Companies spend countless hours developing marketing strategies to increase visibility, web traffic and conversions. But the best form of advertising doesn’t require a lot of money or a lot of time.
What is this cost-effective method? It’s the world’s oldest form of marketing – word of mouth.
Once you’ve established healthy relationships with ideal targets and/or provided valuable solutions to customers, word of mouth advertising isn’t that hard to facilitate.
Businesses with an active online presence are already well on their way. An active online presence includes a regularly updated blog and social media profiles and pages with engaged audiences.
Once a company has these prerequisite components in place, encouraging word of mouth advertising can be as simple as making your call to action a request for customer feedback or a request to rate your products and services online.
Personal recommendations have been shown to hold much more weight than any other form of marketing in terms of influencing buyers’ decision to purchase.
Sometimes, personal recommendations are actually the ONLY reason a person becomes a customer.
If you need more convincing that word of mouth deserves its title as the most cost-effective form of marketing, consider the following.
60% of millenials actively rate products and services online. And millenials (individuals born between 1977 and 2000) are the largest group of US consumers. Yes, they are more numerous than baby boomers – coming in at an estimated 79 million in comparison to the baby boomers’ 76 million.
Here are some tips for encouraging online word of mouth from your audience.
Make social media accounts a melting pot of customer sentiment. Ask for feedback on Facebook. Create LinkedIn polls that measure customer satisfaction. Request responses to a certain product/service on Google+.
Ask questions about user experience at the end of blog posts. If a blog post contains information about any of your solutions, ask readers to chime in with their personal experiences in the comments section.
Use your YouTube channel. Create interesting videos of your own about your company and its products. Tag them with a brand specific keyphrase. At the end of the video, ask users to create their own videos about their experiences with your product, using your established brand tag. Share your and consumers’ videos on social networking sites.
Implement a rating system on your ecommerce website. A highly recognized format is the five-star system located directly below a picture of the item. You can also place the five star icons above the product description. Star ratings are great for influencing purchases.
As you can see, because online word of mouth lacks the true to life face-to-face factor, it has several different forms. These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. Be creative in setting up ways for your audience to give their personal recommendations.
Also, be sure to thank customers who give feedback – whether it be positive or negative. Either way, you learn and grow from it.