There’s always lots of talk about print advertising, direct mailing, social media, radio, television, etc. But for some reason, we seem to neglect talking about the most important and free way to market a business: word of mouth.
With the rise in popularity of business rating sites such as Yelp and customer reviews that pop-up right in Google, word of mouth is more powerful than ever before – and that can either be really great for your business, or downright terrifying. But even beyond the anonymous (and sometimes fake) reviews online, it’s crucial to understand that your customers are going to talk to their friends about your business.
Keeping that in mind, let’s look at some ways that you can help ensure that what’s being said about your salon brings people in instead of scaring them away.
Provide Excellent Service
If a customer has a bad experience in your salon, you better believe they’re going to tell people about it. If the rooms aren’t clean, your staff isn’t friendly or they don’t get the results they’re looking for, they’re going to tell their friends to stay far away from your salon.
On the other hand, if you provide a service experience that is above and beyond their expectations, they’re going to share that with their friends, too. When you have a staff that people like, a facility that is in top-notch shape and people are leaving your salon feeling and looking great, they’re going to recommend you! People love telling about a great experience as much as they like complaining about an awful one.
There’s another trap to avoid, too. While providing the absolute minimum quality of service to keep people tanning might work for a little while, you’re not going to get much exposure out of it. People aren’t running out to tell the world about an okay/average experience they had.
Create a Brand and a Culture
If you’re just doing the same thing everyone else is doing, it’s going to be really easy for potential customers to overlook you. But if you’re creating some excitement within your business and establishing yourself as something unique, people are going to take notice. Whether that means you’re offering a product nobody else in your market has or you’re doing something totally off-the-wall, people will take note of your uniqueness.
People like being part of something that’s different. If you’re doing something that stands out from your competition, let people know about it.
Maintain a Great Reputation
Customers like to support businesses with a good reputation. They like to frequent places that are honest and fair. By treating your customers the way you’d want to be treated, you’re creating a reputation of respect that won’t be forgotten when your customers talk to other people about your business.
No one likes to feel cheated, swindled or abused. Doing anything that could give customers a bad taste for your business really can be harmful in the long run.
In an age of huge and faceless corporations, people really take notice of the businesses that are involved in their community. Some of the best word of mouth marketing can come from people just knowing that you’re investing in the local community outside of just simply running your business.
This really rolls into the idea of culture because people want to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves, and for many that means supporting businesses that invest in the community. So whether you sponsor a local baseball team, volunteer during city cleanup, organize a fundraiser, host a contest, etc., get involved in your local community.
Word of mouth marketing is powerful. It has the power to take your business to the next level or shut you down completely. You have to know that without a doubt, people will talk about your business. So make sure you’re only giving them good things to say!