Marketers have more tools at their disposal than ever before to influence and persuade people. But perhaps the oldest form of persuasion still is prominent today: word-of-mouth communication.Messages spread from person to person have a level of trust and personalization that is virtually impossible to replicate using paid mass media communication. According to a recent Nielsen study, word-of-mouth messages from trusted friends and family members rose above all other message channels in terms of trust.
The WOM Advantage
Among the findings concerning trust with different communication channels were:
- 84% of respondents said they trusted WOM messages from family or friends
- 69% trust content marketing messages
- 68% trust user reviews and recommendations
- 62% trust TV advertising
- 60% trust magazine advertising
- 56% trust e-mail messages
- Reward referral behavior – Do you encourage referrals, I mean really encourage referrals by giving customers incentives to tell others about their experiences with your business? Don’t just give referrals lip service; reward customers for bringing new business to you. The ROI will likely eclipse any advertising campaign that you could run.
- Encourage social sharing – Make it easy for people to advocate for you via social media. Sadly, many of the efforts in this area are quite lame. “Please like us on Facebook” has all the appeal of a trip to the dentist. Facilitate sharing in social media as well as e-mail. Your fans can help build your e-mail list by sharing their permission-based messages with people in their networks. In turn, they might come to you and become a customer. Create excitement about social sharing by campaigns or even contests that call on your fans to spread the word on your behalf.