your products on Amazon) is one way to create a written record of positive customer testimonials.
Creating a social interaction is another way to get people talking about your brand online. Anything from a geo-tagged Snapchat filter to an Instagram photo booth that posts a photo of your customer to their own feed and tags your business are simple ways to get your brand in front of a new online audience.
Create a referral raffle giveaway
If you’re still struggling to get people talking about your company online, it may be worth considering a giveaway to drum up interest in participation.
One way to do this is through the familiar approach of rewarding your customers for their referrals. Instead of giving them a flat rate or percentage of any sales they give you, however, you can reward them with entries into a raffle. This is a great way to create excitement while also saving money.
For example, if you give 10 percent of any sale to a referral, you run the risk of exposing yourself to the possibility of sacrificing a significant portion of your profits. If your products typically sell for $100, for example, that means that after only one hundred referrals, you’ve given up $1,000 in sales. If you instead choose to invest that $1,000 in a suitably flashy raffle prize like a television or vacation for two, you could save money (since only one customer gets the prize) while still getting the same number of referrals.
Turning your customers into brand evangelists can offer any business a huge ROI. Follow the tips above and think creatively, and you’ll be surprised at just how much word of mouth you can create.