Today’s Volusion blog post begins our series on the emerging trend of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM). The goal of WOM is to encourage others to talk about your online business and its products. Keep reading to learn more about different types of WOM and basic elements to get started with your strategy.
I continuously receive requests to provide more research and advice on how to leverage social media for online business owners. And why not? This is one of the most powerful and business-altering developments of our time.
So while gathering new findings and information, I ran into an interesting fact from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association: 41.4% of social media users start an online search after a face-to-face conversation. Thus, while social media may be a great tool, the end goal is to get people talking about your business to others.
This idea is often coined as buzz marketing, but it really fits under the larger umbrella of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM). The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has released a useful report that nicely breaks down the term:
- Word of Mouth: The act of consumers providing information to other consumers.
- Word of Mouth Marketing: Giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place. It is the art and science of building active, mutually beneficial consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-marketer communications.
In other words, you want to provide reasons for others to talk about your online store through relationship building. Once you get people talking, others are more likely to begin an online search for your brand. And once they find you, you’re on your way to an easy conversion. Simple, right?
There are several tactics that can be used to spark conversations via word of mouth. Here are some of the most well-known:
- Buzz Marketing. This is getting your brand/products exposure via entertainment vehicles or news outlets. Buzz marketing is PR at its finest.
- Viral Marketing. Everyone wants to do something “viral,” but few really know what it means. Viral marketing is essentially the creation of a branded message that’s designed to be shared with others. Examples include YouTube videos, postcards, interactive games, etc.
- Product Seeding. This is a tactic used to place your product into the hands of someone with a lot of influence. Ever wondered why celebrities get huge goody baskets at awards shows? The product makers want these important individuals to sample their products and rave about them to others.
- Blogging. The goal with blogging is to make connections with others and share pertinent information with those that are most interested in your product, brand or industry. Engaging in this area is an easy way to create exposure and draw people into your point of view.
There are several other types of word of mouth options, but you’re getting the idea. Regardless of tactic, the same WOMMA report outlines the basic elements of this new marketing strategy. The report states:
All word of mouth marketing techniques are based on the concepts of customer satisfaction, two-way dialog and transparent communications. The basic elements are:
- Educating people about your products and services
- Identifying people most likely to share their opinions
- Providing tools that make it easier to share information
- Studying how, where and when opinions are being shared
- Listening and responding to supporters, detractors and neutrals
Stick around for this series – it should be fun! We’ll discuss best practices and strategies on leveraging each of these individual elements to your benefit. We’ll also give ideas on how to tie these elements into your social media channels.
Happy (and conversation-sparking) selling!
-Matt Winn, Marketing Associate
What are your thoughts on word of mouth marketing? Do you have any experience with it? Any questions you’d like addressed throughout the series? Any advice you’d like to share? Comments? Leave below!