As a digital marketer, I know exactly how it feels trying to keep up with the changing trends and the conversations happening around a brand. But the one thing that I have realised over the years is the fact that what people are saying about you is extremely important.
The millennials today, rarely respond to a sales pitch. Apart from personalization and all-time-contextual approach from businesses, these are people who complete almost 64% of their purchase cycle with their own research.
This research includes a thorough visit to your website, all your social profiles, the reviews and feedback that your business has got so far from the existing customers. For that matter, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know directly or anonymous reviews where the trust rate is about 70%.
Why is word-of-mouth an important marketing tactic?
A lot of marketers consider word-of-mouth to be as important as social media today. Here’s taking a look at the 4 main reasons every business should leverage from this tactic:
1. It helps build more trust – faster
Like we mentioned before, people trust people more than a value proposition that comes from a brand. Be it B2B or B2C market, the trust is becoming increasingly difficult to attain because there are at least a hundred other businesses trying to offer the same thing as you. People now trust people who are just like them, and not advertisements or endorsements.
A very successful example of word-of-mouth done right is that of Zappos.com. As one of the largest eCommerce websites, the brand has built its name around trust. As Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com puts it, “Our philosophy has been to take the most of the money we have spent on paid advertising to invest into customer service and customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word-of-mouth.”
The brand, till date, encourages their buyers to share their purchases on social media along with an honest review of it. You can also notice that they actively respond to these reviews – positive and negative, to keep their customers engaged and satisfied.
2. It lowers the customer acquisition rate
Let’s be honest, if a customer recommends your product to 5 more people who eventually convert on your website, just how much did you have to spend for that? Nada. You probably ran a retargeting campaign for 2 of them who decided to convert a day after their first visit.
Word-of-mouth brings down the customer acquisition rate by manifolds. It also ensures that your business proposition is reaching the right people or personas. Since people recommend things to only those they think actually would benefit from it, you can be sure that you’re generating quality business.
3. It boosts the customer retention rate
Continuing on the point above – when you generate quality business, it means you have customers who were actually looking for your products. This ensures that they interact with your business on a long term basis, boosting your customer retention rate.
Also, studies suggest that customers who are referred to a business by their friends or family are doubly loyal to the brand. According to Forbes, they are 18% more likely to stay with the business compared to customers acquired via other campaigns.
4. It helps create brand awareness
The one way to ensure that your brand keeps growing even after a campaign has ended, is to generate enough buzz around its name. The longer people keep talking about it, the more you stay in the eyes of your target audience.
Since word-of-mouth or referral campaigns encourage people to talk about their experiences and interaction with a business, it helps create the brand awareness you need for sustainable growth.
While the benefits of word-of-mouth seem appealing to all business marketers, only 6% of them are able to effectively run those campaigns.
How you can turn your website traffic into word-of-mouth community
There are innumerable number of tips and tricks available online for digital marketers to run referral campaigns on social media or a customer loyalty program. But in this post, we decided to tap into the potential of the business website.
If you have been marketing your business well, the website is bound to get enough traffic on a daily basis. Some from this traffic would have converted and there would be others who are still being retargeted by some ads.
So here’s taking a look at how you can implement a word-of-mouth strategy on your website without interrupting or compromising on their experience:
1. Ask for ratings
Ratings are the easiest to drop from a consumer point of view, but the most difficult to collate from a business point of view. The business needs to keep in mind that the visitor is satisfied with the website and his purchase before asking him to rate something. A bad rating could cost the business loss of sales.
So target your returning visitors with a campaign on their exit that asks them to rate their recent purchases. Alternatively, you can target new visitors with a campaign that encourages them to rate a product range or their experience on the website.
Just ensure that this campaign is easy to opt out of, simple to complete for someone who is moving on to another website and adds valuable insights for your business.
2. Request a review
If a visitor has converted on your website or a returning visitor makes another purchase, target him with a campaign that requests a quick review. Since this visitor has converted on your website, he is more likely to be satisfied with his experience – which in turn makes him more likely to drop a quick review for your business or the product.
Here too, it is important that you give him the choice to decline reviewing anything. If you do want this campaign to be successful, offer an incentive that adds value to his next purchase – he is more likely to then convert on the campaign.
3. Encourage social sharing
A happy visitor will never mind sharing his experience on social media. For that matter, most online consumers take to social media to express their like/dislike towards things – including experiences with businesses.
Nudge your exiting visitor to share your website, his experience or his purchase on a social channel he prefers – if he liked what he saw. It is important to target him with a message that makes him feel his opinion is important and maybe offers something lieu of his action.
4. Create a referral program
Word-of-mouth requires an effective referral program in place. You need to target the visitors at the right time (preferably once they are done with what they had come for – right before their exit), with the right message and value proposition that encourages them to invite their friends and family to your website.
In a referral campaign though, it is important that a business looks into what holds the most value for a customer and then creates an offer that makes him want to complete an action for you. In this case, recommending your product or website, or inviting others to join your email list.
5. Leverage the net promoter score
Give your visitor enough time to browse through your website and target them with a campaign just when he is exiting. Asking him to give your website a score between 1-10 will give you an idea of what his experience was like and insights into why he did not convert.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used to gauge the customer satisfaction a business is able to deliver for effective revenue growth. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be spoken positively about on digital platforms.
Over to you
Remember that when creating a word-of-mouth marketing strategy, you have ensured that the visitor’s experience has been good. If a visitor is not happy with what your website offers, he isn’t going to convert on any of the campaigns or drop negative remarks that would bring down your credibility in the market.
An ideal funnel to follow for word-of-mouth marketing looks like this:
Focus on creating a website that delivers a great user experience – taking into account what they want, what they expect from your brand and how easy it should be for them to convert.
Any more ideas on implementing a word-of-mouth marketing strategy on a business website?
We would love to hear them too! So don’t forget to drop your suggestions in the comment section below. 🙂