I have a serious question for you:
How would you like for your current customers… and even strangers… to share your business with the world? 🌎
This sharing process gets you not just quality leads, but also sales in a short amount of time.
Any business owner will want this kind of result.
I know this might sound over-the-top, but yes — it is possible through Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM).
We’re going to do a deep dive into this powerful strategy in this article.
Keep reading to learn more.
Word of Mouth Marketing Definition
Word of mouth marketing is essentially free advertising done by your audience. And it happens when people are impressed by you — your service, product, or content.
First, one person spreads the word about your business with their close circle of friends… then those friends spread the word with more people. Before you realize it, you’ve gone viral. 😮
I Never Fully Understood the Power of WOM Until This Happened...
I want to share a personal story that happened a few years back. It changed my perception of word of mouth.
In the past, I’ve used Google Adwords to drive a ton of traffic into my business. (It drove over 90% of my website traffic.) That was amazing... until Google decided to change its algorithm.
As you may have guessed, my business took a nosedive.
This all happened overnight.
You see, the problem with putting all your traffic on the hands of the few major platforms online (like Google) is that it puts your business at risk.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use them! But I’m trying to make a point that relying heavily on one platform for growing your business is a mistake.
That’s when I realized the power of WOM.
Because as long as people keep talking about your business, you continue to get customers. Online algorithm changes won’t matter as much.
The Importance of Word of Mouth Marketing
Word of mouth marketing works for the following reasons:
People trust the recommendations of family and friends more than advertisements. This is based on Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report.
Interestingly, the report said that “Global respondents that trust the opinions of friends and family say that they take action on these opinions at least some of the time (83% each).”
A piece of information holds more value if it is shared by those that a person already trusts.
#2 Continuous sales
You gain sales from those whom your customers refer. And if those newly referred customers love your brand enough to refer you to their friends, that could mean additional sales.
# 3 Long term growth
Referred customers also tend to stay with brands longer compared to those who discover brands through other methods. These loyal customers will also keep spreading your message for as long as they’re around.
You don’t need to have a big marketing budget to build buzz when you can do it through a solid word of mouth marketing strategy.
As long as you have a product, service, or message that resonates with your audience from the start, they will promote you for free.
Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies
Now that you know the benefits of word of mouth marketing, it’s time you take some action. Below, we’ve outlined a list of word of mouth marketing ideas and techniques that will take your business to the next level.
1. Start with quality + value.
The first tip step to triggering word of mouth is to create a top-quality product or service. If what you’re offering exceeds their expectations, it naturally sells itself. And while it’s high-quality, it should provide value to their lives.
A great example would be Legion Beats’ campaign at UpViral. This music production company sells high-quality beats.
Because of the immense value that these products brought to Legion Beats’ audience — singers and rappers — they immediately took advantage when those beats were offered as a contest prize.
Legion Beats ended up getting nearly 42,000 leads and $20,000 in sales. Read the full case study here.
2. Involve people on an emotional level.
Heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge?
You probably were aware of it or even participated in the challenge. It was a campaign to raise awareness and donations for the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The whole act might seem like a prank, but the concept behind it was meaningful.
How it worked:
Participants would pour a bucket of ice-cold water over themselves or have someone do it to them while filming the scene. Next, they would nominate their friends to do the same. Nominees were given 24 hours to complete the challenge. If not, they would donate to the ALS Association.
This entire movement got celebrities amped up. Adam Levine, for example.
It sparked word-of-mouth instantly because it pulled people’s emotional levers.
Not only did it look fun and exciting to do on the outside, but it also inspired others to help raise awareness and feel good about themselves.
Bottom line: People share content that triggers strong emotions (like fighting a disease, saving others, or making a difference in the world).
3. Run a referral contest or giveaway.
For businesses that are just starting out (including those with ZERO traffic), competitions effectively encourage word of mouth.
Have people refer their friends to your contest or giveaway in exchange for points and a higher chance of winning your prize. Give away a free item from your store or the service that you offer.
Offer your audience options to share on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
You can use UpViral to create a referral campaign from scratch.
UpViral lets you set-up beautiful landing pages and rewards, assign points for social interaction and other custom actions, send email reminders to your participants, and track the results of your campaigns. See the demo right here.
In fact, some of our UpViral users have been able to hold a sale at the end of their campaign which helped them gain new customers.
David Fraser of Bunkie Life did this and generated $300,000 in sales.
4. Leverage customer reviews.
Customer reviews are unbiased opinions from individuals who’ve experienced your product or service. These customer reviews play an important role in influencing other people’s perception of a business.
Best of all? They amplify word-of-mouth marketing.
Here are ways to leverage the positive reviews that you already have as a marketing tool:
- Showcase them in your email campaigns - This is especially useful when you’re promoting a campaign (like a workshop or webinar) via email. A snapshot of a customer’s honest review will leave your subscribers curious.
- Feature them on your website - Product pages, blog posts, and your homepage are strategic places to embed your customers’ reviews.
- Use them in your Facebook ad content - Consider adding a great customer review to your ad copy. It would be an effective tactic for building trust in your ad. Here’s an example from Pawstruck (screenshot below):
5. Take advantage of the time of the year
While word of mouth has no seasonality (because people will always talk about your business whenever they want to), holidays are a great time to amplify it.
This is especially true if you have a seasonal type of product. For example, winter jackets, wreaths, and swimwear.
During holidays, people often hang out with their loved ones and have conversations. There’s a lot of word of mouth happening during these times.
Make sure that you maximize these opportunities to establish your brand presence. One way to do it is to run referral contests!
Word of mouth increases your brand recognition and long-term growth. The fact that people will always share information and take advice from those whom they know and trust, is a good reason to start spending your time investing in WOM.
How have you been increasing WOM for your business? Got ideas to share? Write them in the comments section below!