Connect with us

Marketing

How should I advertise my small business using word of mouth?

The basics of small business advertising.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

What is advertising?

Advertising is bringing a product (or service) to the attention of potential and current customers. What is the best way to advertise in a saturated market?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your specialty?
  • Do you offer any discounts?
  • Do you have promotions?
  • Do you give free samples?

Are you getting the point yet? You have to distinguish yourself from your competition. It’s the only way you will end up with a client list that you won’t be able to handle because of referrals. If you want to just market your company, get yourself out of the crowd. Make yourself known by some kind of notable feature that you are or have. Once you’ve set yourself apart as a true professional in your field not only will clients refer to you, but colleagues will too.

How to use an advertising budget

The use of your budget and your tactics will depend on your market, your target audience, your competitors, your dealership’s reputation and the cost of the media in your area. TV commercials have always been a top choice for dealerships but the web is slowly becoming the preferred option too since so many potential clients spend time on the internet

Generating word-of-mouth

Here are some tips to help you generate word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth advertising is important for every business as each happy customer can steer dozens of new ones your way. It’s one of the most credible forms of advertising because a person puts their reputation on the line every time they make a recommendation and that person has nothing to gain but the appreciation of those who are listening.

What are you doing to make sure your potential ambassadors feel confident enough in your business to recommend it? What are you doing to trigger word-of-mouth?

Here are some tips to help you generate word-of-mouth:

1. Word-of-mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected

Slightly exceeding their expectations just won’t do it. You’ve got to go above and beyond the call of duty if you want your customers to talk about you.

2. Don’t depend on your staff to trigger word-of-mouth by delivering “exceptional customer experience”

Good customer service is sporadic, even in the best establishments. The customer who receives exceptional service today can’t be sure their friends will receive the same tomorrow, so even the most well served are unlikely to put their necks on the line and make a recommendation. Deep down, customers know service comes from an individual, not from an establishment. And even the best people have bad days.

3. Physical, non-verbal statements are the most dependable in triggering word-of-mouth

These statements can be architectural, kinetic or generous, but they must go far beyond the boundaries of what’s normal. If you don’t want to be average, why do you insist on being normal? Here are some examples of these statements:

  • Architectural. The piano store that looks like a huge piano, with black and white keys forming the long awning over the long front porch. A glass-bottom floor that allows customers to see what’s happening on the floor below them. Do you remember when McDonald’s began building attached playgrounds to all their restaurants? It has worked for more than 20 years.
  • Kinetic. The tossing of fresh fish from one employee to another at Pike Place Market in Fishhoek. The magical, twirling knives of the tableside chefs at a renowned restaurant. Kissing the codfish when you get “screeched in” at any pub in Newfoundland. (A screech is a loud and funny ceremony during which non-Newfoundlanders down a shot of cheap rum, repeat some phrases in the local dialect and kiss a codfish. Everyone who visits that wonderful island returns home with a story of being “screeched in.”) While it may at first seem like a kinetic word-of-mouth trigger is a violation of #2 above, “Don’t depend on your staff…”, it’s really not. A kinetic word-of-mouth trigger is constantly observable by management. It isn’t a “customer service” experience delivered privately, one on one.
  • Generous. Are you willing to become known as the restaurant that allows its guests to select, at no charge, their choice of desserts from an expensive dessert menu? You can cover the hard cost of it in the prices of your entrees and drinks. Flour, butter and sugar are cheap advertising. Are you the jewellery store that’s willing to become known for replacing watch batteries at no charge, even when the customer hasn’t purchased anything and didn’t buy the watch from your store? Word will spread. And watch batteries cost less than any type of advertising.

4. Budget to deliver the experience that will trigger word-of-mouth

Sometimes your word-of-mouth budget will be incremental, so that its cost is tied to your customer count. Other times it will require a capital investment so that repayment will have to be withheld from your advertising budget over a period of years. The greatest danger isn’t in overspending but in under-spending. Under-spending on a word-of-mouth trigger is like buying a ticket that only takes you halfway to Europe.

5. Don’t promise it in your ads

Although it’s tempting to promise the thing you’re counting on to trigger word-of-mouth, these promises will only eliminate the possibility of your customers becoming your ambassadors. Why would a customer repeat what you say about yourself in your ads? You must allow your customers to deliver the good news. Don’t rob your ambassadors of their moment in the sun.

Advertising channels

There are many ways to advertise a product. One can use Radio, TV, the worldwide web, cinema, outdoor bill boards and the print media. Choosing the right vehicle depends on the product and available budget.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

Marketing

How Do I Create A Content Strategy?

A content strategy is not simply a spreadsheet outlining what blog post you’ll be posting when (that’s an editorial plan). A content strategy is knowing why you’re creating content, who it’s going to come from and how it’s going to benefit your target audience.

Belinda Mountain

Published

on

content-strategy

Having a strong content strategy in place before you produce the content itself will ensure that you save time, save money and see real results for your company and brand.

Here’s how to go about creating one:

1. Look at your business goals

You can make the most beautifully shot video in the world, with huge viral reach, but if your goal was increased sales and the video didn’t generate a single extra sale, then what was the point?

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 5 Ways to Improve your Content Strategy Using Video

Consider whether you want to use content to increase brand awareness, engage with customers or generate sales. And then create your content ideas to suit this specific goal.

2. Consider your target market

To develop effective content you need to place yourself in the shoes of your target market.

Are they a new mother looking for helpful articles on dealing with toddler temper tantrums? Or are they a CEO concerned with cutting business costs?

Imagine what they would find useful, informative or entertaining and then produce content like that.

This is also worth bearing in mind when it comes to SEO: What common terms will they be searching for on Google? Incorporate those into your content, but only where they fit naturally.

3. Look at frequency, format and tone

What are your resources like when it comes to producing content? If you have someone devoted to the task then you may be able to produce a new piece of content a day, but if someone is doing it as a side job, then one a week is more manageable.

Don’t produce work that’s of a lower standard – rather produce fewer pieces, but do them properly. Also think about what format your content will be in.

Will your audience respond well to videos? Blog posts? Infographics? Finally, consider your organisation’s tone or voice and ensure this remains consistent through everything you do.

4. Ask the right people the right questions

Most businesses have plenty of sources of educational and entertaining content, but few know how to get this information out of their employees.

Ask an actuary about the products they’ve developed and they’ll soon wax lyrical about what they do in a way that is seldom communicated to your target audience.

Ask your product managers about new trends in the industry and chances are they’ll get extremely excited about something on the horizon that your target audience would love to know about.

Extracting this information is about asking the right questions and the best way to do this is often face-to-face. 

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Content Marketing Strategies You Can Steal

5. Make a calendar

Once you’ve formulated your strategy, you can then start working on your editorial or content calendar. Add in deadlines, assign people responsible for each task, allow time for approval of content, and lock down ideal publishing dates.

Have meetings regularly with key stakeholders to discuss new ideas, who’s doing what and how the process is moving along.

Above all, be adaptable as you learn what sort of content your audience is engaging best with, so that your content strategy is continuously improving.

Continue Reading

Marketing

How can I use website copy to convert prospects into customers?

You spent heaps of money on designing your new website but it’s still not an effective sales tool. Here’s how to use web copy to convert potential customers into actual ones.

Belinda Mountain

Published

on

We all know that consumers are time poor these days. And consumers of digital media are even more so.

If you want people to engage with your content and eventually purchase your product or service, the way in which you present your information online needs to be carefully considered.

Related: 7 Questions To Ask Before Hiring An Adwords Agency

Here’s what you need to think about when it comes to copy on your website:

1. Put the customer’s needs first

You employ a very detailed philosophy when designing your products? Consumers don’t really care.

Your website should not focus on how amazing you are, it should focus on what benefits you can offer your potential customers and what problems you can solve. So do include your company philosophy on your About Us page, but don’t make it front and centre on your homepage, for example.

2. What makes you different?

If you’re in a competitive industry, you need to emphasise what sets you apart. Maybe it’s your award-winning customer service, or your years of industry experience, or your unique approach to sourcing products?

Make this the focus of your copy so that it’s very clear why a potential customer should choose you versus another competitor.

3. Contact details

I see so many websites where the contact details are placed only on the Contact page, or written in a very small font way below the fold.

It needs to be ultra simple for people to contact you, so make that phone number or email address clearly visible on the homepage – or even better, somewhere in your main navigation that then displays on every page of your site.

4. Calls to action

Consumers need to be told what to do. Write about how great your product is and then follow it up immediately with a sentence telling them exactly what action to take: Need more info? Call us on xxx (phone number) or fill in the contact form below.

5. Use short sentences and simple words 

Long rambling sentences lose the reader – short punchy ones work better. The same applies to words, so use simple ones as often as possible. Remember that simple doesn’t mean unsophisticated.

Think of Google and Apple, two of the world’s biggest brands. They use a simple and direct tone that still communicates their offering perfectly. Also check your tone: write as if you’re chatting to one person and you’ll immediately engage the reader.

6. Get specific and paint a picture

If you’re selling a sailing holiday in Croatia, don’t tell them that the waves are blue and beautiful. Describe the smell of the ocean in the air, the feeling of the sun on your skin and the taste of the fresh sushi caught on a nearby boat.

You can sell something much more easily if you get very specific and evoke an emotive reaction in the person reading your words.

7. Use formatting

No one likes long reams of text – you’ll lose their attention and a possible sale. Break up your copy so that it is easily readable by using bolding, bulleting and separate paragraphs.

Related: Is Search Marketing Still Worth Investing In?

8. Limited sales offers

Reserve space on your homepage where you can include blurbs about latest offers or special promotions.

This will keep your website fresh and allow you to capitalise on potential customers who may be interested in these offers, by encouraging them to click through and stay on your site.

Continue Reading

Marketing

How does the content in my email signature affect my brand?

How do your make your email stand out from the clutter?

Kgomotso Mautloa

Published

on

Email-signature-for-digital

The world of communication is an ever-evolving one. We’ve gone from communication with cave paintings and pictograms, to expressing ourselves with words and the alphabet, and now with technology thrown in there – the communication mix has evolved into something incredible.

Related: 4 Revolutionary Behavioural Email Marketing Ideas

The most notable mix would be the combination of writing the traditional letter and telecommunication; in the form of email. Just like every other development within the communication space, this created the opportunity for people to interact with people in different provinces, countries and continents all across the globe, all at a click of a button – instantaneously.

According to the Radicati Email Statistics report, there were about 100 billion emails sent out daily in 2013.

In 2013, the majority of email traffic comes from business email, which accounts for over 100 billion emails sent and received per day. Email remains the predominant form of communication in the business space. This trend is expected to continue, and business email will account for over 132 billion emails sent and received per day by the end of 2017.

Copyright Ó April 2013 The Radicati Group, Inc

If you think about those numbers, you’ll realise that every email counts; every piece of communication from you needs to stand out from the clutter. The question then is: how do you stand out from all the mails being sent? Another important element to bear in mind is the way you brand your email and your email signatures.

The way you engage over email, and most notably your email signature, communicates more about your brand than you realise, which is why it is essential that a lot of thought goes into the brand and persona your emails and email signature, portray.

Here are a few tips to help refine your approach:

  • Make sure that you begin your mail with a polite greeting. Just like when you meet someone you greet them, email shouldn’t be any different. This, for some, is the “first impression” if you have not yet met the person on the other side of the email.
  • Spelling – probably the most important part of any letter/email. Always check that you’ve spell checked your mail. People will not take you seriously if you spell their name, or any other word wrong. Attention to detail such as this is important.
  • Type clear and complete sentences. Don’t type random phrases, slang or short codes. This lends to ineffective communication.
  • Email signature – make sure that your email signature has all of your contact information. Think of it as your digital business card when you aren’t able to give one to that person. You’d ideally want them to have all your information so that you can be reached.
  • Once you have those contacts in your signature, you can look at the social media links that you could add to your email signature. These have become the next best form of communication in the digital era.
  • If your industry allows, you could opt for a really cool email disclaimer. Most disclaimers are formal (with not much personality) and I bet hardly anyone ever reads them. But, if yours can catch someone’s attention, they will read it, and it will show the effort that went into making it stand out.
  • There are great email service providers that also allow you to brand your signature, both the top and bottom. Just like you would open your email with a pleasant greeting, opening it up with a cool graphic, call to action or anything relevant to your business.
  • In this day and age, everyone is communication on their phone or tablet. Make sure that you try and have an interactive signature that a person can click on links within your signature. There is nothing more frustrating for a recipient then a .jpg signature that you can’t click directly on details, and where they have to memorise information that you could have simply clicked on, especially with the advancement of smart devices and their touch ability.

Related: 5 Ways to Improve your Content Strategy Using Video

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending

FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​