As marketers, we know it’s personal. There are so many tools brands can implement to boost sales, but none are as effective and highly trusted by consumers as recommendations from friends and family. As a brand, it may be hard to conceptualize how to get people talking and genuinely recommending your products. But if you can manage to make it happen, the payoff is big. Word-of-mouth marketing generates twice the sales of paid advertisements.
According to extensive consumer studies, word-of-mouth marketing is the most highly trusted and effective marketing tool. A staggering statistic, 75% of consumers do not trust ads while over 90% of consumers believe brand recommendations from friends. People are four times more likely to buy products when referred by friends.
How can brands facilitate the rise of something as organic as personal recommendations?
Brands can align with user-generated content to connect to their market. User generated content comes directly from consumers—including positive information about brands and testimonials. This type of honest, organic content builds trust and gives marketers extra material for sharing. 86% of millennials trust this type of content as a good indicator of a brand. Campaigns that work particularly well for compiling user-generated content include viral hashtags and reposting consumer media praising the product or service.
Reviews and Testimonials
Like user-generated content, testimonials garner high levels of trust. 79% of consumers trust product/ service reviews and testimonials as much as they trust personal recommendations. On the brand side, adding ratings and reviews to a website can generate as much as 18% more sales. Companies like Amazon utilize this tool notably well. While showcasing positive reviews, companies must also be mindful of negative feedback. Responding proactively to negative review and testimonials with quick and thoughtful language is essential to getting ahead of any content that may harm your brand. Since reviews come so highly trusted, negative reviews are of equal importance and must not be ignored.
Incentive and Referrals
To elicit word-of-mouth marketing, brands often use an incentive or referral program to create new users. Offering customers a discount or free gift for sharing with friends works well for generating word-of-mouth referrals. Effective examples of this are credit card companies offering cash incentives for referrals and Planet Fitness’ points referral program. For the same reason people love giving gifts, happy customers want to share with their friends. Offering a reward in exchange proves incredibly effective for generating organic outreach.
We already know the importance of influencers. They earned their name. In fact, the most valuable word-of-mouth recommendations come not from friends or family, but from influencers. 40% of people said they’ve purchased an item based off their recommendations. Win influencers over with exclusive free product trials or by mentioning them in your brand social content.
How are you using word-of-mouth marketing to build your brand power? Join us in the discussion and tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG.