How important are referrals to your business? How powerful are the things people say about your organization, products and brand—online and offline?

Highly important, and extremely powerful.

Word-of-mouth (WOM) strategies drive $6 trillion in annual consumer spending and are estimated to account for 13 percent of consumer sales, as reported by CMO.com. They also result in five times more sales than paid media impressions.

With so many choices to make every day, the advice of friends and other influencers matters—be it on social media, websites, customer-service surveys, polls or in person. In fact, a BrightLocal survey showed that 84 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Here are five strategies to improve your organization’s WOM:

MAKE EVERY LITTLE DETAIL MATTER: Is everything about your experience perfect? Is the environment beautifully designed? Are guests welcomed with a warm, genuine greeting? At a hotel I visited recently, the spoons that accompanied espresso cups always sat at the exact same angle. They gave us mints upon checkout. Small details, but they made a lasting impression. Have you exceeded your customers’ expectations? If you think of everything, they’ll tell people.

MAKE IT VISUAL: We humans love to tell great stories, and video and photography are captivating, emotional tools—and we want to share them. A great marketing video gets shared, and shared. Check out these great examples.

MAKE EXPERIENCES: A great event is something everyone will talk about. We’re all looking for unique, immersive experiences—and we’ll sure tell our friends. If you have cause to celebrate—an anniversary of your company, a local charity to support with a fundraiser—invite your customers and make it memorable.

MAKE REVIEWS EASY: Recommendations from employees and satisfied customers, visitors and clients are critical to your reputation. Are you making it simple for them to share their thoughts? Are you encouraging people to share positive experiences on review sites? For instance, that hotel I mentioned? I received this after completing their satisfaction survey:

MAKE IT PERSONAL: Hand-written thank-you notes and invitations. Special acknowledgements. An unexpected thoughtful gift just for them. (We all love free things.)

What are your plans and goals to incorporate WOM in your communications?

Let us know if we can help you! info@prboutiques.com