As a business owner, you’re constantly trying to increase your sales and gain new customers. However, when you’re an e-commerce merchant, you may feel as if social media marketing is your only outlet. This is entirely untrue.
One effective way to grow your online customer base is by maintaining a good relationship with the customers you already have. Your loyal group of customers will act as advertisers by sharing their experiences working with you with their friends. In other words, word of mouth marketing.
Here are my top five tips to turn your customers into your very own team of word of mouth marketers.
- Publish a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly email newsletter and share tips related to your business’s specific industry. For instance, if you sell beauty supplies online, write articles about how to apply foundation to acne-prone skin. Or if you provide PC repair services, share advice on the best methods of cleaning your computer’s keyboard and monitor. At the top of your newsletter, include a “Share with a Friend” link so they can email it to others.
- Tell your customers to refer a friend for a free, special gift. Everyone loves free gifts! And not only will they refer a friend for the free gift, but they’ll tell their friend to refer a friend so they can get the free gift too. However, make sure you’re smart about what free gift you offer. If you give away an item that is of little or no use to anyone, this method of word of mouth marketing can easily backfire on you.
- Use deal of the day websites like LivingSocial to promote specials. Since you’re an e-commerce merchant, this may be a little tough. Offering a deal as simple as “Save $10 for every $30 you spend” will have your customers in such a frenzy they’ll be telling everyone they know about it. Or you can promote a special discount on one specific item per day.
- Go above and beyond to offer the best customer service. Call it overkill if you so choose, but show your customers that they’re not only customers, but also friends. Integrate a Live Chat solution, such as Olark, that allows you to see who’s visiting your website and from where. Olark allows you to chat with your customers through any IM client, which means you can maintain your customer service right from your smartphone! So, what’s the benefit of excellent customer service? Your customers (I mean friends!) will tell all of their friends about the great service they received at your online store, and how you really make them feel special.
- Create a Facebook fan page for your online store. A Facebook fan page can help your business grow in many ways. You can promote your newsletter, promote your refer a friend for a free gift deal, promote your LivingSocial specials, and use it as another tool to maintain customer satisfaction — among many other things. When your customers like your Facebook fan page, their friends will see in it in their News Feed and check out your business. You could even promote special Facebook deals, like a discount or free gift card to your 1,000th fan.
What methods of marketing do you use for your online store? What effective word of mouth marketing tips do you use to grow your business? How do you use other social media networking sites to promote your business?