When was the last time a family member or friend told you about a great product or service? After you heard about it, were you inclined to give the product/service a try? If you thought, “Yes” you’re like most people. We tend to value the opinions of people we trust. You can categorize those individuals into two basic groups:
Let’s discuss how you can use word of mouth messaging interactions to build awareness of your products/services and grow your business.
Word of mouth interactions work in three basic ways:
Experts talking with experts
Experts talking with potential prospects
Customers talking with customers or prospects
When experts are talking about your products or service, it’s typical that you notice an increase in sales and new prospects. Obviously, experts discussing your products/services is one of the best things that can happen for your business. One way to facilitate experts is by offering free products for them to review.
Experts’ opinions can also introduce new ideas that can fuel new products, services, and processes. You can explode your market if you take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small group of experts.
The standard word of mouth delivery system takes, in most cases, several years. Process is as follows:
Gather first impressions from an expert or experts
Organize a trial of your products/services
Gather peer experiences
However, it’s possible to shorten the standard word of mouth process from several years to several weeks. Now let’s talk about that!
Do you know exactly who is advocating for your products/services today?
You need to take the time to find out who they are and reward them! Granted you may already have a customer service system for filing complaints, but do you have a system for gathering compliments? I’m betting that you probably don’t.
When you take time to show your advocates appreciation, they will help take your products/ services to the marketplace.
How do you do that? Here are some possible ways to show your advocates that you appreciate their efforts on your behalf:
Invite them to a customer appreciation dinner
Offer to video tape their testimonial
Interview them for feedback regarding improvements
Start a loyalty program
Create an incentive program for referrals
These are a few ideas that you can use to say, “Thank you!” to your biggest fans for helping spread the word about your products/services. You have other avenues that you can pursue.
Conventional media can work for your business, especially during your prospect’s initial exploration. For product/service information to be effective it needs to be presented in the right sequence, come from the right sources, be relevant to your target customer, be credible, and be delivered at the right time in your selected channel.
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 isn't very good for measuring the results of those efforts.
Without results you can’t fine tune your marketing. You can easily lose potential customers and waste a whole lot of money. Once consumers have the product/service information they need, they typically start a verification process, analyzing whether or not the purchase will be a good one. Normally prospects find their information via:
Direct experience with the product
Interaction with peers using the same product
Trade and scientific journals or other resources
Independent reviews and opinions
You can accelerate this process by:
Conducting demos and free trials
Connecting prospects with current customers to discover your product/service’s benefits through the experience of others
Offering a great true story that can distributed
After you incorporate these concepts into your marketing strategy, you will be able to target your customers much better. Want assistance making it happen? Let’s talk!