Photo credit: Lusi
Ask any budget-hindered small business owner what behavior they would most love to see in their customer base, and they'll reply enthusiastically, "customers sending more referrals". Long ago, business owners and marketers realized that with some planning and a lot of elbow grease, they could stimulate an on-going flow of customer-generated business. The field of marketing that developed around that idea is known as "word of mouth" marketing; a subset of referral marketing.
The foundation of great word of mouth marketing rests on just a few principles, listed here in the form of the following tips:
Id like to illustrate the power of the points above with a personal perspective on the customer experience and some of the ways smart companies are stimulating extraordinary customer enthusiasm for sharing their products with others.
For years, I depended on a litany of calling cards for connecting with relatives and friends in my native Nigeria. Like many immigrant communities, Nigerians in the U.S. long ago abandoned the thought of making their international calls from home or bymobile phone; far too expensive to be practical for most calls. Instead, we depend on calling cards, easily obtained from most gas stations or grocery stores.
Unfortunately, calling cards presented many of their own headaches as well.
Actually, for me, calling cards were a royal pain.
First, you had to deal with a long chain of automated voice prompts just to get to the point where you could now dial the number. Of course, every international call involves a long string of digits.
Get any of these wrong, or miss a step in the sequence of voice prompts, and you have to go all the way back...to the beginning and press 1.
Often, youd have to re-dial an enormous string of digits because if you were like me you got distracted and placed one digit out of sequence or missed one completely. And if it REALLY wasnt your day, youd finally be put through, only to get a brief ringing, a faint pick up at the other end, and then dead air!
After a few desperate yelps of "Hello?!!", "Hello?!!!", youd have to give up, start the whole horrid process over again, only to find that your previous misadventure just cost you a significant amount of the money left on your card. (The video below only illustrates a mere fraction of the frustration).
Like I said, a pain!
Thankfully, I no longer use calling cards (or I should say "regular" calling cards). I now use Rebtel.
One of my tips above is about how a unique service model (see "unique selling proposition") can stimulate increased customer referrals just by itself. Rebtel has an online calling card model that - for me at least - is worthy of sharing.
It allows me to load my Nigerian contacts, assign local U.S. numbers to them, and pre-pay at competitive rates for a very convenient no-brainer solution. Its the number one recommendation I make when the subject of making calls to Nigeria comes up.
I cant recall who first told me about Rebtel because my brother, my cousin, and my uncle, all recommended them to me at one point or another. My experience here reflects the power of incentivizing customers to refer more. Rebtel offers registered customers/subscribers an incentive to refer others to the service.
At least one of the relatives I mentioned above recommended this online calling card by sending me an affiliate-coded link. Thats 1 out of 3 recommendations being directly influenced by the provided incentive. Think about how you can apply these word of mouth marketing tips & principles to promote your business or product.
Gogo Erekosima, is the Lead strategist at Idea Age Consulting - a management consulting firm that helps solo, small and mid-sized businesses nationwide to grow using assets already hidden within the business itself.
Return To Home Page
Word of Mouth Marketing Tips