Wherever people gather, it is possible that a conversation may occur that results in one person recommending a product or service to another. It’s been going on as long as there have been products or services for sale, and it’s called “word-of-mouth” marketing.
And here’s why it’s powerful. People trust recommendations from other people more than they do from a company itself. Here, in fact, are a few more stats related to WOMM:
- 88% trust opinions from other consumers shared online as much as they trust personal recommendations from their contacts.
- 74% of consumers name WOM as a key influencer in their buying decisions.
- 72% say reading positive customer reviews improves their trust in a business.
The Attraction of Online WOM
Your prospects don’t want one more ad or a marketing ploy. What’s more, 47% of consumers are now feeling tired of repetitive influencer marketing as well – a tactic actively deployed by most brands these days. They want to hear what others say about a product or service without being paid to do so. And that’s where WOMM comes to the fore.
The second beauty of doing WOMM online is that, unlike traditional offline WOM, there are tools that can measure its effectiveness, track “buzz” about a brand and gather data that provides measurement of ROI.
Finally, trust fostered by social media, greatly impacts the intention to buy as proved by one study. Numerous successful companies have YouTube channels, popular with a raving community of fans (think GoPro); dedicated subreddits on Reddit (e.g 23andme) curated by users; and countless Facebook Groups. The particular appeal here is that maintaining such communities often requires little-to-no investments, unlike social media advertising campaigns.
How to Get Started with WOMM
First of all, it’s important to distinguish between the two types of WOMM:
- Organic word of mouth occurs naturally. Your customers become brand advocates because they are happy with your products and/or services. They have a natural desire to “spread the good word” about your brand.
- Amplified word of mouth happens as a result of marketing campaigns geared specifically towards accelerating WOM in existing or new communities.
Organic WOM comes as a direct result on a great customer-centric culture, seamless brand UX and great quality products and services.
In this post, we’ll focus on specific tactics for amplifying your WOM.
Make Your Customers Famous
This one plays into our inherent need to reciprocate whenever someone does something nice for us. Instead of waiting till your customers place your brand into the spotlight, do the opposite and promote them instead.
Fashion brands are well-known for deploying such tactic. For instance, Asos curates the best fashion looks on their Instagram page and encourages buyers to use branded hashtags and tags to get featured. Obviously, a lot of fashionistas are more than happy to abide in order to get “seen on” the brands 7.7 million page:
These tactics can be stretched further to pretty much any industry. You can create and publish presentations detailing how your customer has managed to achieve their goal with the help of your product. Scaling such contributions is simple as well:
- Grab some free PowerPoint templates and customize them to match your brand colors.
- Create a dedicated “Success Stories” section on your website.
- Proactively approach to your first few customers with a feature offer.
- Create a dedicated submission form for further entries.
- If the process goes slow, style your call for submissions as a competition and reward participants with some quick freebies.
Of course, providing any kind of value to your customers is a great way to get them to keep coming back. Useful tips and tricks that can help them improve their lives will work just as well. Consider doing some kind of weekly challenge that keeps them thinking about your brand and improving themselves.
Leverage Those Social Mention Tools
All smart business owners know that they have to respond when they are alerted and there has been a negative comment or review. They engage that customer and make it right. The same should go for any positive comments or feedback. Express your thanks right there and provide a freebie or discount.
There is a pretty famous story of Groupon in its early days. There was a disgruntled customer and the team asked him what they could do to make it right. He replied, “Send me a pizza.” And they did just that. That story went viral and was picked up by a lot of publishers, generating a massive buzz for the brand.
Solicit Testimonials from Influencers
Customer testimonials generate multiple benefits for your brand. When prospects interact with a review, great things happen:
- They are 58% more likely to convert.
- Can generate 62% more revenue per site visitor.
- Tend to buy 3% more per order (AOV).
These numbers are impressive alone. But imagine what happens when a well-known industry expert or influencer publicly endorses your brand without dropping the #spon hashtag. The ripple effect of their recommendation can go far beyond the numbers mentioned above.
So how do you solicit such recommendations?
First, comb through your list of current customers. Perhaps, you already have some sort of “celebrity” user stashed in your CRM and all you need to do is to approach them and ask to be featured on your website, request an interview or offer an upgrade in exchange for their honest opinion about your company.
If no prospects match the merits of an influencer, consider this plan:
- Make a list of 20 most influential people in your industry. Work on getting onto their radar by engaging with them on social media, their blog or within a community they are part of.
- Reach out with a mutually beneficial offer e.g. an interview request that you will heavily promote to your community (works if you already have an established blog); a demo product version that can test drive and give an honest opinion about; some PR product samples they may be interested in rating.
- Follow-up and keep the conversation going. Most influencers won’t feel thrilled to partner with a brand they know nothing about and have little trust in. So keep engaging with your prospects over time and jump into the relevant conversations they are leading on social media.
WOMM is not going away. It will become an integral part of any good marketing campaign because it works. Consumers are tired of the noise and their level of trust in marketing by brands is declining. Give them what they want – real customers who have experienced your products and like them.