Word-of-mouth marketing has existed since business was invented. It’s not hard to imagine Grog telling Zog where to find the best spear tips and mammoth meat. And while you can control a lot of things, once people leave your business, traditional word-of-mouth marketing has largely been out of your hands as a business owner or marketing professional.

So what does word-of-mouth marketing look like today, and how can you guide it and measure its impact? The answer is simple: online reviews.

 

Why word of mouth is important in marketing

The biggest reason a business would want to maximize positive word-of-mouth is because it doesn’t cost anything. You’re letting your customers become your advocates. And not only is it organic and effortless for you, but it’s also extremely effective. Jay Baer states that as many as 92% of people trust the word of their friends and family. And while you wouldn’t think the word of a stranger online would pale in comparison to the word of a friend, you’d be mistaken—as many as 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends. 

 

Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth marketing

Retail business expert Flora Delaney explains the power of online reviews in her book, Retail, The Second Oldest Profession: Seven Timeless Principles to Win in Retail Today. In it she even goes as far to say that reviews may be the most important piece of your marketing strategy, saying: “Reviews influence 88% of discoveries for a local business. Only 12% say it plays no role at all. Online reviews are 7x more important than ‘traditional marketing.’ That’s bad news if your time is spent on ads, events, and promotions. Without managing your online reputation, you miss out on the most important (and current) way to influence customers.”

A healthy marketing strategy includes all of the above—both traditional outreach as well as curating a robust online review presence. And it’s not all about getting five stars and then coasting, either. Delaney continues: “Think about it. If you see the last review was written in 2017, do you think that is relevant? It is all about getting more and recent reviews. How? Have a plan!” 

That plan should not only include how to get reviews but how to keep your reviews flowing and current.

graph showing that number of reviews counts

Effective techniques for gaining online reviews for word of mouth marketing

Setting online reviews as a priority is an important step. It’ll affect how you approach your conversations with your customers. You can even set the expectation and make the request while the customer is still in your building. Your customers are happy with their interactions and are most likely to leave you a review right as the transaction is complete.

But that’s not all there is to it; leaving a review can seem like a big task, and many people say they will but don’t take the time to look up the business once they leave the store. That’s why, as Delaney says, you should “focus on getting more reviews by asking for them in ads, receipt messages, email or in your social media platform of choice. Make it ‘one button’ easy. Provide the direct link to your business’ review page.”

By providing a direct link, you’re eliminating several steps for the consumer. All they have to do is click the link and you can get a new review within seconds.

This democratizes your online reputation. Whereas previously online reviews only seem to be left by the few who have outlier experiences (both good and bad), making it easier for your customers to leave reviews makes it so your online profiles reflect an accurate picture of your customer base. You know most of your customers have a positive experience, and now your reviews will show it.

people at coffee shop

Podium is the premier solution for today’s word-of-mouth marketing.

With Podium, getting reviews is as easy as sending a text. In fact, everything you do as a business can easily be done through messaging—because it’s where your customers already are. Send a quick review link over text and get new reviews in seconds. When you do that, even your few bad reviews won’t look so bad, because you can get tons more good ones to show a true picture of your business.

Get started with Podium and boost your online word-of-mouth here.

Thomas Clawson
Thomas Clawson Partner Marketing Manager

Thomas Clawson is a partner solutions professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects marketing agencies with their clients.

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