The Only 4 Word-of-Mouth Strategies That Matter

Want to know what it takes to succeed in word-of-mouth marketing? We identify the four main strategies that make a business worth talking about. 

We have identified four main strategies that make a business worth talking about. They are product, service, value, and story

The best businesses may be awesome in two or even three of these points. Being exceptional at even just one of these can tip the scale and make them truly buzz-worthy.

Getting a significant amount of new business through word-of-mouth referrals is the gold standard in a healthy successful businesses. Word of mouth makes the engine idle as the business sleeps. But beware, bad word of mouth can just as easily tank a business.

Lets get back to the positive and show you how much of an impact these four key strategies can affect word of mouth. When a business exceeds expectations by being best in class, people talk. Your customers rave, they share on social media, they write awesome reviews, and they refer their friends!

product wom driver

1. Product

How good is the product? Does it offer something unique or solve a need in a simpler or more intuitive way? Does it delight the end user, save an immense amount of time, or take away pain?

A business that rates highly on “Product” fulfills all a consumer’s needs and even surprises them by meeting the needs they didn’t even know they had.

Don’t you talk about products when they exceed expectations? 

Stories like Under Armour and Airtable are great examples of how word of mouth helped grow these businesses with a dominant product.

Read about more businesses where Product is their main word-of-mouth strategy.

service wom driver

2. Customer service

How are customers treated? What happens when something goes wrong?

Great service can go a long way in filling in the gaps and softer experiences with a business. A business that rates highly on “Service” goes above and beyond a consumer’s expectations, treating them how they want to be treated. 

Great customer service can turn a bad product experience into a positive one. You can rescue an upset customer and turn them into your biggest fan.  

* We are largely talking about the soft services of your business, like sales and customer support. If the company is a pure service business, then we consider their service as a product, as well.

value wom driver

3. Value

The consumer is paying something for the product or service by investing money and/or time. Some may call this ROI, but most consumers aren’t making an exact calculation.

A business that rates highly on “Value” delivers a significant return to the user vs. the cost, often leaving the consumer with the feeling that they would gladly pay more for the service.

Businesses like Target and Southwest thrive on word of mouth through value.  They may not be the premium product, but their value they deliver to the customer with their prices makes people talk.

Read about more businesses where Value is their main word-of-mouth strategy.

story wom driver

4. Story

Story is often times intangible and boils down to the feeling consumers have about the business. Some call it “brand,” but a story is by far one of the hardest elements to quantify – yet everyone knows it when they see it. 

A business that rates highly on “Story” is one that has a personality based on something that resonates with their customers. Oftentimes, it’s a set of strong values and beliefs that help differentiate the business from competitors, along with a narrative that inspires.

Stories like In-N-Out Burger are a great example of how word of mouth helps grow these businesses thanks to their background

Read about more businesses where Story is their main word-of-mouth driver strategy.


Word-of-Mouth Rating

How strong is the word of mouth? Here’s our rating scale:

Level 1: Nobody knows

You're too embarrassed to even acknowledge you're a customer of this business.

Level 2: Confirmed customer

You would confirm that you were a customer – no more, no less.

Level 3: Recommend, if asked

You would tell someone about this business, but only if they directly asked for a recommendation.

Level 4: In conversation

You will tell friends about the product/business when it comes up in conversation.

Level 5: From the rooftops

You're a raving fan and go out of your way to tell your friends or anyone who will listen about this business.

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