Still trying to wrap your head around the concept of consumer-to-consumer (C2C) marketing? No, we’re not talking about consumers selling products on eBay or Craigslist to other consumers, although this is often called the same thing. We’re talking about word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM).
Normally, businesses market their products directly to their target audience, called B2C marketing (business to consumer). With C2C marketing, businesses can leverage the power of word-of-mouth to attract new customers, stay in touch with current customers and generate more sales.
C2C or WOMM is a simple process that is particularly beneficial for small businesses. Why? Because small businesses are generally closer to their customers — there are not layers and layers of departments and people between customers and management or owners. This enables small businesses to engage personally with their customers. One example of this is small, locally owned banks — they generally receive far higher customer service ratings than the big, national behemoths.
Benefits of Consumer-to-Consumer Marketing
It’s Highly Effective:
According to a recent Nielsen study, 84% of consumers said they trusted the recommendations of people they knew — higher than any other form of advertising. So that should be enough reason alone to ramp up your C2C marketing efforts!
Ask yourself — if a trusted friend or family member spoke positively to you about a business or product, would their opinion influence your buying behavior? Probably. This principle holds true for all businesses that successfully engage in C2C marketing.
Another huge advantage of C2C marketing is its low cost. Traditional forms of marketing (e.g. billboards, flyers, TV/radio commercials, banner buys, PPC ads, etc.) tend to cost a fair amount. So much, in fact, that it may prevent some businesses from using them. C2C marketing differs in the sense that it requires a very minimal investment. Rather than buying advertisements, you encourage your target audience to spread the word about your business, which in turn drives new customers to it.
How to Improve Your Consumer-to-Consumer or WOMM Marketing
You might be wondering how exactly you can convince customers to spread the word about your business and its respective products or services. Thanks to the Internet, C2C marketing is easier than ever.
High Quality, Relevant Content:
If you have a website (and if you don’t, you should!), you can perform C2C marketing by delivering high-quality content that’s relevant to your business’s target demographic. After reading the content, some of your site’s visitors will email or share it with their friends, and these friends will share it with their friends; thus, creating a viral effect in which C2C marketing begins to work without any additional work on your part.
Keep in mind that it takes more than just a generic article to entice users to share your content. If you really want to go the extra mile with your C2C marketing efforts, your content must be interesting, helpful, humorous or in some way beneficial to your target audience. And don’t hesitate to ask your audience to share your content if they liked it!
Another helpful C2C marketing tip is to use social media. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and others are powerful marketing tools that encourage the sharing of content. Try placing a couple of buttons linked to your social media accounts on your website. Assuming your content is good and relevant, readers will share it; thus, creating a viral C2C marketing effect. Just make sure you’re not making these common social media mistakes.
Enable Commenting or Reviews:
Also ranked high near the top of sources consumers trusted in the Nielsen study is online reviews from other customers. Consumers will almost always choose a product or service if they see several positive comments or reviews over ones that have no comments or only negative ones. Some small business owners fear negative comments about their business, but they shouldn’t. If your business receives a negative comment, use it as an opportunity to reach out to that customer and try to resolve the issue. Not only will you potentially gain that customer back, he or she may share their story with others.
Show Your Loyal Customers You Value Them:
Be sure not to focus all of your attention on attracting new customers. Show your existing customers you value them by sending them an unexpected coupon or gift card, or if you have a local business, knock a percentage off of their purchase or give them a free small gift — even small gestures will be remembered by customers, making them more likely to recommend your business to others via word-of-mouth.
Reward Customers for Sending You Business:
If you don’t have some kind of customer referral in place, try to implement one. Incentivize it by giving both the referrer and referee a discount or other small gesture.
Now that you’re on your way to improving your C2C marketing outcomes, you still don’t want to put your advertising budget to waste – click to learn more about getting the most out of your advertising efforts.
Do you use C2C marketing as part of your business’s promotional strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!