How to build a word-of-mouth following

The key to creating buzz about your company is by creating stories. These stories can be about anything from the CEO’s inspiration behind a new product to the latest promotional event. The point is, you need to give people reasons to talk about your company to their friends, family, and co-workers. This article will give you the best ways to get your name onto customers’ lips.

1. Focus on Customers

This may seem obvious, but people tend to talk about things that they like, and people like companies that treat them well. Give customers a positive experience to share with their friends by providing great customer service. Make sure that your employees have basic knowledge about the company so that they can answer common questions with ease. Put as much information as possible on the web so that customers have access to important information when they are unable to speak with someone directly. A company that prides itself on politely and efficiently addressing customers’ concerns will be hard-pressed not to develop a following.

Other ways to create positive experiences for customers are through simple courtesies such as thank you letters/e-mails, freebies, or discounts. Everybody likes to feel appreciated, and this is one way of showing gratitude for your customers’ business. Doing so does not have to be costly—a periodic e-mail or postcard will do the job. When you do decide to provide free products like t-shirts or mugs, remember that they serve a double purpose as means of advertising.

Lastly, there is the importance of providing a means for customer feedback. Even the best companies can always improve, and the best way to know how to do so is through feedback. Try doing this the old-fashioned way by putting a suggestion box in the lobby or establishing a feedback e-mail or online survey. For the survey, adding a perk such as a drawing entry, coupon, or freebie provides an incentive so that more people will be willing to participate. By doing so, the customer knows that your company values his/her opinion.

2. Create News

The internet has made publishing and distributing information easier than ever, but if you can afford it, print items are great as well. These publications can be placed inside your store or other places that are frequented by customers. Alternatively, send out a periodic news e-mail that includes company news, relevant articles, or editorials from staff. Cosmetics company Lush and Proctor and Gamble have utilized this strategy to provide information to women about health and beauty in addition to highlighting their latest products.

A second way to create news is through blogs. Whether it is the company employee of the month, CEO, or customers themselves, blogs add a personal touch to your company image. For example, Nicol Atkins, founder and CEO of the athletic clothing company Dirty Red has created a blog page for the customer groups who work out together. These blogs include stories about upcoming races, friendship, and product experiences. Blogs provide personal testimonies stating why your company is better than the competition.

The last way to create news is networking in order to get your product or service featured in the news (i.e. newspapers, magazines, blogs). These news sources are seen as being more credible, and they will also offer high visibility.

3. Provide the Means

Facebook proves that recommending your favorite things is now easier than ever because of the internet. Take advantage of viral marketing by equipping your company’s website with the essential features for getting the word out about your company. Adding a web forum or message board or “forward to a friend” feature for certain products or articles will provide customers with the necessary resources for making your company known. Alternatives are sponsoring events related to your company’s product. For example, Nike launched a campaign known as Club Run LA that regularly hosted events in trendy places such as Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Marina del Rey where runners could train together, test out new products, and enjoy refreshments. When people invited friends to the events they were simultaneously promoting Nike and its products.

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