In the traditional business world, word of mouth meant what it said – customers literally speaking to each other to recommend a product or service. In the age of social media, word of mouth has become an even more powerful tool.
Today, word of mouth marketing refers to something more than naturally occurring word of mouth. When we talk about it now, we mean using encouragement and social influence to build trust, loyalty, and enthusiasm among your customer base – often online rather than face to face. If they love what you make so much they talk to their partners and suppliers about it, you're getting valuable promotion. It's often worth considering engaging a specialist business development partner to help.
What Is Referral Marketing?
While word of mouth marketing emphasises customers passing on good experiences to friends, family, and colleagues (usually B2C), referral marketing offers incentives to existing customers to prompt their contacts to use your product (primarily B2B). It uses marketing automation tools to keep track of customer recommendations, while also encouraging and rewarding customers for their advocacy on your behalf.
How Can It Help Your Business?
Customers with higher engagement are more likely to stay loyal, as well as to recommend your products. This creates engagement that's both deeper and longer-lasting than a one-off sale. While tools like the pay-per-click Google AdWords remain important parts of your online marketing strategy, word of mouth allows you to increase sales and build a buzz around your brand without extra advertising expenditure. Effective word of mouth marketing can increase the effectiveness of digital advertising and social media campaigns by creating a context for your marketing material.
Strategies & Tactics You Can Easily Implement
Let's have a look at some specific marketing strategies you can implement to help word of mouth marketing.
- Customer testimonials – One of the strongest ways to influence consumer sentiment is what's sometimes called "social proof." People who see that your customers are happy and fulfilled are more likely to trust you.
- User-Generated Content – UGC is particularly popular and trusted with younger age groups. Decide on a hashtag for your UGC, and make it both memorable and unique.
- Referral programmes – Many customers will only make referrals when incentivised to do so. Create a programme of special offers and exclusive content that identifies and tracks your best prospects.
- Use email – You can send out emails to existing customers, offering them the chance to spread the word and get rewarded. Just after they've bought from you is a great time to do this.
Your good reputation is a fabulous marketing tool. If your customers are doing some of the marketing legwork for you, it's highly cost-effective and will support your other marketing efforts. After all, referral from a friend is the best marketing you can have!
To find out more about how to incorporate referral marketing into your marketing strategy, please call 01332 982198.
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