Any successful small business owner will tell you that no form of marketing is as reliable as a customer referral. Potential leads might not trust your Facebook ads but they will almost always trust the opinions of their friends. According to Entrepreneur.com, Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger claims word-of-mouth buzz is ten times more effective as traditional advertising strategies.
What’s the takeaway from all this? You need to give your customers (yes, every single one of them) several reasons to remember and talk about your business in their social circles. This can’t just be accomplished by creating unique, high quality products or services. The goal is for customers to remember your business, as opposed to what they bought from you.
Here are 3 ways to create word-of-mouth buzz for your small business:
1. Improve Customer Experience
A “customer experience” is when a customer receives more than solely what was purchased when doing business with you. While some would simply refer to this as “good customer service,” it’s important to note that a “customer experience” goes way beyond freebies, rewards programs, promotions, and easygoing, friendly employee-to-customer interactions. You need to exceed your customers’ expectations from the moment they log on to your website, dial your phone number, and of course, make a purchase.
Some of the most popular ways to improve customer experience include creating a mobile app, weekly email newsletter, or releasing daily, relevant social media posts that brighten up their day. A brick-and-mortar location might want to instead implement some form of entertainment or refreshment service for customers. Thanks to alternative business financing companies like United Capital Source, all three options are well within your reach. We offer small business loans designed for taking on new hires whose work doesn’t produce results right away or out-sourcing a digital marketing team. Some of our business funding programs, like working capital loans, merchant cash advances (credit card processing loans) allow you to finance your new employee or outsourced help for several months and then pay off more of the debt when sales start to pick up, and the referrals are pouring in.
2. The “Wow” Factor
This should be considered when creating your customer experience or promoting a new release, especially if whatever you are selling is rather conventional or rudimentary. Think of it as going the extra mile, or turning something that is usually highly forgettable into something highly rewarding and impossible to forget. For example, if you stay in a hotel, you’ll be far more inclined to stay there again if you opened the door of your room to find a bottle of local wine on your bed or a note acknowledging your first stay.
Regardless of whatever additions you choose, you’re probably going to need to order a lot of products or invest in some serious renovations as soon as possible. You’ll also want these additions ready by the time your industry’s busy season rolls around, and United Capital Source can make that happen. We understand that inventory is cheaper if it is secured in bulk during the slow season and therefore offer small business loans designed for businesses with cyclical dips in revenue. With our extremely competitive credit card processing loans, you could receive funding just days after approval and carry out your investment while running your business without the stress of strict due dates or fixed, monthly payments. The majority of your repayments would instead be postponed until the busy season arrives and your investment is actually being put to use!
3. Solicit Customer Reviews
Leaving a review or making a recommendation should be as easy as possible, whether it’s on your website, social media, or a service like Yelp. After all, you’re spending money to make your small business more memorable, so it only makes sense for you to encourage customers to talk about how much you care about their loyalty. You can accomplish this by offering incentives for customers who leave reviews, whether it be in the form of a free gift, coupon, or even a personal, private message on social media that will surely be remembered every time your customer checks his or her inbox.
Free and discounted items along with the time to write each customer a private message are just a few of the tools that become much easier acquire with additional business funding. In fact, if you pay off your first small business loan on time, there’s a good chance you will gain access to a second round of funding that could be distributed shortly after you’ve paid off the first. Many of our clients take out small business loans around the same time every year because they know this is the most opportunistic time to advertise their newest recipe for PR buzz. Once you have figured out how to generate customer referrals, it won’t be long before you realize that you can do it even more effectively with another round of funding.
Trust Us, We’ve Done This Before
Before applying for funding, think about the goals you want to set in terms of referrals. Your likelihood for approval will significantly increase if your business plan isn’t vague, containing goals like “create word-of-mouth buzz” or “get everyone talking about our business.” The more specific you are, the more your lender will trust your investment. Your business plan should therefore feature metrics such as “X new customers by X amount of time,” or “press coverage in X places per month.”
These are the kind of businesses that get approved for small business loans from United Capital Source, and if we can see that you are a responsible and trustworthy business owner, we will reciprocate your decision to choose us as your lender with the most sound business advice you could ask for!