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Carol Forden

Carol Forden Freelance Writer & Customer Experience Marketing

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7 Word of Mouth Marketing Techniques To Grow Your Car Sales and Service Business

Customers make customers. 

Why do I say this? 

Your customers are one of the most influential marketing forces you have, but only if you use their influential powers effectively. 

This is where word of mouth marketing comes into play. 

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is one of the most potent assets – much more than any other form of marketing, whether it is paid or organic. 

Take a look at the research infographic below to grasp the power of word of mouth marketing fully:

Word of mouth marketing statistics

Which raises the obvious question of how hard it is to ask your customers to advocate for your dealership credibility on your behalf? 

Not much should be your response. 

That stated, it does require a solid plan along with an array of techniques. 

In this article, I'll show you some of the most useful word of mouth marketing techniques to grow your auto dealership and service business. 

1. Encourage User-Generated Content 

As the name suggests, user-generated content is the content about your brand that is created and shared by your existing customers.

How does it help you? 

As we saw in the above infographic how other people influence people, user-generated content will help your brand build trust and authority in the market. 

85 percent of consumers find visual user-generated content more influential than brand photos or videos.

Here are some more interesting user-generated content statistics:

User-generated-content-statistics

Now that you are sure of its impact, how will you leverage this technique of word of mouth marketing? 

Let’s see how other brands are doing it.

For example, Crocs leverages user-generated content under the hashtag #comeasyouare grabbed eyeballs, and the campaign turned into a worldwide success. 

Crocs-user-generated-content

They encourage their customers to post their photos and videos on social media platforms wearing their products with the hashtag #comeasyouare. 

They also feature the images on their website and social media platforms. 

crocs-come-as-you-are-campaign

You don’t need a huge budget to carry this out.

Just follow through with these three simple steps:

  1. Create a unique hashtag to identify the content created by your customers. 
  2. Encourage your customers to share their photos, videos, and gifs on social media by offering rewards in the form of discount coupons and free gifts. 
  3. Showcase the user-generated content on your website as well as your social media channels. 
  4. Hugely popular brands may not need to use incentives to compel people to share the content. However, you have to incentivize this technique of word of mouth marketing.

2. Share Customer Testimonials And Reviews 

Customer testimonials and reviews assure your audience that your product is indeed worth spending money on. 

It also makes customers feel more comfortable and less cynical before closing the final deal. 

There’s a reason they call it social proof! 

There are so many ways to feature your testimonials and reviews.

You can share elaborate testimonials on your landing page like this:

social-proof

If you want to take your word of mouth marketing even a step further, then you can share case studies and add the link on your landing page.

 3. Feature Customer Ratings On Your Website 

How many of you purchase something from Amazon after you see the product’s customer rating?

It's well documented that most people consider star ratings before making the final purchase.

star-rating-system

Did you know that for every one-star increase in a Yelp rating means a 5 to 9% increase in revenue.

So, incorporate a star-rating system with actual customers reviews on your website’s landing page to encourage your audience to buy your product.

4. Offer An Incentive To Create A Referral Program

Nothing comes free in this world – not even customer referrals. 

To get referrals, you need to give your existing customers a reason to refer friends and family to you. It doesn’t have to anything too big, just something valuable to the receiver. 

Take Uber, for instance. They reward their customers with free rides if they refer their service to their friends. 

uber-referral-marketing

Also, notice that it is a two-way process. Uber is not only rewarding its existing customer but also their prospect. 

If statistics are anything to go by, 92% of respondents trusted referrals from people they knew.

This word of mouth marketing technique creates a referral chain. Say, for example, you will refer something to your friend, who in turn will refer to their friend, and so and so forth. 

Therefore, giving your customers appropriate rewards can skyrocket your word of mouth marketing which in turn will boost your business.

5. Leverage Influencers For Your Word Of Mouth Marketing

Do you know that 60% of consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review before purchasing a product or service

Please note that people don’t get influenced by just any post – the post and reviews have to come from an influencer in that niche.

It’s okay, no worries. Today, people are steadily leveraging influencers, who are like celebrities in their circle of followers.

Take a look at these statistics that account for the effectiveness of influencers:

influencer marketing

Word of mouth marketing from an influencer is extremely valuable.

However, identifying the right influencers is a challenge. You have to identify the relevant influencer who has some impact on your target audience.

6. Build A Social Community 

According to 72% of marketers, social media is helpful to develop loyal fans. 

Word of mouth marketing will only work if you develop a tight-knit community on social media. 

For starters, you need to assess where your target audience is. Do they primarily use Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook?

You should know the answer to this question. 

Once you identify where your target audience is, the next step is to build a social community. It can only be done if you engage your customers and prospects. 

Have a look at how Topshop keeps engaging their leads even after they turn into their customer:

Social-Engagement

Once you start interacting with your customers online, they will be more inclined to share your posts and products with their followers.

7. Provide The Best Customer Experience 

Word of mouth marketing is heavily dependant on customer experience. Even freebies and other rewards are secondary to the customer experience.

If you are elated after having an excellent experience with a brand, you are likely to share that experience with your social media friends.

For example, have a look at how this user shared her customer experience on her social media channel:

starbucks-word-of-mouth-marketing

This is a two-way sword.

Your excellent customer service can welcome a positive post from your customer’s.

On the other hand, if you don’t provide them with excellent customer service, it can also welcome their public ire. This can backfire on you and your brand.

So, make sure that every single customer you have is happy with your customer service. Every organic word of mouth endorsement is a plus point for the growth of your business.

Conclusion

Bottom line, if customers feel you are not focusing on them, they'll focus their attention on other vendors/brand instead. 

The best part about word of mouth marketing techniques is that they are free of cost. So, even a simple startup can leverage these tactics.

Spend time on building a tight-knit community of your target audience, and everything else will fall into place.

What is the best word of mouth marketing techniques that you have used to grow your business?

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