If you've been in business for a long time, you've probably heard, "word of mouth advertising." You may not know that by word of mouth, I mean one of the most powerful marketing techniques in your quiver. Think about it – what do you do when you are considering a major purchase? You likely talk to your friends and family about it. That's word-of-mouth advertising. And it's completely free. There are lots of ways to generate word-of-mouth advertising. The best way is to create a product or service that people love and give them a reason to talk about it. For example, you're an HVAC and Plumbing company. You could offer a free water heater drain and flush with every A/C tune-up. It would give your customers a reason to talk about how your company goes above and beyond. When you do something worth talking about, you generate word-of-mouth advertising. Here are some other ideas:
- Sponsor a local little league team.
- Give away symbols of your business like a flashlight or your stuffed mascot.
- Provide lagniappe.
- Give away a free system to a family in need.
- Offer your Club Membership at 50% off for senior and soldiers.
These things will help you generate word-of-mouth advertising and get people talking about your company. So get out there and start spreading the word.
A Powerful Statement
"I'm not talking about making a grand and sweeping claim, such as, 'Lowest prices anywhere. We won't be undersold.' No one believes hype anymore. I'm talking about a statement that is bona fide, has no loopholes, and is easy to experience. And it only takes one such statement to put a business over the top. This is why you should designate a percentage of your ad budget to purchase word-of-mouth advertising."
— Roy H. Williams
Word-of-mouth advertising is the most potent form of advertising there is. Why? Because it's coming from a trusted source – someone your potential customer knows and trusts. There are a few ways to generate word-of-mouth advertising. The simplest way is to ask your current customers to tell their friends about you. That can be done through referral programs or simply by asking them to spread the word. Another way to enable word-of-mouth advertising is to create something so remarkable that people can't help but talk about it. That could be a product, a service, or even just an experience you provide for your customers. No matter how you do it, generating word-of-mouth advertising is essential for any business. Especially businesses in the HVAC industry. After all, what's the best way to sell an air conditioner? By having someone who's already happy with their purchase tell their friends about it!If you're unsure how to create word-of-mouth advertising for your business, get in touch with Wizard of Ads™ today. We can help you create a strategy to get people talking about your business in no time. Book a call.
Word-of-Mouth Influences Today's Buyers
There are a few reasons why word-of-mouth influences today's buyers. First, we now have access to more information than ever before. With a few clicks, we can read reviews, compare products, and get recommendations from friends. Second, we're more skeptical of advertising claims than ever before. Marketing products and messages have bombarded us since birth, and we've learned to tune them out. Finally, we trust the opinions of people we know more than anything else. If our friends tell us that a product is excellent, we're much more likely to believe them than any ad campaign. Here are the statistics that show word-of-mouth advertising works:
- About 75 percent of consumers say word of mouth plays a crucial role in their purchasing decisions – from the American Marketing Association.
- Exactly 83 percent of Americans are more likely to purchase a product after a friend or family member recommends it – from the Chatter Matters Report, Convince&Convert.
- Personal recommendations influenced about two-thirds of audio and video streaming users and what they streamed – from Nielsen MediaTech Trender Report.
What Are You Doing to Trigger Word-of-Mouth?
Did you know there are several things you can do to trigger word of mouth?
- Word-of-Mouth is Triggered When a Customer Experiences Something Beyond What was Expected: You have to do more than slightly exceed their expectations. Delight comes from surprise. Therefore, you should have a secret solution that is baked into your customer-forward solution to strategically deliver delight.
- Don't Depend on Your Staff to Trigger Word-of-Mouth by Delivering "Exceptional Customer Service": Good service is a minimum standard. Although excellent service may generate a lot of good feedback and increase customer retention for the company, it is rarely the foundation for word-of-mouth marketing. It's terrible service we talk about, until we add exceptional service in strategically.
- Physical and Nonverbal Statements Are the Most Dependable in Triggering Word-of-Mouth: These statements may be architectural, kinetic, or generous (more on this later), but they must go beyond the usual.
- BUDGET to DELIVER the Experience That Will Trigger Word-of-Mouth: Your word-of-mouth budget may change over time. Therefore it's the cost linked to the number of customers you have. Other times, it will need a reasonable capital investment, so your advertising budget should accommodate this investment. The most serious hazard isn't that you'll overspend – instead, that you won't spend enough to generate positive word-of-mouth marketing.
- Don't Promise It in Your Ads: It's easy to lean for the thing you're relying on to trigger word-of-mouth, but these promises will only crush your chances of the consumer becoming your ambassador. Why would a client repeat what you say in your advertisements? Don't take away the moment in the spotlight from your ambassador.
The Flour, Butter, and Sugar of Effective Word-of-Mouth
"Architectural, kinetic, generous: these are the flour, butter, and sugar of effective word-of-mouth. What can you make from these ingredients? Will you put their rich taste into the mouths of your potential word-of-mouth ambassadors? Or will you make ambiguous claims in your ads and hope that people are willing to believe them?"
— Roy H. Williams
Architectural word-of-mouth might be product design, store design, or fantasy décor:
- The piano shop with a vast piano-like exterior and black and white keys, making the long awning over the lengthy front porch.
- Outside of the Mirage in Las Vegas is an erupting volcano.
- A glass-bottom floor lets customers see what's going on far beneath them.
- Do you recall when McDonald's first built playgrounds attached to all of its restaurants? For 20 years, it worked like magic.
Kinetic word-of-mouth entails something that moves, or at least appears to move:
- Animated GIFs.
- Video ads.
- Even some still people can make images appear as if they are in motion.
The old Transformers toys were an excellent example of this. The new ones are even better. Some web pages have moving elements that follow the mouse cursor around. It is the word performance by its very definition. It is:
- Fresh fish tossing from one employee-to-employee at Pike Place Market in Seattle.
- The magical, twirling knives of tableside chefs at a hibachi restaurant like Benihana.
- The interesting conversations you have with the person in the line next to you at Starbucks.
These are all examples of what I call "word-of-mouth on steroids." They're so stunning, captivating and memorable that people can't help but talk about them. What's more, these experiences are also highly shareable. In other words, they're the perfect fodder for social media. That's why savvy marketers are always looking for new ways to inject a little kinetic energy into their campaigns.
Generous word-of-mouth is the age of the customer, and businesses that recognize this and treat their customers well are the ones that will succeed. It's not enough to offer a great product or service anymore – you also have to be generous. But, to an extent. Find something that cost little, but holds a bunch of value, either symbolically or literally. Generosity breeds word-of-mouth. When you're generous with your customers, they feel appreciated and valued. They're more likely to talk about your business to their friends and family when they feel appreciated and valued. So how can you be generous with your customers? There are many ways, but one of the simplest is to give them something for free. Whether it's:
- Five Guys throwing in a scoop of fries into the bottom of every takeout bag.
- Being known as the restaurant allowing guests to select their favorite choice of dessert at NO CHARGE.
- The HVAC company that includes air filters at no charge with their tune-up.
- Giving away ice cream sandwiches with every appointment to symbolize your commitment to keeping them cool.
Word-of-mouth marketing can spread like wildfire. If you're known as the place that goes above and beyond for your customers, especially the loyal ones, you will build a tribe of raving fans. Speaking of generosity, book a FREE call with Master Strategist, Ryan Chute, from the Wizard of Ads™ for the best marketing strategies for your residential home service business.