As we wrote about in a recent blog, there are four main factors that customers look for when choosing a service provider. Value, quality, convenience, and trust apply throughout the dealer experience, not just with fixed ops. Having loyal customers is great for repeat business, but how can you utilize current customers to help you grow your audience and bring in new business?
One thing marketers know is that word-of-mouth works wonders. According to Nielsen research, 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know compared to only 47% trusting ads on TV and 42% of ads on the radio. Word-of-mouth marketing allows you to utilize the trust between loyal customers and their peers to earn new business. The trick is figuring out how to encourage your customers to talk about your dealership. Pew Research Center found that 72% of people get their news from friends or family, so it might just take a little nudge in the right direction.
There are many ways you can turn your customers into brand advocates, and, luckily, most of them are free and easy to implement.
Online reviews – Asking your customers to leave you a review on Google, Facebook, or any other platform will help your business in many ways. First, reviews can help your business rank better in the search engine and get more visitors to your website. Search engines like Google see multiple positive reviews as a sign of authority, and they will push your page higher up on the search engine results page.
Second, positive reviews are encouraging for potential customers. Reviews show that a customer had a strong (and hopefully positive) experience at your business that compelled them to write about it. Most people don’t leave reviews for ordinary or forgettable experiences, so a review typically signals sincerity. In fact, in the same Nielsen report mentioned earlier, it is shown that 70% of people find consumer opinions posted online trustworthy.
You can encourage customers to leave reviews by asking them at the end of their purchasing experience. Your team can send reminders through a texting service or over email. Other ways to promote reviews are through social media, your website, or adding a call-to-action in promotional materials.
Testimonials – Similar to a review, a testimonial is a quote from a customer that shares their experience. You and your team can specifically ask customers for testimonials, but often the best testimonials happen naturally. If a customer says something in an email or conversation that you think speaks for your dealership, ask if you can use that quote in promotional materials.
Share your testimonials across your website, social media accounts, and advertisements. Someone considering your business might be a little more trusting after reading a few testimonials.
Referral Cards – A great way to encourage customers (or employees) to talk about your business is by creating referral cards to hand out. These cards could range from current promotions you have to rewards programs or even new job opportunities. If there is some incentive for someone to refer new people (a discount or bonus), they will be happy to share these referral cards and talk about your business. The best part is, you design them and get to decide what information to focus on.
Sharing On Socials – The first step of this suggestion is getting current customers to follow you on social media. Following or liking your page allows them to stay up to date with relevant updates from your dealership. The second part is encouraging them to share, like, and comment on your posts. This engagement will help their friends see your posts, even if those friends do not follow you. Sharing a post is a quick and efficient form of word-of-mouth.
Traditional Advertising – Of course, there is always TV, radio, billboard, and other traditional ad formats that your dealership can use to stay top of mind. Traditional advertising is a tried-and-true method to make customers aware of your business and any promotional events you have going on. While this is not an example of word-of-mouth, it can help generate it. A traditional ad can be used as a prompt for a customer to initiate a conversation about your business.
Implementing just a few of these different ideas and techniques can help bring in new customers and grow your reach. And, while we’re talking about word-of-mouth, we wouldn’t want to miss a perfectly good opportunity to mention our new benefits page that shows how working at Petoskey Plastics stacks up. Check it out and send it on to any friends or family who may be interested!