Every year, marketers have an increased number of tools at their disposal. The list of options is nearly infinite: social media, content marketing, influencer marketing, and many, many more. All of these strategies are valuable, and the best marketing plans are those that are multi-faceted. In your rush to stay on top of the latest trends, however, don’t forget the undying power of the oldest type of marketing: word-of-mouth marketing.
The Value Of Word-Of-Mouth Marketing
Why does word-of-mouth marketing continue to work so well? The answer is pretty simple. People believe their friends and family. In fact, a Nielsen study found that consumers put more stock in referrals from trusted sources than any other type of marketing. Across all regions of the world, “recommendations from people I know” ranked highest in terms of trusted marketing. The trend is the same across all age groups, including the millennials that companies covet most.
The days of being the only tailor in town are long gone. Consumers have plenty of options to find what they are looking for. These days, if you want to attract new customers, you need your current ones to be avid fans of your company. People share the brands they like on Facebook, and when they find something they love, it’s only natural they’d want to share it with their friends. If you aren’t taking advantage of this sharing, you’re missing a key page from your marketing playbook.
Masters Of Word-Of-Mouth
If you want to see a world-beating example of what word-of-mouth marketing can do for you, look no further than Starbucks. You’re probably within spitting distances of one right now. If you live in America, there’s an 80% chance you live within 20 miles of a Starbucks. Their empire extends to over 13,000 locations in the U.S. Even more remarkable, they achieved this dominance without using much traditional advertising at all. When was the last time you remember seeing at TV commercial for Starbucks?
Instead, they let their biggest customers spread the word. You probably know somebody who could be described as a Starbucks evangelist. At every turn, they come up with new ways to make their brand shareworthy. The pumpkin spice craze? You can thank Starbucks for that. The unicorn frappuccino? A word-of-mouth marketing dream.
Of course, Starbucks isn’t the only example of a brand that kills it with word-of-mouth marketing. Check out these six companies that have seen similar success.
How To Get People Talking
After reading the statistics and seeing some real-world examples of word-of-mouth mastery, there’s probably one question on your mind: How can I get in on this? Well, like word-of-mouth marketing itself, the tactics to get people sharing aren’t very complicated.
First, you need a quality product. The only word-of-mouth gossip consumers share about snake oil salesman is, “Don’t buy from that guy.” If you people to rave about your product or service, it needs to be rave-worthy. When Starbucks arrived on the scene, they differentiated themselves by having a superior cup of coffee. It might seem like a distant memory now, but there was once a time when most people had no clue what the difference was between a cappuccino and a latte.
In addition to a product customers want to talk about, you need to create an experience. While nobody would step in a Starbucks if the coffee tasted like mud, their appeal is equally based on the atmosphere their stores create. Lots of people hold company meetings at coffee shops. Conversely, hosting a meeting in McDonald’s would seem absurd.
Creating an experience isn’t limited to building a comfortable retail space. Think about ways you can make your customers feel good about interacting with you. If they hang up on a customer service call feeling great, that’s providing an awesome experience. Here is a great list of 10 tactics that will improve your word-of-mouth marketing.
Combining Word-Of-Mouth Marketing With Other Tactics
Word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t have to happen in the untrackable ether of person-to-person conversations. Social media in particular offers plenty of opportunities to structure word-of-mouth marketing endeavors. Encourage your customers to share their experiences with hashtags to aggregate their responses. If you create a clever campaign, you can be sure customers will give it a life of its own online.
Word-of-mouth marketing may not be new, but it dovetails perfectly with the buzzworthy concept of “shareability.” Whether the focus is on your product, the experience you create, or a campaign that encourages participation, getting people to share their positive feelings is the goal. Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge from a few years ago? That’s the perfect example of combining new tech with old-school word-of-mouth. In fact, there are a lot of lessons you can learn from this wildly successful campaign.
Make Your Brand Word-Of-Mouth Worthy
How you’ll generate word-of-mouth marketing will be unique to your brand. Ask yourself what makes your company special — and how to get people talking about it. From there, you’ll have a great foundation to develop a word-of-mouth marketing campaign that’s sure to get people talking. Who knows? Your brand might even go viral.