Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Power Your Learning Business with Referrals and Reviews

Explore the power of word-of-mouth marketing to fuel learning business growth and amplify brand reach with minimal expenditure, leveraging trust and customer loyalty.

What you'll learn in this article:

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Imagine unlocking the secret to driving your business growth with minimal marketing expenditure, and amplifying your brand’s reach through the power of personal recommendations.

Welcome to the world of word-of-mouth marketing, a potent tool that harnesses trust and customer loyalty to boost sales and propel your business to new heights.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to maximize the power of word-of-mouth marketing through strategies such as exceeding customer expectations, leveraging social channels, creating shareable content, and harnessing online reviews.

What we'll learn together:

  • Discover the growth loop in learning businesses and its 4 key factors.
  • Leverage strategies to boost your word-of-mouth marketing such as social channels, create shareable content, encourage customer feedback & manage online reputation for successful campaigns.
  • Turn loyal customers into brand advocates through incentives & personalized service.

The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is an invaluable strategy that relies on trust and personal endorsements from existing customers. It generates learning business without requiring additional marketing expenditures, as customers share their experiences on review sites and social media platforms.

Word-of-mouth marketing encompasses:

  • Buzz marketing
  • Viral marketing
  • Blog marketing
  • Emotional marketing
  • Social media marketing

This makes it a versatile tool for driving sales, enhancing brand recognition, and fostering customer loyalty by promoting the company’s products. Businesses, particularly learning businesses, can greatly benefit from word-of-mouth marketing as it allows them to:

  • Reach their target audience effectively
  • Build trust and credibility
  • Generate positive buzz and excitement
  • Increase brand awareness and visibility
  • Drive customer loyalty and repeat business

As people trust personal recommendations more than traditional advertising, word-of-mouth marketing has a significant impact on consumers’ purchase decisions.

The Growth Loop Framework in Learning Business

Word-of-mouth marketing, an incredibly powerful marketing strategy, bears a resemblance to a marketing funnel approach known as growth loops. In this portion of our guide, we'll delve into the application of growth loops in learning businesses.

This is a strategy that successful learning businesses use to significantly boost their profits with less effort. The quality of their offerings is so high that their students and alumni become their best salespeople.

The growth loops in learning businesses typically begin with high learner engagement, leading to successful learning experiences, resulting in a high Net Promoter Score (NPS), and finally, referrals.

Illustration of growth loops in learning business

High Level of Learner Involvement

If students are actively participating, it indicates that your educational products are successfully delivering the intended learning outcomes. It signifies that they have met their learning aspirations and that your educational services have effectively elevated their skills from novice to proficient.

Active participation is a clear sign of engagement, the cornerstone of effective learning. It means that the learners are not just passively absorbing information, but are actively involved in the learning process, applying what they've learned, asking questions, and contributing to discussions. This kind of involvement fosters a deeper understanding and retention of the material, leading to better learning outcomes.

Read more on how to effectively track the learner engagement of your learning business.

Successful Learning Experiences

Successful learning experiences are hard to achieve when the learning is passive and learners aren't participating well. It means that learners aren't investing their attention to your content, courses, and activities. A successful learning experience is a lot of work, however, when you discover the secret recipe for success, then you are starting to create your growth loop. In short, there's no way but scale!

personalized and seamless learning experiences

Expanding on this, it's important to note that successful learning experiences are not just about the content. It's about creating an environment that encourages active participation, fosters curiosity, and promotes critical thinking.

In essence, successful learning experiences are about putting learners at the center of the learning process, empowering them to take charge of their own learning, and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed not just in the course, but also in their future endeavors.

Net Promoter Score: A Crucial Measure of Customer Satisfaction

A net promoter score, often abbreviated as NPS, is a commonly used metric by educators to measure how likely students are to recommend their educational products to others. This score offers a clear and quantifiable way to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty, giving learning businesses a clear insight into their performance from the customers' perspective.

What is Net Promoter Score? - mTab

By creating automatic feedback in Disco for every session, event, and activity, you're likely to get a chance to see how much your students love your courses, and if they are the "promoter" type. This continuous feedback loop allows for real-time adjustments and improvements, ensuring that your courses always meet or exceed your students' expectations.

Disco's feedback reports

By regularly measuring and tracking your NPS, you can identify trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and ultimately, enhance your students' learning experience. Remember, a high NPS score is a strong indicator of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and - most importantly - growth potential.

The Power of Referrals

As soon as you have a handful of "promoters" in your classes, which is a sign of a high NPS score, the likelihood of your business being referred to others increases significantly. This is a golden moment to incentivize them by establishing a referral program. Typically, this program is designed for alumni, influencers, and field experts who are potential promoters of your business.

Once this is set up, voila! There's a high probability that people you've never met will start talking about your business, visiting your website, and subscribing to your plans. Through word-of-mouth marketing, you're indirectly encouraging your students and alumni to promote your courses and invite others to enroll. This is how you optimize sales and create a growth loop.

Read more on how to build a successful learning program.

3 Key Strategies for Boosting Word-of-Mouth Marketing

One of the most effective ways to promote word-of-mouth marketing and increase sales is to provide customers with an incentive to share their experiences, such as surpassing expectations or offering exclusive knowledge or information about a product. Additional tactics include providing customers with different avenues to disseminate information concerning your company’s products and services and delivering superior customer service.

In persuading potential customers to opt-in for a freebie or purchase a product, every element of your marketing, from testimonials to data points, should reinforce the argument being made.

Addressing genuine objections with testimonials and strategically placing them within the context of your marketing can leverage social proof and enhance the effectiveness of your word-of-mouth marketing campaigns.

Strategy #1: Exceeding Customer Expectations

To boost word-of-mouth marketing, focus on exceeding customer expectations in every interaction. Surpassing customer expectations can result in positive word-of-mouth, as satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your business to others. When you go beyond what is expected to fulfill their needs and provide superior service, customers become promoters for your brand, conveying their positive experiences to acquaintances, relatives, and coworkers.

Some specific methods to exceed customer expectations in the context of learning businesses include:

  • Focusing on quality first and speed second
  • Connecting with customers on a personal level
  • Going the extra mile to provide exceptional service
  • Creating personalized and contextualized engagement
  • Admitting mistakes, apologizing, and fixing them promptly
  • Surprising customers by going above and beyond
  • Taking customer interactions beyond the sale
  • Providing opportunities for self-service
  • Approaching each interaction with empathy

Understanding and addressing customers’ needs and desires allows businesses to:

  • Identify key moments in the customer journey that evoke emotion and generate lasting memories
  • Create memorable experiences that can lead to increased referrals and positive word-of-mouth
  • Enable your business to grow and thrive

Strategy #2: Leveraging Social Channels

Social media channels are potent allies in your word-of-mouth marketing strategies, sparking conversations and endorsements about your business.

Encouraging customers to share their experiences on social media can be achieved in several ways:

  • One of these is offering social rewards. This can be anything from discounts to early access to new products or services.
  • Another strategy is to produce shareable content. This could be anything from infographics to blog posts, videos, or podcasts that are informative, engaging, and easy to share across various platforms.
  • Requesting user-generated content is another viable strategy. This can be as simple as asking customers to share a photo of them using your product or service, or it could involve more complex campaigns like video contests or storytelling initiatives.

Highlighting success stories is another effective way to encourage customers to share their experiences. This could involve showcasing case studies or testimonials from satisfied customers, or sharing stories about how your product or service has made a difference in people's lives.

Finally, engaging with customers on social media can help to encourage them to share their experiences. This could involve responding to comments, participating in discussions, or even hosting live Q&A sessions or webinars.

Strategy #3: Creating Shareable Content

Creating content that is engaging, informative, and shareable is pivotal for encouraging customers to spread the word about your services. The kind of content that tends to be shared more often is one that is entertaining, useful, inspirational, timely, thought-provoking, relatable, and visually appealing.

In order to create content that is more likely to be shared, learning businesses can employ storytelling techniques. This involves understanding the needs and requirements of their target audience, using humor and personal anecdotes to capture attention, and constructing narratives that evoke emotions.

Harnessing the Power of Online Reviews

Online reviews play a crucial role in word-of-mouth marketing, as they enable businesses to gain insights into customers’ views on their products and services, as well as foster relationships and cultivate a favorable brand image.

Even a single unfavorable review can discourage a prospective customer, so it is essential to solicit customer feedback and maintain your online reputation to maximize the impact of online reviews.

Utilizing customer reviews and testimonials allows businesses to gain insight into their audience’s needs, demonstrate the value they offer to potential customers, and create an optimal experience for all their customers. It is important to both acknowledge and address any issues that arise in online reviews, as engaging with customer feedback can give your business a competitive edge.

Encourage Customers Feedback

A critical component of word-of-mouth marketing is actively seeking customer feedback through various channels, such as email, social media, and in-person conversations.

By engaging with customers and addressing their concerns, learning businesses can demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction and build trust with their audience, leading to increased word-of-mouth referrals and a stronger online reputation.

Strategically incorporating positive reviews into landing pages can optimize the impact of word-of-mouth marketing on learning businesses. Learner stories that emphasize future success should be positioned near a call to action, as this can lead to more personal recommendations and increased word-of-mouth marketing.

The most effective ways to solicit customer feedback through email include:

  • Sending a follow-up email
  • Utilizing open-ended questions
  • Ensuring the email subject is clear
  • Outlining how feedback will benefit the customer
  • Keeping the email brief
  • Being specific and courteous
  • Utilizing automated surveys or feedback management software
  • Employing a simple design
  • Personalizing the email
  • Expressing appreciation for feedback

Employing these marketing techniques can help businesses maximize the efficacy of their word-of-mouth endeavors.

Managing Your Online Reputation

Keeping a close eye on and actively responding to online reviews, both complimentary and critical, is crucial for maintaining a robust online reputation and giving your business a competitive advantage. Regularly monitoring your learning business' reviews on platforms like Google Search can give you an insight into the reviews you're ranking for and what prospective customers are seeing.

Promptly addressing customer concerns and issues in online reviews can lead to a positive impact on your business’s reputation, as 55% of consumers react positively when they see a business owner responding to a review.

Maintaining a positive online reputation necessitates regular monitoring of online conversations about your business. It's crucial to address any issues that arise promptly and effectively. Engaging with customer reviews is a key part of this process, as it demonstrates to your audience that you value their feedback.

How to Turn Loyal Customers into Brand Advocates

Incentivizing referrals and building strong relationships with customers can turn them into brand advocates. Focusing on outstanding customer service and providing incentives for referrals can help businesses expand their customer base and foster loyalty, while customers can enjoy the benefits of their referrals.

Businesses can maximize the impact of their word-of-mouth marketing campaigns by:

  • Identifying potential brand advocates
  • Utilizing available resources and tools
  • Distributing personalized messages to customers and prospects regarding promotions or referral programs
  • Utilizing email newsletters to keep contacts informed of new products and services

These strategies can help businesses turn loyal customers into brand advocates, benefiting both the company and other customers.

Incentivizing Referrals through Disco's Automated Payment Collection

An effective approach to incentivizing referrals for word-of-mouth marketing is to offer rewards, discounts, or exclusive benefits to customers who refer others to your business. When designing a referral program, it is essential to ensure that the incentives are sufficiently attractive to incentivize customers and foster loyalty.

Take a look at how to create referral codes on Disco!

Incentives such as discount codes, free products, gift cards, loyalty program points, and exclusive offers can be offered in exchange for referrals. The key consideration when designing a referral program is to ensure that it is an essential part of the customer journey and included in all customer touchpoints, from website menus to the checkout page.

Building Strong and Authentic Relationships

Turning loyal customers into brand advocates requires cultivating long-lasting relationships with customers through excellent customer service and personalized interactions.

Personalized customer service can strengthen customer relationships by encouraging loyalty, improving satisfaction, and creating deeper connections, as it allows businesses to customize experiences to individual needs, making customers feel appreciated and heard.

Robust customer relationships have a significant effect on word-of-mouth marketing, as customers with strong bonds to a brand are more likely to advocate for it to others. This organic word-of-mouth marketing can assist in acquiring new customers and constructing a strong reputation for your business, ultimately leading to increased sales and business growth.

Supercharge Your Learning Community

A step-by-step guide to build and grow a thriving learning community.

The Learning Community Playbook by Disco


In conclusion, word-of-mouth marketing is an invaluable tool for learning businesses to drive growth and enhance brand recognition by harnessing the power of personal recommendations.

By exceeding customer expectations, leveraging social channels, creating shareable content, harnessing online reviews, and turning loyal customers into brand advocates, learning businesses can amplify the impact of word-of-mouth marketing and propel their business to new heights.

Remember, the key to success lies in cultivating strong relationships with your customers and consistently delivering exceptional experiences that leave a lasting impression.

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