Word of mouth is one of the most powerful promotional tools for IT people. Think of all the clients you have that are a result of word of mouth.
If you're like me, it's a lot!
When someone tells somebody else about a positive experience with your firm it leaves a lasting effect.
Word of mouth can take place through any type of communication platform, such as:
No matter what medium through which the word is spread, there are basically three types of messages that are communicated: Good, Bad, or OK.
A good experience will spread from your client to their friends and colleagues. A VERY GOOD experience will turn your client into a walking billboard for your business. People like sharing news, so leaving your client with good experience will really spread and end up very positive for your business.
The same effect is also true for a bad experience. Your clients (or ex-clients) will also share their negative experience with your IT practice. This can be very bad for your business.
An OK experience will create a fairly passive effect and possibly create a bit of awareness about your company.
Word of mouth is very difficult to control and measure but can be a powerful tool. People become clients of businesses their peers have endorsed. This is because they want to do business with the best. Being an IT provider, most of your work is probably local. So word of mouth is an excellent marketing tactic to get more clients.
There are different ways that word of mouth can spread as well. Some are more effective, but reach less people. The effectiveness of word of mouth marketing depends on body language and tone. People can easily pick up when someone is being disingenuous. This, of course, like most things, can have a positive opposite effect.
People can pick up when somebody is recommending you truthfully. You can't fake it!
Unfortunately, not everyone who has had an interaction with you or your company will pass on the good news. Some people will be pleased with your services but may just keep it to themselves or forget about it all together.
There are a certain type of people that are much more likely to rave or rant about your business, so it would be in your best interest to try and influence these people particularly.
So what type of people do you want to focus on?
You probably know a connector. Somebody who gets a real high from meeting people and are genuinely interested in them, their projects and their businesses. They are motivated by being social and talking. They aren't as persuasive as the second type, the Recommender, but have a large social group.
These people are motivated by the joy of giving good advice. They are not as loud as Connectors, but they get a real joy out of giving advice and helping people improve their business. They are usually very respected in their fields and can be very influential when it comes to a persons decision about their business.
Recommenders or Connectors don't have to do business with you to spread the word. They can be found anywhere and be influenced in many ways. You may have an interesting conversation with Mr. Connector at a dinner party and they may be so enthusiastic about you as a person, that they will recommend your company to anybody who will listen. You may also do charity work with Mrs. Recommender and impress her with your work ethic.
Create a referral program
Why not reward people for promoting your business. You don't have to pay them with cash, it could be something as simple as free service or maybe free equipment. Just be sure you are rewarding your loudest fans. It can really pay off.
Pay attention to your loudest fans
One of the most important elements of a good word of mouth strategy is paying attention to your loudest and most passionate fans. Once you know who they are, create a plan to help them spread the good word about your company. A passionate fan can create many leads for you over time.
The easiest way to generate word of mouth is to be awesome. Provide exceptional service, care about your clients and do your job. Providing awesome service gets your clients excited about doing business with you. When they are excited they tell their friends and colleagues.
Get involved in your community
People like to celebrate good news. Share your charitable contributions with your community either through your newsletter or social media channels. If you aren't making charitable contributions, either monetary or something else, you definitely should be. Not only is it good for your business, but it is good for your community too and a good community equals good business.
Share your positive reviews or shout outs
When a customer phones you up and tells you how satisfied they are with your service, don't just say thank you and hang up. Share it with the world. Ask them for a testimonial or share the praise on Facebook. People will begin to notice.
Get talked about
Submit Press Releases when your company does something notable. Maybe you are offering a new service or product line with your business.
Write a press release to spin your new product or service into a positive message of a forward thinking company constantly expanding to enhance your clients technological needs.
Perhaps you could try writing a column in your local newspaper providing tech tips.
As Oscar Wilde once said - “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
Here are a few more links to some interesting sites that can help you with your word of mouth marketing. Start getting the word out about your business.
Do you use word of mouth marketing for your business? Anything we missed? Feel free to leave a comment below.
About the author:
Brad Kendall has over 10 years of experience in the ever-changing, fast-paced, dynamic technology industry. He currently operates three highly successful businesses including an I.T. consulting firm, a digital software and hardware company and a firm that develops mobile and SaaS applications. Find out more about Brad at his website http://www.bradkendall.ca.