Word of mouth is arguably the most efficient and beneficial form of marketing. A recent Nielsen’s Harris Poll Online found that more than 80% of Americans seek recommendations when making any kind of purchase. Also, a Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising report showed that 84 percent of consumers say they value recommendations from friends and family above other types of advertising. Most people trust their peers more than corporate advertising, so hearing the virtues of your solution from a colleague will go far in establishing your credibility.
What does this information mean for your business and how do you incorporate word of mouth into your overall marketing strategy?
Nurture Happy Customers
Happy customers require a solid solution, first and foremost. Addressing the vulnerabilities of your product and services will increase your customers’ confidence in your company, helping develop customer advocates and extending word of mouth. Many people are happy to be an expert and discuss how they have solved a problem. By delivering a solid solution, exceptional customer service and conducting business as a true partner, customers will be open to acting as brand ambassadors. Build and engage a captive audience of your customers, partners and thought leaders.
Communicate to Your Customers
Collaborative relationships offer benefits to both sides. To have customers and prospects believe you are on their side, it is essential that marketing efforts speak to their motivations. Regardless of how beautifully crafted your campaign or message is, any project that does not speak to what influences your customer will fall flat. What keeps your clients up at night? What inspires them? You need to understand these motivators before you can make the link to how your offerings can help.
Simplify your messaging for the benefit of all involved. Someone outside of your company is not as immersed in the key take-aways as your executives. They will be asked about or offer information about your company, communicating the points they believe. Clear, concise messaging will make it easier for your customers to convey the benefits you want others to understand.
Make Their Voices Heard
You have happy customers who are willing to share their experiences. Now what? These stories and successes should be shared where people can learn from them. This can be through a variety of channels, including case studies, media interviews, social media interactions, presentations at tradeshows. The point is to have your customer’s voice heard where potential prospects and industry influencers could be listening. Having your success stories out there also keeps them alive long after they are told.
Create Targeted Campaigns
Not all messages will resonate with everyone and not all customers are created equal. Segmentation will vary depending on your company and what matters to your customers. Factors can include location, industry, customer size, solutions they are using or problem they are trying to solve. The audience should be able to relate to the customer’s experience. Match the client and message to the correct audience for maximum return.
Pick the Correct Channel
Similar to all customers not created equal, neither are channels. Businesses are made up of people that are using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You need to get your message to the people where they are and where they will be receptive to hearing your customer’s story. That said, tread carefully to put your efforts in the channels that can offer the greatest reward as some may be a better fit than others. A channel that makes sense for one industry may not work for another. Also, focus on the message and desired outcome and not the trendy tool.
Ensure your online presence is optimized for mobile channels. According to an April 27, 2016 post by Smart Insights, mobile use grows an average of 58% year over year. Viewers should be able to move seamlessly between devices and have a consistent experience regardless of whether they find you on a desktop, tablet or phone.
Word of mouth marketing can be a cost-effective and credible way to extend your voice. These steps will increase the value of these efforts. Now, get your customers’ achievements heard!