We might sound like a broken record at this point, but the power of word of mouth marketing (or WOM as we like to call it) really cannot be understated. While the phrase might bring to mind the traditional image of people gathered together having a yarn, in today’s digitally oriented (and COVID-safe) world WOM occurs more often by way of comments on a post, DMs and product reviews on websites. Peoples thoughts, feelings and opinions towards your product or service can be disseminated with a speed unconscionable to the marketing giants of the 20th century, but brands today have no choice but to try to keep up.
To assist with harnessing the power of WOM, we’ve created a list of reasons why testimonials and customer reviews are so important:
– They capitalise on the ‘people like me’ approach: While once upon a time celebrities (and then mega-influencers) were effective in persuading people to buy things, customers are becoming increasingly sceptical of marketing ploys brands use to sell. As people turn away from mass-produced, generic advertising and choose to rely instead on their immediate circle of like minded people, brands must find other ways of demonstrating that their products and services are worth purchasing. Testimonials and reviews represent the unbiased view people are searching for in order to justify a purchase.
– Social Proof: To avoid creating cognitive dissonance (i.e. buyer’s remorse), customers want to be reassured that they are making the right purchasing decision. If this decision is visibly reinforced by others who have had a positive experience and spoken about it, it will make a new client feel secure and willing to invest with you.
– Better Brand Reputation: According to a study by top SEO agency BrightLocal, 85% of online shoppers trust reviews just as much as literal WOM. So if a potential customer sees a lot of positive reviews, they’re less likely to have concerns about the effectiveness of your product/service.
– Improved SEO: A handy tip to know is that once your brand has five reviews on Google, your business will begin to pop up on the results pages of the search engine. The more reviews you have on Google, the higher you’ll be on local search result pages.
So, how do you say “pretty please review me”? Reaching out to repeat customers who you know enjoy your product/service is a great place to start, as well as ensuring the process to review is as easy as possible. This means making it possible to review you across multiple platforms and using a simple template or form to fill out. If all else fails, you can usually prompt more reviews and/or testimonials by offering an incentive! A discount or giveaway are great ways to encourage customers to give a review of their experiences with you.
Remember, always encourage honesty, don’t ask for feedback too early on in the customer journey (to avoid seeming pushy) and create a feedback loop - engaging with your audience has never been easier, so communicate with them to get a sense of their likes and dislikes.