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Customer experience key to viral marketing

Word-of-mouth has always been the most effective viral marketing. But the Internet has expanded word-of-mouth to three phases: the real world, on social media and websites.

How can a business leverage this marketing evolution? Many business owners might think, “I need to hire a social media expert.” Whether you hire an expert or do it yourself, understanding of the channels that spread word-of-mouth marketing is vital for building a successful marketing strategy.

Where do you start? Here!

Long-term customer relationships often start with first experiences. First impressions matter. Just as businesses seek loyal customers, customers seeks reliable businesses. Customers who experience consistent satisfaction become loyal. Customer loyalty often brings businesses more customers through word-of-mouth.

A client of mine owns a food-and-beverage business that trains its employees to address customers by first names. This way, the customer feels connected. The employees also treat regular customers as if they’re first-timers, so the quality of service remains consistent. Many of the customers are word-of-mouth referrals.

It’s a good approach. Most businesses should start by improving day-to-day customer interactions. Give your customers a memorable experience, something to talk about.

Voices carry

Encourage your customers to share their experience online or on a page where you can respond to their comments. Social media now becomes a strategic channel of marketing.

Often, satisfied customers look for your business page on social media and add it to their collection of pages. At times, they may mention your business blog posts. Many customers post “location check in” notices on their own pages, which help increase a business’s exposure. And, when customers share comments, those customers’ friends become your target market.

Delivering customer satisfaction gives a business a marketing edge. All it takes is time, tactics and patience.

Viral publicity through social media did not exist decades ago, but it has become a major advantage for many businesses. When people share their shopping and dining experiences on social media, it takes word-of-mouth publicity one step further.

In on indexing

Not only can social media help spread word-of-mouth experiences, it can also serve as a bridge between word-of-mouth publicity and search engine-based exposure.

Social media posting is also a blogging technique. Blogs, with their dynamic content, attract the spiders and Web crawlers that search engine companies develop to find new content online. This also means that blogs will end up getting indexed on search engines. Then, when potential customers conduct online search about a specific product, service or a business, they see reviews, social media posts and random comments indexed on search engines, linking back to its origin. You have been found!

Viral publicity has dangers, though. Negative feedback can spread as quickly as positive feedback does. So all commentary requires close watching. Many businesses that closely monitor customer feedback consider some negative comments as constructive criticism; these comments let the businesses improve the quality of its product or service.

Word-of-mouth marketing will continue to evolve as it advances. Customer satisfaction leads to endorsement of your products and services whether it’s in the real or virtual world. So, let’s start by giving our customers thee kind of experience they can talk about.

Raj Tumber specializes in strategic business development. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies and attained strategic business and management skills. He is also a certified business mentor with SCORE, an organization that helps small business formation and growth. Reach him at r@jtumber.com.

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