When it comes to building your public brand image, it pays to have good word-of-mouth marketing. After all, what could be better than free publicity straight from the horse’s (or in this case, customer’s) mouth? The truth is that nothing is more impactful than spreading positive sentiment about your business and reaching out to potential customers.
What Is ‘Word-Of-Mouth’ Marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing can be defined in a few different ways. Investopedia defines it as: “When a consumer’s interest in a company’s product or service is reflected in their daily dialogues.” In other words, when your customers talk about your business with other people, especially people who are not currently your customers, that’s word-of-mouth marketing.
Word-of-mouth marketing comes in many forms, including person-to-person referrals. But even when word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t result in a referral, positive interpersonal dialogue about your brand still increases brand recognition and overall perception.
While it is more difficult to invest in word-of-mouth marketing directly, it has many unique advantages that other types of marketing do not have. Here are some of the biggest benefits.
Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Is Powerful
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of advertising and can be directly credited for $6 trillion of annual consumer spending and 13% of consumer sales. It’s also more powerful than paid digital ads, quintupling the amount in sales.
Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Is Trustworthy
It shouldn’t be surprising that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other form of advertising. Considering that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, word-of-mouth marketing is truly the most trusted form of advertising among consumers.
Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Is Free
While incentive programs can certainly drive word-of-mouth marketing, it is also often free. In fact, 78% of people voluntarily share praise about their favorite recent experiences at least once a week. Imagine the boost in your business if your 5 best customers consistently tell their friends and family about how much they love your business every week! Research suggests this is entirely possible under the right circumstances.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing Can Create Ripples
Even if a customer’s positive feedback about your business doesn’t result in a referral right away, it can still create positive dialogue surrounding your business.
For example, let’s say you run a sandwich shop, and one of your regulars tells their sister you “have really great sandwiches.”
Perhaps this sister doesn’t like sandwiches, but the next time she’s with her friends and they pass your shop, she might mention the good things she’s heard about your business. Maybe 2 or 3 of her friends might decide to give your place a try, then they recommend it to their friends and family. That ripple effect then carries further and further over time, creating positive buzz about your sandwich shop with no extra effort on your part.
You Can Encourage More Referrals
If you want to encourage your customers to make more referrals in a tangible way, you need a great incentive program. These strategies can vary depending on your industry, offerings, and what you’re trying to accomplish, but you should plan carefully and have a system in place to maintain consistency.
By investing in your word-of-mouth marketing, you can take your business to the next level in a reliable, trustworthy, low-cost, and powerful way. So, take some time to think carefully about how to improve your overall person-to-person referral strategy and best reward your most loyal customers.