For those who aren’t familiar with word of mouth, it’s basically a traditional method of spreading the news about a business or industry. The way it happens is that people enjoy a service or product, and end up informing other people in their circle about it. One major benefit of word of mouth in terms of other forms of marketing is the fact that people are a lot more likely to listen to people they trust as opposed to conventional advertising. However, there are drawbacks involved, here is how they pan out.
For one thing, part of the issue is that word of mouth, while effective, tends to spread slowly compared to other methods of advertising. It naturally takes a lot of time for people to build enough of a relationship with their customers in order for word of mouth to spread. However, you can help speed this up by also promoting things effectively via your blog and social media. This electronic take on word of mouth is more impersonal, but can work faster.
Another issue when it comes to word of mouth advertising is that there is a natural limit to the amount of people you can reach, electronic or not. If each member of your staff reaches out to one person, there’s a natural cap. What you hope will happen is the new contacts you make will then spread the word to other people in their circle, but there’s nothing guaranteed in that regard. Not to mention, this takes time to happen even if it does. If you solely rely on word of mouth, you may end up with a smaller base of clients in the meantime.
One of the bigger issues with word of mouth is the fact that it’s nearly impossible for you to be able to chart exactly how much of your success with future customers stems from word of mouth. For example, you may be able to ask in a survey or during the purchase whether referrals played a role, you will only be able to work with someone who had a good experience. By comparison, other methods of marketing may have more metrics that you can track.
The final thing to consider about word of mouth is the fact that it can backfire as well. Negative word of mouth can spread, and hurt your marketing efforts. Word of mouth isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to advertising, but it has its limitation. So, while you want to encourage proper word of mouth, you also want to supplement that with permanent labor certification ads, or whatever type of advertising is appropriate for your business.