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Word-of-Mouth: Powerful Marketing (Part 1)

People believe brand recommendations from friends

SAN FRANCISCO — Word-of-mouth (WOM) consistently ranks highest in marketing effectiveness for dry cleaners when asked about their marketing results. This is true on both formal and informal surveys.

WOM creates similar results for consumer reaction in many industries and is even more pronounced in egocentric and personal industries like beauty, personal care, physician selection and fabricare.

According to Impactbnd.com, “92% of people believe brand recommendations from friends,” contrasted with a dramatic “75% of people don’t believe ads.”

That is a 167-point spread! “People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by friends,” and “WOM generates 2X more sales than paid ads.”


These results provide real incentive to you as the business owner to capture and share this powerful means of driving your sales to greater heights. Yet the same source indicates that “Only 33% of businesses are actively seeking and collecting reviews.”

When you offer a unique and positive experience, you will automatically receive some positive word-of-mouth. The purpose of this article is to help you increase the in-coming praise and leverage the positive PR.

There are many ways to amplify the WOM for your company.


A good starting point is to organize your current testimonials (whether or not they were solicited). Most of you will have a few that were generated by your great work and service. You may have them posted on an employee bulletin board to boost morale or they may be hidden in a file. Never just file them!

They provide a golden source for marketing your services in the proven realm of WOM.

Rank the testimonials and compliments by value and impact of the sentiment expressed. If you have not already done so, thank the writer and ask if you may quote them. If the customer is recognizable in the community, attractive or representative of a target group, also ask if you may use their photo or a picture of the item that prompted the comment.

If the compliment was verbal in person or by phone, make the same request and have the customer approve the text.

If the answer is yes, immediately add the edited version to all your media including in store, on vehicles, hang tags, brochures, offline and online. Remember to make it relevant to your customers and prospects lives.


If you don’t have a ready supply of testimonials or they need to be more current and relevant, It’s time to actively seek and collect reviews.

“86% of millennials say UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand or service. UGC videos can increase sales effectiveness by 20%. Millennials spend 5.4 hours per day with content created by their peers.


1.  Assess your current best customer lists for advocates from each group of consumers you are targeting. You may have lots of baby boomer testimonials but need to build millennials and younger supporters.

2.  Contact your desired fans and ask them to provide an endorsement.

3.  Add a simple survey button to your website and media posts that can generate new positive responses. (The negative ones are also a gift for you to use to improve.)

4.  Have your customer-facing staff ask their fans for a recommendation.

5.  Offer Raving Fan status and benefits if needed to enlist ideal spokespeople/influencers.

Check back Thursday for the conclusion.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].