Relying on Word of Mouth Marketing

Posted by Jennifer September 21, 2006
Andy Beal points to a WOMMA study that looks at the most common forms of marketing practices used by companies in an Inc. 500 survey. The study shows that 82% of businesses rely on word of mouth marketing to help spread the word about their companies. That’s followed up by e-mail marketing (58%), keyword based advertising (51%), print magazines (50%) and direct mail (46%). Banner ads, newspapers, television and billboards round out the top 9 options.

It certainly makes sense that companies would continue to put focus on this, though many are still missing the potential benefits of encouraging a shift to word of mouth (also known as viral) marketing online. While word of mouth has long been a popular form of offline marketing, the reality is that the same message online has the potential to reach more people and to reach them faster. Instead of one person having to repeat their story to every single friend, they can simply post it on their blog and have it read by anywhere from a handful to hundreds of thousands of people.

This especially holds true for small businesses that often have few search results showing up for their business names. A good blog post or discussion forum post can easily find its way into the top ten search results for a company’s name. Those types of listings can end up influencing potential customers that take the time to run a search on your business name.

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