Even the most entertaining, insightful, and revolutionary advertisements aren’t always convincing. That’s because the most powerful form of persuasion comes from those we know and trust. With the advent of social media and digital technologies, today everyone has the power to be an influencer. How important is word of mouth advertising to your overall marketing strategy?
Why Word of Mouth Advertising Matters
Over 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends or family over any other type of advertising. Put simply, if your friends or family had a good experience with a product or service, you’re likely to hear about it. Reading between the lines, your most important marketing asset is your existing customer base.
Effective word of mouth advertising will create a referral chain to drive continuous traffic, leads, and sales for your brand. If you can provide a rewarding experience for each customer, they’re going to tell their friends and family about it. Those people will then want to see for themselves what the buzz is about. If you can seal the deal by providing a uniform excellent experience across the board, you’ll generate more than interest in your brand.
So who is behind word of mouth advertising? For starters, in a study by Radius Global, millennials ranked word of mouth the most important influencing factor in their purchasing decisions. But it’s not just millennials. Regardless of who your target customer is, chances are they’re sharing their experiences and referring their friends, family, co-workers, and folks they know and trust to businesses they trust accordingly.
How Does it Work?
most important factor in word of mouth advertising is trust. First off, the person doing the recommending must trust the business in question. Second, the recomendee must trust the judgment of the one making the referral.
Ultimately, it comes down to social currency and triggers. In a nutshell, consumers like to feel special, exclusive, and doted upon. Social currency refers to their state of belonging. On the other hand, triggers are designed to remind us about a product or brand without exposure to an advertisement.
Say your friend tells you about a special sale on Thursdays. At work later in the week, someone mentions Thursday and your mind wanders to that special Thursday sale. The special sale is social currency and the trigger is Thursday.
Let’s not forget about the power of social media. Brands can rely on powerful user-generated content to sway the minds of consumers far more than anything the brand can produce on its own. User-generated word of mouth advertising can be anything from social media posts showing the use of a product to online reviews. That organic content can provide an experiential resource to other customers and shows them that a real-life person endorses the brand in question.
How to Build Your Word of Mouth Advertising Strategy
The simplest way to build a solid word of mouth advertising foundation is to provide a great experience. There are no shortcuts to providing a superlative customer experience; it has to be authentic.
However, if you create something buzz-worthy, the buzz will follow. Look to identify something different, attractive, or insightful and expand upon it. Do something great, tell a relatable story, or foster communication. Try to find ways to bring people together and foster engagement.
Word of mouth advertising is cost-efficient, far-reaching, and ripe with potential. Ultimately, however, the entire strategy depends on meaningful engagement, a great customer experience, and trust.