When investing in software, it’s crucial to know how to measure ROI for your word of mouth marketing campaigns. Whether your brand is managing customer referral, affiliate, influencer, or partner marketing programs, investing in a flexible all-in-one word of mouth marketing solution is necessary in order to scale your initiatives. Let’s start with the different word of mouth marketing channels and how to drive growth and brand awareness.
Types of Word of Mouth Marketing
Overall, brands that are successful with word of mouth marketing are creating meaningful connections with people who will talk about their brand and deliver positive messages to their networks, and in some cases, prospective customers. In fact, mapping the customer experience and use of personalized content are deemed the most effective tactics for optimizing marketing automation.
If you position your brand as being receptive to communication from customers and potential customers; and if your brand engages in conversations online about your customers’ experiences, your offerings, and the space that you work in, you are building a strong foundation on which you can build successful word of mouth marketing campaigns. All while creating a buzz!
Thus, there are many word of mouth marketing strategies that marketers should try in order to expand brand awareness and drive sales. Imagine that word of mouth marketing is a peacock (just go with it for a minute). The numerous channels that can support your word of mouth marketing goals are like the peacock fanning out its feathers.
To recap the different word of mouth marketing channels, here are the top four strategies:
Referral Marketing: A strategy for encouraging passionate customers and advocates to directly refer their network to your business.
Affiliate Marketing: A transaction between a company and an entity where the business receives customers (or leads) in exchange for an incentive.
Influencer Marketing: An approach that targets specific people who have large, captive followings to promote their products/services.
Partner Marketing: A relationship that connects two brands to share one or both brands with the other’s networks.
Now let’s dive into how to use these strategies to jumpstart your word of mouth marketing efforts:
1. Target online influencers that are a good fit with your brand
Celebrities, gurus, experts, and organizations that have legions of social media followers often partner with brands to market the brand’s products or services, for an agreed-upon fee. The brand benefits from the influencer’s implicit endorsement and the exposure to the influencers’ many faithful fans and followers. It’s crucial to find influencers that have the same values as your brand to keep the relationship and messaging authentic.
2. Incentivize your customer base to make referrals
You already have superstar brand advocates in your customer base. Referral marketing engages your loyal customers and motivates them to recommend your brand to family and friends. If you incentivize your customers to spread the word with rewards, monetary or otherwise, you create a pipeline of warm leads. Especially since most customers weigh recommendations from friends considerably, especially among high-income earners.
3. Create relationships with affiliates and partners
Instead of launching one-off partnerships with affiliates and partners, marketers that create genuine relationships are the ones that see long-term success. There’s a reason why companies that are already at the top of their game, like Amazon and Netflix, execute successful affiliate marketing campaigns. They select the right partners, and develop it over time to drive real results.
How to measure ROI for your word of mouth marketing campaigns
When it comes to FAQs, “what’s the ROI of word of mouth marketing?” is the question we hear the most. So we dove into our data to find the best possible answer and pulled a couple samples to help answer this question.
We calculated ROI for B2B software & service companies and consumer brands in the fashion & lifestyle industry. To calculate the ROI, we divided the revenue generated by programs run on our platform by the cost of the investment.
Here’s the revenue generated from a variety of word of mouth marketing initiatives (affiliate, influencer, referral, and partner programs) from some of our better performing clients.
These clients are challenger brands, mid-market companies, and enterprise organizations that we have worked with for an average of 22 months.
The most commonly used incentive structure across these clients is a “dual incentive” where the original ambassador AND their referral are both rewarded. The majority
of the clients represented here are running multiple campaigns (referral, influencer, affiliate, partner) with Ambassador.
Engaging consumers through word of mouth marketing
When B2B companies and consumer brands open up their programs to everyone — customers, partners, vendors, fans, etc. — activity spikes and the referral funnel begins to take formidable shape. Once you add the benefit of time, businesses begin to see trends and generate intelligence that informs their entire marketing strategy.
So, what can you do to optimize your word of mouth program to engineer those results while engaging with consumers?
1. Auto-enroll your entire database (and consider opening your program to non-customers)
You can’t know who your best ambassadors will be without giving them the chance to refer and promote your brand. By auto-enrolling your database and opening your program to non-customers, you’ll gain the critical mass of contacts you need to scale referrals and gather important customer intelligence.
2. Add a refer-a-friend form to all of your high-traffic pages
For B2B companies, this might include your home, pricing, and features pages (and your native app). For B2C companies, this means featuring the form on your homepage, post-purchase page, and mobile app. Doing this improves the visibility of your word of mouth program and increases the likelihood that more people will participate in it.
3. Segment your program for specific groups
It’s important to point out that auto-enrolling doesn’t mean opening the gates to the masses and blasting them with the same, generic messaging. Allowing everyone to access your program is one thing. Creating custom word of mouth programs for a variety of customer segments within that pool is quite another. With the latter, the idea is to personalize campaigns, messaging, and incentives to the specific interests and motivations of each type of ambassador.
Because there are so many variables to word of mouth marketing, it’s important to take a systematic and organized approach. Let’s come back to the analogy of the peacock with her feathers fanned out. Imagine trying to count all her feathers. Your eyes would blur from the kaleidoscope coloring and you’d be unlikely to get an accurate count: you’d probably miss quite a few feathers.
This is the same with word of mouth marketing. A piecemeal approach won’t be nearly as effective if you’re not using the right technological tools. It will be difficult to harness the sheer volume of strategic relationships, affiliates, and top referrers without a system that facilitates and streamlines the word of mouth marketing process.