wordofmouth Word-of-mouth marketing has been in use for centuries. Although technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, this most basic form of marketing has never been more effective at bringing in new business.

Every type of business, from large corporations to independent contractors, can capture the power of having a “talkable brand” by increasing its word-of-mouth worthiness. What exactly does that mean? Here are a few ways to get customers talking about your business so that you can leverage this extremely powerful form of marketing.

Focus on Service
Prior to encouraging any word-of-mouth marketing, the quality of your service must be top-notch. The last thing any small business owner wants is negative comments being circulated. Just as customers will share with others when they are happy with your business, they will also complain to those around them when their buying experience is less than stellar.

Get Customers Talking
With social media tools now in wide use, there are many ways you can encourage customers to share information about your business with their friends, family and colleagues. By simply “liking” your business on Facebook, one customer sends out a valuable recommendation for what you have to offer. Online reviewers can also be your brand ambassadors. Thus, offering links to review sites that encourage customers to provide reviews is a smart idea. Even if you’re not connected with social networks yet, you can still offer incentives to customers who give you referrals and actively promote your brand.

Don’t Forget Employees
Your employees are your best brand advocates. Not only do they understand your products, they also have a vested interest in finding new customers. Employees can tell friends about your business at a social gathering; you can also give them the ability to blog or Tweet about what you do. Employee testimonials can be extremely effective at generating new business.

Be Exemplary
Nothing can launch word-of-mouth buzz faster than an article or media mention that highlights something positive that you’ve accomplished. Seek out opportunities within your community or industry to make a difference, and you’ll begin getting noticed on a larger scale. That, in turn, can dramatically expand the reach of your word-of-mouth marketing efforts.

Even if your business doesn’t have the budget for large-scale marketing campaigns or advertising, you still can benefit from strategic word-of-mouth marketing. The key is to provide superior service and products to your customers and then encourage them to share their experience with others. Whether it’s online or just in casual conversation, one recommendation about your business can go a long way towards your success.