Give them something to rave about…

Did you know word-of-mouth marketing (WOM) amounts to USD 6 trillion of annual consumer spend? And it’s estimated to account for 13% of sales? This is according to US conversion experts Invesp, who also reveal that a WOM impression results in five times more sales than a paid media impression.

The rise of social media has only fuelled WOM, making it a force to be reckoned with. Platforms like TripAdvisor, Hello Peter, Facebook or LinkedIn, are examples of WOM at work. This effective marketing method can turn your existing client base into one of the most powerful resources for generating new leads.

What is WOM?

WOM is the social media era’s version of word-of-mouth. It’s about leveraging satisfied and happy customers to vouch for your services and further promote your business. And the best part? It’s free.

Why WOM is so powerful

Today WOM has a greater impact due to our increased hyper-connectivity. Compliments, recommendations and reviews can reach hundreds, thousands and, yes, even millions of people across the globe.

The power of WOM lies not only in its social recognition and reach, but in one crucial element that traditional advertising can’t deliver — trust.

According to Nielsen, a global analytics, data and audience measurement company, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. They are also more likely to buy products based on recommendations, which is why tapping into WOM is one of the most effective methods of promoting your products and services.

How to do it

Along with traditional advertising, WOM has become integral to the success of most modern businesses. However, the WOM narrative is more difficult to manufacture and control, unlike traditional advertising where you are in charge of what goes into the public domain.

What you can control is the quality of your products and service, and your level of customer care. This is what will encourage people to praise your brand and recommend it to friends, family, colleagues, and perhaps even that person next to them in the queue at the shops.

Be deliberate in your WOM efforts — here are a few tips:

  • Be active on social media — Social media is the perfect platform for encouraging your current customers to openly discuss your business. But to reap the benefits of posts and being tagged, you have to be present and active.
  • Focus on good news — While it’s true that bad news travels fast, people also genuinely enjoy sharing good news. Offer positive travel stories and quality content, ask your customers to engage with these pieces, giving their feedback or comments, and they’ll let others know that you’re worthy of their time and money.
  • Just ask — Ask satisfied clients to tell their friends and family about their experience with your business. This is common practice these days with many companies using Google reviews to bolster them in rankings and gain new customers.
  • Offer an incentive — Encourage people with an incentive, such as a value-add for their upcoming holiday or a discount for the individual who refers you. It’s important, however, not to appear pushy or come across as though you’re trying to bribe them. The offer should be organic.
  • Understand your product — To drum up effective WOM, it’s crucial to understand your product offering; how it fits into a specific destination. Offer quality experiences, excellent service and support throughout the customer journey —this will lead to satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Be honest — People appreciate businesses that are honest and fair. Avoid contrived tactics, respect your customers, and treat them well. Engage with them often and ask for their recommendations on how to improve. Clients who feel valued and included in your business will most likely recommend your products and services.

The bottom line

Do WOM right, and you can reduce your advertising spend. Customers will become fans, sharing examples of your exceptional service on social media, at dinner parties and at work — it’s that human element a billboard can’t offer.

Ensure that your business or your preferred Supplier products are listed here to strengthen your trade network, stay connected and show your partners you’ve got something to talk about.

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