Word of Mouth | Speak, Search, Click, Repeat
While you’re waiting it out for that Malcolm Gladwell ‘Tipping Point’ moment to happen for your business or brand, you probably do what so many businesses do – rely either a little, or a lot, on ‘word of mouth’. Word of mouth is, unquestionably, hugely important for any business. A good recommendation from a trusted source gives us, as customers, added confidence in our decisions and can often be the difference between the final choice and the also-rans.
However, word of mouth should not be seen as an alternative to putting your business online. Instead it should be seen as synergetic with putting your business online! Here’s a quick look at why.
It’s well known in the web design & development community that one reason for delaying (sometimes interminably so) the decision to put a business online is that many business owners don’t see how being online will add any value. This is often countered with the stock, and somewhat lazy response from web designers, that ‘it won’t hurt’. An argument like that belongs in the hackneyed ‘if you build it, they ‘might’ come’ school of thinking.
At Whitespider, we just don’t think that’s a good enough reason for businesses to take the time, spend the money and invest resources in putting their business online and then maintain that online presence.
Depending on who you read, Irish businesses are amongst the least represented online in Europe, with “only 66% of Irish businesses having a website” and only 21% having e-commerce, or put another way, 21,294 of the total population of businesses in Ireland are “without a website of any form”. These business owners remain unconvinced!
Survey after survey has shown the same reasons are given , time and again, for remaining offline. Chief amongst these is a perception that it is too expensive, or that the prospect of online marketing is too scary and that it is too time consuming maintaining a website effectively. This last point isn’t so easy to debunk when insider experts are more or less saying the same thing.
Business owners will reason – and rightly so – that word of mouth is still a massive driver in terms of new customers. However, if your a fan of facts and figures supporting statements like that, you might despair: generally speaking, businesses are unable to place a value on the ‘worth of mouth’.
Likewise businesses generally don’t realise that word of mouth combined with even a basic online presence is exponentially better than either one on its own.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take our word for it. Google (the ‘horse’ in this case), along with The Keller Fay Group conducted a study on the relationship between Word of Mouth and the Internet. Among many of the very interesting things that they were able to conclude was that the Internet is now the number one provider of brand information before, during and after conversations. Number one, that is, ahead of even television, the erstwhile king of brand information provision.
As if that wasn’t enough, they also found that during and after a conversation, web searches are the number one initiator of new leads. Not telephone calls, or emails, but a search for the online presence of the brand occupying the current, or immediately prior conversation.
But enough from us. Let’s have it straight from the horse’s mouth in the form of a very digestible presentation on the subject. Keller Fay and Google have combined to put this all together, so just hit the download link below and see for yourself what word of mouth and the internet means for brands and businesses these days.