Proven ways to elevate your marketing game

By Eric Wagner—How to get customers to market for you? It’s easier than you think! It’s hard enough doing the job, let alone doing the marketing, too. If you’d rather leave the marketing up to the ones who do it best, this is for you.

Think about it—the best marketers are expensive. But the second best are way more affordable and maybe just as effective. We’re talking about word-of-mouth marketing.

If you’ve ever used a product that you loved or hated, you probably told a friend about it. Either “I found this tool you have to use.” Or “I tried this product the other day, and it was garbage. Don’t waste your money on it.” And you probably trusted your friend’s recommendation way more than a TV commercial or billboard.

Following are tried-and-true steps for getting your customers to do the marketing for you:

First and foremost, you need to have great products or services. They’ve got to be something special if you want to stir up conversation about what you have to offer. If you don’t have top-notch products or services, start there. Amp up what you can. Get some new customers to try things out. Then get feedback from them. After some tune-ups, test what you’ve got on other new customers—and ask for reviews!

The next step is to provide excellent customer service. Remember the last company you swore you’d never do business with again? It was probably because they didn’t treat you right. Somebody on the phone was snippy or, worse, you never got to talk to anyone because of their automated phone service. We all hate that.

But when you work with a company that treats you right and even goes above and beyond, you can’t wait to tell your friends about that experience. So, that’s what you’ve got to do for your customers. Treat them like kings and queens, and they’ll be loyal for life.

Next, create and use a marketing plan. Now that your products, services and customer service are high quality, it’s time to get to the more technical tactics for getting your customers to market for you. This requires that you have a marketing strategy.

Start by asking two simple questions: What are you already doing to market your business? And how do you hope to improve with word-of-mouth marketing?

When you think about what you’re already doing, think specifically of the areas you could improve. What’s something you’d like to fix? If you find any strategy that wasn’t worth the time or money, get rid of it. Or if you’ve got a strategy that’s working well, how can you capitalize on it? What areas would you like to improve? How will you improve? And by when do you hope to have those areas fixed?

By setting SMART goals (as developed by George Doran), you’re creating goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. It’s the smartest goal-setting strategy out there, and it’s going to help grow your business.

Now focus on your target audience—either the ones who already love your company or the ones who will love you once they learn about you. And the best way to find them is on social media, so do a bit of research. Find out which social media platforms are most popular for your key audience and create an account. (And before you ask, no, you do not need to be on all platforms—especially if social media is a new step for your business.) If you get started on a couple of platforms that your audience spends time on, you’re headed in the right direction. Now all you have to do is get really good at creating content for those platforms.

(In the next installment, Wagner will provide four additional tips to get customers to do your marketing for you.)

Eric Wagner is CEO of i7 Marketing. With a strong background in web development and new technologies, he focuses on helping clients dominate the online marketplace in their respective spaces. For more info, contact [email protected]

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