If someone were to ask you what is the most effective form of marketing, how would you respond? Would you reference a long-term SEO strategy? Social media marketing? A well-planned PPC campaign?
While all of those marketing channels have their place, research suggests that the number one most effective form of marketing is word of mouth marketing; in other words, referrals. How effective are referrals in driving business? According to one Nielsen survey, 92% of consumers value recommendations from friends, colleagues, and family above all other forms of advertising. Another study found that 64% of marketing executives believe that word of mouth marketing is the most effective channel to drive business growth.
Moreover, referrals come with several outstanding benefits, such as the following:
- Customer referrals cost absolutely nothing!
- Since you and the customer begin your relationship with a certain level of trust, pricing becomes less of an issue (e.g., you can charge more for your product or service).
- The closing ratio from referrals is almost always higher than other leads (a difference of approximately 40% from other sources).
- Sales from referrals are typically higher than other types of customer purchases.
What’s the point? To ensure sustainable growth for your company, it is important to leverage the power of referrals to your advantage. One major way to increase the quantity and effectiveness of referrals is to implement a complementary content marketing strategy. How can content marketing help drive your referrals? Read on to find out.
How Content Marketing Drives Referrals
Content marketing and word of mouth marketing fit together hand in glove. While there are many benefits that content marketing can yield, we’ll discuss 3 key factors that make it such a powerful driver for referrals.
1. Content Marketing Builds Trust
Research suggests that almost 81% of referrals will visit a company’s website before finalizing their purchase decision. Now, imagine that you are interested in learning more about a company’s product, and decide to visit their website. However, instead of finding the crisp, professional layout and valuable information that you were expecting, you discover that the company’s website has only a few blog posts from 5 years ago, and none of those articles even mention the product in which you are interested! In such a scenario, it is likely that your trust in the company would quickly erode.
The statistics show that buyers will promptly turn away from organizations that don’t have clear, up to date, high quality content. In fact, 44% of referrals will rule out purchasing from a company if they don’t clearly understand how the company can help fill their needs. Additionally, 25% of referred buyers will lose interest in a business that has poor quality content, or a lack of content in general.
On the other hand, up to date and well-written content will boost your company’s credibility in the eyes of referred consumers. When your website is full of high quality content, the message to your readers is clear: we are experts in the field, and we take our business seriously.
2. Content Marketing Provides a Better Customer Experience
High quality educational content that offers clear answers to specific consumer questions provides superior rapport for referrals. This content can be in the form of a step-by-step guide, a manual, a webinar, a thought-leadership piece, or a variety of other genres. The point is, content that fills the needs of referred consumers will lead to enhanced trust and increased satisfaction. In turn, referrals will be more likely to reach out to a company representative and, ultimately, make their initial purchase.
3. Content Marketing Helps Consumers Along the Buyer’s Journey
Another key way that content marketing supports word of mouth marketing is by seamlessly moving referrals through the sales funnel and toward their buyer journey’s final destination. How so?
In the majority of cases, content alone will not be able to solve a customer’s problems. However, content can help to clarify and define what those problems actually are, and provide one or more proposed solutions for the consumer’s consideration. Once the alternatives have been solidified in the customer’s mind, he or she will be much more likely to initiate contact with the business. Furthermore, the customer will have a more focused idea of the solution he or she requires, and will therefore be better prepared to close on the sale.
The beautiful thing about content marketing is that it can take many different forms, all of which can be equally valid marketing tools. For example, podcast marketing has seen a consistent increase in popularity for the past several years. As of May 2019, there are an estimated 700,000 unique podcasts on the market, and some 144 million listeners in the United States alone.
How effective is podcast marketing as a complement to referral advertising? Some idea of the power of podcast marketing can be gained by the following statistics:
- 61% of listeners are more likely to buy a product when it is advertised on a podcast
- 80% of podcast consumers listen to most or all of an episode
- By 2022, it is estimated that total advertising spend on podcasts will reach $1.6 billion
As a standalone marketing channel, the podcast is highly effective. However, when a referred consumer begins to investigate a company’s podcast(s) with a pre-existing level of trust, such effectiveness is multiplied many times over.
Partner with Blogcast to Increase Referrals
At Blogcast, we are experts at taking the content that our clients have already published, and converting that content into educational and engaging podcasts. This allows your content to enjoy an expanded reach by drawing in the consumer demographic that prefers audio content. It also provides an alternative medium of delivery for your content to engage with consumers.
Moreover, our professional writers and voice-over artists can enhance the appeal of your material to attract and entertain your listeners while keeping the core information in place. Our services can be a valuable driver for increased referrals in general, and higher close rates after referral engagement. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to us today.