Whether or not you’ve heard examples of word of mouth marketing (WOMM), chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of it. In fact, you’ve probably even done some yourself without even realizing it!
Word of mouth marketing, or peer to peer marketing as it’s also known, can be very effective. While it’s not always 100% in your control, there are things you can do to encourage your fans to talk to others about your music.
Today we’re going to look at what exactly WOMM is, the advantages and disadvantages of using this kind of marketing, and some ways in which you as a musician can encourage this promotional tactic among your fans.
What Is Word Of Mouth Marketing? Example Included
First of all, let’s look at what word of mouth marketing is. Simply put, it’s the genuine recommendation people give to their friends about your product or service. In this case, you and your music.
So for example, let’s say you’re performing a gig at one point next month. While you can and should use all the regular promotional channels to get the message out there about it, you should also encourage your current fans to tell their friends about your new gig to. After all, most likely each of your fans aren’t going to want to show up by themselves. They’ll need someone to go with, so it’d make sense for them to spread the word.
So they’ll tell their friend, hopefully one who hasn’t already heard of your up coming gig. This is word of mouth marketing; others naturally talking about you to their friends and people in their circles. It’s often unsolicited, although it can be encouraged by you for maximum effectiveness. More on that later.
For another example of a musician using word of mouth marketing, just look at how Beyoncé released her latest album. Of course, independent musicians won’t be able to use that exact same strategy, as she already has a huge fanbase. But it does give you an example of how powerful this tactic can be when used right.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages With Word Of Mouth Marketing?
Before I go into some ways in which you can encourage it, let’s look at some benefits of word of mouth marketing. There are a few main advantages & disadvantages, namely:
Some of the advantages include:
Genuine Peer To Peer Recommendations Are Powerful
Probably the biggest advantage of word of mouth marketing is how responsive people are to these recommendations. Think about it, what’s more likely to make you go to a show:
- A musician you’ve never heard of before telling you to come and see them at a venue you’ve never heard of, or
- A friend you know and trust who says they’ve found this great new musician who’s performing live this weekend and they’re going along.
You’re a lot more likely to go along to the second one right? After all, they’ve already been pre-approved by someone you know and trust, rather than another random musician fighting for your attention. And not only are they fighting other musicians for your attention, they’re fighting for it with other entertainers and TV programs etc as well.
Peer to peer marketing is super powerful when done right, and worth encouraging among your fans.
Low / No Cost
It’s generally free. As the whole point of WOMM is that fans spread the word for you, it doesn’t technically cost you anything for someone to go and have a conversation with their friends about you. You don’t have to pay for them to talk to their peers, and you don’t have to pay to reach those people outside your initial fanbase. While there could be indirect costs to encourage it (e.g. having a website and mailing list to message fans, although you should have these already), technically you could do it all for free.
So while word of mouth marketing can be very effective, there is one huge downside:
You can’t fully control it!
I’ll explain what I mean by this below, and also give you some things you can do to increase the chances people spread the word about you.
Yes you can encourage WOMM and suggest fans to recommend you to their friends, but you can’t make them do so. You telling more people to talk about you won’t necessarily make that happen (although it could do), and you throwing more money at encouraging it won’t definitely give you a noticeably bigger result. Again it can do, but it’s not guaranteed. It’s not like paid advertising where the more money you spend, the more people you’ll get in front of.
That said, there are things you can do to increase the chances of word of mouth marketing working for you. Let me explain.
How To Encourage Word Of Mouth Marketing
As I mentioned above, you can’t fully control word of mouth marketing. It’s impossible to move someone’s mouth, and make them tell their friends how great you are. That said, there are things you can do to encourage it. Some include:
People naturally like to talk about things they enjoy and which they feel their friends will also enjoy. Therefore, one of the key ways to encourage people to talk about you is by being a good quality and stand out musician. This can either be because you’re different from what’s already out there, or because you do what others are already doing but at a high level. If you’re just ok, you’re going to find it hard to get people talking about you.
Another way to encourage WOMM is to simply ask people to share what you do and talk about you. Sometimes people will be willing to do this, but they wouldn’t naturally think of doing it by themselves. Putting this thought in their mind will make it more likely they do, especially if you let them know it’s easy but will greatly help you out.
Encourage Online Message Spreading
While word out mouth promo is traditionally when people speak to each other face to face, it’s now also important to encourage people to talk about you over the internet. For example, things like social sharing pages from your website which they enjoy, or tweeting a page where people can see info on your latest gig.
Both of the above can be encouraged by adding social sharing buttons to your website, having a forwarding link in the emails you send out, and generally rewarding people who share your content. These make it easier for third parties to recommend you, and can be very effective.
So there you have it; what word of mouth marketing is, why it’s so useful, and some ways to encourage fans to talk about you and your music.
Is WOMM something you actively encourage with your audience? If not, is it something you’ll start to encourage after reading this? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this subject, you can leave them in the comments section below.