Imagine it’s Saturday night and you want to try a new restaurant for dinner or you are getting irritated with your old phone and would like to switch to a new smartphone, what is the first thing you do in either of these situations? You probably ask your friends and family for recommendations or check ratings and reviews on trusted sites and apps. Some of you might even open your favourite tech enthusiast’s Youtube channel and see what product is recommended by them. All of the above are examples of Word of Mouth Marketing(WoMM). 92% of consumers trust suggestions and recommendations from friends and family more than advertisements. 88% of people believe online reviews written by other consumers. 74% of consumers accept word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions
With such great stats, it’s not a smart decision to neglect importance of user ratings, reviews and recommendations. Before the digital wave, Word of Mouth Marketing used to occur offline. With emergence of social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc. Word of Mouth marketing has changed shape. Now business owners are finding ways to make Word of Mouth Marketing even more powerful by using social media as a tool to reach even more prospective customers. A successful Word of Mouth Marketing strategy can generate thousands of conversations, recommendations and triple sales in just a year! Are you wondering how and why is Word of Mouth Marketing so unique and successful? Well it comes down to the most important thing in advertisement : TRUST!
People trust their own friends and family over some stranger(who is probably being paid handsomely to do so) appearing on TV telling them to buy a product. However, creating that effective Word of Mouth Marketing strategy takes work and serious marketing savvy, taking help of inbound marketing techniques like product marketing, content creation, and social media marketing. Let’s dive in and see how inbound marketing techniques can help you in creating a successful Word of Mouth Marketing campaign for you. Create Buyer Persona Buyer Persona is an industry term referring to a fictionalized characterisation of your average customer. What is their age group? What is their gender? What is their personality and pain points? All this and much more is part of a Buyer Persona.
It’s important to know who your audience is, what do they need, what is the problem they are facing that your product can solve, how do they like to be spoken to, what’s their sense of humor etc. Before you start creating the Word of Mouth Marketing campaign, you should know the answers to all these questions. If you don’t know your audience, how do you expect to influence their decision? Foster an online community Based on the research done on Buyer Persona, you will have a pretty good idea by now about the social media platforms your customers are most active on. You have identified the playground, now it’s time to play!
Best way to create an online community is through User-Generated content. Incentivize creating and sharing posts, pictures, videos etc. related to your product by offering exclusive deals and discounts. Customers love hearing from other customers; not businesses! Creating a unique hashtag related to your product is also a well-known way to easily identify the content created by customers and also getting people to generate content. We all know the days of #icebucketchallenge where social media users were responsible for ALS, a disease not a lot of people were familiar with, being listed in Google’s top 10 searches for the year 2014(Yes, a FIFA world cup year!). Apart from this: Engage with your audience on social media regularly, address their concerns, talk to them like a person; not a business, and do share user generated content to foster a sense of community.
All this will help the customers feel connected to the brand personally and they will make sure to pass on the word. Take help of influencers Influencers are high-profile users that can sway the decision of their followers regarding which products to use. Identify the established influencers on respective social media sites and also keep an eye out for new and upcoming influencers. Once you’ve identified who they are, market your products to them. Confused that how will this help? This is easily understood by examples. If you are a tech geek and research comprehensively about a new gadget you are about to buy, chances are you will check out what your favourite tech enthusiast is saying about the product. Companies send their phones and latest gadgets to these YouTube tech reviewers for free(sometimes even before a product is launched) so that they can showcase latest features of the gadget and applaud/denounce the product based on its performance.
You will see this review and might be tempted to buy the gadget. Similarly, have you seen fitness models on Instagram promoting vitamin drinks and protein shakes? It might not look like a typical ad, but a simple pic of those models using the said product might influence their followers decision about next purchase. Same goes for abundance of make-up tutorials on YouTube. The girls in those videos use make-up products provided by companies for purposes of promotion in a “how-to” video setting, subconsciously affecting your choice of next make-up purchase. “My favourite YouTuber uses this product and she looks great after using it, maybe, I should try that product too” is a fairly common train of thought after those videos.
Kylie Jenner makes One Million Dollars per Instagram post! All that just for posting pics with captions regarding a product she is using. Advertisers don’t shy away from paying so much to top influencers because they understand the power these influencers hold. Hence, Influencers have a great power of swaying public opinion about your product or service, try to make them your friend! Be exclusive Geez, I am trying to sell my product to as many people as possible! How will being exclusive help? I understand your concerns, but, hear me out. Do you remember the days of asking invitations for Google+ from your friends? You weren’t familiar with the product, you didn’t even know what it exactly was but still you wanted to experience it. And that desire was fueled more by a simple fact: That it wasn’t easily available. Human psychology is simple, we want what we can’t have!
To experience Google+ you needed a referral link from someone already using Google+ This created a desire for a product that you didn’t even know about. Google+ couldn’t replace Facebook is a different tale, Facebook was simply a superior product. But you still wanted to try out Google+ just because it wasn’t available to you easily. Let’s look at another example, a case in which product was actually successful. When OnePlus launched, its mobile phones weren’t available to everyone. One needed a referral link to be able to buy the phone. This created a lot of buzz on social media about this new phone on the market that is exclusive. You probably remember people posting on Facebook and twitter asking whether someone in their social circle has access to a referral link and if they will be willing to forward it to them. Result? Free publicity. Everyone was talking about OnePlus and everyone wanted to try OnePlus.
After company became famous enough, they did move on from the referral model but that marketing strategy did help them incredibly in getting people to talk about them. Such invite-only models can generate a serious buzz around your product on social media. When launching a new product or a new variant of an existing product, try to incorporate some kind of exclusivity attached to it. Social Media and Email campaigns related to exclusivity of your product can generate a lot of publicity fo it. If you are a business looking to start a Word of Mouth Marketing campaign, here are few things to keep in mind: Always engage with your customers. Word of Mouth Marketing revolves around conversation. Conversation is always a two-way thing. Talk to your customers and encourage them to talk with you.
Give them a reason to talk about you. Start a hashtag, create a competition or ask for user submitted content. Whatever you do, try to make your customer talk about you. Equip your customers with tools to easily share their opinion. Find ways that customers can talk about your product with their social circle. Don’t ignore negative opinions. Address them honestly and ensure the customers in ways you are trying to improve. In conclusion, Word of Mouth Marketing can be a powerful tool in your arsenal but marketing can only take you so far. Success of any business ultimately depends on the product. A good product can survive bad marketing but world’s best marketing campaign can’t help a bad product. Try to be a great company that people proudly would want to endorse and recommend to everyone. After all, when recommending something it’s their reputation on the line as well!