Some time ago I, as an avid traveller, was looking for a new carry-on bag. I looked up some of the usual suspects, checked out their site, read their reviews and so on. But then I remembered a friend who was raving about this one bag. It was so light, could take a beating, came with this and that ánd was nicely designed too. I checked their website out and without thinking about it too much, I ordered the bag. Like that.
But it wasn’t wholly without thinking. My friend’s recommendation was super important and left quite a lasting impression on me. That’s the power of word of mouth. Recommendations from friends and family are more trustworthy than those from strangers, advertisers or companies.
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is simply that: someone you know likes a product and then recommends it to a friend. It’s possibly the most organic way you can spread word about your SaaS. And as such the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal.
You can’t (nor should you want to) force people to recommend your product. But there are ways to influence and encourage them. As always be ethical, don’t fake anything (eg. buy fake reviews), but use the ideas laid out in this article to be ready for some real solid WOMM.
How to set up your Word of Mouth Marketing campaign#
To understand how you can get started with your WOMM you first need to realise that face-to-face conversations are were the true magic happens, but other ways and channels like social media, blog posts, messaging apps, email and vlogs also work for WOMM. You cannot force endorsements, but you can spark it.
Let’s start with the “easiest” one as you, my dear reader, are probably running a SaaS. With a SaaS you can tweak your product when necessary. But make no mistake: making good software is really hard! Thus start here, but don’t just set apart some time to improve your product next week, but make it a part of your company culture. Onboarding should be near perfect, the first Aha-Erlebnis should be quick, and so on. Also improve other parts like your transactional emails: make sure they provide value to the customer and are not just there to lure them back in.
Your company must be worth talking about. This could be because you have a rock-solid, innovative product, but it could also because you stand for something. Be it people-first or working async. This isn’t something you decide to be and be done with it, it’s a process that takes time and possibly a few iterations.
When companies do good or stand for something, it gives customers extra reason to root for you, to cheer for you and… recommend your product to their friends.
“When companies do good or stand for something, it gives customers extra reason to root for you.”
Go the extra mile for your existing customers. I’m biased, but Seos really shines when you want to go that extra mile. Do send them a personalised email when they have their subscription anniversary, check in with them after a month or leave a comment on their latest article. Simple things on the surface, but it’s easy to overlook or forget. Need other ideas to delight your customers, check out this article.
Another idea is to ask for feedback and then reply to it. Make sure they know their feedback is read. And yet another interesting tool for creating brand ambassadors is to introduce a closed beta program. Being part of the “company’s inner circle” gives some really warm fuzzies. 😊
This one is tricky because most equal exceptional support with quick support. It doesn’t have to be like that. Most customers just want to get heard and understood. It’s so much better to be emphathetic and get to the bottom of the issue, than to copy/paste an article from your documentation. Ask questions, and if possible (if your product/data allows) fix the issue for them and then send them the solution so they can do it themselves in the future.
Having these pillars in place and continue to adhere to them will help you set up a successful WOMM. It will almost run itself—no expensive marketing agency needed. Just remember that it will take time, but the effects will greatly exceed the input and create some true raving fans.
Word of Mouth Marketing is like content marketing. It doesn’t work overnight and it’s unlikely to see any results within a few months time. But at the same time it isn’t an extra strategy you have to add in the mix. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, because after all: solid WOMM happens with a splendid product created by an amazing company. That is something you should be aiming for regardless.