Pass it on-part 3

Yes, the moment you avid readers have been waiting for! The third and final installment of my thoughts on Word of Mouth Marketing – how do we make it work harder for our businesses?
The first step is to understand what is happening right now – what is being said about your business? Can you identify a good referrer for your business and ask them how they do it – what do they say, how do they decide who to talk to etc.?
In the online world, there are a number of tools that can help us find out if we are being talked about – Google Alerts is an easy to use and free tool and there are others that comb social media platforms too. My advice is to start small – set up a few alerts, see what they produce and then build up slowly or you may be overwhelmed with information. Of course, you don’t have to just look at your own business – alerts can be used to find out what is being said by / about the competition, customers and prospects too.
A recommendation scheme is well sort considering – if it’s good enough for brands like Sky TV, it might just work for you too. It can be a very powerful way of encouraging good referrers to keep doing it and convert good intentions into actions for others. A word of warning – don’t confuse a ‘thank you’ to a referrer with a sales incentive! We’re not trying to get people to do something they wouldn’t be happy to do, just help them and recognise their support with a token gift.
Consulting customers can often be a catalyst for Word of Mouth marketing. Inviting customers to feedback and or asking their opinions can remind them about your brand and make them feel more involved – all key factors in getting talked about and recommended.
Following on from this is the simple, but often overlooked gathering of testimonials, recommendations and endorsements. It’s not quite as strong as direct communication from one customer to another, but providing a good bank of customer feedback and reviews is probably the next best thing. The two key factors in getting testimonials are asking (how many of us just don’t ask our customers?) and making it easy.
What could you do to build word of mouth marketing for your business?