Online shoppers will believe what brands say — to a point. But many people take marketing from ecommerce brands with a grain of salt because they know the goal is to earn their business. There’s a difference between a retailer imploring you to buy their great new product and a friend telling you everything they love about their latest online purchase.
This illustrates the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
There are definitely times when “hearing something straight from the horse’s mouth” is advantageous. But in ecommerce, people are more inclined to trust the recommendations of friends, family members, acquaintances, coworkers and even strangers on the internet, more than they believe marketing from online companies.
One survey found two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. consumers say they’re “at least a little more likely” to buy something if a friend or family shares it via social media or email. So, how can you get people to tell their friends about your store?
Here are some strategies to help.
Reward Loyal Customers for Telling Others
The simplest way to motivate people to spread the word about your store is to offer them an incentive for doing so. The trick is letting shoppers know in clear terms what they’ll get out of the deal: Get $10 in credit when you refer a friend! Tell a friend and you’ll both earn 20 percent off. Invite a friend—earn $5 per person who signs up.
Use clear calls to action so people know exactly what’s at stake.
Modern website builder like Shopify integrate directly with a variety of “tell-a-friend” plug-ins and apps, simplifying the process of getting your referral program up, running and communicated to shoppers in an appealing way.
Optimize Your Email Marketing Strategy
People want to share valuable nuggets of information they find online, especially when they find them to be relevant to their lives. Think of how many times we’ve all come across something online and thought about sending it to someone we know with a little note along the lines of, “This reminded me of you.”
Drumming up these kinds of referrals is a two-fold process: First, create genuinely interesting, helpful content. Then share it effectively with your customer base in the hopes they’ll pass it on. Email marketing is useful for accomplishing this because “you will build up your pool of brand ambassadors,” which will increase the word-of-mouth marketing customers are doing on your company’s behalf.
How does this look in action?
A company selling pet supplies and accessories could send out a seasonal newsletter full of tips for keeping pets safe in changing weather conditions. Chances are, some of the recipients on the list will forward this newsletter on to friends, especially those who’ve recently adopted a furry companion.
While the newsletter can also contain links to certain relevant products— like dog booties meant to protect paws during winter — it should primarily offer helpful information. If the secondary recipient appreciates the material, they too will subscribe to your email list for future updates, and/or shop your store.
Host Contests on Social Media
Social media contests allow online retailers to expand their audience reach. Plus, they’re fun. People enjoy the opportunity to win something without having to do anything more than tag a friend, leave a comment or share a post. Just make sure the incentive you’re offering is worth the entry steps users have to complete.
Boosting ecommerce word-of-mouth marketing using these tips can help retailers acquire new customers and drive sales without breaking the bank.