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Is Word Of Mouth Dead?

By February 11, 2019 March 13th, 2020 No Comments

Traditionally, word of mouth has been considered one of the best ways to promote a business. It naturally occurs when a satisfied customer tells their friends and family about the wonderful experience they had when patronising a business.

The beauty of word of mouth marketing is that one satisfied customer will tell several other people about their experience, which quickly attracts more customers. Before you know it, your business will have developed a stellar reputation within the local community or its industry.

Of course, word of mouth does have its limitations. The main limitation being its reliance on verbal interaction. Because it requires a face-to-face discussion, it has limited “reach” and is a very slow way to market a business. These deficiencies have led some marketing experts to suggest that word of mouth is “dead” and no longer a viable way to market a business.

So, is word of mouth really dead? Or it has it just evolved? In this post I’m going to share the deficiencies of traditional word of mouth before explaining how it has been replaced by “digital” word of mouth.

Why Is Traditional Word Of Mouth On The Decline?

Word of mouth has traditionally been the primary source of marketing for most small businesses. They often rely upon word of mouth because it is free and very effective at promoting their brand in the local area.

However, traditional word of mouth does have some disadvantages which limit its effectiveness, whether its for local businesses or businesses that cover a large geographical area. These disadvantages also make it ineffective for businesses looking to grow quickly. They include:

Word Of Mouth Spreads Slowly

It can take a lot of time for your customers to mention how great your business is to other people. Some customers may never tell other people about your business, regardless of how great your product or service was. This limits how quickly it can promote your business.

Limited Audience

The amount of word of mouth your business generates is limited to the number of customers that you have each month. If your business is new, it may take several years to build a large enough customer base for traditional word of mouth to be effective.

Negative Word Of Mouth Effect

While most businesses usually benefit from word of mouth, it can backfire as soon as you have a disgruntled customer. They may tell everyone they know that your business is untrustworthy, overpriced, or dishonest. It can be very difficult to counteract this kind of negative word of mouth effect.

Virtually impossible to track

It is extremely difficult for a business to understand if they are receiving positive word of mouth and what effect that may be having on the business.

These limitations make word of mouth ineffective for new businesses operating in the global marketplace. This is why many marketers consider word of mouth to be an obsolete marketing technique.

What About Digital Word Of Mouth?

Digital word of mouth occurs when someone expresses a public opinion about your business online. They may do so in a number of ways, including:

  • Posting a rating and/or review on a website like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Yell, or Google My Business
  • Mentioning your business in a social media post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another platform
  • Talking about your business on a discussion forum
  • Writing articles or blog posts about your business

The most important differences between traditional word of mouth and digital word of mouth are reach and immediacy. A business rating or review that has been shared online can reach millions of people around the world instantly. This is very different to traditional word of mouth, which relies upon small groups of people talking to each other face-to-face.

What Are The Main Advantages Of Digital Word Of Mouth?

Many types of Digital Word of Mouth are 100% Free

Using sites like Google My Business or Facebook for your Digital Word Of Mouth are completely free. And using our intuitive software, you can direct your happy customers straight to you online profiles, helping you develop a stellar online reputation without paying easily.

Digital Word Of Mouth On A Local Scale

Businesses with a niche target audience or an audience that is ‘local’ can benefit greatly from digital word of mouth. That’s because it allows customers to share their positive experiences with other people on the other side or the road, or other end of town. You can obtain the benefits of word of mouth even if consumers in your target demographic don’t live next door to one another.

It Is Immediate and Long-lasting

The instant a person posts something positive about your business, it will be available for your potential customers to read, whether that’s on your online profiles, or with We Love These Guys, these will appear immediately on your own website. In most cases, it will also be long-lasting, as most posts remain online for many years.

This is very different to traditional word of mouth, where a customer might randomly mention their appreciation for your business to a few friends – then not mention it again for several years.

You Can View and Counteract Negative Word Of Mouth

One of the main disadvantages of word of mouth is that it can also be used by disgruntled customers to attack your business. It is also very difficult to counteract a disgruntled customer who is telling people about your business.

When using digital word of mouth, you usually have an opportunity to respond to any bad reviews or complaints that you find online. If it’s a competitor who is posting false information about you, you can respond, if it’s a genuine customer who is quietly unhappy with your service, Digital Word of Mouth can help you to open up the lines of communication and fix the errors that may have been overlooked. You can even hire a reputation management company like We Love These Guys to protect your online reputation by addressing any negative word of mouth.

Virtually impossible to track

It is extremely difficult for a business to understand if they are receiving positive word of mouth and what effect that may be having on the business.

These limitations make word of mouth ineffective for new businesses operating in the global marketplace. This is why many marketers consider word of mouth to be an obsolete marketing technique.

Interested In Learning More?

The simplest way to take advantage of digital word of mouth is by hiring an experienced online management specialist like We Love These Guys. Our company helps businesses make the most of digital word of mouth. We ensure that our clients have a stellar online reputation that bolsters their brand and drives conversions. To learn more, contact us on 0207 018 1949 or via hello@welovetheseguys.com

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