Word of mouth is arguably the most effective form of advertising. It is not, however, very efficient or manageable. It’s wonderful if a satisfied customer sings your praises to two friends, and they tell two friends, it will eventually snowball to a decent return. On the other hand, a television ad or social media post can reach thousands of people before the first two friends have even heard about you. Put simply: word of mouth is great, but it can’t be your entire marketing strategy.

That said, it’s possible to combine the power of word of mouth with the scale of traditional and digital advertising. Almost any type or size of business can accomplish this by engaging with their customer base and recruiting them to help spread the message by becoming brand ambassadors. Here are the few simple steps required to get this process going.
Brand Marketers

Ask for Reviews and Feedback

Starting is simple enough. Let’s say you want positive feedback from your customers about the great results they saw from using the thrive experience. Add a quick line in your advertising copy saying something to the effect of “Did you see amazing results from thrive? We want to hear from you!” and include contact information or social handles. This works best in digital ads, but it can be done in broadcast and print as well. It can even work on radio if you reinforce the contact info or specifically direct them to your website for more information. If you host a podcast or sell on Amazon, tell them to leave you five stars, or rate, subscribe, and review.

Provide Promotional Pricing and Specials

Let’s back up a moment and talk about getting people excited enough about your product to want to evangelize it. There’s nothing wrong with “calling your shot” and explaining to customers that you’re looking to recruit brand ambassadors. You can position it as an exclusive club with perks. Put the word out on social media with a sign-up form link and mention some sort of promotional perk, be it a discount or free sample item.

Utilize Content Marketing to Show Value

If you want to get people excited, don’t simply show them your product line or range of services. You need brand ambassadors to learn who you are as a brand. This means that they need to have a “peak behind the curtain,” so to speak. Think about your internal mission and vision statements that spell out what you’re about and what your core values are as a brand. Can it be made public? If not, could it be summarized in a way that you would be willing to share with your customers? Could it be incorporated into your website or social bios in some way?

Beyond telling people who you are, take the next step and show them. Content marketing may be the best way to do this, and it’s easier than ever to produce. Does your company have a “sizzle reel” highlighting community involvement or behind the scenes information about the origins of your business? Consider putting it on YouTube or at least embedding it on your website or social pages. If not, there’s never been a better time to produce decent video with minimal equipment and training. You might be surprised at how many eyeballs an interview with your company’s founder or CEO shot on a Smartphone could draw!

Reward Top Fans and Contributors

Finally, if you are going to ask customers to market your brand, understand that they will expect some sort of reward. This doesn’t mean you have to offer salaries or stipends as you would to professional influencers. Rather, discounts, free samples of new products, or even public recognition may be enough to get the job done. When in doubt, ask them what they would want. You may not be able to deliver, but conversations are the key to these types of customer-brand relationships.

Your best customers are usually your biggest fans. Ask and incentivize them to help you tell your marketing story and build your audience.