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Word-of-mouth marketing is important for your business during COVID-19. Despite many businesses turning to social media and other online platforms for marketing, it is the old-fashioned way that has prevailed as the most useful. Word-of-mouth marketing may seem like a thing of the past, but in fact, it is the most powerful form of marketing, even amidst the plethora of online platforms. To have the most effect, word-of-mouth and referral marketing combine with the inter-web to create the most authentic and realistic peer marketing strategies and programs.
With much of the world staying indoors, they are spending more time on screens than ever before. Of course, the reason behind this is unprecedented and nobody could see it coming, but it is here and you could make the most of it by opting into a word-of-mouth marketing program. Now is the ideal time to up your marketing game so that your business can be exposed to as many potential customers as possible. Let's take a look at why word-of-mouth marketing is still the most effective form of marketing, as well as some steps you can take to implement it into your strategy.
What Is Word-Of-Mouth Marketing?
Basically, word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful tool when it comes to marketing a business. It all stems from your first client who will recommend your product or services to a friend or colleague, who then approaches you for a sale, and the circle continues. This is what makes it more authentic than those pesky advertisements on social media. It is a truly organic way of spreading the word of a great product or service, and what's more, it is completely free.
The word-of-mouth could come in its traditional form of a friend speaking to a friend, or it could be combined with modern technology and put on social media as a review or post. While this is not the traditional and old-school form of word-of-mouth, it is a great example of how the old can mix with the new to create an even more powerful and effective outcome.
As mentioned, the main reason word-of-mouth marketing has been so successful since the dawn of time is that it conveys a highly authentic message. Potential buyers are going to listen to a customers' actual experience first-hand more so than if they were to just read a marketing campaign online, this is just a fact of life. Even if a customer posts their experience online, this is still a form of word-of-mouth marketing, just with a modern twist. In fact, a study by Neilsen concluded that 92% of consumers believe a referral from a friend as opposed to social media. That is a staggering statistic which is basically all you need to realise word-of-mouth is the most used marketing tool.
The second reason why this form of marketing is so effective and useful for businesses, especially those small to medium companies, is that it is completely free. For one customer to open their mouths and tell a friend or colleague about their experience doesn't cost you a penny, it really is the perfect scenario.
You may even choose to reach out to a past customer and ask them to leave a review of their experience, speaking about customer service, value for money and so on. This also doesn't cost you anything and can even remind the customer of their experience, they may then relive that positive experience in their heads and then go and tell a friend.
So, it is quite simple to see why word-of-mouth marketing is still the most powerful advertising tool worldwide. It has been around since the dinosaurs (ok, maybe not that long, but still, a very long time), it is a realistic and authentic customer opinion, it is free and will never cease to exist for as long as humans are capable of talking. With that being said, let's now look at some ways to implement word-of-mouth marketing in your business.
Introducing Word-Of-Mouth Marketing To Your Business
There are a few steps you can take to implement a word-of-mouth strategy to your business. It is important to connect with your customers. It is better to have a smaller but more engaged following than say 1 million followers, of which only a fraction actually engage with you. If your followers and customers are engaged and interested in what you offer, you'll notice they will share your business with their friends and so on.
1. The first step is to make your business appealing to consumers and engage with them on a consistent basis. In this day in age, this step is done online. Forming a funky, attractive, and perhaps unique business model will engage customers to your products or services. Once they approach you to purchase one or more of your offerings, they will have a better gauge on whether or not to recommend you to their friends. This is why the dreaded (only by employees, of course) saying 'the customer is always right' reigns true, and will continue to be so.
Nike is a prime example of this first point. They have created a highly attractive brand which caters to the needs of almost everyone, regardless of age, gender, fitness level and so on. They also respond on a very regular basis to their audience on social media which is not common for a multi-billion dollar company, so kudos to them!
2. Value for money products or services is also a main driver for word-of-mouth marketing. As budgets become tighter, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are always looking for the best bang for their buck. Creating some value packages will attract consumers is critical in not only increasing your customer base but it will also help those customers stick around, follow your business and recommend the amazing value to their friends.
For example, if you run an eCommerce clothing store, you could offer packs of 5 T-shirts or underwear for the price of 3. Or, if you are in the web design business, you could offer clients 'the works package' which includes all of your services, but for a portion of the cost. Of course, the prices will be at the discretion of your business in relation to how well you are going financially, but you get the gist.
3. Getting your customers' emotions flowing is also helpful in the referral process. People tend to not bother sharing an experience that is mediocre. They are, however, more likely to share an experience that is positive or negative. The fact that businesses can't make everyone happy is just the way of the world, but if you ensure to go above and beyond for every customer, you are giving yourself every chance to be referred on to a friend. There are customers that even though businesses do go the extra mile, they still aren't happy, and unfortunately this will always be the case.
Putting your business in the best possible position, be it value for money, connecting and engaging with customers, or just a positive experience, is key to organically and authentically spreading the word.
Apple is a great example of this. They constantly create products that amaze the whole world, not just its fans. In fact, they have created a dynasty so popular and loyal, that Apple consumers will upgrade every year to the latest and greatest iPhone. Not only that, but their consumer base usually finds a way to convince their friends to switch to iOS. Word-of-mouth marketing at its absolute finest.
Why Is It More Important Now Than Ever?
While word-of-mouth marketing has been around forever, it is more important now than ever before. This is mainly because people are spending more time on screens and at home than they usually would. In turn, the story of a positive for a customer will more than likely end up online or told over the phone in a matter of hours.
In summary, there really isn't anything you can do besides creating a positive and memorable experience for customers. The rest will be up to the consumers themselves, however, if you deliver, they are likely to provide you with a few extra clients through the power of word-of-mouth-marketing. In turn, this grows your business and customer base, and so the cycle continues. This is why referral and word-of-mouth marketing is the most trustworthy form of marketing; it's free and based on actual consumer experiences and people will take this authentic marketing over paid marketing every single day.