I have never experienced an organization (this is particularly true for fitness and wellness professionals) that didn’t cite ‘Word of Mouth’ as their number one source of clients/customers. Because the power of word of mouth marketing comes directly from its authenticity, it is almost impossible to manufacture or buy.
There are, however, simple steps that you can take to help ensure your customers share the details of their extraordinary experience with your product or service with their friends, family and social media networks.
1. Offer an exceptional product. In my experience, this is by far the most important component of word of mouth marketing. If you offer exceptional service people are going to naturally want to tell their friends about you.
2. Go above and beyond. Recently I stayed in a hotel that had a high rating on Travelocity. When we arrived, the staff was incredibly friendly and they offered us free water, wi-fi and fruit right as we walked in the door. More than one staff member went out of their way to make sure all of our questions were answered and that our evening was planned before we even made it to our room. When we got to the room we noticed the furniture was a bit old, the room a little dusty, but at that point it didn’t really matter. All of the small things that the staff did to make us feel welcome and comfortable made it that we were able to overlook some of the other things. A little extra value (for very little extra cost) goes a long way.
3. Give back to your loyal customers. Do something to make your repeat customers feel special. Throw an exclusive party or offer them free services or discounts to express your gratitude.
4. Ask for reviews. It is okay to ask your customers to support you. Make sure to be specific in your ask: “Did you like my service? Help me continue to offer you exceptional service by writing me a review on Google, Yelp or Daily Burn.”
5. Build a referral program. Reward your clients for bringing in their friends. Host friends and family evenings or give gift certificates to clients each time they refer their friends.
6. Encourage social sharing - two effective ways to do this are to run a social media contest or to give discounts or free services for posts and check ins. Make sure your teachers/technicians are promoting these programs in class.
7. Network. Build a network of connected people who can tap into their networks to refer you business. Some ideas of how to get started: join a networking group, attend industry events or join and engage in Facebook groups.