Some marketing tools are good. Others are great.
Typically a great marketing tool is having others talking about your business. Not paid ads but your own brand ambassadors telling your story.
What makes it effective?
It is part of our nature to trust other people. That is why reviews on your home page or posted on the wall or review sites such as Trip Advisor or Yelp are so popular.
And if we know the person who gave the review, or even know a person who knows the person, the trust factor increases exponentially.
So, do you get people to talk about their experiences with your business.
The easiest and most effective way: Ask! Ask them to comments on their experience with your business.
To increase the response rate, make it easy. You can: hand them a comment card; tell them the online sites on which your store has ratings; and/or send them an email asking for their comments and providing a link where to go.
My wife and I, when visiting a favorite restaurant, were asked to send a postcard to a friend telling them about our experience and offering them a discount to come in and try it out.
Also make comments visible in the store (some stores have big bulletin boards) and online. Customers like knowing you listened. Remember, though, to offer them the opportunity to keep their comments anonymous. Maybe a guest book would work in your situation.
Some business owners ask if internal sites as opposed to third-party review sites are better. Each way has positives and negatives. People who have a negative experience may not share that on your bulletin board and, once they leave, you probably won’t get a comment.
Third-party sites, however, have had fake review issues. Plus, people are more likely to offer strong negative comments online. As the owner, you need to respond to all comments, especially negative ones. Try to solve the problem, but if that doesn’t work, at least tell people what you tried to do.
Other steps to get more comments include:
- Set goals for yourself. This will encourage you to ask your customers to give a comment.
- Use email. It helps build your email list, but it also gives you another chance to engage with the customer.
- Be active in your local community. Having comments that include your work outside of the business is great. And just getting your name out there helps increase your search engine ranking.
- Give a discount or freebie for a comment. Be careful, though, because some people will view this as buying the vote.
Word-of-mouth advertising always will be a great marketing tool. Customer reviews, either online or in writing, are a great way to make that happen. Get your system in place today.
- About the Author
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.