When it comes to raising awareness about a brand, product or service, positive word of mouth has long been among the top marketing strategies. Modern word-of-mouth marketing, or WOMM, includes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring instances of this phenomenon – and its benefits for marketing a business can be downright incredible.
From Facebook likes to Yelp reviews to brand mentions and online chatter, opportunities for online word of mouth are rife. However, they aren’t going to just fall into your lap; you have to be proactive about generating them. Statistics show that it’s well worth it to do so too. For instance, 75 percent of consumers don’t trust advertisements – but they are four times more likely to buy when referred by friends. Indeed, 79 percent of users trust online reviews and testimonials as much as personal recommendations.
Top Benefits of Engaging in Proactive Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Some of the top advantages of engaging in a proactive campaign for increasing word of mouth about your brand, products or services include:
- Increase sales without buying ads
- Generate more funding from investors
- Increase brand loyalty
- Enhance brand trust
- Create buzz
Getting more word of mouth marketing takes time and effort. Follow the steps below to increase your odds of success:
Step One: Lay the Groundwork for Effective WOMM
Hit the ground running with getting more word of mouth marketing by:
- Knowing your brand, products, and services inside and out
- Researching your competition
- Defining your target audience
- Identifying the unique qualities of your brand and offerings
- Being easily accessible to prospective and existing customers
- Maintaining a positive image for your business in everything that you do
Step Two: 10 Top Strategies for Effective WOMM
Next, educate yourself about the most effective WOMM strategies, and implement the ones that make the most sense for your brand:
- Share customer reviews – Reassure prospects of the quality and value of your claims by offering social proof in the form of customer reviews and testimonials. Host them on your own site as well as portals like Yelp and Angie’s List. Once acquired, repurpose them into your marketing efforts by including them in places like your homepage; landing pages; and product and service pages.
- Try to viralize your content – Research techniques for creating content that is more likely to go viral, and then promote it on social media and elsewhere online.
- Encourage user-generated content – User-generated content, or UGC, is content about brands and products that are generated and shared by users. Consider this: 86 percent of millennials believe that UGC is a good indicator of overall brand quality. Encourage it through methods like having a unique hashtag identifier for them to use or by incentivizing through the offering of free gifts or special discounts.
- Connect with influencers – Influencers – social media users who have strong followings – can convince followers to engage with a brand with a mere mention. Appeal to them by letting them try stuff for free; by quoting them in your content; and by featuring them or their products prominently.
- Do or create something unique – Market your brand differently than others in your niche to increase the odds of users sharing your content and otherwise interacting with it online.
- Establish a referral program – Make it easy for users to spread the word about your brand through a formal referral program. The right one will reward both parties with incentives and other benefits, and it will allow you to measure its success with ease. Tools like ReferralCandy and Friendbuy can help to automate the process.
- Offer incentives – Give people a reason to share information about your brand by offering incentives for doing so. For example, you might offer a discount or free gift in exchange for a mention on social media. DropBox does so successfully by offering free storage space to those who mention them online.
- Include product ratings on your website – If you sell multiple products or services, in particular, give people the ability to rate and review them easily. Customers are 63 percent more likely to make purchases when e-commerce sites include reviews and ratings of their offerings.
- Establish visual triggers – Enhance your website with specialized, visually stunning content and media that users are compelled to share.
- Set up word-of-mouth triggers – Remind and prompt people to mention your brand by following up with them with word-of-mouth triggers. For example, The Hustle sends prospects promotional emails explaining their referral perks anywhere from two weeks to two months after initial contact. Facebook reminder posts are another example of an effective way to encourage positive word of mouth.
A few additional strategies for getting more word of mouth marketing include:
- Create online communities or join existing, relevant ones
- Be creative and innovative with your marketing
- Connect with and promote a worthwhile cause
- Reward customer loyalty with special offers
- Offer lessons, seminars, and other educational materials on your website
Step Three: 18 Tips for Enhanced Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Finally, keep these 18 tips in mind along the way to encourage word of mouth and to bolster your WOMM efforts:
- Identify and nurture your top customers
- Solicit online reviews when things are going well
- Avail yourself of automated tools for promoting online word of mouth
- Evoke emotions in users through touching, impactful content
- Share engaging stories about your brand, its vision, and its offerings whenever you can
- Have first-rate, enthusiastic employees and support personnel
- Keep your customers in the loop about company happenings
- Use social media as a powerful referral channel
- Provide unexpected customer service gestures to surprise and excite loyal customers
- Give your brand a unique and interesting personality
- Create an amazing customer experience via quality offerings, reliable service, seamless site UX and by going above and beyond whenever you can
- Engage in negative feedback care by responding promptly and helpfully to poor user reviews
- Keep your existing customers satisfied
- Know your customer’s lifetime value or LTV
- Embrace exclusivity by offering invite-only deals and the like
- Humanize your brand on social media by adopting an approachable, personable and responsive voice
- Monitor your brand’s online reputation, and act quickly to address any issues that arise
- Be proactive about continually getting more word of mouth marketing for your business
Get Customers Talking and Increase WOM Referrals by Implementing Effective Word-of-Mouth Marketing Strategies Today
Effective word-of-mouth marketing outshines all other digital marketing strategies, and it is among the most cost-effective ways to grow sales, increase brand loyalty and build communities instead of commodities. By getting more word of mouth marketing, you can create an engaged fan base that’s made up of customers who return to you again and again for goods and services – instead of buy-and-bolt customers who quickly forget all about you. Prioritizing WOMM will allow you to reap amazing rewards in no time. E-Marketing Associates can streamline the process through a variety of offerings, including website designers for small business, so contact us today for more information.