Supercharge Your Word of Mouth Marketing With These Tips

When it comes to your marketing campaigns, while you can control a lot of what you do, there is one aspect of it you don’t have too much control over, but yet can be the one element that makes a big difference to your business in terms of sales and revenue. That is word of mouth advertising.

Word of mouth advertising is important to every business. The theory is that a happy customer will recommend and bring more customers your way. Would you believe that it is one of the most credible forms of marketing?

This is because a person puts their reputation on the line when they make that recommendation. They don’t necessarily gain anything, they are not the business owner, they won’t directly benefit from profits, but they appreciate people listening to them and also the feeling they get when they pass on a good business that could ultimately help someone else as much as it has helped them.

Do you think, as a business owner, manager or marketing expert within a business, that you are making the most of word of mouth advertising? Are you actively thinking about things you can do and techniques that you can try? This article has some information and background and useful strategies that you can try for your business.

What is word of mouth advertising?

Essentially, the process is that you as a business will do your job properly. You will deliver goods and services on time, you will offer an amazing customer service experience and the customer will walk away feeling happy and content that they have gotten value for money.

Once that process is complete the chances are that the person who has just had a great experience with your business will tell friends and family about it, therefore encouraging people to use your business and promoting you without you having to use any other form of advertising option.

What is the history of word of mouth advertising?

Word of mouth advertising has likely been around for many years, and you can’t always control what someone will say about your business. Businesses have been offering services and products for a cost for hundreds of years, however, it officially got a name for it thanks to a psychologist called George Silverman. George pioneered word of mouth advertising when he created some focus groups back in the early 1970s regarding new pharmaceutical products.

To engage physicians in dialogue regarding the products, the focus group also unearthed other processes to George Silverman. He notices that one of two physicians who were having good experiences could and would sway an entire group of skeptics. That they could even persuade a group of people who has equally negative experiences.

Today, word of mouth advertising is something that is both done online and through face to face interactions. Over the years it has developed as more and more business owners see the benefit of treating their customers fairly to obtain a positive experience for them to pass on to others. Negative experiences can have the same impact but are obviously much more damaging to a business.

Progression has been made where sometimes there is an incentive for people to pass on good experiences in the form of word of mouth advertising. So in 2005, the advertising watchdog group Commercial Alert petitioned the United States FTC to issue guidelines. This meant that paid word of mouth marketers needed to disclose their relationship and related compensation with the company whose product they are marketing.

The United States FTC stated that it would investigate situations in which the relationship between the word of mouth marketer of a product and the seller is not revealed and could influence the endorsement. We have seen evidence of this recently with a big crackdown on social media influencers who have not been correctly disclosing their adverts through their social media platforms.

What are the advantages of word of mouth marketing?

There are some great advantages in business and this biggest one to highlight is the not needing to spend on advertising. You can grow your sales and business revenue without needing to spend more than is necessary on adverts.

These days in the world of social media and online digital platforms, your business needs to be seen as more of a community and not a commodity. In what can be a saturated market for many, you need to build up an engaged audience and fan base, who can, therefore, share their experiences as well.

In terms of the future, as a business, you are likely to be seen as more investible if you have a high rate of returning customers. This is because your brand is developed and that your reputation is worth more than anything else.

What can word of mouth marketing do for your business?

As a business owner, there are three areas where word of mouth marketing can help your business to grow. Brand loyalty, brand trust and creating a buzz for your products and services.

Increase brand loyalty

The truth is, for a business, it can cross you five times more to gain a new customer than it does to retain one for repeat business and referrals.

The way to look at it is that creating a business that encourages people to come back and talk about your business, means that those people who were recommended you will continue to come back and talk about your business. Therefore, the cycle is ever-growing.

Improve brand trust

There is no denying that people trust people they know. This article from HubSpot shows that while 72% of consumers no longer trust advertising campaigns, 92% of people will trust what a friend or family member says, and if a recommendation comes their way, they are more likely to try it themselves.

A whopping 70% of people trust consumer reviews that they read online.

This just highlights that people trust friends, families, and even strangers over the internet more so than they trust generated marketed advertising campaigns.

Create a buzz for your products or services

Having fantastic sales funnels and processes in place is great. Having huge advertising budgets can be beneficial.

But the only way a business can generate a genuine buzz for their products or services is to have impractical people sharing their positive thoughts and experiences. This is when having strategies in place dedicated to increasing your word of mouth marketing options can be beneficial to your business and brand.

Are there different types of word of mouth advertising?

There are in fact, different types of word of mouth advertising that you and use as a business owner. Organic word of mouth advertising and amplified word of mouth marketing and both of them can give a business great results.

Organic word of mouth marketing

Organic word of mouth advertising is the one area that you cannot necessarily control, unless you do your job properly as a business. It occurs naturally because people are advocating your business. They like the products, they benefited from the service that you provided and the overall experience with great service from you.

They have a natural desire to share with others exactly how much they have enjoyed using your products or getting the service that you provided. It means that as a business you haven’t had to encourage it, because the business, your products or services, and the experience has done all the hard work for you.

Amplified word of mouth advertising

The use of amplified word of mouth marketing is coming into full force when a business creates a marketing campaign that is designed to encourage and to accelerate word of mouth marketing.

This is very evident with businesses using social media influencers and bloggers today, as an example. The idea is that the business will provide a good experience to that person, and then that person would share with their organic and engaged audience exactly what they think about the product or the service.

How do you achieve word of mouth marketing?

According to research taken out by Jonah Berger, there are six factors that you need to consider for successful word of mouth marketing. These include the following:

  • Social Currency – Essentially this means that the better something makes somebody look, the easier it is for them to advertise the product or the service. This is because it sparks an emotional reaction to a physical thing.
  • Triggers – The best way to describe this is that if something is at the forefront of your mind, you are likely to share it because it is there and ready to be spoken about. A prime example is when something ordinary reminds you of a past memory or experience, you are then likely to share it with whoever you are with at the time.
  • Emotion – There is no denying that we care about something then we share it. High arrows also emotions are likely to encourage the person experiencing them to share their views and experience, to enable others to experience good feelings.
  • Public – The easier something is to see, the easier it is for someone to share it and explain what it is is all about. If someone can see it, they are more likely going to want to mimic it.
  • Practical Value – Let’s face it, everyone wants to share good value for money or good value in general. We can’t help ourselves. If something is too good to be true and works out, then we want others to experience that too.
  • Stories – It goes without saying that many of us know of the Trojan horse story, so we know that a Trojan horse carries messages and ideas along for the ride.

What are the facts?

You may wonder, it is all well and good telling us all about the benefits of word of mouth advertising, be that organically or amplified, but what about the facts? Is it worth your while to change processes to heighten and improve customer experiences? Is it worth it for you to change your advertising approach and try new strategies? Here are some facts that you may find interesting:

There is huge growth for the use of social media and online platforms for many people on a personal level.

70% of us will check Facebook at least once a day to see an updated news feed.

This is why according to the Nielsen Global Trust In Advertising Report, it showed that there a huge increase in social media trust.

92% of consumers trust earned media which is recommendations from friends and family.

Many people follow others online that they don’t know in real life, but build up an online rapport and investment into their world. Again this is where the trust comes in.

The next thing to consider is the growth in online reviews. These days before we make a considered purchase, no matter how big or small, we will look to Google or other search engines to find out whether or not it is a good deal and also what others think.

88% trust online reviews and what people say online about products and services that they have received.

This is when using feedback and gaming in customer criticism and support can help you as another method of amplified word of mouth advertising.

Only 33% of businesses are taking advantage of this very easy form of advertising.

Gaining feedback can be essential for a business, and we discuss this more in the strategies you can incorporate into your business later on in this article.

How does it apply to you and your business today?

So how does word of mouth advertising apply to your business today? With both methods being a focus there are some easy changes that you can make. One huge focus for any business would be to generate organic word of mouth advertising and this starts with the heart of your business. You need to consider your business process from start to finish, always considering the customer in mind.

How easy is it to get in touch with your business? This is when you may want to make improvements to your website and the content available on there. Always ensuring that the e-commerce side of things is relevant and up to date. Enabling your website to be seen through search engine results thanks to keyword placement and SEO.

Be contactable, whether that is by phone or email. Allow a consistent approach to delivery and logistics, or detailed instructions for a customer receiving a service. Small changes that should be top priorities for your business anyway can make the biggest of differences to how your business performs.

Therefore, happy customers with positive experiences will share their views with others because they want that personal satisfaction themselves. It promotes the emotional trigger of helping a friend or family out themselves by putting them in touch with your business.

Would you believe that word of mouth advertising can give you the best customers and clients?

The answer is yes and here’s why.

Essentially, the hard work has already been done by the person who has recommended them. They know what to expect, the service that they will receive and they are already excited or emotionally invested to do business with you. The only thing as a business is that you need to ensure that you can get it right for that customer.

The chain moves forward. If they have an equally good service then they are likely to want to share it with their friends and family. The only thing a business needs to do is to get things right the first time.

What strategies could you implement to take advantage of amplified and organic word of mouth campaigns?

When it comes to your business, you want to ensure that you invest your time where it matters the most, and all the above has given you facts and information about how word of mouth marketing can do that for you.

But do you take advantage of every option you have to generate this organically and create an amplified strategy? Here are some of the best ways that you can ensure you implement different strategies to maximize the potential of getting more word of mouth recommendations.

Create the right experience

We have already covered this, but it is worth mentioning that all of this starts with your business process, your customer experience and how you handle the whole thing from the inception of inquiry down to the delivery. The customer experience is paramount. They need to feel understood, listened to and special. You need to deliver exactly what you say you will do.

Trying to get people to shout from the rooftops about your business and brand when they have received a mediocre experience is just not going to happen. You need not go above and beyond every time. Creating a customer process that covers all bases is essentially what your business needs to do. You need to deliver what they expect.

Be that the right delivery time, a contact back in a timely manner, etc. Getting the experience right is the first step, and enabling this to happen means everything else can fall into place.

Social media

Social media is essentially a great tool for all businesses to have these days. You can directly speak to customers, get your business seen far more easily, and reach out to potential clients and consumers without it feeling intrusive. A social media account for your business is an essential tool for any business these days, and will form part of your marketing campaign.

A content strategy that is consistent and engaging will help to get your business seen and encourage social media shares. As a business, you will also want to engage with your audience, which means responding to direct messages and comments. However, social media can also work for amplified word of mouth marketing.

Social media has created a new career for many, becoming a digital influencer. These are people with an engaged audience that are directly invested in their lives or the content that they share. As a business, if you think your product and service could be a good fit for them to share and promote to their audience then you could ask them to review your business, product or service.

Of course, there may be a cost for this. It might be a gifted product or service or a set fee for reviewing, but what you can’t control is what they will say, which brings us back to creating the right experience in the first place. Getting it right means that they will be comfortable to share your product with their audience, which could drive traffic and sales to your business.

User-generated content (UGC)

Social media can also be worthwhile for your current customer base and encouraging user-generated content is the key. The best example would be this. Your customer has just received their product in the post. They have been happy with the whole process, and the product is exactly what they expected. They are excited.

As a business, including materials like a specific hashtag for your business, and a message stating “if you share online please tag us so we can see and share your post” then there is a big chance that customers will do exactly that. They will take to their own social media platforms, snap a picture and tag it, and share it with their friends and family. In turn, as a business, you may receive leads just from that.

You can also share it yourself, so you are encouraging the audience you have yet another happy customer. User-generated content isn’t always done in the public forum either, it can be done through online reviews and also sharing a snap with friends and family in messaging or WhatsApp groups, for example.

Do you make the most of your current customer base?

The one thing many customers don’t take advantage of enough is their current customer base, and this is where you can encourage not only repeat business but also recommendations and referrals to your business. There are many methods in which you can thank a customer for their business, and this can be a very nice touch. It could be in the form of handwritten cards or personalized thank you’s. With included in the delivery or a week or two afterward as another gentle reminder of your business and brand.

Another method to consider would be onboarding emails which are like guides and tutorials. This can be important for customers who have products that require set up or maybe are using services that require preparation in advance or any aftercare. As a business, it is showing that you care about the experience they are getting.

Email lists

As part of your customer and sales process, you may have captured an email address at the point of taking down customer details. If you have enabled them to tick a box for forwarding marketing and communication, then regularly using your email list can be a great way to encourage referrals, recommendations, or even remind past customers of who you are to encourage repeat business.

These emails can be anything from a general newsletter with information about your business and brand to the latest customer-focused offers. Perhaps offering up special discounts for repeat business.

Feedback and online reviews

We have already mentioned an increase in consumer’s belief in online reviews with their sales and considered purchases, but yet many businesses are not doing enough to take advantage of this marketing tool. Asking for feedback and reviews is less intrusive and easier than you might think. There are plenty of survey and feedback sites that you can use to create a questionnaire that a customer can fill out.

With their permission you can then publish their thoughts and words. You could even just ask for feedback through email, and again gaining permission for publishing it on your website. Online reviews can also be left on independent sites, and while you have less control regarding these views and opinions, as long as the customer experience has been right you will be likely to receive a positive write up.

Customer incentives

Going back to your customer database that you already have is one thing that many businesses fail to do, but these are customers that have already been attracted to you and have had a positive experience with you already. If your business has a chance to offer repeat business and purchases, then having a customer incentive for them to continue to come back could be a great way to entice them to not only make purchases themselves, but share how great the business is.

This could be in the form of a discount on repeat purchases. Maybe you offer a deal for multiple purchases. Another option is to give them the chance to earn referral fees. Allowing them to earn a commission, which could be money towards future purchases or cash incentives, for refereeing others who then complete a sale with you.

This could also work for your business if you are more of a one-time purchase type of company. Referrals can still actively encourage your existing customer database to share the news of your business and brand.

What is your after-sales process like?

Do you even have an after-sales process? Perhaps this isn’t something that you have thought about before, but could be a great way to encourage customers to share their experience.

An after-sales process would involve set up help, information after purchase or general prospects and thank you calls. This can be a great way to help encourage a positive customer experience.

So there you have it, the benefits and insight into how word of mouth marketing could be a huge advantage for your business.