What is word of mouth marketing? What are some of the strategies you can employ? Can social media and word of mouth be incorporated together?
Of course, word of mouth is not something that is strange or new to us. Have you heard people talking about their emotions, experience, needs, brands or products and services? If your answer is YES, then you got the meaning of word-of-mouth with you. Always, you will find people communicating in many ways: through telephone calls, emails, face to face interaction, blogs and so on. However, more importantly, all channels of communications will directly or indirectly use word-of-mouth.
So in a simple way, this marketing strategy is about a consumer talking to a consumer about certain goods and services instead of the marketer doing the talking. The role of a marketer is put out an idea worth talking about among consumers.
Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is also known as word of mouth advertising. Researches have shown that WOMM is the most powerful tool in the marketing race. This kind of marketing is usually encouraged or influenced by organizations. This may include rewarding regular customers, employing WOM agents and putting word of mouth messages in your websites.
Generally, it will involve:
- People monitoring what is being said for marketing purposes
- Building up communication strategies that will provide ground to enhance and use word-of-mouth
- People and their social networks are involved for the possible marketing goals
- Promotion of viral marketing and activities to generate buzz
- Engaging consumers and product users in brand and product related discussions
Some of the subcategories of word of mouth includes:
Just be sure that your business has taken a good turn if your marketing strategy is mostly based WOMM. So what you will need to ask yourself for this case is, how will you make your word it more effective or successful?
You will only be convinced that this method of marketing is effective when consumers will start to talk about your business or brand. However, before making any progress, you must understand that generating consumers to talk about your business is not easy. You must create buzz marketing. Again, it is equally important to bear in mind that, the goal of your business always is not just to create customers, is to have customers who will also create customers. This is what can make your business perfect.
Since it can make a customer to consider your product or brand in a way that other forms of marketing cannot, we need to make it more effective. So below are some of the word of mouth marketing ideas for your brand or product:
a. Create a proper referral program
All referrals programs will vary in their strategies but they are always set to perform the same function-they have the same intention. You should be able to convince your customers to refer to their friends. You can achieve this by starting to offer some discounts to your loyal customers who will refer your product or service. Go ahead make them feel part of your business. This way, they will be encouraged to advocate for your product or brand hence leading to a positive impact in your WOMM.
b. Earn trust and respect
For people to talk positively about your company, they must trust and like it. Remember nobody will rest their prestige on a company that will embarrass them in front of their friend. Again, you cannot earn worth WOMM if you are not respected.
c. Understand the industry
It is possible that some industries are more likely to benefit from referrals than others are. Therefore, as a good businessperson, do a good research to determine the average referral rate for your industry and try to uplift it to your preferred standards. You must bear in mind that, the referral rate of your brand will depend on several comparison aspects among many industries; therefore, you should strive towards making your industry the best. Do something different.
d. Find out the progress of the buzz
You should always find out whether your word of mouth marketing is creating any buzz or not. Once you discover that there is no buzz being created, actually there must be a good reason behind this condition. So you should, by all means, try to identify the gaps and fill them accordingly. There might be a possibility that you receive referrals but you don’t keep customers due to poor service offered. Find out the possible problem and fix it out.
e. Opt for hosting community events
Hosting community event will create an excellent ground for your loyal customers to refer their friends and neighbors. You will encourage people to spread the word about your business by creating bigger networks. Most of the time, you will see big companies hosting ball games tournaments or even inviting music celebrities to entertain the certain community. The secret behind this is to enhance buzz marketing.
f. Keep close contact with your customers
Take your time to talk to your customers every day and find out their satisfaction levels. This will make them feel more special. Remember when a customer is close to you, he/she will let you know their levels of satisfaction with the product or the service you offered to them. This will help you define the needed adjustments. So engaging your customers will add momentum and ensure success.
g. Let your customers know your awesome origin story
How do you think people will react if they know how and why you built your company, how you developed your product or brand? Actually they will be more likely to feel more emotionally connected to your business. So you should promote this kind of connection by telling the story of your company, product or brand on your website. This should be accompanied by photos or even interesting tidbits. These details will trigger extra community involvement into your business.
h. Selling your swag
It is important to note that great swag can catch the attention of many people. So creating your unique swag will make your brand to attract many customers. Branded T-shirts, notes books, plastic bags among others will enhance conversations of your product/brand out there.
i. Spread your business cards
To further promote it, you should give out business cards to your friends, family members and any other person. Ask them to also spread the cards to any person who could benefit from your product or service.
j. Program classes where you can teach about your business.
Companies or businesspeople will bring attention to their business and transform their products and services by teaching classes. Let us, in this case, consider for example someone who is a music producer. You know, when he/she offers music production classes, He/she can catch the attention of many people who will thereafter talk about the music production business.
k. Treat your employees well
Sometimes, this marketing strategy will not only come from your customers but also it may be initiated by your employees. Remember when you really value your employees, they will be likely to invite or encourage their friends and families to like your product or service too. The opposite of this may lead to negative impacts on your business.
l. You should work with bloggers
Another incredible idea is working with bloggers. Local bloggers will be able to share their thoughts about your product or service with loyal readers or even their friends. You should reach out to bloggers in order to enhance your service or product awareness and popularity among a certain group. You should, therefore, liaise with bloggers to sponsor some blog post. Believe me, this will help you increase the effectiveness of your WOMM.
m. Target a crowd-sourced content
You should always encourage your customers to share their experiences through crowd-sourced media content. Again, you should come up with hashtags to provide legal ground for your customers to share the experiences about your business.
n. Partner with other brands
You should consider partnering with other brands so that you can support each other to develop an effective WOMM. It very important to choose a business that will be able to expand your customer base in a positive direction. You should exchange ideas and come up with referral programs that will benefit both companies.
Benefits of word of mouth marketing
As we have said before WOM, has attracted the attention of many consumers and many marketers have immensely adopted the use of this tool. This has been made possible by the several benefits of WOM. Here are some of the major benefits of WOM:
a. WOM seem to be more reliable
This reason which renders this kind of marketing more reliable is the fact that, the advice consumers get from their friends or family members is much reliable than if they could receive the same from the sellers. The way customers will receive the advice can sometimes go the digital way-it can be done through blogs and social networks. The most important role of a marketer in the case of social media is to get the opinion leaders. You should note that working with opinion leaders online is very important for online marketing.
b. WOM can be easily managed
Due to the fact that it is uncontrollable because of its interpersonal and restricted controllable character, businesspeople can easily manage it. All you need to do is to put in place the strategies that will make WOM marketing more effective. You should bear in mind that word of mouth marketing can be good or bad depending on the strategies you set for it.
c. WOM marketing is connected to digital society network
The success of word of mouth has been influenced by the online communication channels. So you can imagine how the coming of media and communication means has significantly accelerated the speed in which the message is being shared among customers or consumers. Another thing that contributes towards its success is the fact that the cost of online communication is relatively lower.
d. WOM is focused on the customer needs
When customers talk among themselves, actually they will decide what to talk about. Therefore WOM will occur between people with common economic ground-customers with cars will only share their experience with those who want to purchase a car. So you can see the message is more specific and focused. This renders word of mouth marketing an answer in a client-oriented economy.
e. Word of mouth accelerates the purchase process
Word of mouth will accelerate the decision process in the area of purchase due to the trust that customers have in the person that they will be talking to. Acceleration of purchase process will lead to more sales making WOM to gain more power.
Who can employ it
It is true that any businessperson can employ it-whether holding small or large business. But what is very important is to visibly understand and well establish your strategies. If your in-house employees have the skills to help you employ it then well and good. But when you are not satisfied with their progress, then you can go ahead and hire outside WOM marketing agencies to offer you the same service. Many word of mouth marketing agencies has been created to do the same. So if you have the capacity to hire any agency then you can go ahead.
Some of the Businesses that hire the service of WOM marketing agencies include companies that sell:
- Consumer products
- Farms products
- Children’s gear
Social media and word of mouth marketing
Is social media marketing a form of word of mouth marketing? Sincerely, there is a very thin between these two marketing strategies. You will hear many people say that social media is digital WOMM. Many types of research on the other hand, have proved that small businesses have rated social media and WOM marketing as their best tools in their marketing race.
Actually, WOMM cannot be rendered to really the original social media platform. According to marketingterms.com, this method has been in place before the advent of the internet and is widely touted as the most effective form of marketing. But we have to understand that that WOMM method that basically relies on casual social interaction to promote a product.
You see, a consumer or a customer will be more likely to trust and believe in something that will come from someone he/she knows or respects unlike if it comes from some sources like print adverts. Coming from online social media has made word of mouth marketing to be more powerful than before.
As a businessperson, you should understand that the factors that trigger and enhance effective word of mouth marketing are just around you. All you need is to do develop positive attitudes and be open-minded on how you consider things around your business.
Buzz-this is a term used in word-of-mouth marketing which is described as the interaction of consumers and users of products or service implied to amplify original marketing message.
Viral marketing-These are buzzwords referring to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to increase brand awareness and to achieve other marketing objectives.