Today I want to talk about the power of word-of-mouth advertising. As you probably already know, we own a bead store in Roanoke, Virginia (http://www.beadsindeed.com). If you ever come in our direction, we’d love to have you visit. When we first opened our store, we spent alot of money on fancy advertising including television to try to promote our store.
This was probably not a smart move since you want your advertising to be as TARGETED as possible. (We’ll get more into that in future posts) We’d cringe as we wrote the check to pay for our fancy, pancy advertising. Like good advertisers, we wanted to track the results we got from our advertising campaign.
So, we’d ask customers how they heard about us. Do you think it was our fancy television commercial that was bringing in the business? Heck no! Just about everyone we polled said it was word-of-mouth that brought them into the store. Word-of-Mouth advertising truly is one the most powerful techniques you can use to gain customers.
So, what does this mean for your handmade jewelry business? Plenty! Word-of-mouth may possibly be the most powerful form of advertising you have available to you and it’s free! How can you make word-of-mouth advertising work for YOUR jewelry business?First of all, you must have an excellent product at a good price. If customers are impressed with the handmade jewelry value you offer, they’ll enthusiastically spread the word to their friends and family. but, there are things you can do to help the process along.
Here are some suggestions:
1. When you’re selling at shows etc, offer to give your customers some extra business cards or flyers to give to their friends and family. People love to share “new discoveries” with their acquaintances. Plus, friends and family will be sure to ask about the new jewelry piece your customer is wearing. Make it easy for her to spread the word by giving her extra brochures.
2. Take brochures and business cards with you wherever you go. If someone asks about a piece of handmade jewelry you’re wearing, you can reach into your pocketbook and give them a business card. I always carry brochures with me when I go to restaurants. I leave one on the table with the check. I’ve had several calls which resulted in orders as a result of this.
3. Tell everyone you know what you do for a living. I read somewhere that every person you meet knows over 200 other people. By telling one person what you do, you’re potentially reaching a much larger audience. Let people know that you’re a jewelry designer with unique, handmade jewelry line. Plus, you do jewelry orders for special occasions. People love customization!
4. If you get feedback from a particularly satisfied customer, ask if you can use their comments as a testimonial in your next brochure. Jot down their comments as well as their name and address. Before publishing their comments ask for their written permission by mail. After receiving their written permission, add their testimonial when you next update your brochure.
5. Offer your customer a future discount for each person they refer to you. When your customer’s name is mentioned as a referral source, keep track of it in a notebook so you’ll remember to give that customer a discount on their next purchase from you.
6. When a customer buys a piece of handmade jewelry from you, give them a coupon for a 10% discount on their next purchase. At the same time, give them several extra coupons to give to friends and family. People love discounts!
7. Always overdeliver! Give such amazing service that your customer can’t wait to tell her friends. Truly good customer service is so rare these days that this technique can be very powerful. One technique that worked well for me at shows was to add a few pieces of inexpensive candy and a small polishing cloth to my customer’s bag. Package the polishing cloth in a clear plastic pouch that includes your business card. This small gesture was a great sales booster!
We’ll get into lots more fun ideas for boosting sales in the near future. There’s so much to write about!