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Marketing in the Digital Age | @CloudExpo #Cloud #Analytics #DigitalTransformation

What does word-of-mouth marketing look like online?

Mastering Word-of-Mouth Marketing in the Digital Age

In 2017, word-of-mouth marketing will be a lucrative strategy and should allow small businesses and startups to carve out powerful niches in a marketplace that's noisier than ever.

When was the last time you paused to consider the noise on the internet? If you really take a look, it’s astonishing.

Data shows that every single day, 500 million tweets are sent out, 4 million hours of content is uploaded to YouTube, and 205 billion emails are sent. On top of that, roughly 3 million Facebook posts are shared every single minute. Then you have to consider that millions of new blog posts are published on a weekly basis.

In other words, the internet is anything but quiet. It’s loud – obnoxiously loud. For brands that want to stand out, the challenge of getting noticed is becoming more and more difficult.

Thankfully, there’s one strategy that’s proven to be effective. It involves ditching paid forms of advertising and fully investing in word-of-mouth marketing.

Three Tips for Enhancing Word-of-Mouth Marketing
When you find yourself in the midst of a chaotic scene, what do you do? Naturally, your mind tells you to search for things that you can relate to. It’s why most people tend to gravitate towards people they know when in a crowded social situation.

Well, we do the same thing online. When social networking feeds and search engines are filled to the brim, users seek out people, brands, and sources that they trust.

In order to capitalize on the way in which people make sense of a noisy marketplace, it’s smart for marketers to consider investing in word-of-mouth techniques.

1. Excel at Service
If you want to encourage word-of-mouth advertising, then you need to be exceptional at something. If your product isn’t unique, then your service should pick up the slack. This is something Uber has used to its advantage over the years.

“Word-of-mouth advertising is worth more than any exposure you could ever buy, and in the digital age, it’s faster and more effective to boot,” marketer Eric Siu says. “Uber actively targeted the tech community in San Francisco in the early days, knowing that they would share their experiences both off and online. By providing consistently exceptional service since then, they’ve made it easy for users to spread the word for them.”

2. Identify and Target Influencers
People gravitate toward figures they trust when they find themselves in chaotic environments. Understanding this, you should identify key influencers in your niche and target them with specialized content that you believe will be valuable to their audience (i.e. your customers). This will give you an immediate “in” with your customers that didn’t exist before.

3. Incentivize Word-of-Mouth
Organic word-of-mouth is the best, but sometimes you have to do more than just offer exceptional customer service or connect with industry influencers. Sometimes your customers need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

“You can do this by simply providing an incentive for your customers to talk about your products,” marketer Zack Fagan suggests. “Offer a discount to people who leave reviews or give coupons to people who write a longer review for your blog. There’s nothing wrong with a little bribery to get things rolling.”

Never Stop Evolving
The internet is essentially a living and breathing organism that responds to its environment. As it evolves, so must your marketing and branding strategies.

In 2017, word-of-mouth marketing will be a lucrative strategy and should allow small businesses and startups to carve out powerful niches in a marketplace that’s noisier than ever. How will you respond?

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Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.