• Valerie Fullen

Word of Mouth Marketing: A modern spin on a classic concept

Word-of-Mouth, WOM for short, is not a new concept. In fact, it has been around for centuries and is one of the most basic fundamentals of business. Think about it - say you decided to try a new barber here in Galveston. If you loved your haircut and the way you were treated, you'll naturally want to tell your family and friends about that positive experience. The same goes for buying new dish soap or hiring a contractor to redo your bathroom.


Building an entire marketing strategy around WOM, however, is a new concept. As a strategy, word-of-mouth marketing actively influences and encourages consumers to share their recommendations. There are many ways in which your Galveston small business can leverage the power of WOM to implement strategies such as influencer marketing, affiliate marketing and customer referral programs. Today, awareness and purchasing decisions are driven by peers, industry experts and social media influencers. By utilizing one of the aforementioned strategic marketing plans into your business model, you are more likely to gain market share and earn a spot at the front of your audience’s minds.

According to experts at Ambassador, 75% of consumers identity word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions. This is not surprising, as the way people shop has fundamentally changed over the last few years and this, in turn, is directly affecting small business and larger organizations' strategic marketing plans. Even further, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of marketing.


So let me ask you, how does your business plan on using word-of-mouth marketing in 2020? Whatever your answer, it is imperative to understand that building a marketing strategy around WOM can have hugely beneficial effects on your Galveston small business if you do it right. The best place to start is by tapping into your existing audience and client relationships, and becoming familiar with your customers' preferred methods of communication. Brands who have seen the most success with the implementation of a WOM marketing strategy have focused the majority of their resources on creating more meaningful relationships with their customers. As Galveston marketing experts, below we will be sharing 10 tips on how your business can successfully implement a WOM marketing strategy.


Tip 1: Create a call-to-action (CTA) promoting signups

Including a brief CTA, whether through email, blog, or social media is a great way to connect customers who visit your website and may not have known about your referral programs or to reengage visitors who may have fallen off the map. Simply asking people to join your programs is a great way to encourage them to participate. If you're looking for more information on creating an effective CTA, visit our blog post on call-to-action buttons.


Tip 2: Share your program everywhere

There are many ways in which you can incorporate information about your referral programs into your strategic marketing plan across all of your channels. Using a chat tool or widget on your website is a great way for interested customers to discover and find out more about your programs. The key is to make it easy and noticeable to those customers so they can see the widget and be directed to your program landing pages. Making it as easy as possible for customers to find this information will reduce the barrier to entry, thus increasing their likelihood of joining your programs.


Tip 3: Create a user guide with best practices

Creating a user guide of best practices takes the guess work out of it for your influencers and affiliates. You can include how to style photographs, what kind of look they should go for, how to access their dashboard, how to recruit other affiliates, and other FAQs. Giving tips on exactly how to represent your brand and be a successful influencer allows them to deliver a better performance and serves as a key driver in their success, which in turn drives the organization's success.


Tip 4: Include social commentary or customer reviews

Encourage top affiliates who have earned high commissions to write a review for your referral programs. Including such reviews on the landing page for your programs will build trust and create a community of excitement, telling potential influencers why it's worthwhile to participate in these programs and enticing them to sign up. Especially in a tight-knit community such as Galveston small business, highlighting top performers can go a very long way.


Tip 5: Promote email signups directly on your website

Create integrated forms on your website to make it easy for people to sign up for your referral programs. Once someone is signed up and confirmed, include an option for them to immediately share this on their social channels. Promoting signups in email signatures, newsletters and landing pages is a consistent strategic marketing move and can certainly boost a huge increase in the number of people wanting to signup for your referral programs.


Tip 6: Provide an incentive to share

Offer an incentive to affiliates to share photos and video of your product. Doing so can increase the lifetime value of those influencers, motivate other customers to join your programs, and peak customer interest. The more they share on social, the more incentives they will get. Creating a reward for sharing will motivate your influencers and give them a nudge in the right direction.

Tip 7: Tell your program members exactly what to do

Once you get people signed up for your program, tell them exactly how to share content for your product or service. Depending on your audience, not everyone knows how to share or what to say. Encourage your influencers by providing all the information they could possibly need to get started and be a successful affiliate. Send program members personalized emails with tips, tricks and best practices. This makes it much easier for affiliates to share and earn those referrals.


Tip 8: Offer exclusive perks to engaged members

This is for those affiliates who are earning a lot of referrals, as well as affiliates who may need a little motivation. You can do this by creating tiers of affiliate levels. When an affiliate scales a higher tier, they will earn a higher percentage commission or new product releases. Another way to do this is by showcasing the most active or engaged affiliates on the landing page for your program. The simple act of recognition is valid and lets your influencers know they're valued and appreciated.


Tip 9: Share a welcome email with new members

This is one of the most crucial tips as it sets the tone for your affiliates' entire experience as a brand ambassador. Kick off their membership by sending out a welcome email including brand guidelines, tips and tricks, FAQs, and what they have to look forward to as an affiliate with your brand. Think of this as a special invitation to be part of something great and exciting to energize new members. This will make your new members feel special and motivate them to start sharing immediately.


Tip 10: Find ways to set yourself apart from others

Get creative when coming up with perks and rewards for your affiliates. Offer recurring monthly commissions, exclusive deals, information on new unreleased products, invites to promotional events. Aim for offering something that will motivate them to earn those referrals and become a loyal member of your program.


Creating customer referral programs and implementing affiliate and influencer strategies around WOM marketing can have a huge impact on your business development in 2020. A word of advice, don't try and implement all 10 of these tips at one time. Instead use it as a checklist to slowly implement into your WOM strategic marketing plan throughout the year.


Want to hit the ground running with a robust WOM marketing strategy? Let JanMar Agency help! 80% of the buying process is expected to occur without any direct human-to-human interaction in 2020. We know the ins and outs of word-of-mouth programs, social communications and conversion strategies. As THE Galveston marketing experts, we have the knowledge, skills and expertise to create a cutting-edge strategic marketing plan to help your grow and develop your Galveston small business. Call or stop by today for your FREE one hour consultation.

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