Ever wonder how a brand that is non-existent yesterday suddenly got a huge surge of traffic today? The answer may be word-of-mouth marketing. This form of marketing is often overlooked because online marketers are used to predictable marketing strategies like PPC or SEO. However, there is nothing better than harnessing the ‘human’ need to share and connect and using it to promote your business.
What is Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing is similar to a referral. This is where one person refers to a business or brand as having superior products or service in a particular niche. The result is often positive. In fact, there is no other form of marketing that results to sales as much as word-of-mouth marketing does.
NOTE: However, word-of-mouth marketing is no longer limited to talking face-to-face. While it is named that way, online shares and referrals can also be considered as word-of-mouth marketing. In fact, products and services are now shared in the online marketplace through personal reviews. These are powerful and should also be considered as word-of-mouth marketing.
Why Word-of-Mouth Marketing Works
Word-of-mouth marketing has its power. It is all because of these three reasons.
It is an External Recommendation
External recommendations are always more powerful than your own. Simply put, people are more likely to believe a recommendation about you if it is said by another person.
Think about this. Let’s say that a guy named Chris is good in graphic design. Then, two people recommended his services.
The first is Tina, his friend. She recommended how great his designs are and how dedicated he is to his work. She recommended him to her colleagues and they were very pleased.
Then, Chris was talking to a potential client over the phone. He asked how good he is in what he does. He told him that he has been into graphic design for 5 years already and he has tons of samples to show for his talent.
Who has the higher likelihood to hire him? The potential client over the phone or Tina’s colleagues?
The answer is Tina’s colleagues.
Why? Well, it is not because Chris is not able to promote himself. It is all because external recommendations have more power than than the ones you do yourself.
The answer is in the idea that Tina has nothing to gain to promote Chris. She is just doing that because she knows that he does a good job.
This is how word-of-mouth marketing gets people to say ‘Yes’.
Its Core is Trust
Let us go back to our story about Chris and Tina. I mentioned that Tina is talking with a bunch of colleagues about Chris.
Now, I never mentioned if these ‘colleagues’ are close to Tina. Some are close to her and they have been friends for 4 years. Others are new acquaintances and they only know Tina for months.
Who do you think will believe Tina’s recommendation more?
There is a chance that her friends of 4 years will believe her more than her acquaintances. Why? It’s trust.
When there is trust in a relationship, people are more likely to trust recommendations. Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful because the recommendation is passed through close relationships. This obviously has more power than an anonymous advertisement.
It Spreads Quickly
If a product or service is so good that it must be shared, you’ll notice that word-of-mouth marketing can spread information quickly. Why does this happen? Well, it is what I call the Fibonacci Effect. The more people who know your message, the more messengers you have to send that message to the world. Through time, this number increases allowing you to spread your message at such a rapid pace.
As you can see, word-of-mouth marketing is very powerful. But you can only do this if you have a platform and you have a message worth sharing. Today, I am going to teach you some strategies that can help you increase your likelihood of being shared through word-of-mouth. Some of these strategies are general and obvious while others may be fairly new to you.
1 – Have a Brand Message
If you want people to talk about you, you’ll need a brand message. This message will be carried across different platforms and will resonate with your brand every time it is mentioned.
You may have seen Zenhabits’ “Breathe” or Appsumo’s “Store for Entrepeneurs”.
It should be simple but it should carry one big promise. This promise should appeal to your customers’ needs and should be something that they would like to achieve. Why do you need a promise? To resonate to their needs of course! You want them to perceive you as someone who can solve their problems.
To craft your promise, you’ll need to know your target market. Your target market is the person you are talking to when you craft the message. More than their demographics, you should know their problems and their needs. Your message should address this if you want it to have an impact.
2 – Define What Makes You Unique
More than addressing the needs of your target market, you also need to be unique. You need to give them a reason to choose you over the competition. You need to answer the question: ‘Why should I choose you?’
For this, you can take different approaches.
Let us take a general promise for example.
We create courses that help businesses sell online.
You can then refine this by choosing a particular segment of the market. So instead of that, it will look like this:
We create courses that help plumbers marketing their services online.
Or you can create a twist on the process.
We that help plumbers market their services online through a booking software.
The key is to give your market a reason to choose you over the competition. There must be something in you that is worth noting and sharing. If not, you’ll just be another seller on the Internet whose fate is to be ignored.
3 – Be Consistent
Crafting a message is hard. But once you have it, please don’t waste it by changing it across different platforms. This is where consistency plays a role. You need to be consistent in your message across different platforms.
And I am not just talking about profile descriptions. Sure, you may have the same profile description in your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn accounts. But if you share conflicting messages in your status updates, then that would not cut it. Consistency goes beyond your company description. You also need to be consistent in all of your future content.
How does consistency help with word-of-mouth marketing? Well, being consistent helps people to identify your brand among the sea of advertisers. Once you have a consistent brand, it is easy to spot you. And if you did your part of providing quality products and services with superior customer experience, the likelihood of customers to share your brand with others is high.
4 – Build a Community
These days, it is no longer enough to have a brand name and a logo. Brands are like living creatures that have a personality and a fanbase. They are no longer texts plastered on paper.
With this comes the need for a community. A community is simple to understand. It is a group of people who loves to talk about your brand. The reason they do this is more than just being a fan. They do it because they resonate with the culture of your brand.
Having a community is the easiest way to get people to talk about you. This way, they are not only talking about your products and services. They are also talking about topics that matters to them.
5 – Be Better Than Your Competition
Most people will tell you that you should study your competition. This will help you see what they are doing so that you can imitate them and reap the same benefits. However, this rarely happens. In fact, what happens is that you create something similar to your competition and nobody pays attention. What can you do?
The answer is be better. You have to go another mile. Even if your competition has already done so much, you should put in more. You should aim to create something so great and phenomenal that anyone who sees it will be happy to share it. It is that important.
This will come in handy as you approach influencers later on. You’ll learn more about influencers in #7.
6 – Have a Referral Marketing Campaign
One of the easiest ways to grow your website is to have a referral marketing campaign. This can be a simple contest where you give away something in exchange for their referrals or it can be a giveaway where you give prizes for each sign up.
This is how PayPal grew its business. It started by giving away some money for every sign up. From there, it grew to the point that it no longer needs to do that. True enough, PayPal is now the largest payment processor online.
You can also reap the same benefits for your business if you run a referral marketing campaign. You just need a prize. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Sometimes, a simple coupon or digital item will do.
7 – Ask Influencers to Promote You
The fastest way to get people to talk about you is to look for an influencer with a relevant market and ask them to promote you. Back then, you can count the ‘big’ websites in your hand. But today, there are so many micro and nano influencers in any niche that finding them and asking them to promote you is easy.
Now, this is not a signal for you to go and pester influencers with ‘Promote me’ emails. That’s not the route that I want you to take. Instead, you should do two things: create something of value and engage with the influencer before asking for anything. These two things are very important. You need to create something worth sharing if you want to get their attention. And you need to engage with them prior to asking if you want them to respond.
8 – Engage with your Industry
You need to establish a presence in your industry if you want people to talk about you. After all, no one talks about people who keeps hiding in their offices. You need to get out there and engage with people like you. You need to engage with your industry. The best part is that you’ll win more than friends when you do this. You will also get to exchange ideas with your peers. This is the reason why attending industry conferences is a good thing. It helps you learn new things and establish new connections.
9 – Create Heart-Touching Advertisements
Ever wonder why some advertisements go viral while others go unnoticed? It is in how it was made. First, you need to create something unique. That’s a given. But then, you have to do something special to make your ad stand out from the rest. The best way to do this is to tug on the heart’s sleeve. Learn to make advertisements that appeal to emotions. It will stand out more and may even get shares on social media.
10 – Go Another Mile in Customer Service
There was an Uber Driver who sent an encouraging message to his riders. All it took for him was copy and paste the same message over and over again and it made his riders’ day. Sometimes, you don’t have to do anything drastic to have the power of word-of-mouth marketing. You simply have to care. That simple gesture by the Uber driver earned him tons of fans and his story was even shared on social media.
Are Your Ready For Word-of-Mouth Traffic?
Brace yourself. Word-of-mouth traffic is the quickest way to build your business online. But you can only do this if you have a product or content that is worth sharing. So strive to be the best. Don’t settle on being just the same as the next man. Do something more for your customers. Go beyond what is asked of you and you’ll succeed.