Digital Word of Mouth

Over the past several decades, the buyer’s journey has gone from being a simple process to a very complicated series of decisions and pathways. In order to counter this, the current marketing trend is for brands to provide as many pathways as possible for a customer to discover their product and allow them to move through the sales cycle themselves. This can make influencing a sale very difficult to manage and predict. Fortunately, we’ve created systems & processes to help make sense of these complicated journeys.

As marketers, we have distilled the buyer’s journey down to a linear pathway. You start out on one end being made aware of the brand, and you end up moving through the process until you’ve made a purchase. If all goes well, you might even become a promoter of that brand’s product.

Most marketers spend their time trying to attract new customers to their brand through traditional means: digital advertising, TV, radio, and social media. They focus on generating awareness and attracting strangers to their brand. These activities may be critical for bringing in sales for your business, but they aren’t the only way you can generate leads and opportunities.

With the buyer’s journey today being heavily self-guided, one of the best things you can do is find ways to influence buyers at every step of the journey. One key way to do that is through word-of-mouth marketing.

Word of Mouth for the Digital Age

Word-of-mouth marketing is influential. In fact, according to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. Additionally, a study from the American Marketing Association found that while over 64% of marketers said they thought word of mouth was effective, only 6% reported having mastered the process.

If only 6% of marketers have mastered word-of-mouth advertising, and so many more think it’s important, why aren’t more people trying jump into this market? Very simply put: it’s not easy to get individuals to willingly talk about your brand unless they have a reason to do it.

The Power of Promoters

Let’s go back to the buyer’s journey for a minute. As we discussed, most marketers are focused on creating awareness. While this is important, we sometimes forget about the people who influence our brand the most: our customers. More importantly, the people who truly care about our brand. We call these people “promoters.”

The problem is that we most often think about promoters as being at the end of the buyer’s journey. What many marketers neglect is the fact that these promoters influence other potential customers every day. While we don’t have direct control over what they say, they clearly play a key role in purchases.

For this reason, we must think of promoters not just as being at the end of the buyer’s journey, but part of the cycle for introducing new customers to the brand. In fact, we must think about promoters as being influential at all stages of the buyer’s journey.

So, how do we delight & empower promoters?

Ways to Delight & Empower Promoters

A better customer experience: When the Brian Chesky, one of the founders of Airbnb, was working through their customer experience, they asked themselves, “What would a 4-star experience look like? How about a 5-star experience? What about a 7-star? 10?” They wrote these things down and kept them as their ideals for what the perfect Airbnb experiences would be like. They then used these dreams and aspirations to consider the customer’s experience and their buyer’s journey from beginning to end.

An excellent customer experience will not be the same for your company as it was for Aribnb, but it’s a great exercise to think through as you build your company. Ultimately for Airbnb, these dreams helped them create a brand that has many promoters and allowed them to grow their business rapidly. Thinking through what the perfect customer experience would look like for your brand will definitely help as well.

Customer Rewards: Referral programs are simple to create and implement. The reward can be something as simple as a $5.00 Starbucks gift card to a cut of the sale if the customer decides make a purchase. Providing referrals is a proven way to help keep your sales pipeline full, and it can encourage your customers to promote your brand even when you’re not actively promoting the product.

Branded Emojis & Sticker Packs: If you’re looking for a great way to generate awareness and get promoters to insert your brand into their day-to-day conversations, branded emojis and sticker packs are a great way to empower promoters. They can also be used to enhance your customer’s experience with your product by integrating the stickers with your existing app and by providing them ways to share the stickers on social media and private messaging platforms.

There are a lot of uses for branded emojis and sticker packs, and this is where Smallball can help. We are a tool to help brands build and connect with their communities. Our branded stickers and emojis enable your customers to promote your brand right from their smartphones. In essence, we’re enabling your brand to be a part of your customer’s word-of-mouth promotions. Contact us today to learn more!

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