Monday, March 28, 2011

Word of Mouth Marketing Pays Big For Small Businesses

Word of mouth marketing...what would we do without it? Especially in these tough times as small businesses close their doors, word of mouth marketing pays big for business owners who compete daily for new customers just to stay ahead.

I live in a small town in the foothills of northern California. We have a few "box" stores here, but I try to support my local businesses as much as I can. Word of mouth marketing goes a long way in a small town and it pays (especially if I am your customer!)

My laptop took a nose dive last weekend, and I ended up buying a new laptop with upgraded 2011 technology. I could have easily bought the laptop online or at a box store, but based on 'word of mouth' from my mom (she bought the same laptop from a local computer store) I took my laptop into their store for a repair. First, they didn't charge me an arm and a leg just to look at my computer, and they figured out it was a failing hard drive. There was no hard pressure sales to upgrade my laptop (another plus in their favor), but they were running a sale this month on the exact laptop I wanted to purchase - great timing!

This local store gets an A plus - they understand the importance of word of mouth marketing and they practice what they preach. And my mom's "word" goes a long way since she used to teach college computer classes and has been around computers for a long time. As a result of my mom telling me about her great customer experience with this local computer store, I turned into a new customer who bought a laptop from them. That sale was based strictly on word of mouth marketing. Sure, I know about the store since I've had other family members take their computers there, but my purchasing decision was based on the positive experience my mom had with the store.

I'm not putting down box stores, but I've had less than favorable experiences with the larger corporate chains. If anything, these bigger chains could take a page or two from smaller businesses who know how to effectively market via word of mouth.

As a business owner myself, I am really busy so It's nice to know I can go to a local store if I run into any problems with my laptop. Not to mention, they threw in a discount card for their store.

As a result of my positive experience, I plan to write favorable online reviews about this local computer store to help spread the word. As important as social media marketing is for your small business, don't forget about your customers and word of mouth marketing. Look at your reviews online and remember to thank your customers for favorable reviews (and thank them in person too!) Word of mouth marketing could pay big for you in the near future.

I've been fortunate to receive referrals from past clients and landed new clients in the process. 

What has been your experiences with word of mouth marketing? Did word of mouth help land you new customers? Sales?

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Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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