Today we’ll start a new series covering Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.
Word of mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, experiences they have and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services in a positive way, you’ll attract the right customers and clients who will sustain your business for a long time.
Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems to travel invariably faster than good news, and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, your customers will tell everyone they know not to buy your products and services.
The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking and all the other online mediums available, it is easier for consumers to share their experiences. And remember, this is all free advertising for you.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help the customers/client to choose more quickly and easily. There are three great benefits of shortening the decision cycle:
- Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase.
- Increase your number of customers.
- Increase frequency of purchases.
Let’s take a deeper look at decision speed. Offer simplicity, ease and a fun purchasing atmosphere and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends and make the decision to purchase more quickly. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.
The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed it forces you to take a hard look at your company’s brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees and product quality.
The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimize the friction, or stress, involved with decision making. No matter how easily people find decision making there is a certain amount of anxiety we all experience when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help to minimize this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.
Here are a few secrets to accelerate the customers’ decision making progress:
- Your benefits, features, claims and promises must be obvious, clear and concise.
- The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible and balanced.
- Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
- Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
- Make trial periods easy.
- You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
- Testimonials need to be relevant and positive.
- Your support, delivery and other operational systems must be perfect.
Your website can be as good as you make it. You can offer more than information; you can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.
This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues with their purchasing experience that is increasing decision time, let us know!
Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about what exactly this powerful tool is and how it can be used.
Stacey Sagues Stacey@pegcoaches.com 404-951-9023
Philip Lewis Philip@pegcoache.com 713-823-8253