What Is Word-of-Mouth Marketing, and How Does It Drive Business Success?
Have you recently made a purchase or visited a business because a friend or family convinced you to? If you have, this means you were influenced by word-of-mouth marketing. You’re also among the vast majority of consumers who identify word-of-mouth marketing as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. Word-of-mouth marketing relies on consumers being public advocates for your brand, whether it’s online through a review and social media, or in-person to their friends and family. Nike, Patagonia, and Slack are just a few examples of brands who leverage their excellent brand reputation to harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing and drive business success.
The Importance of Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM)
As one of the most valuable forms of marketing, word-of-mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending. Not only is it a free form of advertising, but it’s also the most common way people get news from friends and family. In addition, it can have a positive domino effect on brand exposure and reach. If you have one customer who is obsessed with your brand, they’re going to tell all of their friends, family, and everyone else in their network. They might even go online to personally recommend your brand through reviews, social media, and other areas online. Then all of those people will tell everyone else in their network, and it will continue on and on, driving exposure to new communities at an accelerated rate.
How Does Word-of-Mouth Compare to Other Marketing Styles?
While other forms of marketing have similar elements to word-of-mouth marketing, there are some key differences. Let’s take a look at referral marketing and word-of-mouth marketing. Both styles of marketing leverage customers to help attract new customers. Word-of-mouth marketing however, occurs naturally, while referral marketing incentivizes customers to tell their network about your business.
Influencer marketing and word-of-mouth marketing on the other hand, uses different tactics to achieve the same desired result of boosting brand awareness. With influencer marketing, your brand is building relationships with social media influencers, industry experts, celebrities, and other well known people to spread awareness about your brand.
There are also two different types of word-of-mouth marketing, which are organic word-of-mouth and amplified word of mouth marketing. Amplified word-of-mouth marketing is when your brand launches campaigns targeted towards driving word-of-mouth buzz, while organic word-of-mouth marketing relies on the spread of word-of-mouth news occurring naturally. No matter what type or types of marketing strategies your brand is using, your brand should consistently try to expand brand awareness through word-of-mouth marketing.
Ways to Increase Word-of-Mouth Referrals
Stand Out from the Competition
Your business likely has up to hundreds or even thousands of competitors. When it comes down to beating your competition, consumers want to know what sets you apart from the rest. United Airlines is consistently listed as one of the most hated companies, while Southwest Airlines is known for its world-class reputation. Both companies offer the same service, but Southwest Airlines earns the trust and confidence of consumers everywhere because of its great reputation and customer experience.
So how can your business stand out? Some key components that differentiate one business from its competitors are high quality products and services, a seamless purchasing process, and the ability to connect with its audience. Here are some other ways your business can stand out from the competition:
- Share content and interact with consumers regularly on social media.
- Reward customer loyalty with discounts, promotions, and other incentives.
- Provide multiple channels of communication for seamless and efficient customer service.
- Leverage Google My Business Messaging to answer any consumer questions.
- Create a great review management strategy.
- Ask your customers how you can improve your products and services.
These are all unique ways to ensure consumers will choose your business instead of your competitor and recommend your business to others.
Focus on Customer Experience
Brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience. Your brand needs to be customer-centric throughout the whole purchase process, from the consumer researching stage all the way through post-purchasing. When consumers are initially at the start of their buying journey, they’re going to be using online listings, reviews, social media, and more to decide if they want to purchase from your business or not.
Throughout all of these channels and any other interactions with potential customers, your business needs to show consumers you care about their experience. A great customer experience also involves emotional connection and relationship building. Social media is a great place to build meaningful relationships with consumers and customers. Through platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, where consumers spend a majority of their time, you can connect with your audience, ask them questions, provide great customer service, and resolve any issues quickly.
Chatmeter has several tools that your business can leverage to engage with consumers and build relationships. With Chatmeter’s social media management tool, your business can easily monitor and manage all customer feedback on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram from one dashboard. Through our review management tool, your brand can respond to all reviews quickly and pinpoint any missing gaps in your customer experience.
Once consumers see you’ve taken the time to provide an excellent customer experience, they’ll naturally want to share the great news about your brand to their friends and family.
Set Up Word of Mouth Triggers
So we’ve talked about a few different ways your brand can drive word-of-mouth marketing, but did you know that there are word of mouth triggers? Word of mouth triggers are just different ways to make your customers want to spread the word about your brand.
Think about what makes your brand’s customer experience truly memorable. Does your brand have a stunning in-store experience and a vibrant aesthetic that will make customers want to share their experience on social media? Do you have an amazing loyalty program or a return policy that can’t be beat? Is your brand heavily involved with a philanthropic cause that is close to your audiences’ hearts? Or do you already have a dedicated loyal customer base who loves to share user-generated content? These are all just a few ways your business can create a memorable experience that your customers can’t resist but talking about.
Word of mouth triggers reinforce your brand’s unique experience and get people excited to talk about your brand.
The influence and power that word-of-mouth marketing holds is monumental. Every brand needs to think about how they can develop a strong word-of-mouth marketing strategy with these tips above. A strong customer experience, online reputation, and word-of-mouth strategies can help ensure your brand is continuously generating word-of-mouth buzz all over the world.