Marketing matters for wine shops as for most retail businesses, but one area of marketing that’s often overlooked is generating good word of mouth from your customers. [level-members]
Word of mouth is all about getting those customers who like your shop (or they wouldn’t be shopping there) to LOVE your shop. You want them to love you rather than like you because customers who love you are the customers who talk about you to others.
That kind of word of mouth is valuable on a number of levels.
- Word of mouth is, by definition, “social proof.” People trust the opinions of their friends more than even expert opinions. So winning your local newspaper’s “Best Wine Shop” category is great, but getting people to rave about you to their friends, is better.
- It beats advertising hands down as advertising is perhaps the least trusted voice that people who don’t know you are likely to hear. Not that advertising isn’t worthwhile, but it doesn’t create the kind of passion you’re after.
- Word of mouth increases repeat business. When people are passionate enough to talk about you, they’re also more invested in being right about you. That leads them to become even more loyal. Their enthusiasm becomes a virtuous circle.
There’s no easy way to create that enthusiasm. It doesn’t hurt to remind folks to tell their friends about you whenever they express gratitude for going the extra mile or appreciation for your selection. Just be careful not to be too heavy handed about it.
You can also try promotions. Give your best customers gift cards they can hand out to their friends offering a free bottle of wine with purchase. (Even more powerful is making that free bottle a bottle of that particular customer’s favorite wine.)
Whatever you do, be aware that your best customers are also your best marketing tools. Treat them as the valuable resource they are.