Word-of-mouth might be the most effective form of marketing, but it's hard to quantify what works and what doesn't. For a surefire approach, feature customers in your content.
Instead of talking about how great his company is, Baird Hall (@baird) of Wavve ($80,000/mo) and LoFi Ventures talks about how great his customers are. He invites users to tag his company when they post what they've created with his product, and then he shares it. Other companies highlight a customer of the week or show off how users achieved success through their products. You could even let customers tell their own stories on your blog — the possibilities are endless. The main idea is that if you feature someone, they're likely to share the content. And they'll feel appreciated, which means they'll stick around and keep spreading the word long afterward.
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