If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “Word of mouth is the best advertising,” no doubt, I would be a very rich woman. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t work that way.
Word of Mouth Costs Little and is Considered Highly Trustworthy
Word of Mouth is pretty fantastic. Consumers trust referrals from their friends and family above all other forms of information. According to Referral Candy, 86% of customers trust word of mouth reviews and recommendations and customers acquired through word of mouth promotion spend 200% more than the average customer. And Nielson has found that people are more likely to buy a product or work with a business when referred by friends.
However, is word of mouth enough?
The Benefits of Word of Mouth are Limited
Its Effects are Limited
The most successful marketing efforts combine the right message in the right place at the right time. While your friend may be effusive about an experience they had, it will have little effect on you if you aren’t in the market for that thing at that time. At some point down the road when you need that thing, maybe you’ll remember. Maybe not.
Its Reach is Limited
The number of people you reach will be restricted to the number of people who choose to spread the word about their good experience.
You Have No Control of the Information that Is Shared
When you create and pay for advertising, you can present the information the way that you want. You get to choose the words and the focus. Relying on word of mouth puts the onus on your customers to present you in the way that makes sense to them. The information shared by word of mouth may set impossibly high expectations, or worse, may be patently wrong.
You Have No Control of The Speed of Spread
Few people are going to take on the roll of an evangelist for you. And even those who do will first need to build a relationship with you. This all takes time.
How to Make the Most of Word of Mouth
We don’t recommend any business or organization rely 100% on word of mouth. However there are things you can do to increase the chance that someone will take the time to promote you to their friends and family.
People are much more likely to share their positive experience if it is outstanding: create a memorable experience and sell quality products. Start by reviewing every aspect of doing business with you, from outreach to onboarding, delivery to follow up.
Have A Solid Web Presence in Place
What is someone is likely to do when they receive a recommendation has been made to them? They’re probably going to go online to learn more. Is your website intuitive and optimized? Are your social media platforms up to date? Have you responded to all your Google reviews? Potential customers want to see that you are active and responsive.
Word of Mouth in the Digital Age
Word of mouth occurs when two people decide that they want to share information. In the past, this sharing would typically occur when people were physically together. In our digital age, however, we don’t need to be side-by-side to convey the same type of information. We can do it over social media and in the comments section of a website.
It has also been said that genuine reviews are the new word of mouth, so be mindful of your online reputation. Respond to negative reviews and transaction issues promptly and graciously. This can help you shape how prospective customers view your company.
The Truth about Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth can be a valuable tool in your kit, but it is unlikely to deliver enough new customers to build your business. To learn more about what you can do to build your web presence, spread your word and expand your customer base, give us a call at (518) 392-0846 or email [email protected].