In business, maximizing all of the various marketing methods that are effective is critical. Word of mouth marketing is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing that exists, and today, social media amplifies its power.
The most effective form of marketing has always been word of mouth. According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, more than 80% of consumers in 60 countries worldwide trust recommendations from friends and family more than traditional advertising. And according to Leadpages, 49% of entrepreneurs said that word of mouth and referrals from friends is the most effective way to acquire new customers.
Word of mouth marketing provides something that other forms of marketing cannot: credibility. When you hear about how great a product or service is from a trusted friend, all of the barriers that usually exist for consumers are bypassed. You instantly believe your friend and the perception of the product is elevated in your mind.
While word of mouth marketing is the most effective method, it is definitely not easy to generate. Here are a few tips on encouraging word of mouth marketing for your e-commerce business.
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1. Deliver an Above Average Customer Experience
Meeting the expectations of the customer is important. If you don’t, you’ll have an upset customer on your hands, which can damage your business reputation.
However, if you simply give customers exactly what they expect, they most likely will not talk about their experience. To get people talking, you have to go over and above. Provide them more than they bargained for and they’ll tell their friends.
To do this, you’ll have to work on delivering a great customer experience – everything from shipping times to order confirmations and the packaging of the product. In order to do this well, it will take a lot of creative thinking and strategic planning on your part.
2. Reward Your Best Customers
Look out for your best customers and do your best to figure out a way to reward them for their loyalty. Watch out for people that buy your products again and again or have given you a glowing review. Highlight your best customers by featuring them on your website or on your social media profiles. Give them something free like an additional product or a discount on future purchases.
When you make people feel special, they will then be connected to your product or service on a personal level. They’ll be more likely to tell their friends and family about your products at that point. You may even incentivize them to tag your social media pages with their own posts.
3. Create Engaging Content
When you create engaging content, people will naturally want to talk about it. Putting out great content on a regular basis makes people want to come back to your site or social media pages again and again. If it’s really good content, they’ll share it with their friends on social media, which will help get some buzz going.
Mr. Porter regularly provides engaging content in its « The Journal » section, featuring everything from interviews with celebrities, best lists, to providing useful tips and guides such as their « Modern Dad’s Guide to Dressing His Son ».
By creating the right content, you can position yourself as an expert in the field. When you are considered to be a thought leader in your area, people will come back to see what you have to say, and they’ll trust the information that you provide.
4. Offer Exceptional Customer Service
People like to be loyal to companies that provide amazing customer service. For example, when you come across a positive comment about your product or service, thank your customers publicly. Treat each interaction as if you were face-to-face with that person. If someone said something nice to your face, you would undoubtedly say « thank you. » Do the same if someone thanks you online.
When you come across as genuine, people will respond to that and tell others about their experience. Nordstrom’s customer service never relies on canned responses and they always make sure to add a personal touch by including names and personal details when interacting with their customers.
5. Have a Strong Social Media Presence
Companies that are successful with word-of-mouth marketing often have a strong social media presence online. Posting regularly on social media lends itself to people talking about you. If someone posts something about your product or service online, repost it on your social media profiles. This will encourage other people to talk about your products online.
Try to solicit your followers’ opinions and ask them questions that will cause them to want to engage. If you have a genuine voice and don’t constantly try to hard sell them, they’ll be much more likely to stay engaged.
Think about who your target customer is and then ask questions that should be relevant to them. You might be surprised how many responses you get, and this will create a natural conversation between you and your potential customers.
6. Offer Rewards for Referrals
Give people an incentive to talk about you and your products. Consider adding a referral program or bonus to your automated email sequence. If you automate the process of asking for referrals and give people a reason to want to refer others, the word-of-mouth will start to take off. Learn form this example from iHerb I recently received:
While discounts are good, don’t rely just on discounts to get people talking. You can also consider giving them gear with your brand logo on it. Occasionally host a VIP event for your best customers. Be as creative as possible with your incentives and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
7. Reach Out to Influencers
Reach out to bloggers and others with some kind of online presence in your field. See if they would be willing to review your product in exchange for a free sample.
While you might think that it will only help to go after people with a huge audience, those with smaller followings can sometimes provide better results. The followers are often more engaged in this situation.
In addition to utilizing regular marketing tactics, do everything that you can to encourage word of mouth. Getting people talking is essential to your e-commerce business. Listen to what your customers have to say, respond to it, and give them a reason to tell others about you.
What are your best tips for word of mouth marketing? Tell us below or tweet us!