Think of the latest product or service you started using. How did you hear about it? Odds are, you came across it through a friend, family member, or even someone you follow on social media.
This natural chain of events – from hearing about something to having it in your living room – is word of mouth in action.
Even when no actual words are exchanged, a post, email, or tweet from a satisfied customer can be all it takes to tickle the interest of others. Below, we go over how word-of-mouth marketing can boost your business.
As expected, we trust our friends more than we trust a paid ad. Advertisements, which come from the companies themselves, will always paint the product in a good light.
Friends and family, on the other hand, have personally tried and tested these products. They also know us well enough to give a recommendation we can trust.
What does this mean for your business? If you’re targeting the right market and providing a good product, you’ll get people talking and trusting your brand soon enough.
Billboards and posters are posted in high traffic areas. Online ads target market segments. Word of mouth, however, goes straight to the individual.
Plus, people will usually only share things they think you’ll be interested in. Even if the word of mouth comes from a celebrity or influencer, their followers are interested in knowing or trying any of their recommendations.
By doing away with demographics and going straight through individual customers, word of mouth is a more targeted marketing effort.
To be effective, word of mouth should be natural and authentic. While businesses can give rewards for any time and effort spent (in fact, this often increases word of mouth), it should only be offered to customers who would recommend your product anyway.
Look for your best customers or affiliates – those who truly love your brand and may already be sharing it with others. Reach out and offer them a reward for every successful referral. (Of course, the right referral software tool can help streamline and simplify this reward process.)
The reward doesn’t have to be cash or credit, either. A free upgrade, an extended service period, or even company swag can be enough to show your appreciation.
Best of all, you can decide on a reward that works well within your budget. Calculate how much you can potentially earn from every new customer, and find a reward below this figure. You’ll find this is much more affordable than any ad placement.
As long as you earn more from new customers than what you spent to acquire them, your business will continue to grow.
The only way word of mouth spreads is from one person to another – to another, to another. And in today’s always-connected world, this can happen in a matter of minutes.
The more word of mouth you generate, the more word will continue to generate. This is especially true for businesses just starting out or looking for a long-term marketing strategy.
Not only does word-of-mouth marketing build your brand awareness and reputation, it can also greatly improve your bottom line.
Word of mouth has been in the marketing game since day one – and it’s still one of the most effective strategies today.
Whether it’s customers spreading the word to their network, employees telling others about the business, or partners helping to expand your market, word-of-mouth marketing is a key strategy every business should use.
Kat Dalao is a writer and content marketer based in New York. She's the Content Manager at Referral Rock. In her spare time, she does random projects, explores the city, and bakes (mostly to satisfy her own sweet tooth).