media update’s Taylor Goodman takes a look at three reasons why businesses should no longer cast word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) techniques by the wayside, but rather add it to their roster of effective marketing tactics. 

So you may be wondering, what exactly is word-of-mouth marketing? Well, this strategy entails consumers being encouraged by a brand to share their experiences about its product or service with their friends, family or peers

In essence, word-of-mouth marketing is experience sharing amongst consumers, which is triggered when they think a brand goes above and beyond in what they offer.

This is a great way for your brand to get credible and authentic (did I mention free?) advertising as potential customers are getting positive reviews from happy customers. 

When it comes to the question of why WOM marketing is important, one should simply consider that more than 70% of consumers mention that word of mouth influences their buying decisions. These stats alone make this strategy worth investigating.

Now, without further ado, let's look at three reasons why WOM marketing should matter to you:

1. It allows you to build an online community 

Word of mouth marketing is essentially a chain reaction. One person will tell someone and that person will tell another — then that person will continue the chain. 

If your brand consistently provides consumers with a high-quality product or service, this will generate organic word of mouth. This means that consumers will turn into brand advocates because they are satisfied with the service that they have received, naturally making them want to share their positive experiences with their peers. 

When you have good news or a story to tell, you want to share it with someone else, right? The exact same reaction is seen by happy consumers who are blown away by excellent services.

As this chain continues, and you continue to provide exceptional service and products, you will build up an engaged and loyal following. 

Satisfied customers may feel inclined to advocate for your brand on digital platforms; they could do this by posting about their experience with your brand on their social media accounts. 

As your chain of happy customers grows, so will your online community and brand image.

2. You will be able to grow sales without ad spend

There is no better way to create a buzz around your brand than to have impartial parties talking about how amazing your company is.  

As 92% of consumers trust recommendations from their friends and family over paid marketing, it makes sense why many marketing professionals believe that WOM marketing can be more useful in growing your consumer base. 

One of the main reasons why WOM marketing can be more effective than paid advertising is because of the trust factor. Think about it — are you more likely to trust an ad or a friend? 

Consumers are more likely to believe a product is of high-quality if a friend or family member sings its praises than if it was spoken highly about in an ad. This is because customers believe that ads often embellish how good something is in order to make sales. Thus, it is more believable coming from a peer. 

Secondly, WOM marketing also has better targeting than paid advertising. 

Consider that you are in the kitchenware business and looking to sell a set of chef-grade knives. You could advertise in a cookery magazine but it is likely that many of that publication’s readers are not interested in buying knives. This leads to a waste in ad spend. 

Alternatively, if you provide a pleasant buying experience to those currently buying your knives, they are likely to pass the word along to anyone that they know looking to make a similar purchase. 

In this instance, word of mouth is like a ‘spotlight’ where consumers can share their experience with your brand’s product to the relevant parties. 

3. WOMM helps in the growth of conversions and sales

As discussed above, trust plays a big role in why WOM marketing is so effective. As a brand, your reputation follows you and this reliability helps your following to build faith in you. 

Trust, combined with a strong presence on social media, will significantly affect consumers’ intention to buy. This means that a consumer is likely to end up buying a product after hearing someone recount their positive experiences with a brand, both online and in person. 

In today’s saturated marketplace, consumers are spoilt for choice with the variety of products / services at their disposal. This can result in the customer being inundated with ads — leading to them to feel overwhelmed and subsequently stalling the buying process. 

If a friend then had to share their positive experience with a product, that would cut through all the ad overload and spotlight the product. 

This proves how WOMM helps to increase conversions, because it gives consumers the faith they need to feel confident following through with a purchase. 

Has word-of-mouth marketing encouraged you to make a purchase recently? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Want to learn more about marketing strategies that can build trust? Be sure to check out our article, The psychology behind consumer behaviour
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy