Ultimate Guide On Word Of Mouth Marketing for Small Businesses

Business Guides Ultimate Guide On Word Of Mouth Marketing for Small Businesses

Ultimate Guide On Word Of Mouth Marketing for Small Businesses

  • 92% of consumers prefer recommendations from their friends and family over other forms of advertising. 
  • 74% of consumers believe word of mouth is the primary influencer in their buying decisions. 
  • Word of mouth impressions results in five times more than a paid ad impression. 
  • 88% of consumers consider word of mouth as the highest level of trust from their known people. 
  • 64% of marketers believe the word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. 
  • 72% of consumers say that positive reviews increase their trust and reliability in a business. 
word of mouth guide for small business

What is Word of Mouth Marketing? 

Word of mouth marketing also known as word of mouth advertising. It is the process of influencing and encouraging positive but yet organic conversations regarding a brand, product, resource, organization, or event. 

Traditional vs Modern Word of Mouth marketing 

In the traditional sense, word of mouth marketing is something that spreads from one person to another based on a positive recommendation. 

The modern take on word of mouth marketing is something considered to be both natural as well as a targeted effort towards spreading recommendations about a product or brand to promote it. 

In the modern sense, the idea of word of mouth is leveraged to intentionally promote a brand or product. 

Word of mouth advertising or Word of mouth marketing capitalizes on this concept that comes naturally to human beings. 

Humans tend to share things they enjoy or had a great experience, so this human and social behavior is turned around to convert it into a marketing strategy

Organic Word of Mouth vs Amplified Word of mouth 

There are two ways word of mouth happens today in the modern scenario. Either it is organic or through amplifying it with external factors. 

Organic word of mouth simply is something that occurs naturally when consumers become the advocates of any brand or product as they are satisfied and happy about using it. 

They support and share it naturally. On other hand, amplified word of mouth is where marketing and advertising strategies are used to amplify the effect on word of mouth

Marketing campaigns are launched to accelerate the word of mouth regarding a product or brand. 

There is an organized effort and machinery behind to make this work. Also, to understand, there is also an overlap that must be registered. 

Sometimes when a good organic word of mouth is accelerated or amplified, it turns out to be even better as compared to whether organic word of mouth is not well.

Signs Your Business Need A Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

Truthfully, any small business can benefit from a word of mouth marketing strategy. But there are certain signs it may be time to start getting your clientele to spread the word about your services.

These signs include:

1. You’re spending too much money on marketing.

Whether you’re paying for Facebook advertising or you’re leaving flyers in prospective customers’ mailboxes, those marketing costs may be adding up.

And if those costs are starting to get too high, you should consider investing in word of mouth marketing strategies (more on those in a bit!).

2. Nobody’s really heard of you before.

Are you only landing customers through your advertising efforts? Do people mention that they haven’t heard of your small business before?

If that’s the case, focus on spreading awareness of your business, including what it does. While we’ll discuss what some of those strategies look like in a bit, it doesn’t hurt to start looking for ways to get friends, family members, and past customers to talk about your business a little bit more.

3. You’ve got a packed schedule.

This is the plight of so many small business owners: their days are eaten up by busy schedules, project planning, managing employees and vendors, and more. So there’s very little time at the end of the day to focus on delivering a good marketing strategy.

That’s where word of mouth marketing can really help out. Instead of constantly investing your sweat and time into finding new customers, they’ve already found you.

That means you can spend less time looking for new projects, and more time making money!

4. You have very little social engagement.

If your small business’s social media channels seem more like ghost towns, that lack of engagement may signify that not enough people are talking about you or sharing your posts.

Now that we’ve identified just a few of the signs that you need to start investing in word of mouth, let’s take a closer look at the exact strategies you can use to start effortlessly bringing in more customers.

How To First Assure Your Customers Have an Epic Experience? 

Offering Quality Products or Services 

If you want a positive customer experience for your customers, you need to make sure the products or services you are offering are up to the mark. 

The quality of your products or services has a direct impact on the customer’s satisfaction. 

Whether you are able to over-deliver your promises or not, make sure you never under-deliver the expectation of your customers. 

Image Source: Mark Hayward

No matter how much time you spend on your logo, brand design, or even something important as customer assistance but if your product or service is below average, nothing will matter anymore. 

Other aspects even get a space to be negotiated and compensated but never the product itself for which the customer is paying. 

When you disappoint your customers, they are more likely to leave a negative review on review platforms. 

It will result in negative word of mouth for your products and brand. 

Image Source: Write Service Contracts

In fact, you need to focus on offering a customer an extraordinary personal experience with your brand. 

Negative word of mouth is faster to spread as compared to positive reviews. 

So make sure you even if you do not impress someone, at least avoid creating bad experiences for customers. 

This can be a start, then you can focus on improving the quality of the product, customer assistance, and then, you might come to do something extraordinary.

Word of Mouth Marketing Examples 

Dropbox 

Dropbox is an online cloud storage company that is known for its successful word of mouth marketing and referral marketing campaigns. 

In their early stage, they offered free storage space along with bonus free space to ones who recommend it to their friends and family. 

Even before they started offering free spaces to new users and further extra 500 MB to the people referred by them. 

The floodgates were open right at the beginning with their campaign boosting the revenue of the company. 

Pinterest 

Pinterest is a social media platform that is based on user-generated content. They depend on their users to create boards and pins where now millions of users are now on it. 

But, how did they initially begin from 3000 followers in 2010 to now more than 320 million active users now in 2019?

The founder of Ben Silbermann focused on a small but yet passionate audience to grow their website. 

Pinterest had a loyal group of people that loved it at the very early stage. The brand focused on those people, organized meet-ups, recorded feedback to constantly improve. 

They started one of the most successful referral marketing programs of all time.  

The campaign “Pin-It-Forward” made users create various pinboards and invite their friends to do the same as well. 

Casper

Casper is a mattress company intended to bring its product that was more expensive than its competitor’s or the industry-standard rates.

Now, why would someone buy from a new company with no built reputation or known credibility the product which is more expensive than other credible products from well-known brands? 

How you could possibly position your company?

Well, Casper blows up this with their brave and unique idea of marketing. They made an irresistible offer that one buyer never would say no to. 

Casper Mattress company offered people to take their mattress home and sleep on it for 100 days, and then decide whether they want to keep it or return. 

Such a long trial period cancels out any doubt on the brand where customers see themselves having the upper hand in this deal. 

It will give an ample amount of time to test the mattresses. 

This marketing strategy was so outrageously smart that people started talking about it. It generated a buzz in the market helping the company to reach out even more people. 

Coca-Cola 

Coca-Cola is one of the world’s most popular beverage drinks. They have been running various campaigns over time led by positive word of mouth marketing for their brand. 

Their marketing campaign boosted coke consumption around the world. One of their successful campaigns was earlier launched in 2014 was “Share A Coke”. 

Coca-Cola’s marketing campaign made people share a coke with their friends and family. 

It also made customers share their bottles on social media with common names using the hashtag #ShareaCoke. 

It is a great example of a creative word of mouth marketing campaign for small businesses to learn from. 

Threadless

Building a community is the most effective way of learning about your audience. 

T-shirt brand Threadless started by connecting all the graphic designers, art, and design fans. 

They encouraged them to create, design, share, and buy their custom products to spread the word about their brand. 

Through this word-of-mouth marketing, the brand attracted more than 10,000 members in just the first two years earning a gross of $6.5 Million in four years.  

What worked for them is connecting and engaging with active art and design fans and creators to build a loyal community around. 

More than that, they offered value to this community by learning more about their skillset and sharpening them as well. 

The team of Threadless identifies that they are providing a  creative audience, highly active, and engaging.    

Threadless went ahead with user-generated content to attract this audience building a loyal audience in exchange for offering some fun and learning times. 

They were happy about it and never shy away to promote the brand on their own to various social media. 

Threadless was an iconic example of word of mouth marketing for small businesses. 

Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses 

Ask Your Happy Customers For Reviews

Being a small business owner, you must be always looking for an opportunity to gain positive reviews from your customers. 

It should be on your priority list because every review counts to develop a compounding reputation for your brand over time. 

So, always try to encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews regarding their purchasing experience with your company. 

Online reviews will be the first thing that a potential customer searches for the web in their process to buy from you. 

Image Source: Wordstream

You can leverage online reviews to give social proof for your brand. Your goal is to constantly engage with your customers and make them leave a review. 

To make things even better, you can use these customer reviews and testimonials to put on your website, landing page, sales funnel, checkout page, and social media pages.

There will be bad reviews as well, so you need to deal with it in one way or another.

How To Deal With Negative Reviews? 

Along with positive reviews, you are going to get some negative reviews on the way as well. 

So what you need to understand is that negative reviews are part of running a business. Also, it is inevitable for the most part. 

Negative or bad reviews are only going to give you an opportunity to improve considering your approach towards it. 

Not everyone is going to be fully satisfied or happy with your product or service, and that’s really something you should bother about. 

To begin with, negative reviews give you the opportunity to identify the problems and challenges coming to customers by interacting with them. 

You will get to improve your product or service on the basis of negative or bad reviews. People are still talking about your product, so that’s something. 

The worst-case scenario will be not getting any reviews at all or just the bad reviews, then you got yourself a problem. 

What Is A Negative Review?

Clearly, you know what a negative review is, but there is more to it than you know. 

Customers look at reviews as a part of the research that they do before buying any product or service

They check for both positive reviews as well as negative reviews. A negative review is any review that reflects not so good experience with the brand on any or all aspects. 

Now, what more you need to understand here as a small business owner that there are two types of negative reviews – 

  1. Good negative reviews 
  2. Bad negative reviews 

Image Source: Reviewtrackers

The image above demonstrates a good negative review. It is an example of a detailed negative review talking about 

How Even Negative Reviews Can Be Helpful? 

No business can save themselves from the negative reviews to a certain extent.

You definitely should try to provide the best customer experience to your consumers but still there would be some negative reviews to deal with.

It is important to understand the significance and the role of negative reviews in growth of your business.

Negative reviews can be as useful as the positive reviews, it’s just you need to shift your approach towards it.

Negative Reviews Helps Customer Look At Positive Reviews

One of the features of a negative review for your business is highlighting the positive review for your prospects.

It significantly impacts the effect of positive reviews and make it look better.

Any potential customer can actually see and compare all the positive and negative points to get clarity before making the purchase.

When customer see bad or negative reviews for your business, it increases the chances of them believing on the positive reviews.

If there is all positive reviews, then it is most likely they don’t believe it or find it too good to be true.

Negative reviews also give away all the pros and cons of the product which can be helpful for the customer.

Bad Reviews Helps Small Businesses To Improve Their Product

Negative reviews can actually help you to understand where you are going wrong with your product.

It gives you the room to improve the product and even that accounts to earn more credibility from a customer perspective.

Bad reviews also gives you the perspective of a customer which is the most essential aspect for a business growth.

You can improve on particular issues and pointers mentioned in the most of the reviews. And even get their feedback to see how you can improve further.

Negative Reviews Builds Trust Between Customer/Prospect And The Brand

The very first response for lot of the businesses and brands is to hide or remove the negative reviews or feedback when they encounter it.

They prefer to publish only the positive reviews so it makes a ‘perfect’ impression about the brand on prospects.

However, this doesn’t work!

A potential customer won’t take any time to think that you are hiding something or there is something fishy when he or she sees only positive reviews.

More likely, they even won’t be give you a chance to prove you otherwise.

So few bad reviews doesn’t necessarily means that it will spoil your brand image or prevent people from buying it.

It actually make them more confident and clear about the flaws of the product. Even most of the times, those flaws are workable with or not relevant to other customer.

Every product or business has flaws or something to improve on. So reflecting that in your reviews will help consumers develop more trust in your brand.

Negative Reviews Give You Chance To Engage With Your Customers

More you engage with your customers, the better the trust will be between the brand and prospects.

Bad reviews are actually another opportunity to engage with your customer.

It also gives you a chance to stand up to their expectations and earn their trust. So, it is always great for brands to respond on the negative reviews or feedbacks.

Try to understand their problem with your product, and resolve it. In a lot of cases, negative reviews turn out to be even stronger than positive reviews.

Offer them a solution and get the pointers to improve the product depending on their feedback.

Don’t shy away to make an apology, and even offer them some gift card or discount.

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Rahul Panchal
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