Word-of-mouth is a huge driver in any business, but it’s especially important when you are getting a new venture off the ground. On average, word-of-mouth brings in 5 times more sales than paid media efforts (think Facebook ads, Google ads, commercials, etc.). And while 75% of consumers report they don’t believe advertisements, 92% say they trust recommendations from friends.
But how do you promote word of mouth without sounding salesy or pushy?
1) Think in stories
Human beings love stories. We love hearing them, we love telling them, and we remember them. Science even backs up just how powerful they are. So the next time you start to feel uncomfortable about promoting yourself or your business, use a story to communicate the value and impact your services or products bring. Testimonials and stories about the moments and experiences that prompted you to start your business are great word-of-mouth promoters.
2) Include an offer with an ask
Asking customers to complete a post-purchase survey or leave a review? Offer to send them a small gift card in exchange for taking the time to do something that will help you grow your business. As long as you don’t specifically ask for a positive review in exchange, this is 100% okay, and a great way to encourage follow-through.
*Pssst including an offer with an ask is a great networking tip too, especially if you’re asking for an introduction or an informational interview!
3) Know your value and remind yourself of it in moments of fear
Fear manifests itself in many forms. It can show up as anxiety, hesitation, judgment, doubt, uncertainty, imposter syndrome, and more—and it happens to everyone.
I like to keep a Smile File, a notebook (or in my case Google document) filled with big & small wins related to my business, kind emails, praise from clients, and moments I’m especially proud of. When I notice fear popping up, I’ll read over everything in the document to help me recenter and regain my confidence. Once I remind myself of the value I bring, I always find sending that email or publishing that blog post is a lot less scary (and a lot more fun!).
4) And that someone can always say no
Regardless of how much power you think you have, the reality is you can’t actually convince or make someone do something they don’t want to do. If someone wants to say no—to making an introduction, leaving a review, or taking any other kind of action—they can and will. When you think about it this way, making any kind of ask becomes a lot easier. If the person doesn’t want to do it, they simply won’t do it. But if you never ask, then you’ll never know…!