Even in the world of print, TV, online, and even radio advertisements, the spoken word still holds tremendous power. As individuals across the world are bombarded via numerous mediums, they increasingly rely on suggestions and endorsements from others when making decisions about a business. In turn, this can result in a stronger and more loyal customer base that grows exponentially as the word spreads.

And in reality, this type of advertising, known more colloquially as ‘word of mouth marketing,’ can be utilized by an advertising company offering services to a wide variety of businesses. By simply getting the word out, an advertising company can instill a sense of trust in a business’s current customers, and spread awareness to countless more.

WHAT IS WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING?

The concept of word of mouth marketing is fairly simple: one customer tells another, who tells another, and so on. Of course, this is a timeless and relatively cost-effective way to reach a whole new base of potential leads. Plus, if you look deeper into the system, you will see the potential word of mouth marketing truly retains: instead of one customer telling one friend, he tells ALL of his friends; in turn all of his friends tell all of their friends. The word travels like wildfire.

And in fact, the popularity of word of mouth marketing has risen so quickly, that a massive number of marketers and individual businesses have hopped on board, leading to the creation and growth of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), an “official trade association dedicated to word of mouth marketing.” WOMMA hosts conferences, summits, and other educational events each year with the aim of increasing support for marketing through the spoken word.

Word of Mouth Marketing 101

WHAT BENEFITS DOES WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING HAVE FOR AN ADVERTISING COMPANY?

At first glance, although word of mouth marketing may seem like it has its benefits, it may not convince an advertising executive of its true values. After all, word of mouth marketing lacks the visuals of a television ad, or the interactive nature of a message sent through e-mail. It is these added perks that cause many advertising companies to overlook the benefits of word of mouth marketing strategies, instead opting for the more advanced tactics that reflect the technological society in which we live today.

Truthfully though, those not involved in word of mouth marketing are missing out on a huge opportunity. And the statistics are there to prove it; a recent post in Forbes posits that a staggering “92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.” What does this mean? Ultimately, this indicates that people trust other people over print, radio, television, and online ads, and will weigh the spoken word more heavily than anything else.

HOW CAN YOU USE WORD OF MOUTH MARKETING TO HELP GROW YOUR CLIENTS’ BUSINESSES?

There is every reason to believe that an effective word of mouth marketing campaign can help acquire new customers for a client’s business, and further foster a relationship between existing customers in order to support brand loyalty. And knowing this, any advertising company should get involved immediately.

Naturally though, one question remains: where should you begin?

To start, it helps to focus on the existing relationships the business currently shares with its consumer base. Since they already enjoy the services of the business, they will act as the launchpad of the spoken word campaign. Begin by fostering this relationship, and by engaging with these clients. An advertising campaign can do so by having visible conversations with clients, which can be done through social media sites. You can pose questions to customers, ask for suggestions, and have a thorough interaction that involves nothing but an online conversation. And best of all, other members of the public can witness the discussion, joining and leaving as they wish.

Depending on the nature of the client’s business, an advertising campaign can be developed to offer the customers a chance to make an impact on a future decision. For example, by posting a hypothetical involving a potential service change in the coming weeks or months, you can gauge what the customer reaction would be, and help customers feel more connected to the specific business.

Finally, search out a unique and personalized message that you can convey to existing and potential customers (one post in Entrepreneur suggests that “physical nonverbal statements are the most dependable in triggering word of mouth.”) While this may extend far beyond the dominion of the Internet, those looking to spread word of mouth online should embrace the use of auditory and visual aids. Reading may be understanding, but seeing (and in this case, listening) is believing.

WHAT YOU NEED TO TRIGGER THE WORD OF MOUTH TO SPREAD

A smart campaign, loyal customers, and grabbing online displays all help in spreading the word about your business across the layers of potential customers. But above all, an advertising company must be able to fall back onto two factors: an incredible product and stellar customer service.

Speaking to the former, it’s nearly impossible to spread the spoken word about a given business unless they are providing a product enjoyed by the masses. An advertising company can assist in this area by showing off the popular good or service; or, in the event that the product has room to improve, by engaging in discussions with the customers and relaying this information back to the client, who can make any necessary adjustments.

In regards to customer service, this is equally as important; existing and potential customers of a client’s business want to feel connected to the company, and will only celebrate this relationship if the business provides phenomenal customer service. An advertising company can look for any hints online of a customer base’s dissatisfaction with the business’s service, and help the business modify according.

IT MAY BE TIME TO SPREAD THE WORD

With the advent of newer technology each day, businesses and advertising companies continue to push aside timeless tactics in favor of the next big idea. But any advertising company should take note of the power that word of mouth marketing can have, as it may in fact hold the secret to getting the word out and growing a list of customers for current and future clients.

F.A.Q.

How effective is word of mouth marketing?

What are word of mouth marketing advantages and disadvantages?

Where to find examples of word of mouth marketing techniques?