It’s no secret you obsessively check your small business’s Yelp
and Facebook reviews every night before bed, praying you get even just one
positive recommendation. But the overwhelming emphasis on social media makes it easy
to forget that recommendations still happen offline and in person. In fact, 92% of consumers said they trust recommendations from
friends and family over all other forms of advertising. This is
excellent news for small businesses, especially since only 6% of big business
marketing executives admit they’ve mastered word-of-mouth-marketing. Unlike
large corporations, small businesses can form more intimate and personal relationships
with customers. Here are 3 ways small businesses can master
word-of-mouth-marketing that big businesses can’t.
Get Involved In Your
Lucky for you, Fly Emirates has its hands full sponsoring every
soccer team in Europ or they’d probably stamp their name on your your
six-year-old’s little league jersey as well. But they’re on to something. In
addition to building brand awareness, community involvement also garners
customer loyalty by associating your business with a warm, feel-good sentiment.
There are tons of local opportunities to advertise your brand that you can take
advantage of, and this time big business can’t steal your thunder. For example,
you can either participate in or sponsor community events like 5Ks, fairs,
sporting games, charities, art exhibitions, school projects, or recycling
drives. The possibilities are endless! Remember that sponsorship doesn’t have
to be expensive–a few hundred dollars is usually enough, plus the long-term
benefits will eventually cover the costs.
Get Personal With Your
Any time there’s an opportunity to personally interact with
your customers, take it. Unlike big businesses, small businesses can make
customers feel special and appreciated by interacting with them on a first-hand
basis. Make small talk, get to know their names, their families, their stories.
People enjoy talking about themselves, so when you show a genuine interest in
their lives (please don’t be fake!), they’ll remember your friendliness and be
more likely to bring your name up in conversation with friends and family.
Also, always make sure it’s you or an employee interacting with customers. This
means, don’t use automated emails or phone calls to notify your customers about
incoming shipments or delays. And if you really want to get personal, send out
handwritten notes to your customers, thanking them for their business. It’s
cute, memorable, and surefire way to put a smile on your customer’s face.
Get Angry Customers To
Unfortunately, angry customers are more likely to share their
poor experiences with friends and family. But fortunately for you, small
businesses are inherently equipped to turn angry customers into happy ones.
First, be sure to apologize and offer them a cheerful refund. Even if you think
they’re being completely unreasonable, it’s more important to win them over
than to win an argument. Second, be sure to understand the root of their
problem and attempt to resolve it for them. Make it a learning experience and
guarantee them this problem will no longer be a concern. Essentially you should
go out of your way to make sure this particular customer is satisfied. And
remember, be personal! Once you’ve turned unhappy customers into satisfied
ones, you’ve also made lifelong fans who will rave to their friends about the
great customer service they received. There’s no way big businesses can go
after and fix all the complaints they receive–but you can.
If you stick to these three tips, your small business will undoubtedly
gain new, happy, loyal customers. There are several advantages small businesses
have over large ones that are too significant to neglect. At the end of the
day, customers are much happier to support local businesses that bring money
into their community over large corporations that eat mom and pop shops for
breakfast. Give them a reason to trust you and everything else will fall into
Tamar Shor is the founder and CEO of Wannabiz
– the popular app that helps small business owners manage their social
media marketing in just one minute a day. Tamar is a marketing veteran
with a great passion for helping small businesses everywhere. She is a
former McKinsey strategist and holds an MBA from INSEAD. Connect with @Market_like_Pro on Twitter.