I remember leaving my high school campus during lunch and driving to the local A&W for their awesome corn dogs. I also remember very vividly the day the manager changed and the corn dogs became soggy. The high school crowd quickly stopped going there. Growing up in a small town, if you had a bad experience at a small business the news spread quickly and there was a good chance that you and your friends wouldn’t be going back to that business anytime soon. Small towns epitomize the good and the bad of word of mouth marketing.
Having lived in Lake Arrowhead for the past 25 years, I’ve seen word of mouth marketing play a very big part in many local small business successes and failures. Word of mouth is a wonderful small town quality however; it’s not always easy for small businesses to embrace because:
- It requires that you know a bit about your customers
- It requires that you care about them
Today businesses have got to adhere to the “old fashioned” way of handling their relationship with their customer ~ they must go the extra mile, especially in a small town, to build loyalty and trust.
Now with social networking, another aspect of word of mouth marketing has been thrown into the ring.
Today, word of mouth has grown to include social media since the average Facebook user has 130 friends online. It only takes a few seconds for those friends to be updated regarding a poor customer experience so it’s even more imperative to make sure your customers are happy with what you offer as well as the experience you provide. Can you make sure your customers are smiling at you online as well as in your business?
Something that I read on the internet recently stuck with me….
Just as someone could leave your business and tell those on the street that they didn’t care for your service; the internet offers many outlets to let your customers express their dissatisfaction. Do you have a strategy in place to handle that type of publicity? If not, you should. Spend some time Googling how to handle poor reviews to bring yourself up to speed. While it may never happen to you, it’s good to be prepared.
Word of Mouth marketing is all about inspiring those around you to talk about your business.
There’s nothing better than living and working in a small town and being able to take part in this free type of marketing. It’s also great that social networking has made it possible to be part of a small town or small community whether you live and work in one for real or virtually. Just like the Socialnomics video says – Word of Mouth equal World of Mouth.
How do you take advantage of word of mouth, both in your business and virtually?