A new franchise business is a bit of an anomaly. You’re new to the scene, but have the recognition of a bigger brand. Your customer base is small, yet you’re well-known. Your marketing efforts are new, but you have many assets at your disposal. Being in this unique situation means you have to take a well thought out approach to get local buzz, referrals and ultimately effectively promote your business. One of the best ways to do so is by word of mouth.
Despite being a traditional form of marketing, word of mouth has genuinely proven its benefits, even in today’s digital world. According to a recent study by Nielsen, 92% of the 28,000 respondents in 56 countries completely trusted recommendations from people they knew. Additionally, 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.
So, with word of mouth still an incredibly valuable marketing tool, how does one kickstart their efforts? (F45 Training franchise, have a few ideas on how to get this strategy going if your stuck for ideas).
Influencer marketing is the new paradigm
While influencer marketing is a relatively new trend in the established world of marketing, it has become an extremely successful path to take. Making use of influential, respected individuals with an extensive online presence is necessary to get people thinking and talking about you. If you aren’t sure where to start, follow these basics to identify who is worthy of broadcasting your business:
- They have an established group of followers. While they don’t need to have millions of followers, they should have enough to prove that they are well liked and popular.
- Their niche is relevant to your business, and they have proven they are experts in that niche.
- They have a constant flow of positive engagement that proves that their followers are interested and enjoy their content.
- Their followers have similar interests to those of your target audience. Ensure that the content that the influencer produces for your business is relevant to their audience and your potential new customers.
Reviews are the new currency
Consumers trust firsthand experience, and reviews are a simple yet effective way to showcase the positive encounters with your business. Additionally, reviews help greatly in motivating a purchase. Consumers are far more likely to buy a product or try out a service if they can scroll through its reviews during the decision-making process.
From product page reviews to social media referrals, capturing the ‘decision moment’ is the perfect chance to enhance organic comments about your business. While there’s always the chance you’ll receive negative reviews; if your business offers a quality product and genuine customer service, the positive reviews will far outweigh the negative ones.
Referrals are still important
A referral marketing programme takes things a step further and encourages customers to leave reviews or recommendations through an incentive. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for referral programmes; every business is different, with different customer needs. Typically, once a purchase has been made, a business offers a reward to the existing customer — or to the existing customer and their friend–for the referral action.
The type of referral you ask for and the reward you choose depends on what suits your business and customers best. If you’re looking to increase your website reviews, you can invite customers to leave a review once a purchase has been made.
If it’s social media engagement you’re after, you can ask customers to share their purchase on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (or all three), and tag you in these posts. The incentive can be one of several things, depending on what you find is appropriate and cost-effective. It could be a percentage of the cost of certain products, a gift with the next purchase or a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal.
A word of mouth strategy is multifaceted and versatile. There are numerous ways to get consumers talking about your business, and these strategies can be personalised to suit your business interests and goals. Whether it be using influencers, allowing customers to leave reviews, or putting a referral programme into action, you can pick and choose how to curate a successful word of mouth strategy.