Word of Mouth Marketing? Trust But Verify…

Many small businesses don’t advertise at all – they rely on word of mouth advertising. But more and more people are turning to the Internet to verify recommendations from even friends and family.

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Where Do Moms Go For Advice Online?) many women get product recommendations from mom bloggers online.

According to  new research from Cone consumers are even turning to the web to investigate product recommendations from family and friends.

Before deciding whether to purchase recommended products or services, more than four-out-of-five consumers (81%) will go online to verify those recommendations, specifically through
researching product/service information (61%), reading user reviews (55%) or searching ratings websites (43%).

Of those who go online to check out a product’s reputation, 77% say that they are more likely to purchase products or services when they can find additional recommendations about them.

And these aren’t just high-cost products, either. While 82% go online to check out cars, 72% will check out recommendations for a movie or a restaurant on the web and the numbers are even higher for the 25-34 age group.

What they find there, either good or bad, highly influences their decision on whether to purchase.

What this means for small business is that, just like the big guys, you need to get your product or service to social networks, bloggers, review sites, etc. prior to a major advertising campaign so potential buyers have someone else’s word for it rather than your own.