Figuring out how to get the word out about your business isn't easy or inexpensive. Advertising, even online, is notoriously difficult to track. You may never fully realize how successful a campaign was.
In today's highly competitive marketplace, just keeping up with your nearest competition may be expensive. Across all industries, small businesses spend about 1.08 percent of their revenue on advertising. If you're just getting started or fighting against a competitor nipping at your heels, then your marketing costs may be higher. Your employees are a great source of word-of-mouth PR both to help bring in new customers and new hires. Here are six reasons why that is.
1. Consumers Trust Their Recommendation
One resource you may not have tapped into is your employees' ability to share what they love about your brand. Studies show that consumers are 92 percent more likely to trust a recommendation from someone they know rather than from the brand itself. Get your employees involved in talking about your brand. Encourage them to refer family and friends by implementing a reward program.
Direct sales companies figured out referral structures to perfection. Young Living is just one example of a direct sales company that rewards its distributors for bringing other customers on board by giving them free products and a percentage of sales.
2. Employees Best Understand Your Product
Your employees understand your product better than a third-party advertising firm. They work intimately with it day in and day out. It's also a smart move to provide samples to your employees. If you sell clothing, give each employee the latest shirt or a budget to order a certain amount of pieces for their personal use. Encourage them to tell others about what they're wearing. If you offer a service, have your employees test it.
One thing top restaurants do that all businesses can learn from is let people test out their dishes so they know how they taste, how they're made and what is unique about each of them. Then, when a customer has a question, the employee is ready to answer from a personal standpoint.
3. Develop a Culture
Do you want your employees to feel highly satisfied in their work, so they strive to do their best, feel like part of something bigger and are more likely to stay long-term? Developing a company culture all leads to employees who are happier.
You can create a strong company culture in several ways. Make sure everyone feels valued and free to add their input, spend time together doing fun things outside of work and show appreciation when someone does something exemplary.
MacAllister Machinery Company offers an excellent model to study if you want to learn how to build a strong company culture. Anyone thinking about working there will notice they put the safety of their employees first, something that isn't always a priority in the industry. They also point to other elements, such as using a balanced scorecard to run their business and looking at innovative ways to solve common problems.
4. Offer Profit Sharing
If you want to encourage employees to help you advertise your products, offer a profit sharing program. The incentive is simply to get the product in the hands of more people and increase company profits. Employees then receive a percentage of those profits, giving them a strong incentive to promote your brand. No matter how much an employee loves their job, when the work day is over, it's not likely they will continue to promote your brand unless they have the incentive to do so.
Profit sharing helps everyone feel that are part of the big picture and their effort is valued. When you offer incentives, you will begin to see employees go above and beyond to get results.
5. Attract Top Candidates
Attracting some of the top candidates in your field isn't easy. You're competing against giant companies that might have more funds to offer. However, you can stand out from them with an amazing company culture and lots of incentives. Not everyone wants to work for a Fortune 500 company or get lost in the shuffle of a big corporation. Focus on your strengths, then figure out how to encourage your employees to share those strengths with people they know who would be a good fit for your company.
Start an employee referral program so those who bring in new hires receive rewards for helping you find the best people possible to fill open positions. Pure Insurance offers a referral program and culture that translates to a referral rate between 40 and 60 percent. The majority of their employees come via referral from another employee, which is unusual. The way they achieve this is simply asking if their workers know anyone else who would be a good fit for the company.
6. Empower Employees to Be Vocal
Invest time and resources into training your employees to be a mouthpiece for your company. Training should include everyone from the manager of a department to the evening cleaning crew. Train employees about your company philosophy, how best to represent your brand and how to tell others about where they work.
Training should include a full array of elements, including how to present yourself on social media. The last thing you want is someone giving your brand a bad name. However, with a little training, most people are capable of sharing info about your brand positively.
Encourage Employees to Help With PR
Most of your employees are probably quite happy to help spread the word about your brand, as it creates job security for them if you do well. They just need the encouragement and training to do so and know they won't get in trouble for mentioning the company. Use these six tips to start encouraging them to recommend your company to everyone they know.