In the previous piece we looked at converting from a funnel model to a wind-turbine culture. And since one of the key elements that keeps a wind turbine spinning in perpetuity is word-of-mouth marketing, we’re going to look at the value of word-of-mouth marketing and how it remains your greatest referral resource.

In this era of the experience economy, every customer is a potential critic or brand advocate. When the internet was first being used commercially, its power lay in the anonymity of its users. Today, we no longer enjoy that same level of disconnect between our offline personalities and online personas.

Brand Advocacy by Numbers

Word-of-mouth marketing is vital to the wind-turbine culture because it incurs little to no marketing costs and generates tangible results. According to Nielsen, 83% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – making it the highest-ranked source of trustworthiness.

The online shopping model that was first developed by the likes of eBay and Amazon has only heightened the proliferation of customer reviews. BrightLocal noted that 88% of people trust online consumer reviews as much as they trust recommendations from personal contact. More and more, we’re trusting strangers with our shopping preferences and, as a result, businesses are also placing greater credence in customer reviews to create brand advocates.

According to Randall Beard, President of Nielsen Expanded Verticals, around one third of online advertising campaigns don’t generate awareness or drive any lift in purchase intent. “As consumers are in control of how they consume content and interact with brands more than ever, understanding ad resonance across screens is the only way to successfully drive memorability and brand lift today,” he explained.

Trust Creates Brand Advocates

The first step to building a strong network of brand advocates is by looking after your online presence. This means addressing any customer reviews or queries the moment they appear. The speed of online news is devastatingly fast and one ugly consumer review can damage your reputation, especially if that review goes viral and starts trending.

Furthermore, Twitter is the modern version of word-of-mouth as it allows people to air their grievances candidly and directly while giving brands a window into their market. It’s intimacy and immediacy is unlike any other social media, which is why we’ve explored its marketing potential in other blog posts.

The key to creating word-of-mouth hype is by instilling trust in your audience and consumers. If people have positive experiences with your brand then they’ll more likely trust you, recommend you to others, and come back with repeat business.

To be viewed as a trusted brand, you not only need to provide premium quality products and services – but you must offer value to audiences that help establish your brand as an industry thought leader. This begins with a content strategy plan that accommodates to your market and intended audience. Transforming casual fans and customers into brand advocates.

To boost your audience engagement, we have a host of resources such as design assets, PowerPoint templates, and e-books available free to download. Check them out and start engaging audiences across different platforms and channels.

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