ord of mouth marketing done right can be the most effective form of marketing to increase your brand awareness.
“84% of people trust recommendations from people they know. Making them the most influential form of advertising”. Nielsen.
We trust our friends, family and even strangers more than we do advertisements thrown at us. Our decisions are influenced by reviews, testimonials, recommendations and referrals.
As more people talk about your brand and keep on sharing with friends and family, the more exposure your business gets. However, as much as word of mouth can increase brand awareness, starting a positive conversation with your audience, influencing people to talk about you is one of the most difficult challenges we face.
Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin, in their book ‘Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth,’ go into details about how brands can create word of mouth marketing.
A talk trigger is a strategic operational differentiator that makes word of mouth involuntary. It entails what you do differently that will get people talking. Here is an example of a talk trigger from UberConference:
UberConference is a software for web conferencing and online meetings. Most participants who log in to UberConference before the “host” of the call has joined will hear the famous on-hold song which has caused social chatters between employees and on social media.
Here is a Snippet from the Book on the Six Steps to Creating Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies:
Gather internal insights: The first step in creating an effective word of mouth marketing strategy is by documenting everything you know about your customer, how they use your product and what they want.
The source of that information needs to be from a combination of three departments: Sales and Operation, Marketing/PR and Customer Service. They are more exposed to every element of the customer journey.
Get closer to your customer: Now, you can’t possibly know everything about your customer from market research, annual surveys or call logs.
- Interview 15 customers or any number that is a multiple of 3 ( 18,21,24,27…) through the phone.
- The 15 customers should be divided into 3 groups: New customers, long time customers and lost customers.
- During the interview, we want to review the key components of the customer journey. Ask each customer “at this stage of the process or touch-point with our company, what did you EXPECT would happen?”
- Humans are wired to talk about what they don’t expect. So your word of mouth marketing strategy must be in line with what they don’t expect.
Create candidate talk triggers: answer the questions below as an actual customer. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Probably one you’ve met or talked to.
- When I buy or use this product/service I’m…
- What I don’t expect from this product…
- What I want is…
This will help you come up with talk trigger ideas. Create at least five to eight talk triggers.
Test your trigger: Choose a talk trigger from the list you created. The talk trigger must be talkable and operationally viable for you to execute.
Measure your talk trigger: the best way to measure the success of your trigger is to survey at least a hundred customers who experienced your trigger and ask them this:
- In the last 30 days, have you told anyone about our company?
- What did you say?
- Did you mention any of these things? (present a list of six attributes, one of which is your Talk Trigger)
If your survey shows that 15% of your customers mention the talk trigger when talking to others about your business and 25% of them selected your talk trigger among the list of things you presented, your operational differentiator is talkable enough.
Operationalize your talk trigger: if your talk trigger meets the criteria in step 5, roll it out to all your customers. If your picked trigger fails in step 5, pick a new talk trigger from the list you created in step 3.
Once your word of mouth marketing strategy is set and implemented, let your customers do the involuntary marketing. They would spread the word about your business even without them knowing they are advertising your brand.
Word of mouth marketing is probably one of the best (unpaid) forms of marketing. Your customers are the ambassadors of your brand.
With a word of mouth strategy in place, you will know what exactly people love about your business and maximize it to increase your brand exposure.