Word-of-mouth marketing is good for business

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Marketing and advertising is a saturated industry with too many messages competing for customers’ attention. Sometimes, alternative methods of marketing work better than traditional forms, as is the case with word-of-mouth marketing. This method comes with the added benefit of built-in trust without the associated costs.

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Word-of-mouth can be used in conjunction with conventional marketing practices to establish a wider audience reach and deeper connection to a brand. Customers who receive great treatment from your business are more likely to tell their friends and family about their positive experience. This form of brand promotion comes at no cost to your business.

What is word-of-mouth marketing?

Word-of-mouth marketing is the practice of building mutually-beneficial consumer-to-consumer communication. In other words, when a consumer of a brand tells another consumer about that brand, the second consumer becomes aware of the products and services of the brand. The second consumer has a higher chance of becoming a paying customer because they trust the word of the first consumer.

Word-of-mouth marketing is an honest form of advertising that capitalises on people’s willingness to share information or good experiences with their friends, families and colleagues. When a customer speaks highly of a business in their social circles, they are effectively marketing the business for free.

People will value the opinions of others that they know and will trust their judgement of a brand. Word-of-mouth marketing is a highly valuable tool and should be encouraged through improving customer satisfaction and listening to the consumers’ needs.

How can marketers use word-of-mouth?

Marketers are beginning to learn how to harness and improve word-of-mouth tactics. It can be used as a marketing objective within itself, using a customer’s voice to sell products or services. Marketers can use client testimonials and positive customer feedback to reach a wider audience.

A happy customer can be the biggest endorsement for a brand. Word-of-mouth marketing relies on the positive feedback to encourage other consumers to make a purchase. However, word-of-mouth cannot be faked or staged. The audience will view this as unethical, lazy and manipulative marketing.

Unethical word-of-mouth practices can range from impersonating an influential person or masking their identity, to manipulating the honest opinion of a real consumer. Other practices, such as infiltrating and violating real-world and online venues with branding and marketing messages, are also frowned upon.

Faking good customer reviews can tarnish a brand’s reputation in an instant. The audience will never connect with a forced message if a paid actor is pretending to be a happy customer. Word-of-mouth marketing should acknowledge on the consumer’s intelligence and ability to judge authentic feedback.

Common types of word-of-mouth marketing

These are some of the most common types of word-of-mouth marketing that are used by agencies to reach a wider audience:

  • Buzz marketing – Using influencers and celebrities to market your brand.
  • Viral marketing – Creating informative and entertaining messages (typically videos) that are highly shareable online.
  • Community marketing – Forming and supporting niche communities that share interests.
  • Grassroots marketing – Organising and encouraging volunteers to engage in personal outreach initiatives on the ground.
  • Evangelist marketing – Creating advocates for the brand from community leaders who can actively spread a message on your behalf.
  • Product seeding – Placing your product in the right hands and at the right time by giving samples to influential individuals.
  • Influencer marketing – Similar to buzz marketing, whereby you get thought leaders and influential public figures to talk about your products to their followers online.
  • Cause marketing – Supporting local initiatives that earns your business respect and support from the local community.
  • Conversation creation – Coining quirky slogans, advertisements, emails and promotions that are designed to jumpstart conversations.
  • Brand blogging – Writing blogs that share information and bring value to an online community.
  • Referral programmes – Creating tools that help happy customers to refer your business to their friends, such as by hosting events.

Word-of-mouth marketing should never be overlooked by a brand. It can lead to exponential growth at almost no cost to the business. Companies that care about their customers and go the extra mile to improve the business experience are likely to benefit from positive word-of-mouth marketing.

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