What is recommendation marketing?
Recommendation marketing includes harnessing what people are saying about a particular business. Recommendations are based on positive customer experiences that are shared with others in a wide variety of ways. Word of mouth is the most powerful way customers share their experience with a business. Customers also leave reviews online, as is the case with online directories, like Yelp, or on sales sites, like Amazon. Social media is also a powerful way people share their positive experiences with others, especially when videos or other content goes viral.
The marketing aspect of recommendation marketing involves harnessing what customers are saying about a brand to encourage others to give that brand a try.
Understand the reasons behind recommendations
The first step towards harnessing recommendation marketing includes understanding the reasons why customers like to make recommendations in the first place. The most popular reason to recommend a local business is because people want to share that they are reliable and professional.
Additional reasons why consumers recommend a local business include:
- Friendly and welcoming
- Unique or original experience
- Great offers and discounts
- Cheapest price
sIt’s also worth noting that although it’s the least likely reason for people recommend a business, some do simply because the business asked the customer to recommend them to their friends and family.
How to harness recommendation marketing
Because people are most likely to recommend businesses due to their reliability and professionalism, it’s also the best way for brands to increase their exposure through recommendations. Striving to provide an outstanding customer experience is a natural way to increase the number of referrals a business receives. Having great prices through the use of outstanding offers and discounts is also a great way to encourage word of mouth.
Asking customers to recommend a product or service can also be effective. The simplest way to do that is to ask customers at the counter if they would recommend the company to their friends and family. A more reliable way to harness recommendation marketing with this strategy is to encourage them to recommend the business by providing them with discounts or special deals for every person they refer.
Additional tips for getting more recommendations include:
- Understand Competitors: It is important to know what others are saying about the business, but it’s also important to know what they are saying about other businesses. By using social media monitoring tools to see what others are saying about similar businesses, a marketing strategy can be used to customize the customer experience for the target audience, increasing the likelihood of organic recommendations.
- Have a Sharable Story: Create a story that makes people want to shop with a specific brand, then make sure others can find that story easily. That includes having a quality website, engaging with online communities and creating experiences that align with that story.
- Have a Plan for Detractors: Every business deals with negative reviews and detractors. It’s important to have a plan to deal with them. Responding to negative online reviews with kind solutions is one of the best ways to turn negative reviews into positive reviews.
- Focus on Engagement: Spending too much time encouraging people to take action by making a purchase can actually have a negative effect on recommendations. Instead, recommendation marketing efforts should primarily be spent on informing, entertaining, and educating the target audience.
Social media is a huge way companies are utilizing recommendation marketing strategies. It’s estimated that 3.8 billion people use social media, so it’s a great way to connect with a target audience and encourage them to share their experience with others.
That includes creating pages on various social media sites to connect with customers and clients directly. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the big three, but depending on the business, other sites may be worth considering too. They include Pinterest, TikTok and LinkedIn.
Influencers can also provide businesses with a powerful way to increase exposure and sales through recommendations. They can recommend a product or service on their page, and with thousands or even tens of thousands of followers who trust their recommendations, a business can get their products and services seen by an audience that actually cares about what’s being offered.
Working with influencers on a recommendation marketing campaign must be done carefully. Although influencers are paid, it’s important to develop an authentic relationship. Most take their powers of influence seriously, which means they will only recommend a brand they themselves are passionate about.
Importance of recommendation marketing
Recommendation marketing can be difficult to harness and it can be difficult to predict, but it can have a huge impact on the success of a business.
Recommendations are the number one factor across all stages of the purchase cycle. That includes everything from initial awareness of a new brand to actually making a purchase. It’s the only marketing strategy that can boast such a claim. Others, like advertising, are only good for one or two stages, but not throughout every stage.
In addition, personal recommendations are the number one driver of purchase decisions, regardless of the product or service category being recommended. Those recommendations are especially effective when shared in a face-to-face interaction, but personal recommendations can also be made online. It’s why building meaningful relationships with influencers is so important.
Online reviews are also an important aspect of recommendation marketing. Nine in ten consumers consider online reviews an important consideration before making a purchase, and people who buy a product after viewing positive reviews are willing to spend almost a third more than they would with a business that has low reviews.