Word of mouth marketing is both the most powerful form of marketing and the most difficult to generate. “If only we could get our customers and fans to tell the rest of the world about us, our lives would be so much easier", is a wish that many eCommerce store owners have. Generating word of mouth about your brand is a challenge but not impossible. In this post I cover 5 ways to increase word of mouth that are achievable by any online merchant that puts in the work and cares enough to make it happen.
I welcome all your feedback on these ideas and feel free to share any other tips you may have on empowering your visitors, customers and fans to share your message across the globe.
1. Make it easy to share
The first item in my list may seem very obvious but few online merchants put themselves in their visitors’ shoes and actually realize that even if someone wanted to share something related to your brand, he or she couldn’t.
SEOshop provides Facebook like and Twitter tweet buttons in their default templates so make sure to activate these when you are setting up your store. If you have the technical knowhow then add other buttons like the Pinterest pin button and Facebook share button.
If you have a blog attached to your store (highly recommended) then you should add more than one set of share buttons to your post pages. There are a number of free tools out there from AddThis to NiftyButtons.
Another area where you should be constantly thinking about shareability is on your social networks. Try and craft posts that have the highest chance of being shared by your followers. The more engagement you can get around your posts the more likely it is that others will come across your brand.
2. Incentivize your customers to spread the word
There are a number of ways you can encourage your visitors and loyal fans to spread the word about your brand. If you don’t once in a while push your audience to act, then you will only get action from your most loyal followers which is usually a very small group.
The first tip is to try and make the incentive mutually beneficial, meaning that the visitor or fan will gain something for sharing something related to your brand to their social networks or via email to their fans. The best way to do this is by offering something special like a free gift, coupon or access to an exclusive VIP club. You need to treat people like they are special in order to get interest because remember, thousands of other brands out there are trying to convert these people to customers on a daily basis. Try and focus on being unique in your own little way and provide real benefits.
Below are a list of some easy ways to incentivize your customers to take action:
- First come, first serve: First X fans that like or share your latest post will get Y
- VIP membership: Do X and get an invite to a special VIP club
- Turn your customers into models: Retweet/Share a picture of you with product X and get Y
- Invite a friend: If your friend makes a purchase you will get Y.
3. Automate your word of mouth with Yotpo Product Reviews
A useful, free product reviews app that can be easily added to your SEOshop store is Yotpo. With Yotpo you can generate tons of product reviews and leverage these reviews to drive traffic to your store via social media.
Yotpo makes it easy for you to connect your social networks to its service and allows you to manually or automatically share your top reviews to your business’s Facebook page or Twitter account. These reviews can then be read by your fans and after clicking on the post, the fan is taken to the relevant product page where they can make a purchase.
An added bonus that Yotpo brings you is that it helps you understand the language used by your audience to describe your products and services, which is really the language you should be using in your marketing.
4. Talk more to your customers
As a business owner you should be in constant communication with your audience. The only way to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your products and how your audience sees you is by communicating with them on a regular basis. By talking to your customers you will be more likely to improve your word of mouth because you will start to understand the following:
- How you are perceived by your community – Sometimes the way you see yourself is very different to the way others see you and this may be limiting the effectiveness of your marketing.
- The language used by your customers – I can’t emphasize enough the importance of understanding how your audience talks about your brand.
- Which marketing campaigns worked best – During your communications with your audience you should be asking how they first heard about you and what other marketing activities got them excited.
Knowledge is power and gathering important insights into how your audience communicates about you, how they perceive you and what gets them excited will only help you strengthen your branding, marketing communication and ultimately word of mouth around your brand.
5. Go the extra mile
The most organic way of creating a lot of word of mouth about your brand is by being awesome. There are so many options out there and today it has never been easier to move from brand to brand. If you are not doing things which are worth talking about then no one will ever talk about you.
The process of being awesome starts with the products you sell. If you aren’t different, cheaper or have some other major advantage over the competition then you will fail as an eCommerce store owner. Making your product awesome is tough but even the way you package your products and brand them can start making your business more interesting.
The other areas where you can be awesome are in customer support and in your marketing. In regards to customer support I think this is simple to understand. The level of service is always going up so you need to be at the top of your game and be as responsive as possible, as quick as possible. You should be understanding, patient and treat customers exactly like you expect to be treated.
The last area is in your marketing. If you are focusing on being awesome in your marketing then you will get enough people exposed to your brand that you will succeed as a business. Being awesome in your marketing isn’t easy because there is so much noise out there but if you follow the POST framework and avoid some common marketing mistakes you will be on the right path.
Justin Butlion is the Inbound Marketing Manager of Yotpo. Justin loves to blog about e-commerce, online marketing, web development, and entrepreneurship. Check out his latest posts in the Yotpo blog or contact him directly at [email protected].