Word-Of-Mouth Marketing: What It Is & Why Does It Matter
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing there is.
Word-of-mouth marketing is a type of advertising that relies on people talking about a product or service to their friends, family, colleagues, readers, social media followers, and more. It is often seen as the most effective form of advertising as it is trusted by consumers and can be very persuasive.
Because when other people or businesses talk about your business, it carries more weight than when a business talks about itself. People are more likely to trust recommendations from their friends, family, and colleagues than they are from a business saying great things about itself, plus word-of-mouth marketing can be very persuasive as it is seen as a more personal and authentic form of advertising.
Aside from trust and persuasion, there are a multitude of benefits you can reap from having other people talk about your business:
- Increased brand awareness. When people talk about your business, it increases brand awareness. This means that more people will be aware of your business and what you offer.
- Increased sales. Word-of-mouth marketing can lead to increased sales. When people talk about your business to their friends and family, it can create a sense of demand for your products or services.
- Improved customer loyalty. When people have a positive experience with your business, they are more likely to talk about it to their friends and family. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.
- Lower marketing costs. Word-of-mouth marketing is a cost-effective way to market your business. The less you have to pay for advertising, the better!
How To Get Free Word-Of-Mouth Marketing For Your Business
As a tool, word-of-mouth marketing can help businesses reach a large audience and generate interest in their products or services. Most word-of-mouth advertising can be acquired for free, however it relies on the hopes that people will talk about your business out of the goodness of their hearts.
There are many different ways that free word-of-mouth marketing can be generated. Some common examples include:
- Customer reviews: When customers leave positive reviews of a product or service, it can encourage others to try it out.
- Social media: People often share their experiences with products and services on social media, which can reach a large audience.
- Organic campaigns: Businesses can create word-of-mouth marketing campaigns that encourage people to talk about their products or services, including social media posts, automated emails, and in-store flyers that ask and encourage customers to share their experiences through reviews, social media posts, or simply by telling a friend.
Free word-of-mouth marketing is determined by whether or not others want to promote your business to others, but there are some things your business can do to encourage them. These include:
- Making sure you have a great product or service that people will want to talk about
- Provide excellent customer service so that people have a positive experience to share
- Create content that is shareable on social media and run contests and giveaways that encourage people to share your content
- Run referral programs with exclusive discounts that reward people for referring their friends and family to your business
- Get involved in online communities and forums to share your business’s expertise and answer questions from potential customers
- Personalize your interactions with customers – people are more likely to talk about a business that they feel a personal connection with!
When implementing any of these methods, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to share your content. Consider adding social sharing buttons to your website and blog posts and promoting your referral programs on your business’s social media. You can also share good reviews you get on your business website and social media pages so that others can see them and get the idea to share their own experience too!
How To Get Paid Word-Of-Mouth Marketing For Your Business
Sometimes businesses can’t afford to (or don’t want to!) wait for someone to possibly say something nice about their business. A business may also want to guarantee it’s going to happen, when and how they want it to. This is where paid word-of-mouth marketing comes into play.
Paid word-of-mouth marketing is a very cost-effective form of advertising that does not require businesses to pay for advertising through traditional advertising channels. It involves partnering with media organizations, influencers, or other businesses to share your business with their readers, followers, or subscribers.
With paid word-of-mouth marketing, your business can reach a wider audience than it would be able to reach on its own – especially when the person or entity you partner with has a large, targeted audience.
There are several benefits to paid word-of-mouth marketing, including guaranteed coverage, more control over what is said and shared, reaching new pools of potential customers, and being able to receive statistics and data (when possible) about the campaigns.
For example, at Step Out Buffalo we organically share information about businesses to our audiences across the web and social media, including our 3 million annual website readers and 325,000+ social media followers. However, this word-of-mouth advertising is at our editorial staff’s discretion and is not guaranteed.
When businesses want guaranteed placements on our website, social media, and email newsletter, we have several advertising options available and work with businesses to share their stories in a way that supports their brand identity and speaks to our audience at the same time. We work with businesses every step of the way, from conceptualization to execution of the campaign, and then provide detailed analyses of how the campaigns performed once they’re through. These paid word-of-mouth campaigns result in businesses being able to reach tens of thousands of people outside of their audience pool, increase their brand awareness, gain social media followers and email subscribers that they can later re-market to, and drive more sales.
A few things to consider when selecting a media organization, influencer, or other business to partner with in this capacity:
- Audience size
- Audience engagement
- Does their brand align with yours in terms of mission, values, ethics
- Does their audience demographic and culture align with your target audience- FYI: here’s how to find your target audience!
- What kind of advertising options do they offer and do they align with your marketing goals
- Advertising cost and return on investment
- Tip: While the ROI of your advertising campaign is hugely important, you won’t be able to determine this without some experimentation and trial and error. Learn more about how to determine if you’re getting your best ROI in our article, How To Know If Your Advertising Investment Is Really Working: A Step By Step Guide
Overall, word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful tool that can help businesses to reach a large audience, generate interest in your products or services, build trust with your customers, increase sales, and improve customer loyalty.
If you want to grow your business you should encourage people to talk about it for you. Popular ways to acquire word-of-mouth advertising include customer reviews, social media, and self-made marketing campaigns.
For businesses that want to guarantee word-of-mouth marketing, paid options allow you to partner with media organizations, influencers, or other businesses for access to whole new groups of potential customers and more control over the narrative about your business. There are several factors to consider when choosing a partner in this capacity, including audience size, audience engagement, brand alignment, and costs.
At Step Out Buffalo we work with hundreds of businesses to share their stories and what makes them great to our large audience online, on our social media, and in our email newsletter. Learn more about us, our audience, and how we can help your business do the same!