Sometimes we’re so close to the woods that we can’t see the trees. As marketers, we’re all so busy trying to execute our plans, from using the latest digital options and lead nurturing programs, to doing some traditional direct mailers and participating in a key trade show that we often overlook the obvious – Referrals!
When was the last time you bought something major that you didn’t ask a friend or business associate what their thoughts were on that particular product or the proposed solution you were thinking about.
The professional tradesman is not different. He will ask another peer or a distributor friend about ways to solve the problem. That’s why word of mouth (WOM) plays such an important part. Here are some interesting stats:
- 92% of consumers trust recommendations from their friends (Nielsen).
- 80% of all B-to-C and B-to-B purchases involve some WOM recommendations during the purchasing cycle according to Forrester.
I recently downloaded a Referral Marketing Guide from Extole that outlines six steps to take to make sure your WOM program gets results. They not only give you the steps, but practical examples of how to incorporate into your current programs. They also give you case studies.
Here are the six steps they recommend you to follow:
- Create a compelling offer
- Promote a referral program
- Make it easy for advocates to refer
- Personalize the friend experience
- Keep referral programs top of mind
- Monitor and optimize the program
According to the study, WOM recommendations result in a 3-5 times higher conversion than other channels. It makes sense doesn’t it; you value the opinions of others. So as marketers, we need to harness the loyal brand advocates that we have and have them help folks through the selling cycle.
If you haven’t used a WOM campaign to reach those contractors, maybe it’s time you rethink your strategy. After all, we’re all in it to ultimately sell something, and WOM has proven that it will help the customer through the sales cycle by letting others help you sell.