Word of mouth marketing

Advantages of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Disclosure: Just so you know, we may sometimes earn a small commission from affiliate links on this site.

Far too little attention is given to good old fashioned word of mouth.

Most companies focus on sexy marketing strategies like paid advertising (PPC), social media likes, tweets & follows, and organic search traffic from Google.

I thought I would contrast the huge differences between traffic to my own businesses and compare and review the benefits that I have noticed arising from people making natural recommendations to their friends, families and colleagues.

Turn any interaction with customers into an opportunity to gain word of mouth. Turn complaints into praise. Strike while the iron is hot. Actively ask happy customers to tell friends & family or leave great reviews.

So, if you are working hard to build up a client/customer base using a wide range of online marketing strategies, take a quick time-out and check out what your business may be missing out on.

What is word-of-mouth?

I think it's worth quickly defining what I mean by word of mouth when it comes to growing a business online.

Word of mouth marketing relies on the natural tendency of people to talk about their experiences with a business and promote it organically in the process.

In other words, you have not solicited a review - there is no incentive offered to them from you. Word-of-mouth is, more often than not, a passive form of marketing.

It doesn't matter what medium it takes place on either. It could be over Facebook among friends, it could be at a convention down town, or in a forum, or at a church bake sale.

What are the benefits?

Ok, aside from the obvious fact that having people talking about company is good news, there are some pretty subtle advantages that you may not expect.

Conversion rates from word of mouth traffic are significantly better compared with other channels.

Why?

  1. Understanding: People who have been recommended to your site, generally have a good idea of what they are doing there. They understand what they are going to get because someone has already explained it to them.

    By contrast, people who drop in from other traffic streams might still need a complete explanation of what you offer, and this takes effort, which in Internet speak translates to "lower conversion rate".

  2. Trust: If someone you know well trusts and recommends something to you, it is far more likely that the level of trust you have in that product or service is higher than an average person.

    Trust is also a commodity that is in short supply in the online world.

  3. Proof: If someone you know had a good experience with a previously unknown company, it is a good indicator that you will too. In other words, new customers completely bypass the usual suspicion and skepticism that goes with trying something new online.
  4. Positive approach: Many people who arrive expecting great service tend to be very positive in their outlook. For example, if they have a problem, they won't hesitate to drop you a line and ask (because they know that your support will handle their query efficiently - because their friend told them).

    By contrast new customers are often hesitant to engage with complete strangers.

I guess the quickest way to sum up the benefits is by saying that:

New word of mouth customers convert readily because they come ready-made with trust and confidence in your business.

People arriving from advertising , organic search traffic, and other online marketing channels still need to be convinced. They are a step or two up the sales funnel.

How to get more word-of-mouth traffic

It is really difficult to get people talking about your site/service in a meaningful way - especially when your business is small and online.

Here are the areas you can focus on:

  1. Customer service
  2. Support
  3. Engagement
  4. Special offers & deals
  5. Loyalty offers
  6. Friendly
  7. Professional
  8. Efficient
  9. Generous
  10. Proactive

I guess the magic ingredient is really contained within a combination of factors that boil down to your approach to people in general. Whatever combination of strategies works for you, there should be one overriding goal,

Transform your word-of-mouth marketing from passive to driven by using a range of strategies designed to encourage customers to talk about your amazing company.

Here are a few examples to consider:

  • Offer refunds to customers for virtually anything because if they didn't get the service they were after, you don't want to take their money. Go after loyal customers who are going to stick with you - people who drift in and out have a significantly lower lifetime value to your business.
  • Ensure queries are dealt with efficiently and professionally.
  • Be proactive about support. Complaints are a gold mine waiting to happen because people using your products and services often have great insight into how you can improve.
  • Take note of complaints. Acknowledge there is room to improve (if there is). Show how you are going to deal with those problems and follow up once they're resolved.

Work hard to reach a positive outcome. Happy customers are often more than willing to share their great experiences. Don't be shy about asking them to do exactly that.

Gathering useful articles from top influencers

Content fatigue, when it comes to finding innovative and creative marketing advice, is becoming a serious time burglar for me.

Marketing explained with cows. Pic by Chris Marchant

It can be a challenge, especially if you're new to the game, understanding what marketing jargon means.

Take an innovative approach to marketing

If you're in the business of making and selling unique stuff then the marketing strategies you use should reflect the creativity of your products in order to reach out to the right people.

Fortunately the Internet is full of the "right people" just waiting to place an order. But your message has to find them in the right place in the right way.

That's why it pays to think creatively about marketing instead of following the pack and doing the same old "tried and tested" things.

Customer service is a great marketing opportunity

Any company that outsources their customer service is being silly, and are inviting competitors to swoop in and pilfer their client base.

Customer service is one of the few real opportunities you have to forge a solid relationship with people. Why on earth would you want to hand it over to someone else (who hides you from the people that sustain your business)?

And while handling customer complaints and queries can seem like a chore, it can be converted into one of the most powerful marketing strategies available to you.

Here's the thing about moving traditional customers online; you have to find innovative marketing strategies and ideas to get them to migrate.

Online lead generation. Pic by Fe Ilya

For sales and marketing people looking to get more leads for their business, the Internet offers great opportunity wrapped up in some interesting challenges.

How to work with social media effectively

Social media marketing is one of those things that most entrepreneurs and small business owners wonder if they really need.

In general, my answer is yes, but I need to qualify that by saying that the amount of time, effort and cash you invest must be proportional to the returns you want (and can realistically achieve).

I serve on the board of a wonderful not-for-profit, registered charity, and we have utilized the tools and technologies provided by the Web, and in particular, social media, to drive visibility, engagement, and awareness that would simply be out of reach otherwise.

"Are you looking for some great content marketing strategies that will help to generate plenty of buzz around your blog posts and articles?"

Content marketing is not only important for getting your content read by other people.

One of its primary purposes is to help establish authority so that your content enjoys high page rankings and gets plenty of organic search traffic from Google.

Sample press release template. Pic by Matthew Guay

The other day I decided to get some coverage in the news - actually, I wanted to get some exposure for a particularly nice bit of research we'd done - and st

7 ways to network effectively

When I started my first company some years ago I placed all my focus on creating a great offering, but almost no effort went into sales and networking. Needless to say that it took an incredibly long time to get off the ground - 6 years in fact.

During that time I learned a lot about how business works, and my focus has shifted almost completely onto sales, marketing and networking.

Nowadays, a good idea with a quality product backed by excellent service is the bare minimum required to succeed. Because there is so much competition (especially online), what sets companies apart these days is how effectively they can network and promote themselves.

Creating viral social media content

For many bloggers, webmasters and entrepreneurs there's nothing quite as exciting as seeing an article or brand mention taking on a life of its own and gener

Be your own free marketing service using the top digital marketing tools.

Take charge of your business' growth. Drive more traffic & engaged visitors. Make better strategic decisions. Convert more. Save money.

Back to Top