Word-of-mouth (WOM) is an incredibly powerful marketing strategy that has stood the test of time. The truth is, you can speak highly about your business all you want, but when people do, it’s a whole different story! Word-of-mouth marketing goes beyond simple advertising; it involves leaving a lasting impression on customers that makes them excited to recommend your restaurant or any other business to others. The power of word-of-mouth marketing comes from the foundation of trust and loyalty, where unbiased individuals willingly speak highly of your business, helping it reach new levels of success.
Today, online reviews play a massive role in WOM in a world run by social media. A study by Canvas8 and Trustpilot found that 90% of consumers read product reviews before making a purchase decision.
In this article, we will explore how you can reap the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing and leverage online reviews, in particular, to help your restaurant grow and thrive.
How to Amplify Your Word-of-Mouth Marketing?
Authentic marketing through word of mouth happens naturally when people recommend your business to their friends and family. On the other hand, Amplified WOM is when a business takes existing WOM content and reviews and turns them into a marketing campaign so that more potential customers see it.
How can you do that?
1- Build reputation and credibility
Customer reviews are the modern form of WOM marketing. Consumers read 7 reviews on average before trusting a business, and according to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 46% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So here’s what you need to do:
First, set up feedback channels to collect reviews through Yelp, emails, Google, TripAdvisor, and other restaurant-specific sites.
How to get customers to leave reviews?
Second, find ways to incentivize customers to leave positive reviews. For instance, you can offer discounts, prizes, or loyalty points to whoever leaves a review.
Third, display positive reviews prominently on your website or social media platform to build trust and establish your restaurant’s reputation.
2- Encourage user-generated content
Social media users tend to trust user-generated content (UGC) more than branded content. UGC is very influential as it establishes social proof, meaning that something becomes more desirable due to others liking it.
To incentivize people to post content about your restaurant, repost their content on your platforms and host giveaways for people who post pictures, stories, or videos with a specific hashtag. Moreover, you can encourage customers who are subscribed to your loyalty program to post about your restaurant by offering points and discounts to those who engage.
3- Get influencers to talk about you
This is probably the most adopted word-of-mouth marketing strategy of our day. Social media influencers play an important role in advertising for brands and businesses. While this strategy can be costly, it has proven to be very effective in bringing in new customers.
A recent study by Sideqik found that 7 out of 10 consumers trust influencers’ recommendations just as much as the opinion of real-world friends. However, it is important that you choose credible influencers that you know have a loyal fan base. Don’t overlook this aspect so you don’t lose money in the process.
Moreover, Ensure that your food and service are top-notch when they visit and encourage them to give honest reviews so they don’t seem rehearsed or forced.
4- Create an official referral program
You have heard of brands using referral programs to help boost their sales, but did you know that restaurants can also use this amazing tool?
By implementing a referral program, you empower your delighted customers to not only spread the word about your business but also receive compensation for their efforts. For instance, you can provide each participant with a unique code, which they can share with friends and family. When a new customer utilizes this code at your restaurant, the code provider and the first-time visitor are rewarded with an exclusive discount or valuable points they can use whenever they prefer.
This strategy will help get the word out about your restaurant while still providing an incentive for your existing customers.
Speaking of referral programs, join Foodics’ Referral Partner Program today and put your favorite restaurants on the map.
5- Drive local discovery
People often rely on search engines to decide their dining destination. Therefore, improving your restaurant’s visibility is monumental. It is known that customer reviews can significantly impact local search ratings, so encourage customers to leave reviews and mention the location of your restaurant. It also helps to make it easier for customers to leave reviews by providing links or instructions on your website, receipts, or follow-up emails. Doing so increases the chances of local diners finding your restaurant and hopefully becoming loyal customers.
6- Respond to reviews and feedback
Showing your customers that you care can help you establish the trust you need to get your customers talking about you. Responding to your customer’s reviews, feedback, and concerns is one way to do that. Engage with customers who leave positive and negative reviews to show that you value their opinions. Don’t ignore negative feedback; people read those first! Make sure you respond in a respectful and professional tone and ensure providing a solution to the issue at hand.
Check out this article for examples of customer review responses!
7- Excel in what you do
Last but certainly not least, the crucial element for thriving word-of-mouth marketing is delivering exceptional food quality and service to your customers. Even if you diligently follow all the steps mentioned above, your efforts will be in vain if you neglect to do the necessary work. Prioritize impeccable customer service by streamlining your operations, reducing wait time, and providing a charming ambiance your guests would want to post about.
Our Foodics All-In-One POS Solution helps you run your operations seamlessly with fewer bumps in the road. So if you’re looking for a POS system that will not fail you while trying to impress your guests, we’ve got the solution you need!
Word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most effective ways to get people through your doors. Whether that happens naturally, thanks to your restaurant’s excellence, or with a push from your side to build your restaurant’s reputation, the WOM marketing strategy can get you to the top. Encourage customers’ reviews as much as possible and be vigilant in providing outstanding customer service and food. In a world where everyone has something to say, give them something to talk about!