Whenever small business owners are asked “how do you market your own business”, “word of mouth” or “referral” almost always comes up as the primary or only form of marketing they rely on.
Like other marketing strategies, there are pros and cons for Word of Mouth Marketing, and you should know all of them.
This article is going to explore and try to find the answer to “Is word of mouth marketing the bread or the butter for growing your business?”
What is word of mouth marketing/advertising?
Word of Mouth marketing (WOMM/WOM marketing) is an unpaid form of promotion in which satisfied customers tell other people (family, friends and others) how much they like a business, product or service.
Consumers can promote your business by word of mouth according to the different factors such as the relevance of the product, quality, knowledge about the product and much more.
Why many people are using word of mouth marketing?
Many business people reply on word of mouth since it is one of the first marketing strategy ever known. They are also utilising this strategy because they feel that they have no knowledge and time to execute another marketing plan. In this matter, it is easier to let existing clients tell their families and friends about the business than for you to learn new skills in marketing.
With this type of promotion, potential customers are likely to have trust in your brand. They will tend to have some sort of “connection” to your product because it is recommended by their close friends or relatives.
What are the disadvantages of word of mouth?
Many companies used word of mouth as their way of promoting their businesses. However, it has also its downside. Below are some of them:
The exposure of your company can be limited when you only rely on word of mouth marketing. This is because you are simply depending on family, friends and current clients to promote your business or company.
Word of mouth is generally slow
Potential clients who only know about your business through referral may not need your products or services when they hear it. For instance, someone tells you about a good show that is happening tonight. Usually you can’t just cancel whatever plans you have tonight just for that show.
You may look ahead and see if you are available the next day or the week after. It is either you can go or maybe not. On the other hand, if it happens that you are free to see that show in the future, you may not remember who to contact.
You can’t rely on customers’ help
Please don’t depend on your friends to send people to your company.
Consider this example:
What your friends may say (to potential customers):
This product is very expensive.
But the truth is:
This product costs more but it is highly effective and able to deliver amazing outcomes.
Other people can’t clearly communicate why your product is worth a try. They may tell that is not efficient since it didn’t work for them.
What are the solutions?
Word of mouth is an effective marketing strategy that is used by many businesses. However, it should not be your primary source of potential customers. Your business will not grow if you solely rely on word of mouth. You should figure out how to use and execute an effective marketing plan that can help you reach more customers.
Consequently, the solution to this dilemma is that every business should have its online presence. Below are some ways to improve online presence:
Amplify your message using Online Marketing
Online marketing refers to promoting or advertising business, product or service using the Web to drive leads and sales. The areas of online marketing include web marketing, email marketing and social media marketing.
Creating a website and doing search engine optimisation can gain online exposure for your business. You can show credentials on your website. You can also informe your audience on what your business can do or provide
Engage your customers
Try to interact with people through online conversations about your brand. This can create an honest and transparent feeling of your future customers. They can talk about the positive and even the negative reviews about your product. It can also help you improve your business in the future.
Empower potential clients
Provide your customers with different channels to share their opinions and ideas about your company or brand. Reviews from existing clients can influence new clients’s decision on whether they will purchase your products or services. They can also learn more about your business.
Word of mouth marketing has indeed helped a lot of companies. However, your business may not grow in the long run if you only rely on the word of mouth tactic. It will be risky if you solely rely on word of mouth or customers’ referral. It is hard to reach the maximum of potential buyers and the grow your business by only relying on ONE marketing strategy.
The Digital Age has brought the marketing world into another level of advertising and digital marketing. Now, the Internet has unlimited ways and excessive information to promote your business. In order for your company to survive, you should start doing online marketing now.
So what do you think? Is word of mouth marketing the bread or the butter for growing your business?