5 Ways to Embrace Word of Mouth in the Digital Era

Entrepreneur Mind Games
The little black dress. Coca-Cola. The electric slide. These things are all classics, tried and true, integral parts of our culture in years past and just as important today. In the marketing world, amidst social media, blogs and TV and magazine advertisements, word of mouth marketing still reigns supreme as a classic marketing strategy you’d be foolish to overlook.

Why is word of mouth marketing so effective? Commercials and advertisements in magazines and on the radio may be a great way to generate awareness of your brand in the beginning, but target audiences aren’t identifying with them. People aged 18 through their late twenties have developed the ability to spot phony reviews when they see them. These people crave authenticity. They want a genuine message that inspires them, resonates with them and makes them think, “Yeah, I could go for this.”

This is where word of mouth marketing comes in. If you want to start getting the successful results you deserve from your business, you need to learn how to make word of mouth marketing work for you. Here are a few tips to start using this technique today:

1.    Encourage Satisfied Customers to Leave Local Listing Reviews
wordofmouth-bricco

You know how when you search for a business in Google, you generally see a list of reviews pop up? If you have clients who are happy with your products or the services you provide, encourage them to leave positive local listing reviews. They can do this through websites like Yelp and FourSquare. Bricco, an Italian restaurant just up the street from where I live, embraces social word of mouth by incorporating the FourSquare logo into the tiles at the top of their website. They encourage check-ins by offering a 10% off “Newbie Special” to those who check in on FourSquare for the first time.

2.    Share Testimonials on Your Website
wordofmouth-russbrown

Providing testimonials on your website is an excellent way to sway a customer who might be on the fence about their decision to purchase from you. Russ Brown has several great testimonials on his website that show just how effective this marketing strategy can be.

3.    Show Off Your Well-Known Clients
wordofmouth-sweeperland
This strategy is primarily for business-to-business marketing, but it also works well if you have celebrity clients. Sweeperland, for example, has a list that allows you to scroll through showing all their well-known clients. When customers see well-known people they want to emulate choosing your company, chances are they’ll want to choose you too.

4.    Respond to Customers on Social Media

wordofmouth-jetblue

If you have customers that aren’t satisfied with your product or services, nip the problem in the bud by responding to their negative review. Show customers you care by apologizing for the problem and doing what you can do fix it. JetBlue is an example of a company that does this exceptionally well, often responding to tweets about delays and other airline problems on Twitter before customer service has had the chance to address them.

5.    Reward Happy Customers with a Referral Program
wordofmouth-referral

Starting a referral program in which you have satisfied customers recommend you to their family, friends, neighbors and coworkers is a great way to drum up more business. For instance, if you’re the manager of an apartment complex, you might give tenants a discount on their rent if they refer X number of people within a given month. Or, if you’re a hairdresser, you might give discounts on a salon service when customers refer people they know to you. The marketing company WebpageFX also offers a referral program that they’ve implemented with great success.

There are plenty of great marketing strategies out there, but word of mouth still ranks among the best, even though we’ve moved on to social media instead of passing on the word in person. If you want your business to truly excel and make the leap from good to great, getting customers talking and saying good things about you is key. You know that old Bonnie Raitt song where she sings “Let’s give them something to talk about?” In order for your company to succeed, that’s exactly what you’re going to need to do.

About Adrienne Erin

Adrienne Erin is a blogger and online PR specialist for WebpageFX who has written for Content Marketing Institute, Search Engine People, Muck Rack, and other publications. See more of her work on her personal blog, Pongra.
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2 Responses to 5 Ways to Embrace Word of Mouth in the Digital Era

  1. #4 is a MUST, not an option. It’s one of the fastest ways to interact with your customers, and ignoring them won’t do much for you. On the other hand, #2 is difficult. Most of us can be pretty lazy about it, and a bad experience doesn’t usually want to make you go to their site. #4′s more reliable about reviews, in my opinion.

    • Adrienne says:

      Hi Scott, thanks for your comment! I agree on both points – one of the biggest turn offs, at least for me, is when I take the time to tweet or write to a company on Facebook and they never get back to me! Being quick to respond to customers, even if you’re dealing with complaints or problems, makes a business look reputable.

      Testimonial pages can be hard to maintain, but I still think they’re worth it, especially if you can dynamically feed great customer feedback to different places around your site. That way, people don’t have to actually visit the testimonials page to see that you’re making people happy.

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