If you ask people around you about the ways they use to promote their business or services, you’ll probably hear the names of the usual suspects like email marketing, social media, PPC,
On the contrary, if you’ll ask the actual consumers about the factors which influence their purchasing decisions the most, recommendations from the person’s family and friends will rank as the most influential factor.
There is sufficient reason as well as evidence to support the above claim. When anyone from our family or friend circle recommends or suggests something, we are quick to trust them. In fact, their recommendation alone determines whether we’ll buy a product or not.
Word of Mouth Marketing: Definition
Did you know that word of mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending and is estimated to account for 13% of consumer sales?
Word Of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), also referred to as word of mouth advertising, is the active involvement of organizations or groups to promote any services or brand by sharing their experiences with the respective services. It is the most preferred organic method of passing on recommendations from person to person.
WOMM is a further enhancement and the new version of the traditional word of mouth where people pass on their views or recommendations regarding some product or service.
This is further elaborated and explained below.
Word of Mouth Marketing: Organic Vs. Amplified
When people use some product or service and share their views on the same, it is referred to as the organic word of mouth. It is the simple practice of passing on recommendations and reviews ( both good and bad ) about some product or item that you have already used to other fellow beings. As the name suggests, this type of word of mouth occurs naturally and requires no special effort.
This is the much-talked-about word of mouth marketing practice. It is when we summon targeted efforts to enhance the naturally occurring word of mouth amongst different groups, circles, and communities of people around us.
This includes marketing campaigns that are run specifically for the sole purpose of boosting your brand’s reputation in your business niche. You also can have influencers in your niche talk about your brand which will automatically help in building a good brand stature.
The main point of difference to be noted here is that while it may be very difficult for us to control the organic word of mouth, we can surely put in dedicated efforts to make up for lost ground via amplified word of mouth marketing.
Word of Mouth Marketing: History
Referenced from:- Wikipedia
Word of Mouth (WOM) Marketing strategies recently has gained momentum as positive results accumulate but the first use of the practice dates back to the early 1970s.
Word of Mouth Marketing pioneer George Silverman created his word of mouth model with what he called “teleconferenced peer influence groups”. He engaged physicians in dialogue about new pharmaceutical products while conducting focus groups with physicians in the early ’70s, and noticed an interesting phenomenon.
“One or two physicians who were having good experiences with a drug would sway an entire group of skeptics. They would even sway a dissatisfied group of ex-prescribers who have had negative experiences!”
Emanuel Rosen in the book “THE ANATOMY OF BUZZ” (Doubleday 2000) explains that learning from the experiences of others can actually reduce the risk and uncertainty associated with adopting a new product. Through the 1980s and ’90s more than a dozen firms found WOM strategies to be the most effective in engaging physicians about new products.
In 2003, Fred Reichheld implemented the strategy of word-of-mouth marketing by introducing the Net Promoter Score. It analyzes the number of Promoters a brand has, who recommend the brand to other people they know through such a marketing tactic.
Word of Mouth Marketing: Why is it important?
In an ever competitive field of marketing, we are running out of options to boost our product sales and revenue. People look up to practices like social media marketing and PPC advertising to market their products and get some quick results.
There is no doubt in the fact that these practices work for business. They do.
But when we look at the bigger picture, we realize that we are shelling out some really good chunks of money in our paid efforts which are hurting our ROI ( Return on Investment) big time. Also, when it comes to building your brand’s stature and reputation in communities around you, there is not much that your advertising campaigns can offer.
Top Notch benefits of Word-of-Mouth Marketing(WOMM)
1. The backbone of your business strategy
Word of Mouth Marketing ( WOMM ) can serve as the backbone of your core business strategy. When we talk about businesses, everything comes down to customer satisfaction and service.
Happy, engaged customers are the most effective tool for marketing your business. People get excited when they hear about great products from friends and family.
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. “ – HENRY FORD
Customers, especially dissatisfied customers, bring out the best in any business as they tell you about your flaws and those areas which need improvement.
With Word of Mouth Marketing, you control the reputation of your business and show your audiences that you are really worth it. A good Word of Mouth strategy can serve as a foundation on which you can build everything else.
2. The More you invest, the more you gain
The investments you make in Word of Mouth Marketing will never go in vain. In a world of digital advertising where a lot of your business spend is on ads, you can make the switch. Initially, you may not be tempted to completely close down your advertising efforts but you can surely segregate some amount for WOMM. This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone.
On one hand, you will reduce your ad spend, improving your ROI and on the other hand, you would have taken a substantial step towards improving your brand’s recognition and value.
Companies like Pinterest, Coca- Cola, and Dropbox have used Word of Mouth Marketing to great effect and achieved phenomenal results.
3. A helping hand for your business
Providing a helping hand to your other marketing efforts is another big advantage of Word of Mouth Marketing. If we talk about an advertising campaign for your product, even a single good review from your consumers will boost the communication of your advertising efforts.
4. Connect better with your customers
Word of Mouth Marketing can be your next big step towards building rapport and an emotional bond with your customers. This is the need of the hour for almost every other business.
A community or a big fan base can work wonders for any brand or organization because it maximizes consumer interaction and engagement with your products and brand. This will, in turn, increase your sales due to more number of recommendations, increase the average CLV ( customer lifetime value ) and the number of loyal customers.
5. Collaboration deals
Closing down big collaboration deals and getting featured in news headlines are some perks that word of mouth marketing can offer. Just imagine how will it change things for you and your brand if some influencer is so impressed by your product that he/she ends up collaborating with you guys! It will change the whole ball game for any business.
THEN: What are we waiting for?
Word of Mouth Marketing: What Factors Drive it?
There will always be some key factors that will influence an ideal customer’s purchasing decisions. But apart from that, there will also be some key constituents that drive what people talk about and share.
Let us check them out.
If you have something to offer to which people can connect with emotionally, then there are very high chances of your item being shared and talked about amongst their peers.
Emotional attachment is a big driving factor for what people share and talk about.
Who doesn’t like things which will make them look better and appear more confident? Yeah, everyone.
So, if your products provide that social value to people, they will go viral.
The originality of any idea or product increases people’s willingness to talk about it more and exchange information about it.
Product usefulness determines whether the information being exchanged amongst people is positive or negative. Anything which is extremely useful always remains at the tip of our tongues.
People always like to hear and share stories. No one likes plain mundane stuff. So, add some flavor to it and see the magic.
Obvious one. Publicly shared content has higher chances to be copied and shared further. On the contrary, private stuff is not seen and hence less shared.
Word of Mouth Marketing: What Factors it Affects?
Attention please: If you ask what exactly does word of mouth marketing do?
Some intelligent bloke may tell you that it creates a buzz. That is 100 % correct. There is nothing better than people pouring in good opinions about your brand to create a buzz and skyrocket your brand’s reputation.
Here are some great examples where word of mouth was used to create a huge buzz-
[Case Study] How UGG Australia Used Digital Word of Mouth to Build Boot Buzz & Drive Sales
A marketing trick Slack used to become a multi-billion dollar company
An effective word of mouth marketing strategy will leave no other option for your customers but become more loyal towards your business. This can be a game changer because loyal customers are hard to acquire. But know that after you have done this hard work, there are only incentives to cherish.
Loyal customers will refer your brand to more people including friends and family which in turn will increase your sales. There are big chances that people referred by your “loyal” customers become loyal themselves in the long run.
Yes, it’s a win-win situation.
This goes hand in hand with customer loyalty. Word of Mouth has a huge impact on customer trust. When people trust you as a brand, it invites more good word of mouth and they are more likely to refer you to others.
According to HubSpot, people are 71% more likely to purchase based on social media referrals.
Word of Mouth Marketing: The Prerequisites
Until now, we all have a clear idea of how does word of mouth marketing works but before panning out any effective word of mouth strategies, there are some things we should definitely consider.
Create Awesome Products
You really cannot expect people to shout out great things about your product until and unless your product is “great”. Honest recommendations and good reviews come straight from the consumer’s heart and this happens naturally.
Imagine yourself having a horrible time with some service or product and then recommending it to a friend. Impossible, right?
We should focus on creating quality products and good reviews will automatically follow.
Offer Great Customer Service
Many of us consider the sale of our product and items to be the final step of our marketing efforts but believe me, the job is only half-done.
We need to ensure that our customers are satisfied with our products and any issues they face are resolved. Offering customer support and customer service is an integral part of any business’s success.
Step In The Customer’s Shoes
To offer the best experience to your customers, the first thing you should do is to put yourself in the place of the customer. When you do that, you become aware of the various challenges that the customer may be facing or will face.
You can then work on overcoming these challenges and improving the customer experience.
Word of Mouth Marketing: Ways to Implement it in Your Strategy
Word of Mouth marketing is a powerful weapon to have in anyone’s marketing arsenal. Being one of the oldest and effective forms of marketing, it is the go-to thing even today with proven results.
But the big question after knowing everything about word of mouth marketing is:-
How do we implement it in our strategies?
Here is the answer.
Customer Reviews/ Testimonials
Displaying customer reviews and testimonials on your website builds great trust in your audience and hikes up your sales and revenue.
Stats speak for themselves.
According to G2Crowd, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.
Displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270% – Spiegel Research Center
88% of buyers are influenced in their buying decisions by reviews – Zendesk
We should collect and prominently display honest reviews of our services and products in as many places as possible – marketplaces, websites, in-store, social media posts and anywhere else we can think of.
When looking for a new product, how frequently do you read online reviews before purchasing the product?
Customer Ratings allow us to share information on the product attributes we consider important and rate those attributes on a 5-star scale generally.
If you are an E-commerce business or have a large inventory of products, allowing your customers to share and leave ratings directly on your websites can come in very handy.
Amazon and Apple are two great examples of companies using product ratings to good effect.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
This is probably the most productive and powerful way to encourage word of mouth marketing.
Impact on user-generated content such as customer reviews and ratings according to online shoppers in the United States as of March 2017
Nothing gets better than real and honest content being created by your audience.
User-generated content is any content created and shared by customers about some brand or product. There are a few things you can do to encourage this.
You can run some social media competition on your own hashtag or offer some incentives to people who generate good content.
This is another great idea for creating a solid word of mouth marketing strategy. You may simply create a referral program that will benefit both the referee and the referrer for passing on the product reference.
The good word will be spread out quickly giving your brand the much-needed exposure. You can plan the referral incentives from a wide range of discounts on products to gift cards.
Connecting with people in areas of their emotional attachment can shower lots of love on you. Your audience’s love includes sharing good words about your brand and products.
Your social media networks can be used to good effect where you can engage with your audience and promote ideas in which you believe in.
Who doesn’t like incentives? Your audience is no different. Offering some special perks to people who share your stuff and refer your brand can work wonders for you.
Want to know the best part?
Sales and discounts have always proven to increase sales and boost up your ROI.
There are some brands that do this very well (insert examples). We may learn from them.
The Influence of Influencers
Influencers can be the missing piece of your word of the mouth marketing puzzle. Influencers are people with a large number of social media and online followers. Their word means a lot, at least to their followers.
Stats tell that people are more comfortable buying products when they see the same products being recommended or used by influencers.
Asking influencers of different business niches to promote or recommend your brand is an amazing word of mouth marketing strategy.
Over to You
Word of Mouth marketing can easily become your favorite form of marketing as it drives a lot of positive results and is quite straightforward to implement.
But to be aware and agile from the beginning is of paramount importance.
Providing a high-end quality experience to your customers with your products and the customer service you offer is the best thing you can do for your business.
If this area of your business is not improved, you will not be able to taste success regardless of the type of marketing you use.
We should first offer quality and useful products coupled with some amazing customer service. After we have done so, then we can use the above strategies to our advantage.
Social network technology concept.– stock image