Is word of mouth the best form of marketing?

Is word of mouth the best form of marketing?

AA Updated
People whispering in ears

Do you get your business from word of mouth referrals? Are you making the most of your word of mouth advertising? And what does that mean in a digital and online world? We take a look at why businesses should use digital to make the most of word of mouth recommendations.


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What is word of mouth?

Businesses often report that they get referral business from word of mouth. It is one of the most valuable types of advertising. According to Nielsen 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.

Traditionally, when you came across a business that you just had to tell your friends or acquaintances about it was in the form of a business card being passed along, a phone number scribbled on a piece of paper or a referral to the yellow pages.

These days when we are raving about a fantastic business, we don’t generally pass along a business card. I know I usually say those words “just Google it’, so it is essential that a business has an online presence that is easy to find – including both your name and the name of your business.  

What does word of mouth have to do with the internet?

With customers turning to their phone or laptop to find information, word of mouth now includes what people are saying about your business brand online. This could include:

  • Sharing experiences on social media, via likes, shares, mentions, tags or comments
  • Influencer comments or blogs
  • Product reviews
  • Contributing to online review sites such as trip advisor, zomato.com, nocowboys.co.nz
  • Online forums or questions and answer groups such as Quora
  • Reviews on your own website or business listing pages.

How a digital presence supports word of mouth – making the connection

As a business owner these days you not only need to be expert in what you do, but you also need to make it as easy as possible for customers to contact, engage, and get the information they need. If they have all of these things, you are more likely to secure that important first warm lead from a customer. For busy business owners having and managing an effective digital profile is a great asset to achieve this. 

Having a digital profile can provide a customer with the information they need to easily contact you, and they are already informed about your services – saving you time as you have already answered the frequently asked customer questions via your online presence.

So how can you make the most out of those word of mouth referrals? We’ve got some basic tips to help.

  1. Make sure you have an online presence. A well put together website is a must. If this isn’t in the budget, then an All About Whitianga business profile page is an excellent place to start. Whether you develop your own website or use a profile page you’ll benefit from All About Whitianga’s existing audience and high Google ranking, and be able to be found more easily.
  2. Encourage feedback from customers through either your website, All About Whitianga business page or other review sites.
  3. Set up a Google my business or Bing Business account. It’s free and you can connect your website or All About Whitianga profile page to them.
  4. Consider who your customers are and where they ‘hang out’ online. Make sure your business has a presence there. With New Zealanders (aged 16-64) spending on average 2 hours and 5 minutes a day on social media, you’ll want to be seen.
  5. Interact with your customers online, if they ask a question or post a review or comment, whether good or bad, make sure you respond.
  6. Encourage user-generated content (UGC) on your social channels. Try creating branded hashtags, featuring or sharing customers posts, running contests for best branded UGC.
  7. Get professional assistance if you need it. If you don’t have the time or expertise contact a local expert to help you establish, maintain and raise your online presence. 

Remember the basics matter

Word of mouth referrals are absolute gold for any business. So it’s important to make sure that you do the basics well. Providing a quality customer experience wherever you interact with a customer is fundamental.

Think about how and where you want to be found online and don’t overcommit yourself. Make sure you or your staff have time to monitor your business’s online profile or invest in a professional to manage it for you. There’s nothing worse for a customer to find incorrect or outdated information about a business online, it immediately will take the shine off their golden view.  

How does this look in the real world?

Small business owner, Kane, of Living Lines Design, decided to get a digital presence organised in December 2020. Too busy and without the funds to set up a website, Kane chose an All About Whitianga business listing page.

I used to be quite proud that when someone ‘Googled’ my own name that I couldn’t be found. However, I did realise that this wasn’t going to be good for my business, so I decided to use All About Whitianga to list my business. I often ask where people have found out about my services and they’ve been referred by someone, but have found my details online via All About Whitianga. It definitely works!

Kane Jones – Owner Living Lines Design

After setting up an All About Whitianga business page, Kane set up a Facebook account and Google my business account and has linked these to his All about Whitianga business page. For Kane, that was enough of a presence to keep the phone ringing and to manage and maintain. 

Need more information? 

If you would like to discuss anything in this article or need assistance in raising the online presence for your business contact the All About Whitianga team. 

Related Links

All About Whitianga Advertising

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