I have said it before and I will say it again: you don’t need a big budget to launch a successful marketing campaign. With a repertoire of online marketing tactics and some time and effort, you can do exactly what the big brands do but without the budget. One great way to make the most of your marketing efforts is to get customer recommendations.
Build a Community of Your Advocates Online
Your goal for this strategy should be to build an online community of advocates for your brand who will sing your praises to others and multiply your marketing efforts.
Why Recommendations Work
Recommendations are a type of social proof. This is a psychological phenomenon where people see others get results and naturally conclude that if they perform the same actions, they will get the same results. For example, when your customer tells people how your product or service helped them, those people will want to try it themselves.
Social proof is also valuable for businesses because it lends credibility. People trust their peers’ recommendations more than a business’s marketing claims. Using this strategy, you can let your customers do your marketing for you.
Recommendations on Social Media
Social media offers a great medium to get recommendations. Give your customers a place on your page to leave feedback or reviews and encourage them to do so. When someone praises you directly, ask them to share it with their followers. This is a great viral way to spread the word about your brand. Some sites, sucj as LinkedIn, have a built-in feature for doing this.
Leverage Review Sites
People look at review sites when they’re searching for an objective third-party opinion on a product they’re considering buying. Ask your customers or clients to leave you a review on a review site such as Yelp. If you sell products through Amazon, give them a nudge and get them to leave you feedback there too. Positive reviews will go a long way towards increasing buzz about your brand online.
Ask for Testimonials
Get into the routine of asking your happy customers and clients for testimonials. When someone contacts you with favorable feedback, ask if they’ll write a testimonial that you can put on your website or use elsewhere in your marketing. You can also use an edited version of the feedback itself. If possible, get a website URL, face picture, or email address for the customer so that people know they’re real. Video testimonials are the gold standard, so ask your customers if they are willing to film a short video talking about how they benefitted from your product or service.
Pay It Forward
Offer something free but valuable with no strings attached. Give people a taste of the expertise you offer with a free information product. This will compel people to tell others about you to say thanks and spread the word about the quality you offer. You can share this information product through your email list, your social media platforms, or on a landing page with an opt-in box.
Create a Referral Program
You may want to consider setting up a referral program. This is a system where a business rewards people for telling others about their products or services, offering a gift or discount to say thanks. Putting a referral program in place will save you the time and effort of reaching out and seeking recommendations by automating the process. It also helps generate buzz about your brand through word-of-mouth marketing.
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Laura Olson-Oxley is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, marketing and business consultant, and sales professional. She has over 25 years experience working with small businesses in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic business growth through effective marketing and advertising. Also a strategist, numbers nut, project manager, and life-long learner, Laura looks at the big picture to analyze and recommend the most effective tools to take businesses to the Next Level.