If you are trying to build a successful business from the ground up, you know how little money is left over for things like print advertising, web design or direct mail postage. Your budget may have already been busted, and you have yet to move into your new storefront!
Trust me folks, I know the financial constraints placed on someone trying to start a new venture from scratch. I’ve been doing it for the last six or so months. But over that time, I realized something really cool. I acknowledged that even though my budget was strained to the breaking point, I still had the ability to generate some serious exposure, and build my brand while I slept! Not only did this method work, it was something I looked forward to everyday.
What is this mythical marketing magic?
It’s a little thing called Word-of-Mouth Advertising. Not a huge secret, but an often overlooked ingredient in the recipe for effective brand building. It’s easy for us to become distracted by social media marketing, radio and all of the other forms of message dissemination. But at the end of the day, nothing works better than good old word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen on its own. You, the marketer, have to take steps toward igniting the blaze of conversation. That inferno will spread only as long as you stoke it.
OK. I have more fire references, but I’ll stop there!
Building a cult like following is easy once you give your customers something to talk about.
Let’s give them something to talk about, a little mystery to figure out.”
1) Give them the tools they need
In Guerrilla Marketing for FREE by Jay Conrad Levinson, Jay talks about the “moment of maximum satisfaction.” This moment only last 30 days after they make their first purchase. Within that time, they are more likely to talk about your business with their peers. So the easiest thing you can do as a marketer is to provide them with right verbiage they can use to summarize your business. How would you describe what it is that you offer to your friends? Toss that answer on to a little card which you then can staple to the receipt of first time customers. You want that verbiage coming out of the right mouths, and at the right time. Strike while the iron is hot!
And enjoy the FREE heat!
2) Create a strategic alliance
Building a business is tough, but it’s almost impossible if you choose to market it on your own. If you not only want to market your business at a low-cost, but also want to make friends doing it, then you need to build yourself a group of allies. Just like in politics, it pays off big time to have friends in the right places. For your small business, the right places will be stores which your customers often patronize. Think about where your prospects are hanging out. Now march over there and ask to speak to the owner. Explain to him or her how, through a combined effort, you can enhance each others foot traffic. Provide them with a flyer to hang near their checkout, and then be sure to return the favor.
Wow! That was also FREE!
Related content: 6 Ways to Boost Your Business’s Cool Factor!
3) Swap Website Links
As we move along through the world of digital marketing, it has become more acceptable to ask established websites to swap links. That means that you share a link to their website on your page, and they share yours on theirs. Easy! Very similar to strategy #2 above, but this time it’s online. Just make sure that the person you are swapping links with is not selling the same product, or providing the same service as your business. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised. Also, by linking to another website, you are basically giving them a thumbs up, and stating that you agree with their content. So it’s always a great idea to peruse their entire site, and make sure nothing contradicts your established message or beliefs.
Did I mention this one is FREE too?
Related content: How to Construct a Press Release That Makes You Money
4) Join a club
I understand that the membership may come at a cost, but it will be well worth the price of exposure. I am a member of the Clinton, IA Kiwanis Club. Through my membership, I’ve met some awesome people. Some of them are lawyers, insurance agents and small business owners. While I call all of them my friends, I also look at them as potential clients. The cool thing is that it’s always easier to do business with a friend rather than a stranger. Every week, I am presented with a chance to promote my business, share a story, and make people laugh. They know what my profession is, they know how I can help business owners, so who do you think they will recommend when one of their friends is talking about building a website for her business? This guy!
Minus the cost of membership, divide by two, time 3.14, and you’re looking at $FREE.99! Nice.
5) Incentivize a referral program
Listen. We are all selfish! I don’t mean “nasty selfish.” I mean that as humans, we are always looking for a way to better ourselves. Referrals are no different. A person may give you a referral just because they want to help you out, but they are more likely to provide a referral if there is something for them to gain. Money or a gift is not always the answer. You would be astonished by how many people appreciate a little public acknowledgement for their efforts! Mention their name on your next email, give them a shout out on Facebook or post their image on your in-store “wall of fame.” Either way, let them know that you are grateful. If you select the gift option, keep it small. You want people to refer your business because they believe in the quality of your service, not just because they are going to receive a new gadget for their efforts.
Public acknowledgment= FREE!
While there are dozens of other ways to help boost your word-of-mouth, I believe these to be the quickest, and obviously, the cheapest tactics to implement. Marketing your business should be your top priority. You can all of your ducks in a row, offer an awesome product and have the prettiest sales staff, but if you fail to inform people that you exist, it will all be for nothing. Take some time out of each day to help “build the buzz!”
Your success depends on it.
Chitty chitty bang-bang! Another post complete. I hope you enjoyed my babble. If you want to join in on the conversation, be sure to LIKE us on Facebook.
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