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What is Word-of-mouth Marketing and How to Use It

By Lynsey Sutherland

3 min read

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful tools for reaching audiences and offers huge benefits for savvy businesses – but how do you make sure you’re giving your customers the right things to talk about?

Discover the secrets of successful word-of-mouth campaigns

According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising 2015 report, 83% of consumers put their highest level of trust in word-of-mouth recommendations. 

Before attempting to spread your message this way, it’s important to ensure you have a solid offering in place and a good relationship with your current customers. 

Core components of service delivery

The areas you must be getting right to start a word-of-mouth campaign include:

  • Stellar customer service
  • Open channels for customer feedback
  • Well-maintained complaint system
  • Responsive social media presence
  • Willingness to listen and learn
  • Robust frameworks for delivery
  • A good, reliable product

Having a solid product and/or service to offer is the first step for anyone hoping to create goodwill among consumers. The second is a genuine willingness to listen to your customers, engage with their problems and provide them with the kind of service they want to talk about.

How to start a word-of-mouth marketing campaign

Once you know you have the right infrastructure and attitude in place, it’s time to start reaching out to your customers.

Here are three ways to start people talking about your business.

1. Offer referral promotions

People love getting a bargain and they also love sharing a good deal with their friends and family. Allow your loyal customers to do both by offering referral bonuses to reward them every time they encourage someone else to sign up to your services or make a purchase.

To encourage engagement, make sure the promotion you choose is straightforward and the immediate benefits are clear. For example, you could give an existing customer $10 off their next purchase when they refer a friend, who also gets a 5% discount.

Use your accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online, to identify customers who purchase products or refer multiple times. These customers can be thought of as key influencers for your business, and it’s a good idea to offer them extra rewards in the hope they’ll continue to spread the word.

2. Create talking points

Your excellent service and consistently high-quality products are areas you always want your customers talking about – but it’s also a great idea to introduce attention-grabbing topics into the conversation.

Think about the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, where Coca-Cola created a unique talking point by printing 150 of Australia’s most popular names on their cans and bottles. Could you do something similar for your business?

Look for ways that might allow customers to connect with their own, personal stories with your products, and offer them a platform to share their experiences on.

3. Get buzz going on social media platforms and websites

Social networking platforms offer brilliant opportunities to get people talking about your brand or product – you just have to make sure it’s for the right reasons. Monitor your accounts closely and always deal with complaints or queries quickly and politely.

Use social platforms to launch the talking points mentioned above by providing targeted conversation starters with the help of micro-ads. Post funny pictures or questions via Facebook Ads, run polls on Twitter and share snippets about your company that people might not find out about elsewhere.

You can also reward key influencers or people active in your industry’s community for talking about your brand by commissioning paid content. As long as your influencers are transparent about any payment or free products they are offered for their services, it’s a great way to spark new conversations.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re willing to talk back – a one-sided conversation will kill a word-of-mouth marketing campaign in no time!

To read more helpful articles on How to Promote Your Business, visit here.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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