All marketing campaigns should also promote the spread of your message via word of mouth. “Word of Mouth” is the most powerful marketing medium, because a personal recommendation goes a lot further than a message on a billboard or email. In developing markets and new product launches, word of mouth has the most influential effect on whether a customer considers that product during a purchasing decision.
Here are some ways you can increase the spread of your message through word of mouth;
- Make your message important, imperative, time constrained and interesting. If you are launching a product, it is far more effective to say “We are giving you the exclusive chance to test our new product, but only for the first week of June at our website”. In that one sentence, you have focused your message to time, space and opportunity.
- Make your message easy to spread. In the least your website should have the option for people to “re-tweet” or post on facebook/reddit etc. If you want to get really inventive you should also provide an incentive for people to spread the message, either through “recommend a friend” or “here is your exclusive token, you can use to to invite friends”.
- Encourage, create, promote and reward fans. You should create/manage a group of your most loyal fans and leak information to then about new products and new opportunities. Encourage them to spread the word, by posting reviews or comments on blogs and other review websites. Reward them with either exclusive offers, complimentary products or news information before anyone else.
- Respond quickly and directly to early feedback, whether positive or negative. At one company we work for, there is a policy on customer reviews, that if someone posts a negative review online, all attempts are made to contact that person to attempt to fix the situation. Creating two way communications with your customers will help encourage the flow of positive feedback. Negative feedback will be increased when there is a communications vacuum.
- Measure the spread, as much as you can. Measuring word of mouth can take on several forms. Companies can make offers/links to websites unique to each campaign, or medium. You can also use websites like tweetmeme, trendpedia or howsociable. In the least companies should track what is happening on their website. Once you understand how and where the message is spreading, you can feed and promote the channels that it is working in.
- Celebrate success. When you have a word of mouth driven phenomenon, display the success and promote it to anyone who will listen. Share the glory with your fans, and give then a pat on the back. Recognition of achievement can go a long way.
Creative Development is a marketing and web design agency based in Sydney.
If anyone else has any great tips for increasing the spread of message by word of mouth, we would love to hear them.