Today we’ll start a new series topic on Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in the blink of an eye. In this first lesson we will provide a clear definition of word of mouth and what it means for your business.
Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People discuss ads they see, experiences they have, and the products they purchase. If you treat people well and spread the word about your new products and/or services in a positive way, you will attract the right type of customers and clients who can sustain your business for the foreseeable future.
Not only can word of mouth be extremely beneficial for your business, it can equally be as negative. As we all know, bad news travels fast, and if you have a subpar quality product or customer service system, your customers will be sure to tell everyone they know not to do business with you.
The age of technology has proven to have a tremendous impact on the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking and the plethora of online mediums available, it has become much easier for consumers to share their experiences. So if you play your cards right, this could be free advertising for your business.
Let’s quickly touch on the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers and/or clients make up their mind quickly and easily. Here are three great ways your sales can increase by shortening the decision cycle:
- Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase;
- Increase your number of customers;
- Increase frequency of purchases.
Let’s delve more deeply into decision speed. If you offer simplicity and a pleasurable purchasing atmosphere, your customers will be able to make decisions quickly and confidently. When this happens they will make decisions about purchases more quickly, buy more frequently, increase the amount of money they spend on each transaction, and refer your business to their circle of contacts. This could essentially raise your market share by over 100 times.
The time it takes your customer to decide on and purchase a product far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed, you will be compelled to take a critical look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees and product quality.
The next area I want to touch on is how to minimize the friction, or stress, involved with decision-making. Regardless of how easily people find decision-making, there is a certain amount of anxiety experienced when making a purchase, especially from a new brand or for a large sum of money. When you help mitigate this emotional response, your customers will be able to make their decision faster and with more confidence.
There are a few secrets to accelerate the customers’ decision-making progress:
- Your benefits, features, claims and promises must be clear and concise;
- The information you offer must be comprehensive, simple to understand, credible, and balanced;
- You must offer comparisons that show a marked difference;
- Your guarantees must be failsafe and better than the customer expects;
- Trial periods must be straightforward;
- You must have simple evaluations of your products or services;
- Testimonials need to be relevant and positive;
- Your support, delivery, and other operational systems must be impeccable.
Your website will be as good as you make it. You can offer more than information, you can offer an experience that guides your customers through the decision-making process to make it easy for them to make a purchase. You can even take it a step further by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process, or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are supporting them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.
This will conclude our first post in the series about word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they may encounter that prolongs their purchasing experience, reach out to me for assistance.
Next time we will continue our discussion on word of mouth and explore the power it has and how it can be utilized.