Top 9 Word Of Mouth Rules For Building Successful Marketing Programs

Here is a list of best practices about word of mouth marketing that we have developed and that are the base behind the successes we've been able to achieve for our customers. These rules are at the core of what we believe is the power of the advocate.

WOM Rule #1: Build advocacy, not buzz.

Creating and leveraging a thriving group of Advocates should be the #1 mission for your company. Advocacy is the key to business success. Companies with higher advocacy levels and positive WOM grow revenues two times faster than companies with low advocacy levels and negative WOM, studies by the London School of Economics and others have found.

WOM Rule #2: Advocates are different from fans

A fan is a consumer who likes your brand or product. Fans may be willing to join a group on Facebook. They may post something positive online about you on their blog or Tweet out news about your latest promotion or sale.

WOM Rule #3: Advocates are different than loyal customers.

Loyal customers are frequent buyers, but they are not necessarily Advocates. In fact, your loyal customers may be your harshest critics.

WOM Rule #4: You have more many Advocates than you think.

Many companies assume that only a small slice of their customers — typically less than 10% — are Advocates. This is a myth.

WOM Rule #5: Advocates Have Massive Reach

Each Advocate reaches approximately 150 people in his or her social and/or business network. We reached that conclusion by analyzing publicly-available data from social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, plus email marketing trade associations, and other sources.

WOM Rule #6: Brand Advocates are 5X More Influential than Paid Media

Why are Brand Advocates so influential? It boils down to two words: trust and reach. According to Forrester Research, 94% of consumers trust Word of Mouth recommendations. Only 14% trust online ads.

WOM Rule #7: Advocates are Your Best Salespeople

Fire your salespeople. Energize your Advocates. That sounds extreme. But consider these three points.

WOM Rule #8: Advocates are your Most Valuable Customers

Advocates are 2X to 3X more valuable than average customers, according to studies by Yahoo!, Comscore, Zuberance than others. Why?

WOM Rule #9: Know the value of every single advocate

In “The Ultimate Answer,” author Richard Owens, the CEO of customer satisfaction company Satmetrix, says a single Advocate of an enterprise software company is worth $565,000, based primarily on the Advocate’s lifetime referral value.