When people they trust tell them about great products or outstanding customer service, consumers listen. According to a Nielsen survey, 92% of customers believe recommendations made by friends and family more than other advertising. Leads generated through word of mouth are also more likely to convert. While some aspects of word-of-mouth promotion are timeless, digital strategies change over time. Find out how any business can maximize results from word-of-mouth marketing in 2023.
What Is Word of Mouth Marketing?
Marketing via word of mouth involves references to companies or products in everyday conversation. These organic expressions of information can be triggered by positive experiences of the quality of products or the level of customer service that a brand provides.
Companies can adopt business practices that increase the likelihood of glowing word-of-mouth promotions. Here are a few measures that are likely to get customers talking:
Including perks with purchases
Offering benefits for referrals
Posting shareable content for engagement
Responding constructively to critical feedback
Telling a compelling brand story
Customers are more likely to promote companies that exceed their expectations. While this marketing method is technically free, initial investments in promotional items or training customer service staff can pay off through word-of-mouth recommendations.
Why Is It Effective in Marketing?
Trust is the main factor that makes word-of-mouth marketing effective. Research suggests that 88% of consumers have the highest level of trust in brands that are recommended by friends or family members. On the other hand, 26% of consumers will avoid brands that have made a negative impression on family or friends. Recent digital marketing studies indicate that word of mouth from strangers can also influence purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.
Consumer studies report that 90% of people are more likely to trust brands that are recommended by any source. A 2022 study found that seven out of 10 customers trust influencers as much as face-to-face friends. The power of influencers is also growing, with 66% of survey respondents claiming that influencers impact their buying choices more than people they know in person.
Benefits of Word of Mouth Marketing
The main benefit of organic word-of-mouth recommendations is that these promotions can be free or low-cost compared to other types of advertising. The benefits of investing in research and development to produce products of the highest quality and staffing and training customer service departments can be far-reaching.
Marketing by word of mouth should be part of a broader commitment to customer satisfaction. When a company has a positive reputation, these campaigns can pay off by spreading through in-person and online networks to reach ever-larger audiences. Consumer research suggests that word-of-mouth promotions result in up to 90% of all purchases and that strategies prioritizing this method can amount to five times more sales than paid advertisements.
Examples of Word of Mouth Marketing
Brands that offer engaging experiences are mentioned three times as often as brands that don't try to interest customers. Some of the best examples of word-of-mouth promotions include secret menus at food and beverage chains such as In-N-Out and Starbucks.
Both companies developed products at store locations that were initially shared among staff members and select customers and are now widely shared online. Secret menu items capture the essence of exclusivity, which is a valuable premise for word-of-mouth promotions. Off-menu items still intrigue customers and can start conversations about these brands.
Examples of Digital Word of Mouth Marketing
Some of the most effective word-of-mouth campaigns originated online. For instance, the mattress company Casper launched online in 2014. It became a $100 million company in under two years through value pricing, an extended trial period, digital advertisements, and word-of-mouth promotion. The brand finally opened its first brick-and-mortar store location in 2018.
A more recent example of a successful digital word-of-mouth marketing strategy is the social media presence of Wendy's fast food restaurants. The brand has built relationships with over 3.9 million followers through irreverent humor and consistent engagement. Their promotions also draw on perceptions of exclusivity and other elements of successful word-of-mouth campaigns. For example, the brand's social media team once made the account private to offer free breakfast sandwiches exclusively to followers.
Brands can generate buzz and build loyalty by understanding what makes customers want to mention a company or product in face-to-face conversations or online. While an initial investment in marketing may be necessary, word of mouth can be one of the most cost-effective promotional strategies in the long run. Communicating with customers in ways that present a brand in a positive light is essential to a successful word-of-mouth strategy.