Word of Mouth Marketing
Is word of mouth more effective than other forms of marketing in driving customers to your business? Yes, word of mouth can be a much better tool for attracting customers. This is especially true in the restaurant industry. That would mean that the best, most effective way to spread the word about your business is also free. If that seems a little too good to be true, it’s because it is. While enjoying the benefits of good word of mouth advertising may not be an expense in your operating budget, running a business that gets people buzzing requires a lot of work. However, by focusing on providing the best food delivered with the best service and listening to the opinions (even complaints) of your customers, will pay off dividends for years to come. It’s what every restaurant owner should strive to do.
What is “Word of Mouth”?
Why is word of mouth the most mutually beneficial marketing tool you could ever hope for? Because it makes people feel involved. It makes them a part of your business. They are not passive participants. After all, they are sharing the experiences they had at your restaurant with their friends and family (and hopefully complete strangers). People may love their brand of toothpaste, they may even recommend it to others if asked, but even a phenomenal brand of toothpaste is not likely to create the same lasting impression that a phenomenal dining experience will. When people are compelled to share their positive experiences, they feel they are a part of that business in a way that you can’t buy.
Naturally, every restaurant would want to take advantage of this free form of advertising, and every business wants the marketing plan where the customer does all the work. The only way that a restaurant can create good word of mouth advertising is by offering great food, backed by great customer service. Businesses who go beyond expectations leave lasting impressions. To do this they first gain the trust of their patrons, then they gain their loyalty, and finally that loyalty leads to strong recommendations to new customers.
Bad News Travels Faster
It is important to keep in mind as well, that word of mouth works both ways. Good news travels fast, as the saying goes, but bad news travels faster. This is especially true in the age of instant information. While third party review sites on the Internet may be a good tool for customers to use to determine the public’s general attitude about a place, many people have become skeptical of these sites. Their reliability and effectiveness is questionable and people are more likely to trust the opinions of friends and relatives over a screen name and on-line avatar.
The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth should not be relied upon as the only form of marketing. Customers
can’t spread the word about how good your food is if there are no customers. Restaurant owners still need to get people in the door, deliver great service, identify and correct problems, resolve customer complaints and ensure customers are happy. By doing this, they will acquire repeat customers and those customers will tell their friends.