Collectively well-maintained web directories are increasingly getting the attention of Internet users as well as spurring Web users to express and exchange their opinions online.

Just a few years ago, the first approach here was to collect customer opinions and to provide reviews of products and services to other participants. However, times have changed and the aspect of communication as well as social networking in the tightly linked technology world is much more advanced today. Collectively maintained web directories like Weblogs, forums, video blogs or social bookmarking sites are increasingly sparking the interest of Internet users.

But much more interesting for companies is the use of the opinion of other consumers and what they think about the quality of products and services as the basis to influence their clients purchase decisions. Thus, most field reports in the internet are from forums, personal home pages, portals, or even weblogs. Moreover, a number of studies prove that nowadays purchasing decisions are influenced by traditional TV or print advertising less than 5%. Instead, the major influence is through a third party - by word of mouth in the form of personal recommendations or product recommendations from test reports.

The mechanisms of the so-called word of mouth advertising are from a business point of view really important as it is in general beyond a company’s direct control. In particular, negative opinions which tend to remain sometimes for years documented and commented on the Internet, have a greater impact on purchasing decisions than in the offline world in which emerging rumours or negative messages about products and services quickly fizzle out over time and thus fall into oblivion.

So I recommend your company to follow the guidelines below:

  1. Explore the possibilities and potentials of word of mouth marketing
  2. Weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of this approach for your company
  3. Identify the first quick wins for your company

By Daniela La Marca