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Word-of-Mouth Marketing: 5 Tips to Make Your Brand Worth Bragging About

What is Word of Mouth Marketing and how to create a foolproof WOMM campaign for your eCommerce store? Read to find out our top 5 tips and more!

I recently watched a video of California surfers taking on a famous wave called the Wedge. One particular surfer had a surfboard that caught my eye. During his interview, he couldn’t stop raving about his Beater Board. 

Now, I definitely wasn’t in the market for a new surfboard. I already have too many. But after seeing it in action, and hearing him talk about it, I felt I could trust what he was saying.

A few clicks later, I had a brand new Beater Board. I told my friends about it too.

That right there is the power of word of mouth marketing. To drum up enthusiasm about your product that your customers can’t wait to tell more people about it. 

And you know the best part? It is a marketing strategy you can easily implement within your eCommerce business right now.

In this article, I’m going to break down exactly what word of mouth marketing is, demonstrate how it is used in business today, and show you how it can help you take your store to the next level. Here’s the full outline:

1. What is Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM)?
2. Why is Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Important?
3. 5 Tips for a Successful Word-of-Mouth Marketing Campaign
3.1 Products and Services
3.2 Referral Incentives
3.3 Customer Support
3.4 Purchase Process
3.5 Customer Reviews
4. Closing

What is Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM)?

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM), alternatively known as word of mouth advertising, is a marketing strategy that turns satisfied customers into brand advocates: people who will speak about your brand. 

A word of mouth marketing campaign uses customer’s positive experiences to build trust towards a business’ products and services.

Word-of-mouth marketing can convince potential customers to purchase products as well, just like how the surfer’s enthusiastic endorsement convinced me to buy a Beater Board.

The internet makes it easier to get your happy customers to spread news about your great products. Between social media and blogs, happy customers are now able to share their experiences not just with their friends and families but with the entire world.

Word of mouth marketing has become more effective and important to your business than ever before.

Why is Word-Of-Mouth Marketing important?

It is estimated that there are more than 24 million eCommerce websites operating as of 2020. Word of mouth helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace and grow your brand.

To return to surfing one last time: there are so many manufacturers making top-notch boards. I own a number of them. Even for the best surfboard makers, it’s hard to stand out against other surfboard shapers, manufacturers, and stockists.

A personal recommendation could cut through the noise. 70% of US consumers trust product recommendations from friends and family, compared to 15% of consumers who trust brands on social media. 

Consumer trust study - Nielsen
A survey found online consumers were most likely to trust recommendations from people they know, i.e. friends and family (Source: Nielsen)

Word of mouth marketing is social proof and trust rolled into one. 

Projections say that by 2021 over 2.14 billion consumers worldwide are set to buy goods and services online, with online retailers taking a cut of an estimated revenue of 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022. That’s up just over 3 trillion from 2019, which returned a worldwide revenue amount of 3.53 trillion US dollars.

So there are plenty of opportunities for your eCommerce store to grow, it’s simply a matter of getting noticed in a highly competitive market.

That’s why, on top of all your other marketing tactics, it’s well worth implementing word of mouth marketing within your marketing campaign.

And you know the best part about word of mouth marketing? It’s basically free. And if your brand is worth bragging about in the first place, then you’ve got unlimited free marketing right in your pocket.

5 tips for a successful Word-of-Mouth marketing campaign

If your customers have a positive experience with your brand, they’ll naturally want to talk about it. And why wouldn’t they? We all want our close ones to enjoy the same great things that we’ve stumbled across.

This can be done through many forms of media like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, vlogging, and blogging. It can occur through face-to-face interactions. Or, perhaps from influencers that work with brands to advocate for a brand’s product or services.

In fact, a survey conducted around the world involving respondents from 56 countries found that 92% of consumers trust earned media, such as word of mouth recommendations from friends and family. Furthermore, they trusted this type of marketing above all other forms of advertising, including search engine ads (37%) and banner ads (24%).

Referral marketing statistics (Source: ReferralCandy)

Here are 5 tips to get started on your own word of mouth marketing campaign.

1. Ensure that your products and services are worth talking about

No marketing campaign can outlast a bad product, no matter how marketing-savvy you are.

To give your brand the best chance of being talked about by your customers, you must offer your customers something they’ll love. After all, why would anyone brag about something they aren’t excited about?

So make sure you are getting the basics right first. Share-worthy products, top-shelf customer service, and awesome after-sales services all build customer trust and will encourage them to talk about your brand.

Take Byron Bay’s brand Spell for example. They not only make some of the world’s most beautiful bohemian clothes but they have also used the ethical clothing movement to their advantage.

Ethical fashion example - Spell

And that’s a super-smart move, as you can see below ethical clothing is trending. The fashion and clothing industry has seen a big uptick in the demand for clothes that are manufactured and sourced ethically.

In following this trend and aligning with customer demand, Spell has created a killer product that is easy to market, is super social media friendly, and, best of all, is next-level shareworthy.

A great product and marketing strategy will get even the most tight-lipped customers talking. 

2. Offer referral incentives that your customers will love

To ensure the success of your word of mouth marketing campaign, it’s an absolute must to offer referral program incentives that your customer base is going to love.

Many shops offer rewards through a customer loyalty program as a way to encourage happy customers to come back for more. A referral marketing program incentive will not only do that but offer rewards to any friends they bring too.

Take Timberland here for example. 

Word of mouth marketing example - Timberland

They offer a 20% discount not only to their existing customer but also to any new customer they refer to your shop. And considering that they amassed over $3 billion in 2019, up from $1.8 billion in 2014, their marketing strategy works well.

The president of Timberland says that in 2014 they shifted their focus onto their ideal customer, who values ethically sourced functional footwear over trendy styles and fast fashion. 

It turns out that their target market is made up of millennials, who not only like ethical fashion but also a good deal, according to Jeff Fromm who is a market-analyst for Futurecast. So when Timberland hit those two key points in their referral marketing campaign, their revenue exploded. 

Timberland is a perfect example of how offering referral incentives that your ideal customer would love can be a powerful marketing move.

3. Provide first-class customer support

Sometimes the product isn’t the thing worth talking about. Often it’s the service that people really care for. If you get your customer support dialed in, people will be shouting your praises from the top of their social mountains. And on the flip side, if your brand is a pain to deal with, you’ll lose customers faster than you can build new ones.

In fact, customer retention (keeping happy customers) is far cheaper than customer acquisition (getting new customers). Five times cheaper to be exact.

So once you gain a new customer, you want to keep them.

Continuing on the ethical clothing trend here for a bit longer, check out how Patagonia ensures their customers are returning to their stores.

Patagonia offers top-notch after-sales services like their repairs policy. If any of your Patagonia garments happen to break, tear at the seams, or is substandard in any way, their team will repair the item free of charge under their Ironclad Guarantee.

If the damage is due to general wear and tear, they will repair the garment for a fair price. Not only that but they also offer this repair service to garments and apparel that aren’t manufactured by their own team.

In doing so, Patagonia is not only further aligning with their ethical clothing pledge, a big reason why many customers shop there in the first place, but they are also offering awesome after-sales services that will ensure their customers will return to their stores again and again.

Remember, return customers are great customers. Not only will they continue to spend money buying your products and services but they are also much more likely to be talking about it also.

And referred customers are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. So get your customer support right and you are on your way to serious success!

4. Streamline your online shop’s purchase process

One of the easiest ways to increase purchase conversions and customer satisfaction is to streamline your purchasing process. Consider this, well planned out website design can increase your conversions by up to a massive 400%

Think about it. Reflect on the last time you bounced out of an online purchase. Ask yourself what led you to abandon your cart or, worse still, opt out before you even started adding anything to your order. 

Perhaps it was the site’s pesky pop-ups that drove you away, maybe a clunky purchasing experience was what frustrated you into desertion, or perhaps it was hidden shipping fees that finally drove the final nail in the f#*% coffin.

Whatever it was, put yourself in your customer’s place. What can you do to ensure their purchasing experience is as quick and easy as can be?

Take a look at The Little Market, their single-page checkout makes for a super easy checkout that offers their customers an easy and stress-free shopping experience.

Single page checkout example

To get your store’s purchase process right, like The Little Market has, ponder these questions and considerations:

  • Site speed and page load time: Is your site clunky and slow?
  • Website usability and ease of use: How optimized is your site’s layout and how hard is it to get around?
  • Site navigation: How easy is it for your customers to find a product they’re on the hunt for?
  • Shopping cart design: How easy is it for a customer to checkout? How many steps are involved? How long does it take?

If you get all of these things right you can seriously improve your site’s success. Remember happy customers = more word of mouth = more conversions.

5. Leverage customer reviews

Sometimes WOMM isn’t as easy as it sounds. Occasionally you have to give your customers a gentle nudge in the right direction. A good way to do this is to integrate a reviewing system into your eCommerce store.

Why?

Because customers love to see other people’s experiences with your brand. They’d rather see those insights, opinions, and points of view than your advertising and sales pitches.

So consider customer reviews as just another form of word of mouth marketing, encouraging new visitors to your site and potential customers to trust your brand’s products and services.

Take Verishop here. They’ve integrated a basic review system within their site. It’s clean, simple, out of the way, but it serves its purpose: to boost your customer’s confidence when making a purchase.

Word of mouth marketing examples - Verishop

These reviews, negative or positive (hopefully positive), are incredibly influential on people. They will help to increase your sales, boost your ROI, and, best of all, act as that beautiful form of free word of mouth marketing.

Closing

Leveraging word of mouth doesn’t have to be super complicated. In fact, it should be relatively easy and very cost-effective if you get it right.

Now that you know exactly how to set up your referral program just right, there really is no excuse. Get out there and start a killer WOMM campaign, your business and profit margins will thank you!


This article was written by Brody Hall

Brody Hall is a digital nomad, content writer, and SEO buff for ReferralCandy and CandyBar. He quite enjoys sharing his knowledge of environmentalism, self-care, and board sports. You will often find him enjoying an early morning coffee while checking his local surf breaks. If you feel like a chinwag, find him on LinkedIn.

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