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Word of Mouth Advertising

© 2014 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.

Chicago, Illinois 60615 (773) 405-5916

Word of Mouth Advertising: A Low Cost Alternative

Large corporations generally have multi-layered marketing plans, large marketing budgets, and a number of employees to ensure that their brands, products, and services are well known and sought after. But many small business owners do not have abundant resources to help them promote their goods and services. So how can they attract customers or clients to their businesses?

Advertising Through Word-of-mouth

Customers are one source of word-of-mouth advertising. Their testimonials to family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers can drive new customers to a business. But customers do not always share their positive experiences with others even if the business gives them incentive (e.g., a 10 percent discount for each referral) to do so. Employees, family, friends, and others are also important sources.  

Developing a plan will help you identify the best ways to promote your business through word-of-mouth advertising. One of the first steps should be creating a business narrative to share with the public.

Creating the Narrative

Answers to the following questions will help you create an accurate, concise, and compelling narrative:

  1. Who are we?
  2. What is it that we do?
  3. How exactly do we do it?
  4. How do we solve customers' problems and help them achieve their goals?

Communicating the Narrative to Others

Take every opportunity to share your narrative with your personal and professional networks including the following:


Employees can be good ambassadors. If they are invested in the business, feel valued and respected, and believe in what the business offers, they are more likely to share the narrative with others. Besi

Family and friends

Family and friends can introduce your business to their friends, coworkers, business partners, and other associates.  

Community members

Community involvement – such as volunteer service in civic or non profit organization – provide many opportunities to share the narrative and generate good publicity.

Professional associations

Professional and business associations allow you to not only share your narrative but create mutually-beneficial business relationships.

Maintaining Word-of-mouth Advertising

Word-of-mouth advertising is an ongoing endeavor that may take a great deal of time to yield results. Listed below are ways to sustain your efforts and yield the best results.

  1. Share the narrative with every person, business, or organization encountered as long as the interaction is appropriate and respectful.
  1. Regularly encourage employees, family members, and friends to promote the business and show appreciation for their help.
  2. Develop referral exchange programs with other businesses.
  3. Encourage customers to refer others to the business and show appreciation for their help.
  4. Refer others to businesses that can help them solve problems and achieve goals.
  5. Consistently provide outstanding products, services, and customer support.

Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson’s well-know idea, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, is indeed accurate. Promoting the “better mousetrap” will help customers discover and purchase your high quality goods or services. Word-of-mouth advertising is an effective way to draw customers to your business.


BrainyQuote, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/ralphwaldo136905.html

Larry Checco, "Want to Raise More Funds? Go Out and Tell Your Story—to Everyone!" GuideStar, http://www2.guidestar.org/rxa/news/articles/2012/tell-your-story-to-everyone.aspx?hq_e=el&hq_m=1617013&hq_l=16&hq_v=0ae2852242