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Posted by Doogie Levine

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:

  1. To get the real impression and feedback from customers
  2. 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.

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:

  1. What would you tell a friend?
  2. How would you persuade a skeptic?
  3. What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
  4. 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.


Science of the Memes

Posted by Doogie Levine

Today I’d like to discuss the science of memes and how the spreading of ideas is engrained in our human society.

Definition

An element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.

  • a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users

Memes

In our modern era, memes have become a cornerstone of our social media-filled lives. However, we never take the time to investigate why they spread so 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 service 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 five main situations where this occurs. They are:

  1. Crisis
  2. Mission
  3. Problem
  4. Danger
  5. Opportunity

Think of Evangelism. This movement is a prime example of people not only spreading the word but also convincing people to jump on board and start spreading the word themselves. How did this movement do this?

They effectively incorporated a few key things that always catch people’s eye:

  • The use of media: especially news. They associate their movement with polarizing events and caustic leaders.
  • The power of selflessness, a massive piece of this movement, is that through association, you live a life of helping others and altruism.
  • The power of exclusivity; it takes becoming a member to learn all the secrets. It comes in the form of in speak, opportunity, and ultimately community connections.

These are just a few lessons we can learn from this powerful movement if you think about your business marketing strategy. What elements do you have?

It takes these elements and more to go viral, which we will discuss in the next section.

Let’s Go Viral

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 try
  • Spread the idea while people who are in close contact with others
  • Take advantage of existing communication methods
  • Develop the way of testing your product in such a way that it automatically draws more participants

Viral marketing is the new gorilla marketing; it creates channels to allow you to provide value to a lot of people. Thus giving them the best chance to advocate for your product or service. A few great places to try to create a viral marketing campaign are:

  • Tik Tok
  • YouTube 
  • Facebook 
  • Instagram 
  • E-Mail marketing

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 & media to demonstrate the great ways people are using or finding success with your products and services.

This wraps up our lesson on how to apply the power of memes to your marketing. If you need help creating your own plan and discovering your business plan, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help.


Decoding Word-Of-Mouth Messages

Posted by Doogie Levine

Today’s lesson will talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and how you can influence those messages.

There is a simple hierarchy of how to make WOM most effective

  1. Be an expert talking to an expert
  2. Get that expert talking to ICA (Ideal Client Avatar)
  3. Then get the ICA to talk with other ICA’s

When experts talk 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. However, you can also help facilitate this by offering free products to experts 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 traditional approach 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 videotape 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. Still, 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 or not 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 demos 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 FREE test drive to gain access to our experienced business coaches.


Meeting Your Customer Head On WOM Style

Posted by Doogie Levine

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.

They are:

  1. Give the product/service a chance and transition from a “no” to a “maybe.”
  2. Check out the options and investigate the different products/services available.
  3. Observe the product/service to check for potential benefits, features, and operations to see if they fit their needs.
  4. Become a customer and purchase their first item. They will be discriminate with their first product as they form their opinion of you.
  5. 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.

Quick tips:

  • Comparison charts
  • Third-party evaluation
  • Testimonials 

Trial Period

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.

Quick Tips:

  • 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.

The Innovator

  • 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

Early Adopter

  • Driven by excellence
  • More concerned with possibilities than realities
  • Always looking to be a leader
  • Always looking for a new vision

Middle Majority

  • 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

Late Majority

  • 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

Laggard

  • 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.


30+ Way to Take Control of Your Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Posted by Doogie Levine

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:

  1. Understand your customers’ values and priorities; this will help you understand why they buy your products.
  2. Understand the different adopter types: innovators, early adopters, middle majority, late adopters, and laggards. 
  3. Identify which decision stages are needed for your product to be adopted. 
  4. 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).
  5. Put together the resources for the highest word-of-mouth impact.
  6. 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.

Innovators

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.

Early Adopters

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. 

Middle Majority 

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


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:

30+ Way’s

Use Experts

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:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Subject Matter Experts
  • Salespeople
  • 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
  • Seminars
  • Webinars
  • Group selling
  • Dinner meetings
  • Peer selling groups
  • Video conference experts’ panels
  • Trade show events/opportunities

Referral Selling

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:

  • Testimonials
  • Networking
  • Referral Selling Program

“New” Media

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
  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • WhatsApp
  • 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 
  • PR
  • Placements
  • Events
  • Promotions
  • 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.