4 Key Steps to Word-of-Mouth Marketing Success

In this article, we share four key steps to achieving success via word-of-mouth marketing.

Do your customers market your business through word-of-mouth? 

Most of us have had a product or service recommended to us by a friend or even a stranger. When it comes to family entertainment centers, an example of word-of-mouth marketing would be when someone visits your facility, has a great time, and tells all of their friends about it. 

Pretty cut and dry, right? Well, to get the most value out of word-of-mouth marketing, it’s important to focus on what drives it. 

For example, why did a customer give such a great recommendation to their friends? When and how do they do this? And most importantly, what can you do as an FEC owner or operator to get customers to talk about your business?

4 Key Steps to Word-of-Mouth Marketing Success

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1. Know the Terminology

To begin, it helps to define the term word-of-mouth marketing.

Word-of-mouth marketing is any action a person takes to recommend a particular product or service as a result of having a positive experience with it.

Can you think of a time when you had a great experience at a restaurant and just had to tell people about it? 

What contributed to that great experience? Was it the food, the service you received, the ambiance, or a combination of all three? Regardless of the contributing factors, you felt compelled to share this wonderful experience with others. 

What types of word-of-mouth marketing did you use to do so? Was it through a positive review on their business page? Commenting on a Facebook friend’s “looking for recommendations” post about where they should go for date night? Or do you mention it as a favorite place to go when the topic of great restaurants in the area comes up in conversation with family?

Word-of-mouth marketing works the same way when it comes to family entertainment centers!

2. Get Familiar with Various Communication Channels

Today, there are more ways than ever for people to spread the word about your FEC. When anyone has a great customer experience at your facility, it can trigger word-of-mouth marketing via likes, comments, or posts on social media, online reviews, phone calls, text messages, or through good old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation. 

The Power of a Positive Review

According to a Nielson study, 92% of people trust recommendations given to them by their family or friends as opposed to traditional advertising. That’s an exceptional acceptance rate and shows how valuable word-of-mouth marketing really is! 

How many of you visit Google Maps or Yelp when researching a restaurant, store, or facility and read at least 2 customer reviews, if not more? Why do you do that?

The most common assumption would be that you want to see if people recommend it or if it’s best to spend your money elsewhere. When someone reads a positive review where another customer had a great experience, they get excited about it and look forward to going. Somehow, whether it’s from a friend or stranger, a positive review of a business creates a sense of trust between the customer and the establishment before the visit even occurs.

Word-of-mouth marketing is essentially free advertising for your business! It’s your job to make sure that free advertising is always positive in nature if you want to build that initial trust with potential customers.

So, what can you do to make sure that happens?

3. Focus on Delivering a Great Customer Experience

From the time a guest walks through your doors to the time they walk out, what goes into providing a great customer experience? While it may vary by customer, one thing that's true across the board is that the little things add up. Here are a few areas to consider:

      • Give a Great First Impression
        At your FEC, are your customers greeted by employees with smiling faces eager to assist guests with whatever they need?

        Is your facility clean/does it look presentable? Do other guests seem to be enjoying themselves?

        A customer having a great first impression of your FEC is the first step towards getting word-of-mouth marketing from them!

      • Have Well- Maintained Attractions

        Are your attractions constantly down, or readily available to anyone who wants to experience them? It’s very disappointing when you look forward to a specific attraction only to realize it’s down when you arrive. Keeping your attractions and other elements of your facility up-to-date on maintenance can go a long way in building up our reputation and providing a great experience.

      • Provide One-of-a-Kind Birthday Parties

        If you’re hosting birthday parties, are you anticipating the needs of the guest of honor’s parents beforehand, so you’re prepared to remedy even the smallest problems before they even have a chance to arise?

        This goes a long way in terms of achieving success with word-of-mouth marketing. Customers are more likely to go out of their way to recommend your business or leave you a positive review if you go out of your way to impress them with your proactivity and attention to detail.

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4. Be direct—ASK FOR the Positive Review!

Many business owners and operators might think that word-of-mouth referrals need to come organically, or “out of the blue”.

While it's a wonderful surprise when you see great customer feedback about your business or a recommendation for others to visit your facility you weren’t expecting, there’s no harm in asking for what
you want!

Everyone is different. Some guests, no matter how wonderful of an experience they had at your FEC, are the type of person to think to write a review on their own, so be brave—ask for one!

When guests leave, consider assigning one of your team members as a door greeter who tells each guest to enjoy the rest of their day as they leave, and to please write a positive review on social media or refer their friends if they had a great experience! You may even want to think about giving a guest who shows they’ve written a positive review or brings a guest in the next time they visit your facility a small discount as a sign of your appreciation.

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