Category: Promotion

Prepare for Lift Off!

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.
  2. Find some way to get the product into the hands of key influencers.
  3. Provide a channel for the influencers to talk and get all fired up about your product.
  4. Offers lots of testimonials and other resources.
  5. Form an ongoing group that meets once a year in a resort and once a month by teleconference.
  6. Create fun events to bring users together and invite non-users. Saturn, Harley- Davidson, and Lexus have all been successful with this approach.
  7. Develop cassettes, videotapes, and clips on your Web site featuring enthusiastic customers talking with other enthusiastic customers.
  8. Create custom CDs for each potential customer.
  9. Hold seminars and workshops.
  10. Create a club with membership benefits.
  11. Pass out flyers.
  12. Tell friends.
  13. Offer special incentives and discounts for friends who tell their friends. 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 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.

If you need help with this anything, try our GUIDED TOUR and get all the help you need from our experienced business coaches.

If you are serious about growing your business book your free roadmap session where you and I will have a 20-30 minute conversation about exactly what you are struggling with, where you want to go, and where you are right now. I’ll help you start to plot out the roadmap a little, and if at the end of that call you say “I want to get your help to get there faster and speed up implementation, I’m happy to help you do that too! But for now, sign up for the roadmap session – I’m really looking forward to talking to you!

Put it to work!

In the last post, we talked about how to conduct word of mouth research and then put 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. These are offered by George Silverman 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 on the telephone
  • Continue reading “Put it to work!”

Science of the Memes

 Today I’d like to discuss the science of 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 a 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’s
  • Blackberrys
  • 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 GUIDED TOUR to get all the help you need to put these plans into action.

If you are ready to take the next step in your business book your exploration session today!

Decoding WOM messages

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:

  • Expert to Expert
  • Expert to Peer
  • 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
  • Organised trial of your products or services
  • Pooling peer experiences

It’s important to know exactly who is advocating for your products and services. 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 record their testimonials
  • Ask to interview them for feedback to improve
  • 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 lustre over the last few years. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results
  • Boring, lacking something fresh and new
  • 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 for 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 analyse whether or not the purchase was a good one. They generally get their information through:

  • Direct experience with the product
  • Interaction with peers using the same product
  • Experts’ experience
  • Scientific journals and other resources
  • 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 GUIDED TOUR to gain access to our experienced business coaches.

If you would like to learn the secrets to increasing your business value overnight, register for one of our free webinars today!

If you want expert help now, book a free exploration session to see how we can work together.

If creating amazing customer experiences is one of your goals, check out our latest video on CX.

Harness the Power of WOM

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 harness the power of WOM. So, let’s get started!

There are six steps to harnessing 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 the 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 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 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 the 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

Last time we talked about the second part of word of mouth tactics which help you put together a system to help shorten the purchasing decision time of your customers 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 the word of mouth circulating around 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 it. 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 you company, products and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products, but unless asked, don’t really say anything about them.

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 obvious buzz going around and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your great 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.

Public Relations = Free publicity

There are three critical areas of public relations you can use to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.

The key to public relations lie in:

  • Public relation or publicity
  • Merchandising
  • Promotions

 

With a solid plan in place that encompasses all these areas, you’ll have a great approach to use public relations in the best way possible.

Public relations include all that is the media. Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, ezines and more are all equally compelling. Online marketing is as, if not more, important as conventional media.

Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:

  1. Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.
  2. Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting to make sure the media person you are sending it to is interested in reading it.
  3. Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases, you need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.
  4. Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forget to include relevant blogs, ezines, press release submission sites and to industry professionals.

More importantly than a perfect press release, is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market in the products/services you offer and made that clear in the press release. If you are provided people a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem and an opportunity to enhance their life, the media and public will be interested.

If you have a connection (or the ability to get a link) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention. Make sure you are offered newsworthy information and then follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.

“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.” Jay Abraham

Our GUIDED TOUR can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pro’s do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.

30 ways to market to other professional and businesses at a fraction of the cost

Today we’ll take a look at how the kings of industry wine, dine and otherwise cajole prospects. 

Most successful professionals use a series of information-based ads that build emotion and a call to action. These are much more effective than standard company branding advertisements. The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit your needs with similar results.

Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional, effective ad campaign: 

  1. Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples or other proof of your success.
  2. Develop value-oriented yellow page ads.
  3. Consider newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.
  4. Offer a free seminar, webinar or other lecture to build awareness of your business, but make sure you make the information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.
  5. Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.
  6. Always test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
  7. Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.
  8. Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.
  9. Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs or others.
  10. Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.
  11. Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all past and future customers/clients.
  12. Donate time or materials to local charities to show support in your area.
  13. Offer public clinics for the general public to come along and discuss what they need that’s free and approachable.
  14. Organize seminars your customers/clients can pay to attend by putting together a high-perception value package.
  15. Approach local newspaper by offering to write a weekly column about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
  16. Develop a weekend or other destination seminar for customers/clients, not only does this give you an action-packed weekend with the most important people, it gives them a tax-deductible business adventure.
  17. Take a good seminar and turn it into written form as a home study, member site program, audio or video program.
  18. Approach large companies and offer to give seminars to their employees, investors or management.
  19. Be proactive with your marketing plan.
  20. Barter for your marketing. Offer products or services in lieu of payment.
  21. Be willing to bring in new clients, even if at an initial loss because it will likely pay off later.
  22. Regulate your marketing budget to maximize the potential income from them to hit the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
  23. Make offers to target markets or target market businesses to pay them for referrals or shared databases.
  24. Offer loaner products to replace equipment that’s be repaired or refurbished.
  25. Give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. This is a great way to see which ads are giving you the most bang for your buck.
  26. Continually consider what new products/services you can offer to current customers/clients. 
  27. Develop a mail order division of your company.
  28. Offer a proposition to your competitors to trade customers/clients you were both unsuccessful in selling to.
  29. Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract new customers/clients with new offers and goodies.
  30. Offer a “you-choose-the-price” program. This is especially good for product you just can’t seem to sell.

So, there are 30 great ways to market to other professional and businesses. Some other great ways to get your name out there for little or no cost are:

  • Get involved you in your community-volunteer, donate to local events, etc. 
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend the networking and other activities throughout the year.
  • Join a local, state or regional professional associates for further networking opportunities.
  • Become a board member of a local organization.

Advertising should never be your only method of marketing; there is a myriad of ways to get your name out there in a way that feels personal to potential customers/clients. 

“Effective advertising…must be used to get your name out to the public. If your name is not familiar to people, they will not come to you.” Jay Abraham

If you’re not sure where you start with your marketing plan, or how to reach out to your local community, competitors, customers/clients and others who could influence your business in a highly positive way try our GUIDED TOUR to experience the tools and resources we have to boost your business to the next level and beyond.

Dream higher

When you get in your car, you know where you are going, you have a destination in mind. Your business should be run in the same way. What is your business goal? Where are you taking your business? What is the higher purpose for doing what you are doing?

Clarity on your goal will increase the likelihood of achieving them.

“What do you want to achieve at the expense of all other options available to you?”

Answering these questions will help you gain clarity on your goals.

  • If I won the lottery tomorrow, how would it change my life?
  • If I knew I was going to die in 12 months… what would I do day to day?
  • What do I enjoy doing the most?
  • Who do I currently spend the most time with?
  • Who do I most enjoy spending time with?
  • Who pushes me to ‘think bigger?’
  • What is a dream accomplishment that I’ve been afraid to try?
  • What are my primary three financial goals?
  • What are my primary three career goals?
  • What are my primary three health goals?
  • What are my three biggest worries?
  • What would I like them to say at my funeral?

 

The more clarity you get around your goals, the easier it becomes to move towards and ultimately accomplish them.

Remember a Mammoth goal is achieved with the first small step.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Amazon.com was just an ‘idea’ in Jeff Bezos’ head not too long ago.

Apple was a figment of Steve Jobs’ imagination.

Google was a University project.

The sky is the limit!

Your business success is our passion.  Check out our  Guided Tour to find out how we can help you get to the next level.

 

 

 

Make it POP!

There are five major components to good advertising copy: (The order of these is essential to success)

  • Command Attention
  • Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
  • Prove the Benefits
  • Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
  • Call to Action

 Advertising is sales in print. So, it would help if you thought about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize results, not features.

Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these components:

  1. Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-getter that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement.
  2. Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a problem. They need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual and clear information to explain precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to help the customer. 
  3. Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider the information that builds credibility and past performance.
  4. Persuade: You need to add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard sell approach and create scarcity. This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads into the last component.
  5. Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services…something. Offer a freebie-a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited-time price, the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting a fantastic deal.

Good advertisements include all of these components and are not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place them together for the most effectiveness. We can help you with this too. Try our GUIDED TOUR to learn how to put together great advertisements from some of the best in the business.