3 Key Steps To Get Referrals Using Word Of Mouth

Word of Mouth Marketing

As an SME it’s important you make the most of every avenue available to get your brand noticed and increase awareness and trade. Word of mouth is a one of the oldest marketing tactics you can utilise, yet still presents a great opportunity to achieve great results and should not be overlooked.

It’s cost effective as it is completely free and the potential coverage could be expansive if you’re communicating with the right people. In addition to this one of the best advocates for trusting a new business is hearing positive news about it first hand from a trusted individual or friend/family member.

However you can’t just reap the rewards of word of mouth without putting in some work before. Effective broadcast through word of mouth requires key bits of information to be communicated clearly. This involves the three W’s, which are:

#1 – Who

The ‘who’ is about who you’re looking to speak to in term of your target audience. People need to have a clear idea of this as there isn’t much point if people are sharing your brand with those who aren’t interested in what you offer and don’t fall within your target demographic.

#2 – What

The ‘what’ refers to the products/service you are offering. Consumers need to have a clear idea of what it is you do in order to share it with other people. This is where communication is key in getting across what your core product is.

#3 – Why

Lastly is the ‘why’, with this being the most crucial of the three points. Consumers need to know why they should firstly share what you do with other people and in turn why people should use your business.

You should be looking to really hone in on how your product/service can directly benefit your target audience as this will be the defining factor in driving them to actually make a purchase.

Getting referred

While it’s one thing knowing what pieces of information need to be provided, the process of actually networking and being referred is another task in itself. There are however a few things you can do to increase the likelihood of people talking about you.

In order to help yourself be seen in a more favourable light and aid the process of gaining more referrals, you should look to help people yourself. Spending time helping others will undoubtedly work towards people returning the favour. Additionally you don’t want to develop a reputation of solely taking and not giving back, while that might work in the short term, over time people will be discouraged from referring you.

While we recommend helping others, we’d also warn against developing too large of a network. Having too many contacts can often lead to you never really developing ties with any of them due to the sheer number, so always think of quality over quantity. Similar to Dunbar’s number theory that states we can only physically maintain meaningful relations with no more than 250 (between 100-250) people, quality contacts will soon become distant acquaintances if your network grows too large. It’s down to you to gauge what you feel to be a reasonable size depending on you work and other social commitments.

Finally look to keep in touch with your contacts. Often an occasional email to ask how things are going can work wonders in not only maintaining the link but also keeping you on their mind for potential referral opportunities. This should be a lot easier if done alongside the previous point and you maintain a reasonably sized network.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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