In every generation there’s a basic model of marketing communications required to do business, ranging from our grandparent’s time of posting an “open” sign on a store front to today’s digital marketing frenzy. What’s remained constant is that word of mouth marketing has always been the most reliable for new leads.
Word of mouth marketing is down but not dead
But what happens when there’s less word of mouth marketing happening naturally? Now that no one is physically together anymore, there is less chatter about everything, including businesses. Even Google reviews were turned off in March 2020.
Sure, there are those super happy customers (or our mothers) who will recommend our services online, but even that doesn’t reach the same level as usual. For example, I’m actually THRILLED with the virtual tae kwon do classes our daughters are still getting from Ultimate Martial Arts, but until now I haven’t told anyone. No one’s running around making small talk.
More than ever, it’s on business owners to generate word of mouth marketing. If you haven’t started this already in the past two months, your business is no doubt at a full stop now. But even if you have increased communication over the past few weeks, now’s the time to pick up the pace as some businesses slowly start to reopen.
I’m seeing how COVID-19 has completely changed business communication to be essential. Most customers aren’t using any business right now that hasn’t communicated how they can comfortably still obtain their product or service. As the economy slowly starts to open back up, communication is absolutely paramount to every business’s survival.
3 ways to generate more word of mouth marketing now
Ask customers directly. This always holds true, but now more than ever you need to directly ask clients to spread the word. Make it a contest or offer a discount if they post about your product and tag you. This will build up your user generated content and create buzz for your business. Or offer a discount for referring a friend. Hand out a fun card with your receipt that tells purchasers how to spread the word.
Delight your customers. Your customers may already like or need your product or service, but they also now need your reassurance. Delighting them now means giving them access to what they need in a way that they feel comfortable still doing business with you. Consider making a video to show and explain how they can safely obtain your product or service now. Ask them to share it and spread the word.
Double down on virtual services. The explosion of virtual ways to offer services isn’t going away anytime soon–and it’s not just because we are waiting on a vaccine. If you found a way to reach customers virtually, they may continue to choose this option even when the economy is fully open. No one who’s tried telehealth is taking their kids to the doctor for pinkeye ever again. And those enjoying fitness or music classes in their living rooms might choose to save time and cut down on driving in the future too. Consider making the scrappy online offer you’ve developed a permanent fixture in your business. You can offer a discount if they sign up with a friend.
When everyone is staying home for the foreseeable future, and even Google reviews are turned off, the onus is on you to work harder than ever to spread the word about your business. What’s your plan?
Have you seen a business do exceptionally well communicating and offering services now? I’d love to know about it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org