Is word of mouth advertising enough for business to grow and survive?

Word of mouth is the ultimate recommendation, and endorsement of a business’s products, procedures, or services.

It is powerful because people are in-fact putting their own reputation on the line when they tell others how wonderful, reliable, and exceptional your business is, and recommend that they too try you out.

It works because the person doing the recommending is seen as not having any vested interest except to share their positive experience, and this is what makes it trustworthy, and believable.

A happy customer is said to deliver up to 10 new ones, however tracking this and understanding how long it actually takes to generate new business differs from business to business.

For example in some business sectors like fast food and cafes, a positive word of mouth referral can render a new customer in a few days, while if you are referring your hairdresser it could take as long as 6-12 weeks, or up to 5 years for a new car purchase.

The Greatest Limitation.

And so is word of mouth advertising alone enough for business to grow and survive? 

The answer is a big fat NO.

Relying only on word of mouth is a business’s greatest limitation.

While it’s really nice because it costs you nothing, it’s also really bad because it’s not predictable or consistent.

And so when people tell me at various workshop sessions that they have only ever relied on word of mouth, I ask them how is that working for you? Obviously not well hence the need and call out for help.

Don’t Be A One Trick Pony.

If you had a choice to sit on a chair with one leg, or four legs, which one would you choose?

If the chair with one leg was to break, you would have nothing left to support it right?

It’s the same with marketing and advertising your business. If your one and only channel fails, what do you have left? Nothing.

What you is need is to take a safer, smarter, and broader approach with many legs or pillars (marketing channels), to promote your business.

New digital channels in particular, allow a business to create content specifically for their target audience, delivered under their noses, and at the most strategic time.

Combine this with an advertising campaign to reach even more of your target audience and now your making noise, the right noise and attracting new and maybe even a few old clients back to your business and brand.

A New Way To Extend Word Of Mouth Advertising.

Social media is a great place to use word of mouth even more effectively, to reach out or extend your reach to more people than ever before, showing them what your business has to offer.

People simply love sharing their experiences on social media and this is in-fact one of the main reasons it has had such a massive impact on the world, also due to how easy it is to stay connected remotely. 

Now here’s is the thing, the viral nature of social media means that when people like a post, comment, or share it, their own connections and circles get exposed to your business.

I call this word of mouth on steroids.

So it’s word of mouth times a hundred, thousand, and sometimes millions.

However beware; remember that it’s ONLY trustworthy when your customers and not you say how great your brand, products, or services are.

So keep it authentic, real, and only create, repost and promote real content or you run the risk of being labelled a fake.

The Marketing Landscape And Game Has Changed.

Word of mouth has been around forever. It’s a form of storytelling with an authentic, believable, and personal experience that distinguishes it from regular chat.

Technology has changed the ways and places we now tell our stories, how we interact, and connect with each other.

And so the balance of power belongs to those in business who have seen the enormous opportunity that exists using the same concept of referral, authenticity, and trust, but now migrated onto digital platforms and channels, on scale to reach their target quickly, and economically.

In conclusion, when people recommend your business it’s a great sign that you are doing something right. However, just make sure that you don’t wrongly believe this is all you need to succeed much less survive.

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