How do You Accelerate Word of Mouth?

“I want people to talk about my business. I know word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing, but how do I accelerate it?”

Photo courtesy of Zack Dischner

Know What You Want People to Say

You can’t just leave it up to people to decide what they want to say about you. Decide what you want to be known for and what you want people to say. When people talk about brands, they don’t talk in abstractions, such as “they have great service.” A happy customer may start off with a superlative, such as “They’re awesome,” …followed by something specific that describes why the business is awesome.

It’s your job to determine what that something specific is. Finish the sentence for the customer, “ABC Technology is awesome because they……..” When you finish that sentence and define the “because,” then you can focus on making that because a reality.

Give People Something to Say

Provide a little script of what you would like customers to say about your business. Bill Schley, author of The Micro-Script Rules, says people like to repeat concise, catchy “micro-scripts.” One popular local tire dealer used a prolific television campaign to spread his micro-script: “You don’t need a bucket full of money to buy tires from us, so Leave the Bucket at Home.” People were going around town repeating “Leave the bucket at home!” That’s word-of-mouth acceleration.

Create a  Customer Experience Worth Talking About

The number one thing people will talk about is their experiences. It’s up to you to provide a remarkable customer experience worth talking about. Shift your focus from selling products and services to delivering a customer experience that will spark conversation.

Ask yourself: What am I providing in my customer’s experience that is different, or contrasted, from the industry norm? You should be able to answer with something specific.

Another good question to ask yourself: Is there a specific memory in the experience that my customer can later re-tell to their friends? I call it a Magic Spot, a little memorable moment in the experience that catches the customer by surprise.

Create Opportunities for Customers to Talk

This is where you take the initiative to provide a platform that stimulates conversation. Here are a few popular word-of-mouth platforms:

  • Customer Surveys – By asking customers about your business, you get them to talk about your business. You get valuable feedback, customers get a spark of conversation. Then when you share the results, it creates more conversation.
  • Information and Tools – Think of it as cultivating your customer by making them smarter. Provide them useful information and tools that they will then share with their friends.
  • Advertising – Most brand-related conversations by consumers are stimulated by a company’s advertising. But you can’t advertise the same old thing such as price and product. Take a word of mouth acceleration lesson from Old Spice and create brand-related talk-able advertising.
  • Customer Communities – Bring your customers together in an environment where you are the glue that holds them together: Customer Advisory Boards, User Groups, Special Events. When you are the reason people come together, you are rewarded with natural word of mouth conversation.

It’s time to step on the word-of-mouth gas pedal. How are you accelerating word of mouth?

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