5 Ways to Leverage Word-of-Mouth

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Despite all the buzz of digital media, most people still seek out, recommend and bash products/services in face-to-face conversations.  And after email, phone conversations (mobile and landline) are the next best form of talking about brands.

We know that live, personal conversations among customers and prospects are the real way our business grows, but how can we nudge along positive word-of-mouth conversations?

Here are 5 ways you can tweak your marketing to get people talking:

  1. Research how word-of-mouth works.  Ask your customers what value they get from your company/brand (use all communications methods: Facebook, email surveys, face-to-face conversations, etc.).  Monitor web conversations with Google Alerts to see how people talk about your company.  Specifically what words, facts, credentials do they cite?  Look for patterns and reoccurring themes.
  2. Make your brand a sound bite.   This is not a meaningless or catchy slogan – and it cannot sound like sales-speak.  This is the key benefit or aha! that your product/service delivers to your customers.  Use the research above to distill your value proposition down to a few essential words.   Say it to others to make sure it sounds authentic and memorable.
  3. Be consistent with your “brand bite” across all communications channels.  Repeat these words like crazy everywhere you are – others will use the same language in their conversations.
  4. Communicate through story-telling.  As humans we are wired to pay attention to and pass on good stories.  What stories can you pass on that reinforce your brand?
  5. Cultivate word-of-mouth conversation partners.  Where do your prospects typically look for product/service recommendations?  Is it their banker, teacher, neighbor?  Develop a list of your top referral sources and then develop these relationships.
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