When was the last time you bought something from an IG commercial without any further research? Maybe recently, maybe not, but it doesn’t happen with every commercial you see.
When was the last time you bought something because your friend said “You HAVE to try it?” That message is much harder to ignore, and most will succumb to a passionate recommendation from a trusted friend.
This conversation is called Word of Mouth Marketing.
What is Word of Mouth Marketing?
Word of Mouth Marketing: when a consumer’s interest in a company’s product or service is reflected in their daily dialogues.
Also called referred to as “WOMM” or “word-of-mouth advertising,” WOM marketing includes buzz, viral, blog, emotional, and social media marketing. No matter what you call it, it can be a priceless way to gain new interest and new customers.
Why is Word of Mouth Marketing so important?
It’s cost-effective. This isn’t a marketing strategy you can throw money at to grow. It is holistic, organic, and chances are you don’t know when it happens. So, though you can’t buy word of mouth marketing directly, it’s one of the most priceless purchase pathways you’ll get for free.
It’s one of the most trustworthy forms of marketing. People trust WOMM because it’s not coming from a brand – it’s coming from a friend. When you promote your product, many may think it’s just to make money. On the other hand, when a friend gives them a recommendation, it’s because they truly believe that the product or service will elevate their life. So, they’re much more likely to jump on the recommendation.
How can you stimulate Word of Mouth Marketing?
As a brand, while you can greatly benefit from the above conversation, you can’t directly create this conversation. But there are ways to indirectly stimulate organic Word of Mouth Marketing from your most passionate customers.
The first (and the best) way to stimulate word-of-mouth marketing is to have a really great product or service. It’s in our nature to want to discover the next best thing, so if a customer has an especially great experience with your product, service, or brand, they are much more likely to tell their peers than if they are targeted with a referral program for a mediocre product. People only want to stake their reps on the best of the best, so, be the brand that people want to talk about.
Credit: Chase Sapphire referral program
Offer an Incentive
If you want to get people in the mood to talk about your product with their peers, offer an incentive. The refer a friend tactic itself isn’t necessarily organic WOMM, but it can spur Word of Mouth Marketing through the pitch. Picture this conversation:
“Hey, have you tried ABC credit? I get awesome benefits, a personal account manager to work with, and the mobile app is awesome. And, if you sign up for this credit card with my referral link, we’ll both get a $100 gift card.
That first part is the Word of Mouth Marketing – and while the incentive is the cherry on the sundae, the trusted recommendation is the real seller.
Chase Sapphire Credit cards has a similar referral program, and I am a happy because my brother sent me the referral link. Was the benefit great? Yes – but I signed up because my brother wouldn’t stop talking about how much he trusted the card, let alone how many travel points he had racked up.
Promote user-generated content
Try promoting user-generated content you are tagged in on your digital and print assets. This will highlight passionate customers and connect them with individuals learning about your brand and product.
While the viewer doesn’t know the person who created a product demo or review of your service, they may be more inclined to trust their opinion as a repeat customer.
On top of that, it shows that your brand appreciates those who publicly recommend and celebrate your brand. This kind of public affirmation of those who send in user-generated content can spur more content in the future.
Billie will promote positive shout outs from their fans across all social platforms as social proof that people love their brand.
Promote your happy customers
Promoting happy customers can look like showcasing user-generated content on social, but it can be so much more than that.
For those offering a service, you can highlight past success stories, case studies, or project throwbacks that promote your strengths as a company.
Companies that offer products can share testimonials, reviews, or product demos that people have written, made and shared.
If they are a truly happy customer, they may choose to repost the content to their audiences, or engage with your content so others can see the strong positive relationships you’ve built with your customers.
Ask happy customers directly
Asking directly for recommendations may seem like an awkward favor, but with the right loyal customers, it will be an easy conversation.
First things first, make sure that the customers you reach out to are truly happy with your product or service. If they are less than impressed, the ask will fall flat, or you may even inspire them to spread less-than-fantastic information. Only once you’ve solved any issues and are confident in your performance, then it’s a good time to follow up with an ask for recommendations.
This doesn’t need to be a direct line (though that can warrant the best results from customers), just an opportunity available to those who have extensive purchase or subscription histories.
Make sure to be clear and grateful when a customer sends recommendations. This conversation not only helps you gain new customers through your regulars but also can strengthen your relationship with your long-term clients.
Respond to customer feedback
Positive or negative, reacting, and responding to all forms of feedback shows that you are listening. This can be as simple as a tag in a twitter post, or as in-depth as a long review on Yelp. Responding to reviews and customer feedback is the perfect way to create a two-way street for communication, so you can further dazzle current fans and solve issues for those who reach out with a complaint.
Reacting to and thanking people who leave positive reviews can make them feel good about reaching out with their appreciation and be more likely to write positive content in the future.
Responding to negative reviews will not only help change the hearts of people that posted about a negative experience but also prove to those reading the reviews as research that you go above and beyond to impress your customers.
It doesn’t matter how much time or energy you put into your branded campaigns. 9 times out of 10, your word-of-mouth marketing is the most trusted form of marketing you have. If you want to create a plan to stimulate word-of-mouth marketing, reach out to our team.