7 Word of Mouth Marketing Tips to Turn Customers into Spokespeople

Two women sitting on a bench talking with shopping bags


Word of mouth marketing is one of the most impactful ways small business owners can increase their customer base and encourage sales. Best of all, it usually costs little to nothing.

What does word of mouth mean? Customers often turn to others’ opinions and experiences before making an empowered purchase. Word of mouth marketing occurs when a customer tells other people about a business, product or service. It may happen organically — like when someone has a fantastic experience with a business — or there may be an incentive for customers to spread the word.

Word of mouth influences 50% of all purchases, according to Talk Triggers. Small businesses can’t always afford large-scale advertising techniques. Encouraging customers to spread word of mouth referrals is an effective and inexpensive way to create and maintain a positive business reputation without running a big-budget ad campaign.

According to the American Marketing Association, almost 75% of customers consider word of mouth a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. As you implement this marketing tactic into your small business, consider these seven steps for your word of mouth marketing strategy.

1. Get customers talking

Create word of mouth by exceeding your customers’ expectations. Offering a unique experience leaves a lasting impression and gives your customers something to talk about. Top-notch service and unexpected gestures may make them excited enough to talk about your business with their friends.

2. Put the customer first

You aren’t just selling your products — you’re selling your business, which also means selling yourself. Build a staff and support system that supports your vision and puts the customer first. Be kind and helpful, give them your full attention, answer any questions they have and don’t forget to smile.

3. Ask for reviews

User-generated content—such as product reviews and store ratings—is written by customers and shared for others’ consumption, and is a great word of mouth marketing example. Asking your customers to write a review of your products for others to see facilitates word of mouth by building trust through positive endorsements.

Include an area on your site for customers to share their opinion and give honest feedback about your company. Take it a step further by making reviews sharable so that people can post their reviews to their social platforms. As your positive reviews grow, word about your reputable and trust-worthy brand will spread.

4. Promote yourself

When you’re trying to spread word of mouth about your business to customers, promote yourself. Create brochures with valuable information and customer testimonials, and leave them in a highly visible area for customers to grab. If someone has a positive experience or personally compliments your business, hand them some business cards — one might land in the hands of your next big sale.

A brochure on a table

4. Promote yourself


A brochure on a table


When you’re trying to spread word of mouth about your business to customers, promote yourself. Create brochures with valuable information and customer testimonials, and leave them in a highly visible area for customers to grab. If someone has a positive experience or personally compliments your business, hand them some business cards — one might land in the hands of your next big sale.

5. Offer incentives

Incentives help build long-term relationships with new and returning customers and motivate people to talk about your business. Propel your word of mouth marketing strategy with special gifts or discounts for customers who refer friends and family to your business. Examples of customer incentives can include:

  • An online coupon code for a discount off their next purchase
  • A gift card for an in-store purchase
  • An invitation to a VIP event with exclusive discounts

6. Get social

Word of mouth marketing strategies work online, too. Develop an online social media presence for customers to spread the word about your business. Creating relationships with customers online builds trust. If a customer shares their positive experience or a post from your business on social media, their friends and followers will see and react to it.

Try these tips to encourage people to interact on your social platforms:

  • Create a unique and catchy hashtag
  • Develop interactive and share-worthy content, like quizzes and polls
  • Host a contest or giveaway for followers who like, share or comment on your posts
  • Reply to all questions, comments or product reviews

7. Show gratitude

After loyal customers recommend your business, express your appreciation. Some ways to show your thanks include:

  • Mailing a handwritten card
  • Sending a personalized email
  • A face-to-face conversation and simple “thank you”
  • Holding a VIP event or giveaway

Small businesses don’t need a big advertising budget to build a reputation. Friendly service, an active online presence and customer incentives can help create word of mouth referrals and a loyal customer base. As you create your marketing strategy, FedEx Office can help with all of your design and printing needs.

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