Word of mouth and referrals are the most powerful kind of advertising for your business. When someone gives your business the seal of approval and begins to tell their friends, their colleagues, their family, their neighbour’s cousin… then that lead becomes worth its weight in gold. Think about it, if someone you trust tells you that a shop is great, or a service is wonderful, then you are going to take their word for it and use those businesses when you need them.

Unfortunately, you need to do a bit of work before you start getting referrals flowing in. So, here are our tips on how to generate word of mouth as a small business.

Go Above and Beyond

If you exceed your customer’s expectations, then they are going to rave about you. Under-promise and over-deliver, that is the key. Word of mouth is triggered when customers receive something they didn’t expect, so it goes beyond simply good service.

We don’t mean giving gifts and discounts, but an overall fantastic experience for the customer. So friendly service, excellent communication, VIP treatment and delivering quality in your product

The WOW Factor

Have a point of difference about your business that makes your customers go wow! Make sure that your business has an edge and a way to distinguish yourself from others in your industry. Pick something suitable for your profession and run with it – handwritten notes, impromptu follow up calls to answer queries, bonus information, upgrading a package… whatever works for your industry. You want your clients to say wow, because wow-ed clients leave great reviews and tell their friends.

Make Reviews Easy

If you make it too hard for your customers then they won’t do it. But if there is an easy way for them to post their feedback, and they have been wow-ed, then they will sing your praises. Have a link at the bottom of your email signature, provide a button on your website, or post about it on your social media. Any feedback is good feedback, even if some is negative. It gives you an opportunity to improve and fix things you might not have known were broken.

Set Referral Goals

These goals can’t be vague, they need to be practical and measureable. So: ‘I want 5 new customers through referrals this month’. It has an amount and a timeframe that you can measure and track, so it is practical and achievable. By setting these goals, you will push yourself to always work at a standard that generates referrals.

Utilise PR

Public Relations is a great way to get your business name out there and in front of people. Keep good relationships with local journalists, newspapers, radio stations and online influencers in your niche. Keep them up to date on your business happenings and future plans. You may even choose to do something that creates a media frenzy, like a charity event, a pop-up shop, or a collaborative giveaway with complementary businesses.

As a small business it can be hard to gain traction against the big players, but that is why word of mouth is your secret weapon! By generating regular referrals, you won’t need to spend big on advertising. Referrals also come to you with a great picture of your business in their minds, half of the selling is already done for you!