When it comes to marketing, word of mouth trumps all other methods. If someone heard of you through another marketing channel, chances are they will want to hear what someone else has to say about you before buying.
1. Build a Community
The people who already know you or are interested in getting to know you will be your best spokespeople and influencers. Get to know who your potential influencers are – public figures, bloggers, local businesses, future customers – and include them in your community.
Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to do this. The voice of the consumer is more powerful than ever, giving the brand an opportunity to interact and, just as importantly, learn what is being said.
The power of the share, retweet, like, and +1 is part of the online word of mouth. Your brand’s online presence is critical in two ways: speaking and listening. When you’re online it is just as important that you are listening as it is that you are heard to be able to meet the needs of your community (in some cases, even when it’s the undead that’s talking).
You can’t beat face to face conversations where you build a network through real time events. A local example is Super Sparkle Melissa’s Breakfast Club and Cocktail Club, which brings leaders and influencers together and encourages further word of mouth both offline and online.
2. Make Your Voice Heard
Both offline and online, your word of mouth begins with telling people about your business. You aren’t just finding the influencers in your industry to help you with word of mouth, you can also be an influencer.
You begin with your website and continue through social media, speaking at conferences, blogging, and networking at various clubs. The voice you use for each medium should not only reflect your brand, it should support the tone of the venue.
Web Savvy Marketers and its band of superheroes is about having fun while creating websites and marketing plans that work. Superheroes are known to possess a generous sense of wit and humor, because a good mood attracts people and promotes bonding, as well as relieves stress and helps everyone to see the light side of adverse situations.
But if a client is business all the time and wants it straight to the point, then less conversation and an appropriate voice is used. Part of making your voice heard involves knowing your audience and what they want to hear.
3. Use Honesty and Transparency
While humor has its obvious psychological benefits, the best way to promote positive word of mouth is through honesty.
By knowing your product or service inside and out, you will have the confidence to speak about all dimensions of your company. If this means transparency on a hard-hitting issue within your industry, then you can meet the challenge head on rather than avoiding it.
This is how you become a thought leader whose voice is heard and trusted in the marketplace. As consumers, we all benefit from the openness and accountability offered through social media.
As a brand, you can benefit from the same opportunity to build a trusted brand with honest conversation. The unvarnished truth isn’t something you fear when you work to create something you can stand by.
4. Work Hard to Offer a Great Product or Service
Since the success of word of mouth depends on the trust your customer’s have in you, the obvious question is how do you become worthy of this trust?
The even more obvious answer is make a product or offer a service that’s exceptional. As Super Savvy Carolyn says, no matter how much effort is put into promoting our service, the most powerful tool we have is building a great service that rewards us by word of mouth.
When people recommend you to someone, they are putting their reputation on the line for you because their experience justifies the trust they are extending. User experience is the bottom line in word of mouth marketing, so make your bottom line something your customer will want to tell a friend about.
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Rob!