Word of mouth advertising is a powerful tool to win more customers. Increasingly, recommendations or rebukes about brands are playing an increasingly larger role in the consumers’ decisions about whether or not to buy from a company. Recent data from Convince and Convert shows that word of mouth accounts for 19 percent of all purchases, and influence up to 90 percent.
But even though word of mouth has such a major impact on consumer buying behavior, Convince and Convert reports that less than one percent of companies actually have a word-of-mouth strategy. As such, they leave the benefits of getting positive word of mouth promotion up to chance. No bueno.
With all the time, money, and effort that goes into creating products, services, and experiences and bringing them to market, it makes sense to do everything in your power to help ensure that word of mouth happens, and that it happens in your favor.
And the by far, the best word of mouth strategy comes down to two simple words: Be remarkable.
Give your customers something worth talking about.
Deliver products, services, and experiences that are not only memorable and meaningful, but ones they will be compelled to talk about to their family, friends, and anyone who will listen.
Producing the remarkable should be priority number one in your business. When you focus on delivering experiences that delight, your customers will gladly do the work to spread the word about you on your behalf.
Being remarkable doesn’t have to mean exploding your budget to deliver over-the-top experiences. Sometimes simple gestures are all it takes to make a lasting impression.
Daniel Lemin, co-author of Chatter Matters: The 2018 Word of Mouth Report, told me that something as small as a fresh-baked cookie was a major part of what made their stay at a DoubleTree Hotel remarkable.
In our research, about a third of people will talk about that cookie without being asked. Like, “Hey, how was your trip?” “It was great. I stayed at a hotel, they gave me a cookie when I checked in. It was so good.” And when people say things like that, it is inherently trustworthy. It’s like, “That sounds like a reasonable experience.” You know, they didn’t deliver you a steak to your room unprompted. It was a cookie, it’s a fairly reasonable gesture, but it’s remarkable. It’s something you talk about.
On your journey to creating better customer experiences, you should, of course, focus on important elements, such as your products and services. But don’t forget that you can induce a ton of smiles and delight, and lots of word of mouth with tiny gestures that shock your customers out of the norm, and showcase that you see them, and you get them.
Engage in public conversations happening about you.
These days many customers take to social media to talk about their experiences good or bad with a brand. And now, it’s pretty easy for companies to monitor when they are being mentioned on the platform. Instead of just lurking and reading what people are saying about you, join the conversation.
Airbnb did this masterfully when a copywriter Ash Ambirge tweeted about how much she was enjoying the moment while staying at an Airbnb during her travels in Europe.
Settled into our @Airbnb for the night with a pizza and red wine here in #Edinburgh—not gonna lie, I'm kind of obsessing over my life right now?!?!— The Middle Finger Project (@TMFproject) July 20, 2018
Rather than simply ignoring, liking, or retweeting the message shouting them out, Airbnb took the extra step to delight Ambirge by sending her a gift with a lovely note.
Naturally, Ambirge tweeted their note and chronicled the unboxing of her Airbnb goodies on her Instagram Stories.
NO WAY!!!! @Airbnb I freaking love you. What an awesome surprise!!!!!!! We just checked out of our Airbnb in Amsterdam—check TMFproject Insta-stories for a peek! It was LOVELY. Thank you so much!!!! pic.twitter.com/Le0Ytj0SNI— The Middle Finger Project (@TMFproject) July 26, 2018
By proactively working to do something remarkable by delighting a customer that mentioned them on social media, the company extended the conversation and turned it even more so in their favor.
You can do the same.
Like with most things, you increase your chances of getting the results you want through careful planning and execution. Thus if you want more people to share positive experiences with your brand, start by building a strategy that makes it a no-brainer for them to do so.
Engage with your customers on social media.
Look for other ways to delight them within various parts of your customer journey. And if your customers aren’t talking about you now, that’s a good signal that you’ve got work to do to make your products and services more remarkable.
With continued effort working even a simple word of mouth strategy, you’ll find that your customers will have more great things to say about you more often.