Businesses are in a constant look out for promoting their business in one way or other. It can be either by the way of direct advertising, through online media or even just through word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. Which out of these, do you think would be the most powerful way to promote their business?
We already know about direct advertising and online media as two powerful ways to promote a business. But it would only be our mistake, if consider word-of-mouth marketing tactic as any inferior to them.
According to the data available from the Nielsen Company, as many as 84% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family and friends about products – making these recommendations the information source ranked highest for trustworthiness.
In spite of the wide advertising arena and the advent of social media, the business marketing happening through the word-of-mouth tactic is equally or rather more effective. There are still huge amounts of people who make offline recommendations about a business or a service they like and share its positive experiences with their friends over the phone or face-to-face.
Why Use the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Tactic?
When I reached high-school, my father bought me a bicycle. I bought a ‘Hercules’ brand bicycle, unlike the common trend prevailing among the youngsters at that time of buying ‘Hero’ brand bicycles. Few of my friends asked me about its instant review. But I took a week’s time to give them a review about it until I properly had my hands on it.
After that, I gave them a positive review about it relating the bicycle as athletic, strong and convenient enough for extensive traveling. Impressed by my positive word-of-mouth, there were another five of my classmates who bought the same model within a week. To my surprise, two of my friends already using the ‘Hero’ brand bicycle changed it by replacing it with ‘Hercules’ brand bicycle.
This example is a proof of the fact presented in a new study by Ogilvy, Google and TNS that around 74% of the consumers identify WOM as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. Moreover, according to another study by MarketShare, WOM has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54%.
It may seem that the word-of-mouth advertising tactic is fit for the big companies and not for small businesses. But, that isn’t the case in practical.
Actually, small businesses have the potential of making it really big out of the word-of-mouth marketing tactic. The reason behind that is there is a much closer distance between the business owner and its esteemed customers.
Due to this reason, customers of a small business feel much closer to it rather than a large company located very far away. Moreover, it becomes very easy and convenient for the local small business to provide its nearby customers with custom offers and personal attention.
Although, it may seem to be small things, but actually they are very important. These small factors tend to increase the satisfaction level of the customers, increase business loyalty and encourage them to willingly do business advocacy on behalf of the firm.
Suppose, a person goes to a local clothing outlet and finds the retailer offering great discounts on branded fabrics. He might be allured by it and make a few instant purchases.
After that, he finds that the customer will be served with cold drinks on making a purchase of more than Rs. 1,500. Then, he might be thrilled with the idea and might even end up buying a few more clothes from the store.
Thereafter, there are all the possibilities that he will recommend the store to his relatives and friends, if he is satisfied with his purchases and the special offers provided to him.
Usually, people are more inclined on recommending the business, which they know, can trust and feel more connected to. Due to this reason, small local businesses have a huge advantage and an enormous potential of word-of-mouth promotion.
How Can Word-of-Mouth Marketing Tactic Work Effectively?
Although, there are no typical word-of-mouth marketing campaigns, it still offers a numerous promotional options. You can generate an advertisement about your business, which can invite promotional measures for your business. The ad can be related to any of the following options:
- You can offer great discounts on selected items as a part of a seasonal sale
- You can design an ad campaign intended to generate conversation with your prospects
- You can organize an event intended to invite your most loyal customers along with their relatives and friends
- You can organize a competition for word-of-mouth promotion of your business by offering rewards to its winners
When you generate such ads, what it will actually do is create a class of first hand customers for your business. In turn, it is most likely that they will promote your business further by word-of-mouth recommendations, if they find it worthwhile.
According to a data available from Torben Rick, 76% of customers recommend companies they trust to a friend or colleague. This shows, how great is the scope for you to get in turn customers chipping in through word-of-mouth recommendations.
How to Promote Word-of-Mouth Marketing Through Customers?
By implementing the measures I suggested above, you are sure to invite your prospects and drive their engagement with your business. But do you think this much is enough for your business?
Certainly not. Rather, as a next step, you should be looking forward to turn them into your customers. Thereafter, your focus should be on inviting customer loyalty and business advocacy by providing them with maximum satisfaction in all the possible ways.
This will ensure that you have performed your business duties up to the mark. But how would you go about doing so? Now, let me introduce you with the following measure which will enable you to do so:
1. Have a good historical background:
When people recommend about a business to others, they usually like to share a background story related to it. Thus, it is likely that people will try to know about the history of your firm like when it was started, why it was started and how it was started.
By knowing about such interesting stories, they feel more connected with your business. You should try to provide them with a good solid historical background about your business. Then, they will be more prone to recommend your business to others and share your business details with them.
2. Manage your customers most efficiently:
As said in the fundamentals of Economics, a customer is the king of the market. You need to treat them in the best possible way. You should try to make your customer known to your business as a genuine firm and provide him satisfaction with your products and services. Then, there are all chances that he will recommend your business to others.
So, it is very necessary, that you keep all your customers highly pleased and satisfied with your business. Then, you will surely get the return in the form of your customers spreading the word about your business.
3. Implement new ways to show you care for your customers:
If you just provide with your products to your customers, that is not enough. You need to serve them with equally good or rather even better hostile services to them. It is by that way, that you will make them feel impressed by your business. Even your small positive gestures and measures can work a great deal in this respect.
If you just keep a watchman to open and close the door of your store during the arrival and exit of your customers, they are sure to like it. Additionally, if you greet your customers on their entry and exit with a kind and pleasant gesture, it would mean a lot for them.
By implementing such small but important measures, you automatically convey the tag line of your business that you highly care for your customers. Your loyal customers will pay you in return of it by the way of making word-of-mouth recommendations.
Based on the data available from Neilsen, 84% of consumers reported always or sometimes taking action based on personal recommendations. So, you are bound to get increased after sales inquiries and interests in your business in the form of other new customers.
Moreover, the word-of-mouth recommendations happening from the social media sites are also equally important. Customer opinions and advices posted on them also play a significant role in spreading the air about a privileged business.
According to the data available from sources, 85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others. (Syncapse) Out of them, 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media. (Nielsen)
Practically, it is immaterial whether customers spread the word-of-mouth through an off-line or an online medium. However, it is highly necessary that they do come ahead to spread the word about your business using any convenient method they would like to follow.
Usually, people are likely inform their friends about a harsh experience they had with someone. But in this case, they would be certainly thrilled to inform their friends about a pleasing experience they had with you.
It is quite certain that if you offer a personal touch and attention to your customers, in addition to the pleasing hostile services, they are prone to turn into not only your loyal customers but also brand advocates and spread the word-of-mouth about your business.
So, do you make any word-of-mouth recommendations about the small businesses you know to your friends or not? If yes, why and how do you do it?