You’ve heard it before… The best form of advertising is word of mouth advertising.
If I look at how I make any type of purchase, even something as simple as going to the movies, I rely on word of mouth.
For instance, if a friend tells me a movie is horrible, I’ll skip it without a second consideration. But if I get a movie recommendation from someone I trust, I will go out of my way to see the film.
In fact, this happened yesterday. The woman doing my facial was telling me how stressed she was during our appointment. She told me she was in desperate need of a vacation and couldn’t wait to kick back and watch a movie that night.
Coincidently, she was going to see a film I had just seen with my husband a few nights ago. Though I found it to be a great movie, the content was heavy-duty and depressing – not what she was aiming for at all. So I let her know and recommended something different.
And guess what? She went to the different movie.
Word of mouth marketing in action, my friends!
So, if you don’t have a budget to invest in advertising, no worries. Instead, leverage word of mouth advertising.
Okay, Dallas. But how?
Step One: Make a List of Potential Ambassadors
This list includes happy clients (current and former), fans who can speak to your work, friends who really know you, and trusted centers of influence, meaning someone who is respected or with an active following.
Step Two: Get a Buy-In
Ask your ambassadors how comfortable they would be in inviting their friends, fans, and followers to check you out. Here’s what that might look like:
Hi there, Stephanie. I am so proud of the work you are doing and very grateful to be your coach. I love working with women just like you, so I’m writing to ask how open you are to sending an email out to your friends who might benefit from working with me.
Step Three: Direct Them Somewhere
You could ask your ambassadors to invite their followers to a webinar you’re hosting, a free call, or a complimentary session if you’ve got something like that in the books. They could also recommend your Facebook page, or your Instagram feed, or whatever juicy giveaway or form of lead capture that you have available.
Let’s pick up where we just left off with our example:
…If you are, I’ll send you an email you can copy and forward to your friends to make this really easy for you.
I’ve opened up 8 spots in my calendar for complimentary sessions, and it would be so much fun to help your circle of friends.
Step Four: Make It Easy
It’s not enough to point your ambassadors in a direction. You really have to create a structure so that it’s easy for them to recommend you.
One of my dearest friends is a hairdresser and her business really relies on referrals. Recently, she shared that business was slow and she couldn’t figure out why. Virtually every client raves about her work. Yet, the number of referrals coming into the salon didn’t match the number of happy clients.
Then, I asked her how she’s set it up for people.
Her face went blank.
What we discovered was that people were sincere about spreading the word, but they needed a structure to do so if their referrals were ever going to convert to actual clients.
If you really want to see a massive client infusion or a big boost in your following, you have to set your referrers up with structure.
So my friend and I crafted a quick email that she then sent to her happy clients.
Here’s how we made it easy for her hair ambassadors:
1. Client gets a haircut.
2. Client loves haircut!
3. Client expresses a desire to recommend my friend’s work.
4. She says, “Great! I actually have a referral program. And I would really appreciate more business. How about I send you an email and you can forward it along to your friends?”
5. My friend collects Happy Client’s email and sends her an editable endorsement of her work with an invitation of 15% off. All they have to do is cut and paste and send out to friends and followers.
This is the same process I followed in my signature program over at The Thriving Artist Circle.
This one program generated about $350,000 a year and every person who signed up was a direct, no-cost referral from a former student.
But those referrals don’t just show up. I actually invite happy students to participate in a referral club, just like my friend the hairdresser.
So, yes, the best type of advertising is done through word of mouth. But no, it doesn’t happen organically. You have to create structure in order to set yourself up to receive results.
Give it a whirl and then, head on over to our Coaches on a Mission Facebook group to tell me how it worked for you.