Word of mouth advertising has always been one of the best forms of marketing. It has always worked, and it still works best. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends more than advertising.
Because ads are not considered trustworthy. As much as 84% of millennials reported that they don’t trust traditional advertising. Over 236 million desktop users worldwide were using adblock plugins in 2016 which cost users a whopping $41.4 billion. The number one reason why people use adblockers is that ads are annoying or irrelevant.
Recommendations from friends and family, on the other hand, are considered trustworthy because the person suggesting a product or a brand has no stake in the business. A consumer who received exceptional experience from your brand will share it with friends and family without you having to ask for it. And it works.
What exactly is word of mouth advertising, why it is important, and how you can influence your brand’s worth of mouth advertising are the major topics covered below.
What is Word of Mouth Advertising?
Thorsten defines it as:
“Any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customers about a product or company, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions…”
People talk about products and their experience (good or bad) with others. It’s something natural. We all do it. You can’t control word of mouth marketing and advertising, it is sure to come. What you can control is what consumers say about your product or brand.
Happy customers who have had a great experience with your brand will become ambassadors and will promote your products. This is what brands need to do – create as many happy customers as possible. And leave the rest on them.
When one customer shares his experience with another, it soon transforms into a chain reaction. The beauty of word of mouth is that it grows naturally at an amazing speed.
The best thing about word of mouth advertising is that it increases brand trust and loyalty. People trust people more than ads. When your potential customer will get recommendations about your product form multiple friends, it will improve your brand image.
Importantly, word of mouth spreads like fire. It creates a buzz immediately. Imagine a customer posting his positive review of your product on Facebook with more than 1500 friends. Even if one percent of his friends share the review on their timelines, it will translate into 15 reviews – all honest and authentic.
Tactics to Improve Word of Mouth Advertising
Word of mouth works pretty much on autopilot. It doesn’t mean you should leave it completely on your customers. You need to use different tactics to supercharge your word of mouth campaigns so as to reach a wider audience across multiple channels.
Here are the best practices and tactics to take word of mouth advertising to a new level:
1. Share Customer Testimonials
Encourage customers to share their testimonials. Reach out to existing customers and ask them to share their experiences. A single email can bring lots of customer testimonials that you can share on your website, blog, social media, press releases, and other channels.
Here is an example of how Life BEAM shares customer testimonials on Facebook:
The thing is not all the customers bother sharing their reviews. You must reach out to them to get their review. Compensate them for their time and effort. These reviews are very helpful in generating positive word of mouth.
You also need to find and share testimonials from third-party websites such as Yelp, Google Maps, and niche review sites. You need to share these customer testimonials with your target audience. This is how word of mouth will work for your brand.
2. Focus on User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content (UGC) plays an essential role in word of mouth advertising. Potential buyers find user-generated content 9.8x more impactful than influencer generated content when making a purchase decision.
UGC includes all types of content including:
- Videos and photos
- Hashtag campaigns
- Reviews and customer testimonials
- Facebook group
Here is an example of how Sephora creates and showcases UGC in a style:
It has developed a massive community of customers where they share photos, videos, ask questions, and more.
You can create a similar community for your brand and generate content that people will read, share, and engage with. Nothing works better than UGC for word of mouth advertising.
Where to begin?
Start targeting millennials if they are part of your target audience because millennials contribute as much as 70% of all user-generated content on the internet. Target them, invite them to your community, and compensate them to actively participate in the community.
3. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Nothing beats customer loyalty program when it comes to positive word of mouth marketing. As much as 52% of consumers will join a loyalty program of a brand they are loyal with.
A customer loyalty program will reward customers for recommending your product to their friends and family. Dropbox used this strategy which helped it grow by a whopping 3900% and it acquired 4 million users in as low as 4 months.
It’s a simple referral program that rewards current customers to invite their friends. Creating a reward program like this can turn the tables for your business. It will work on full autopilot.
Here is how to create a customer loyalty/reward program for your business:
- Create a simple point or reward system for customers.
- Make it easy to invite/share your product with friends. It should be a single click feature.
- Try different rewards and figure out what works best for your customers.
- Use a tier system to keep customers engaged.
- Share your reward program with customers regularly.
- Create a community around your loyalty program.
Word of mouth advertising isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It will stay for years to come because it is one of the natural marketing techniques. You can’t ignore it because no matter what, your customers will talk about their experience. You can’t stop them.
It’s better to take control of what they say and how they say it. Start implementing the word of mouth techniques covered above to manage it smartly.