Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of Mouth Marketing

April 18, 2018
Annette Maggi
Business Skills

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Estimates suggest 75% of people don't believe advertisements, yet more than 90% believe recommendations from friends. In fact, people are four times more likely to make a specific purchase when recommended by a friend. These statistics make word of mouth marketing campaigns essential for retail dietitians looking to increase use and purchase of their programs and services.

Word of mouth marketing is an unpaid form of promotion where satisfied customers tell other people how much they like a product, service or brand.  It's important for your business as each happy customer can send dozens or hundreds of new ones your way, depending on the size of their network.  Because the person making the referral has their reputation on the line every time they make a recommendation, it's a very credible form of advertising.  

Consider these tips to leverage word of mouth marketing:

  1. Encourage User-generated Content by using a common hashtag to identify content created by your customers, incentivize the creation and sharing of pictures and videos by offering free gifts or discounts, or by create a sense of community with USG content displayed prominently on your website or main profile.
  2. Capture and Share Customer Testimonials.  These reviews are trusted and valued by consumers, and reassure others about your value and service. Testimonials can be written or in video format, and once you have them can be used in multiple locations, such as social sites, corporate website, and retail RD service landing pages, as a part of broader marketing efforts.
  3. Product Ratings can be an effective way to secure additional purchases and future sign-ups for classes and programs.  Create ways for shoppers to rate your programs and services and then use this data in future promotions of these same programs and services.
  4. Offer an incentive.  Shoppers are more likely to provide a referral or testimonial if they are given a small incentive, such as a discount or small gift.  Many of the meal kit companies do this well, offering a discount on future kit purchases when a friend signs up for the service.
  5. Leverage Influencers and Thought Leaders.  While many retail RDs themselves are considered to have high shopper influence, the goal here is to leverage community thought leaders in your marketing efforts.  Invite local mommy bloggers to attend a cooking class for free or do free consults with fitness instructors, so they will share their experience with all those who attend their classes.  

According to a study done by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, 64% of marketing executives believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.  At the same time, only 6% indicate they have mastered this marketing approach.  Retail dietitians can get ahead of this curve, and at the same time, increase shopper use of their programs and services.

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