Nearly every business claims Word of Mouth Marketing as their primary tool for reaching new customers, but do they really understand what it is and how to harness its unique messaging? Success is based on trust, and we have always placed greater trust on the recommendations of friends and family. We crave real, genuine connections…especially in our business dealings. The renewed trend of moving toward purchasing locally and knowing where our products and services are sourced has become paramount. The advantages include less monetary investment in advertising, creation of a sense of community, and repeat business!

So, how do you start? It may seem elementary, but offering a quality product or service with an amazing, epic experience is the first step. Mediocracy is simply not acceptable! Once you have that nailed down, you are ready for word of mouth marketing.

Traditional word of mouth marketing relies on recommendations from one person to another person. With our ever-increasing online connectivity, modern word of mouth marketing has taken those targeted efforts and added naturally occurring instances where people share their brand satisfaction online. By utilizing tools to amplify your organic word of mouth, you can engage the trust of a much larger audience, but don’t discount the impact of connecting to your customers face-to-face. Networking events, chambers, and other organizations that encourage business to business referrals remain effective.

One requirement of successful word of mouth marketing it taking time to understand your customers! We often hear that business owners just don’t have time to attend events or monitor their social media pages, but they are such an invaluable way to connect with your customers and really let them know why you and your business matter.

Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can help you create brand loyalty through relationships, and yes, they are a form of word of mouth marketing. These platforms also give you an opportunity to actively encourage reviews. The feedback you get via reviews and testimonials will help you develop your strategies, and, as mentioned earlier, understand your customers. Reviews also allow potential customers to see what their friends and community members have to say about your business. Let’s look at some data to back this claim up:

According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Customer Review Survey:

  • Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business – up from six the previous year.
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.

Lastly, social media platforms are an opportunity to engage your followers in conversation, which will clarify your uniqueness and allow you to build relationships.

So, although websites and analytical online tools are necessary, don’t forget that one-on-one contact, via word of mouth marketing, with the people who love your business, will help you succeed!

About the author: Susan Jerke is a Regional Director who specializes in marketing materials, graphic design, sustainability, human resources and general small business assistance. Her past work experience includes owning several businesses and working as a marketing director for an economic development organization. She has a B.S. in Business from the University of Mary and is a certified instructor for Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

A longtime Wyoming resident, Susan enjoys being an artist, working on DIY projects, and spending time with family.

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