For many businesses working in local areas, long-standing industries or those just moving into more ‘digital’ spaces, they will have been relying on and driving a lot of their business through word of mouth such as customer recommendations or introducing friends or family to the brand.
So, how can you go about translating the success of traditional ‘word of mouth’ to your digital presence?
Here are 5 ways that you can start using online ‘word of mouth’ marketing to drive more customers.
Share customer reviews and testimonials
The easiest way to translate word of mouth marketing online is by collecting and sharing your customer reviews, testimonials and feedback. These should be on your website, at key places where potential customers are making decisions, and on your social media platforms (such as Facebook).
These reviews should be available at key touch points where people might look to find out more info about your business and effectively act as compelling recommendations from a wide range of customers.
This is like getting an endorsement from a friend, but on a much bigger scale!
Post authentic material on social media
Authenticity is key in the online world. People want to trust that the recommendations they are getting are real, especially if they’re not directly coming from someone they know.
A great way to build that trust in referrals is to share content from your real customers. If you use a hashtag on social media, you can track this and then share customer photos, blogs, videos or posts about your business. This gives an additional ‘real’ touch to an otherwise ‘digital’ recommendation.
Ask your customers to talk about you
Disruptive, digital businesses such as Airbnb are effective at driving more business through word of mouth referrals by asking their customers to recommend them. Don’t be shy about asking your customers to spread the word about your business if they think they’ve had a good service.
You could provide your customers with a referral or discount code which offers both them and the new customer a discount for their loyalty and trust. Remind customers to leave you a review and recommend to their friends via email once they make a purchase.
Social share buttons on your material
Help to build your ‘word of mouth’ marketing by making it easy for people to talk about your business online. Think about including social sharing buttons on your content and links to follow you on all relevant materials such as your blogs or email newsletter.
Encourage your audience to share their thoughts online with a hashtag, to post your blog on their Twitter timeline or to share a new product range with friends on Facebook. Try to get your audience talking about you online within their communities, just as you would in the offline world.
Use social listening to find out what people are saying
If you want to start driving more ‘word of mouth’ customer referrals through to your website, it’s important to review how people are already speaking about you online. What are people saying, which conversations can you join in with and what new opportunities are there?
You can assess the foundation you have to build on, whilst also reviewing what your competition are doing, to help drive more online engagement. Keep up to date with your industry and consider new ways of getting customers to talk about you – on and off the internet!