Ask any businessperson, of any age, from any industry what the best kind of marketing in the world is, and they’ll tell you—without hesitation: “Word of Mouth.”
Forget about branding. Don’t even start with unique value propositions. Clever copy and incentives can’t hold a candle. Gorgeous graphics? Who cares? Why has word of mouth always been the absolute best form or marketing—and why will it continue to be? We all know the answer: We trust our peers more than we trust the people who are trying to sell us something.
That’s why smart businesses have used customer testimonials for decades. But we’ve even become skeptical about testimonials. As consumers, we wonder if the company trying to sell us something has “bought” the opinion of the person giving that glowing endorsement. Why would our customers feel any different about us?
The cool thing about social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogging is that they allow our customers to talk to each other. We may put content on a Facebook page, but it’s our customers who respond to what’s there. We may write a blog about a topic, but the comments that come at the end of that blog are beyond our control. And those customers know it. It’s one thing for us to talk about how our goods or services can help someone solve a problem. It’s a whole different thing when our customers give their unvarnished opinions about how well we’re actually doing that.
Gary Vaynerchuk, Author of The Thank You Economy, describes how increased contact with our customers (and their increased contact with each other on our social media sites) affects business. He says, “More contact means more sharing of information, gossiping, exchanging, engaging—in short, more word of mouth.”
Word of Mouth remains arguably the most powerful form of marketing in existence. But today we have new tools that encourage and stimulate that. How are you facilitating Word of Mouth marketing for your business?