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The power of word-of-mouth advertising

Word-of mouth-advertising is a form of promotion – satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product, or service, and you get the benefit of that promotion at no cost to you or your business.

Word-of mouth-advertising is a form of promotion – satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a business, product, or service, and you get the benefit of that promotion at no cost to you or your business.

A happy customer can build up your brand in a minute – when a customer is fully satisfied with the outcome of their purchase or spend, and especially if they receive more than what they expected, they will usually talk about it and spread the word, hence ‘word-of-mouth’ or WOM.

Word-of-mouth advertising
If your customers are speaking loudly enough, everyone will hear them.

WOM is one of the most powerful forms of advertising as a customer puts their reputation on the line when they recommend a brand, product, or service – it’s their stamp of approval. And they usually receive nothing but the satisfaction of telling others.

Like a match to a flame

Word-of-mouth can be positive…or it can be negative. An unsatisfied customer with a bad experience and a story to tell is like giving a pyromaniac a match. Negative WOM is just as easily spread as positive – “Don’t go into that store, the staff are rude“, “Don’t buy that product, it broke the same day“, and so on.

A negative consumer experience is just as easy for friends and family to relate to as a positive one. But the shock value of a bad experience usually spreads a lot further and faster.

And don’t think you can solve this with a silver bullet – your staff’s exceptional customer service (on its own) won’t result in free word-of-mouth marketing. Consumers don’t just look at service alone – they take other factors into consideration e.g. quality, experience, price, expectations, etc. Also, consumers know that good service is just the icing on the cake of the establishment – it’s expected.

The value of a good product or service

Broken down telephone
Don’t let your word-of-mouth marketing turn into a case of broken down telephone.

Bear in mind that customers tend to trust their friends and family when it comes to deciding on where, or on what, to spend their hard-earned money. Who else would you ask when wanting to try a new restaurant, shop, or gym but your closest friends, family, and even colleagues.

The idea is to create a culture amongst customers that they are truly valued! The message needs to be strong enough that it’s worth passing on, and not easily forgotten. Positive, powerful WOM most often results from customer feeling the value of a good product or service, and feeling valued as a customer in turn.

So how can you encourage word-of-mouth?

Create a buzz – use Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other social networks to get spread your news about specials, great deals, and anything else that might interest your target market. Test the water to see how people share your message.

Satisfied customer smiling
Just another satisfied customer!

Always be honest – be sure to give out true information to customers. False information will get you nowhere because people will always find out, and people will always talk. In this information age, the truth really will set you free!

Viral advertising – create interesting, exciting, drastic, crazy, controversial ads that will grab the attention of consumers and encourage them to pass the message on because it’s so interesting, exciting, drastic, crazy, and controversial.

Use brand ambassadors – get socially connected and popular individuals to create a buzz by sharing interesting stories for you and engaging with prospective customers.

Deal with unhappy customers immediately – obviously not everyone can be satisfied all the time, but if a customer has a complaint or a problem, ensure you solve it immediately. As the saying goes, “The customer is always right” – and that’s the mindset that consumers have. If a dissatisfied customer is turned into a satisfied customer, they can become your strongest brand ambassadors.

Something to keep in mind…

Dissatisfied/unhappy customers are likely to post public warnings about a bad product on their blog, faster than a satisfied customer who recommends it to a friend.”


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