When it comes to lead generation, nothing beats word-of-mouth marketing. According to research by Nielsen, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of marketing. While traditional marketing tools such as print ads, direct mail, home shows and even digital, can build brand awareness, nothing is as powerful as a simple referral from a trusted source. Even with the recent explosion of review sites (e.g., Yelp, Google, Angie’s List), research clearly demonstrates that word-of-mouth is still the most effective way to win new customers and is the most cost-efficient form of lead generation.
Here are 3 ways to implement a successful “word-of mouth” campaign:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate – A successful word-of-mouth-campaign always begins with communication. Follow-up with your past customers through email, social media and phone calls. You could ask them to join your blog or invite them to stop by your booth at a local event such as a Home & Garden show (you could even provide them with discounted tickets to the event).
2. Offer Incentives – Sometimes communication alone may not be enough. Your customers may adore you, but you may not always be top of mind with them. They are busy people, so a little incentive never hurts. Try adding a simple referral program to your communications. An incentive of a $25 gift card for any referrals who book an appointment and/or a $50 gift card if the referral makes a purchase might help your customers remember you a little more quickly.
3. Focus on repeat business – In our business, it may seem like once a customer builds a new closet, then that is the end. But what about offering some suggestions like a utility closet, mudroom or garage? Do your customers have a child leaving home? Maybe they would like to convert that room into an office or craft room? An incentive in the form of a 10% discount as a “thank you” for being a returning customer doesn’t hurt either.
Always remember that word-of-mouth referrals are earned. Communications and incentives only work for your highly satisfied customers. Your customers are putting their reputation on the line each time they recommend you to their friends and family. Therefore, word-of-mouth referrals stem naturally from an unparalleled customer experience. So, give your customers something to talk about.
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