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We assume that because we live in the digital age that the only marketing channel that is effective is online. Whilst online marketing has its place, ditching offline marketing, including word of mouth, means missing out on powerful marketing mediums. How can you make this work in your favour? 
 
Is word of mouth still powerful in marketing? 
Advocacy, or recommending businesses to others, is as powerful today as it ever was. We know from our own online buying habits that when it comes to making a purchase, we spend time researching not just the right products and services but the right company to buy them from. 
 
Poor online reviews out people off, just as someone telling a tale of poor service or shoddy products from a company will often prevent customers beating a path to their door. The reverse is also true, with 92% of people claiming they are more likely to trust recommendations from other people when buying from a company
Referral programmes are nothing new and are used by businesses across all industries, large and small. The concept is simple: once a customer has made a purchase a company will offer a further incentive to them and a friend if they recommend their products and said friend makes a purchase. 
 
It feels like a win-win situation, but you may be concerned that these kinds of referral schemes make you annoying or desperate for trade. Far from it, or so the research suggests. The majority of customers are happy to recommend a business when they’ve enjoyed a great experience with them. 
 
How to harness the power of word of mouth 
Just like other areas of your marketing, you’ll need a strategy that ensures you not only identified the relevant channel but also drive word of mouth marketing to your advantage. 
 
#1 Make connections 
Possibly the single most important factor in word of mouth marketing is making connections. From local networking business chapters to working hard to make a connection with each and every customer, the better the impression someone has of your business and brand, the more likely they are to talk about you. 
Aside from putting your brand out there, you need to take a forensic look at customer service and your marketing and sales funnels. 
 
2. Formalise it 
Word of mouth is both informal – the one-off conversations that we don’t necessarily get to witness – and the more formalised approach of customer referral schemes. There are many different examples but the key to success is making any scheme rewarding, fun and, most importantly, simple for customers to use. 
 
3. Keep working on it 
One-off or occasional rewards don’t work. Customer loyalty needs to be maintained and that means making sure that there are rewards and recognition for people sticking with you. From early access to sales to upgraded benefits and discounts, there are many ways you can ‘look after’ your most loyal customers. 
Word of mouth marketing is still relevant in the modern marketplace and by not harnessing it, both the informal and formal aspects, your brand is missing out on a powerful marketing channel. 
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