Word of Mouth Benefits in the Digital Age

November 6, 2019 | 1,177 views

Word of Mouth Benefits in the Digital Age
Word of Mouth Benefits in the Digital Age

Word-of-mouth marketing is like free publicity for your business if you provide a good product or service. Richard Branson called it the best and cheapest form of advertising, but what does it mean in the digital age?

What used to be conversations and recommendations shared among friends has migrated to digital platforms but are really no different than the praises or criticisms we’ve always shared. We tell stories about wonderful service and incredible products. Sure, it could be over lunch with a friend, but it also could manifest itself in an online post that thousands of people see.

What used to be oral and written storytelling is still there and stronger than ever, but now it’s multimedia and multi-channel. A good storyteller in these media formats reaps these word-of-mouth benefits in your marketing.

Word-of-Mouth develops a client-centered approach. By using the input from clients to spread the word about your products and services, the message is more personally directed. People decide what they think is worth sharing, or they share an experience that creates a positive response. Since people usually talk about what interests them, there is an additional passion in what they say. And they do it at no cost to you.

Word-of-Mouth appears genuine and reliable. Advice from friends is more reliable to most consumers than the advice of an ad or a seller, particularly for Gen-Z buyers. Each comment influences potential buyers. Does anyone ever buy online without looking at reviews? Hardly, and if you are looking for something that is not as easily found online, you ask your friends. “Do you have a good house painter?” or “Does anyone know a good mechanic for my imported car?” These questions and answers were the topics of coffee klatches and dinner parties because there were several trusted people to answer the question. Word-of-Mouth, in any form, preserves that same perceived integrity. As an additional benefit, it shortens decision-making time during a purchase, so sales come through quicker.

Digital Word-of-Mouth is exponential based on its format. Online communication channels multiply the effect of influencers. Those influencers could be chosen by you or could be self-proclaimed. Anyone who comments with advice can impact a buyer’s choice. The speed and ease with which Word-of-Mouth travels digitally are hard to fathom at times—all at a low cost to you. If you choose to actively engage Word-of-Mouth in your marketing strategy, the ROI is much greater because of the broad expansion of the story you are telling in a digital format.

Word-of-Mouth is powerful but can be strategically managed. Consumers see countless marketing messages every day. It is beneficial to utilize word-of-mouth as one of the ways to get your message out, especially when the use of phone calls, emails, direct mail and other traditional forms of communication are decreasing. We can manage the message a bit too. It may take on a life of its own, but with controlled quality assurance and attention to providing stellar products and services, the power of Word-of-Mouth will head in the direction you choose. 

Recognizing how Word-of-Mouth marketing can promote your business is important. Now, how to engage it is a different topic for another blog, but for now, pay attention, get in the conversations, and start to investigate today’s digital channels of storytelling. The benefits of Word-of-Mouth tales are considerable.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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