Customer reviews can directly strengthen word-of-mouth (WOM) impact for businesses and brands. Here’s what you need to know about how to leverage them for maximum exposure in your next campaign.
Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest, yet most effective marketing strategies out there. As such, businesses put tremendous effort into attracting and pleasing customers in order to spur positive feedback and sharing among other peers. This type of marketing is contagious, often spreading virally, and is consistently growing in significance in this highly competitive digital landscape. According to Entrepreneur, “Word-of-mouth is… still instrumental in getting your message out there in today’s technological, fast-paced world.”
Of course, the ultimate test of whether WOM marketing is impactful rests on its ability to attract prospective customers and eventually convert. But there’s good news, as many sources claim that this form of marketing “Is The Most Influential Driver of Purchasing Decisions”.
The actual dominance of word-of-mouth marketing is supported by data. For instance, according to a Nielsen study, “92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from their friends and family over all forms of advertising.”
But how can you truly maximize the impact of word-of-mouth campaigns as part of your business’s marketing strategy?
By effectively leveraging user-generated content (UGC), specifically customer reviews in your word-of-mouth campaigns, you can amplify the potential impact of such campaigns in order to generate impressive conversion rates.
Let’s take a quick look at 3 ways customer reviews can go hand-in-hand with word-of-mouth marketing in order to attract additional exposure to your product and to drive business results.
1. Customer reviews cut through the noise of “just another Like or share” by directly discussing (and displaying) the pros/cons of a particular product.
A Like or share on Facebook is only valuable to businesses if this user-generated action actually leads to some type of actual interaction with the brand, whether a website visit or, better yet, a clear request for more information.
Here comes the power of UGC in the form of customer reviews. Customer reviews, once shared with specific peers or social contacts, actually provide direct information about the product, encouraging (or discouraging) friends and family to dive more into the company.
This is in sharp contrast to just requesting or encouraging a friend to like a particular brand or product, as there is little or no connection between the referral and the actual customer experience. While WOM generates hype, its relevance is substantiated by the power of customer reviews.
2. Customer reviews generated at the point of transaction can capture the immediate hype of a product
Word-of-mouth marketing can happen at any point during a product’s lifetime, including after competitors have entered the market. With this in mind, what if you could capture initial customer feedback right at the point of sale in order to drive this word-of-mouth impact right away?
One unique way of capturing this information is provided by customer content marketing platform Yotpo. By directly sending customers an email with a built-in review form, this company is able to collect quality feedback in the form of customer reviews or user-upload images and consequently generate higher completion rates.
The platform also makes sharing results – i.e. user-generated feedback straight from the customers – across all major social media channels, including their popular Instagram integration, a straightforward process. The reviews that are collected by the platform can then be used for purposes such as increased loyalty and lifetime value of a customer.
Meanwhile, a network that connects brands and retailers, Bazaarvoice encourages word-of-mouth marketing even before the product is launched. By gathering early customer reviews, the power of WOM is amplified and sets the scene for brands to push their product when ready.
A powerful example of WOM done right was dental manufacturer 3M ESPE’s decision to simplify the process of reviews. All a dentist needed to do was enter an email to leave a review.
As a result 3M ESPE saw reviews increase to 500 professional reviews in one week.
3. Customer reviews can be targeted to maximize the usefulness of WOM marketing
Often or not, the effectiveness of WOM may get lost due to lack of accountability and relevance on the part of those sharing their thoughts about a particular brand or service.
By seeking out specific customer reviews based on a number of different parameters, including location, length of time using a specific product, or other similar fields, brands can make the most out of the results in order to find like-minded prospective customers.
Prior to diving into WOM marketing strategies, brands should consider which fields to focus on when looking to collect customer reviews.
To wrap up: WOM and Customer Feedback are both forms of UGC that complement each other.
Their relationship, while clear, must be expanded. Brands can and should utilize various tools that leverage the power of customer reviews in order to get more out of word-of-mouth campaigns and to further drive sales.
After all, brands spend a lot of time trying to find the best ways to trigger positive WOM marketing. By leveraging customer reviews as part of these efforts, brands will be better prepared to reel in targeted and relevant referrals from and among current or interested customers.
What tools do you use to complement WOM campaigns? What tips and suggestions do you have for receiving more customer feedback?
Read more examples: How To Get More Word-of-Mouth (40+ Successful Examples To Learn From!)
Or, learn actionable word of mouth marketing (WOMM) tactics for your business in our comprehensive guide to word of mouth marketing, featuring cheatsheets and insights into customer psychology!