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The ultimate type of advertising (hint: it starts with “word” and ends with “mouth”)

Picture this: you’re at a family gathering.  Your Uncle Mort is telling your cousin Sally about this wonderful hair-cutting appliance called a Flowbee.  Now, Uncle Morty is a stylish guy… and you’ve noticed that his mullet has been quite tame the last couple of months… so you decide that hey, Uncle Mort’s been chatting up this product, you’ve seen the results, and you go out and purchase your very own Flowbee.

Word of mouth is a powerful influencer.  I could have told you that whenever friends or family recommend something, I usually take a closer look into it.  Well, eMarketer just put out a report that states word of mouth ‘advertising’ is the most effective form of advertising not just here in the U.S… or North America… but the world.  Word of mouth advertising is even more trusted than newspapers or even brand web sites!

Obviously, your product marketing manager can’t attend numerous family functions around the world and tell all about your product… but there are some things you can do online to “help” individuals spread the good word about your product or service:

  • Have an “e-mail this!” or “send to a friend” function on your site.  Make it easy for someone to send a product page to a friend.
  • Encourage user referrals with an incentive program.  “Refer 5 friends and we’ll send you a Starbucks gift card!”
  • Not only should your product be top-notch, but every point of contact (from someone discovering your site, the checkout process, a follow-up email to the purchaser asking if they have any questions or concerns, etc.) should focus on excellent customer service

While you can’t directly control word of mouth advertising, you can definitely give individuals the tools to do so if they want to rave to their friends about your product or service.

About Christian Bullock