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Prepare for Lift Off!

Posted by darons

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:

  1. Seed the market. Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers.
  2. Provide a channel for the influencers to talk and get all fired up about your product.
  3. Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
  4. Form an ongoing group that meets once a year in a resort and once a month by teleconference.
  5. Create fun events to bring users together and invite non-users. Saturn, Harley-Davidson, and Lexus have all been successful with this approach.
  6. Develop videos and clips on your Web site featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other enthusiastic customers.
  7. Create custom Videos for each potential customer.
  8. Hold seminars and workshops.
  9. Create a club with membership benefits.
  10. Pass out flyers.
  11. Tell friends.
  12. Offer special incentives and discounts for friends who tell their friends.
  13. Put the Internet to work.
  14. Do at least one outrageous thing to generate word-of-mouth.
  15. Empower employees to go the extra mile.
  16. Encourage networking and brainstorm ideas.
  17. Run special sales.
  18. Encourage referrals with the use of a strong referral program.
  19. 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:

  1. Are all of your communications sending the same simple message? If it can’t survive word-of-mouth, it’s not a compelling story.
  2. Is your product positioned as part of a category? Ex.”A dandruff shampoo that doesn’t dry your hair.”
  3. Are your examples outrageous enough to be shared?
  4. Do you enhance your materials with success stories from real people?
  5. Are you using experts effectively and in an objective manner?
  6. 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?
  7. Have you made the decision process easy for customers?
  8. Have you created events and mechanisms so that your prospects hear about your product once a year 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 access the best resources, tools, and business coaches you can find.


Put it to Work!

Posted by darons

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 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. George Silverman offered these, 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’m going to wrap up this lesson and leave you with the homework of going through and looking 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 experienced business coaches.


WOM Meets Customers Head-On

Posted by darons

Today we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process with positive word of mouth. There are essentially 5 stages in the decision-making process.

They are:

  1. Give the product a chance and transition from a “no” to a “maybe”.
  2. Check out the options and investigate the different products available.
  3. Observe the product to check for potential benefits, features, and operations to see if there is a fit with 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. Purchases 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 really important because if your potential customers don’t even take a second look at your products and services, then you have no chance of sealing a deal. This is why you need to offer credible information and well-thought-out pricing, guarantees, and incentives.

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 hard information is right out there in front for the customers to see and compare.

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. A good 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.”

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 or service is. At this stage, a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, you should get it!”

Advocates for Yours 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.

We talked a minute ago about the different types of purchasers. Now we are going to 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. The key to successful word of mouth is to target and cater to each type of consumer. If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently helping and how to attract the types you are lacking, try our GUIDED TOUR for the resources and tools you need to get the job done.

Next time we’ll talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and what you can do to help facilitate that.


Harness the Power of WOM

Posted by darons

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:

  1. Understand your customers’ values and priorities, this will help you understand why they would 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 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).
  5. Put together the resources for the highest word of mouth impact.
  6. Create and implement your word-of-mouth campaign.


The Decision Maker Matrix is based on years of trial and error by George Silverman. It essentially charts 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:

Use Experts

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:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Experts
  • Salespeople
  • 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
  • Seminars
  • 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:

  • Videotapes
  • Audiotapes
  • World Wide Web
  • CD’s

Referral Selling

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:

  • 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 the feedback about them. Here’s some of the “new” media options:

  • Hotlines
  • 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
  • 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 try our GUIDED TOUR to access our exclusive resources that can help you put this whole thing together.


Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 3

Posted by darons

Last time we talked about the second part of the word of mouth tactics that help you put together a system to help shorten your customers’ purchasing decision time, 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 word of mouth circulating 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.

Minus 4

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.

Minus 3

Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you.

Minus 2

While not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you, they will give a negative response.

Minus 1

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.

Level 0

This is sort of a neutral place to be. Customers are using your products but don’t really talk about them. 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.

Plus 1

At this level, we are finally starting to work our way into the positive word of mouth about your company, products, and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products but don’t really say anything about them unless asked.

Plus 2

When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products.

Plus 3

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.

Plus 4

Your product is the toast of the town. There is an unmistakable buzz going around, and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your excellent 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:

  • Lexus
  • Harley Davidson
  • Saturn Cars
  • Netscape
  • 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.