How to Cultivate Word-of-Mouth Advertising for Your Business
Word of mouth marketing continues to be the most effective practice for marketers.
92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing tactics recruit happy customers for help promoting your business’s brand.
It’s successful because if you create an excellent experience for one customer, there’s a good chance they’ll share their positive story with friends and family.
Simply put, word of mouth marketing basically involves getting your customers to do your advertising for you. If you’re new to this approach, here I’ll outline the most important word of mouth marketing tactics to help you out.
1. Know yourself.
The first thing you need to do before using word-of-mouth marketing tactics is to know your brand and product or service thoroughly.
Some questions to ask:
What is your brand all about?
What are your values?
What does your product or service do?
How can it help people?
Having in-depth knowledge about your brand and its mission statement can help you present your products and services in a way that your audience appreciates.
Further reading: Storytelling for Brands: The Ultimate Storytelling Guide and 30 Tips To Build Your Personal Brand From 37 Experts
2. Research your competition.
Being aware of your competitors is a necessary step to stay ahead of them. You need to understand your industry and the questions or issues plaguing it. It’s important that you determine what your competition has to offer in terms of answers and solutions to those issues.
What can you do to be better than them?
How are they different from you and how can you benefit from this?
Are there any weaknesses you can capitalize on?
By properly analyzing your competitors, you’ll be able to determine what they’re doing right and what mistakes they’re making. This allows you to strengthen your own word-of-mouth marketing tactics.
KISSmetrics has a particularly extensive list of competitor monitoring tools that should come in handy here.
3. Define your audience.
One of the most important steps to launching successful word-of-mouth marketing tactics is to thoroughly understand your audience. Getting to know your target group will help you determine what they like and don’t like. Then you can build your marketing strategy and services around those preferences.
Verizon’s Idea Exchange community provides an excellent example of how this tactic has been implemented. This platform was developed for Verizon customers to share their ideas and comment or vote on those ideas. Through this community, Verizon has received over 1,500 product ideas, 39 of which have been launched.
I suggest dividing your audience into different “buyer personas” so you can tackle each problem faced by a specific demographic. When you speak to a problem that’s very specific to a niche group, it’ll be as if you’re taking personal care of their issues. That’s a great way to deliver excellent service to your customers and make them more likely to recommend you.
See how Hubspot has divided their audience into different personas, listing the challenges and goals of each type.
4. Embrace exclusivity.
People want what they can’t have and that’s exactly what drives this strategy. Offering exclusive access to your product or service can be an effective method for implementing word of mouth marketing tactics. This has been successfully carried out by sites like Spotify and Gilt Groupe where people can access the service only through an invitation.
When introducing a product or service, consider inviting influencers to try it exclusively instead of making it available for everyone. These influencers can provide valuable feedback and invite their community of fellow influencers to help the product or service go viral.
These recommendations are good word-of-mouth marketing tactics for promoting your product or service. Being exclusive will create a demand for your product or service just from curiosity.
Read next: How 6 Companies Generated Word-of-Mouth Through Exclusivity
5. Find your uniqueness.
For your brand to become truly noteworthy, there has to be something about you that people will remember. You need to offer something unique that people want to talk about with their friends and family. If you’re just like every other name in your industry, your audience might not even remember you.
Maybe you’re offering a one-of-a-kind product or your company has a quirky work culture. Identify what makes your brand unique and capitalize on that so that people will want to share your story. You could even brainstorm some unique and creative word of mouth marketing tactics that your audience will remember.
Uniqueness and word-of-mouth marketing have been successfully combined by the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. The video combined humor and entertainment with relevant facts to engage consumers.
This campaign created significant word of mouth buzz both online and offline. It became an overnight success, receiving 5.9 million YouTube views the first day.
6. Build an engaged social community.
72% of marketers use social media to develop loyal fans. A tight-knit community on social media is a necessity for successful word of mouth marketing tactics.
This is where knowing your audience plays an important role. You need to understand your target audience to determine where and how they like to communicate online. Perhaps they’re more active on channels like Instagram and Vine than on Twitter. Or maybe Quora appeals more to them than Facebook.
Once you’ve identified the right social media channel to reach out to your audience, start engaging with them. Conduct some research to help you understand how you can speak to them in a manner that feels natural to them. What kind of humor appeals to them? What type of language do they use?
By amplifying their social media efforts, Emerson Salon was able to get more than 13,000 Twitter followers and 1,780 likes on Facebook. The salon shared posts from their blog using Facebook and Twitter, which helped drive traffic to their website.
Also, they kept their customers engaged by asking for feedback and offering discounts while actively replying to messages on their social media accounts. 75% of the salon’s clients come from the Internet.
Read next: Tribes, Niches, Groups and Subreddits – 30+ Examples Of Community-Focused Marketing
7. Identify and engage with influencers.
According to Augure, 75% of marketers consider influencer engagement effective for generating leads. 76% believe it’s effective for building loyalty.
Advertising your brand through influencers is one of the best word-of-mouth marketing tactics. This technique works because you’re reaching out to your audience through people who already have an influence on their purchase decisions.
Influencers could be anyone from bloggers and social media stars to industry leads and existing customers. You don’t necessarily have to stick to your own community when choosing influencers. Look for names that have a huge social media following and engagement rate.
It’s best to pick influencers who are relevant, popular, engaged, and authentic for good word-of-mouth marketing tactics.
An excellent example of this was the hilarious exchange between Taco Bell and Old Spice on Twitter. Although Taco Bell is a well-known fast food name, it had low engagement across all social media channels. Their Twitter campaign also had fewer followers than other big brands.
To build their following and engage, Taco Bell decided to engage with brands that have more than 10,000 followers. Their famous exchange with Old Spice had 603 re-tweets and reached more than 600,000 followers. Their following increased to three times the size of Burger King’s.
8. Add a human touch.
The more people connect with your brand, the more likely they are to recommend you to others. That’s great for your word of mouth marketing tactics. To build a strong connection with your audience, humanize your brand on social media. Let your customers know that they’re interacting with a brand that has personality.
Responding to mentions and comments is a great way to add a human touch in your social interaction. Whether it’s positive or negative, try to be responsive when followers engage with you.
Keeping your followers updated with brand events and product developments is also an excellent way to keep them connected. Cadbury does a great job of establishing a human connection with their audience on Twitter. The brand makes it a point to respond to as many tweets as possible. They quickly respond to both fans showing their appreciation and unhappy customers tweeting about a complaint.
9. Invest in customer experience.
Word of mouth marketing tactics are fuelled by customer recommendations. The best way to get these recommendations is through positive brand experiences. People don’t really talk about an average customer experience. What they do talk about is either a really good experience or a negative one. Going the extra mile can significantly improve your word-of-mouth campaign.
JetBlue is known for its responsiveness to customer queries and issues on Twitter. They respond to complaints or questions from followers, thus creating a positive experience. See an example below of their interaction with a customer, which made her feel important.
10. Reward loyalty.
One of the most effective word of mouth marketing tactics for turning customers into loyal brand advocates is by offering incentives. You could give customers special offers or exclusive content that would make them feel privileged and special. Capitalize on their loyalty by making them want to share their great experience with friends and family.
''The power of social media is it forces necessary change.''