How to put your word-of-mouth marketing on steroids

Everybody in business knows that word of mouth is the absolute best form of marketing for their business.

Having a third party recommend your business is more credible in the eyes of the potential customers. Numerous studies have shown that recommendations from friends and even complete strangers have much higher levels of trust than advertising.

The problem with word of mouth marketing is that it is really hard to instigate, encourage or control. For someone to recommend your business, you need to be top of their mind when they happen to be having a conversation with someone who needs your products or services. Basically the right person needs to be in the right place at the right time, having the right conversation to make the referral.

Enter social media

Social media removes some of the barriers of word-of-mouth referrals and makes it easier for your customers to refer or recommend your services. In fact, it makes it so easy, often times, people don’t even realise they are doing it.

Staying Top of mind

Social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or even email, allows you regular contact with the fans and customers of your business. That regular contact is critical to reminding your fans that you exist.

Here’s the thing… The contact doesn’t have to be anything heavy. It doesn’t have to be a sales call, a product offer or any form of ‘marketing message’. In fact, it is better if it isn’t (of course there is a place for promoting sales from time to time).

The point is purely to let them know you are still here. Doing your thing. Helping people.

Make it easy to share and promote your business

Before social media, contacting people was slow and expensive. But now, taking 10 minutes to post a photo or a tip on Facebook, and you’ve made contact with all of your fans who are interested enough to follow you.

The trick is posting something interesting that inspires your fans and followers to want to have their say. To share it with their friends.

It only takes 2 seconds to click the ‘like’ button or send a retweet on Twitter, or a minute to compose a comment. On Facebook, every interaction with your content spreads your idea and the visibility of your business further, to reach a larger audience. Effectively removing the barriers of referring your business.

How to make this work for your business

If you haven’t already, set up your presence on these platforms.

Think about what sort of content would be useful or interesting for your customers, and plan some cool content. Remember, content, can be short text tips, long articles, photos or video.

Get some fans. Spread the word with your staff, friend and customers, and give them all a reason to follow you on these services.

Get publishing. Be cool.

Speaking of being cool. If you found this article helpful, I’d appreciate it if you took a moment to write a comment below or share this article on Facebook.

Whats in a telephone number?

Telephone Number - what does it say about your business?

Maybe you don’t think much about your telephone number. I know a lot of people strive to get the easiest number to remember when connecting a new number, but that seems to be as far as most go.  Lets be honest, people don’t remember your business phone number anymore, not with cell phones… there is no need. Honestly, I can’t tell you my wife’s mobile number because it is two buttons away in my cell phone.

But your phone number can say a lot about your business, and your customers notice it.

If you service a local community like Blenheim, or region such as Marlborough, a local calling number reassures your customers they are dealing with a local business and often depending on the industry, this is important to the customer.

If you provide products or services nationally, having a toll free number is telling the customers that you may be out of town, but you value their business enough to pay for their inquiry.  If you have two competing businesses to contact for a product, and one is a toll call, while the other is toll free, which are you going to call first?

International business may be a combination of the two.  Are you going to make an international phone call to place an order? Not likely if their is local competition. Why not have a toll free number in another country redirected to your local office?

What can you take away from this?  Smaller local companies can have toll free national and international numbers, so they appear bigger than they actually are to their target customers.  On the other hand,  large national (or international) companies can have many local numbers to appear as though they have a local office.

What does your business phone number tell your customers?

Photo credit: Alexander ONeill

Ever have a Lemonade stand when you were a kid?

Lemonade stand

Lemonade stand

When I was a kid, I used to make a little stall in front of our house during the holidays.  We used to make Lemonade to or go up the back of a farm nearby and pick blackberries or passion fruit to sell.

I always remember getting excited about how much money we would make while picking the berries or lemons.  Followed by the boredom and frustration after hours of sitting waiting for people to buy our produce.  Sometimes we would knock on doors to try and sell some faster.

One holiday when I was a bit older, I spent a whole day writing a leaflet offering my services to do odd jobs washing cars and the like.  When it was finished I had to talk my mum into going to town to make lots of copies on her work photocopier, and then spent a few more hours posting them in letter boxes around the neighbourhood.  I got a few jobs washing cars and cleaning swimming pools for my efforts, giving me a tidy sum of pocket money.  The thing I remember is the making and distributing the leaflets took twice as long as the actual jobs, which only took a few hours to do.

I always think of these experiences when I hear people mentioning celebrities getting paid huge sums of money to front brands.  Back in the early 2000’s Nike reported paid Tiger Woods more to market their products than they paid their workforce in china to make their shoes.  Many people considered that unjust, but I can’t help thinking, that you make money from selling products, not just making them.

photo credit: EvinDC

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Print Finishes

Design in print is one thing. But the design OF YOUR PRINT is another thing altogether. AND well worth taking a look at exploring.

Within the realms of paper finishes and print finishes there is a whole new element to design and the influence it can have over the completed job.

 A designer can and should consider the end product when developing a concept. This means more than taking into account the most appropriate paper stock. It means thinking about how a myriad of other tricks and techniques (within the budget) can be used in tandem with the graphics to meet the brief.

Our son was given an organic cotton toy that was packaged in a special brown shoe box, printed in natural ink colours and die-cut at the side to expose the logo. Everything about the packaging screamed “natural!” to me and even though it had a matt finish and was predominately brown (think paper bag), the overall impression was one of absolute quality and that the product was worth treasuring.

A simple business card doesn’t have to be on clean white stock like everyone elses’ UNLESS this supports how your business is positioned. Sometimes a different finish, such as an emboss or metallic for example, can set your business apart from others as well as saying more about your brand.