There’s no denying the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
In today’s digitally-dominated world, word-of-mouth referrals have a tremendous role in business.
It’s not just the idea of word-of-mouth… It's truly WORLD-of-mouth referrals as there is such an impact in our communities from feedback, suggestions, opinions, and others’ personal experiences, that we now put those referrals at the top of the list when it comes to factors influencing the purchasing decision.
They are a strong source of new business because human beings are influenced by the people around them.
We take suggestions literally for everything >> doctors to visit, skincare products to buy, podcasts to listen to, and websites to frequent.
Just think about how often you mention a brand or business in your daily conversations with others. Given the statistic from the Pew Research Center that 72% of people get news from friends and family, it happens quite often.
So, how can we take advantage of the power of this referral source as brands and businesses? What can we do as brands to take it to the next level?
Let’s break it all down.
Why Word-Of-Mouth Matters:
In order to fully take advantage of word-of-mouth referrals and take your strategy for accumulating them to the next level, it’s important to fully understand just how powerful these referrals actually are.
It’s one thing to talk about word-of-mouth as a hypothetical driver of business. It’s another thing to take a look at the statistics.
Looking at the data, (and numbers don’t lie) it’s easy to see that people clearly trust their networks a LOT more than brands.
By understanding the power that our network has in influencing our purchase decisions, we can start to truly conceptualize actions we can take as a brand to drive more word-of-mouth.
Let’s take a look at some noteworthy statistics:
- 83% of Americans say that word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family members make them more likely to purchase a product or service. (Talk Triggers – Chatter Matters)
- 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision. (Ogilvy Cannes)
- 41% of people trust a recommendation from someone they know more than a social media recommendation. (Talk Triggers – Chatter Matters)
- 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. (BrightLocal)
- When choosing a restaurant, Millennials are 99% more likely to trust a social media recommendation over other groups. (Talk Triggers – Chatter Matters)
- 72% of consumers will take some sort of action after reading a positive review
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
These statistics clearly showcase the fact that word-of-mouth plays a huge role in brand awareness, trust and reputation.
What people are saying to each other, and the reviews being left on Yelp and Google My Business - among others, are directly impacting people’s willingness to do business with our brand. That’s why it's important to take time as brands to figure out how to continue to generate these kinds of referrals.
What Leads To Word-Of-Mouth:
We believe that it all starts from the inside out. If your brand wants to grow through referrals, first focus on your culture.
The reality is that when you start from the inside out, you have the ability to create an environment that in turn leads your employees to become evangelists, clients into advocates, and your community into collaborators.
In order to grow word-of-mouth, a brand must have:
- Culture + a WHY
- Exceptional experiences
If you want to get people talking about you, a brand must know who they are and why they exist, have a strong culture that is built from the inside out, AND create exceptional experiences.
The best way to do this is to create relationship-building touchpoints - through content and events - that really bring people into our brand. These touchpoints will allow you to show up authentically and honestly, in order to create that sense of connection.
These kinds of efforts - delight, deliver and then do it all again - have such an impact on your customers that they are compelled to share about it with others.
So, what are examples of these kinds of touchpoints that create exceptional experiences? What can your brand do to create them?
Here is a list of ideas:
- Feature your customers' success stories and testimonials on your blog/website and/or social media.
- Offer sneak peeks or exclusive trials to your community through a private group.
- Get feedback from your audience through quizzes, polls, and surveys. Getting their insight can be hugely beneficial, and then thank them for it, of course!
- Shout out customers, community members, and/or teammates on your social media channels when they do something noteworthy or have a birthday or anniversary!
- Send personalized notes or cards as a way of showing appreciation.
- Have meaningful conversations; ask your people how they are REALLY doing and then take the time to listen.
- Provide complementary products or services to industry influencers.
- Encourage user-generated content by SHARING user-generated content. Your brand is likely to see more UGC come in when you start featuring it!
- Take the time to recommend businesses/products that YOU love. The law of reciprocity just might mean that those businesses end up taking a look at you back!
All of these ideas represent opportunities for your brand to truly build a relationship with someone. And seeing that we trust our friends and family far more than we trust brands, building relationships with people will be what moves the needle so much faster than any marketing or advertising campaign ever could.
By creating exceptional experiences for your customers, you bring them into your world and make them feel like members of your community. This is what creates and drives repeat and referral business.
Why It Matters Long-Term:
In today’s uber-connected world, one single recommendation can play an enormous part in driving someone’s decision - especially to make a first-time purchase.
Both the growth and long-term success of your business hinge on the quality of your relationships and the ability to continue to build them.
These relationships are going to be what drive referrals and create loyalty.
According to the National Law Review, it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one. That’s a hugely compelling reason as to why it’s worthwhile as a brand to strategically try to grow word-of-mouth referrals. These referrals will not only keep business coming in but keep customers loyal.
When we take the time to invest in building authentic relationships with others and create exceptional experiences for them, we create memorable interactions that are worth talking about. These experiences are what continue to bring people - both new and old - back to us time and time again.
What do you think? Is your brand leveraging the power of world-of-mouth? In what ways are you helping to incentivize your community to talk about you?
We’d love to hear in the comments below!