The Power of Word-of-Mouth and Online Social Media Marketing: Part I: By Patricia Baronowski-Schneider, CEO, Pristine Advisers

Depending on your business, you may love or loathe summer.

If you own an ice cream shop or a pool cleaning business, of course you’ll be thrilled to see those temperatures rising, but for other businesses, summer can often mean a slowdown period, as people go on vacation or just opt to relax at home. But, you don’t have to accept summer as a slow period for you. Battle the summer slowdown by getting the word out there with …

WOMO

What in the world is WOMO? It stands for Word of Mouth Optimization. WOMO is a combination of general word of mouth marketing and online social marketing, particularly with review sites like Yelp.

By combining the two, you get the best of both worlds and you’ll have people talking about your business both by tapping on a keyboard and flapping their lips.

Ask your customers to spread the good word about your business

This is all about inserting a little reminder into the minds of your customers to mention your business to the people they know. It can be as low key and simple as having a sign by your check out saying “Don’t forget to tell your friends about us” or it can be more along the lines of creating a VIP email newsletters sent out to your most dedicated customers telling them about new products, sales and promotions before everyone else. Provide a link with these and your other email promotions that will make it easy for them to forward the emails to their friends.

Give your customers something special to talk about

Getting people talking about a sale is one thing, but all businesses have sales at some point and that’s not really going to get you to stand out in the crowd. You can do that by offering something extra special that none of your competitors offer.

If you have a family friendly restaurant, offer stroller valet service. If you have a restaurant that’s not specifically known for being family friendly, pick a quiet weeknight and promote it as family night to encourage customers with kids to come out.

The point is to use your imagination for ideas that you can offer that will set your place apart.

Make it easy for people

Include something memorable or noteworthy inside customers’ bags when they check out. It can be silly or inspirational, but the goal is to remind people that your place of business offers more than your competitors. Free samples from manufacturers are always a good bet. You may even be able to stretch the goodwill by offering two items and asking customers to give one to a friend.

Work your network

It’s not just customers that you can tap to help spread the word. Business partners, vendors and your own friends are a good source of word of mouth marketing. Many restaurants and hotels let local businesses advertise by leaving brochures in their foyers. You can also ingratiate yourself with local hotel concierges so yours is the place they recommend when guests come asking about local places.

Hitch your wagon to local events

Summer often means festivals. If you have any festivals in your local area, you can coordinate specials and sales to coincide with them. Obviously you have to be careful about how you advertise a sale if you’re not actually associated with a festival to make sure there is no trademark infringement, but that’s mostly a matter of wording. Stay Tuned for Part 2!

Want More Helpful Marketing Tips & Tricks for your Business? Go to or Ask Patricia Baronowski-Schneider, CEO, Pristine Advisers, at http://www.pristineadvisers.com or pbaronowski@pristineadvisers.com.

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