Word of mouth marketing is often referred to as the original social media, and it remains the single most effective form of promotion in existence. More than 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from family or friends more than any other source. It continues to influence buying decisions and remains one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing in which to invest.
Good business leadership knows that word of mouth marketing doesn’t just happen on its own. There are several things marketers can do to spur conversations and earn referral traffic, and it won’t cost you much outside of your time.
What Does Modern Word of Mouth Marketing Look Like?
Digital channels have transformed word of mouth marketing.
Before the digital age, word of mouth marketing revolved around conversations with people you knew. When you needed a local real estate agent, a different shampoo, or recommendations on a restaurant, you asked your family or friends.
Today, word of mouth marketing follows this same premise, but at a much greater scale. You’re no longer limited to just the people you know, but you can also tap into massive online audiences for their input — even if they’re not sharing it specifically with you.
Online reviews, testimonials, video tutorials, and other user-generated content is constantly marketing on your behalf. Consider the following ways you can capitalize on your brand’s buzz and encourage others to keep the conversation going:
Ask for Referrals
Referrals are one of the most valuable forms of marketing, largely because it offers one of the highest returns on investment. Studies show that referral leads have a 70 percent higher chance of converting and a 16 percent higher customer life cycle.
How can you boost your referral traffic? Some sources indicate all you have to do is ask.
Studies show that 83 percent of happy customers would be willing to refer others, but only 29 percent of them actually do. You can change this narrative by simply asking your customers for a referral and watch how it transforms your business.
Testimonials can be powerful word of mouth marketing tools because they come from real customers who know what it’s like to do business with you. Though some customers will leave you a review on Google or Facebook, you should proactively ask for testimonials to use in your marketing.
Unboxing videos, product demonstrations, and even reshares and retweets are testaments of your business. Real people are giving your business credibility via their engagement, and you can tap into their willingness to talk about you and use it to your own advantage.
The Only Way to Make Word of Mouth Work for You
People are talking about your business, whether or not you realize it. The best way to take control of the narrative is to prioritize it. Building a word of mouth marketing strategy is the best way to make it work in your favor and let you increase your business leadership status in the process.
It doesn’t matter which of the above methods you choose, so long as you choose to implement something. Either way, your customers are doing the hard work for you.
For more business leadership insights, check out our Leadership articles.