Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Unleashing its Power in 2021 (Tips and Tricks)
Word-of-mouth marketing is arguably the most traditional form of advertising, stemming from a time where the vast streams of information we have today weren’t accessible.
When your neighbour’s word was the best indication of the quality you might get from a brand.
Fast forward to today, and info is available en masse and never more than a few clicks away.
Despite that, the power of word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) hasn’t diminished.
Social proof, product recommendations, and referrals passed around the internet not only inspire new purchases but are great for your website’s SEO too.
While this isn’t literal ‘word of mouth,’ the word about your brand is getting around, and that’s what matters!
All that to say, if you haven’t already, it’s time to introduce word-of-mouth marketing to your business plan.
If you’re unsure where to start, never fear. We’re breaking down everything you need to know here in this article.
What’s Word-of-Mouth Marketing? (WOM)
For the uninitiated, there are two types of WOM:
Organic Word-of-Mouth – This is closest to the original meaning of the term. Organic word-of-mouth marketing occurs when your customers are happy with your service and become your advocates. They recommend you to friends and family because of the memorable experience with your products and customer service. This type of WOM is free and snowballs by itself – all you have to do is focus on providing an excellent customer experience, and the rest is history!
Amplified Word-of-Mouth – This type builds upon organic word-of-mouth marketing by employing strategies that prompt new or existing audiences to promote your business. An example of Amplified Word-of-Mouth Marketing might be a business hosting an Instagram campaign that encourages users to post photos of themselves with the product.
The Benefits of Word-of-Mouth-Marketing
Humans are social creatures, and we trust others’ opinions and recommendations.
We believe in the individual’s authenticity; that’s why as many as 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, and 88% of shoppers rely on online reviews.
On top of that, 85% of small businesses get discovered as a result of WOM recommendations.
As these stats highlight, social proof like customer referrals and personal recommendations work wonders for putting customers at ease.
It could be the nudge they need to make that all-important purchase.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing – How Does it Work?
Like most online marketing forms, WOM functions best when you lay out a specific roadmap.
As you go about creating your marketing plan, here are a few strategies you could employ.
First, we’ll take a look at a few approaches to amplified WOM:
User-generated content is when customers publish online content that supports your content marketing efforts.
This is great because aside from spreading the word about your user-generated content campaign, it requires minimal effort on your part.
An excellent example of successful user-generated content is the #MyCalvins campaign launched by Calvin Klein in early 2014.
The fashion brand promoted its underwear by encouraging its customers on Instagram to post a photo of themselves wearing the product with the hashtag.
The campaign attracted 179,000 images of customers uniting over their underwear range.
That’s 179,000 free pieces of content related to their products circulating the web – powerful, right?
Create a Buzz on Social Media
Another great way to encourage WOM is to create engaging, shareable, viral content for social media – and video is a great place to start.
Interestingly, as many as 92% of users that watch an engaging video on their mobile device will share it with others.
The moral of the story? Start publishing shareable videos on your socials.
Depending on your brand, you could create something funny. Or, perhaps get more vulnerable with your customers by sharing a relatable story.
Maybe, providing fun tips on how to achieve something might be more the ticket? Either way, brainstorm some ideas, and get filming!
Look at Netflix. They didn’t achieve 203+ million subscribers by sitting back and doing nothing.
In 2011, they coined the phrase “Netflix & Chill” and used it in all their social media marketing. The term is now fully embedded on all Netflix’s social media sites.
Influencer marketing is huge right now. If you don’t know what an influencer is, they’re individuals with large numbers of followers within their niche.
Usually, these followers trust their opinions and look to them as role models and entertainers.
As such, if an influencer recommends your product, their audience is likely to be receptive to it.
The key to influencer marketing success is creating an authentic marketing strategy.
This means picking loyal brand ambassadors to represent your products.
So, why not scroll through your followers to see whether any influencers are already customers of your product? This is a great starting point!
Alternatively, you can attract the attention of a wide range of influencers by setting up affiliate programs.
These pay influencers a commission if they sell a product through their affiliate link.
Launching an affiliate marketing program is excellent for incentivising WOMM.
Referral marketing is all about one individual sharing their positive opinions about your product with others.
Often, this describes a direct referral between friends and family members.
Interestingly, as many as 83% of clients are happy to provide companies with a referral if they receive a positive experience.
To capitalise on this, you need to make high-quality customer service and the consumer experience your top priorities.
This means going over and above to ensure shoppers have a positive interaction with your brand.
On top of that, you could also consider incentivising customers to refer your business by offering all parties something of value.
For example, suppose a loyal customer recommends your product to a friend, and the friend goes ahead and makes a successful purchase.
In that case, both the referee and the new customer might receive a discount on their next transaction.
Dropbox is a prime example of referral marketing. Subscribers who refer a friend who then subscribes receive 1GB extra storage per referral.
How to Unleash the Full Potential of Organic WOM
Now that we’ve explored a few examples of amplified WOM, let’s turn our attention to organic approaches.
If you’ve already made customer service and the consumer experience a priority, there’s a good chance you’re doing these things.
However, optimising your business aspects will have the added side-effect of getting you more WOM recommendations. Let’s take a look:
Build Strong Client and Customer Relationships
When you wow consumers, they’re more likely to recommend you to their friends and family organically.
That’s why providing shoppers with a first-rate customer experience is crucial for WOM.
If this is an area where your business could improve, why not study customer service best practices?
Then, train up your staff. This goes a long way to ensuring every interaction customers have with your company is polite, efficient, fast, and cheerful.
Here’s another quick customer service fix: Double-check it’s easy for customers to contact you with their questions or concerns.
It shouldn’t take long to find a contact method online. You could even set up an online help centre where customers can access self-help resources and answers to more straightforward queries.
Besides publishing social media content and launching campaigns, ensuring your branding is uniform across all your social media platforms is crucial for successful WOM.
This means making sure you’re consistent with your use of colours, fonts, and language.
This is key to establishing a memorable brand, which, of course, is essential for WOM.
As well as that, it’s also worth remembering that social media shouldn’t be a one-way street. Be active on your chosen platforms and comment on relevant content.
If you’re not sure how to establish an ‘active’ social media presence, here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Take a stance on current social and environmental issues.
- Converse with your customers via DMs and comments
- Answer questions your followers ask you.
- Share highlights from your community
You could even start live streaming regularly. This provides you and your customers the perfect opportunity to communicate in real-time!
Beyond using email marketing funnels to send promotions and newsletters, harness the power of email to make customers feel seen and appreciated.
If you’re not already, start sending personalised emails to create a warmer relationship with customers.
For instance, you could send automated welcome emails when someone first subscribes to your list.
The same goes for thank-you emails when a customer makes a purchase.
You could amp things up a level by emailing subscribers on their birthdays and their subscription anniversary. This is a surefire way of making shoppers feel valued!
Your website’s usability has a considerable bearing on the visitor’s experience. A website that’s slow to load, full of broken links, isn’t mobile-friendly, etc., will turn customers away and frustrate your audience.
It also leaves you open to negative word-of-mouth and in-person reviews, which you want to avoid at all costs!
That’s why it’s worth regularly auditing your website’s performance and speed.
You’ll also want to ensure popular sections of your website can be found in just a few clicks, no matter where customers start their journey on your site.
It’s also essential to ensure your website (its text, images, and audio) is fully accessible to everyone who uses it. Your website needs to be WCAG compliant.
Starting a blog can be a daunting idea. Still, it’s one of the most affordable and effective ways of boosting your SEO and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche.
Customers are more likely to spread the word about businesses they deem credible, and blogging allows you to show consumers you know what you’re talking about!
Stick to tried and proven content marketing strategies to start growing your blog.
This means researching relevant keywords and phrases that will attract organic searches.
With this data to hand, you’ll know with certainty that you’re writing about a topic of genuine interest to your audience.
In terms of styling your blog posts, there are no hard and fast rules. However, guides, listicles, and reviews are all popular formats worth experimenting with.
There’s quite a lot to juggle here, so if you have the budget, you may want to consider professional services if you need to outsource.
This is all the more important if you lack the writing chops to produce high-quality content nor have the time to dedicate to content marketing.
Offering customers free online classes is a fantastic way to boost your brand and provide a first-rate consumer experience.
Not only that, but it’s great for encouraging your audience to discuss your content in the comments and engage with one another.
When you create a sense of community with your brand at its pinnacle, your customers are more likely to refer you to others.
All you need to do is use reliable webinar software and provide significant value!
Are You Ready to Unleash the Full Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most influential and long-lasting marketing strategies to have in your sales arsenal.
And the great news is, you can get going for free by offering high-quality products, excellent customer service, and a top-notch consumer experience.
That said, there are plenty of things you can do to take a proactive approach to WOM.
Start by optimising your website and customer experience and following up with existing customers to keep them engaged.
You could even consider creating an amplified WOM campaign by encouraging followers to create user-generated content on social media.
We hope you found this article informative and that it’s inspired you to get started with word-of-mouth marketing.
Let us know in the comments below your favourite word-of-mouth marketing strategies!