If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely grappled with one simple question throughout your career: how do you get customers to find out about your business? Since the dawn of advertising, marketers have explored the issue, investigating the surest way to help a business become a household name.
But unless you’re a brand like Coca Cola whose clientele buys your product on principle, you’ve likely discovered that advertising yourself is a costly business.
We’ve got news for you. You don’t need to spend money on television adverts, radio spots or an expensive once-off billboard. The way to become noticed is through the simplest, most organic advertising method of them all: word of mouth. Unbiased, unfettered, peer-to-peer communication.
The stats don’t lie. A recent Nielsen study outlined that “92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.” The widespread adoption of the internet has only accelerated the move away from flashy billboards towards close-knit communities of peers recommending services to one another.
Is the change good? We think so. Sure, businesses have been profiting from word of mouth since the dawn of commerce, but only now is it truly possible to stay abreast of what is being said. And in a world where our entire lives reside in the cloud, it’s crucial to get access to real opinions. As a business, it allows you to adjust strategies and pinpoint ways of going forward.
But knowing what is being said is only half the battle. You need to engage with your audience too. As Forbes contributor Kimberley Whitler notes in an interesting write-up on the topic , you need to “be a part of the conversation about your brand.” Engagement is crucial.
Whitler’s article continues by running with this pertinent quote: “if people are not talking about you, they are forgetting you.” It’s a quote that neatly sums up the breakneck world we live in.
One thing is clear: keeping customers happy and getting them to talk about you is the best way to attract new customers. A recent study conducted by American telecoms giant Verizon revealed that 85% of small businesses in America thanked word of mouth for their success.
The need for word of mouth evaluation is present in South Africa too, and VavaVox wants to fulfil that niche. We’ve always believed positive word of mouth reviews are the surest barometer of quality and have developed reporting tools to let businesses keep track of what is being said. As such, our website gives you access to real opinions and real data, while also letting you be a part of the conversation.
For small businesses in South Africa, traditional advertising campaigns make little financial sense. Through word of mouth reviews, these businesses are beginning to see growth.
Ultimately, that confirms what we’ve always believed: the conversation is moving online, and if you’re a business, the best way to succeed is to have people talking about you.