3 Ways to Get Customers Talking

3 Ways to Get Customers Talking

Are your customers talking about your products and services? More importantly, are you making it easy for your customers to promote your products and services?

No company wants to be a best-kept secret. The more the world knows about your products and services, the better.

As we’ve written in our article about turning your customers into a salesforce, having your customers talk about their experiences with your company is one of the best ways to build your business. People weigh recommendations more heavily in choosing products and services than they do many other types of marketing, which means that increasing word of mouth should be part of your strategy.

Of course, this begs the question: How do I get my customers to talk about me? How do I encourage recommendations between customers and their contacts?

At your service! Here are a few pointers for increasing customer buzz about you and your offering. How can you add a few elements from each of these three word-of-mouth tips to your marketing plan?

1. Make Buzzing Easy

Make word-of-mouth buzz easy for you customers. What can you add to your communications channels that make it simple for your customers to share your messages?

If your website and your marketing don’t have links to and shout-outs for your social media accounts, you’re missing a huge word-of-mouth marketing opportunity.

Providing your social media accounts helps customers tag you in their mentions on the platforms, which helps drive new awareness in your direction. And when you list your Instagram or Twitter handle or your marketing, you nudge people to mention you on these platforms to their friends and followers.

Further, your digital content—articles, case studies, and beyond—should have what marketers call “social share buttons.” These buttons allow people to share the piece of marketing content with just one click. If they like the article, they can share it with their followers—easy peasy.

Also, when people mention your business on social media, always acknowledge their interest and engagement. Building relationships with your customer base helps improve their sentiment about your enterprise. The better people feel about you, the more likely they are to come back—happy customers skyrocket sales—and the more likely they are to tell their friends about you.

Off-line referral programs continue to thrive as well. Off-line referral programs include referral cards, loyalty programs, and software that tracks referrals and rewards people who send new customers your way.

2. Find the Influencers

Influencer marketing is a big buzz in business today, but it isn’t new: Companies have used influential people in their target markets to promote their products and services for eons.

What many companies don’t realize is that they have influencers in their customer bases. All people have significant sway with their friends and contacts, and many people won’t hesitate to share their favorite finds and resources far and wide.

So how do you find these influencers? It takes some sleuthing:

  • Scan through the Web—Facebook, Twitter, message boards, blogs, user groups, and so forth—to determine who talks about your brand. When these people talk about you, do other people respond? What kind of interactions do they get? From whom do they seem to get responses? Do their contacts appear to fit within your customer-target profiles?
  • Check off-line networks. Ask your front-line staff—the people interacting with customers—which customers are big fans and which are influential in their communities (at work and in the world at large). See who in the academic world—students and professors—promote what you do. Check your corporate partners for people in their networks who are true influencers in their realms and who love your products and services.

Once you have a few influencers pegged, aim specific marketing activity toward them—in fact, we recommend considering this influential-customer group a special segment of your target market.

To maintain engagement and motivation from these influential customers, keep them in the loop on your company. Create marketing tactics that exclusively target them with exclusive information. Give them exclusive access to new products and services. Put together user groups and member-only meetings for these customer influencers to get their feedback (and buy-in) on your new ideas.

Also, you can consider this group a marketing channel of its own, supplying it with materials to give away and use in advocating for your products and services among friends and contacts.

3. Give ‘em Something to Talk About

People buzz when they have something to buzz about.

Giving your customer influencers inside-track information will keep them talking. Yet you can get customers in a broader group buzzing if you surprise them. Do something fun that people don’t expect and people will talk about it. We promise.

Need ideas?

Go big: Do an event that targets your key customers—including your influencer group!—and meshes well with your company’s brand promise. Grand splashes often get attention—but to really get results, you need to go beyond just “big” and shake up expectations a bit. Think of something fun that expresses your company’s character and takes people outside the humdrum of the everyday.

For example, several years ago, the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council put on a philanthropic event that they called an “urban campout.” The Council created a huge indoor playground for adults in a large area in central Houston. They invited guests to wear their best camping outfits. During the event they held scooter races, had s’mores and cotton candy stations, and more. Did people have a blast? Oh yes. Did they leave with a better impression of Girl Scouts than they’d had before? Definitely. Did they talk about the experience for days? Take a guess. (If you said “yes,” you guessed correctly.)

Your buzz-worthy moment doesn’t need to come in big-event form to get noticed, though. Small things count—and sometimes they count more than big things would. Zappos, the on-line shoe store, rose to the top through encouraging its customer service representatives to take as much time as they needed with each call and to make the right decision for the customer. The commitment to happy customers and to surprising each customer with individualized attention worked: The company reported at a conference less than nine years after its birth that 75 percent of its customers were repeat customers and, of new customers, 43 percent came from word of mouth. (Wow.)

From Ideas to Word-of-Mouth Marketing

We can share ideas—but only by putting them into play can you get the results you seek for your marketing.

Need help creating marketing plans that encourage word-of-mouth from happy customers? FrogDog can help. Contact us today.

Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio
Posted: Sep 28, 2011
Updated: Oct 08, 2020
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