(BPT) - Many small business owners struggle with this question: How can I market my products and services? With limited budgets and time constraints, marketing may fall to the bottom of the to-do list.
Fortunately, there are key strategies small business owners can use to harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing, thereby getting customers in the door without actually having to lift a finger - or spend a fortune.
Here are the top 5 ways to build a word-of-mouth marketing plan:
1. Brand anything and everything.
Not all word-of-mouth marketing will come from past customers who are recommending your services. Some will come from folks who happen to remember your company's name because they saw it on a hoodie at the grocery store or on a truck driving by.
2. Go the extra mile for your customers.
Maybe there's a client who lives outside of a service area, but the business makes the extra trip. Or maybe a client hired a business to power wash a patio deck, and they throw in some free staining to bring out the deck's natural luster.
The point here is that going the extra mile in an unexpected way will absolutely wow customers - and that translates into some serious word-of-mouth recommendations.
3. Set up a review process.
Asking customers for reviews should be a seamless part of finishing out a project. Provide customers with a business card with all the links to the sites where they can leave reviews.
Consider providing customers with a small discount on a future project if they leave an online review.
4. Post on local social media channels.
Almost every community has their own Facebook group and NextDoor forum, and these are free and easy ways to speak directly to target customers.
Whip up a post introducing the business to the group, including specialties and locations served.
Offer deals here and consider offering special discounts to those who found the business on Facebook or NextDoor to help gauge the success of these marketing efforts.
5. Protect your customers with business insurance.
There's an important cornerstone for any good word-of-mouth marketing program - and that's having business insurance.
Here's why: Customers want to make sure they're recommending the best businesses to friends and family members. And it's not just about quality goods and services - it's about demonstrating that a business is serious about protecting their clients.
Accidents and clerical errors can happen. Without insurance, damage must be paid for out of pocket and this can put a serious strain on customer relationships.
Carrying small business insurance will make customers feel confident recommending your business to others.
Fortunately, Simply Business makes getting insurance for your small business incredibly easy. Whether you need a policy or are shopping around for a cheaper policy, this free tool makes it easy to compare insurance quotes from the nation's top insurers.