guide of word of mouth marketing

Do you remember the last time you experienced а great product or service and just felt the urge to tell your friends about it? 

It might have been a new social media app, an online shop that just opened, or the latest gadget you started to use. 

Whether you are talking in person or posting on social media about it, this excitement to share your experience is precisely what makes word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) so powerful.

But guess what? Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t just about getting millennials to talk about your products or services. It’s more about turning your customers into raving fans.

So if you want to learn how to encourage people to talk about your brand to the point of obsession, this guide will help you do exactly that.

In the following guide, we will take a closer look at the fundamentals of word-of-mouth marketing, why businesses should care about it, and actionable tips that every marketer should use to engage customers with your brand, along with some great examples to get inspired.

Let’s get started!

What’s inside

  1. What is word-of-mouth marketing
  2. Types of word-of-mouth marketing
  3. Why is word-of-mouth important for your business growth in COVID-19
  4. Benefits of word-of-mouth marketing
  5. Simple and effective WOMM strategies you can try today

First thing first.

What is word-of-mouth marketing?

According to the official definition by Wikipedia:

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM, WOM marketing, also called word-of-mouth advertising) differs from naturally occurring word of mouth in that it is actively influenced or encouraged by organizations. 

In other words, – word-of-mouth marketing is a modern form of marketing that consists of simple word of mouth recommendations in person. 

It’s one of the most effective advertising forms that increase brand recognition, attract new customers, and boost conversion rates.

Modern word-of-mouth marketing comes in many forms that can work for any brand, such as:

  • taking a selfie using your product; 
  • posting a photo of a branded package they received;
  • tagging you in a post to thank you;
  • creating how-to use your product videos;
  • writing a review about their experience with your brand;
  • and many more.

Types of word-of-mouth marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing happens in 2 ways: organically and via marketing and advertising campaigns.

Organic word-of-mouth marketing happens naturally when your target audience has a positive experience with a product or service and a natural desire to share feedback with their friends.

Amplified word-of-mouth marketing happens when marketers launch social media marketing campaigns designed to actively influence and encourage organic word-of-mouth discussion about a company, resource, or event. 

Please have in mind that there is an overlap happening. A good word-of-mouth marketing strategy will result in increased organic WOM and vice versa. 

If you already have many people who share their satisfaction with your brand organically, your WOMM campaigns will be more successful. It’s a win-win situation.

Benefits of word-of-mouth marketing

If you аre still thinking whether or not to increase your word-of-mouth marketing efforts, these benefits will help you consider trying it out.

Free and cost-effective marketing

While some businesses spend thousands of dollars on TV or online marketing campaigns, word-of-mouth marketing is a relatively low-cost strategy. It doesn’t cost the consumers satisfied with your brand to spread the word about you. 

With many budget cuts due to the pandemic, it’s precisely why more and more companies are relying on their customers to share good product experiences with their friends and families.

People trust friends and family more than the Internet and influencers. If they get a recommendation from someone they know is a lot more probable that they would act on it.

Marcos Bravo, Brand Ambassador, and Video Storyteller at LiveChat

Boosts sales

It’s simple. If a customer loves your brand, they will recommend you to their friends. This will influence their purchasing decisions, and they will likely shop from you.

word of mouth statistics

Increases brand awareness

A viral marketing element comes in the package of every word-of-mouth marketing campaign. Adding enough hype around your brand or building an epic customer experience will help your brand go viral.

As your brand grows more significant, you will notice people tagging friends on your social media posts, forwarding your emails to friends, and much more. 

Builds a brand advocates community

Word-of-mouth marketing can quickly and effortlessly help you build a community of powerful brand advocates that will support and vouch for your product online and offline.

This means when customers buy your product, they will tell their friends, families, and peers about it and probably share their experience on their social media platforms. 

Marketing is not just about selling. It is also about making your user satisfied or happy. It should start with understanding your users and their needs. One should create a product accordingly. Having a good product will convert users into brand ambassadors, and they will initiate word-of-mouth marketing. Customers are smart, and they always want to compare and research before buying things.

Krishna, Marketing Manager at Roboscraping

Why is word-of-mouth important for your business growth in times of COVID-19?

We asked few companies to share their experiences about the importance of WOMM for their businesses.

WOM is more crucial than ever during the pandemic, mostly because the entire shopping experience has transferred online, and eCommerce became a must for businesses if they want to survive. 

Now more than ever, trust plays an essential role in a purchase. People would like to buy products when their connections recommend them. And WOMM helps you do precisely that.

Harpreet, Founder of LoudGrowth

While there are many benefits of word-of-mouth marketing, why is it so crucial for your brand, especially in times of COVID-19?

Since the start of the pandemic, consumer behavior has experienced a hurricane of change. The need for social distancing instantly changed the way people shopped, and many of the small businesses were forced to adapt.

As COVID-19 closed down shops, one of the most drastic business adaptations during COVID-19 has been the online shopping boom. 

Businesses that weren’t online had to set up e-commerce platforms, some had to create a virtual tour of their location and adjust their digital marketing strategy. And those that were already selling online needed to renew their websites to ensure a streamlined customer journey.

Even with social distancing restrictions keeping people away from each other, the importance of word-of-mouth has actually increased during the pandemic. Now more than ever, the organic chat over your favorite products and services has been transferred digitally. 

The world is moving towards a community-powered, trust-based economy. If the customer cannot see who you are or how other humans have benefitted from your product, it is very tough to make a sale. Even huge companies rely on the power of user-stories to drive their growth. As for us, we’ve made 100% of our revenue on a pre-launch product purely through word-of-mouth.

Josh, Founder of PdfKit

Now, more than ever, your business marketing strategy needs to utilize the power of word-of-mouth marketing for this year. If you haven’t focused on this before, hurry up.

We prepared some simple WOMM strategies you can implement today.

Simple and effective WOMM strategies you can try today

There is just one more thing to do before jumping into these word-of-mouth marketing strategies – create an epic customer experience.

Trying to get people to refer your business to their friends and family can be mission impossible if they had a poor experience with your brand.

Next, check out these strategies and see what fits your brand best:

Show your user-generated content

Showing user-generated content (UGC) is a must for every marketing strategy.

The more your brand grows, the more customers will post and talk about you. It could be an Instagram Story showing them wearing your clothes or a YouTube video to show how to use your makeup.

You can take simple steps to encourage word-of-mouth by inspiring customers to create content. Share your happy customers’ photos and videos on your social networks, or display them on your website with user-generated platforms.

ugc example

If you want to show proactivity, create a simple contest. Ask your customers to send pictures of them using your product to win a free product or gift card for your store. 

Use branded hashtags

Whenever you create a social media post, always add your branded hashtag next to it. It’s usually the #businessname. 

Although it can be hard to track hashtag metrics and if the sales came from the hashtag or some other channel, this simple tactic helps you build stronger brand awareness.

Eventually, other people will start using your hashtag, too, and it will get even more popular. 

example of instagram hashtag feed

When the branded hashtag is the same as your brand name, you will be more likely to get discovered on Instagram. If your posts dominate the hashtag feed, you will increase your chances of getting more sales.

An excellent example of a viral hashtag campaign is the #ShareACoke campaign by Coca-Cola that goes on for many years. 

The idea is to post a picture with a Coca-Cola bottle tagging a friend that has the name or occupation written on the bottle label.

hashtag campaign by coca cola

Get as many reviews as possible

Customer reviews are the most effective word of mouth strategy, whether they are posted on your Facebook page, Google location, or Yelp. 

They are indeed more effective if you respond to them, even to the negative ones, to improve their experience.

The statistics just confirms it:

customers trust stats

You can try Shopify apps like Verified Reviews to automatically collect product reviews for your store. All you need to do is schedule email review requests with a link to a form. Here, customers can share their experiences and upload multiple photos that will be displayed in the review widget.

Create a simple referral program

A referral program can easily increase the success of your word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. You can offer perks, discounts, free access, etc.

At EmbedSocial, we have developed an EmbedSocial Friends Program. We designed it for content creators, bloggers, or influencers who would love to try our products for free and share a testimonial or mention them on their blog or social media.

embedsocial friends program

Try influencer marketing

This is a word-of-mouth marketing tactic you can have complete control over.

Of course, influencer marketing requests paying an influencer to feature your products on their social media. And since you are paying them, you can control what they post and when they do it. 

The best thing about influencer marketing is that you can easily encourage conversations around your product and potentially generate some sales from it.

The downside is that this form of word-of-mouth is not organic, and it may get even expensive over the long haul.

What’s inside Nike Air VaporMax is a unique example of brands collaborating with established YouTube influencers. 

example of youtube influencer

In this campaign, Nike and YouTube channel “What’s Inside?” collaborate to create a series of sponsored videos, including the most popular one where they slice in half a pair of Nike Air VaporMax sneakers to see what is inside. 

To wrap up

As you grow your business, you are going to have countless interactions with your customers. Some of them will be positive, playful and will make your day. Some of them will make you cry. 

My point is that whatever your customers’ feedback is, make sure to keep on trying to show genuine care and provide them with the best experience possible. And please be patient – the results will eventually come.

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Avatar for Dance Azmanova
Dance Azmanova

Dance is the Content Marketing Manager at EmbedSocial, responsible for planning, creating, and sharing valuable content about social media marketing, and online reputation.