People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm, in fact, this could easily drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and easily marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new.
As you’re research word of mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:
What are the users willing to tell the non-users?
- Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
- What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
- What are the things they need to know, but are unwilling to ask?
- What happens when these issues are raised?
- Exactly what do your prospects have to know in order to trigger purchase?
- Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
- How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
- How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
- What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers suggest to your prospects?
- Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving word of mouth?
- What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace in order to turn the tide in your favor and how will you deliver them?
There are two main reasons why word of mouth research is so important:
- To get the real impression and feedback from customers
- To define word of mouth itself and the concept it creates
There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your word of mouth research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.
What this breaks down to is:
- 2 groups of customers
- 2 focus groups of prospects
- 2 mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)
In these groups you need to ask the following questions:
- What would you tell a friend?
- How would you persuade a skeptic?
- What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
- How would you answer their objections?
The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you’ll get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. These teleconferences should not be conducted by you, but an independent party to avoid adding pressure to the situation.
We’re going to transition a bit and talk about how to construct a word of mouth campaign. First we’ll talk a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:
- A superior product
- A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace
- A cadre of experts willing to bat for you
- A large number of enthusiastic consumers
- A way of reaching the right prospects
- One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority
- A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world
- A way for people to have direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial
- A way of reducing overall risk, an ironclad guarantee
Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong word of mouth programs. Some of these situations are:
- When there are credibility problems
- When there are breakthroughs
- When there are marginal improvements
- Where the product has to be tried in large numbers or over time
- Where there is high risk in trying the product
- With older or mature products that have a new story that people tend to ignore
- With unfair competitive practices such as spreading rumors, or telling lies about your product
- When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly
While, most of the word of mouth tactics are positive for your word of mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:
- Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value
- Products that can’t be tried and where there is no consensus among experts
- Products that are clearly inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
- Products that are so personal or emotion that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
- Products where the decision value is so small (low price/low volume) the medium will not be cost-effective.
This wraps up this post on word of mouth research and how that research can be used when putting together your word of mouth campaign. If you need help with the research and a plan to use the results of that research, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you need with our top notch resources and tools.
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.
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.
Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you.
While, not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you they will give a negative response.
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.
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.
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.
When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products.
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.
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:
- Harley Davidson
- Saturn Cars
- 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 FREE test drive 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.
Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.
Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, experiences they have and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services in a positive way, you’ll attract the right customers and client who will sustain your business for a long time.
Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems invariably to travel faster than good news and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know to not buy your products and services.
The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of word on mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking and all the other online mediums available and making it easier and easier for consumers to share their experiences. And, remember this is all free advertising for you.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers/client choose more quickly and easily. There are three great ways to increase sales by shortening the decision cycle. They are:
Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase
Increase your number of customers
Increase frequency of purchases
Let’s take a deeper look at decision speed. Offer simplicity, ease and a fun purchasing atmosphere and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends and make the decision to purchase more quickly. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.
The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed it forces you to take a hard look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees and product quality.
The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimize the friction, or stress, involved with decision making. No matter how easily people find decision making there is a certain amount of anxiety we all experience when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help to minimize this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.
There are a few secrets to accelerate the customers decision making progress:
Your benefits, features, claims and promises must be obvious, clear and concise.
The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible and balanced.
Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
Make trial periods easy.
You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
Testimonials need to be relevant and positive.
Your support, delivery and other operational systems must be perfect.
Your website can be as good as you make it. You can offer more than information, you can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.
This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they are experience in their purchasing experience that is making their decision time long, try our FREE test drive and work with one of our coaches to come up with the best way to smooth out your purchasing experience.
Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about the power of word of mouth and what exactly this powerful tool is and can be used for.
Last time we talked about how to start multiplying on the resources you worked on maximizing. We covered the following areas:
- Call in the Troops
- Bring ‘Em Out of the Woodwork
- Black Sheep Clients
Today we’ll talk about the next three:
- Olympic-Size Sales Staff
- Open Water Fishing
- Call for Back-Up
Olympic-Size Sales Staff
Now we all know you can’t have a sales staff of 10,000 who work around the clock for free, but there is a tool that will do exactly that-direct mail marketing.
Direct mail is a written piece of sales and informative copy that offers information about your company and your products/services to potential customers/clients. You can sales letters, brochures or proposals that can be mailed out to a list of leads.
This approach can not only open your door to thousands of new customers/clients, it can save you thousands of dollars in advertising.
Open Water Fishing
You have to be careful not to waste your time on clients who are simply not interested. You have to focus on bigger fish. Remember, the lessons we talked previously about how you should always be targeting higher-quality prospects.
To do this you have to take the time to research and learn about your potential clients to make sure you are targeting the right companies to work with. Make sure they are companies who will benefit from your products/services over a long period of time.
If you’re not sure where to start in finding big fish clients, go back over our previous lessons or look into purchasing a direct mailing list that specifically targets the clients you need. You can purchase or rent lists with name, title, job specs and contact information. This gives you a jumping off point in finding high-quality clients.
Call for Back-Up
Don’t be afraid of telemarketing. It’s a powerful tool than can be done tastefully and be highly effective. However, keep in mind, when not handled correctly can bring about negative reactions. To be successful with telemarketing you need to use these tips:
- Your first line of defense should be mail marketing.
- Test before you start a telemarketing campaign.
- Set the price for your offer.
- Use a progressive approach with your campaign.
Progressive contact helps build trust and allow the potential customer/client to establish a positive relationship with you. These are the progressive steps you should take:
- Put your prospect at ease.
- Present your offer in a natural, conversational way.
- Avoid being argumentative or pushy.
- Always be honest.
- Perfect your 30-second elevator speech.
- Clearly state your name, business name, reason you’re calling and where you got their information.
- Offer the benefits of your products and services.
- Mention one of the features that back up the benefits.
- Ask preliminary questions that gives you information about the prospect.
These step-by-step methods can help you be successful with a telemarketing campaign and avoid a negative response which could stigmatize your business forever.
This wraps up these three areas of multiplying your resources. We’ll continue with this series for the next two posts to give you all the resources you need to get the most out of your current resources.
If you need help working through any of these processes or areas, try our FREE test drive to get access to our wealth of resources and tools.