Word-of-mouth marketing can be one of the most effective ways to build trust and brand awareness – often, even more than paid advertising. When your shoppers talk about you, it has a measurable impact on your business growth. In fact, about 74% of consumers say that hearing positive reviews from friends is a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
The importance of word-of-mouth marketing has been made clearer than ever these past few months. As Mark Schaefer put it, “At a time when almost every other form of advertising is paralyzed from a seemingly endless spiral of bad news, trusting the voice of the consumer still works [and provides] exposure and credibility to a trusting and relevant audience. Every brand needs that, and they will always need that.”
It’s clear that brands need shoppers to talk about them. So how do you get them to do so? Here are 7 ideas to help.
1. Start with a warm welcome.
One of the most important moments in your customer’s experience is when they first become part of your community. Whether that’s their first purchase or the first time they follow you on social, make sure it’s inviting and friendly. The more welcome they feel, the more likely they’ll be to engage in word-of-mouth marketing!
Need a few ideas to get started? Add a pop-up greeting for new website visitors. Send welcome emails with warm, personalized messages. Greet new followers on your social pages. There are plenty of ways you can thank shoppers for joining your community!
2. Be responsive.
People don’t want to start conversations with a brand that shows no effort at commenting back, reposting, asking them questions, or being interested in their answers. Show them the value of taking the time to engage with you, by taking the time to engage with them.
As you interact more with your shoppers, you may even gain some valuable market insights! For example, learn about product preferences or see what questions come up most frequently. This can help build stronger relationships and refine your brand experience.
3. Talk with and about them.
If they tag you or share photos with you, share their content on your social media or website. If they say something nice, thank them for their comments and share them with others. When word-of-mouth marketing gets shared, don’t let it sit there untouched – use it!
Showing your brand experience from the perspective of your shoppers is a great way to reach new audiences and become more relatable and authentic. It also makes your customers feel appreciated, which is key in building loyalty and preventing “brand-hopping”.
4. Personalize interactions.
It’s important to recognize that each individual customer matters. Make them feel like an important part of a larger community. Whenever possible, address them by name and keep personal notes about their history with you in your customer database.
It’s also becoming more common to have customers interact with a member of your customer success team by name, rather than have “faceless” interactions with your brand. If you have multiple team members responding to your shoppers, make sure the brand experience is consistent and smooth.
5. Ask for it!
Is asking directly for feedback really the best way to go? Research suggests YES – as long as you follow through. In fact, 77% of consumers view brands more favorably if they seek out and apply customer feedback.
Get to know how your customers are experiencing your brand and what, if anything, they’d want to be different. Use word-of-mouth marketing to improve customer experience. This will also help you improve customer loyalty, retention, lifetime value, and more.
6. Run a contest or giveaway.
Set up a giveaway to encourage social media interactions with prizes such as a gift card to your online store or a free item or two. Brands even do collaborative giveaways to provide bigger prizes or multiple winners.
There are many ways to encourage interactions. Have customers enter by tagging a friend, sharing a photo and tagging you, sharing your post on their Instagram story, or writing you a review. Make sure entrants follow you on social media, as well as any other brands involved. This will ensure they see any contest updates and future posts!
7. Provide an incentive.
Besides larger incentives like a contest or giveaway, it helps to show your appreciation for your customers by offering them small bonuses for staying loyal to you. If you decide to try this, make sure to customize an option that works best for you!
With Guru Club, providing incentives is easy – and you get content and exposure in return. Simply set a cashback amount your shoppers can get if they share an Instagram story about you, and display the offer on product pages or in the cart. This will help increase conversions, brand awareness and loyalty, and user-generated content shared with relevant audiences.
It can be tough to get word-of-mouth marketing going, but these 7 ideas are a great place to start. Guru Club can also help you combine and streamline many of these ideas with one easy integration! Join the Club to turn your shoppers into your gurus and start experiencing the many benefits of word-of-mouth marketing.