Clients, customers, and affiliates can be a business’s best friend or their worst nightmare.
As business owners, we strive each and every day to present ourselves, and our business in a positive light.
With every transaction, sale, conversion or customer support activity, we have the ability to put our best foot forward and make an excellent impression, representing our business in a way that is positive, fair and true.
If it’s viewed differently, it can cause great harm to the success and outcome of your business.
Think about how often you look online and read reviews before you try out a business or buy a product.
Honestly, the majority of every consumer does this as no one prefers to go sight unseen into a business or buy something that they have no idea of.
Where do you think that they get their information from that helps them decide whether or not they want to do business with your business?
Yep, you guessed it. From the reviews and opinions of other customers. Welcome to the world of word of mouth marketing.
In terms of word of mouth marketing, there are definitely plusses that stand out in making it a good thing.
- It’s free. Looking for some free advertisement for your business? Not only is this free, but it can also be highly effective in drumming up some good business for you.
Consumers love to spread the word when something that they chose to purchase is awesome. It helps them feel validated with their purchase and also gives them a sense and feeling that they were right in their initial desire for that item or service.
- Consumers tend to listen to other consumers. If the service you are offering has a 5-star review online from other consumers, there’s a good chance that you will earn some business based on those reviews.
If your competitor only has 3 stars versus your 5 stars, more than likely your high rating will be what pulls in new clients.
- It increases your brand recognition quickly. Word of mouth marking is almost instantaneous now due to the ease of use of the internet and all the varying social media outlets.
You could have literally just gotten finished hosting a webinar on ways to increase traffic and get more leads and not 5-minutes later already have a review on your site or a shout-out to you and your business for being awesome on a social media outlet.
It’s instant positive advertising, just by being a trusted business to that person.
While there are positives out there for word of mouth marketing, it doesn’t come without the negatives as well.
The hand that feeds you so well, can take it away just as easy.
Here are some negatives to watch out for when dealing with and relying on word of mouth marketing to grow your business.
- Consumers like to complain and make their dissatisfaction known. In the same way that satisfied customers like to share the news of how great you are, unhappy customers are just as quick to spread the word of how unhappy they were. And when it comes to negativity, it spreads quickly.
- You have almost no control over what is ranked, rated or placed online about your business by other people. Social media can be a love/hate thing. The good reviews and comments are awesome! But the bad ones? Heart-wrenching.
And the sad part is that most times, there isn’t anything that can be done to stop it from happening. Once it’s put out there into the land of all things internet, it travels at light speed to anyone’s screen who is interested and wants to read it.
- Your image can be harmed easily. Once the negativity starts to spread online, it can spread like wildfire. Word of mouth is just that…news that is spread quickly by everyone.
It is possible to use word of mouth marketing to your advantage for your and business.
Make certain that you have a solid plan in place for treating your customers, clients, and affiliates with respect from the first encounter with them.
It’s important to make a strong first impression and follow it up with constant integrity.
Also important is having a plan in place for how you will react to any negative word of mouth comments that may start to appear on the internet.
You have the right to stand up for yourself and your business against the negative comments that may float around, just have a plan in place on how to do so without being reactive and escalating the situation.
By planning ahead and being prepared, you can fully-utilize word of mouth marketing to be a great asset to you and your business.
Want more information on providing excellent customer service and increasing your positive reviews on social media? Check out this post, Customer Service Best Practices For Digital Marketers.