Many businesses rely on word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing to bring in new customers. In fact, 92% of consumers rely on referrals from people they know above all else. While this method is incredibly powerful, referrals eventually stagnate, leaving business owners searching for fresh ways to draw in clients.
Luckily, it’s easy to extend your potential customer base through online word-of-mouth marketing. Below, we explain what this means, show how online word-of-mouth marketing can grow your business faster than traditional methods, and share eight tactics you can start using today.
The Difference Between Traditional & Online Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Talking to a neighbor about the wonderful car repair service you’ve just had is traditional word-of-mouth marketing. You’re using a product or service to share your positive (or negative) experience with others. This customer referral sparks a chain reaction and hopefully brings new clients to your business.
With online word-of-mouth marketing, the idea is the same although the “talking” aspect differs. Instead of sharing a great product or service experience with a friend, the customer writes an online review about it. Instantly, potential customers who search for your business can anticipate what to expect. Although it’s unlikely these people will personally know the reviewer, 72% say reading a positive customer review increases their trust in the business. Those are stand-out stats for boosting customer confidence.
To see how effective online word-of-mouth marketing is—and to bring in as many online word-of-mouth referrals as you can—look through our infographic below and share any strategies you’ve tried.
The 8 Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Ideas
Even with powerful paid social media ads, word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most effective and well-known ways to grow your business. Thanks to the internet, sharing and learning valuable information is easier than ever. By combining go-to WOM techniques with today’s technology, your business can grow exponentially without losing quality customers.
- 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family.
- WOM generates 2x more sales than paid ads
- Consumers rely on word-of-mouth 2x to 10x more than paid media.
- 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.
Luckily, you can transfer traditional word-of-mouth marketing into online efforts.
1. Share Customer Testimonials & Reviews
Encourage customers to write a review by creating a simple email request after the work is complete. Then, you can help others learn about your business by sharing the testimonials on social media and your website.
- 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review if asked to.
- 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business.
- 82% of U.S. adults say they at least sometimes read online customer ratings or reviews before purchasing items for the first time.
After you’ve received customer reviews, use them in your marketing strategy:
- Share on social media as an interesting graphic.
- Use in paid ad copy to boost social proof.
- Post on your website’s homepage & landing pages.
2. Update Your Website with WOM-Related Statistics
Recently, we’ve been seeing an awesome feature pop up on service industry websites that point to word-of-mouth marketing in a discreet but powerful way. It is an active counter that shows the number of customers served and the number of customer reviews.
Imagine these number racking up after you land on a website.
- 140 Happy Customers
- 82 Customer Testimonials
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
If your business isn’t generating more than a handful of reviews, register your company on these popular review platforms:
3. Give an Incentive for Sharing
No matter the size of the prize, people are more likely to do something if they receive something in return.
Offering customers a perk for sharing your company’s products or services can quickly escalate your word-of-mouth marketing efforts. Consider giving a gift or discount to customers who share referrals and watch the WOM sales roll in.
People are 4x more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
Incentive Ideas for Valuable Customer Referrals
- Give 10% off the customer’s next service.
- Share company SWAG such as t-shirts, hats, or water bottles.
- Offer a complimentary service (just make sure it’s the right price point for your business).
4. Post Service/Product Ratings on Your Website
Looping back to customer testimonials, this word-of-mouth marketing idea is a good way to hit a specific niche within your business.
If you offer water damage services and mold remediation, let website visitors know which reviews are for which services. When looking at a service or product page, a customer’s confidence in your item or expertise will influence the final purchase decision.
5. Stay Active on Social Media
Although social media can seem overwhelming at times, it’s one of the most effective ways to encourage online word-of-mouth marketing.
- 81% of U.S. online consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts.
- 43% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it on social media.
How to Spread the Word on Social
- Create a Linkedin profile and network with friends, family, coworkers, and even customers if you’re in the service industry.
- Respond to reviews, questions, and complaints on your accounts.
- Share photos of your team to help customers connect with the company.
6. Join Groups and Add to Conversations
Speaking of social media, there is a great opportunity for businesses to participate in industry-specific groups online. There, you can share knowledge, establish your expertise, and connect with possible customers.
- 77% of brand conversations on social media are people looking for advice, information, or help.
- 55% of consumers share their purchases socially on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social sites.
- 85% of fans of brands on Facebook recommend brands to others.
Start by searching for groups on Facebook and Linkedin where your customers and competition are active.
- Use words specific to your industry.
- Look for local business or chamber of commerce groups.
- Join a community page where your company is located.
7. Connect with Industry Influencers
While you’re joining conversations and contributing to the groups mentioned above, you’ll likely meet people in your industry from influential companies. Use this to your advantage by networking with them, getting to know their stories, and sharing your own.
You never know, a powerful person may be willing to promote your business or share your story one day.
Brands that leverage social influencers are seeing up to a 10X increase in conversion rates.
8. Host Contests That Encourage Sharing
Another common strategy companies use to promote online word-of-mouth marketing is a social media contest that involves sharing with friends. By asking your social fans to tag others as part of entering the contest, you’re extending the reach of the contest—and your company.
A huge bonus of these contests? Building brand awareness and gaining new fans.
Start using these word-of-mouth marketing tactics to build your business and bring in referrals. If you want to share these strategies with your team, download the infographic to put in the office or share on your business social channels.