Ahhh Word of Mouth. You elusive tease you.
For many of us, Word of Mouth (WOM) will have been instrumental in landing us our first, second, third client…. we might even be bold enough to say we’ve grown our businesses largely based on WOM. (Yey us!)
But. If someone were to ask us how we did it, we’d be stumped for an answer. We didn’t actually do anything, it’s not something you can put a strategy behind because Word of Mouth isn’t a form of Marketing, right?
Right. Also, Wrong.
Let me start by clarifying exactly what I mean by Word of Mouth.
In my book, these are the organic conversations that take place between real people, usually offline in their homes, offices or at the school gates that happen to be about a brand. They can be both passive; where a brand comes up in a conversation e.g. ‘can you recommend a decent hairdresser’ and also active, where the conversation is about the brand e.g. ‘OMG I have to tell you about my new hairdresser’ which leads me to… ⠀
Word of Mouth Marketing – the act of harnessing the power of both types of conversations and then amplifying it, to achieve a specific marketing objective or goal. ⠀
Ideally, you want both; front of mind if a conversation pops up, but even better… you want to be the brand driving that conversation so think about the tools and mechanisms you can put in place to do so. ⠀
The good news is that both types can and should be integrated into an actionable and (to a degree) trackable strategy.
Here are my top tips on how to get started:
- Spend some time considering who your biggest fans are; the people that religiously read, engage with and share your content. They’re probably also that person who always has the inside scoop, is an expert (or at least well informed) in your field and loves to share her knowledge. These are your ‘Talkers’.
- All WOM starts with a message to spread, so nailing your topic is vital. It must both connect with your audience and trigger an action. Typically, topics fall into two categories; content that adds value (informative, practical tips and hacks, exclusive access, stories) and content that screams for attention (my tagline 😊). Try to incorporate both in your content plan; but focus more heavily on the former.
A good place to start is to revisit your list of Talkers and consider who their audience is, what they talk about in general and importantly – which topics of yours they deem worthy of sharing with their audience. Then create more of it.
- Once you have your topics you need to make is as easy as possible for your Talkers to share it. This means bullets and bitesize sentences, simple language and no spiel. You should also consider tools and triggers to help them along. For example, a card, refer-a-friend, or free content in a ready to share format.
- What makes Word of Mouth powerful is that it’s a two-way conversation. You get to contribute to the conversation about your product/service/industry, add value to it and importantly fuel it. So, make sure you do!
- Word of Mouth doesn’t happen over-night, so keeping track of the topics that work is important in ensuring you stay focused and on the right track. Shares and mentions on social and email forwards are great indicators as are share buttons on your website and referral schemes.
My personal favourite is the Net Promotor Score (NPS) which, in a nutshell tells you how likely it is that your audience would recommend you (check out my Cheat Sheet for a step by step on how to calculate and track it).
Finally – the golden rule when it comes to Word of Mouth (and life) is just be a very decent person! Trust underpins everything so if you act with honesty, authenticity and integrity (your audience will suss out a fake a mile off) you won’t go far wrong.
Want to unlock the secrets of WOM?
Found & Flourish presents Unlock the secrets of Word of Mouth with one of the UK’s leading female Brand Strategist, Word of Mouth Marketing expert and founder of BLOC + ROSE, Rebecca Mackay-Miller.
Join us on Thursday 14th May for a one off workshop special!
Rebecca Mackay Miller
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