Before you spend a chunk of money on a new marketing strategy, stop and consider that you have one of the biggest and most effective marketing tools at your disposal right now, for free: your customers. Your clients are more than just your primary source of revenue. If you form lasting professional relationships with your customers, they will also become a great mouthpiece for your business – without you even asking them to.
According to AdAge, 92 percent of consumers trust the opinions of friends and family members more than any other source. That isn’t just anecdotal – it translates into actual benefit. The same report noted that between 20 and 50 percent of purchases happen as a direct result of a word-of-mouth recommendation.
It’s clear then that word-of-mouth advertising is a valuable asset that your organization should harness as much as possible. But if you’ve never tried to drum up grassroots support before, you may not know where to start. Here are some ways to boost your word-of-mouth marketing.
Specialize in a market
It may seem counterintuitive to start your marketing by narrowing down your field of potential customers, especially in a limo service where you could in theory cater to just about everybody. But the best way to encourage people to talk favorably about your business to their family and friends is to stand out, and that will likely mean you need to specialize. Understand who your biggest demographic is – for example, business travelers. Then determine what they need and want, and identify how that is different from what you’re currently doing. It can be something as little as offering complimentary phone chargers in your cars or as involved as establishing a convenient online booking service. Remember that everything you can do to make the experience more efficient will bring you one step further to that coveted recommendation.
If you really want to take an aggressive approach to generating referrals, it may be prudent to directly incentivize your top customers. Many companies have employee referral programs that reward current staff members for referring candidates to apply, and you can use this same strategy to encourage your clients to put in a good word for you. Offering a discount for clients who refer customers to you will not only generate new business, it will also increase brand loyalty among your current clientele.
Get involved in the community
One of the best ways to get people talking about your business is to make yourself as visible in the community as possible. You already offer spectacular customer service, but going above and beyond to benefit your local area – by contributing to a charity event or hosting a local fundraiser, for example – will give people in your community even more reason to pay attention to you.