The better way to sell online

How to boost your word of mouth advertising

I wish I could give you a five-step program that would make everything in life easy. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that there aren’t any short cuts. If you want to make magic happen you’ve got to set goals, put in the work and be accountable.

While this is a definite win in a lot of ways, it’s also got one big downside: we now consume so much stuff that it all seems to blur together.

Every day we’re exposed to hundreds of advertisements and products. They’ve become so persistent and pervasive that for the most part we’ve learnt to block them out. And while this can be good for us, it can be bad for those trying to sell to us.

For those of us with our own stores, the internet is a double-edged sword. We can contact more people than ever before… but so can our competition. And our customers are zoning out.

But there’s one tactic which has existed for much longer than smartphones, and which can cut through all the technical noise. Even though we all have phones in our pockets, we have one thing we’ll always trust more: our friends.

So here are three ways you can create trust and word of mouth advertising for your business:

1. Find influencers!

Influencer advertising has exploded in recent years.

It goes like this: you find someone who is active online and who matches your message and brand, and you reach out to them. If you’re lucky they’ll agree to share their opinion of your business in exchange for an incentive: either a small fee or a free product.

Campaigns based on influencer marketing have shown huge success in the past. One of the most famous examples is that of Reckitt Benckiser Dettol; or Lysol. It’s a cleaning product and an antiseptic, and the company was struggling to make sales in China. Television advertisements weren’t working, traditional advertising was too expensive, and so Dettol looked outside of the box.

They identified a key issue: their product was only sold in large bottles, so most consumers were limited in how they could use it. The company adjusted their products to make them more suitable for day-to-day cleaning jobs, and then sent out 48,000 samples to 4,000 influencer mothers: one for them, and ten for their friends.

By adjusting their product to make it more suitable for their target audience, and by sending samples to those who fit within that target audience, they managed to increase their sales by 86 percent.

Who are the people online who could promote your business? Find them and reach out to them!

2. Make it feel good.

If you want people to share your products, tie them to emotion! One of the best ways to find success is to come up with strategies that make customers laugh or feel good about themselves. That way, they’ll want to share that feeling -and your products- with their friends.

Just take a look at any of the John Lewis Christmas advertisements. They trigger feelings of hope, happiness, sadness and nostalgia in their viewers: and it makes them easy to share.

3. Involve your customers!

If you want people to talk about you, make yourself the centre of attention!

Consider hosting or sponsoring events, people, clubs, and conferences. Hand out free samples, push the limits, and keep it fun. Try to come up with engaging ways to keep your customers interested.

A great example of customer involvement is Red Bull.

I went to university in Australia, and every single day there was a Red Bull stand on campus which gave out free drinks. They sponsored parties, students and general events, and they made themselves part of my university experience.

How can you integrate yourself into the lives of your customers? Where do they go? Where do they spend their time, and how can you connect with them there?

Try to think of ways in which you can benefit them and build up familiarity and trust.

If you want people to share your products, tie them to emotion! One of the best ways to find success is to come up with strategies that make customers feel good about themselves. That way, they’ll want to share that feeling -and your products- with their friends.

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If you want to cut through the competition curating word of mouth advertising can be a vital tool. Take the time to make yourself seen, connect with customers, and reach out to those who you believe you could help the most.

Lena Klein

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