Digital marketing changes at the drop of dime, and as digitally connected brands, we are expected to anticipate those changes just as fast, if not sooner. If your brand is guilty of taking on the “all-adoptive” mentality, you may see that staying on top of the latest trend might negatively impact your bottom line, and eat up many of your resources. Now more than ever, it is crucial for marketers to understand the difference between a marketing fad and a marketing staple.

Successful marketers know that chasing the trend du jour only serves as a distraction of time, money, and not to mention, resources. What’s truly worth going after is the opportunity to deliver something that resonates with your brand and customers, is evergreen, and grows more valuable over time.

Enter word-of-mouth marketing. Well, not really “enter,” because this age-old marketing strategy has truly withstood the test of time.

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing has been impacting businesses for as long as commerce has been around. Especially in today’s digital world when WOM interactions are always at our fingertips. In fact, word-of-mouth has been shown to improve marketing effectiveness by 54%1.

While it’s a well-known fact that positive WOM marketing is the most effective way to generate brand awareness, how can brands harness the power of word-of-mouth to gain new leads, valuable traffic, and new leads?

Let’s dive into how marketers can leverage word-of-mouth marketing to drive more revenue.

Word of Mouth Marketing Image 1

Iterate your strategy, invest in innovation

Digital marketing, and especially social marketing, is actually a form of marketing that has been around since the dawn of time: word-of-mouth marketing. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook are all just different forms of the same foolproof tool. But how do you stay “on trend” while sticking to your budget?

Constantly iterate and strategically invest.

Find a word-of-mouth marketing strategy – such as, a referral program – that works for your brand and truly adopt it to match your overall business goals.

Take Ria Financial, for example. Over the course of 25+ years, one of the biggest drivers of growth for the company was good, old fashioned word-of-mouth. So when Ria began to build out its digital business, incorporating referral marketing technology was a no-brainer. At scale, the company expected referrals to become the engine driving its new customer acquisition efforts, ideally at a low CPA and with minimal customer service issues. To reach that goal, Ria made the strategic decision to invest in a referral marketing platform. Three months later, Ria acquired thousands of new customers and generated a large stream of referrals.

Word of Mouth Marketing Referral Program Example

Clearly, WOM marketing works. But that isn’t always enough. Just kicking off a program and walking away will rarely deliver scalable results of that caliber. As with most marketing initiatives, nurturing is a must.

Connect personally

Word-of-mouth marketing takes a large amount of social network real estate. Users and customers are using social as a medium to humanize and connect with brands and products.

In fact, a study2 by Jay Baer showed that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know directly, and even anonymous reviewers have a 70% trust rate when they post online about a brand.

Use your brand’s social channels to join the conversation your customers and potential customers are already having about you.

Don’t post-and-pray

Word-of-mouth marketing needs to be treated like every other marketing strategy – which means, you need to set goals and measure success. Whether that’s brand awareness from social, revenue generated from referrals, engagement from influencers, or conversions from affiliates – setting clear expectations and analyzing the program is crucial to word-of-mouth success.

Which brings us to partnering with the right technology. Many vendors fall short when it comes to providing the metrics necessary to determine word-of-mouth success.

Inflated statistics and misleading numbers can pull the wool over a brand’s eyes, but access and visibility to real data and metrics are a must-have when reviewing platforms. By trusting a technology partner that provides insights that includes shares, clicks, referrals, and most importantly, revenue generated, brands that are able to see the true value in word-of-mouth platforms will ultimately gain the best results.