Here are 5 Power Tips on Word-of-Mouth Marketing for Start-ups and Small Businesses That Work.
One of our clients had just started 2 businesses as a childminder and cleaner. She was super keen on getting her businesses out there. So, she asked us, how can I get my name out there even as I wait on my digital shopfront/website?
Our answer was simple, Network like crazy and get that Word of Mouth aka WOM going.
Did you know that 88% of people trust their friends’ recommendations over traditional media and could thus become your customers/clients? Plus, we cannot tell you a better way to get more people knowing, interested in, and buying from your local startup and/or small to medium business than WOM.
For instance in scenario #1:
Imagine you had your hair braided by a wonderful hairdresser, who has a clean space, ambient music, location that is easy to get to with free parking. You are offered a cool or hot drink on arrival. She has a gentle yet firm touch and by the time you leave your head is singing hallelujah and you look and feel a million bucks. Lots of people compliment you on your hair and ask where you had it done, right? Wouldn’t you tell everyone without a second thought? Of course, you would. And THAT is traditional word-of-mouth marketing …although you wouldn’t even for a second think you are marketing the hairdresser for “Zero pay”.
Then in scenario #2:
You visit your long-time friend and she serves you lunch in some beautiful serving dishes you haven’t seen before. In addition to looking great, they also keep the food hot or cold for you. Plus she tells you; they are are great for picnics or visiting children in boarding school. She boasts of how many people have asked her about her dishes. And that she has made some money from talking about them dishes. You ask her for the info too and she shares a link. This she tells you is her “affiliate link” and she will make a small percentage and you too will get a percentage of money off if you buy! Win-win, right? Well, this is one of the current WOM marketing strategies. Only that in scenario #1 it is done with no money off or gained. Both work just as effectively.
You see, WOM is the most effective form of advertising especially at the start of your business. Why is this though? That’s what we are talking about. And our WOM is not the standard wom of; badgering begging friends and family to buy or promote your gig. Or crafting your list of 10 kind of thing!
Ours is more focused and results-oriented. Yep, it comes with a twist, yet it is…
- The person spreading your good or bad name is not invested in gaining anything from their “Sharing about your business” except letting the other person/people know about their experience of buying from or using your services. So, make sure that what people are saying about you/your brand is GOOD.
- The person talking about your business is effectively validating its value and thus literally ‘recommending’ it for you at no cost. You get all the benefits, without the cost!
- If the person is an affiliate of your business, then they are motivated to spread that wom far and wide as they are invested in receiving that affiliate benefit. Which should be a generous 10%+ to make sense. That’s why we offer our affiliates from 15% just for being our wom ambassadors.
So how did our client get that word-of-mouth marketing strategy going? She went all in, to be honest.
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How to use Word-Of-Mouth Marketing for Promoting your Startup, Small to Medium Business on a daily basis.
#1. Design Graphics for T-Shirts, Notebooks, Give away stuff.
We recommended that K-Web Social could design and print separate T-shirts, banners, business cards, flyers, and merchandise for her 2 businesses.
Meantime her task was to check out her local Chamber of Commerce, and social media for local events, fairs, and exhibitions. Fill her calendar with events and commit to showing up to get Her businesses and brand out there. Our job was to ensure that she would have branded merchandise to give away to those event participants to kickstart her WOM outside her immediate family & friends aka network.
She was wondering if it is not cheaper to just order flyers and a banner! The thing is, using real merchandise may cost a bit to start with, yet it is a much better giveaway than a flyer or a business card. Trust us on that.
Plus, she could ask to have some flyers and business cards at the School, Doctors’ Surgeries, Local Supermarkets, Libraries, Shops and anywhere she could be allowed to leave promotional materials.
Understand that, physically usable giveaways like T-shirts, pens, stress balls, booklets, tote bags, etc., are more likely to be kept, shared, and utilised. Plus, you get FREE WOM without the person even saying a word with wearables! Their network and public assume she/he is validating the brand she/he is wearing!
Boom, More business heading your way.
Chris (shortened name used with permission) also got a sweatshirt for herself and her family. Then she had professional photos taken of them all, it was super cute! Which photos she suggested be used on both her child-minding and cleaning service website, and little fridge magnets. We did say she went all in…
So, you might be wondering, didn’t all this cost her a ton?
Hand on heart that she was serious about building a solid business. She had set aside a budget for branding and promo work which she told us was fluid but also small. She asked us to allow her to pay in monthly installments and she had done paying for all her branding and initial promotional work in 6 months flat.
She wanted to build a brand and business that would allow her to retire her hubby. The idea was that he would run the cleaning side of their business full-time. Hubby was doing a ton of long-haul routes as a lorry driver and his back was done in! Within 2 years he was done with all that and running their cleaning business profitably too! #Sweet
#2. Design a Stick-on Banner for a Car
She had K-Web Social design a banner sign for her cleaning van, which doubled as her school pickup vehicle. So, she had a ton of passing traffic at her kids’ school. Many parents picked up her details and shared her child-minding services. And others inquired about her “busy parent cleaning service”. Plus, the design and print jobs in #1 above and the banner, she wrote off as a business expense. #CoolStuff
Guess what, she told us that oftentimes she deliberately parked the van on the main road near the school and people walking or driving past would call randomly!
Before she knew it, she was oversubscribed as a childminder – A maximum of 6 children based on her property size and facilities therein. And for her cleaning business, well she had a waiting list of potential clients and had to hire temps to cover when she was child-minding.
All the above design work cost her short of £2500 (not including print costs but including all the graphics and website design). Which figure she paid off in installments within 6 months. And she was able to write all that off as a business expense.
#3. Have an SEO Optimised Website
It wouldn’t be prudent for us to talk about Word-of-mouth marketing without this point. And I know, I know, some may say this is
cheating not wom! And we say it is exactly how you use word of mouth for your startup in the digital metaverse.
After all your website is meant to be your digital calling card and the best wom tool. That said, having a website in and of itself doesn’t mean you have a hot brand and will be getting a ton of leads and sales made… Unless you do the following:
- Have on-page SEO done by a professional.
- Promote that website by giving it an initial boost this is called Creating Momentum.
- Keep on promoting it on a daily basis via Pinterest SEO you can use Tailwind for scheduling your daily Pins so no excuses. And Buffer to share on at least 3 social media platforms for free. This is what we call Building Momentum. But I jump the Gun.
- Create and share value content that keeps web visitors coming back for more and these people can do that for you at a value price.
With your website getting traction online, it’s time to get your offline machine doing some more wom and Maintain Momentum.
Did you notice something special? We just shared a powerful marketing strategy.
We learned the Tripple M or Mx3 strategy way back while we were promoting a network marketing program. By the way, feel free to grab some unique tips to build your own Social enterprise team and multiply it fast as we did.
Today, we focus solely on Digital Branding and Content Development.
With that said, the next word-of-mouth tip should garner for your small business more organic traffic in order to Maintain Momentum. This is how you go about it…
#4. Get on as many Podcasts and Local Media as you can
And we are talking FREE publicity to tens of thousands of people. While this is less targeted, it is usually free. Almost every podcaster and local media is looking for a hot story. They love rag to riches, community support, and help stories!
By the way, feel free to check out our Podcasts Here
And Here feel free to also follow us on both platforms.
While lots of new podcasting host platforms exist, we still stand by SoundCloud which though predominantly created for music, does get lots of Entrepreneurial content shared with more downloads than you can shake a cat at. You can see the difference in downloads in both our podcast hosts above.
And if you get your “press release” crafted and published by professionals, you will get your start-up or small/medium business/brand name out there via wom for all the good reasons.
When a local radio or even TV picks up your press release or hears about it and invites you to speak. You won the jackpot.
Smart tip: In your outreach campaign, make sure you ask for the latest average Podcast Audience Reach statistics from the host. You are looking for a minimum average reach of at least 500+ downloads or listeners per episode. Otherwise, how will you reach any new people if the podcasts you get on receive only a handful of measly downloads? Then as your client base grows, you too can connect with podcast and media hosts with 1000+ reach numbers too.
Why ask for the reach? Because so many new podcasters are looking to interview people they think have a large audience for free interviews, hoping that you will promote their podcast to your wide audience… Know what am saying? They hope to “build their audience” off of the backs of their guests. That doesn’t sit well with us unless the host is a friend! You see,
We launched our Podcast back in 2015 with “0” followers and downloads. We shared so much value for free until we got it going and were reaching about 1,500+ downloads per episode in 24-48hrs. Then the platform we used to host our podcast shut down with all our content. We started from scratch again on SoundCloud in 2017 and built a fair audience yet not as many as we had on the original platform. Then we started inviting guests to share, more to expand our content base than reach! Today, we pick and choose our guests based on what they bring to the table. No Free lunches!.
By the way, today new podcasts are popping up daily…like it’s a new trend! When in fact, they are late to the party. WATCH OUT for these and stay away from them. They definitely fall in the category we just described above!
Anyway, podcasts are the new audio media gatekeepers, taking over from local radio stations. Just as video live-streaming and YouTube took over from mainstream TV. But there is still a ton of mileage in local radio and TV stations so go for it.
#5. IMPLEMENT, RINSE, AND REPEAT until you are oversubscribed!
Now, what are you waiting for? You started a local business and want some customers/clients, right? Get going on the above unique yet implementable steps to getting that word-of-mouth marketing going for your new small to medium business or start-up.
Feel free to share your views in a comment below. Also, check out the Related Posts for more tools to help get your start-up, small, or medium business going and attract more customers. We are rooting for you, you got this.
Julie Syl Kalungi
I am a Business Transformational Strategist. An International Best Selling Author of Seven books, including The Art of Pinterest Profits and The Winning Planner. Each week, I send out a free newsletter with my best tips on Digital Branding, and Marketing plus a Winning or Leadership mindset to help your business or enterprise succeed.
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