People trust recommendations from family and friends more than any form of marketing.
They are 4x more likely to buy a product or service recommended by a friend or family member.
What is Word of Mouth Marketing?
Word of mouth marketing is one of the oldest, but most effective forms of marketing.
It is defined as an unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product or service.
Word of mouth recommendations used to happen offline in person (face-to-face). Today the majority of recommendations happen online through Social Media platforms.
Although word of mouth recommendations generate twice the amount of sales than paid advertising, only 33% of businesses have an active word of mouth strategy.
The power of Word of Mouth Recommendations
When a person recommends a product…they put their reputation on the line… it is more convincing…more authentic…and more powerful than when a business is talking about their product or service.
People talking about your product, service or business…in a positive way …on Social Media…is amplified…with the potential to send in dozens of new customers to your business.
The advantages of word of mouth recommendations are:
- Increase sales without spending on an advertising campaign.
- Build a community of loyal customers.
- Build brand trust.
When does Word of Mouth Recommendations Happen?
Word of mouth recommendations happens when you do something different enough to get people talking about your business. You’re offering your customers a unique, shareworthy experience…in addition to the product or services your business is selling.
Exceeding expectations are not enough…the customer needs to experience something far beyond what was expected.
Building your Word of Mouth Strategy
Before you dive in and decide what to do…you need a plan…the strategy. This will provide the blueprint to the planning and implementing of your word of mouth strategy.
(1) Know your customer
It’s crucial to know your customers inside-out. Whatever you’re going to implement to initiate the word of mouth recommendations…will have to be something your customers will want and appreciate.
The Thank You brand does this exceptionally well. They invest 100% of their profits to fund sustainable development projects that help end global poverty…each product has a unique tracker code indicating which project the product is assigned to fund.
(2) Analyze your competition
Repeating what your competition is doing to delight their customers will only create a negative buzz. Look at what your competition is doing.
Use that as a guide to creating a customer experience unique to your business.
Evaluate your current product and services. This unique and shareworthy experience needs to be in addition to the product or services you’re selling…it can not be part of the standard features of the accompanying product or service.
(4) The experience
The experience needs to consist of the 4R’s:
- Remarkable – you want people to comment and talk about it.
- Reachable – you need to be able to extend the offer to all of your customers.
- Relevant – you need to align it with your business and product or service.
- Reasonable – you want people to notice it…not question it.
How will you determine if this unique and shareworthy experience is achieving its objective i.e. creating word of mouth recommendations?
Measuring can be done in different ways e.g. the number of customers recommending your product or service on Social Media; an increase in new or repeat customers; the number of reviews placed on social media each month.
Creating word of mouth recommendations
As a small business, there are a number of things you can do to actively encourage people to talk about your business. Here are a few ideas:
- Encourage user-generated content – create a unique hashtag and ask your customers to share their experience on Social Media. User-generated content directly increases sales and build brand trust. This is very effective when customers are millennials.
- Make it easy for customers to share your content online – have share buttons on your website and blog and links to your social media accounts.
- Share customers testimonials on Social Media and your website – video testimonials are a powerful way to create trust with new customers.
- Ask your customers to rate the product or service they’ve used on your website. Ratings are useful when selling a variety of products and work well in industries like fashion, beauty, and tech industries.
- Offer customers a free gift or discount for their recommendations.
- Create a referral program.
- Support a worthy cause.
Word of mouth marketing is a cost-effective way for any business to increase brand awareness and ultimately increase their sales.
Knowing your customer is the key to creating unique shareworthy experiences.
When implementing these memorable experiences, the whole company needs to be on-board…ensure your amazing employees have the necessary training to deliver the experiences to your customers.
Don’t wait before asking for referrals…do it when things are going well…ask your customers to leave a review on social media.
Committing to a word of mouth strategy will bring long-term success to your business.
Need help with creating and implementing your Social Media strategy? For more information contact us.