Ah, ye olde word of mouth marketing. It’s been a valuable tool for the merchants of yesteryears, as it shall be for marketers of the future. Suffice it to say that it can mean the difference between becoming the next big player in the industry or, on the other hand, trudging back to square one.
The right understanding and correct use of word of mouth marketing can virtually rid you of the need to advertise – honest reviews of your product or service or brand will spread at coffee shops and gala dinners all over, and that’s a lot more effective than hiring the latest B-lister or reality-show contestant to endorse what you’re selling.
It exists and has existed in myriad forms throughout the ages. Yelp is one example of a venue that uses a somewhat evolved form of WOMM. There’s a cornucopia of anonymous word of mouth on the Internet, but a significant percentage of today’s Internet users know what’s fake and what’s real.
They can also differentiate between authentic and phony both online and offline. In its most basic form – the literal word of mouth from one person to another – or its most current, it is an invaluable weapon in any business owner or advertiser’s promotional arsenal.
The Math on Word of Mouth Marketing
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why and how word of mouth marketing works. It’s a bastion of the art of promotions.
In case you need figures to back up that idea, here are some findings from a Lithium study:
- 92% trust family and friends’ recommendations over other kinds of advertising
- Word of mouth equals 20-50% of purchases
- Only 10% of all brands are trusted by consumers
- 70% of buyers consult customer reviews online
- 81% trust social media posts
Word of Mouth Marketing Winners
It’s WOMM that has helped so many iconic brands achieve cult/rockstar status. Among them are Zappos, Jeep, and Etsy. Zappos’ customers are extremely devoted, with fans espousing the company’s excellent customer services, for starters. Jeep has a subculture of rough-and-tumble weekend warriors as unabashed fans.
Etsy, as a whole, runs counter to the all-pervasive faceless consumerism that abounds in contemporary advertising, what with its charming one-off product offerings.
The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth ultimately uses what happy customers have to say to boost your business. Amazing service, a revolutionary product, or a glowing brand reputation persuades people to share their experiences with close friends and family, acquaintances, or random strangers.
Your satisfied customers are essentially promoting your company for you, via verbal endorsement or through any of the following venues:
- Company Testimonials
Word of mouth is power. Like all powerful tools, it can be hard to use properly. Getting your customers all fired up about your brand and/or your latest offerings requires great customer service, a brand with good recall and a shining reputation, as well as a growing community of supporters. The long and short of it is, if your customers think you’re awesome, your advertising is virtually done.
Improved Word of Mouth Marketing in Five Easy Steps
Let’s not make the mistake of believing that successful marketing is always a product of slick and snazzy cut-throat gimmicks on the internet, social media, and mass media. The tried and tested process of word of mouth marketing continues to be the most surefire and straightforward way of turning out an honest profit. Here are five simple steps towards making this happen for your company.
First Step: The Real Deal
Nothing beats offering true and honest value for money and quality customer service. A sustained client base is only possible when customers are satisfied with the quality of products and services; and even more so when they are dealt with by polite, competent, and helpful staff.
Many clients would attest that they keep going back to a certain store, and telling their friends to go there as well because they like the way they were treated by staff.
Second Step: Stand Out
With the massive amount of competition present in every market niche, it is valuable to be unique or avant-garde to ensure that you make an impression on your clientele. This is accomplished by carrying exclusive or one-of-a-kind products and service, maintaining a stand-alone company culture that is clearly identifiable, or simply by the creativity of your marketing ideas.
Sometimes, running a weird or off-the-wall campaign such as Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” advertising initiative could create a lot of market recall as it becomes viral on the internet – simply by virtue of its weirdness. This unconventional campaign successfully generated a great deal of word of mouth marketing, and inevitably sales revenue.
Third Step: Take the Lead in Your Industry
Being acknowledged as an industry thought leader will surely have people talking about you. This necessitates a lot of work and perseverance as become an authoritative maven in your field involves a good deal of networking and hard research.
This certainly does sound like a tall order, and it could certainly be one – if you are not comfortable in engaging other industry leaders in useful dialogue, and being diligent in staying on the cutting edge of trends and directions in your industry area. Once the public regards you as a thought leader in the your specific field, the amount of word of mouth marketing you shall enjoy is staggering.
Fourth Step: Stay above board
Sleazy businesses and marketers can enjoy short term success, but are eventually found out, and then left out in the cold. Maintaining a good name for yourself by avoiding unethical practices, and by treating your clients with respect will keep your business volume high for a very long time.
Fifth Step: Build Community
A lot of marketing success stories involved creating brand allegiance and loyalty by making clients feel they were part of a desirable community or family when they patronize a product. Whether by being part of the “Pepsi generation,” being a “Trekkie,” or even a “Mac user,” people who respond to the innate longing to belong to a community can become your guaranteed market.