Why word of mouth marketing is good for your business. (Part 2)
You want your business to be Contagious
Last week we wrote about word of mouth marketing. Today we're going into more depth using examples from one of our all-time favourite word of mouth marketing books: Contagious - How to build word of mouth in the digital age" by Jonah Berger We highly recommend that you read it too.
Coach Buzz says:
Us recommending/giving a positive opinion on a book is a form of word of mouth marketing.
Word of Mouth advertising is more persuasive than conventional advertisements, according to the author of Contagious, Jonah Berger.
Ads are supposed to say how fantastic a product is - that's their entire purpose. Word of mouth marketing is different, in that the person/people have no obligation to say positive things about the product or service.
If they recommend something to someone, the incentive is personal.
If you recommend a product/service to someone else it look good in the eyes of the recipient.
You're not going to risk shame, or the disappointment of your peers.
The information that you tell your friend is far more powerful, as your motivations and intentions are not driven by money.
Coach Buzz says:
Jonah Berger also makes the great point that word of mouth marketing is way more targeted. For example, would your friend recommend a new smartphone to you if they knew you'd just bought one? Probably not.
But a phone company will spend a significant amount of money to advertise on billboards or tech magazines.
Whilst the people who see the billboards or read these magazines have an interest in smartphones, only a small fraction will actually be in a position to buy one.
We are all word of mouth marketers
Think about it, who would you rather listen to when you need to buy a new car? The friend who knows a lot about cars or the celebrity working for the car company that knows nothing about cars?
They have your best interests at heart.
For example, I know a fair amount about bicycles, not as much as a mechanic, but a lot more than my friends and family; enough to go a bike store and have long discussions with the staff about the pros and cons of different bike types.
So my peers will come to me for advice before making purchases. In this situation my incentive is to help my friend/family member. I like seeing them happy. I have no loyalty to any brand, so I can be objective as I have no economic incentive to push any specific bike.
It's up to you to get your brand into as many of these conversations as possible. Here's how you can do it.
The E.L.A path to Advocacy (aka Business Gold dust)
The aim of all businesses is to turn every potential customer into a customer and an existing customer into an advocate.
Marketing experts express this via the ELA model, explained below.
Experience - Ensure that when a customer/potential customer has an interaction with your business for the first time it's a positive one. Make them want to come back to your website or store. Give them reasons to be loyal to you.
Loyalty - Then incentivise their loyalty. Give them even more reasons to come back to you. For example, a points card or another form of loyalty scheme.
Advocacy - This is where your customers begin to promote your business for you because they have such a great affinity with it. You're not paying them anything, they just want other people to benefit from your services like they did.
This model is, of course, another example of how to initiate word of mouth marketing.
Word of Mouth Method 1: Going viral
There doesn't seem to be any concrete formula for a piece of content going viral. There are too many variables to consider, particularly ones that are not in your control. For example, smartphones and game consoles are far more exciting than accountancy and mathematics. So it's harder to get an accountancy firm to benefit from viral word of mouth marketing than the latest games console.
However, if you look at some examples of past viral successes there seems to be a theme of "I haven't seen that before" A combination of things that people or businesses do that go against the usual pre-conceptions. Which makes them conversation worthy.
Some examples of this include:
- Susan Boyle's visual perception v.s. her stunning singing prowess.
- The "Will it Blend?" series from Blendtec. The fact that a blender could actually blend high valued gadgets is unusual.
- The $100 cheesesteak. A traditionally cheap, unimportant food item priced at the level of haute cuisine.
- Please Don't Tell - the New York bar that doesn't do any advertising. All of its customers are acquired purely through word of mouth marketing. This is staggering considering there are over 50,000 bars in New York
Coach Buzz says:
it must be stressed that these examples are outliers and also that their core product/service is of a high standard.
Word of Mouth Method 2: Associate Your Business With Something People Already Talk About...A Lot
There are some things that are almost universal:
- The joy of summer
- The love of a bargain
- The relief at the arrival of the weekend
If you can get your business to be involved in conversations about things like these, you'll be linked to a common trigger. People will be reminded of your business again and again and again.
An example mentioned in Contagious is the YouTube analytics for the viral song "Friday" released in March 2011. The song was widely considered one of the worst songs of all time. For three weeks after the song was released the views spiked on which day?
You guessed it - Friday. Because the entire song was all about most people's second favourite day of the week. Every Friday rolled around people were reminded to watch the video again.
Content in Conversations: A (Made Up) Real Life Example
Below is an example of a conversation describing how content can be mentioned in "small talk" conversations.
Set in an office far, far away:
Meghan: Happy Friday Pete!
Pete: It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Everybody's looking forward to the weekend, weekend.
Ashley: Are you trying to rap Pete?
Pete: You don't know that song? The greatest song of 2011?
The whole office laughs
Ashley: What song?
Pete looks at Meghan then back to Ashley
Pete: Let me show you.
Pete gestures to Ashley to come to his computer. Ashley watches the video and laughs in disbelief
Ashley: That is a truly terrible song.
Pete: Over 100 million views though!
Ashley shakes his head
Ashley: Won't lie, it's kinda catchy.
Happy Friday/Fri-yay/#fridayfeeling in some form is embedded in small talk across the world.
Getting your company, or some part of it related to small talk conversations, can be lucrative. (As long as its positive!)
Take travel for example, that is a subject that pops up in small talk. The aptly named lastminute.com is a popular travel website. If you need to book a flight or hotel at the "last minute" you go to lastminute.com (at least that's the idea) Also it's used in different contexts of small talk.
For example. If you arrange to meet someone and they change their plans at short notice, you may say: "You can't keep changing plans at the lastminute.com or "This isn't lastminute.com, you have to arrange stuff in advance"
Because the name of the website is so cleverly named, it has a higher probability to pop up in conversation.
It's a brilliant example of naming a business and how that has a positive effect on word of mouth marketing done (really) well.
We look forward to hearing about your business from our peers.
Until next time
Asher & the BuzzRamp team