How Any Digital Business Can Explode Using Word of Mouth Marketing

How Any Digital Business Can Explode Using Word of Mouth Marketing

Author: Neil Patel / Source: Quick Sprout We live in a digital age. Each day we’re bombarded with an endless stream of online ads via soci

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We live in a digital age.

Each day we’re bombarded with an endless stream of online ads via social media, websites, search engines, videos, and so on.

Marketing companies spend billions upon billions each year researching, analyzing, and pushing ads to consumers.

But you know what?

No matter how sophisticated and streamlined digital marketing becomes, it still pales in comparison with the power of good old-fashioned word of mouth marketing (WOMM).

According to in-depth studies from Nielsen, “WOMM recommendations still remain the most credible.”

Just look at this graph that ranks consumers’ trust, depending on the form of advertising and the action it produces.

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Positioned right at the top as the number one trust factor is “recommendations from people I know.”

It heavily shapes consumers’ opinions on brands/products/services, and this is unlikely to ever change.

Here are a couple more stats that demonstrate the power of WOMM:

  • 74 percent of consumers identify WOMM as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.”
  • “WOMM has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by up to 54 percent.”

Just think about it.

Would you feel more comfortable buying a product recommended by a close friend or by a marketing message shoved down your throat by some slick marketing guru?

I would bet the former.

The full impact

There’s another important detail I’d like to point out.

It has to do with the long-term impact of acquiring new customers through WOMM.

According to the Wharton School of Business,

a customer you acquire from WOM has a 16 – 25 percent higher lifetime value than those you acquire from other sources.

This means you’re far more likely to get repeat business from an individual who’s acquired through WOMM than otherwise.

They also have a higher likelihood of becoming brand advocates or even brand ambassadors.

Consumers trusting other consumers

And there’s one more thing.

You don’t necessarily need to have a person recommend your brand to someone they know directly to benefit from WOMM.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of consumers trust recommendations from other consumers.

According to Nielsen,

68 percent trust online opinions from other consumers, which is up 7 percent from 2007 and places online opinions as the third most trusted source of product information.

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Bright Local also reports,

88 percent of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.

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The way I look at it, old school WOMM has meshed with the digital age.

Many people now turn to other online consumers, whom they don’t actually know, to find out whether a brand is worth purchasing from.

If you can impress a handful of consumers and turn them into brand advocates, it can have a domino effect: they spread the word, which can lead to a surge in sales.

It can set off a chain reaction.

Have we forgotten about WOMM?

There’s a paragraph in a Forbes article I really like:

The problem is that for the last few years, marketers have been focused on ‘collecting’ instead of ‘connecting.’ In other words, brands are too caught up in collecting social media fans and they are forgetting to actually connect with them.

I think this really hits the nail on the head.

Many marketers (myself included) are guilty of it to some extent.

I feel we’ve gotten so caught up in the latest and greatest marketing techniques that we sometimes forget about what good business is founded on in the first place: relationships.

Before there was social media, SEO, PPC, or even radio/TV commercials, most businesses gained new customers from old school person-to-person recommendations.

But it’s never too late to cash in on WOMM.

However, it does require a slightly different approach from the one used in the past.

The great thing is there are some really potent resources and platforms out there to streamline WOMM and maximize its impact.

I’d now like to discuss some fundamental tactics you can use to make your digital business explode using WOMM in the modern age.

Focus on your core audience, not the masses

The first step to making this strategy work is to understand who your core audience is.

Founding editor of Wired Magazine, Kevin Kelly formulated what I think…

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