Word-of-mouth marketing is a recommendation from a satisfied client that is either verbal or written. That means your clients are going out and getting more clients for you! It is usually best used between friends and family, but it can also be referrals to complete strangers. So how do you achieve that for you and your business? Let's break it down.
First and foremost, CUSTOMER SERVICE! Your clients are only going to recommend you if they had a good experience with you. Make sure you are offering a unique and "shareworthy" experience for every person that walks through your door. Make sure you are checking in with your clients, addressing their wants, and keeping a happy and upbeat exterior throughout the process.
Now, once you know things are going well, it's time to ask for feedback. (Yes, that means if someone is obviously not happy, it's probably not the best time to ask them for referrals.) Ask your happy clients for testimonials. Ask them for a service or product rating on your website or on your social media outlets. Ask them if they'll share your information with friends and family.
(Side note: also ask your unhappy clients for private feedback, which could help improve your future client experience.)
If you've already gotten your clients going online, go ahead and encourage user-generated content. You can do that in several ways.
Another proven tactic is the referral program. You don't have to spend money creating keychain cards. It's as easy as telling your clients about discounts available to them if they send you more clients. You could also offer things like additional prints, special cards, etc. You have endless options to set up a program that will be enticing, that is little cost to you.
Some of the most influential and profitable photographers will tell you that they got their start by sharing their own stories. This is what they call being a Thought Leader. If you have some success, and you share your success story with others, people are bound to buzz about you. The more influential you become, the more stories you share, the more people will recognize your name. A recognizable name is much more enticing to the public than someone that doesn't have a presence (physically and socially) every time.
In the end, you are running a business, and that takes time, money, and energy. The best way to make this easy for yourself is to use tools that can help you automate the process. For example, use an email system that will help you create automated campaigns, or use the rating system on Facebook to help show how many stars your clients give you. Do some research on which tools can give you the most bang for your buck, and get you on the path to Word-of-Mouth Marketing today.
For more information and resources on sales and marketing for photographers, be sure to check out our marketing program that is FREE to PPA members. If you're not a member yet and want to learn more about how PPA can help your business grow, you can find all the information here.