Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software. He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.
Word-of-mouth marketing can be stimulated through different publicity activities set up by companies, or by having opportunities to encourage consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-marketer communications.
The effects of word-of-mouth marketing may surprise you. It allows you to reach a wider audience for a shorter period of time. All it takes is one campaign, and your brand recognition will shoot through the roof.
Once this happens, your audience will be listening to your every campaign and getting new customers is easier. This is the time when you can say that the snowball has finally reached its peak.
As it rolls down the hill, it goes faster and faster. This is how fast your brand will grow when you add word-of-mouth marketing in your marketing arsenal.
However, not all word-of-marketing campaigns will succeed. You need to know your audience and what type of content they will be interested in sharing. This is the reason why you should look at successful brands to understand what they are doing.
Want to know how to do word of mouth marketing the right way? You should learn from major brands. In this article, you’ll learn the story behind the success of the word-of-mouth marketing campaigns of some popular brands. You’ll be quite surprised by their creative approaches.
1. Netflix’s User Experience
What will make someone share something on social media? Usually, it’s a positive experience. There is a reason why Netflix is a household name when it comes to home TV or entertainment viewing.
It is because of their head-start in word of mouth marketing. The reason why their audience has lots of positive things to say about the brand is all based on user experience.
Netflix tries its best to not only meet the needs of its audience, but they also look for ways to understand their audience. They have implemented an algorithm that allows them to analyze the needs of the audience.
When you visit the Netflix website, you’ll realize that it will give you recommendations based on your interest. It is this customization that makes the word of mouth marketing of Netflix so effective. This customized experience usually results in a positive experience that’s worth sharing.
And that’s not all. Netflix also ensures that all videos are displayed in HD. This means that the viewing experience is often positive. All of these, alongside the favorite titles of the user encourages them to share the service with their family and friends.
NOTE: Also, Netflix has a knack for observing trends and audiences. Since they notice that there is a trend in binge-watching, they release all the episodes in the entire season of TV series. This allows their audience to watch it at will. Netflix knows this, and it adjusts its strategy based on the needs of the audience.
2. Apple’s Innovative Approach
When Apple is on the losing end of the market share back then, they know that they have to do something to win the audience. If you know Apple’s history, you’ll know that they are on the losing end with their battle with Microsoft. But they chose to look at the gap in the market and fill that. That’s how the iPhone or Mac is born.
They looked at the needs of the market and found that there are creative professionals that need a different type of device. This was when they created their platform with the goal of fulfilling the need of this hyper-targeted market. It worked, and it allowed them to gain new customers.
This was when they implemented innovative strategies to not only get the audience’s attention but also get people talking about their products. With each device they release, they aim that it should be better than the one they released before.
Soon, the market took notice, and they gained an army of supporters for their products. This army now does the promotion for Apple. So with every release, there are already millions of people waiting to buy their products.
Their secret is in innovation. They aim to create products that no one has created before. When they released the iPad, several people were skeptical of the big screen. Soon, other companies adopted the ‘bigger screen’ concept and incorporated that into their products.
3. Gillette’s Timing and Taking a Controversial Position
When brands release a word-of-mouth marketing campaign, they usually move away from taking a position. But not Gillette. They promoted their advocacy on one of the busiest times of the year - the Super Bowl. And it worked.
Gillette’s strategy is all about timing and advocacy. Their campaign ‘The Best a Man Can Get’ got a lot of attention when they aired it right on time for the Super Bowl. They shared their advocacy that men should now aim for higher standards and stop making excuses for themselves. Many people agreed, and it went viral.
It is all about taking a position. While not everyone will agree with you, it will still get them talking. Even though many criticized the campaign to be ‘’overly political’, the video still reaches 31 million views with over 1 million social media mentions. This shows that their word-of-mouth marketing strategy worked.
4. Wendy’s Social Media Conversations
Wendy’s was able to gain much attention to its brand through social media conversations. They can gain engagements by continuously interacting with their target market. Wendy’s is an excellent example of how addressing customer concerns can also become viral content.
All it took was one person named Carter Wilkerson to ask a question, and He asked how many retweets do they need to give a year of free chicken nuggets and that had resulted in a massive retweet party.
Many people joined the retweeting just to support the guy’s quest for free chicken nuggets while some want to see if the company will honor its word. From then on, Wendy’s continued to gain word of mouth marketing attention by making snarky comments against competitors.
5. Lush’s Support for Social Causes
Lush is an example of how supporting a cause can go a long way for your business. This is the reason why the business continues to have increased sales since 2016. They make sure that they don’t only market their products, but they also associate it around social and environmental causes.
Some of the causes that they support are fair trade, animal welfare, anti-fracking, and supporting prisoners. They aim to end worldwide cruelty and try to spend as little on advertising as possible.
Because of this, they get a lot of support not just from their customers but also from influencers, and this allowed them to reach a wider audience than they can if they have advertised.
This goes to show that sticking to your brand values can help your business. It doesn’t hurt to stand for something or support a cause if you want to launch a word of mouth marketing campaign for your business.
6. In-N-Out’s Exclusive Campaign
In-N-Out is not only known for its burgers. It is also known for being creative. There has been much talk about the brand when they released their secret menu. While it is true that people have been traveling all over for their food, you’ll be quite surprised that this affordable restaurant has a secret menu.
This is a secret that is kept by the most loyal customers and is only shared in their inner circles. The key is exclusivity which makes the customer feel special. This increases their likelihood to share information about the brand.
7. Pinterest’s Referral Marketing Campaign
For social media websites like Pinterest, they rely heavily on the content of their users. While many social media websites have made it big, there are far more social media sites that closed down. The key is to give the market a reason to use the platform. This is where Pinterest’s ‘Pin It Forward’ Campaign is born.
What makes this campaign so unique is that it acts as a viral campaign. Through it, users can invite their family and friends to join Pinterest, create boards, and start pinning. This alone helped the company to increase its user base to 200 million. This means that it is working quite well.
8. Dropbox’s Free Service
It helps to give the market exactly what they need. This is what Dropbox did, and it worked incredibly well. What they did is they gave away 500MB free storage service for referrals. They did this in a time when people are not used to storing files in the Cloud.
This helped them to not only increase their user base. It also helped them to let their customers get accustomed to the new service until such a time that they become dependent on it.
9. Coke’s Custom Products
Even though Coke is an established name in the soda industry, it still looks for new creative ways to serve its customers. Aside from their Christmas campaigns, they also shared a custom coke campaign called ‘Share A Coke.’
In this campaign, their customers can have coke cans or bottles with their names on it. This appealed to the younger audience and instantly generated buzz on social media. Aside from that, it also increased their sales.
This campaign encouraged their audience to go to the nearest store to find their names. And for customers who don’t like to visit stores, they offer an option to order the named Coke can or bottle directly from the company.
10. CrossFit’s Unique Workout Perspective
Before Crossfit, working out is just another thing that you do in a day to stay healthy. As long as you follow a few aerobics workouts or go for a run, you’re good. But CrossFit has a different perspective. For them, a workout is all about pushing yourself beyond your limits. It is all about working hard for the results that you want. And it worked.
CrossFit now has millions of supporters around the world, and they always share their experience on social media. The secret behind the support for the service is the testimonials on social media.
There were millions of people who claimed that the approach worked for them. This is the reason why it grew and is eventually adopted by several gyms all over the world.
11. Dove’s Feel Good Campaign
Dove is known for its woman-centric ads. Usually, they launch videos that are crafted to make women feel good about themselves. For Dove, women should not be limited by social expectations. They should be proud of themselves and become comfortable in their own skin. This is how their videos are crafted, and it gets views and shares.
The secret of Dove’s campaign is its emotional appeal. Instead of just fighting for a cause, they also aim to tug on women’s deepest insecurities. The goal of these ads is to spark confidence in the hearts of their target audience.
12. PayPal’s Money Campaign
If you want anyone to promote your campaign for you, you can simply give them some financial rewards. This is what Paypal did in their early days. They pay for every signup that they get on their website. And that’s not all. They don’t only pay the referrer. They also pay the friend as well.
This worked because every referral is paid. This allowed PayPal to grow its user base to a billion users all over the world. The secret to promoting a brand new website is a referral program. It can help you gain market traction in a short period of time.
13. What Should You Do From Here?
You have seen the strategies of some of the major brands. From here, you should aim to create a word-of-mouth marketing campaign of your own. The best way to start is to create your own referral marketing program.
You’ll need a referral marketing software for this, and you can easily set this up no matter what your eCommerce platform is. You can run your website on Wordpress or Shopify, and it can still work. You need to look for a compatible referral program add-on or plugin.
It doesn’t matter if you are not a big company. Even brands like Best Hunting Bow Labs can create a word-of-mouth marketing campaign with success. It is all about thinking of a creative strategy on how you can get your customers to talk about you.
Author: Arlen Robinson
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