Marketing is a fascinating subject because sometimes the simplest changes have incredibly powerful effects.

Famous advertisers have spoken of changing one word to their ads and increasing response rates by double-digits.

Restaurants have learned that after a customer makes a reservation, if the hostess simply asks him to call if he can’t make it, he’s much likelier to show up, and on time.

By starting a customer on a loyalty program with his current purchase counting toward it, he’s much more likely to return and use it again. Start him with a bonus “stamp”–putting him even one step closer to a reward–and you improve his chances of participation even further.

There are a ton of these powerful little “hacks” out there, and I want to share five of the simplest and most effective ones I know with you here in this article. Regardless of your type of business, you can put these hacks to work quickly and easily.

1. Customers Want “Good” Service More Than They Want “Fast” Service

If you want to give customers a powerful reason to abandon your brand, provide them with rude, incompetent, or rushed service.

Studies have shown that competent, knowledgeable, and thorough services are most memorable in the minds of customers, and stimulate the most word of mouth.

Look to how you can optimize your customer’s experience by improving the quality of your service, not just the speed.

2. The Little Things Matter-A Lot

In one experiment I read about, researchers were able to increase waiters’ average tips by over 23% by making one tiny change: they had the waiters follow up with a second set of mints after bringing the customers their checks. One set of mints increased tips by 16%.

The takeaway here is how little things can matter a lot. Surprise gifts, upgrades, coupons, and even thank you emails or cards go a long way in creating that lovely “WOW” effect with your customers. Look at Zappos!

3. Nothing Sells Better Than Your Story

A well-told story is one of the most persuasive forms of writing or speaking.

A good story bypasses our critical filters, opening our minds to ideas and possibilities that we would otherwise discount. It transports us to another world and gives us the opportunity to view life through another set of eyes, and connect with others (whether fictional or real) on the deepest level.

So, what’s your business’ story? How did you come to start it, and why? What is your personal mission, and what does your business stand for? How are you helping others?

Turn your answers into a story, display it prominently, and you’ll immediately stand out from the crowd.

4. Customers Are Often Your Best Source of Innovation

Through a study of over 1,000 commercially successful innovations across 9 industries, MIT’s Eric von Hippel discovered that nearly 60% came from customers.

Constant innovation is a vital necessity for any business, and the easiest way to come up with feasible, valuable improvements and additions is turning to your customers. Ask them how they would improve what you currently offer, or what they would add, look for common responses, and voila, you’ve just compiled invaluable market research data.

5. Sell the Experience Over the Savings

Research from Stanford University revealed that people are more favorable toward brands they associate with “time well spent.” Memories of good times are more memorable than great savings.

There’s a reason why cheap beer companies promote having a good time, not saving money on beer (“It’s Miller Time!”). While savings certainly motivate purchases, selling the experience is a more powerful emotional driver, and results in more brand loyalty.

What kind of experience can you deliver to your customers? What will they do? Who will they do it with? How will they feel? Weave the answers into a compelling experience and feature it prominently in your advertising, and you’ll draw more people in.

What did you think of these marketing hacks? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!