Implementing a simple word of mouth strategy will enable you to develop not only your best customers, but will also allow you to build your brand with very little expense as compared to traditional marketing costs. Advertising creates awareness. Word of mouth generates persuasion.

Imagine mastering what has clearly been identified as the most valuable form of marketing. Word of mouth and online reviews are the messages that consumers trust above all others and the one that is most likely to drive sales for your company. Can you really ignore it and leave it to chance?

There is no need to sit back and hope these conversations will just happen organically about your brand. If you want to win the marketing race in the years to come, you need to unleash the profitable power of word of mouth. Customer service is critical for the success of any business, but if you expect happy customers to talk about you a lot, think again.

Examine these salient facts. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. WOMMA and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find out exactly what brands were doing about that fact. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. However, only 6% say they have mastered it.

One of the biggest secrets to driving an effective word of mouth marketing strategy, as well as building a larger audience for your brand and messaging, is to find the key opinion leaders (KOLs) of your target audience. In fact, as an publisher of content, you are more likely to reach your existing audience through these KOLs. You can find more of them by connecting with “brand advocates” who account for 10% of word of mouth marketing and thus generate three to five times more word-of-mouth messages. In other words, they have a 400% greater impact on purchase decisions than anyone else.

Your Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy: The Statistics Say it All

Word of mouth affects purchase behavior.
50% of purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth.

Word of mouth has massive reach.
1,000 customers can generate 500,000 conversations about a brand.

Word of mouth builds audience trust.
92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising and just 10% trust brands today.

Word of mouth influences people.
81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts.

Word of mouth supports positive reputation management.
66% of brand mentions on the social web are positive.

Word of mouth affects search engines.
25% of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content published via social media.

Word of mouth marketing works.
89% of consumers believe that customer testimonials are the most effective content with 70% reviewing online customer reviews first when they consider a brand.

A Simple Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

To master word of mouth marketing, you must develop a proactive mindset and strategy. While some of your customers will share by themselves with no prompting, the above statistics cannot be ignored and then leave all that potential marketing power to chance or fate. Here are three simple marketing actions to generate more word of mouth:

1. Make your customers part of a team. You must figure out how to creatively elevate your customers into those “brand advocates” that have so much power to influence others. This can be accomplished by giving them status, awards to sharing your content and bringing in referrals, as well as featuring them in your content as “Customer of the Week.”

2. Host buzz worthy events. Events can be held at your place of business, at hotels or even online as a webinar. Again, be creative and use online tools to help you generate buzz. Here is one example of how an author used an event to create buzz for his new book. “How to Host a Buzz-Worthy Book Launch Party”

3. Give people tools that enable them to easily share. Word of mouth marketers make their biggest impact when they provide the infrastructure to help messages spread. People are more likely to share your brand if you give them something to share with. In other words, you have to give them an item, such as a gift card or premium offer, or send them some content that they can share electronically. 80% of decision-makers prefer content marketing (videos, reviews, case studies, eBooks, blogs, etc.) as compared to advertising. Examples: an online review that they then post on social media, an email offer or that YouTube video that you created for them about their experience with your brand. You must enable those who can and will share by giving them something that is worthy of sharing.This is crucial for your word of mouth marketing strategy. Image courtesy of www.chrisford.com

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