July 14, 2022

What Is Word-Of-Mouth Marketing and How to Use It in Your Business

Owner of Brandcitations.com

Advertisement moves product, this statement is absolutely undoubtful. When you want to create the most effective promo-campaign, it doesn’t require many costs because your customers can become your personal promoters. 

Every owner of the business wants his company and product to be known and discussed. But how to make a perfect strategy which will popularize your business? The answer is pretty easy – make your customers be your personal promoters.

Your first thought might have been like, “pay them? That’s stupid!”. No, you do not have to pay them. Moreover, they will even become your steady customers and will bring their friends with them. This type of advertisement is called word-of-mouth marketing (or WOMM).

To begin with, what does it mean?

The definition of the word of mouth marketing looks like this: first of all, this exact type of marketing expects informal forms and ways of oral transmission of information about a service or product from consumer to consumer, as well as to those who distributes this informal information.

“According to the Ikea effect, buyers perceive a product as more valuable if they helped create it.”

In fact, this is the free form of oral or written advertisement, when the consumer tells the other people he knows – or doesn’t know, he may just write a blog post or a post on his social network page to tell, why does he like your product or service. For example, one of the copywriters left feedback for our client at relevanted forum:

Word of mouth is the advertising form, which people tend to trust the most, because the person who recommends anything – a service or product, is not for personal gain.

In other words, people like talking and sharing their opinions, right? If they like something, they will tell their friends, co-workers, relatives or sweethearts how much they adore the thing.

However, it is a double-edged sword: as the statistics say, people tend to share their “dislikes” more than the “likes”.

So if you sell stale buns in your shop or a clerk in the office was rude with a customer, more probably that he will inform about this every single person he knows, and you will lose not only one customer but ten more, and what is sadder – you will lose trust.

In reverse, if the customer gets a good, proper service or product and good servicing, most probably that he won’t leave feedback or tell all of his friends.

It means, that in a word of mouth marketing you can`t only provide your customers with good product and servicing –  you also have to surprise your customer, create something that is called “wow-effect”.

When creating a WOM-advertising campaign, remember: from this point you no longer sell just a service or product, you sell emotions with them.

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust their family and friends recommendations about anything over all forms of advertising. Word Of Mouth Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find out what exactly brands were doing about that fact. It turned out in the recent study that 64% of marketing executives proved that the most effective promotion was of a word of mouth type of marketing. However, only 6% said that they have mastered it. – Forbes, 2015

Creating amazing word of mouth promo-campaign

When talking about customers, business, and word by mouth marketing, remember one important thing: you need to earn trust and get positive feedback. This type of advertising includes offline and online channels of communication with the target audience.

The online channel belongs everything connected to the virtual reality, for example, social networks and blogs. Using this channel, remember about the elements of social media marketing and their usage in advertising. Offline channel expects some “real life” actions. It can be an event for your steady and/or potential customers, some gifts, or discounts, and, of course, real life talks.

If you want to ensure your company’s remarkable success and popularity, while spending a single penny on advertising, you should use both of the channels. Make your customers telling about your production to all their friends, acquaintances, and even passers-by.

A good example of offline activities for online business is Foursquare, an application which was made for collecting feedback about places and sharing opinions about restaurants, cafés, and other public places. They made their app very popular by making usual visits to cafés, places of interests or just movement through a city a real quest with real rewards. It was possible not only become a major of the place, but also get a drink for check-in.

Recently, Foursquare created another app, integrated to Foursquare – Swarm, special for check-ins and communication with friends, while Foursquare functions as a guide and a feedback-collection. The emotional part of Swarm makes people use it to compete with friends, earn coins, and stimulates leaving feedbacks about places they visited.

Repeating the example of Foursquare is not an uncompletable task. All you need is just follow these easy tips.

Let’s begin with the grounds

Analyzing WOM

Begin your work with the research by defining several characteristics of your brand that stimulate word of mouth marketing. These thirteen characteristics are emotional, social, and functional. Remember that in offline promotion social and functional characteristics are prevailing, when in online advertising emotions are really crucial.

The main characteristics:

  1. time of a brand in the marketplace
  2. knowledge about a brand
  3. type of product or service, offered
  4. complexity
  5. differentiation
  6. quality – esteem given to a brand
  7. relevance of a brand for a vide audience
  8. class of production
  9. excitement
  10. visibility
  11. perceived risk
  12. satisfaction
  13. involvement

So, again, what is the word of mouth marketing? Andy Sernovitz, the author of a remarkable book on word of mouth marketing advertising, offers a sufficiently comprehensive and simultaneously simple definition of WOMM:

“Word of mouth is a conversation between ordinary men, which takes place in a most natural way. Word of mouth marketing works when during this conversation there was a discussion about you.”

Word of mouth marketing is based on four simple rules:

  • to be interesting
  • to be simple
  • to make people happy
  • to earn trust and respect

“Your business is the sum of the actions and emotions of interacting with many people. This is the customer experience of your company.”

Communication between the ordinary people is a key component of word of mouth marketing. And another examples of our copywriter’s work confirm it:

Though, which points can help you to make the people talk about your company, service, or product? Why should they even talk about you? There are several reasons for this. Three, if we are more precise.

1. Love the product you create

Cool products, excellent service, or something unique  — it can be anything. The main point is that your customers are delighted with your creations, so they discuss you!

Apple corporation is a good example – this company is one of the most discussed corporation of the world, and even a person who have never owned an iPhone, iPad or other gadgets made by this company knows about it. Why? Because Apple products are made with passion and love, the owners put an idea to the concept, so they are so cool that everybody wants to discuss them.

2. Make your customers feel important, smart, useful

No matter how rational we pretend to be, the roles of emotions in our lives cannot be downplayed. Show your clients that using stories (storytelling, you remember?) about your company they can become part of them, and help all their friends to find the solution in their lives.

Emphasize their importance to your business — invite they to your presentations, private events and ask for their help

3. Participation

After purchasing your product, a customer becomes a member of the new community automatically, and he tries on all the values and ideas that it carries. Try to make so that the client of your company was united into a certain subculture so that they will feel themselves a part of the group. Chatting with the people who share the same thoughts and values (it’s you!) he will become your devoted fan, and together with the others, they will create a real army of the fans.

Amazing idea for Internet-business: give your customers links to some special, only-for-clients content, which only the people who ordered something have link for. If you have an online-store, share some unique souvenirs with your steady clients, or invite them to participate in testing of new products – apps or games. They will be delighted to be the first to try your creation.

Key components of the word of mouth marketing

Word of mouth marketing includes 5 general elements, without which it won’t work, as you want to see the real results:

1. Participants of the discussion

As the conversation is the essence of word of mouth marketing, you need to get the idea of the image of the person you will be talking to  – define your target audience and get contacts with these people. The first step is to answer the following questions:

  • who are these speakers?
  • with whom you want to speak?
  • what they will talk over?
  • how and where they can be found?

Speakers can be found among your steady customers, as well as among those who just first appealed to you. Also, you should look at your employees — how often do they praise your company. The speakers also include those people who can agree to support you by having your media production: users of your logo branded products (t-shirts, caps, backpacks, etc.).

It also may be mass media, especially of professional sphere. Also define those speakers, who can be (or already are) opinion-leaders of the industry, where your business makes an activity.

Defining your speakers need to understand how much they are reputable, and what can be the number of their audiences. And don’t forget that the quality is much more important than quantity.

A speaker with a small audience but of high authority will be much more useful than the thousands of speakers who are lack of required level of trust.

As soon as you have identified who have to be your speakers, check, and contact them. Are they contacted? Then move to the next step — give them the topics of conversation about you.

“The more information you provide to the speakers, the more they say about you.”

2. Topics

A good subject is obliged to be simple, natural, unusual, and unexpected, and, most importantly, easy for distribution. The topic must be viral.

“Be interesting or be invisible.”

How to understand that the topic is hot? It is hardly possible to judge with confidence, but if you try this every day, some kind of topics definitely will be successful. Trials and errors work here better as nowhere else.

Thinking over a topic, ask questions such as these:

  • will you tell your friends about this?
  • what will you say?
  • who will talk with?
  • how to increase the number of listeners?

Replying, you will be able to identify all the flaws and pitfalls easily, and eliminate them and solve the problems. You can even invent a brand-new, better idea.

“Remember the general rule: what looks good in a press release, brochure or advertising, will not do as the theme of word of mouth marketing”

Tip for online-business: viral videos can increase traffic on your page. Moreover, you can link a video to the link on your landing page. Many companies, not only online, practice these methods, especially of sportswear (Nike, Adidas). Sharing the video on their pages, people share the information about you.

3. Tools

It is foolish just sitting idly and waiting until your business will be talked over. Make the first step. Ask the people to say something to you about. For example, post on the website the button “Share” or “Tell-a-friend”. Social media buttons also work for the word of mouth marketing purposes, so do not ignore them.

Another instrument that will help you to increase the number of conversations about you can be a common e-mail marketing. With the right distribution you can feed your speakers with new topics and news about your production, and they, in return, will spread them throughout the audience.

Blocks “Most popular”, “this product is very good” or “reader’s choice” are splendid tools of word of mouth marketing. There is a psychology of “the others liked it, so I should try”.

4. Reply

Participate in the conversations concerning you. Thanks for the kind words in feedbacks, answer the questions, solve the problems, or just socialize. The main point — speak openly. So you call more trust and respect than anonymous, hiding behind an avatar with a cat.

If you find out that the reviews and feedbacks about your business are not flattering, full of negativity and complaints, try to deal with them constructively, to offer help in order to make every effort so that a problem was fixed. Trust me, clients whom you have helped will be spreading positive information word of mouth about you even more than those who were pleased with everything and left satisfied.

“Problem-solving is the most powerful marketing technique at your disposal.”

Example: service FreshBook  always sends new-registered users a nice letter where they tell them about the possibilities of their site.

Amazon, a popular online-store, does monitoring and answers the feedback, especially negative, and solves the problems their customers have. By the way, Amazon is very attentive to their customers, and their careful service makes them so popular.

5. Tracking

Monitoring is a necessity. And with the appearing of the Internet in our lives, it became easier than ever before. Just using a Google, you can see hundreds of results with reviews about your company.

Having carefully considered the content of feedbacks, you can calculate the index of your reputation: subtract a number of negative responses from the number of positive (neutral does not count). This difference will be an indication of reputation.

“Negative reviews are your chance. Listen to them and make conclusions.”

Online promotion

Online-promo channel expects the usage of storytelling in blogs, forums, posts on Facebook, Twitter and other places where virtual life bubbles over. But with the advent and rapid development of online communications, companies have realized that this entire stream of conversations can be controlled and directed in a favorable direction.

In online channels of the word of mouth, the best kind of advertising is social media marketing with the viral effects. Use main social networks, SMM elements and marketing buzz. Viral effect is an extremely important tool in the word of mouth advertising. Some businessmen think that there is no point in it, because it annoys people, so they should avoid viral effects.

However, it is really effective, and can’t be not only bothering but also useful and entertaining. Create some nice flash game, release special software, or write an e-book with useful advice. These things may create under market, which will not only attract the people but also will bring you extra money.

In social media, you should create “marketing buzz”.

What is “marketing buzz” – a term used in viral marketing — means the interaction of consumers and users of a product or service which amplifies or alters the original marketing message. This emotion, energy, excitement, or anticipation about a product or service can be positive or negative. – Wikipedia

Buzz can be made by special marketing activities of the brand owner, or it can be the result of an independent event that rises public awareness through traditional or social media.

Originally marketing buzz referred to oral communication and was used as a PR instrument but during the age of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram they are the main communication channels for marketing buzz now.

Offline channel

While creating offline promotion, you should think about interesting events which will be attractive to your target audience. Try some special event for your customers only, encourage steady clients with gifts and discounts, or make an event for your potential customers. Don’t forget about usefulness and emotions.

Word of mouth advertising advantages

Word of mouth marketing is effective, and this fact cannot be denied. Here are just some of the advantages that he will be the reward for your company:

  • clients come to you
  • low spending
  • rumors make free advertising
  • makes the traditional advertising more effective
  • employee productivity increases
  • the flow of customers increases
  • the quality of customer service increases
  • the company is growing, the brand is gaining strength

“The conversation has already begun. You have only one option — to join the discussion.”

In conclusion, what are the general points:

  • Monitoring what people talk about your business
  • Engage customers and potential customer in product-related and brand discussions
  • Creating effective strategies of communication with natural word-of mouth effect increased and measured
  • Finding opinion-leaders and people who can be involved in sharing and creating your stories
  • Generating buzz by viral marketing and activities
  • Involving people and their social networks for all possible marketing goals
  • Links with social media, especially “share” or “tell-to-friend” buttons
  •  Making people happy

So no matter if your business is offline or online – there is also a place for word of mouth advertising. No matter if you want to repeat the success of Foursquare with your new useful application, or make your online-store as popular as Amazon, just follow these tips, and probably you not only attract more customers, but also invent your own way to make people discuss you.

And some information from marketing exterts:

In addition, we have written about brand awareness in our blog.

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