Nielsen says 92% of people trust recommendations made by friends and family. However, the drop-off for strangers doesn’t seem to be significant. 88% of people trust online reviews.
The foundation of any startup promotion strategy is word of mouth. All promotional efforts you put into your startup would be magnified if people were willing to share your product with their friends. This would be like adding fuel to your fire. Your baseline growth will be negligible if users don’t recommend your services.
Startups are by definition prone to growing and have limited resources to promote themselves. It could be the difference in success or failure if you have customers willing to work with your product.
1. Establish a lasting relationship with your first customers
This is an opportunity to establish a close relationship with your early adopters. Listen what they have to say about the problem and how you propose solving it. Your customers will be more invested in the project if they feel that their opinions and feedback are valued.
This strategy won’t scale – you can’t speak to each customer individually as you grow. However, it will create the first wave of brand advocates that can boost the word of mouth process (and keep you honest).
2. Referral Program – Offer an incentive
Incentives are important. A referral program is a best way to turn passive customers into active promoters. Dropbox is the most prominent startup referral program case. This program was instrumental in the company’s growth of 3,900% within the early stages.
3. User Generated Content
UGC is a compelling strategy in this age of social networking. People are more inclined to share something they created online.
This process is excellent for content companies, but it can also work with other types of businesses. You can, for example, run a contest to reward customers who have taken the best picture of your product. This will encourage word of mouth while creating great content to promote your brand’s online presence via social media and websites.
4. Encourage reviews and ratings from users, and be responsive
People value customer reviews online highly, as we have already mentioned. It is vital to encourage customers to leave reviews. You also need to engage with them in the early stages.
It can be a great thing to show your customers that you care about their opinions and address them publicly with the right attitude. This can help your company gain credibility, which can work in your favor.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing, last but not least, is information age word-of-mouth on steroids. It is a great way to increase your brand’s presence by using people with a loyal following near your target audience.
Micro-influencers may be the best option when you don’t have the resources to pay big for promotion.