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Prepare for Lift Off!

Posted by ninahershberger

 

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 cassettes, videotapes, and clips on your Web site featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other enthusiastic customers.
  7. Create custom CDs 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 once a year your prospects hear about your product, 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 FREE test drive to gain access to the best resources, tools and business coaches you can find.


Put it to Work!

Posted by ninahershberger

Today we’re going to give you some great ways on how to use the word of mouth in building and executing your campaign.

We have here a list form that you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. These are can be found in the amazing book of George Silverman The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing.

  • Shamelessly cater  your first customers
  • The customer is always right
  • Make sure you give them something worth talking about
  • Surprise the customers by going beyond their expectation
  • Offer them incentives to encourage word of mouth
  • Ask them to tell their friends
  • Make them come back  by giving them a reason to buy so that the will refuse service from anyone else other than you
  • Always tell the truth
  • Make eye contact, and smile, even over the telephone
  • Don’t get annoyed when a customer asks you to change a large bill even if he doesn’t buy anything.

  • Find ways to be a little better at making your business. Here are some examples:
  • 1. Warmer greeting
  • 2. Better shopping bag
  • 3. Lower prices
  • 4. Cleaner floor
  • 5. Faster service

6. Nicer lighting

7. Extra matches

8. Free delivery

9. More selections

  • Never embarrass a customer, especially by making him feel ignorant.
  • Never ever take a customer for granted.  If you do, she will never come back, and will go straight to your competition. They are your reason for being.
  • Dust off items always, but never let the customer see you doing it.
  • Never shout across the store about the personal items a customer is buying. Example is   “How much are these condoms?” or anything.
  • When you don’t know, admit it and do whatever you can to find out the answer..
  • Try to remember your customer’s names. This will make them feel special.
  • Don’t ever let two sales staff talk when there’s a customer waiting. The worst thing you can do is count your cash while there is a customer waiting.
  • Don’t allow known shoplifters into your store.
  • Never pressure anyone into buying anything.
  • Personally visit or assign people to visit the store of your competitors and report back to you.

  • Customer will feel grateful if you can suggest something better. Always respect their choice.
  • Never give bad advice. Instead, help them come to the right decision.
  • Never answer a question to show them how smart you are. Instead, answer with a desire to help the customer will be the best decision
  • Hire a shopping service to give you periodic reports on how your people are treating your customers.
  • If you have convinced one expert that you are better (in the drugstore’s case, a nurse or physician), expect that it will bring hundreds of customers and their friends through word of mouth.
  • Always find ways to make a stranger a customer.
  • Buy a store where the management is known in insulting their customers then put up the sign “Under New Management” outside. Then sell it later based on the increased sales.
  • If someone gets mad at you, expect that they will tell everyone who will listen for as long as they are angry or maybe even longer. So correct any dissatisfaction and ask them to send their friends.
  • 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 to make your customer come back  and see what you are cooking up next.
  • Use the best sign-maker you can find and pay him more than anybody else.
  • Treat your people the same way you treat your customers.
  • Have a zero error system though there may be terrible consequences. One example is if a mistake is made filling a prescription. Have your people check each other’s work for safety.
  • Occasionally make intentional mistakes to see if your people are checking.
  • Always measure your performance.
  • If customers say they are moving away, try to offer to send them their favorite items by mail.
  • Always ask your customer to “come back soon.”
  • Tell your customers some jokes.

It may be a lot of information to digest so we’re going to wrap up this lesson. I’ll leave you with the homework of going through. Also, take a look at the tips and tricks you like best but look for tips that fit your company, target customers, products and services and for the most effectiveness.

If you need help with this process, try our FREE test drive and get all the help you need from our experienced business coaches.


Science of the Memes

Posted by ninahershberger

 

Today I’d like to discuss the science of the memes and how spreading ideas around and through society is ingrained in humans.

Memes

This refers to types of ideas that spread the fastest through society, why they spread 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 services 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 5 main situations where this occurs. They are:

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

Think of evangelism

This is prime example of people not only spreading the word, but convincing people to jump on board and start to spread the word themselves. To do this effectively, you need to incorporate a few key things that always catch people’s eye:

  • Sex
  • News
  • Unique Results
  • The Unusual
  • Helping Others
  • Secrets

Next, we are going to switch gears a little and talk about viral marketing. 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:

  • 1. Find an interesting idea
  • 2. Make it easy for people to experience or trial
  • 3. Spread the idea while people who are in close contact with others
  • 4. Take advantage of existing communication methods
  • 5. Develop the way of trying your product in such a way that it automatically draws more try-ers

Some great places to use viral marketing are:

  • Geocities
  • Ebay
  • Roger Wilco
  • ICQ
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • MSN Instant Messenger
  • Winamp
  • Hotmail
  • “Tell A Friend” Buttons
  • E-Greeting Cards

There are six things everyone should be doing to benefit from word of mouth on the Internet:

  1. Put WOM components on your website.
  2. Assign people to monitor your viral marketing.
  3. Place testimonials in different places on your website to walk a customer through the purchasing cycle.
  4. Set up an email marketing campaign.
  5. Stay up to date on what products and services the experts in your industry are recommending.
  6. Use your website to demonstrate the great ways people are using or finding success with your products and services.

Here are other non-viral Internet opportunities to explore:

  • iPhone’s
  • Handheld PC’sBlackberrys
  • And other well connected electronic devices

This wraps up the lesson on traditional and viral marketing. If you need help putting together any of the plans or successes in this lesson, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need to put these plans into action.


Decoding WOM Messages

Posted by ninahershberger

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

There are essentially 3 methods of word of mouth:

  1. Expert to Expert
  2. Expert to Peer
  3. Peer to Peer

When experts are talking 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.You can also help to facilitate this by offering free products to experts for them 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 standard system 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:

  • 1. Expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results
  • 2. Boring, lacking something fresh and new
  • 3. 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, comes 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, but 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:

  1. Direct experience with the product
  2. Interaction with peers using the same product
  3. Experts’ experience
  4. Scientific journals and other resources
  5. Independent reviews and opinions

You can accelerate this process by:

  • Providing your own demo’s 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 are able to 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.


Harness the Power of WOM

Posted by ninahershberger

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 off years of trial and error by George Silverman. It essentially charts to 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:

  • 1. Customers
  • 2. Suppliers
  • 3. Experts
  • 4. Salespeople
  • 5. Experts’ roundtables
  • 6. 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 the information you can look at later. Some events to use are:

  • 1. Speakers program
  • 2. Seminars
  • 3. Group selling
  • 4. Dinner meetings
  • 5. Peer selling groups
  • 6. Teleconferenced experts’ panels
  • 7. 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:

  • 1. Videotapes
  • 2. Audiotapes
  • 3. World Wide Web
  • 4. 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:

  • 1. Testimonials
  • 2. Networking
  • 3. 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 to the feedback about them. Here are 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 main stream ways of interacting with the public and consumers. Some traditional media outlets are:

  • 1. Customer service
  • 2. PR
  • 3. Placements
  • 4. Events
  • 5. Promotions

6. Word of mouth in ads, sales brochures, or direct mail

7. Salesperson programs, sales stars, or peer training,

8.Word-of-mouth incentive programs (“Tell-a-friend” programs)

9. 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 FREE test drive to access our exclusive resources that can help you put this whole thing together.