Last time I gave you a laundry list of tips and tricks you can use to make your word of mouth program work for you. Hopefully you’ve taken a look and decided which ones are the best fit for your company, products, services and target customers, so you can put them to work in your word of mouth campaign.
We are going to wrap up this series on word of mouth where we give you the specific steps to create a word of mouth campaign.
Now, let’s take a look at those steps:
- Seed the market. Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers.
- Provide a channel for the influencers to talk and get all fired up about your product.
- Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
- Form an ongoing group that meets once a year in a resort and once a month by teleconference.
- Create fun events to bring users together and invite non-users. Saturn, Harley-Davidson, and Lexus have all been successful with this approach.
- Develop cassettes, videotapes, and clips on your Web site featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other enthusiastic customers.
- Create custom CDs for each potential customer.
- Hold seminars and workshops.
- Create a club with membership benefits.
- Pass out flyers.
- Tell friends.
- Offer special incentives and discounts for friends who tell their friends.
- Put the Internet to work.
- Do at least one outrageous thing to generate word of mouth.
- Empower employees to go the extra mile.
- Encourage networking and brainstorm ideas.
- Run special sales.
- Encourage referrals with the use of a strong referral program.
- Use a script to tell people exactly what to say in their word of mouth communication.
These are all amazing ways you can get the word out about your products and services and start a word of mouth campaign that takes on a life of its own. Before you can release your word of mouth campaign out into the world, you need to go through the checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the essentials.
Here’s your word of mouth campaign checklist:
- Are all of your communications sending the same simple message? If it can’t survive word of mouth, it’s not a compelling story.
- Is your product positioned as part of a category? Ex.”A dandruff shampoo that doesn’t dry your hair.”
- Are your examples outrageous enough to be shared?
- Do you enhance your materials with success stories from real people?
- Are you using experts effectively and in an objective manner?
- Have you created mechanisms so people can follow up on the word of mouth they hear, as well as simple ways of inquiring or ordering?
- Have you made the decision process easy for customers?
- Have you created events and mechanisms so that once a year your prospects hear about your product, and it is easier to try or buy?
These are all essential elements to take keep in mind when taking a second or even third check over your word of mouth campaigns. I hope you’ve found this series on word of mouth to be a great resource and are getting ready to put it into action for your own products and services.
Remember, if you need help with anything in this series, try our GUIDED TOUR to gain access to the best resources, tools and business coaches you can find.
Today we’re going to talk about how to harness the power of word of mouth. Including the six-step process to success and the 30 (that’s right, I said 30) ways to harass the power of WOM. So, let’s get started!
There are six steps to harassing word of mouth:
- Understand your customers’ values and priorities, this will help you understand why they would buy your products.
- Understand the different adopter types: innovators, early adopters, middle majority, late adopters and laggards.
- Identify which decision stages are needed for your product to be adopted.
- Use the information from steps 2 & 3 to figure out which wording and word of mouth tactics are going to work using the Decision Maker Matrix (we’ll talk about this in a minute).
- Put together the resources for the highest word of mouth impact.
- Create and implement your word of mouth campaign.
The Decision Maker Matrix is based off years of trial and error by George Silverman. It essentially charts to different concerns you may come across when working with different adopters and putting together a decision process for each one.
We are now going to move on to the 30 ways to harass the power of WOM:
Experts can come in many forms and all their opinions should be taken into consideration when putting together a WOM campaign. Some experts to gather information from include:
- Experts’ roundtables
- Experts’ selling groups
Seminars, Workshops & Speeches
These venues are a perfect opportunity to gather information. People who attend these types of events are used to giving feedback, so you can use a survey or other method to gather information you can look over later. Some events to use are:
- Speakers program
- Group selling
- Dinner meetings
- Peer selling groups
- Teleconferenced experts’ panels
- Trade show events/opportunities
“Canned” Word of Mouth
The concept of “canned” word of mouth is using hard and online products to get feedback and offer information at the same time. Some ideas for these are:
- World Wide Web
As we’ve talked about before a referral program can help with a variety of things in building your business. By using some of the following tactics and opportunities you can find out exactly what you need to do to generate positive word of mouth. These tactics and opportunities are:
- Referral Selling Program
The concept of “new” media is the use of up and coming media sources and opportunities to get the word out about your products and services and listen for the feedback about them. Here’s some of the “new” media options:
- Faxback services
- Web-based word of mouth, such as forums, e-mail, etc.
- Call centers
Using Traditional Media for Word of Mouth
Using traditional media is a great way to get feedback. These are still considered mainstream ways of interacting with the public and consumers. Some traditional media outlets are:
- Customer service
- Word of mouth in ads, sales brochures, or direct mail
- Salesperson programs, sales stars, or peer training,
- Word-of-mouth incentive programs (“Tell-a-friend” programs)
- Customer gifts they can share with their friends (articles, how-to manuals)
Internal Word of Mouth
- Encourage employee word of mouth and sharing feedback with family, friends and others
- Offer rewards or commission for word of mouth success
As you can see there are tons of ideas you can work with to increase your level of positive word of mouth marketing. If you need help with any of this, please try our GUIDED TOUR to access our exclusive resources that can help you put this whole thing together.
Last time we talked about the second part of word of mouth tactics which help you put together a system to help shorten the purchasing decision time of your customers which can increase your profits immensely.
Today we’re going to talk about the nine levels of word of mouth which gives you a tool to measure the word of mouth circulating around your company, products and services. You can then see where you are getting negative or weak word of mouth and find ways to correct it.
So, launching into the nine levels of word of mouth-it should seem relatively obvious that the negative levels are, well, negative and the positive levels are positive.
This is the worst of the worst and means your product is creating a scandal. Remember, when the popular over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol, were deemed unsafe? Yea, you won’t want that kind of word of mouth.
Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you.
While, not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you, they will give a negative response.
At this level, people are mildly dissatisfied and while not outwardly talking about it, they will have an opinion if asked. Now they may purchase from you despite their negative feelings, this can be a little confusing.
This is sort of a neutral place to be. Customers are using your products, but don’t really talk about it. People rarely ask them about it, so they aren’t sharing their opinion with others. This can be a bit of a slippery slope, because you don’t want to turn that neutral experience into a negative one. In fact, you should work to make it a positive one.
At this level we are finally starting to work our way into the positive word of mouth about you company, products and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products, but unless asked, don’t really say anything about them.
When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products.
Customers will go out of their way to talk about your products, services, company and their shopping experience with you. This is most evident when you see how people recommend movies to their friends and family.
Your product is the toast of the town. There is an obvious buzz going around and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your great products and services, but they are talking about their shopping experience, your customer service and how they perceive the company to help them in the future.
Some great examples of Plus 4 companies are:
- Harley Davidson
- Saturn Cars
- Apple Computers
- Celestial Teas
We’re going to leave this lesson for you to mull over and take a look at what kind of word of mouth you are generating. If you need help with this process, try our GUIDED TOUR to get help from our experienced business coaches.
Next time we’re going to talk about the 30 ways to harness the power of word of mouth.
Over the last few posts we talked about how to multiply the resources that you’ve worked hard to maximize. So far we’ve covered:
- Call in the Troops
- Bring ‘Em Out of the Woodwork
- Black Sheep Clients
- Olympic-Size Sales Staff
- Open Water Fishing
- Call for Back-Up
Today we’ll cover the next three:
- Go Big Online
- Bartering with the Best
- Give Away the Farm
Go Big Online
There are businesses who solely operate online, there are those with only physical addresses and there are those who do both. Those who do both are by far more successful than the previous two. When you take the time to establish an online presence you open up your business to the entire world, through a few clicks of the mouse.
To successfully sell products online, you need to:
- Offer high-quality products/services that people want.
- Build an attractive, effective website that’s user-friendly.
- Generate high-quality traffic at a low cost.
- With all of these things in place you can find success with you online exposure.
Bartering with the Best
If you’ve ever gone to a yard sale and paid the sticker price, then you need to up your bartering game. Everything is negotiable and you need to take the time to barter with your suppliers. Companies are always open to bartering and when all is said and done you could find yourself saving significantly on the things your business needs to operate smoothly.
Give Away the Farm
Ok, so not literally, but you have to be willing to stay in contact with prospective clients and offer them products and services they are going to need. You don’t know what they need until you offer them everything you’ve got then work with them to put together the perfect package the fit their needs.
When you take the time to put yourself at the front of their minds, they are more likely to work with you going forward. You can do this by offering free newsletters, a free consulting session or other valuable tool.
This wraps up these three areas of multiplying on the resources you’ve maximized. If you’re not sure where to start or are feeling a bit overwhelmed, try our GUIDED TOUR to work with one of our amazing business coaches who can help you navigate these peaceful waters.
Next time we’ll finish up this series with the last three ways to multiply your maximized resources. We’ll cover:
- Finding Your Pot of Gold
- Stay at the Top of Your Game
- Wealth from the Inside Out
We’re going to go through the 5 essential keys to a successful and reusable marketing campaign launch. Once you have these basics down, you can use them over and over again.
The 5 essential keys are:
- Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
- Put an effective sales offer to work
- Avoid the marketing pitfalls
- Use a world-class marketing perspective
- Get results!
We’ll go through each one of these, so you can see exactly how to use them and how they all affect the overall outcome of your marketing campaign.
Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Take the time to ask yourself some questions from the prospective of the customers/clients. What would it take to get your attention? What needs do you have that need to be met? What are the promises you want fulfilled?
Once you know the answers to these questions you can start putting together a plan to meet these needs. Then take a look at what USP your competitors are using to help you develop your own USP. Your USP is what you are “promising” your customers/clients. This is what’s going to set you apart from your competition.
Put an effective sales offer to work
To develop an effective sales plan, you need to:
- Put together a headline that gets immediate attention.
- Share benefits of your products/services speaking from the customers’ perspective.
- Identify the specific needs met by your products/services.
- Make it easy to do business with you by offer guarantees.
- Share your specific sales proposition.
- Walk your customers/clients through how they should respond and act.
- Motivate with a call to action.
What this all means is, you need to put together what makes your products/services special and compel customers to buy. If they don’t feel like they NEED your product, they won’t buy. You need to answer a question, solve a problem or feed an obsession.
You need to provide them with all the information they need to make an informed and confident decision. Buyer’s remorse is one of the worst things that can happen.
Avoid the marketing pitfalls
There are 5 major marketing pitfalls many businesses fall into and you should avoid:
- Ignore market testing and push on with an inaccurate plan.
- Offer an incomplete case, or reasons, throughout their marketing plan.
- Fail to notice the needs of their prospective customers/clients.
- Fail to diversify their marketing options.
- Fail to get market opinions on their offers.
These are all areas to avoid. If you’ve been working through these lessons, avoiding these pitfalls should be easy and natural.
Use a world-class marketing perspective
World-Class marketing perspective is important, especially if you want to attract customers/clients from all over the world. You can do this a number of different techniques and activities:
- Keep a marketing journal and scribble down anything innovate you see.
- Keep encouraging your marketing department, or yourself, to try new things and dump the ones that aren’t working.
- Order from your own company under a different name and analyze the process of ordering, shipping, online store, customer service and the product itself. This will show you where the areas for improvement in the customer experience.
- Read every quality ad you can find and keep a file for future ideas to consider.
- When out in public, watch how consumers behave in different situations and how they consider their purchases.
- Step down a notch or two and work on the front lines with your sales and customer service staff.
- Continuously acknowledge your staff, vendors and customers. Everyone works and shops better when they feel appreciated.
- Always listen to feedback from employees and customers.
- Continuously test markets, ads, and marketing techniques. This is the only way to stay successful and know what’s working and, more importantly, what’s not.
- Offer more information in your marketing than anyone else. The more information you offer, the more products/services you’ll sell.
- A great marketing plan can only get better. Continue to fine tune and refine your marketing plan based on testing results and feedback.
- Be classy in your marketing. Make sure your marketing and advertising fits your company image, products/service and quality.
- Improve your best marketing areas and drop those that aren’t working.
- Focus on what you say, not how you say it. The best marketing ideas turn into the best marketing naturally.
- Develop all your ads, campaigns and sales materials with an attention to compelling and factual information.
By using these techniques you can put your name out there to the world and become one of the top brands in your industry.
The last area we are going to talk about is the best-satisfied customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you’ve wasted all your marketing resources and all chance of positive word-of-mouth advertising. You can satisfy your customers by:
- Providing quality products/services
- Providing high quality customer service
- Providing a low-pressure, highly informative sales experience
- Taking all the risk away with a great guarantee
To generate more business there are a couple of simple techniques that work every time:
- Build your database with a contest.
- Do regular mailings with sales, discounts, or other incentives.
- Find other creative ways to keep your current customers coming back for more.
“As long as the reward is directly related to your product or service, you can’t lose. Why not get started today? It’s so simple, it’s so seldom done, and it’s so profitable. And that’s the bottom line.” Jay Abraham
It is so simple! So, why aren’t you starting today? We can help you put together a great marketing plan that will get you results. Try our GUIDED TOUR and find the tools and resources you need built by some of the biggest names in the marketing world.
In the last post we talked about how to conduct word of mouth research and then put that research to work. Today we’re going to give you some great tried and true ways to use word of mouth when building and executing your campaign.
We’ve done it in a list form, so you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. These are offered by George Silverman which you can find in his amazing book The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing.
Here they are:
- Give them something worth talking about
- Cater to your initial customers shamelessly
- Give them incentives to engage in word of mouth
- Ask them to tell their friends
- The customer is always right
- Always tell the truth
- Surprise the customers by giving them a little more than they expected
- Give them a reason to buy, make them come back and refuse service from anyone else other than you
- Make eye contact, and smile, even through the telephone
- Find ways to make doing business with you a little better: a warmer greeting, a cleaner floor, nicer lighting, a better shopping bag, extra matches, faster service, free delivery, lower prices, more selection.
- Never be annoyed when a customer asks you to change a large bill even if he doesn’t buy anything.
- The customer is your reason for being. Never take her for granted. If you do, she will never come back, and will go straight to your competition.
- Always dust off items, but never let the customer see you doing it.
- Never embarrass a customer, especially by making him feel ignorant.
- Never answer a question coming from a desire to show how smart you are. Answer with a desire to help the customer make the best decision.
- Never shout across the store, “How much are these condoms?” or anything about the personal items a customer is buying.
- When you don’t know, say so. Do whatever you can to find out the answer.
- Every customer is special. Try to remember their names.
- Don’t allow known shoplifters into the store.
- Don’t ever let two sales staff talk when a customer is waiting. The worst thing you can do is count your cash while a customer is waiting.
- If you can suggest something better, they will be grateful. Always respect their choice.
- Never pressure anyone into buying anything.
- Never knowingly give bad advice. Just help people come to the right decision.
- Personally visit the store of the competition or assign people to visit and report back to you.
- Hire a shopping service to prepare periodic reports on how your people are treating your customers.
- If you hear of a store where the management is insulting the customers, buy it, then put up the sign “Under New Management” outside. Then sell it later based on the increased sales.
- One expert (in the drugstore’s case, a nurse or physician) who is convinced you are better brings hundreds of customers and their friends through word of mouth.
- Always look for ways to make a stranger a customer.
- People will walk several blocks to save a dollar, or see a smile, or be treated right.
- Always run a sale promotion or an offbeat event. Make them come back to see what you are cooking up next.
- Use the best sign-maker you can find and pay him more than anybody else.
- If someone is mad at you, they will tell everyone who will listen for as long as they are angry, maybe even longer. So correct any dissatisfaction, and ask customers to send their friends.
- Treat your employees and salespeople who sell to you the same way you treat your customers.
- Have a zero error system. There may be terrible consequences for example, if a mistake is made filling a prescription. Have people check each other’s work for safety.
- Occasionally make intentional mistakes to see if people are checking.
- Always measure your performance.
- Always ask a customer to “come back soon”
- If customers say they are moving away, offer to send them their favorite items by mail.
- Tell jokes.
I know this is a lot of information to digest, so I we’re going to wrap up this lesson and leave you with the homework of going through and taking a look at the tips and tricks you like best. Also, look for tips that fit your company, products, services and target customers for the most effectiveness.
If you need help with this process, try our GUIDED TOUR and get all the help you need from our experience business coaches.
People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm, in fact, this could easily drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and easily marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new.
As you research word of mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:
What are the users willing to tell the non-users?
- Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
- What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
- What are the things they need to know, but are unwilling to ask?
- What happens when these issues are raised?
- Exactly what do your prospects have to know in order to trigger purchase?
- Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
- How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
- How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
- What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers suggest to your prospects?
- Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving word of mouth?
- What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace in order to turn the tide in your favor and how will you deliver them?
There are two main reasons why word of mouth research is so important:
- To get the real impression and feedback from customers
- To define word of mouth itself and the concept it creates
There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your word of mouth research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.
What this breaks down to is:
- 2 groups of customers
- 2 focus groups of prospects
- 2 mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)
In these groups you need to ask the following questions:
- What would you tell a friend?
- How would you persuade a skeptic?
- What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
- How would you answer their objections?
The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you’ll get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. These teleconferences should not be conducted by you, but an independent party to avoid adding pressure to the situation.
We’re going to transition a bit and talk about how to construct a word of mouth campaign. First we’ll talk a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:
- A superior product
- A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace
- A cadre of experts willing to bat for you
- A large number of enthusiastic consumers
- A way of reaching the right prospects
- One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority
- A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world
- A way for people to have direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial
- A way of reducing overall risk, an ironclad guarantee
Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong word of mouth programs. Some of these situations are:
- When there are credibility problems
- When there are breakthroughs
- When there are marginal improvements
- Where the product has to be tried in large numbers or over time
- Where there is high risk in trying the product
- With older or mature products that have a new story that people tend to ignore
- With unfair competitive practices such as spreading rumors, or telling lies about your product
- When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly
While, most of the word of mouth tactics are positive for your word of mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:
- Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value
- Products that can’t be tried and where there is no consensus among experts
- Products that are clearly inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
- Products that are so personal or emotion that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
- Products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume) the medium will not be cost-effective.
This wraps up this post on word of mouth research and how that research can be used when putting together your word of mouth campaign. If you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our GUIDED TOUR to get all the help you need with our top notch resources and tools.
Today I’d like to discuss the science of the memes and how spreading ideas around and through society is ingrained in humans.
This refers to types of ideas that spread the fastest through society, why they spread fast and how that affects consumerism. You can use this same information to create a lasting positive impression about your company, products and services. People are more likely to try a new product or services when they feel protected and reassured by the masses.
It’s been determined that spreading ideas is essential to the survival of a society. There are 5 main situations where this occurs. They are:
Think of evangelism. This is prime example of people not only spreading the word, but convincing people to jump on board and start to spread the word themselves. To do this effectively, you need to incorporate a few key things that always catch people’s eye:
Next we are going to switch gears a little and talk about viral marketing. While, traditional marketing can be used to your advantage, the reality is viral and online marketing is the king of the castle. You can spread the word online like the plague, if you know what to do. Here are some simple steps to do this:
Find an interesting idea
Make it easy for people to experience or trial
Spread the idea while people who are in close contact with others
Take advantage of existing communication methods
Develop the way of trying your product in such a way that it automatically draws more try-ers
Some great places to use viral marketing are:
AOL Instant Messenger
MSN Instant Messenger
“Tell A Friend” Buttons
There are six things everyone should be doing to benefit from word of mouth on the Internet:
Put WOM components on your website.
Assign people to monitor your viral marketing.
Place testimonials in different places on your website to walk a customer through the purchasing cycle.
Set up an email marketing campaign.
Stay up to date on what products and services the experts in your industry are recommending.
Use your website to demonstrate the great ways people are using or finding success with your products and services.
Here are other non-viral Internet opportunities to explore:
And other well connected electronic devices
This wraps up the lesson on traditional and viral marketing. If you need help putting together any of the plans or successes in this lesson, try our GUIDED TOUR to get all the help you need to put these plans into action.
Decoding WOM Messages
Today’s lesson will talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and how you can influence those messages.
There are essentially 3 methods of word of mouth:
- Expert to Expert
- Expert to Peer
- Peer to Peer
When experts are talking about your products or service you will usually receive an amazing rush of sales and new customers, so obviously this is one of the best things that can happen. You can also help to facilitate this by offering free products to experts for them to review.
Expert opinion can also bring about new ideas that help to fuel new products, services and operating systems within your company. If you take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small group of experts, you will have the opportunity to help your market explode.
There is a standard word of mouth delivery system that, in most cases, takes a few years. But you can speed this up into only a few weeks. The standard system is:
- First impressions from an expert
- Organized trial of your products or services
- Pooling peer experiences
It’s important to know exactly who is advocating for your products and service. Take the time to find out who they are and reward them. While, you may already have a customer service system for filing complaints, do you have one for compiling praise? Most likely not. If you take the time to show these people appreciation, they will help take your products and services to the top.
- Some of the ways you can show them appreciation are:
- Invite them to a customer appreciation dinner
- Offer to video tape their testimonials
- Ask to interview them for feedback to improve with
- Offer them a premier customer membership
- Ask them to join a referral incentive program
There are lots of things you can offer your biggest fans to help spread the word about your products and services.
Conventional media has been around forever and while it can still be effective, it’s lost a little of its luster over the last few years. There are a few reasons for this:
- Expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results
- Boring, lacking something fresh and new
- Too short of a time slot to offer enough information
While these are all true, there are ways you can make conventional media work for you. For the information to be effective it needs to be presented in the right sequence, come from the right sources, be relevant to the target customer, be credible and be delivered at the right time in the medium.
We’re going to switch gears a little and talk about the two phases of the product adoption cycle. Traditional media is great for taking you through the information stage where you can offer the information you need to your potential customers, but it’s not so great for measuring the results of those efforts.
Without these results you can’t fine tune your marketing and therefore can easily miss the boat and lose potential customers and waste a whole lot of money. Once a consumer has the information they need, they’ll go through a verification process as they analyze whether the purchase was a good one. They generally get their information through:
- Direct experience with the product
- Interaction with peers using the same product
- Experts’ experience
- Scientific journals and other resources
- Independent reviews and opinions
- You can accelerate this process by:
- Providing your own demo’s and free trials
- Offer them indirect experience through the experience of others
- Offer a good true story that can be passed around
Once you have the ability and can work through these concepts, you will be able to target your customers much better. If you need help with any of this along the way, try our GUIDED TOUR to gain access to our experienced business coaches.