What is Word of Mouth Marketing?
Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is simply, recommendations! It is the oldest and most powerful way of marketing, more powerful than any other media put together.
It definitely existed before the internet
Even before TV and radio ads.
And even before printed ads.
It’s been existing since time unknown.
You can say word of mouth is the original social media.
It’s the dream for any business
WOM marketing is earned (and more importantly, free) media for any business. When people talk about your brand or product, it doesn’t cost you anything. That makes it the most effective channel of marketing. No wonder it’s the most powerful and sought after media to promote your business.
Its strength is explained in numbers in this Nielsen report. It says that in Asia-Pacific
- 94% people trust recommendations from people they know
- 76% people trust opinions posted online
The oldest media has gone digital
The oldest and strongest way of marketing has now joined forces with today’s digital media, making it mightier than ever. About 62% of consumers search online for reviews and information before purchasing a product.
How to leverage this might? How to have it by your side? User-Generated Content (UGC) is the key.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Facebook recommendations, tweets on twitter, posts and stories on Instagram, Google Maps reviews, Zomato reviews, reviews on e-commerce platforms, reviews on your website are all user-generated content.
However, you don’t have the power to create it, your customer has. But you definitely can help it reach more people. That can be done by building your brand and your community online. Here’s how:
Branding is a good way to boost WOM. People love to talk about the brands they use and they like. If your brand isn’t clearly defined, people won’t be able to talk much about your business.
You can read more about the other perks of branding in our blog post, 7 Ways Branding Will Boost Your Business. It’s Not Just Visuals!
The world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, has a rich quote about brand,
Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. – Jeff Bezos
You can also read more quotes on branding by the legends of marketing and business.
Facebook pages have the ‘recommendations’ section, where people can read reviews of your business, whether your customers recommend your products or services.
To help this reach out to the rest of the world, you can also put up these reviews as posts on your social media. This is more visible.
UGC, coupled with engagement, ensures that you have a good social media presence.
An example is Slack, our favourite app at work. First of all, they follow a freemium model, hence a lot of small businesses use it. Secondly, they have a significant online presence. It’s said that Slack has about four times as many support staff than sales staff. Keeping existing customers happy is a priority for them.
Websites and SEO
Google loves websites which people love. (See that? Google also trusts digital word-of-mouth.) To boost WOM, you can put up reviews and stories of happy customers on landing pages and blogs. Google will know about it all and rank your website higher.
Furthermore, you can make all this content shareable. Add some good share buttons and thumbnail images to it.
But what’s the trick to win this prized User Generated Content?
Ask for your customer’s review if they liked your service or product.
For example, restaurants ask diners to put up a review on Zomato or Facebook. Or they ask you to follow them on Instagram. In return, some restaurants give freebies. This review of yours works wonders for them.
But it’s unpredictable
As promising as it sounds, Word-of-Mouth Marketing can go either way. It is very volatile.
Let’s again take the example of a restaurant. A disappointed diner will be determined to spread the word about a bad experience. But on the other hand, a satisfied customer might not be driven to write a positive review about the place, unless he/she loves to write reviews.
The chance of negative WOM conversations taking place is more than positive.
To tackle the unpredictability
Although the digital age has made word-of-mouth marketing a lot easier, it remains unpredictable. But then mankind (read: marketers) has found a way. It always has.
Social media has given rise to influencers. That’s how WOM Marketing has evolved into Influencer Marketing.
Influencer marketing has been effective for quite some time. But people are losing trust in it. This has given rise to micro-influencers. It keeps on evolving. micro-influencers.are the next big thing.
But don’t ignore traditional Word-of-Mouth
It’s claimed that 9 out of 10 word-of-mouth conversations happen offline rather than online. Digital media is just a part of the complex world of WOM Marketing.
Over to you
You have all the tools to master the power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing. We wish you all the luck for your booming business! We hope you generate a lot of positive conversations.