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The strongest form of marketing, before the advent of modern ecommerce marketing strategies, was word-of-mouth.
It works like this: when you buy something from a business and you like the product and/or the customer service so much, next time you look no further and return to buy to the same merchant. Moreover, you recommend the product to your friends and tell about the great experience you have had.
They buy that products and carry on sharing the positive feedback to their friends. The referral network keeps growing. The social media twist is even more powerful in spreading the word about your products all over the country or even the world.
Word of mouth influences 92% of all consumers to make a purchase.
However, it’s not only the rapid nature, in which word of mouth works. The cost-effectiveness is one more key reason for being it so attractive mean of marketing.
For many ecommerce merchants, getting marketing results without spending a lot of money, is the only way they can continue to survive as a small business. That’s why merchants should develop ways by which they can grow their word of mouth. And here is how to do it.
1. Provide above Average Products and Services
This is no doubt the foundation of any successful business strategy. What you sell and how you sell it is the key for building a successful business that customers will say something nice about. Customers will only say something nice about your business when they are happy with the buying experience.
“You will get more word of mouth from making people happy than anything else you could possibly do.” – says Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing.
What you sell. The quality of the products should be above the average. Are you telling potential customers you have authentic shoes on your site when in fact what you offer is nowhere near authentic? This will not get you a positive word of mouth.
To assure you’re providing above average products, always double-check if what you sell in words or in pictures, is actually what you ship to the customer. Once the customer’s expectation of a product is met, you have delivered an amazing product.
How to sell:
It is about the customer service. If the delivery of those authentic shoes delays, how do you respond to the infuriated customer: in an angry manner or in a polite, apologetic one?
Your business’ customer service is what customers mostly remember. When you have a business that delivers good products but bad customer service, you’re less likely to get returning customers who will eventually say something positive about you.
However, when you deliver a bad product but excellent customer service, chances are that your customers, as humans as they are, will like to stick around with you for a while, hoping that you’ll get better with your products.
What is really damaging for your business is to have bad customer service delivering bad products. Remember, word of mouth is a double-edged sword, if customers are unhappy with your business offering, they’ll publicly complain about it and that’s not the kind of word of mouth you want.
2. Grow Super Customers
Out of all your customers, picking those who buy from you consistently or have given you positive reviews in the past, and nurturing them into super customers is a good way to grow word of mouth.
You nurture these customers by making them feel like special insiders, who get to know and are the first ones to try out almost everything about your business.
To build these super customers, send an email to the customers who have written a number of positive reviews about your business or are returning customers. Inform them of your decision to put them on a VIP list that will give them access to resources and benefits from your business that no other customer will. These benefits could be discount opportunities or free trials of new products.
By making these super customers feel special, you’re increasing the chances of them raving about your products, whenever they test them out, in a way they would have never had if they weren’t on the VIP list. Apart from the word of mouth you’ll get from them, their feedback will be very helpful in choosing your business strategies.
3. Do Acts of Kindness
Kindness is a virtue that resonates well with people. Saying hello to a stranger, giving out money to the needy among other acts of kindness, gives us a sense of fulfillment.
As a business, you can use the positive energy that comes from being kind to grow your word of mouth marketing.
Regardless of what you sell, you can adopt a policy to donate every month or every quarter a product (or more) to people who are in need but cannot afford it. With the permission of the beneficiaries, you can capture the donation moments to be shared on your social media channels, be made into a video or be made into a blog post.
Since kindness goes both ways, these beneficiaries will have something positive to say about your business and if it’s done on social media, you’ll find many others jumping in to say something nice about your business.
When other followers of your business get to see the acts of kindness on your social media pages, they’ll also begin to connect with your business on a personal level and become fans saying positive things about your business.
In all this, be careful not to make your acts of kindness appear as a publicity stunt.
4. Encourage Word of Mouth
Make it one of your business’ culture. Encourage people, through your email marketing, social media marketing etc., to share their experiences about your business.
This could be as simple as coming up with a hashtag, and encourage all your customers to use it when talking about your business online.
To keep that sharing momentum going, you need to recognise all those taking part with re-shares, shoutouts and occasional gifts. You can also collect all these comments about your business from social media and display them on your site.
This will help you to nudge those who are yet to say something about you to do so, and also to help build trust for your business. Apps like Kudobuzz can help you with the social comments collection and display.
5. Use Influencers
Influencers have an impact on people to take a particular action. They have a track record of piece of good advice, and love to share information about things they are passionate about. When they say something positive about your business, it can start a chain reaction of other positive comments from people who follow them.
People who have big following on social media platforms, or people with the ability to come up with creative posts, who have interests related to what you sell, can be identified to be your influencers. Once identified, engage with them to make yourself known. Retweet their tweets, comment or mention them in your posts to attract their attention.
If this is done successfully, you can occasionally request these influencers to say something about your business to their followers or to share your piece of content. And if they do so, your prospects will listen to their message and will start to talk about your business too.
The example of marketing influencer Ed Leake sharing Omnisend infographic to his followers.
The main pillar of any form of marketing is word of mouth. Though you can’t control when and how customers talk about your business, you can encourage them to do it. Providing the best service as you can and smartly using the social media solutions, you can make the feedback positive and loud.
About the author:
Abdul Rahim belongs to Kudobuzz Marketing Team. Kudobuzz is a simple widget that displays selected positive social reviews on your website. Kudobuzz offers the most effective way to collect lots of customer reviews while improving your SEO.
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