B2B marketers think that if they are providing spectacular products or services, it’s more than enough as the services will speak for themselves. Though the impact of inbound marketing in attracting, engaging & converting the prospects can’t be neglected, the former statement is also partially true, as it resonates with the positive word of mouth marketing in practice.
Word of mouth marketing is a strategy where brands leverage & count on their customers by encouraging them to tell their friends, family & colleagues how they feel about a particular product or service. People feel close to the ones close to them & therefore, online as well as offline word of mouth marketing has a strong influence on driving the purchase decisions of the prospects.
According to a survey conducted by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMM), it has been found that offline word of mouth marketing is 5x more impactful than paid media impressions. In fact, for the higher consideration categories, offline word of mouth is as much as 100 times more valuable.
According to BrightLocal, 88% of the people trust online reviews written by other customers as much as they trust recommendations from their contacts. Another report by Nielsen reveals that 68% of people trust online reviews from other customers, which places online opinions as the third most trusted source of product information.
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) plays a prominent role in shaping brand trust & reputation. Having a strong brand resonance sets the pace up for improved sales revenue. People value the experiences of people; they trust & know well over any form of digital advertisement.
Ways Businesses can effectively strategize & execute Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM)
It is human psychology that they seek their family members, friends & colleagues before they make a buying decision. More often than not, the prospects are likely to trust people who they know well or even anonymous customers at times, over the promises of brands proclaiming themselves as the best in terms of delivering particular products or services (which obviously, sounds hollow).
According to a report by Referral Rock, 81% of the marketers acceded that an exceptional service was their method for promoting the word of mouth marketing & that 60% of the marketers track their word of mouth referrals by simply questioning their prospects & customers how they feel about their businesses.
Besides, Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is also inexpensive & hence, is highly rewarding in terms of revenue generation & optimization. However, for being successful with Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM), the marketers need to make sure that they do the basics of marketing well. Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) may be inexpensive, but it blossoms only once exemplary products or services are delivered by the brands to their customers.
Not only that, the brands need to provide seamlessly excellent users’ experiences (UX) to their customers at each stage of their buying cycles, across omnichannel & also need to provide them with exemplary after-sales services to delight them, & to inspire the positive words to complement the marketing endeavors.
Driving positive Word of Mouth Marketing requires executing the cores of marketing correctly which includes optimizing the endeavors such as Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Omnichannel Reputation Management & Product Marketing.
According to a recent analysis of 380 CMOs by Forbes tilted “Publish or Perish”, it was deduced that marketers who deliver personalized web experiences earn double returns from their omnichannel digitized endeavors in terms of the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), as well as the in terms of positive responses (positive word of mouths) from their customers across omnichannel.
Let’s now delve deeper into the following tactics that can be used by the marketers to create a positive buzz about their products or services online:
1. Understanding the Audiences by Creation of Buyer-Personas:
In an era of the data-driven world, brands need to actualize their personas. This means that brands not only need to have an idea of their niche-specific audiences but also need to scrutinize whether their audience groups are concurrent with the semi-fictional representations of their ideal buyers (the personas).
Understanding & refining their audiences as per their interests, companies, work profiles, etc., not only helps the brands to deliver personalized experiences but also helps them to talk in ridiculously specific ways addressing the pain points of their prospects.
Sufficing both the explicit as well as implicit requirements of the customers is important. To expedite the sales conversions, the brands need to connect with their personas on an emotional level & this is where modern technologies such as emotional analytics come into play.
Marketing automation tools integrated with the CRM have made the cause of data collection, cleaning, preparation & analysis from the diverse digitized platforms across the web much simpler & rewarding. Segmenting the market based on products or services is easier than ever, using the algorithms leveraging artificial Intelligence (AI) & machine learning (ML).
Furthermore, personas are also refined after segmenting the audiences into multiple clusters & in turn, re-segmenting them into multiple specific clusters using algorithms such as K-means clustering. The idea is often to limit a specific persona to best suit the requirements of particular demography or to meet the requirements of a specific niche.
2. Knowing the Product, Brand & Industry:
Marketers need to understand their products. For what niche it has been designed specifically for – the demographics, firmographics, technographics & the psychographic aspects intact.
Along with the marketing of their products or services, the marketers also need to align their products or services with the vision of specific brands.
According to Simon Sinek’s golden circle, the marketers need to start their marketing, promoting the ideology of “Why they do, what they do”? Simon, when authored his classic “Start With Why”, gained much acclamation for inspiring leaders to drive cooperation, trust & change.
His thought processes & rules of his golden circle have metamorphosed as higher & quicker sales conversions for brands across the globe.
The modern B2B landscape is dominated by prospects who are scattered across the diverse digitized platforms across the web – not uniformly though. It is a challenge for marketers to identify the most relevant marketing channels across the web for targeting their prospects.
While the prospects are essentially present on all the platforms across the web, not all the referral channels contribute to the web traffic in the same proportion. Therefore, marketers must figure out social media & other referral channels that drive the maximum traffic on their websites.
According to a research compiled by Marketing Charts, building or managing pages or profiles, responding to the customers’ queries on the social media platforms & monitoring the online social channels are respectively the second, third & fourth most influential factors for optimizing the positive Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOMM) endeavors; only behind organizing the parties or events, which occupies the first position.
In the fiercely competitive B2B landscape, the marketers mustn’t be only present on the diverse digitized platforms across the web, but they should also able to optimize the users’ experiences (UX) across those multiple platforms. This ensures that the sales conversions are ultimately optimized, as the primary domain of the website gets an ample amount of quality traffic from the diverse referral channels across the web.
Multi-channel attribution modeling should be aligned with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the brands in such a way that not only the conversions being expedited through the multiple channels across the web are monitored, but also the relative increase/influence on the total sales conversions can be tracked.
In other words, it is important for marketers to keep a track record of the social media channels that drive the majority of conversions, as well as to track what their customers do once they get converted.
Besides, social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram; the Q&A website Quora can also be an important web channel to drive the quality website traffic from omnichannel marketing.
According to a study by Convince & Convert, Influencer Marketing can drive 11x more traffic than banner ads. Furthermore, according to Marketingcharts.com “Influencer Marketing” is the 4th most important trend that B2B marketers are looking to opt-in for the year 2019 as 48% of them gear up to make influencer marketing an integral part of their marketing strategies.
Mapping influencer databases such as the social channels they are active on, their geographies, the topics of their interests, the hashtags used by them, their media coverages & the non-social platforms they engage with such as e-books, podcasts, etc. can help the marketers in better indulging with the macro & micro-level influencers for brand promotion.
The influencers can promote specific products or services by guest-blogging about them, broadcasting podcasts or participating in relevant ones to promote their products or services, publishing e-books & in diverse other ways.
Prospects & customers both trust the point of view of industry-experts (influencers) & are easily enticed to put their money on the products being advocated by the influencers. This accelerates the sales conversions & also helps the brands in strengthening their brand equities.
5. Mapping the Interest of Influencers:
It can always be beneficial for the marketers to understand who their brand advocates are & from where do they draw their inspirations. That being said, influencers are industry- experts with their treasure-troves of knowledge that are gradually developed as they gain impeccable experiences & develop unmatched visions. Nonetheless, if the marketers can find the sources of information of their influencers, it can not only help them in establishing cordial ties with their influencers but can also help them in expanding their realms of industry-specific knowledge.
Furthermore, this can also help marketers in finding more influencers who mimic similar activities as their influencers do. The marketers should, for instance, try figuring out the publications being frequently read by their influencers, the guest posts being contributed by them, the podcasts they listen to &/ participate in, etc.
Figuring out the demography & ideal firmographic details of the influencers can also be a beneficial factor for the marketers to understand & engage with their influencers. All these strategies lay the foundation for optimizing the diverse influencer marketing tactics for optimized sales conversions.
Oftentimes, spontaneously engaging with the specific areas of interests of the influencers causes influencers to elatedly & elaborately respond at the same topics. If this is something related to a positive brand or product review or even for that matter, something that improved the customers’ experiences – it will automatically accelerate the positive word of marketing buzz.
For building a positive brand resonance, it is enigmatically important for the marketers to give up the habits of renouncing negative views related to their products or services. Not only the negative reviews oftentimes are critically important to the marketers (as they help them in fixing their products or services for better), but they also give the brands a chance to flaunt their exemplary customer services. Getting the customers instant resolutions to their problems is important for marketers – even if their outlook is negative, to begin with.
Many-a-times, getting the negative outlooks of the customers fixed well in time, helps the marketers in converting negative reviews into positive – which automatically signals the prospects that brands value their customers. This drives more positive words that are not only related to the better quality of products or services but also substantiate how purchasing from a particular brand lays the foundation of a long-term business relationship.
In fact, according to a study by the Harvard Business Review, a bad reputation costs a company at least 10% more per hire.
Moreover, a report by Dimensional Research evidences that 90% of the respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive reviews are the prime drivers of their buying decisions; however, another research by Power Reviews shows that 82% of the shoppers specifically look for negative reviews.
Brands need to forgo their godly attributes and expecting their products or services to be perfect. Having, a human face helps better in enhancing business’ trustworthiness.
According to a research by Spiegel Research Centre, prospects prefer to buy from a brand with an average star rating between 4.0-4.7, rather than buying from those having a rating near the optimum of 5.0 or even as reviews start approaching a threshold beyond 4.7.
Therefore, it is critically important for brands to engage with negative online reviews & handle them tactfully to strengthen the positive word of mouth referrals.
Visual storytelling with images and videos not only helps the marketers in showing the value propositions of their products or services but also helps them to strike the emotional chords of the prospects inviting them to leave the positive word of mouth referrals.
Visual storytelling, when combined with case studies, lays a strong foundation for Word of Mouth Marketing. Case studies can be published in numerous formats including videos & texts. Case studies can be made viral on diverse social platforms which optimizes WOMM.
8. Making the Product Exclusive:
When launching a new product or service in the market, the marketers should first release the product only to a small niche of buyers (often industry stalwarts & influencers) & encourage them to talk about the positive highlights of the products or services.
Before, launching the product to the wider masses, the marketers need to build an aura of suspense & curiosity around their products or services.
Leveraging exclusivity, the marketers can make positive sentiments about the specific products in the market go viral – much before their products have been released. This sets the stage perfectly for the Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) before a product is launched. Thus, sales are positively impacted & sales revenues are optimized.
Wrapping It Up
Kickstarting a successful Word Of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) isn’t as simple as it appears. A successful WOMM is closely intertwined with marketing, sales, operational endeavors & with the after-sales services.
Furthermore, brands need to give special impetus on the strategic execution of their online reputation building strategies.
Alison Lewis, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, explains the importance of omnichannel marketing strategies in driving positive word of marketing referrals, as follows:
“Content needs are exploding as we move to a world of precision marketing and 24/7 engagement.”
In a world driven by data, getting insights about the prospects and addressing their pain-points specifically, has been never easier. The more the brands will be able to talk to the pain points of their prospects, the more likely they are going to strengthen their brands’ credibilities.
Strong brand equity is not only the causation of strengthening the Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) but also bears a positive correlation with the same.
We, at Valasys Media, leverage a host of B2B services such as lead generation, account-based marketing, lead nurturing, event promotion services, list building services & content syndication services to help our customers achieve their core bottom-line endeavors such as an optimized Return On Investment (ROI). We evangelize hyper-targeted campaigns to help our customers architect the perennially revenue-fetching sales pipelines. For any help with the optimization of B2B marketing endeavors, feel free to get in touch with our team of experts.