What is Word of Mouth Marketing?
Word of mouth marketing is a tactic used to generate natural discussions about and recommendations for a product or company. Essentially, getting people to talk about your brand, product, or business is the goal of this type of marketing.
Everyone wants people talking about their products, because those conversations are what drive business. According to Nielsen, 92% of global consumers say they trust recommendations and information from family and friends above any other form of advertising. And that percentage has risen 18% in five years, since 2007. That’s a big jump and suggests that word of mouth can drive more sales than other advertising media.
Creating Word of Mouth
Given how valuable such conversations are, what can a small business do to get more to happen naturally? There are a number of tactics. Here are a few that have been found to work:
- Show your current customers how much you appreciate them, with a small gift that fits your brand or product
- Develop an interesting story about your company or products, why it was started, why you believe in what you do – something that others will want to retell
- Create shareable content that is useful or funny or controversial, that people will want to share
- Make sharing your content easy, with share buttons on your website
- Create incentives for your customers to share information or special deals with their friends
- Give new customers who have been referred a little something extra, too
- Schedule special events for your customers and invite them to bring a friend
- Build an ad campaign that gets people talking about your product and your brand
Building a Business Worth Talking About
Of course, these tactics won’t work unless you’ve created a business that gives people reasons to talk about it. That means designing in awe and delight. How can you do that? Here are some ideas:
- Remember names – The more you can make each customer feel special and valued, the more likely they will be to tell others about their experience.
- Give more than expected – That might mean throwing in a little freebie with every purchase, upgrading a level of service “just because,” or sending over a free dessert or amuse bouche to every lunch patron. Good surprises get people talking.
- Add a special feature inside your store – A water sports store could add a wave pool, a shoe store could offer free frozen yogurt while customers try shoes on, or a bookstore could install a print-on-demand kiosk.
- Include an activity – That could be an in-store workshop or a live demonstration or a trunk show or a celebrity event that customers are invited to. Get customers excited about coming to your store, and wanting to talk about it on social media.
Word of mouth marketing really comes down to delighting prospects and customers and encouraging them – or incentivizing them – to help attract like-minded customers.