Four States Small Business Blog

The Ups And Downs of Word of Mouth

Posted by Ryan Jackson on March 9, 2018 at 8:00 AM

word of mouth advertisingEveryone understands the power of word of mouth. Your friend recommends a great brand, a family member tells you about a horrible experience with a company, or a coworker shares an awesome — or awful — customer service call. A recommendation from a friend can make a lasting impression greater than any advertisement.

The downside of word of mouth is that you can’t really control it. But you can manage it.

Why Word of Mouth is Important

Word of mouth is a critical part of brand success. Every satisfied customer has the potential to steer dozens of others your way. According to HubSpot, consumers discuss specific brands 90 times a week and 90% of consumers trust a brand recommendation from a friend. In addition, consumers rely on online reviews. Among social media users, 63% say customer reviews are their #1 source for product information. HubSpot’s data also shows that products with 50 or more online reviews have 65% higher sales compared with products that have five or fewer reviews.

Word of Mouth Takes Time to Build and Effort to Maintain

Dominating mental real estate is not a quick process — nor is it something you can “do” once and forget. It takes time (and effort) to build positive brand positioning, and it can be easy for a competitor to take your place if you aren’t paying close attention.

Simply put, branding is about being top of mind with your target consumer. Your brand should be the first one prospects and customers think of when they need the product or service you offer. At Zimmer Radio Inc., we take a bricks-and-mortar approach to branding, helping craft your story in a compelling way that resonates with your customer. The bricks are the stories that demonstrate the unique qualities of your brand, the ones that separate your business from your competitors. The mortar represents the consistent elements of your brand that hold your strategy together and make you immediately identifiable.

Once you’ve established your message, it’s important to deploy it with the right consistency and frequency to really make it stick. The idea is to make your brand unforgettable. We recommend using a 21/52 advertising plan, airing 21 spots per week, 52 weeks a year. The plan is based on the idea that a customer needs to hear your message multiple times before they will remember your brand.

Improving Word of Mouth

It’s important to understand that word of mouth success is not something that will happen overnight. It’s a byproduct of your marketing and branding efforts and ultimately your product or service. Word of mouth can only be as good as the quality of product or service you provide. Remember, no advertising can fix a bad product or service.

Word of mouth takes both time and attention. Be sure to consistently monitor your online presence, including social media and online reviews, and respond quickly if necessary. In addition, ensure that your website is mobile-friendly to improve your chances of showing up in search results.

Remember that what matters most is the brand experience. It doesn’t matter how creative or strong your advertising is if you aren’t getting recommendations from your customers. Consider partnering with branding experts to ensure that your strategy hits all the right notes to resonate (and stick) with your target audience.

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Topics: Small Business Resources, Marketing Strategy

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