There is an obvious risk to word-of-mouth marketing: Not everybody is going to like you, or your product. Do you really want to incentivize negative reviews? Before you build an elaborate WOMM strategy, learn how to monitor your word-of-mouth marketing so you can minimize its risks and maximize its rewards.
Word-of-Mouth Marketing Risks
From its cost-effectiveness to its ability to build brand loyalty, WOMM has many benefits. But, there are some risks involved too, primarily around control and increased expectations.
While it is great that customers can do much of the marketing work for you through reviews, comments, and personal referrals, the efforts of this ‘unofficial marketing team’ can come back to bite you. You can’t dictate what customers say or edit for positivity or accuracy. What they say goes.
Customer-led marketing can also warp expectations. In their eagerness to promote your brand, customers can innocently provide inaccurate or misleading information and readers believe it.
They may unwittingly promote the incorrect use of your product or relay misinformation about ingredients, certification, product history, or rates.
Or, they may engage in over-the-top hype. An enthusiastic recommendation from a friend isn’t regulated by an association or constrained by unbiased truth. (How many ads can unironically say a product is “Awesome!” “Amazing!” “THE BEST!”? How many friends casually speak like this?).
Friends will give their raw, unfiltered opinion, which may be impossible to live up to. This leads to disappointment and unmet expectations.
What You Can Do to Monitor Your Word-of-Mouth Marketing
The whole point of WOMM is that it’s user-generated and mostly out of your hands. But there are some things you can do reduce the risks.
Use Targeted WOMM
Targeted WOMM occurs when businesses launch campaigns specifically designed to encourage word-of-mouth promotion in communities. It allows you to provide some guidance and a context for sharing.
There are many ways businesses do this. They generate conversation on social media, or they offer incentives for taking the time to review or refer them. While positive reviews or comments aren’t guaranteed, this approach definitely increases their likelihood.
Monitor Comments or Reviews
On your own site or social media, you can remove false or inaccurate statements, so monitor the comments section and control the messaging. However, it’s not a good idea to take down every negative comment – people pick up on that quickly and it gives the appearance that you are hiding something. Allow people to air reasonable grievances, but always respond to them, apologize if it’s warranted, and attempt to clear up any misinformation.
On third-party review sites, you can’t just pop in and take down any review you don’t agree with. But, in some situations, you can report the reviews and request their removal. For the reviews you can’t remove (most of them), always respond with your perspective, and an apology if necessary. Remember: you aren’t writing to the upset customer, you are addressing potential customers who are reading the review.
Educate Your Customers
If your customers know, love, and understand your products, they are less likely to relay inaccurate information. Start a Facebook group related to your product and niche, go live on Instagram and answer any customer questions, provide educational material/instructions upon purchase, offer excellent customer support, and keep your FAQs updated and easy to find.
While you can’t 100% control what your customers say about you, you can stay close to your word-of-mouth marketing, ensuring that positive and accurate information gets out there and generates leads.
Are you interested in some direction when it comes to monitoring your business’ WOMM, to minimize the risks and maximize the rewards? I’d love to help you navigate this form of marketing and use it to its full potential! Schedule your FREE Consultation with me HERE!