Tag Archives: word of mouth

You’re in the Business of Happy


It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; your number one goal should be to make customers happy. Happiness brings customers back again and again. It makes business relationships easier and makes your work more meaningful. It gets people to talk about your product or service with others.

In turn, it means higher profits for you and satisfied customers who are grateful to you for making their jobs easier, more efficient, and profitable.

It sounds so simple and straight forward. But how do you know if you are doing a good job at making your customers happy?

For large corporations, you can measure happiness through customer satisfaction surveys, CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). You can also monitor customer sentiment on social media, via your customer service team, or online user forums.

But for small businesses, especially if you are selling a service, these best practices can be costly and require resources that you just don’t have right now.

Instead, the fastest way to measure if you’re customers happy, other than repeat business, is through word of mouth.

As a freelancer, my business is 100% reliant on my clients being happy with my work for them. The best leads I get, no matter what other marketing initiatives I am working on, come from my happiest customers — simply passing my name along to a colleague.

Positive word of mouth is paramount. If you have to prioritize one marketing initiative above all else while you boot up your business, start there.

It costs a lot less than investing in social media and a beautiful website. Yes, you need a web presence but it doesn’t have to be perfect to start making money. And you can grow a lot faster as a small services business if you just make your existing customers happy.

So, if you are getting calls from your customers’ contacts, you know you’re doing something right. If not, it’s time to start asking yourself and your customers (an old school phone call or face to face meeting will do the trick) what’s up?

If they are happy but not passing your name along, you can be so bold as to ask them to do so. Just be sure to reward them in some way for their efforts. A Starbucks gift card, thank you note, or lunch will all do the trick. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot.

If they’re not happy, it’s time to rethink how you run your business. Can you scale down services to focus on what you do best? Can you do more to make your customers feel valued? Again, simple and scrappy solutions to determine how to fix them problem are fine in the beginning.

Nothing is perfect when you first launch a business. But you’ll be a lot happier, and less stressed, if you focus on what’s most important. After all, “happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.” — Gretta Palmer




Could word-of-mouth web traffic referrals eclipse search referrals?

A few weeks ago, a report from Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney claimed that Facebook usage has eclipsed Google for the first time ever. A summary of that reportphoto illustrate networking - tin cans with a string on Techvibes indicated that “people spend over 41 billion minutes on Facebook every month in the U.S. alone—Google clocks in at just under 40 billion.”

While this report doesn’t mean that Facebook is going to outperform Google in terms of advertising sales revenue any time soon (read my article from last week on the future of online display advertising), it does raise a very important question:

Could word-of-mouth traffic referrals one day eclipse search referrals as the #1 traffic generating source for all websites?

If enough people are referring links to web pages on a daily basis, could their combined recommendations on sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Quora, etc. collectively amount to more referrals than search results on Google alone?

Twitter recently reported that the company now has over 100 million active users. As usage of that platform, plus Facebook and other social media sites continue to climb, the idea definitely seems plausible in the not too distant future. Why else would Google be so focused on making Google+ a success?

I am not implying that search referrals will ever go away – it is too ingrained in our online behaviour not to seek information via search engines. However, as people become comfortable sharing and trusting information online, a new source of traffic generation will become increasingly important. Why? Because consumers will always trust referrals from their close friends and family over ads or computer-generated results online.

Facebook is already the leading traffic source for news websites – who spend less and less money on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) due to the high Cost-Per-Click (CPC). However, retailers and other performance-focused (CPC) advertisers invest more in search because many people research products online prior to purchase. Still, a recommendation from a friend about a product will almost always trump an online ad.

This is definitely going to be an interesting trend to watch in the next few years. Please share your thoughts on how you think it will all play out?

Image source: iStockphoto.com