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Electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM): New Age Brand Promotion

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

March 13, 2024

11 min read

Electronic word-of-mouth marketing has become a strong medium of marketing in most of the industries. It has been observed that people trust this marketing method more than celebrity endorsements as it seems more authentic. In a recent survey, 92% of the respondents mentioned that when it comes to selecting a product, they trust the opinion of their friends and family members more than any type of advertising. Electronic word-of-mouth marketing has grown with the increasing use of social media. The combined effect of WOM and eWOM is helping brands grab the attention of their target audience. Word-of-mouth marketing proves to be useful for businesses as well as customers. It helps the customers reach the right product and businesses see organic leads pouring in as a result. 

There are different types of electronic word-of-mouth marketing you can try. In this article, we have discussed in detail everything you should know about eWOM marketing. Read on to find out!

eWom - Electronic word-of-mouth

Understanding eWOM

Word-of-mouth publicity has always worked for businesses as people often go by the product suggestions given by their family and friends. As the use of the internet grew, the concept of eWOM picked up. eWOM involves any information about brands and products shared by consumers on the internet. This can be positive or negative. Social media has fuelled eWOM as it has become an easy medium for communication and knowledge sharing. People, these days, check the reviews and suggestions of other consumers on the internet and consider them while making a buying decision. It would not be wrong to say that electronic word-of-mouth has come at par with other mediums of marketing. It is considered more impactful compared to others. Research shows how this marketing method positively impacts the publicity of a product, sales, buying decisions, and evaluation of products. 

The Dominance of eWOM Over Traditional WOM

We all understand the difference between eWOM and WOM, but do you know which among these has a greater impact? Traditional word-of-mouth marketing has its limitations. It spreads among a smaller group of people. It usually involves the exchange of opinions about products and services among family members, friends, neighbours, and colleagues. Electronic word-of-mouth marketing, on the other hand, works at a wider level. It involves consumers around the world providing product reviews and suggestions to each other on different online platforms. According to statistical reports, 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase. Businesses can leverage the power of the internet to enhance the impact of word-of-mouth marketing. 

eWOM: Types

Here is a brief look at the different types of electronic word-of-mouth marketing:

  1. Viral Marketing

It depends on a selected audience that creates awareness about a brand or product. This type of marketing campaign is considered successful when it reaches a wider audience.

  1. Emotional Marketing

It uses emotions to influence the customer’s buying behaviour. It is mostly based on ongoing events or recent news that witnesses people’s participation.

  1. Buzz Marketing

It boosts the awareness of products through campaigns and encourages discussions about the brand among online groups as well as others.

  1. Referral Marketing

Referral marketing has become a popular type of word-of-mouth marketing. In this method, brands provide incentives to customers who promote their products.

  1. Publicity

Its main focus is enhancing product visibility and awareness by shaping media attention. It helps in building brand reputation and crisis management.

  1. Social Media Marketing

Social media has become one of the most popular electronic word-of-mouth marketing channels. Brands create marketing campaigns and run them strategically to encourage WOM through social media. Statistics reveal that 71% of consumers are more likely to buy a product based on social media referrals

  1. Blogging

This includes writing blogs and posting them on different online platforms for public view. Blogging enables brands to spread awareness about their products and services and build trust in consumers. 

Different Stages of eWOM

There are mainly three stages of eWOM. Here is a look at the same:

  1. Creation – Brands need to create different types of eWOM marketing using effective strategies.
  2. Exposure – The next stage involves acquainting the consumers to eWOM communication. Efforts must be made to create exposure, or else it won’t work.
  3. Evaluation – When the consumers get the eWOM message, they evaluate and consider it while making a buying decision.

While the brands create eWOM publicity, they involve the consumers who then take on the role of spreading brand information. The consumers become eWOM receivers as well as senders. 

How Can Businesses Utilise the Power of eWOM?

Businesses can use the power of eWOM mainly by leveraging social media platforms. Other types of eWOM marketing including buzz marketing, emotional marketing, viral marketing, and blogging must also be used to build a positive image about the brand and attract consumers. Businesses must also use eWOM tools and strategies effectively.  

How Can eWOM Marketing Persuade Consumers to Buy a Product?

Electronic word-of-mouth marketing is known to highly impact consumers’ buying behaviour. Positive eWOM persuades consumers to buy products by building trust in the brand. It has been noticed that customers look for online reviews and ratings of the products before making a purchase. Products that have high ratings and good reviews are likely to attract more buyers, thereby increasing sales. They also help build goodwill in the market which gives further boost to the sales.

eWOM Platforms For Businesses: Tapping the Potential of Various Formats 

eWOM marketing is known for its different formats. It is important to use all these to make the most of word-of-mouth marketing. Let us take a quick look at all these formats:

  • Images and Video Views
  • Social Media Recommendations
  • Ratings
  • Online Feedback and Reviews
  • Client Testimonials

How Social Media Changed the Whole Perspective of WOM Marketing?

Here is how social media has changed people’s perspective about WOM marketing:

  1. Recommendations From Widespread Consumers

Through social media, people get product reviews and recommendations from consumers around the world. They tend to trust such recommendations more than they would trust brand endorsements by celebrities. Social media platforms such as Facebook have features that encourage users to share product suggestions. This is a WOMM tool.

  1. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become a popular eWOM method. People tend to trust and follow their favourite influencers. Partnering with influencers is helping businesses leverage the power of word-of-mouth promotion. However, unlike other eWOM formats, this one is largely paid. Yet, statistics reveal that 68% of marketers collaborate with influencers.

  1. Monitor Developments

Businesses can monitor how well the eWOM created by them is working. They can do so by keeping a watch on product recommendations. It is easy to see whether people are recommending their products to other consumers or not. People tagging their friends and family members to your campaigns or product posts also indicates success.

eWOM Marketing Tools

Here is a look at the various eWOM marketing tools that can prove to be helpful:

  1. Online Customer Reviews

They give an overview of the products and brands to the customers which they can consider while making buying decisions. Hubspot and Yotpo are among the top review management software. They make it easier to track and use customer reviews. Research shows that 84% of consumers trust online reviews and personal recommendations alike. 

  1. Social Listening

This involves following consumer conversations on different online platforms. It keeps you updated with the latest trends and topics of discussion. This helps understand consumer behaviour and preferences. Some popular social listening tools include HootSuite and HubSpot.

  1. User-Generated Content

Many users create content about products and share them online. This may include written content, images, or videos. It proves to be an effective eWOM marketing tool. Some of the user-generated content software include Nosto and Pixlee.

  1. Referral Programmes

These programmes are designed to bring customer referrals for businesses. They help increase the customer base.

Steps to Devise an eWOM Marketing Strategy For Your Business

Here is a step-by-step guide to devising an effective eWOM marketing strategy:

  1. Learn All About Your Product and Industry

Start by learning about your products and services, in addition to your company and industry. Your product marketing team and support staff must also have complete knowledge of the same to create effective word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. It is crucial to build trust among your potential customers.

  1. Build Customer Personas 

Build personas that resonate with your target audience based on the knowledge you have gathered. This is an excellent way to grab their attention and connect with them.

  1. Collaborate With Influencers

Identify influencers who are popular among your target audience or can create an impact on them. For instance, if you sell fitness products then you should collaborate with an influencer who specialises in the fitness niche. Likewise, if you own a restaurant or cafe, then collaborating with a food vlogger can help widen your reach.  

  1. Create an Online Community

This is a strategic move to get closer to your target audience and understand their preferences. By initiating discussions about the topics of their interest, you can encourage participation. It is important to maintain regular communication with your community to keep their interest alive and win their interest.

  1. Do Not Delete Negative Comments

Electronic word-of-mouth marketing may invite some negative publicity too. However, you must not delete every negative comment on your posts. It is suggested to let some of them be. They make your feed appear authentic. However, just make sure you do not have any PR issues or any other troubles going on. If you are clear on your part, then such opinions about your products should not bother you.

How to Manage eWOM to be in Your Brand’s Favour?

To begin with, you must keep a close watch on eWOM on all online platforms. It is important to join multiple online communities and drive positive conversations around your products. Be a part of the conversation and keep it going to generate interest in your products. It is a good idea to collaborate with influencers to create a wider impact and attract more customers to try your product. Building consumer personas also helps in ensuring eWOM works in your brand’s favour.

Reliability of eWOM Marketing

Consumers often rely more upon eWOM marketing as they find suggestions given by fellow consumers and family members more authentic. Many consumers look forward to sharing positive experiences with brands on online platforms. Businesses view positive word-of-mouth communications as a significant promotional tool.

Prominent Companies Utilising eWOM Marketing Effectively

Many well-known companies, across the globe, utilise word-of-mouth marketing effectively. They use different types of eWOM to market their products and services. Here is a look at some prominent companies utilising the power of eWOM:

Casper

It focuses on enhancing the customer experience to ensure positive word-of-mouth marketing. Some of the strategies it uses are a 100-day product guarantee, an easy buying experience, and interesting content.

Trader Joe’s

The company is known for its high-quality products as well as cost-effective pricing. It has a loyal customer base that promotes its products through eWOM. Trader Joe’s supports this marketing method through its weekly sales promotion, The Fearless Flyer. It is a funny copy that focuses on delectable products and recipes.

Slack

It started with onboarding support, which helped with word-of-mouth marketing. Then it began providing individualised support. The company kept collating feedback from its customers and improved its features based on the same.

Conclusion

Electronic word-of-mouth marketing has become a popular means to promote products and services. Consumers find it more authentic. Most of them try products and services recommended by their family and friends. They also check online reviews and product ratings while making a buying decision. As per a survey, 55% of consumers learn about new products through electronic word of mouth. Businesses must employ different types of word-of-mouth marketing strategies and tools to enhance their brand identity and ensure it works in their favour.

How can businesses encourage positive eWOM?

Businesses can encourage positive eWOM by providing excellent product quality backed by good customer service. Establishing goodwill in the market and creating a strong connection with the consumers also help in this regard. Moreover, businesses must encourage their customers to give online reviews.

How to identify and target key influencers to boost eWOM?

For this, it is first important to identify your target audience. Next, search for influencers who resonate with your target audience. You can conduct this search on social media and online communities to identify key influencers. This can also be done with the use of influencer marketing tools.

What ethical practices should businesses follow while engaging in word-of-mouth marketing?

Businesses must ensure transparency and maintain honesty. They should provide authentic recommendations. It is important to steer clear of any misleading communication.

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