In my previous blog, 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 had a chance to review and decide which one to three tips you plan to use in your campaign.
If you have not, make sure you go back and read the list, pick the tips and tricks the best fit your product/service, ideal customer, and company culture.
Today, we will wrap up this series on word-of-mouth, where we provide you with a 20,000-foot view of your campaign.
Now, let’s get started building your campaign:
- Build your influencer network.
- Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers. A good influencer is passionate about the problem you solve with your product/service and has access to 5000 or more of your ideal customers.
- Provide a channel or help the influencer to activate theirs, allowing them to share their experience.
- Review & Testimonials
- Capture testimonials from the beginning and before they’re done with your service or product.
- Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
- Develop clips on your website featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other excited customers.
- Create an opportunity for prospective clients to meet past clients.
- Create an opportunity to share experiences
- 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.
- 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 business cards on all the cars you see
- Put the Internet to work.
- Do at least one outrageous thing to generate word-of-mouth. We live in an age of 10s video’s.
- Empower employees to go the extra mile.
- Encourage networking and brainstorming 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 fantastic ways to get the word out about your products and services and start a word-of-mouth campaign that takes on a life of its own. However, 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.
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 your prospects hear about your product/service once a year, and it is easier to try or buy?
- Have you written down the specific behaviors you want your prospect to follow during each step of the campaign?
- Are your people primed?
- Am I ready to handle all the additional communication?
- Am I ready to handle all the additional business?
These are essential elements to 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 products and services. Remember, if you need help with anything in this series, try our FREE test drive to gain access to the best resources, tools, and business coaches you can find.
In the last post, we talked about conducting word-of-mouth research and then putting that research to work. Today we’re going to give you 39 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. For more information read George Silverman’s “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 your looking at this exhaustive list and asking yourself how can I implement these lessons. We’re going to wrap up this lesson to give you a chance to digest, prioritize, and plan. To aid you with this here is a little homework assignment.
Go through the list again, find 1 or 2 lessons that fit your company and that you feel you can implement. Then I want you to write down we business activities the lessons are relevant to. Next, write down a no more than 5 step process to implement those lessons into that business activity. This will provide you with a quick action plan.
If you need help with this process, feel free to email me at email@example.com and I will review it and provide you with feedback.
Remember the best time to change was yesterday, so you better start today.
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 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?
- Precisely what do your prospects have to know 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 tell 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 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:
- Two groups of customers
- Two focus groups of prospects
- Two 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. To avoid adding pressure to the situation, these teleconferences should not be conducted by you but by an independent party.
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 program. 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 overtime
- Where there is a high risk in trying the product
- With older or mature products that have a news 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 favorable 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 inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
- Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
- The medium will not be cost-effective for products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume).
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. However, if you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need with our top-notch resources and tools.
Today we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process with positive word of mouth. There are essentially five stages in the decision-making process.
- Give the product/service a chance and transition from a “no” to a “maybe.”
- Check out the options and investigate the different products/services available.
- Observe the product/service to check for potential benefits, features, and operations to see if they fit their needs.
- Become a customer and purchase their first item. They will be discriminate with their first product as they form their opinion of you.
- Purchase again and starts spreading positive word of mouth as an advocate of your products.
So, let’s take a closer look at each one of these.
From “No” to “Maybe”
This stage is crucial because if your potential client doesn’t even take a second look at your products and services, then you have no chance of sealing a deal. It is paramount that you have invested time in the education of your potential client. This is your chance to provide value before they give up their hard-earned cash.
You want your customer to say how much they enjoyed your presentation, or they say have you seen this new commercial. Better yet they say have you heard of (insert your product/service) I hear it is truly the best at solving their problem.
A couple of quick tips:
- Have great guarantees like trying it before you buy it or we 100% guarantee your satisfaction or will give you 110% back.
- Give value before you get value. You can do something as simple as sending a personalized card with a gift card or a copy of your favoriout book.
Investigating Your Products
At this stage, they are taking a closer look at your product line to see if there is actually anything that could benefit their life. This is where you need to make sure your information is right out there in front for the customers to see and compare.
Think about creating a comparison between you and your chief competitor or industry leader. It is your chance to explain why your process or product is distinctively better.
- Comparison charts
- Third-party evaluation
Customers often feel more at ease and ready to purchase when there is some sort of a trial in place. They usually want to try vicariously through someone else, so they don’t feel any risk involved. An excellent way to offer this is through demo videos, product demonstrations, or a tour of your facilities. This stage may invoke a reaction of “I tried it and liked it. You should check it out.”
It is your chance to share how your relationship will develop. All of a sudden it becomes more about you and them instead of your product/service and their problem. This creates long-term value.
- Demo, walkthroughs, 14-day trials
- Have a communication plan in place during this period
Make a Purchase
At this stage, they have taken the risk of purchasing one of your products or services and are now evaluating how easy, convenient, cost-effective, and satisfying your product/service is. At this stage, a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, and you should get it!”
This is your chance to get them to become one of your champions. This can be done in a few ways.
- You can upsell them on a more premium service or product, giving them more accessible to you.
- You can engage to write a testimonial or better yet film one
- Ask them to refer a friend
It is pivotal to have a plan on how to engage them after they purchase.
Advocates for Your Products
At this last stage of decision-making, the customer is immensely pleased with your product and often keeps using it and/or comes back for more products and services. They are likely telling everyone they know how much they like it, that they use it every day and have already (or will be) back to your establishment for more.
Types of Purchasers
We talked a minute ago about the different types of purchasers. Now we will take a closer look at their characteristics, so you can figure out which tactics are best to use at the right stage of the decision-making process.
- Wants to stand out from the crowd
- Know what’s hot and trendy
- Likes “strange” or “weird” new products
- Wants to be the first to try and will talk about it animatedly
- Driven by excellence
- More concerned with possibilities than realities
- Always looking to be a leader
- Always looking for a new vision
- Wants to be perceived as competent
- Concerned about practicality and easy comparisons
- Needs an easy way out if not satisfied
- Wants products that meet the industry standard
- Generally skeptical and wants to know the risks upfront
- Needs to shop around for the best deal
- Needs a support system
- Wants what everyone else has
- Needs it to be completely safe and traditional
- Needs reassurance that nothing will go wrong
- Won’t try new things unless it’s the last resort
- Will search for loopholes and problems
- Wants to use it in the standard industry way
As you can see, each type of consumer wants something just a little different depending on their personality type. Therefore, the key to successful word of mouth is to target and cater to every kind of consumer. If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently helping, and how to attract the types you are lacking, book a free consultation and I’ll provide you with one year of access to our online marketing academy $1200 value (offer good until January 1st, 2021).
Next time we’ll talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and what you can do to help facilitate that.
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 harness the power of WOM. So, let’s get started!
There are six steps to harnessing word-of-mouth:
- Understand your customers’ values and priorities; this will help you understand why they 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 determine which wording and word-of-mouth tactics will 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.
When creating your decision-making matrix, I strongly recommend reading The Secrets of Word of Mouth marketing by George Silverman. However, if you don’t have time, I have included a brief description of the six types of adopters to get you started.
The Innovators want to be the first off the starting block and cross the finish line. They want to be cutting edge, stand out from the crowd, and be the first to adopt the product. So, they want to hear that the product is unique and technologically advanced and that they can be the first to use it. They’re the Alpha testers and the very first users. They are driven by the desire to be outstanding.
The Early Adopters tend to be visionaries who appreciate the possibilities and potential of the product. They want to hear word of mouth about the power of the product and are willing to take chances on it for its eventual advantages. These people are driven by a desire to be excellent.
The Middle Majority tend to be people who are most concerned with the practicalities of applying the product. These people want to read a review before they try it, but they also don’t want to be the last in their friend group to have used it. They are not so much concerned with the far-reaching possibilities and uniqueness of the product as with immediate usability issues, such as quality, consistency, and ease of use. Even the later middle majority are most concerned with the practical nuts-and-bolts issues, such as delivery schedules, price, and availability. These people are driven by a desire to be competent.
The Late Adopters
The Late Adopters are most concerned with issues of self-protection. They want to avoid mistakes. They are not so concerned with the benefits of the products as they are with being right-not being criticized for the decision. They want to avoid undue risk. These people are driven by success without risk.
The Laggards will not use a product until virtually forced to do so. They are the kind of people who were told by their clients to “get an email account or I won’t do business with you.” They are extreme cynics, rejecting most attempts to change their minds. They want safety.
We are now going to move on to the 30+ ways to harness the power of WOM:
Experts can come in many forms, and all their opinions should be considered when putting together a WOM campaign. Some experts from whom you could gather information include:
- Subject Matter Experts
- Experts’ roundtables
- Experts’ selling groups
Seminars, Workshops & Speeches
These venues are a perfect opportunity to gather information. People who attend these events are used to giving feedback, so you can use a survey or other method to gather the information you can look over later. Some events to use are:
- Speakers program
- Group selling
- Dinner meetings
- Peer selling groups
- Video conference experts’ panels
- Trade show events/opportunities
As we’ve talked about before, a referral program can help build your business with a variety of things. 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 feedback about them. Most social media options could be considered “newer” media:
- Facebook, Facebook Groups, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Live
- A host of others
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 book complete the contact form, and in the comments section, write WOM. I give you a free one-hour consultation where you will leave with a complete word-of-mouth campaign.