One thing has remained constant in marketing since the earliest days. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful form of promotion that any business can get. Today, word-of-mouth marketing happens in more ways than ever—online, through social networks, through email, in-person, and more—and the opportunity to generate more positive word-of-mouth for your franchise is bigger than ever.
Think of it this way. When you have to buy a product or service, what do you do? Most people go to Google or their preferred search engine and type in some keywords to help them find the information they need. They’ll ask people they know about the product or service and the companies that offer that product or service. Today, these conversations happen both online and offline, and these conversations are extremely important to your franchise!
To help you get started, following are five easy ways to jumpstart franchise word-of-mouth marketing, so you can increase brand awareness, brand trust, and sales.
1. Get out of Your Shell
It’s almost impossible to generate word-of-mouth marketing for your franchise if you’re not talking to people about your franchise both online and offline. That means you need to network offline and participate in the online conversations that are happening on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as in online forums and blogs.
However, you need to do more than just join conversations. You need to start them, too. One of the best ways to start conversations is by creating and publishing online content that is useful and meaningful to your target audience. Don’t promote through content. Instead, aim to educate and help people. Your high quality content gives you an opportunity to prove your brand promise to consumers again and again.
2. Get Involved
Just as you need to get out of your shell and talk to people, you also need to go beyond words and actually get involved in your community. Attend local and regional events to increase opportunities to meet people and raise brand awareness. The goal is to get in front of people who are likely to be interested in your services, so look for events and organizations that cater to your ideal customers.
You can also get involved with non-profit organizations. Volunteering your time enables you to help others and raise awareness of your brand with wider audiences at the same time.
3. Offer Freebies
Everyone likes to get something for free, so give out free samples or branded promotional items like pens and T-shirts. Consumers are more likely to buy from your franchise if they have an opportunity to try it first. And every branded promotional item that you give out is a walking advertisement that can spark a conversation and word-of-mouth marketing!
4. Ask for It
One of the most effective forms of word-of-mouth marketing is the customer review or testimonial, particularly on online review sites. Don’t wait for your customers to review your franchise. Ask them to write a review! You’d be surprised how many customers will gladly write reviews if you ask.
If a customer isn’t comfortable writing a review on a review website, ask them to provide a testimonial to you that you can publish on your website or marketing materials. Don’t be afraid to get creative in leveraging testimonials and reviews for promotion.
5. Try Public Speaking
As a franchise owner, you have a vast amount of knowledge about your industry. Why not use that knowledge to generate word-of-mouth marketing through public speaking? You can educate people and raise brand awareness at the same time. It’s an excellent way to get people talking about your brand with other people in a very positive way! However, don’t start delivering lectures until you spend some time learning to be a polished public speaker and design a great presentation.
Keys to Generating Franchise Word-of-Mouth Marketing
The keys to generating word-of-mouth marketing are to be visible and vocal. If no one can find your brand or hear about it, they won’t buy it. Instead, participate in the online conversation and get involved in your community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. But whatever you do, never be dishonest in your communications or people will distrust your franchise brand and all of your hard work will fall apart.