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Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Build A Successful Strategy Using Reviews & UGC

Apr 10, 2021 | 6 minute read

Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Build A Successful Strategy Using Reviews & UGC

Kelsey Clutter

Consumers are far more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend than an ad. In fact, word of mouth marketing, where someone tells a friend about a brand or product, is one of the most powerful forms of marketing.

Research shows that 72% of people get news and information from friends and family. This makes word of mouth the most popular channel for sharing. On top of this, 83% of consumers say that word of mouth recommendations from people they know make them more likely to purchase a product.

Fail to tap into its potential, and you could be missing out on reaching new customers and bolstering your relationship with existing ones.

What is Word of Mouth Marketing?

Word of mouth marketing (WOM) organically encourages shoppers to discuss a brand or product, specifically with their friends, peers, or colleagues. The discussion acts as a trusted recommendation, which means consumers are more likely to buy into it than other forms of advertising.

Online, word of mouth marketing includes social media discussions, reviews, testimonials, and ratings – anything that allows a customer to share their positive experience in a public way.

Brands that leverage WOM marketing can save on advertising costs, win new customers through trusted recommendations, and build customer loyalty and retention in the process.

Why? Because a WOM recommendation comes equipped with trust, which means merchants don’t have to work as hard to build a relationship with a new customer before they decide to purchase.

How to Build a Word of Mouth Strategy Using Reviews and UGC: Examples

Online reviews are one of the most powerful forms of word of mouth marketing. While reviews might come from complete strangers rather than friends and family, they still invoke trust because they aren’t coming from the brand itself. In fact, beyond friends and family, 95% of consumers say reviews are at least somewhat important when making a decision to purchase, according to ecommerce trust research by Okendo. 

Your word of mouth marketing strategy can include user-generated content (UGC), such as photos, videos, and other media created by customers. Reviews act as a written WOM tactic, while UGC is the visual version. Incorporating both visual and written WOM methods into your store instills buyer confidence and establishes trust quickly.

Having a batch of content created by your customers generates a buzz around your brand, particularly on social media where people actively look for recommendations. Here are some word of mouth marketing examples to inspire your strategy.

Share Customer UGC on Social Media

You can share reviews and UGC on social media to spread the word about your products. Populating your feeds with UGC helps keep content creation costs down and provides an endless supply of high-quality content to share.

Try things like:

  • Creating a hashtag and encouraging customers to share their UGC
  • Tagging customers with their UGC on Instagram and encouraging them to reshare
  • Running a contest that requires customers to share UGC to enter
Sharing customer UGC of swimwear on social media

Bydee Australia shares posts from customers in their Instagram Stories and organic posts. Chances are, the customer will reshare the post which keeps the buzz going.

Offer Rewards in Exchange for Reviews

Everyone loves a discount. Give customers that leave a review a discount, a deal, or an exclusive offer. Providing an incentive like this will give buyers the nudge they need to share their experience.

Try things like:

  • Including a reward expiration date to create a sense of urgency
  • Offering tiered rewards to encourage customers to unlock additional benefits the more they purchase with your brand
  • Sending a reminder email to encourage customers to use their reward so they don’t miss the opportunity to talk about it
A 20% incentive to leave a photo with a review

LSKD offers a hierarchy of discounts that customers can claim based on the level of review they leave. They can get 10% off their next order for a text-based review, but if they add a photo or a video alongside their review they can unlock an extra 5%, and so on.

Ask for Referrals Post Review 

One of the best times for a customer to share your brand with friends is immediately after they have had a positive experience, such as after they have left a review. They’re already feeling good about your brand, so this is a good time to prompt a referral.

Try things like:

  • Asking customers to share insights on their personal characteristics such as skin type, body shape, etc using customer and product attributes in review request emails in order to hone in on your targeted messaging
A $20 gift card referral incentive

Gorjana dynamically includes a personal referral link in a dedicated refer-a-friend email and offers an incentive for those who complete their referral.

Send Personalized Content

Using review data, you can deliver personalized content to customers that they’ll rave about. For example, you can share content about how to use a product they’ve just bought or recommend a new style similar to the one they’ve recently purchased.

Try things like:

  • Asking customers to share insights on their personal characteristics such as skin type, body shape, etc using customer and product attributes in review request emails in order to hone in on your targeted messaging
Personalized content for a customer's puppy from WAG

Dog food brand WAG personalizes their emails to customers based on specific customer attributes they’ve addressed in their reviews such as the dog’s age and eating habits to deliver tailored product recommendations.

Word of Mouth Marketing is Key for Online Brands

WOM advertising does multiple things at once. It attracts new customers, establishes trust and loyalty with existing customers, and saves you time and money that would otherwise have been spent on less effective advertising methods.

UGC, such as reviews and customer-created photos are the ideal digital alternative to WOM marketing, providing you with a collection of content to share on social media while generating a buzz around your brand. Customer marketing platform Okendo can help you build your word of mouth marketing strategy by offering a suite of tools for collecting and showcasing reviews & UGC onsite and across marketing channels.

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