Think about how many times you have purchased a certain product or service based on a friend’s recommendation—probably more times than you even realize. After all, what better way to know if something is worth buying than from a trusted source who has already had experience with the product? That’s word-of-mouth marketing—and it’s vital to your business.
But word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t just happen. It involves being proactive and having a strategy to gather User Generated Content (UGC). Think of your current customers as your biggest marketing asset. While it’s important to stay in front of your prospects, it’s just as important to stay engaged with your existing customers.
Be Best In Class
The very first step in your word-of-mouth marketing may be the most important: Deliver top-quality service. That is what every customer wants—and expects— when they pay for something. Your business needs to meet their expectations—and exceed them.
Keep in mind that once you acquire a new customer, your relationship with them is just beginning. If you want to create a happy customer, this is the time to pay attention to their needs. Stay engaged throughout their onboarding process to ensure they are set up for success. Ask your customers questions and listen closely to their answers.
If a customer runs into an issue, be ready to solve that issue right away. And continue checking in with customers on a regular basis no matter how long they have been with you. Good customer service is something everyone appreciates but doesn’t always get. Your customers are certain to tell others about your superior service.
It’s All About the Customer
Another important strategy in your word-of-mouth marketing involves personalizing each customer’s experience. Start by always addressing the customer by name, whether in an email, text, or phone call. Keep a record of your interactions with each customer so you can refer back to any issues they have had and how you are solving them. And share specific ways in which your product or service can help that particular customer. Your customers will be delighted—and maybe even a little surprised—at the personal attention. And they are likely to let others know.
Throughout your customers’ journeys, be sure to share exclusive information with them. Let them know that only your most loyal customers are privy to this knowledge. Maybe it involves giving them advance notice about an upcoming product release or early access to that release.
Or perhaps it’s an upgrade at a special discount that you are only offering your best customers. When customers realize they are getting perks that prospects are not getting, they are much more likely to stay with you—and to inform others about the benefits of being your customer.
As you continue to foster your relationships with your customers, make a point to be active in their online communities. Find out where your customers like to hang out online to discuss issues in your industry.
Quora, Reddit, and Slack are a few places to consider. Or look into Facebook Groups that relate to your industry. These are good places to get involved in discussions and continue establishing yourself as a reliable, trustworthy source. You may even want to create your own Facebook Group for your customers to join. It’s a safe place for them to interact with you, ask questions, and gather even more information to help them in their customer journey.
So here’s where all of your word-of-mouth marketing efforts really pay off—customer referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for referrals. Happy customers will have no hesitation about giving them to you. They probably will not think to send you referrals on their own, so go ahead and make the ask.
You may even want to offer an incentive for each customer who gives a referral that ultimately turns into a new customer. Consider a discount on next month’s subscription or on their next purchase. Another option is to put the name of every customer who gives a referral into a drawing for a prize. Just make sure it’s a prize that people would really want, such as an iPad or AirPods.
Another way to make the most of happy, successful customers in your marketing plan is to utilize user generated content, most often in the form of written customer reviews, video customer reviews, and photos from customers.
Don’t be shy or feel awkward about requesting reviews from your customers. Again, if they are happy with their experience, then they will have no qualms about sharing it with others. And make sure you prominently display these reviews of your service and products in as many places you can think of—your website, social media posts, marketplaces, etc.
Prospects considering a purchase are the ones that will read these, so give them as much social proof about your business as possible.
TrustSpot is a good place to go to help you request, collect, and publish reviews—all from one site. You can even set up loyalty, referral, and VIP programs to reward your customers for their reviews. Plus, TrustSpot integrates with many of the platforms and services you already use, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Klaviyo, and Lootly.
Real Life Examples
So now that you understand what’s involved in Word-of-Mouth Marketing, how about some real-life proof that it works?
The convenience store has taken its name, 7-Eleven, and run with it. On July 11th each year (yes, 7/11), the store encourages customers to post photos on social media using the hashtags #7ElevenDay and #slurplife in order to receive a free small Slurpee cup on that day. As a result—and with very little effort and cost—the store is getting marketed across social media channels by its own customers!
The shoe company created a buzz around its products with a promise that for every pair of shoes the company sold, a new pair would be given to a child in need. This shareworthy message put TOMS front-of-mind for shoe shoppers everywhere as they realized they could contribute to the impact the company was making across the world by simply purchasing a pair of shoes. Before long, TOMS became known as the Original One for One Company.
This well-known burger chain that dots the west coast is wildly popular, in part because of its simple yet delicious food that is very budget-friendly. But the chain really made a name for itself with its “secret menu” that offers many more delectable items. Veteran customers seem to love that they are “in the know” about the menu, but they also can’t seem to keep it a secret from newcomers to the restaurant. After all, who doesn’t want to feel like the expert who can “show the ropes” to new customers?
Empower Your Brand
If you aren’t using word-of-mouth marketing to its fullest potential, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for your business. Your current customers are your built-in brand ambassadors and can help your business grow without you having to spend a lot of marketing dollars. With more and more consumers reading reviews and asking for advice on social networks these days, your business can’t afford to miss out on these opportunities.
TrustSpot empowers your brand to capture your customers’ voices through user generated content. It’s a comprehensive solution to collecting ratings and reviews, video testimonials, photos, social experiences, product Q&As, and much more.