Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of Mouth is Powerful
Question: What form of marketing is as old as the hills, engenders trust and is free?
Answer: Word of mouth, the process of your satisfied clients spontaneously promoting your business to friends, family and colleagues.
It’s a form of marketing that takes a while to build. However, after a decade of being therapists, we both find that the majority of new clients are as word of mouth referrals. These come from previous clients, other therapists and health professionals, and very occasionally people we don’t even know.
Although dependent on the actions of others, there are a number of strategies you can employ to encourage word of mouth recommendations:
1. Do a great job
Go the extra mile for your clients. This needn’t be onerous or costly – it’s the little things like welcoming them with a smile, walking them to the door on their way out, remembering their partner’s or children’s names. If it’s appropriate, consider giving them a small free gift such as a pack of herbal tea, aromatherapy candle or attractive notebook at some point during their course of therapy.
2. Keep in touch with former clients
E-newsletters are a great and non-intrusive way of keeping you on your clients’ radar. Use an email service provider such as Constant Contact or MailChimp so the recipients can easily opt out if they wish.
3. Offer an incentive for clients to refer a friend
If you provide a relaxation style therapy, this can take the form of a free session. If it’s more remedial, eg physiotherapy, counselling or hypnotherapy you may need to be more creative. You could offer a ‘goodies’ pack containing therapy related products, such as essential oils, a ‘good night’s sleep’ kit, or perhaps a ‘preventative’, top-up’ or ‘perfect and maintain’ free session.
4. Free session
Offer a free session to people who come into contact with plenty of potential clients: your hairdresser, other therapists, your dentist, the receptionist at your therapy clinic, your vet, the landlord at the pub – you get the drift. Consider the lost fee as a marketing expense. People talk about your therapy more if they've experienced it and enjoyed it.
5. Ask your clients for referrals
This needn’t be an ‘in your face’ request. When clients decide they don’t need to see Debs any more, she often makes a joke of saying ‘Be sure to tell people how brilliant the therapy is’, as she hands them 3 or 4 business cards. When you send your E-newsletter, include a line to say ‘If you’ve found this newsletter interesting, please forward it to one or two friends who you think will benefit’.
6. Email sign-off
We have a colleague who has the following sign-off after his name at the foot of all his emails:
'Many of my clients hear about me through word of mouth. If you have a friend or family member who would benefit from hypnotherapy why not tell them about me, show them my website or give them my contact details.'
Although it takes a while to build momentum, it’s well worth nurturing your clients and encouraging them to make referrals.
Take action to encourage your clients to spread the word!
Nic & Debs