You’ve heard of word-of-mouth (WOM) advertising, right? And you’ve probably gotten the impression that it’s the most coveted form of marketing for businesses hoping to build visibility for themselves.
Well, your impression is correct. Not only does WOM advertising work more effectively than any other type, it’s the most cost-effective, often requiring little or no monetary investment (making it the highest ROI marketing strategy available).
Why is WOM so effective? Think about it: Every piece of marketing you see asks you to trust. Trust in the quality. Trust in the promises. Trust in the people. And yet, you have no social proof with which to qualify those claims.
On the other hand, when you get a personal recommendation from a friend, the trust is there. She wouldn’t make a stupid choice. And so, you take her word for it.
The empty parking lot story is also an example of WOM advertising. You might pass a restaurant that’s put out lots of marketing communications, but the parking lot is empty. There’s a restaurant across the street that you’ve never heard of, and the parking lot is packed. Where are you going to eat?
WOM advertising is all about social proof, and today’s consumers just love that. They’re too busy to shop around extensively, and brands have proven themselves too untrustworthy for consumers to take risks. And so, they rely on referrals from others…even if those others are strangers. They would rather trust a stranger than a faceless business.
How can you drum up Word-of-Mouth advertising for your brand and make the most of it? Here are a few quick tips:
- Ask your best customers for testimonials and publish them on your website.
- Offer rewards to clients who refer new customers.
- Acknowledge those who recommend your brand (i.e. say ‘thank you’).
- Share positive feedback on your social media pages.
- Exceed expectations. Consumers aren’t accustomed to this. They’ll talk.
Now is the perfect time to start. Ask a few customers for testimonials and go from there. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the WOM ball gets rolling.