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Word of Mouth Marketing can make a small business that’s just surviving become thriving.

It is essential that your small business have a word of mouth marketing strategy in place that will encourage more referrals to help your business experience rapid growth.  

This to me is one of the best marketing strategies and opportunities for a small business looking to take their business to the next level.  Personally word of mouth marketing and having a solid referral policy in place was one of the key strategies that helped me grow one of my businesses to a million plus in sales rapidly.

Clients are your best advertising and once you have a solid base you can ignite that base to help you expand. All small business owners should sit down and choose which of the strategies you’ll use below or come up with your own word of mouth marketing ideas to help your business explode.  

At the end of the day if you build a great customer experience, many customers will want to tell others about you. When you learn to incentivize & reward your customers for sharing your story your business will experience rapid growth unlike before.  

8 Entrepreneurs Share How to Increase Word Of Mouth Marketing

Jeff Goldberg | Founder | Jeff Goldberg & Asssociates

The number one way to increase referrals is to be “referral-worthy.” Take GREAT care of your customers and always deliver exceptional value…more than you promised.

The second tip is to ASK. The number one reason people don’t get referrals is they never ask for them, thinking or hoping that their happy clients will give them anyway. Happy clients (and everyone else) are busy running their own lives and businesses and as much as they may like you, you’re not the most important thing on their mind. By asking, you become top of mind, at least for that moment.

The words I suggest using are, “You may or may not know that I grow my business through direct referrals from satisfied clients like you. Who do you know that I should be speaking with?”

Another tip is to make it easy for them by not making them think too hard.

“I do a load of work with busy single moms who feel drained daily. Do you know any  busy moms like this that I can speak with?” (busy moms is just an example…you should be prepared to be specific about your business)

Be generous. Give referrals to others when appropriate. When you give a referral the recipient will think well of you and will be more likely to reciprocate. “Stop Selling. Start helping.” – Zig Ziglar

Finally – take stock of the people who are already referring you. Make sure they know how much you appreciate it when they refer you and try to do things for them that show your appreciation. Depending on the size of the deal you get from the referral a small (or sometimes large) thank you gift is appropriate. e.g. – A client referred me and it turned into a substantial deal. I sent him an iPod and a thank you note.

“Sales is not about persuading. It’s a conversation that ends with the prospect choosing to do business with you.” – Jeff Goldberg

Deborah Sweeney | CEO | MyCorporation

The best way to increase customer referrals is by gaining the reputation of having exceptional customer service. You do this by making all of your customers feel as though they are “regulars.”

Customers want to be remembered by name and they want to be interacted with as a friend, not a customer or profit number. Remind your sales team and customer service team of the importance of good conversation. Encourage them to ask customers about their lives and to share a little about their lives too (it’s all about building a connection).

A customer that feels special and welcome at your business will return and will certainly tell their friends about their great experience!

Oleg Korneitchouk | Director of Digital Marketing | SmartSites

An easy way we’ve increased referrals for our clients is through networking on social media and more specifically LinkedIn.

All you need to do is determine exactly who your clients are and get your message to them on LinkedIn.

Join related local groups, post related updates & discussions and then connect with the potential client/referral. After that, reach out to them with a non-salesy, personalized message looking to help each other out. Something along the lines of:

Hey (Name),

Thanks for connecting with me!

Just wanted to give a quick introduction. I am a (type of business) who works with (Location) based businesses to help them (Service) in the smartest way possible. If you know of anyone who can use my services, feel free to give them my number or show them my website at (Website name)

If you have any questions or want to chat, let me know!


We’ve built relationships and landed several huge contracts in various industries using this method. With the huge ROI this brings in, we don’t intend to stop any time soon.

Tom Kelly | Professional Business Coach | Potential In Motion 

There are 4 keys for a small business to increase their referrals: 

Key #1 – Become Highly Referable

The most important thing in generating more referrals for your business is to make sure that you are referable. In order to be referable, you must add value and build trust with your customers. If you are currently generating referrals without asking for them, you are most likely adding value for your customers. If you are not, then ask your customers what it would take for them to refer you, and upgrade your business based on their feedback!

Key #2 – Network with Power Partners

What constitutes a power partner? Any other business that regularly calls on your ideal clients is a potential power partner. By networking with these people on a regular basis, you increase your exposure to your target market. You may even be able to build a strategic alliance with these businesses to help you, your customers, and your new partner!

Key #3 – Ask!

Yes, that’s right! You have to actually ask your customers to refer you to others that will find value in what you have to offer. Most small businesses aren’t doing this – at least on a consistent basis. Remember, ask and you shall receive!

Key #4 – Build a Strong Reputation in a Niche Market

When you service a very niche market, you become an expert in their problems and the solutions to those problems. You also become very attractive to the potential customers in that niche, as they see you as an expert. This is a great way to get a step up on your competition!


Leanne E. King | President | SeeKing HR

3 strategies to improve our referrals:

  1. Go places where you have no business being. Our clients are all over the map and many are federal contractors. A great source of leads is participating in pre-bid meetings for say Construction Services. We don’t provide construction services, but we do provide staffing, drug testing, background checks, affirmative action plans, certified payroll support – things that construction companies and subcontractors need. The sub-contractors who attend the pre-bids have to be compliant with the same regulations as the prime contractor (flow down) and we can walk right in with an HR plan that fits their needs.
  2. Socialize, don’t sell. We don’t try to sell anyone or anything. We create situations where people (prospects) can meet, get a bit of education, receive guidance, advice and hopefully expand their network.
  3. Pay It Forward. Our third guiding principal, Pay It Forward, permeates our entire culture. Don’t look for the pay back today or tomorrow often times it is years before we “recognize” the value of a relationship. Our revenue is built on the premise that if our customer grows, we grow with them. That means we generally give before we receive.

Nicole McNamee | Business Development Director | P.O.P. Solutions

Promotional products are a great way to increase referrals for a Small Business!

Consumers are 36% more likely to do business with an advertiser they hadn’t previously done business with after receiving a logoed item. Promotional products deliver the same or better ROI than other forms of media at on average of less than one cent (.6 of a cent) per impression.

What has the most impressions in the U.S. – tote bags at 5,983. The second most likely impression is a writing instrument at 3,134 impressions.

I tell businesses of all sizes that writing instruments are a very affordable advertising method and will most certainly increase referrals.

(This is a great Study on the Cost Analysis of Promotional Products vs. other Ad Media)

Tyler Young | Consultant | Conversion Insights 

The most unique way I know of to increase referrals for a small business is to highlight your clients. Putting together a client success story—whether it’s a one-page mini-case study or something as simple as a “congratulations” tweet—is an easy way to get clients invested in your success.

When you make your clients look good (by showing what a great decision they made, how much money you saved their company, etc.), they’ll want to share that story with their contacts. (This goes double for articles you can coauthor for trade publications and other media.) And nothing drives referrals quite like hearing about great results from a trusted contact.

Lenny Laskowski | President | LJL Seminars

I get repeat referrals all the time. 

One of the best ( and still most effective ways) is word-of-mouth from current and past clients.  I continue to get referrals from past clients from over 15 years ago.

I also reward those who do provide me with a referral, which results in a contract by paying them a referral fee.  Nothing will encourage people more than $$$.   In most cases, past clients do not want the money and in some case, cannot accept the money.

The last way I also get referrals is to ask people to provide me with a testimonial letter along with the permission to allow potential clients to contact them about working with me.   Past clients are always more than happy to do this for me.

I also post many of the testimonials on my website.

There you have it, some pretty amazing Word Of Mouth Marketing ideas shared by awesome entrepreneurs. This is an infographic for you to print and come up with your own marketing strategies to implement referral marketing into your business. 

Which ideas will you use?

Wishing Entrepreneurial Successes!

word of mouth marketing