Surviving and making your mark in the fast-paced online world has become more brutal than ever. With millions of online businesses across the globe, the competition has become cutthroat. Hence, targeting prospective audiences and converting them into customers requires more than just one type of marketing.
It has become crucial for businesses to use every marketing channel they can think of, to advertise their brand to existing and potential customers.
In the arena of digital marketing, there is one powerful tool that is often overlooked by marketers when it comes to advertising the brand and the commodities offered by it; word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM).
What is Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
Before moving on to the discussion of word-of-mouth marketing strategy to grow your online business and boost eCommerce sales, let us look at what word-of-mouth marketing is and is it an effective tool for marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing or advertising is a modernized form of traditional word-of-mouth in the social media era.
Decades ago, word-of-mouth marketing was limited to sharing views and opinions from one person to another or recommending something to a person or group. In today’s age, word-of-mouth marketing has a massive reach due to the advent of social sharing sites and online forums. If a person shares his views about a brand or its products, millions of people can view it within a matter of seconds.
Forms of Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-Mouth marketing or advertising can happen in two forms:
- a) Organic Word-of-Mouth Marketing
It refers to when people become brand advocates and share their positive experiences with the business or its products. Because the business provided them a good shopping experience and the products fulfilled their claims.
When a customer is happy with a brand, he loves to share his experience with his friends and family members.
- b) Amplified Word-of-Mouth Marketing
This form of word-of-mouth marketing refers to the marketers’ targeted efforts to encourage the customers to share their experience with the business. Marketers design and launch campaigns with an objective to invite people to spread good things about the company and its products.
Is Word-of-Mouth Marketing Effective?
Reviews shared by people online and offline can have a tremendous effect on a business’s sales. If a person shares good things about a product or how it solved his problem with his friends and family members and recommended them to shop from the same business, 92% will trust his recommendation.
That’s the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Without spending a fortune on running advertisements, your business can receive new customers just because a friend recommended your brand to them.
Word-of-mouth marketing works for friends and family and also for thousands of other people worldwide. Millennials and gen Z have a common practice of reading the reviews before buying a product or interacting with a business. People want to be sure that they will receive a good quality product or service from a company in return for their hard-earned money.
88% of people trust online reviews shared by the consumers.
If a person finds positive reviews about a brand or product, he will not hesitate to share his credit card details with the business. On the other hand, if people read negative reviews about a company, they will drop their idea of becoming customers.
Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool that can make or break the image of your business. Use it strategically to grow your online business and boost eCommerce sales.
11 Best Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business
- Provide an Epic Experience to Your Customers
If you want people to talk about your brand or business,
give them a reason to do that. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes and ask yourself, will you spread good things about a business that failed to provide you excellent service or sold substandard goods? Of course not!
Customers do not harbor any grudge for a brand. They only share how their experience was with a business. If you want your customers to become your brand advocates, you have to keep them happy before, during, and after their buying journey.
Use the following ways to satisfy our customers and encourage them to spread good words about your business:
- i) Improve the Quality of Your Products
People are not getting your products for free. They are paying an amount for it. Hence, it is their right to receive a good quality product that does what it claims. If you deliver a cheap product to your customer, you will not only lose just one customer but a good majority of your prospective customers too.
If you are 100% sure that you are delivering excellent quality products, continue doing that. Apart from the quality, aim to improve your packaging as well. Packaging of the goods speaks a lot about how businesses value their customers. Goods should be appropriately packed, especially if they are fragile. Personalize the packages by adding the customer’s name. People love to capture and share pictures of the things that have their names on them. For example, Starbucks writes its customers’ names on the coffee cups. People take pictures of their cups and post them on their social media.
- ii) Easy-to-Use Website
If people have to spend a substantial amount of time looking for the products, place their orders, and checkout from the website, they will not recommend their friends to visit your website.
Online buyers are impatient; they need everything just with a single click or tap. Your website should be organized appropriately, so the customers don’t have a hard time looking for the products.
Your checkout process should be like a breeze. It is recommended to have a short and simple checkout form. The more ease you provide to your customers, the more they will rave about you and your service.
- Use Hashtags
Use relevant and unique hashtags to make people talk about your brand and products. If you are posting an image or a video on your social media accounts, do not forget to add your business name and the product’s hashtags.
Your customers can use the same hashtags when they talk about you or upload a picture of your product. It will allow other audiences to view what people think of your brand. They will also learn about your business and find you on social media platforms easily.
If you have started a challenge or hosting a giveaway, using hashtags will make sure that your posts trend and reach a wider audience.
Hashtags also appear in search suggestions when a person enters a search query on social platforms; for example, if a person searches for Oprah Winfrey’s hashtags on Instagram, he will also see the hashtags of her brands like #oprahdaily, #owntv, and #oprahsbookclub.
- Share User-Generated Content
As your brand gains popularity, people will create content related to your brand or a product on their own. For example, a person wears a Zara top. She uploads a picture of her wearing that top and tags the brand. The company can use her image with her permission and share it on its profile or website.
If a person creates content about your brand and tags you in his posts, his friends and family members who follow him on social media will learn about your business and place their trust in you because their friend has good things to say about you.
It is pretty easy for renowned brands to leverage user-generated content, but startup businesses can also benefit from it. True, that people will not create much content for small brands. However, tempting them with a reward can motivate them to do so for your business.
All you have to do is run a contest on social media and invite your followers to share their pictures while using or wearing your product and get a chance to win amazing gifts or discount vouchers.
You can also ask your followers to add their friends and family to the contest too so that they can also win free goodies. People will come up with creative content and spread positive things about your brand with their social media friends.
- Get Reviews
9 out of 10 people read online reviews before making a purchase. If your store or social media accounts do not have user reviews, you are closing the doors to welcome a new audience to your website.
Reviews work as a powerful tool for word-of-mouth strategy. Suppose you strategically place the reviews on your website. In that case, you allow the visitors to learn what people have to say about the business and how their experience was by being your customer.
The majority of the customers will never post a review about a brand online. You have to reach such customers and request them to write a review on your Facebook page or website to attract other people. You can offer them a gift or a shopping coupon in return for their positive review.
You can also use video reviews of people and post them on your social media accounts and YouTube channel.
- Design a Referral Program
Another strategy to encourage people to talk about you is to design a referral program. To make your customers advertise about your brand, offer them something in return. You can provide your customer a gift, discount on the next purchase, or loyalty points which he can redeem in exchange for recommending your business in his social circle.
Apart from offering monetary benefits, you can also award non-monetary benefits to your customers who refer you to their friends. You can reward them by posting their content on your social media accounts. It will increase their followings and engagement. It will also encourage other people to create content about your brand as it will be shared on your profile, and 100s of people will follow their account.
- Get Social
You have to stay active in the market and interact with your audience. Inactive businesses are soon forgotten, and the competitors use this opportunity to target the customers.
If you want to be remembered by people and become the subject of their conversation, interact with them. The best way to connect with your audience is on social media. You can stir up an exciting discussion, start a debate, conduct polls, or answer their queries under the comment section.
Social media platforms also allow businesses to humanize their brands and develop a connection with the audience. Use this platform wisely to become the talk of the town.
- Create Spectacular Content
If people come across an interesting picture, engaging blog post, or a funny video, they will not take extra minutes to share the content with their friends and family.
Give people something interesting to view, so they have no option other than to share and discuss it with their friends. You can also run engaging and inspirational ads to target your audience’s emotional side and generate a response from them.
The perfect example to give in this situation is mountain dew. The brand creates advertisements in which it shows the dangerous stunts performed by the experts. It thrills the audience to see people performing daring stunts, and they talk about it excitedly.
- Surprise Your Customers with Freebies
The word FREE works like magic in the online world. People love free stuff, and they excitedly share about receiving some with their friends and family.
If you want your customers to spread positive things about you and convince their friends to become your buyers, send them discount codes, gift vouchers frequently.
Don’t worry! It will not result in a loss. When you send the vouchers, attach a condition that the customer will get free delivery or a surprise gift on shopping above a specified amount. Your customers will not mind spending some extra cash to avail free goodies.
You can also send samples of your products as a gift. Receiving something for free will make them talk about you.
- Host Contest and Giveaways
Hosting giveaways and contests are a perfect way to attract more audience and increase engagement on social media. All you have to do is upload a visually appealing image of the products and set some giveaways’ rules.
People love to participate in such giveaways; after all, they aren’t going to lose anything if they don’t win. Your followers will invite their family and friends to follow your social media accounts and engage under your posts.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing can help your business to grow and boost sales. Affiliate marketing refers to giving a commission to your customers or influencers if they refer your business to a friend or followers, and he purchases something from your company.
You can collaborate with your niche’s famous bloggers and ask them to spread good words about your brand. They can attach an affiliate link to their blogs or profiles. If their followers reach your business, you have to pay a certain percentage of the sale to that influencer.
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to make your customers talk about your brand in return for a small share of the sale. They will do all the marketing of your product. Don’t worry; you will only pay the commission when the sale is made.
- Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is gaining immense popularity in the world of digital marketing. Influencers have large organic followers. Your brand can get exposure to thousands of people by using the channel of influencer marketing.
You can pay the influencer and tell your expectations about what kind of post you want them to post. When an influencer will talk about your products or demonstrate how to use them, its followers will also try your products on the influencer’s recommendation.
49% of consumers consider the recommendations by an influencer. Out of those consumers, 40% will buy the product after seeing it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Wrapping It Up…
Using a word-of-mouth marketing campaign can help a business to build brand awareness and boost its eCommerce sales. It is not easy for any business to turn its current customers into brand ambassadors overnight.
However, by providing your customers with consistent good experiences and high-quality products, you will gain their loyalty, and they will spread good things about you in their social circle.
The strategies mentioned in this article will help your brand to implement word-of-mouth marketing strategies and attract a more prospective audience.
Encourage your consumers to share their reviews and feedback. Use the reviews strategically on your website and social media profiles to let people know your products and services are remarkable.
Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify – free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies, and mentoring programs.