Word of Mouth MarketingWe all know that we listen to recommendation from other people much more than paid for advertising. Especially since we are bombarded with so many marketing messages every day. If someone has experienced somewhere or something first hand we trust their opinion. We often ask them for a view point or recommendation. And today, with the power of the internet and social media, your message can reach far and wide, very quickly –  if desired. However, these messages or comments can be good and bad!

Any positive comments give your marketing real credibility, as they are expressed by a real person, not by how much money you have spent on advertising.

The real art is to get people talking about your business when you’re not in the room. So how do you do this?

You need to give people something positive to talk about…

The power of Twitter
I recently saw this promotion on Twitter for Chocoblog and this is an example of how to use the Re-Tweet (RT) power of Twitter to spread your marketing message. This competition had over 800 tweets so they managed to get a fair amount of coverage for this simple online promotion and no doubt raised awareness of the sale of this product through The Chocolate Society in the process.

The art of the ‘freebie’
Free trial is an effective one. Most travel agents get to go on ‘fam’ trips which are familiarisation trips to help them experience a destination, an airline, the hotels and activities, and therefore be better informed to tell their customers about it.

Recently my local gastro pub ran a Tasting Plates promotion when they launched their new season menu – we got to come along and sample the new menu with a drink for free! Obviously the food was delicious and we have gone back to try it again (this time they will be pleased we paid!).

Do a great job
If you give your customers fantastic service, they will talk about you and your business to others. But don’t forget to ask for testimonials and use client or customer case studies to showcase what you do on your website and in your email marketing.

Quirky news and snipets
Issue a press release for an impactful story to create a bit of a buzz around your business. In terms of publicity, you can announce an appointment, client win, or special business anniversary, make a prediction, issue a free report or conduct a poll or survey and publicise the results – if it has humour or an unusual angle, this also helps create interest and extra coverage. Journalists want stuff that is topical and interesting. Your new office move isn’t really very exciting to most people except your business, so keep that one under wraps!

Refer a Friend
Introduce a more formalised way of recognising customers that talk positively about your business. A small ‘thank you’ gift or some free product or service

Create a wacky stunt or special event…
Wacky events or publicity stunts can include unusual photo opportunities, celebrities or even mass demos! However, you can try a range of more down to earth things including competitions, exhibitions, event sponsorship, a speech or talk, taking a stand on a controversial subject, using client testimonials, create an award, organise a tour or open evening for your business if you have premises or a product or service that is suitable to do this for. Harness the power of You Tube and our love of video to spread your message virally using social media. Have a look at Blendtec on You Tube with over 10 million views, you get the jist?

Just a few ideas to get you started! What have you used to create a buzz about your small business? I’d love to hear your experiences of what worked for you.