Learn more about the viral potential of word of mouth, and how it can affect the emotions and purchasing decisions of both current and potential customers.
The concept of ‘word of mouth advertsing’ is simple: it’s when your customers are so happy with your product or service that they take it upon themselves to promote your products or services – for free.
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. It means your customers are so happy with their user experience that they share it with other potential customers, helping you to grow your business.
Word-of-mouth advertising can help generate buzz around your brand. It’s a valuable marketing tool that can lead to quality conversions. Eighty-three per cent of respondents to a Nielsen survey said recommendations from family and friends were their most trustworthy sources of advertising. But this trust is not limited to people we know personally: 66% of respondents also said they trusted consumer opinions posted online.
The Word of Mouth Advertising Association (WOMMA) says word of mouth drives – on average – 13% of sales, though success rates vary across industries and platforms. For some businesses, word of mouth represents 100% of their marketing thanks to virality and buzz created online.
And it’s not just sales but also brand awareness and brand equity that benefit from word of mouth exposure.
The success of word of mouth
Word of mouth, which has a more direct impact that traditional media, results in the fast business outcomes. WOMMA research suggests that around 90% of word of mouth success online happens within two weeks of a recommendation being passed from one customer to another, while 73% of offline impact takes place in the same time period.
It’s important to remember, however, that word of mouth cuts both ways. While it can result in positive success stories, it can also have negative outcomes if the exposure generated is not favorable, as Hyundai quickly found after one ill-conceived viral marketing plan went awry.
This is why it’s important to be aware of the impact word of mouth can have on your business, the viral potential of word of mouth, and how it can affect the purchasing decisions of both current and potential customers.
Word of mouth in the digital era
It’s essential for businesses to understand how word of mouth spreads in the digital age, especially given the current decline in brand loyalty.
Word of mouth used to move exclusively from person to person via family, friends and neighbors over back fences or at local shops. This type of activity is still highly effective and still accounts for two-thirds of word of mouth sales, according to WOMMA. In fact, offline word of mouth still results in five times as many sales as online marketing or advertising activity.
Those patterns carry over onto web. Word of mouth online moves in much the same way as it does offline – but it moves more instanateously. In many ways, social media is the new word of mouth platform.
Social media means word of mouth no longer only moves between people who know each other. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms make sharing among ‘virtual’ friends easier and faster. This increases the viral spread of content.
How emotions affect word of mouth
Just as emotions drive advertising sales, they also drive word of mouth. Customers need to feel an emotional attachment to your product before they will recommend it to other people (or before they will offer a scathing review on powerful platforms like TripAdvisor or Amazon). They need to feel something about it.
Studies show how emotions are linked to the sharing of news. In particular, stressful or bad news is rapidly shared among family, friends and colleagues – both online and in the virtual world. A poor customer experience fits into this category and a bad review can impact on sales – and your bottom line.
Emotions are strongly linked to memories, which result in actions that have social impact. In this way, a feeling about a poor customer experience can result in a negative memory about that experience, and lead to a negative word of mouth review that can be become viral and affect business performance.
3 keys to measuring word of mouth
Understanding user experience and listening to customer feedback is key to offering online and offline services that can increase your chances of benefiting from ‘organic’ word of mouth conversions.
To gauge word of mouth impact, businesses need to monitor and track every channel and every sector. Word of mouth can be difficult to gauge, but there are three keys to accurately measuring it:
- Predicting emotions
- Measuring emotions in general
- Measuring emotions based on the marketing channel and devices used
Emolytics, which uses a unique one-stop KPI to measure emotional responses and analyze customer feedback, ticks all three boxes. Emolytics can help identify where your customers come from, and which ones found you via word of mouth.
How Emolytics can help you build word of mouth
Engaging with your customers is key to improving customer satisfaction and, as a result, word of mouth business. Interactive measures such as storytelling can provide an emotional link between you and your customers, and boost this engagement.
To make the most of word of mouth in your business, however, you first need to understand what your customers think about you and your brand. That means measuring and maximising customer satisfaction to help improve the user experience and boost organic word of mouth feedback.
Emolytics can help you understand how emotions are affecting the purchasing decisions of your customers. This can, in turn, help you to understand how those emotions are influencing customer bevavior in terms of word of mouth recommendations.
Using anonymous feedback across a range of channels and platforms, Emolytics can help you understand your customers and their word of mouth behavior. Get to know your customers by building on your Emoscore and growing your word of mouth success.
Start boosting your word of mouth sales today
Find out how you can use Emolytics to better understand the impact of word of mouth on your business. Get in touch for a free consultation with our digital experts today.
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