Saturday, October 21, 2006

Building buzz – The power of word of mouth

A first cousin to referrals and the holy grail of marketing is word of mouth. Get enough people talking about you and you won’t need to build a better mousetrap. The world will still beat a path to your door. On the flip side, you might be the best dang whatever, but if nobody’s talking about you, you’re not going to get too far.

The thing about word of mouth (WOM) is it’s trustworthiness. Friends talking to friends about their experience with you. Hopefully, the buzz is positive. That means having excellent client service, being good at what you do and going the extra mile.

WOM doesn’t need to be passive. You can actively pursue it by implementing some tactics and techniques. But, remember trying to manipulate things by deliberately spreading false information or paying some people to talk you up is less than ethical.

Before you can get people talking about you, you’ve got to give them something to talk about. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Provide tools that make it easy for folks to talk, like industry research or survey results
  • Offer a new service or put a different spin on an existing one
  • Do something nice and unexpected for your clients
  • Help a client out of a jam
  • Build new relationships with movers and shakers
  • Get active in some clubs and organizations
  • Post insightful, thought provoking comments on blogs that target your audience
  • Post helpful comments on industry forums

Let’s take the first item above. Do some digging about a topic that’s important to your clients. Write a report and email it out to them. Be sure to include a line that says something like, “Please forward to friends and associates who would find this useful.”

Perhaps you have an early meeting. Stop by the bakery on the way and pick up a dozen or two doughnuts. I had a printing rep who always did this. Did I talk about him? You bet I did.

Those are just some tactics. Visit the Word of Mouth Marketing Association site and pick up some more ideas. Their WOM 101 is a good place to start.

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posted by Neil at 1:40 PM


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