Lately, I have been wondering how to turn users into promoters. Word of mouth is a very strong marketing tool. People are far more likely to take the word of a trusted associate than that of a commercial. My friends know what I like and what my needs are. I take their recommendations seriously because I trust them.
When you first introduce a new product to the world, you are likely to have very few users and a small marketing budget to spread awareness. Here are a few ways to to increase awareness and sales through word of mouth marketing.
Friends and Family
Friends and family are a great place to start. Tell them to start using your product. More importantly tell them to spread the word. I am sure you have heard it before but if you tell one person and they tell two people this will lead to exponential growth. Obviously, in the real world it does not work perfectly but it is a great start.
Sometimes it may be hard to convince users to be early adopters. This is why you may need to entice them with special offers. It may be a discount like a certain amount off your product, bonuses such as a free month, or free upgrade to premium features. Offering deals like these encourages individuals to tell others about your product before the deal is over. An important note is that special offers need to expire. If customers feel like this great deal is soon over they will be likely to act now.
I had a friend enter a contest through GoPro where you win a large selection of their products. He told me about it and I went and entered myself. I don’t need a GoPro camera but if I got one for free I wouldn’t complain. I even started thinking of the cool things I could do with one. Although I didn’t win the contest I visited their website, browsed their products and also told other friends to enter the contest. A small giveaway on their end lead to a lot of word of mouth marketing and visits. The contest recently ended, but it was a great lesson in how contests can lead to significant referrals to your products and believe it or not my friend actually won and received his prizes in the mail.
When Dropbox (a cloud data storage provider) launched, they offered 500mb of storage when you signed up. If you refer your friend and they have successfully signed up both of you receive an extra 500mb. This is a great tactic. You now are gaining something personally for sharing. It is often not enough just to include a share button or a referral section. You need to give an extra incentive that the customers can only get if they get a friend to sign up for your product. Further this must be extra than what is already offered. If you are offering 10% off for all new signups then you need to offer an extra 5% if they get a friend to sign up. (More on how dropbox got their first users can be found here)
Word of mouth is a strong marketing tool when utilized correctly. It is inexpensive when compared to other marketing campaigns and can even be fun. Starting a word of mouth marketing campaign is a great way to flex your creative muscles and gain passionate advocates for your business.