April 11, 2022
By: Gareth Mankoo
Word of mouth marketing, or word of mouth advertising, is among the oldest forms of brand propagation. It acknowledges the fact that the greatest seller of your product is your satisfied customer.
In its classic sense, word of mouth marketing used to involve customers speaking good things about your brand, as advocates. As the world got increasingly digitized, so did communications. Today, word of mouth marketing can be classified into two main types:
A study by Nielsen recorded that 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. And there’s a world of proof that the strategy simply works.
When you experience something positive in your life, doesn’t it feel natural, almost instinctive, to let your friends and family know about it?
Word of mouth marketing is built upon the organic act of sharing good experiences. When businesses tap into this nature, they are more equipped to established themselves as a reputable and trusted brand.
Here are a couple of word of mouth marketing statistics that will make your jaw drop:
Yeah, it’s no joke. And as a business, it would be impractical to pass up on these undeniable benefits.
In a word, the answer is trust.
People tend to believe what their peers, loved ones, or friends recommend, rather than a print ad on the seventh page of a daily newspaper. It’s because one interprets such suggestions as well-meaning rather than just sales.
For example, if you're looking for a new mattress, would you prefer an unknown online shop or one your friend raved about? Most likely, you'd trust your friend's genuine recommendation, knowing it comes from a place of genuine satisfaction rather than a faceless advertisement.
A lot of it also has to do with one wanting to match their contemporaries and acquiring the product that they use to level up with them.
Whatever the reason, the secret sauce of word of mouth advertising has the right zing to it. What’s more is that it is advantageous as compared to other brand marketing efforts.
Even with these advantages, it’s curious why only 33% of businesses are actively seeking out and collecting reviews from customers, which is one of the first stages of setting up a word-of-mouth strategy.
Reviews and testimonials form the most integral parts of word-of-mouth advertising campaigns. But they are not all.
Are you looking to dabble in word-of-mouth marketing for your brand but do not know where to start? Several strategies can be used, independently or in combination, to make it work for you.
Your employees are among the best brand advocates because they know your product better than anyone. Train them, hear from them, make them believe in what your brand is about.
Word of mouth marketing is infectious and you can sow the seeds for its spread within your office. One can never discount the power of employee advocacy.
What is your USP? Well, the answer to that is the answer to this question: what makes your business special?
Your messaging should call out what’s different about your brand. What sets it apart from the competition is what customers will speak about while making a purchase decision.
For example, if you offer run-of-the-mill products, they may find themselves on the same shelf as your competitors’ products, and that’s when they should remember what you spoke of and tell others about it.
Yes, you sell toilet paper, but why is your toilet paper better than the others?
User-generated communication can help your brand get a loyal following because you acknowledge and validate the presence and views of your followers.
It can catalyze the creation of a little army of loyalists on social media, which can go a long way towards enhancing recommendations of your brand within their circles.
Celebrate your milestone customers or surprise them on their birthdays and anniversaries. Feature them on your social media channels. They will speak about what you did for them. Even if they do not mention your product, your job’s done. The chain continues.
Moments like these can create emotionally powerful associations with your brand:
Each time you ask your customers for a review of your product or service, you are showing how accountable you are. You can also ask your customers for areas of improvement, follow up on their requests, and keep them in the loop.
An involved customer becomes a loyal customer.
Positive testimonials are hard to come by because everyone takes to social media only to complain about brands. But you could reward customer testimonials with discounts, subscriptions, special previews, or whatever suits your business model best.
Video testimonials that are well produced can work as an ad film for your product, if not better:
Social media channels should foster two-way communication between brands and customers. When you start speaking back to your customers on social media, they know you’re listening.
You could also join in a conversation that has nothing to do with your product but positions your brand as a leader in the category.
In this famous engagement, Wendy’s challenged Carter Wilkerson to get 18 million retweets for free nuggets, and Carter’s journey went on to become a PR headline that wrote itself!
One of the best examples of inorganic word-of-mouth advertising is a referral program. Reward customers who refer your product to someone else.
If you have the resources, you could compound the benefits they receive when their nominee further refers it to more people. You can reward customers with discounts, giveaways, exclusive access to certain products and services, or even offer them more credit if you are running a subscription model.
It’s all about timing and picking the right opportunity to set up referrals. Here are some easy strategies:
Influencer marketing has boomed. Research conducted by The Insight Partners concluded that influencer marketing is set to grow exponentially for brands over the next few years.
Nearly 80% of all internet traffic will be in video format by the end of 2022, which makes it essential to communicate in people’s favorite format.
Influencers have the tools and abilities to make content for your brand more attractive. They already have their captive following, and therefore, all your responses and engagement in influencer communication are purely organic.
Influencers can integrate your product into their daily schedule to make their (and your) advocacy more believable.
As a brand that specializes in your industry, it is essential to come across to your customers as an expert in what you do.
If you have a candle business, put out videos where you are talking about the types of candles and the breakthroughs your team makes. If you deal with insurance, regularly put out blogs and video nuggets that speak plainly about insurance as a safety net, an assurance in the long run, or a good habit.
You needn’t plug your product into these pieces every time. They are better off as native content pieces.
Has someone tweeted about a wonderful experience at your restaurant or flaunted your newest jewelry design on their social media?
You would know if they did because they would have tagged your brand using a hashtag, location tag, or simply mentioned your brand. This is the most pure, organic form of word of mouth that your customers partake in.
Celebrate them. Retweet them. Congratulate them. Thank them.
There’s never a dull moment on the internet.
Contextual marketing, or moment marketing, is when your brand speaks about a world or local event, plugging in your brand cleverly. This makes your customers feel that you are part of the narrative and the larger discussion, and not just here to sell your wares. They pick up what you’ve cleverly put out and share it with their friends and contacts.
If they respond to your post, acknowledge their responses and have some fun. Play within your category even as you get contextual.
To make your business known, you need to deliver a memorable customer experience.
The first interaction with your brand is what will be most remembered by your customers. This means that you need to have a great product and amazing customer service that goes with it. Ensure that your customer-facing staff is well-trained and patient. Find ways to reward your customers every chance you get, no matter how small the reward is.
Word of mouth marketing may be among the oldest forms of advertising, but it has evolved to the point where it is not necessarily practiced with spoken words or in person. Yet, it is among the most honest and effective forms of advertising.