In the last post we started our series on word of mouth and explored how to make your customers’ purchasing experience a short, easy one. We are going to continue along that thread a bit today as we will be discussing the power of word of mouth and how to shape it to your advantage.
The reality is everyone needs an advisor to guide them when they are making a decision. We often rely on the expertise of others to assist us in our decision-making process as we learn about their experiences. When you take the time to understand how word of mouth works, you will be able to identify the great advantages it can offer you. Remember this path when working to understand word of mouth:
- It serves to accelerate the decision-making process for increased profits.
- You can accelerate product making decisions by making the process easier;
- Instead of lowball advertising and the used car salesman approach, try delivering on your word of mouth promises.
Traditional advertising draws approximately one response for every one thousand advertisements and most of these are inquiries for more information prior to the customer even considering a purchase. When you get receive information from a trusted friend, you are more likely to believe what you hear and act upon that information. On average, customers purchase two out of every five recommendations made by their friends. This is an astronomical difference.
So, what exactly is word of mouth? Word of mouth is a communication that occurs between a customer and a potential customer. Most often there is some form of relationship between these two people with an established level of trust. Word of mouth, therefore, is extremely powerful.
Now compare word of mouth to advertising where you are providing a message to a potential customer that neither has an established relationship with you, nor any level of trust. What strategy do you think would be more effective? Obviously this is a rhetorical question as the answer is clear!
Now that we have highlight the benefits of word of mouth, let’s take a look at some reasons why it works.:
- The information is custom tailored to the potential customer because of their relationship to that of referrer;
- It’s more personal, relevant and credible;
- It’s customer driven;
- It’s self-generating and can take on a life of its own, especially with the information age of the Internet;
- It becomes part of the product’s description;
- The word of mouth can be even more compelling when coming from an expert;
- Word of mouth saves you time and money.
To fully utilize word of mouth you need to understand:
- Where is your word of mouth coming from?
- What products are being affected by word of mouth?
- How is your word of mouth traveling?
Once you have the answers to the above, you can develop a plan how to encourage more word of mouth. If you need help understanding word of mouth and how it can impact your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for assistance.
Next time we will be discussing the nine levels of word of mouth. These levels will help you understand when word of mouth is positive and when it is not.