You want to know the lazy person’s secret to successful marketing? Get your customers to do it for you! In fact, having your customers market your brand can be even more successful than your own efforts: 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads.
Here’s how to rope your happy customers into working for you to deliver new sales.
1. Ask for Reviews
Customer review sites like Yelp carry a lot of weight when people are looking to see if they want to spend money at a particular business. Because the reviews are honest, a searcher can quickly see whether or not a business is recommended by others.
How to make it work: Post signage encouraging visitors to review you on Yelp (or whatever review site you prefer). Send an email after a purchase with a link to your review page.
2. Create a Customer Referral Program
Reward customers for sending more business your way. Online, you can give each customer a unique code to share. Whenever someone buys from you through that link, you can offer store credit or other perks to the customer that referred you. In person, you can offer coupons like “bring a friend and get a free drink” to entice people to bring a buddy to your franchise.
How to make it work: Create offers that are actually appealing, such as freebies and account credit.
3. Ask for the Business
If you have more of an intimate, one-on-one relationship with your customers, ask if they know of anyone else who might benefit from your products or services. Being able to call someone and say “Sally Rivers thought you might be interested in our company” can get you a lot further than a cold call. And happy customers should be delighted to send more business your way.
How to make it work: Pinpoint customers you know love you, and have a conversation with them about possible referrals.
4. Offer Killer Customer Service
The best way to get people gushing about your brand? Offer unparalleled customer service. Treat every customer like your only customer. They’ll be in awe, and they’ll tell their friends about you, guaranteed.
How to make it work: Constantly monitor how your brand is doing at customer service. Invest the resources to make sure you’re doing the job right.
5. Be Accessible
Whether it’s responding to tweets on Twitter or having a real human answer the phone, being accessible is the key to making your customers happy and getting them to tell others about you.
How to make it work: Make sure you have enough staff to handle social media customer service inquiries in addition to phone and email.
While certainly you need to do your own marketing, you can get a lift when your customers help you too. Start by making sure you go above and beyond for your customers, and they’ll return the favor by sending new customers to your franchise.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.