How to Get Happy Customers to Promote Your Business Through Word-of-Mouth Marketing
If someone has ever complimented your outfit and you told them about your favourite restaurant or clothing brand, you already know what word-of-mouth marketing is and how powerful it can be.
Did your friends and family follow what you told them to do? Maybe they became regular customers themselves and told their friends and family about it.
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to market something. It happens when a brand impresses a customer so much that they tell their friends. Even though these conversations may seem out of a business’s control and may even backfire (customers won’t hesitate to say bad things about brands that give them a bad experience), there are several things you can do to get people talking about your business in a good way.
Amplified word-of-mouth (WOM) is when marketers run campaigns to encourage or speed up conversations that happen naturally among their existing customers.
Word of Mouth Marketing: Creating an Effective Strategy
Make a great first impression.
The best way to get people to talk about you is to give them a great customer experience that goes above and beyond what they expect. In addition to offering a great product that solves a big problem, which is a given these days, you could include a personalised “Thank you” note and a free gift with their online purchase. Try to impress with everything you do. Customers won’t spread the word about your business if they have a mediocre or bad experience.
Sell products that are good.
To give customers a great experience, it’s important to find and sell good products. The most important parts of a WOM-worthy experience are good customer service, an easy buying process, and products that do what they say they will do.
Make sure that the experience you give matches the brand. For example, if your restaurant says it is family-friendly and serves healthy food, don’t ruin the experience by not having enough room for baby strollers in the dining area.
Easy to place an order and use the site.
On average, only 1.53 percent of visits to ecommerce sites result in a purchase. This suggests that most brands aren’t doing a good job with how their sites work.
Don’t let a bad user experience make people frustrated enough to give up on their shopping carts.
One of the most common reasons why people don’t finish shopping is because the process is hard to understand or there isn’t enough information. Allow customers to self-identify their needs to make your site easy to use.
For example, you can have a chatbot or an intake form that asks new website visitors what product category they are looking for and filters items by price range. Give detailed product descriptions, videos, or pictures that show how the product works.
Run a smooth business.
Customers will talk about your business for all the wrong reasons if they get wrong orders, get them late, or don’t show up for appointments. Data shows that 58 percent of customers stop buying from a company after just one bad experience.
Use just-in-time inventory management to make sure you never have too many or too few supplies. You can do this by using historical data to reorder supplies ahead of when you think you’ll need them. You should also work with a reliable supplier who can fill large orders quickly.
Lastly, make it easy for people to talk to a real person about their complaints.
Do everything you can for the customer.
Exceeding customer expectations looks different for every business, but it can be as simple as working with a customer to make a custom item, sending a personalised thank-you note, or doing an act of kindness.
In Wayne, PA, a Trader Joe’s delivered a week’s worth of groceries to an elderly man who was stuck at home during a snowstorm. They did this for free.
Not usually, Trader Joe’s doesn’t deliver, but they made an exception this time. Another important part of the customer experience is how complaints are handled. You can sometimes turn a bad situation around and really impress the customer in the process.
Start word-of-mouth among influential people
Influencers have the power to sway the buying decisions of their followers, so getting them to review your products is a surefire way to raise brand awareness.
A recent study by Sideqik found that 7 out of 10 people trust the advice of influencers just as much as the advice of friends they know in real life.
If you have enough money for influencer marketing, you can even hire a brand ambassador. This is someone who acts as the “face” of your company by talking about your products and services often, not just in a single social media post.
You can send things for free.
Find the right people to send your product to and see if they will review it. But keep in mind that some influencers get a lot of free stuff and may not review your product unless they really like it. Don’t expect reviews from every influencer.
Work with micro-influencers instead of only focusing on big names with a lot of followers. These are bloggers, videographers, or DIYers with a smaller following whose goal is to share subject matter expertise by making tutorials, shout-outs, how-to guides, day-in-the-life vlogs, and so on.
Join an important cause.
According to a study by IBM, 40% of consumers say they look for companies that share their values, such as being environmentally friendly or treating people equally. Influencers also want to show support for causes they care about, so tying your brand to a cause will give them more reasons to work with you.
Starbucks started the #WhatsYourName campaign in 2022 to show the journey of a young transgender person who was struggling to accept their new name, until one day he walked into a Starbucks.
The barista asks for his name, and he says, “James” with confidence. The barista writes his name on his cup, making it official that James is now a man. People who were transitioning and found Starbucks to be a safe place where their new name was accepted gave the idea for the ad.
Solve a real problem (yes, even people with a lot of influence have them).
The best products solve problems for customers and leave an impression that lasts. For example, people often post on social media about LARQ, a self-cleaning water bottle that uses UVC light to sterilise the bottle, and how it makes staying hydrated while travelling so much easier.
Building a strategy for marketing through word of mouth
Instead of leaving word-of-mouth marketing up to chance, make it easy for people to talk about your brand.
Here are some ways to start your own word-of-mouth marketing campaign:
Set up triggers for word of mouth.
Triggers are events or feelings that people remember and that make them want to talk about your business. Think of it as your “X factor.”
Take it from the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, which is often in the news because it is known for going the extra mile for its guests.
When a young guest at a Ritz-Carlton in Florida lost his favourite stuffed animal, Joshie, hotel workers not only mailed the giraffe back, but they also sent pictures of Joshie lounging by the pool, getting a massage at the spa, and driving a golf cart to reassure the boy that his favourite stuffed animal had been well cared for while he was away.
The giraffe was even given an ID badge from the Ritz-Carlton and made an honorary member of the Loss Prevention team.
The Ritz-example Carlton’s of word-of-mouth marketing shows that WOM triggers don’t have to be expensive or fancy. Just showing that you care and are creative can go a long way.
Use visual triggers.
Make things look amazing so that people will want to take photos and share them.
“Instagrammable” restaurants, for example, all have one thing in common: they have a nice look that makes people want to share their meal on social media. Visual triggers are harder to add to a digital experience, but it is possible.
One of the best examples of word-of-mouth marketing comes from the brand Always, which makes products for women.
As part of its #LikeAGirl campaign, the brand pushed for mobile and social media platforms to have more emojis with different genders. Before, female emojis on instant messaging apps showed girls dancing or walking down the aisle with bunny ears. The Always campaign brought in new girl-power symbols, such as female doctors, athletes, chefs, wrestlers, soccer players, and so on.
Do or make something that is different.
Other ways to use the power of word of mouth are to sell a unique product, use a different business model, or go against the norms of your industry. Whether it’s your product or the way you ship it, it could be helpful to stand out from the crowd.
Arousal of feelings.
Getting people to share something can be done very effectively by appealing to their emotions.
Dove started the #ShowUs campaign in 2019. They worked with women and non-binary people to make a collection of more than 10,000 stock images that show a more inclusive view of beauty that can be used by all media and advertisers.
Dove did a great job of getting people to feel like they were a part of something bigger than themselves by making everyone feel like they were seen, no matter what race, size, or gender they were.
Encourage content made by users (UGC).
Offerpop, a platform for UGC marketing, says that 85% of social media users trust UGC more than branded content.
But brands don’t want to seem pushy, so only 16 percent tell people exactly how they can make and share content. UGC builds trust by showing social proof, which is the idea that something is good if other people like it.
Encourage happy customers to share UGC by holding giveaways on social media for people who post pictures of your products with your branded hashtag. Also, if you have a loyalty programme, you can tie rewards to UGC to get your most loyal customers to post photos or videos of your products.
Rate and review things a lot.
The new WOM marketing is customer reviews. Set up feedback channels like Yelp reviews, emails, feedback surveys, and website analytics to collect testimonials. Collect honest reviews of your business and put them in a prominent place as many places as you can, such as review websites, social media posts, online marketplaces, and your own website.
Before trusting a business, consumers read an average of seven reviews, and 85 percent of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Make a referral programme that is official.
Referral marketing is a type of marketing that offers incentives to happy customers who talk about your brand. Sometimes called refer-a-friend programmes, referral marketing has become a go-to method for ecommerce stores looking to grow their sales while minimising the cost per action.
By giving customers reasons to talk about your brand, you make it more likely that they will.
Any of the following can be a reward:
- Discount off first-time purchase.
- A gift card or coupon.
- Payments in cash or cash back.
- Free gifts.
Know your Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) (LTV).
Average customer lifetime value refers to the amount of revenue a single customer brings in over the course of your business relationship. The LTV metric tells you how much money you should spend to get a new customer.
For example, if a customer typically spends $200, then your WOM initiatives should not exceed this amount, otherwise, you will end up losing money.
The Last Words
Word-of-mouth advertising can be an effective way to grow your online business that doesn’t cost too much. But before you start adding bells and whistles, you should start with the basics.
If you give people a good experience and keep things running smoothly, you’re already halfway there.
Word-of-mouth marketing: Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing helps brands build trust, credibility, and loyalty.
Customers who tell their friends and family about your brand are more likely to stay loyal and have a higher lifetime value.
Word-of-mouth recommendations build trust with new customers more effectively than traditional advertising because they come from a trusted friend.
Getting people talking
The most effective word-of-mouth triggers get people talking about your brand, both on and off social networks. WOM triggers that go viral on social media can have effects that last beyond the marketing campaign.
How to Respond to Bad Word-of-Mouth?
Find out what’s causing the issue. If customers are unhappy with late shipments or broken products, switch suppliers or find a different fulfilment company.
Next, talk to the customer directly. If the complaint was made on a public platform, like a social media site or review website, respond publicly so that current and potential customers can see that you take customer feedback seriously and are working to fix the problem.
What’s the difference between organic word-of-mouth and amplified word-of-mouth?
Organic word of mouth happens when customers talk about your brand in casual conversation without you having to do anything special. Amplified word of mouth is a set of ways to get customers to tell others about your business, like giving them a great experience or starting a referral programme.