Today they also run a successful side business offering horse riding weekends for local professional people which they have never advertised. “We ran a few weekends for friends as a trial for our longer vacations,” Danni explains, “and then their friends started calling us, and then friends of friends.”
Other than a monthly newsletter to existing clients containing details of upcoming rides, no other marketing has been required. Here we look at 5 ideas that you can use to generate word of mouth hype about your product or service, and examples of how to implement them.
1. Give your customers something to talk about
Work out what is special or different about what you offer and tell everyone about it. Never underestimate how much people love to talk about the ‘great new thing’ that they have discovered.
“Most of our trail riding horses have an endurance racing background,”
So find out what that ‘something different’ is and make it part of your standard operations to tell all your customers about it every time they make a purchase.
2. Look after your regulars
These are the people who love what you offer and are your biggest advocates. They will talk and talk about your business. But you need to keep them loyal – and making them feel special works a lot better than discounts.
“One of our regulars loves banana lollies,” says Danni. “At the end of every weekend ride we ensure that there is a big bowl of them on the table. We always make a joke about how we’re frightened she won’t come back if they’re not there. It makes her feel special and shows the other customers that the tours don’t need to be a one-off experience.”
3. Find out what everyone is talking about and emphasize it
It may be something completely different to what you expect!
“Last year on a particularly hot day we had a ‘horse to beer’ challenge,” Danni says. “The idea was to see how fast you could get off the horse, tie it up, run to the fridge and open a beer. The blokes loved it!”
When friends of those riders came along, they all knew about the challenge and wanted to beat the 7 second record. The tradition has continued and jokes are made about the challenge when men call to book, and throughout the first day of riding. Girls compete too but it’s the men who rave about it!
So if your clients are talking about something that’s not your core product or service, don’t worry about it. It can still generate sales – just do everything you can to keep them talking about it.
4. Follow up with every customer every time
Two days after every tour a personal email is sent to each Elia Tours customer.
“Actually we use a template for the email,” Danni explains, “but there is one section where we add a personal note perhaps sharing a joke about the weekend or commenting on how well they did.”
Not only does the personal approach make the customer feel important but it also puts the company back into the customer’s mind after the original excitement has died down.
For businesses with larger customer numbers, it may not be feasible to send a personal email to each of them – but an email with ‘Dear [name]’ works better than ‘Dear [customer]’ every time and some contact is always better than no contact at all!
5. Get non-customers talking too
“Our horse riding weekends are talked about by so many people,” Danni says, “even those people who would never get on a horse!”
The trick is simple. Tell everyone what is so special or different about your business and they feel like they are ‘in the know’ about something really unique. Soon they’ll be telling others about your great business, even if they never use it themselves!
Contact: Danielle Cullen
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Tour company based in Brisbane, Australia.
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