WOM Marketing: 7 Things to Know about Word-of-Mouth
From having customers wear branded merchandise to asking for online reviews from satisfied customers, there are many ways you can promote your business outside of traditional advertising and marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful and inexpensive but also challenging to achieve.
The following are seven things modern businesses should know.
1 – What is Word-of-Mouth (WOM) Marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing, or WOM marketing, is when someone's interest in a product, service, or brand is reflected in daily conversations. It's like free advertising that comes about because of customers' experiences.
Typically, for your business to enjoy the advantages of WOM marketing, it has to be because you've provided something beyond your customers' expectations.
Consumers are talking about your products or services to their friends, family, coworkers, and others they have close relationships. It's powerful because around 88% of consumers reportedly trust the recommendations of their friends over traditional media.
2 – The Advantages
WOM marketing can increase sales and brand recognition, build brand loyalty, and promote your products and services. When you're able to create the spark that leads to conversations among consumers, it's more beneficial and cost-effective than other marketing strategies.
Building a sense of trust is one of the most powerful things your business can ever have. People are constantly inundated with ads every day. We're bombarded with advertisements on every medium. People want products from companies they can trust, but paid advertisements do little to foster that sense of trust.
When people share their purchasing decisions and whether they're happy with a brand, there's inherent trust, which sells.
Trust is a significant driver of consumer decisions. A consumer is more likely to buy a product after hearing someone else's experiences. According to Radius Global, word-of-mouth marketing is the most significant influencer among the millennial generation.
With word-of-mouth marketing, you're cutting through the noise of every other ad out there.
3 – Brand Awareness Continues to Spread
One of the many compelling things about brand awareness is that word-of-mouth marketing doesn't stop after one interaction. Once someone shares information about your brand, products, or services, that person may share it, and it continues on and on. While not every conversation will lead to a purchase, they bring awareness to your brand.
When something is being talked about, it creates a reputation, and there's more exposure often on channels with referral marketing.
Brand awareness can create recognition and trust. There is also an association of positive emotions with products or companies, which can differentiate you from competing organisations.
4 – Drivers of WOM Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is often described as being driven by two things—triggers and social currency. Triggers are the things that make you think about a brand, even in the absence of any advertising.
Triggers remind people of sales, products, or services mentioned by people they know, so they support WOM marketing.
Social currency is about the idea of exclusivity. People feel they're getting access to exclusive things or part of a particular group. They also want insider information, so a WOM campaign can use social currency to encourage people to share something they feel is exclusive about a product, like a private launch.
5 – Create an Amazing First Experience
When it comes to WOM marketing, one of the best things you can do is ensure every customer has an outstanding first experience. Exceeding expectations is a guaranteed way to get them to talk about you. They're also more likely to post reviews and mention you online.
Along with solving a customer problem at their central pain point, you should also consider throwing in a personalised follow-up like a thank you note.
Of course, you also need to sell quality products if you deliver that excellent first experience, which you probably already know. You want to make sure the whole experience lives up to your branding and what you're advertising yourself as.
You always want to think about how you can provide value. Value often means solving a problem with your products, but it can also mean the best customer service. If you offer value in a way that stands out, you're more likely to maximise WOM marketing.
It would help if you thought more deeply about how unique you are from your competitors. Know what sets you apart and allows you to deliver something unique.
6 – Use Emotion
If you can elicit emotion, you can create that vital connection serving as a driver of word-of-mouth marketing. If people have strong feelings about a product or brand, they're not likely to stop using it, even if something else could be more logical in their situation.
You can use this to appeal to emotions if you have a unique brand personality.
You can also tell a story. If you tell a story, you show the ‘why' behind everything you do. You can share your values and mission, which forms that bridge to an emotional connection.
7 – The Power of Reviews
Finally, the world of online reviews is the number one driver of word-of-mouth marketing today, even more so than actual in-person conversations.
One of the best ways you can get word-of-mouth advertising is through positive reviews from customers.
Around 90% of people say they read reviews before deciding whether or not to visit a business. Around 72% say they will only purchase after seeing good positive reviews.
Reviews also improve your online reputation and your social proof. A review on one platform can then expand to others. For example, if someone writes a review about you on Facebook, it can be shared on other channels.
It can feel like reviews are unpredictable and out of your control, but you should ask for them directly and respond to them when you get them, whether positive or negative.
What tips for WOM marketing have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.