10 Word of Mouth Referral Marketing Tactics to Grow your Business

updated March 21, 2023
Reading time10 minutes
Arlen Robinson
Arlen Robinson
Guest Writer

Word of mouth marketing is one of the best methods to use to grow your business. Not only can it help your business gain more traffic, but it can also ultimately grant your team more sales. It helps your business get more brand exposure so your customers can remember you when they are ready to buy.

However, word of mouth marketing is easier said than done. Doing it requires more than just the simple act of marketing. You will also need to know the particular tactics that you should employ for it to succeed. Fortunately, this article will show you some tactics that can help you to make word of mouth marketing work for you.

What is Word of Mouth Marketing?

Before we tackle the tactics, let us first define word of mouth marketing. It is more than a customer telling another potential customer about your product or service. Instead, it is a result of a positive customer experience. The only reason this works is because the referral is authentic: instead of a simple promotion, word of mouth marketing happens organically simply because a content customer wants to share their good experience with someone else. As mentioned, it works because it’s authentic. Unlike paid promotions that are conducted to sell, word of mouth marketing is created naturally based off a positive customer purchase. Often, it is a result of a well-delivered product and service that makes it so successful. Social proof helps here because it shows that others are enjoying the product, so that may mean that it could be beneficial to others too.

Word of mouth marketing is great because it’s a "set and forget" marketing method. Aside from the fact that it’s free to implement, we can see results almost immediately, resulting in a wave of traffic and sales almost immediately. That’s all the work that happens on the consumer side. On the product side, you need to give your target market something worth sharing. This could be some sort of visual content to help share your image such as written content, an image, or a video. From here, you can encourage your prospects to promote your brand for you.

However, you can’t just approach your customers and expect them to be your brand ambassadors immediately. For this, you will need to employ some form of tactic to convince them to do this for you.

NOTE: Unfortunately, there is no formula on what goes viral and what doesn't. Many marketers have tried to crack the code and failed. You can never fully determine what your prospects will like. You have to set up multiple word of mouth marketing campaigns to see what will succeed.

What Is Word of Mouth Marketing

Why Should You Do Word of Mouth Marketing in Your Business?

Word of mouth marketing can have many benefits. Here are some of the primary reasons why you should use it in your business.

1. It’s Free - When business owners think of marketing, they often see it as an expense. It’s often seen as an activity that needs some form of investment. While this is true, word of mouth marketing doesn't need a huge advertising budget. If done well, it can result in a wave of free traffic and sales.

2. It’s Incremental - People are social. This means that if you promote your brand to one person, that person can promote it to another. It’s this system that makes word of mouth marketing so effective. Everything is connected. Because of this, word of mouth marketing has an incremental nature where it increases its power based on the number of referrers.

3. It Increases Brand Exposure - Building a brand can be tough if you’re just starting out. Your market doesn't know your name, and they are less likely to remember you. With this, it should be your goal to increase brand awareness and retention. While this can be done with paid advertising, word of mouth marketing is still the best way to do this.

4. It’s Fast - Thinking of driving massive traffic to your website quickly? Word of mouth marketing can do that for you. Several brands witnessed its power as they gained more traffic and sales with just one promotion. For example, an e-commerce store, Best Hunting Bow Labs, which makes the most powerful crossbow, saw an increase of sales when one of their posts went viral.

How to do Word of Mouth Marketing

How can you use word of mouth marketing for your business? Here are some techniques that you can use.

1. Sell quality products.

It all starts with your products. As mentioned, you need to give your prospects a reason to promote your business. Once customers decide they appreciate the value that your product brings to their life, they’ll mention it to their family and friends and post about it on social media.

Because of this, you should strive to create products that are worth sharing. In this interconnected age, customers need more than the item. They need an experience that’s worth sharing.

Here's the thing. Your customers know if you are selling them half-baked products. With all the competition online and with easy access to them, it’s essential to step up your game and provide better products and services than the next business owner.

2. Make it Easy to Order from You

It’s not just the product that matters. You also need to ensure that the transaction experience is streamlined and simple. Nothing is more devastating than to see a customer change his mind right when he is on the verge of buying. A simple website malfunction can get him over this fence.

Put yourself in his shoes. You see a product that you like, and you add it into your shopping cart. From here, you’re ready to checkout. But the checkout process was buggy. You’re not able to checkout. What will you do? You might contact customer service or you may dismiss the idea of purchasing altogether.

You don't want your customers to think this way. It’s imperative to ensure that the ordering process is smooth and seamless. Make it easy to add a product to the cart. Make it easy to see the cart and check out. Your customers will thank you for it, and they may share their positive experience with their family and friends.

PRO TIP: Do you want to blow your customers away? If so, aim for a unique order experience. Consider creating a customized ordering system. A popular method is to allow customers to customize orders before you send them. They can choose the designs from your ordering system, and you create them when they check out.

3. Provide a Memorable Customer Service

Another way for your customers to remember you is to provide memorable customer service. But this can only happen if your customers feel so good about their buying experience that they remember you. You can do this by looking for an opportunity to go another mile. Every time you have the chance to satisfy the needs of your customers, you should go that extra length and aim to make them happier. It’s all about having the habit of excellence and not settling for anything less. This is how Zappos succeeded in generating word of mouth marketing for its business.

4. Encourage User-Generated Content (UGC)

This is the age of social media. Consequently, it’s also the age of user-generated content. When you have a product or service, some more vocal customers will want to talk about it through their main method of communication: social media.

The reason that social media is so effective is because it’s meant and built for millenials. When a millennial buys something, they typically do their own research and social-proofing first. This usually comes in the form of a user review because they’d prefer not to risk getting a negative experience if they can read about positive ones online first. They don't go ahead and buy it right away. They check the reviews first. So if you encourage it in your business. You will surely get more word of mouth marketing for your business.

PRO TIP: User-generated content is more than just plain text. You can also use videos. Images and videos are highly encouraged because they are more visual forms of content. This is the type of content that is well received by today’s audience.

5. Create a Referral Program

Another strategy to generate word of mouth marketing is to create a referral program. Fortunately, it is quite easy. All you need to do is create it using referral marketing software. It’s easy to develop a referral program in a few clicks. If you are operating a Shopify website, you can easily set it up with a Shopify affiliate app. The good thing with these types of software programs is that they are easy to use. You don’t even need to have any knowledge of coding. You can just set them up with a single click.

The benefit of having a referral program is that it gives your customers the power to promote your business. Your referrers become your marketers. The best part about this is that it is free. This means that you don’t even have to spend a dime to promote your own website. This is very effective in e-commerce websites for you’ll have a tribe that is ready to promote your products for you.

6. Use the Power of Influencers

You can also use the power of influencers to generate word of mouth marketing for your brand. This can happen when you work with a particular influencer. It works the same way with celebrities. If you work with a specific influencer, the word about it will instantly spread. And your brand will gain instant exposure with their followers.

7. Utilize AI for your feedback system

The power of AI is incredible. It allows you to have a feedback system where you can alter experiences based on the response of the user. This is great because this means that you create a different experience for every type of user. This works not only for chatbots but also for live chat.

8. Have Exclusive Programs.

It also pays to pay the loyalty of your prospects. This will encourage customers to continue working with your business. Just getting them on board to promote your business can get more customers to your business.

9. Make it Easy to Promote You

While you need to give your prospects a reason to promote you, you should also make it easy to promote you. This means that you should have rewards, and you should also have shareable products and marketing materials. As I have mentioned before, you need to have a high-quality product before you can expect any word of mouth marketing results in your business. But you should also have some attractive marketing materials for easy promotion.

10. Use the power of hashtags

Another strategy is to use hashtags. This will allow your market to find your brand easily. This can be a simple hashtag of your business name, or it can be a hashtag to sort out the categories of your products and services. This will allow your customers to discover you and for them to easily find your products and services.

What do you think of these tactics? What are you going to try to build your business?

This article was written by Arlen Robinson, the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software.

He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.

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