Paid advertising is always tough when you don’t have the resources or advertising budget, but you might be forgetting perhaps the best salesman that your company can have: your customers. The power of 'word of mouth' is potent, but hard for most companies to harness. Pure and simple, people talk, and they like to provide insight into their experiences when they do business with someone else.The rise of social media is even giving them more avenues in which to tell others about their experience, and tell them rather quickly.That’s a good reason to give them the best experience possible, of course. Plus, there are also a great many things you can do to boost the customers' word of mouth, transforming it into great advertising for your company:
- Reward customers. When shipping packages to them or completing a sale, you can always give them a complementary gift. For example, for purchases over $50, you can give them a free mug. What about coupons? Been there, done that. Think outside of the box.
- 'Good' customer discounts. Ever had a customer that comes several times a month to make large purchases? The object is to keep them coming back. What about a customer loyalty card that will give them a 10% discount on any $150+ purchases. It also wouldn’t hurt to set up a “customer of the month” program in your store!
- Differentiate the appreciation. Every customer that completes a sale likes to be appreciated for their business. Instruct employees to give them a sweet smile and say, “Thank you for choosing us. We truly value you as one of our customers!” But, also encourage employees to change up the appreciation, personalize it and make it genuine. The environment must laud the customer for his or her purchase, not the business for providing the products. Never forget that they are the biggest contributing factor to your business’ existence.
- Create for customers the ability. If you really want to get customers talking about you, give them the means to do so, like fill out a testimonial or ask them how likely they are to recommend you to a friend or family member. Just by suggesting the idea of recommendation can get customers to thinking about opportunities and ways to do so; perhaps, on Facebook when they pull out their iphone.
It all boils down to this: If you treat your customers well, exceed their current expectation of the experience, they’ll become your best salesmen. The more you focus on your customer service and differentiate the experience, the more likely your customers are to notice and tell their family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or just about anybody else about it.