In a world dominated by digital marketing, word of mouth marketing might seem old fashioned. But it’s still a super effective way of getting your farm business in front of customers and giving it staying power.
What is Word of Mouth Marketing?
Word of mouth marketing refers to marketing methods that get customers talking and sharing about your business with others, organically. It takes inspiration from the more traditional meaning of word of mouth, which is when ideas and information is passed from one person to another orally.
In short, organic word of mouth marketing is when your customers become your biggest champions for your farm and products. They will share your products and information about your farm without being prompted. This could include talking one-on-one to friends and family, sharing through social media posts, forwarding your farm’s emails or recipes on to friends and family, encouraging others to buy during a promotion or special offer, and other interactions, usually in person instead of digitally.
There are also ways to encourage word of mouth marketing with your customers, so they are more likely to sing your praises with their peers. Typically this will include triggers or prompts so your existing customers think about your farm and products on a regular basis.
These triggers can be in the form of underlying messages or reminders of your products or brand. For example, are there certain activities or rituals that your customers may do where you could start having them associate your products with?
- Meat-focused holidays, such as the Fourth of July/Independence Day, Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, New Years Eve, and even potentially Thanksgiving or Valentine’s Day
- Are there holidays related to your particular product?
- Weekly rituals, such as pizza night or a night out in with a nice dinner
- Weekend breakfast traditions
- Summer grilling
- Entertaining with friends and family
- Weekly meal planning
Then, think about messaging and how you can incorporate these themes into your marketing content with your emails, texts and social media posts. Often these messages may be more subtle on social media, but repetition helps increase association with your brand and an activity, event or habit.
Physically you can look for ways to remind your customers about your products as well with promotional items, such as branded cooking utensils, aprons, refrigerator magnets, meal planners, and other items.
More direct prompts for encouraging word of mouth marketing also includes directly asking your biggest fans and customers to help share your farm and customers with others. These can be paired with incentives, but are not always necessary. This might include:
- Gathering reviews of your farm business from customers via your Google business profile
- Asking for customers to share photos enjoying their favorite dish with your products
- Interacting with customers and encouraging engagement
- Hosting giveaways (which typically have better long term ROI to build an email list or text list vs social media followers)
- Referral programs where your customers earn free or discounted products for referral purchases of product or sign ups for your most important sales programs, such as bulk sales or subscription programs
In many cases where you do get feedback, such as reviews or user generated content (submitted photos or social media posts), ask your customers if you can share their feedback, photos or posts with your community. In corporate these feedback into your regular emails and on your website.
Why Does it Work?
Word of mouth marketing works because it feels less “sales-y” and builds excitement and momentum around your business naturally. It also creates a chain effect between customers where they will continue to pass on information surrounding your business throughout their network. People will make purchases from brands or products they know others trust, especially when recommended by people they know.
Word of mouth marketing is also typically pretty cost-effective, mostly just requiring a small investment of your time. It’s likely that you’re already implementing some aspects of word of mouth marketing already.
How Can I Use Word of Mouth Marketing With Digital Marketing?
There are several ways you can incorporate word of mouth marketing into your existing digital marketing strategy.
One method is maintaining a blog on your farm website. Keeping the blog updated with shareable posts, like recipes, will help continue to spark interest with content that is readily digestible (no pun intended) and easy to disseminate to a larger audience. As we discussed in knowing your ideal customer, it’s still important to understand what your customers tend to gravitate towards so that you can better cater your blog to their needs.
Collecting and sharing testimonials from your customers on social media, or asking them to leave online reviews, is another great option to effectively spread the word about your farm business.
You can also try hosting a giveaway where participants enter by sharing about your business with their friends and family via email, social media, etc.
Influencer marketing is another way to implement word of mouth marketing in the digital space. Though this option does typically come with some kind of upfront cost, it’s a good way to get people talking outside of your immediate circle of customers.