10 minute read
In a digital era where every social interaction, email click through, and website visitor is tracked and measured, why should marketers care about word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM)? It's not just another tactic, it's the marketing channel with the highest level of consumer trust.
In fact, 88% of consumers placed the most trust in word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know. This includes relationships fostered online with friends, fans, followers, thought leaders, bloggers, and more.
Why should marketers care about WOMM?
WOMM has the ability to leverage positive recommendations from customers, affiliates, influencer, and partners in a strategic way to drive new sales and leads for consumer brands and B2B companies.
How? By having a WOMM program in place that enrolls members, tracks their sharing, rewards their recommendations, and measures their activity. These strategies typically come in the form of referral programs, affiliate and influencer campaigns, and partner marketing initiatives.
Here are three reasons why marketers should care about WOMM in 2020:
1. WOMM is a natural extension of your marketing team
Your marketing team can only do so much. You can only reach so far, spend so much and work so hard before you’ve exhausted your resources. Having brand ambassadors in your WOMM program provides a nearly unlimited extension of your internal marketing department, allowing the cycle to run continuously and grow.
This is especially helpful if you have a small team and want to establish a presence, but are limited in terms of time, money or other resources. For example, can’t make it to a big trade show coming up? No problem. Just recruit one of your ambassadors to represent your brand and you’ve suddenly found the way to be in dozens of places at once.
2. Expand your reach with WOMM programs
There’s a limit to how many prospects can be reached through any given marketing campaign. For example, an organic social media campaign is limited to the connections you have online, and those that will (hopefully) find you through other avenues, like search, paid ads, etc.
Now think about how many connections your brand ambassadors in your WOMM program have. If each of these people - who are passionate about your product or service and eager to spread the word - are connected to hundreds or maybe even thousands of others, who in turn have their own substantial networks, the sky is the limit. WOMM can help to expand your reach well beyond what you could ever achieve on your own.
3. WOMM enables you to improve your feedback loop
Continuous improvement is an essential part of the continued success of your business. And WOMM can play a huge part in receiving feedback from actual users. Encourage your WOMM program members to come to you with any and all feedback they feel is relevant – even the negative stuff.
You can also tap into your program members for their feedback on new launches or upcoming releases. Give early access and use their experience to make any necessary tweaks before officially rolling out your new offerings to the public.
In addition to attracting potential new customers, WOMM is a great tool for customer retention. Loyal customers are critically important to the success of any business. In fact, according to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5%, increases profits by 25% to 95%. They stay longer, buy more, and refer your brand to their friends and families.
WOMM Strategy for Retaining Current Customers
Since it can cost five times more to attract a new customer, it's crucial to have a strategy in place to retain existing relationships. This is where WOMM comes in.
Here are six ways to leverage WOMM in your retention strategy:
These days it’s not about just getting by on average service, brands need to continuously go above and beyond when it comes to support and experience. Consumers are loyal to brands that will truly value them. The easiest way to keep happy customers is to get them hooked on your product or service and wow them with each and every interaction. A positive experience is sure to garner word-of-mouth interactions amongst your program members.
Your online presence is akin to your brand’s first impression with its audience, and as the saying goes, "you get one chance to make a first impression!" Since WOMM program members will share their links directly to your website, it's critical to have a compelling, user-friendly website, a clear brand image and a solid social media presence so that first impression will really stick.
In a brand engagement survey, 94% of respondents said they would be highly likely to recommend a brand they were emotionally engaged with. More so, 75% of consumers say they make buying decisions based on their emotions. What do these stats mean for WOMM? If you can find a way to connect with your audience emotionally, you’re more than halfway to converting them into loyal customers.
When you consistently go above and beyond to satisfy your customers with amazing service, quality, and support, they're more likely to give your brand more referrals. And by over-delivering, you significantly increase your chances of client retention.
Think the squeaky wheel always gets the grease? Not necessarily - especially when it comes to customer satisfaction. A Harris Interactive study revealed that only 4% of customers that are unhappy will actually complain. The other 96% will simply leave. This means that you need to be asking for feedback from your customers on a regular basis. More importantly, you need to pay attention to what’s being said – good or bad. When you encourage your customers to speak up and show them that their opinions really matter, you endear them to your brand. As a bonus, you’ll also be better prepared to correct problems and make improvements in a more proactive way.
The value of word-of-mouth marketing
We've seen a massive shift in the way businesses market online, especially when it comes to word-of-mouth. And as marketers, it's important to activate customers with the tools necessary to share our brand's products, services, and experiences.
The goal of any word-of-mouth marketing program is to drive engagement, but that activity must be captured and recognized in order to measure that success. An automated WOMM program takes less time to manage and gives more time back to optimizing and measuring and enables the business to be more successful.
This is why it's crucial to leverage a word-of-mouth marketing solution to help marketers track, manage, and scale initiatives to drive brand awareness and revenue. Check out The Definitive Guide to Word-of-Mouth Marketing for more ways to leverage this customer acquisition and retention strategy.
Posted March 27, 2020 in Word-of-Mouth