Consumers trust their friends. This is why word of mouth marketing is the most valuable source of marketing. It’s all about creating a buzz. It’s a passive way of gaining a following. The more you interact with people the more likely your name will spread. It’s an organic way of spreading information that utilizes components of viral marketing, though, unlike viral marketing, it spreads by more natural channels.
Word of mouth is a free form of advertisement or promotion (just one reason it’s so important). It’s shared by customers and triggered by an event the customer experiences. This event is something beyond what’s expected.
WOM also doesn’t stop after just one interaction. One person will tell another, and that person will someone else, then that person will continue the chain and spread the word further, making it a great vehicle for exposure and distribution – if used well. Of course, the same is true in reverse – negative news can spread just as fast, but the essential benefit of WOM in the connected era is a personal endorsement, which is not only more readily available, but is seen as significantly more valuable to modern consumers.
1. Make Yourself Interesting
Consumers feel more confident in the information they’re sharing when they’re contributing something that’s worth talking about. Think of it as social currency – share what makes you look fun/good/interesting. This entices sharing.
For example, research has shown that Facebook users are more likely to share content that educates their network, and/or makes them look good and reinforces a certain image of themselves. You can tap into such behavioral trends to benefit your messaging.
2. Create A Trigger
You can design products that are triggered by the environment, and create new triggers by linking your products and ideas to prevalent cues within that environment. If people remember you, they’ll continue to talk about you. Sounds like a great way to start a successful referral program.
3. Provide Value
If you establish yourself with a few people, they’ll share the experience with friends – you may not remember the last time you shared a mediocre restaurant or service with someone, but you’ll no doubt be able to remember an amazing experience or event.
Sharing valuable information makes you valuable. Great, unique customer experiences, along with having a great product, can help increase your value, and thus, your WOM potential.
4. Provoke Emotion
Creating emotion goes hand in hand with creating value. People are more likely to share something that promotes high arousal, and people are more likely to share experiences in which they had some sort of emotion.
No one shares an ‘OK’ experience. People share the things that make them happy or upset.
Think about Yelp – the reviews are either one extreme or the other – hardly ever does someone take the time or effort to talk about their experience if it was average.