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November 1, 2013 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Doran Fluckiger, WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, Southwest Wyoming regional director
“How do I maximize word-of-mouth marketing?” Martha, Rawlins
Word-of-mouth marketing is free and might have more impact on a business than any other form of marketing. Friends, family and trusted associates are often asked for opinions about the best local businesses. Recommendations are relied upon to evaluate where consumers should spend their hard earned cash.
What can businesses do to assure that they generate positive word-of-mouth throughout its community? The three keys that can help to convince customers that a business offers a great service or product are listed below.
Expertise: Consumers are willing to pay for quality services or products. It is essential that a consumer’s questions get answered. Businesses that provide customers with top-notch knowledge will be relied on to help find answers for buying needs. Customers who have had good experiences with a company most likely will refer it to their friends as the local expert.
Approachable: Customers expect to be approached by store owners as soon as they walk in the door. It is important to ask customers what is needed, but also to build positive relationships through the use of compliments; giving thanks for visiting the store; or asking about the customer’s day. Giving attention to customers assures that they are important, and it helps them feel more comfortable asking questions. They will remember a good business and be more likely to spread the word about it.
Exceed Expectations: Good businesses separate from the competition by offering something unique to the customer that the competition does not. This can be done numerous ways, but it should be original. Some examples of exceeding expectations may include a free item with a purchase, distinct packaging, quick turnaround, quality products or exceptional customer service. Customers will direct people to a business that they feel is the best in the industry.
Maximize word-of-mouth opportunities by hiring experts in your business, approaching customers as friends, and exceeding customer expectations.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.