— July 17, 2019
In digital marketing where the landscape is changing at the drop of dime, it’s important for marketers to lean on proven strategies – like how to create word-of-mouth marketing buzz – rather than staying on top of the latest trend that might negatively impact your bottom line, and eat up many of your resources.
When everything is available to us at our fingertips, it’s easy for businesses to get caught up in the many marketing avenues the web has to offer. Successful marketers know that chasing the trend du jour only serves as a distraction of time, money, and not to mention, resources. While things like social media advertising and email marketing are still great tools, the single most powerful way to reach more people and turn those prospects into paying customers is through word-of-mouth marketing.
A good word-of-mouth marketing strategy has the opportunity to deliver something that resonates with your brand and customers, is evergreen, and grows more valuable over time.
The Playbook on How to Create Word-of-Mouth Buzz
So how can brands harness the power of word-of-mouth to gain new leads, valuable traffic, and new leads?
1. Find the right word-of-mouth strategy for your brand
Digital marketing, and especially social marketing, is actually a form of word-of-mouth marketing. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook are all just different forms of the same foolproof tool. But how do you stay “on trend” while sticking to your budget?
Constantly iterate and strategically invest.
Find a word-of-mouth marketing strategy – such as, a referral program – that works for your brand and truly adopt it to match your overall business goals.
Let’s say you recruit 100 passionate brand ambassadors and each of those 100 people has their own network of 1,000 people. Every time one of those ambassadors shares information about your brand, it reaches everyone within their network, ultimately extending your reach to an additional 100,000 people. All of this without having to pay for additional advertising. Plus, given the statistics on how much more likely people are to purchase based on recommendations, this increased reach will be much more lucrative in terms of sales potential.
Take Ria Financial, for example. Over the course of 25+ years, one of the biggest drivers of growth for the company was good, old fashioned word-of-mouth. So when Ria began to build out its digital business, incorporating referral marketing technology was a no-brainer. At scale, the company expected referrals to become the engine driving its new customer acquisition efforts, ideally at a low CPA and with minimal customer service issues. To reach that goal, Ria made the strategic decision to invest in a referral marketing platform. Three months later, Ria acquired thousands of new customers and generated a large stream of referrals.
Clearly, word-of-mouth marketing works. But that isn’t always enough. Just kicking off a program and walking away will rarely deliver scalable results of that caliber. As with most marketing initiatives, nurturing is a must.
2. Connect personally with your audience
When people see ads on TV, on billboards, in magazines or online, they know those ads are being manufactured by the company behind them. A recommendation, on the other hand, even from a person who isn’t a friend or family member, is perceived to be unbiased, making it more believable and trustworthy.
In fact, a study2 by Jay Baer showed that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know directly, and even anonymous reviewers have a 70% trust rate when they post online about a brand.
Use your brand’s social channels to join the conversation your customers and potential customers are already having about you. The more people trust the opinions of others, the more your sales should increase.
According to Hubspot, 71% of consumers said they would be much more likely to make a purchase based on a recommendation, compared to just 7% that would purchase without such a recommendation. That means if you’ve got a crowd of fans who are passionate about your brand and willing to share that passion with others, your sales will statistically go up just based on that word-of-mouth push.
3. Don’t post-and-pray or set-it-and-forget-it
Word-of-mouth marketing needs to be treated like every other marketing strategy – which means, you need to set goals and measure success. Whether that’s brand awareness from social, revenue generated from referrals, engagement from influencers, or conversions from affiliates – setting clear expectations and analyzing the program is crucial to word-of-mouth success.
Which brings us to partnering with the right technology. Many vendors fall short when it comes to providing the metrics necessary to determine word-of-mouth success.
Inflated statistics and misleading numbers can pull the wool over a brand’s eyes, but access and visibility to real data and metrics are a must-have when reviewing platforms. By trusting a technology partner that provides insights that includes shares, clicks, referrals, and most importantly, revenue generated, brands that are able to see the true value in word-of-mouth platforms will ultimately gain the best results.
Happy customers that love your product or service enough and are willing to spread the word about your brand are much more likely to be repeat customers. It goes beyond that, though. The buyers that brand ambassadors influence also tend to be more loyal, long-term customers. In turn, as these customers strap in for the long haul, many of them will also take up the cause and become an advocate for your company.
So, the cycle is self-perpetuating.
While there are certainly plenty of options available to you when developing an online marketing strategy, none of these options are as powerful and effective as word-of-mouth. The more buzz you can generate about your brand, the more success and growth you will continue to realize and that buzz begins with passionate brand ambassadors.