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What is “Word of Mouth?” (Hint) It’s not Marketing

What is “Word of Mouth?” (Hint) It’s not Marketing

By Guy Williams, Publisher of Local Business News

To often small business owners explain their marketing as being “word of mouth” which they mean; they don’t engage in marketing/advertising because everyone finds them through (you guessed it) word of mouth.

First of all, word of mouth is what happens because of the way you run your business.  Good word of mouth is the result of running it well and delivering what you promise, this is what business owners confuse with good marketing.

I always assume that people go into business because they are passionate about what they do, it’s their ego, they think they should start a restaurant because they make the best burgers, sushi or pancakes that the world has ever seen.  That’s a good thing, if after you open your business you notice that new people are coming in because someone told them about your incredible burger, sushi or pancakes, this is your opportunity to invest in marketing without risk.

Why without risk, because you already know that what you’re doing is working, people are referring you to their community, the odds of someone coming in and liking what you’re doing has been confirmed.  People don’t return to businesses because of good marketing, people try a business because of good marketing, they return and tell their community about a business because the business is good.  A business that continues to attract new customers results in those customers encouraging new people to come in, it’s a vicious cycle but very profitable when done well.

Think about this; if 10 people accidentally find your business and they each tell 3 people how great you are and then they visit your business, you have 30 new customers.  Now, if through your marketing effort 100 people find you and they also tell 3 people how great you are, you now have 300 new customers.

There are five things that you should do if your business has a “word of mouth” following:

  1. Pursue media attention to introduce your business to the broader marketplace
  2. Use social networks to connect with potential customers
  3. Use social networks to connect with current customers and encourage their return
  4. Advertise where your customers have already noticed you
  5. Encourage your new customers to tell their community about you (word of mouth) with incentives

When you have created a word of mouth following, you have created an accelerated opportunity to succeed, this is the time to embrace marketing, now is the time to advertise, now is the time to reach out to the community with the confidence that now that you’ve built it, they will come!