Posts Tagged ‘Word of Mouth’

Publicity – Connect and Communicate

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Public relations (PR) is a marketing tool and a form of communication that businesses can use to reach consumers. Positive PR can help develop goodwill and strengthen the credibility of a business or brand. By conveying who you are, what you do and how you make a difference, you can influence the public’s perception and opinion. PR can work to a business’s advantage or disadvantage, so a wise company or business owner is proactive in their PR strategy. Taking advantage of the opportunity to get as much positive information out to the public as possible and anticipating challenging situations can help to create a buffer and a balance to public conception if a problem arises.

Publicity is part of PR and encompasses media coverage including news stories, interviews, editorials and reviews. You can garner publicity through effective media relations. Publicity is one of the best ways to generate word of mouth, which is a well-known and powerful form of PR. Creating a strategy that includes a regular schedule of planned PR activities and following up with editors and journalists builds relationships and is very important.  The audience views publicity with less skepticism than advertising, and therefore publicity is likely to have a greater impact on the audience. This credibility makes publicity incredibly valuable – publicity is said to be seven times more effective than advertising.

Unlike advertising, PR and publicity are not guaranteed and do not have a clear price tag attached or a hard and fast way to measure ROI. The term “free publicity” is a little misleading as hiring an expert costs money and placing publicity often takes a lot of time and effort. Successful marketing strategies should contain a mix of advertising and public relations efforts to help keep your business in front of your customer.

Word of Mouth: Who are your Best Talkers?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Originally published by GasPedal
January 10, 2012

You’ve got an infinite number of talkers you can seek out and earn word of mouth from. But because you don’t have an infinite number of hours in the day, start with these:

  • New customers
  • Long-time customers
  • Loyal employees

1. New customers

First-time customers make for powerful, eager talkers. But you only get one first impression, so you need to make the most of it. Give these potential talkers the chance to sample your best stuff and the tools to tell everyone about you. If you’re a restaurant, for example, this could be your one shot to blow them away — so make sure they get to sample that dessert everyone raves about (and a menu to take back to the office).

2. Long-time customers

Long-time, loyal customers can be your word of mouth bedrock. They already know how great you are, but they forget or don’t realize just how important their referrals are for you. Inspire them to talk by inviting them to join VIP groups, asking for their input on business decisions, or just simply asking them for referrals. Think about it — when was the last time you reminded your best customers how much their word of mouth means to you?

3. Enthusiastic employees

It’s fun to work at a place worth talking about, and many of your employees would love to help share your company and cause with their networks. Make sure they have access to samples, beta products, sharable discounts, and any sales materials they can forward to friends and prospects. Use tact in doing this — you don’t want to make anyone feel pressured to talk — but you want to make sure they have all the tools to do so when they feel the urge.

 

Referrals

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

A word about referrals…and a few statistics, too!

Satisfied customers are your best salespeople, because they spread the word about your quality, value and service to their friends.

Keep in mind that a bad referral is as damaging as a good referral is helpful.

  • In the off-line world, one person’s bad experience with a business is conveyed personally to an average of 22 people.
  • In the online world it’s much worse, because your disgruntled customers can broadcast their dissatisfaction at discussion groups frequented by hundreds or thousands of people.

 

*Source: Guerilla Marketing

Increasing satisfaction and minimizing problems are the ultimate goals in managing our relationships with customers. Use each customer encounter or point of contact as an opportunity to develop and build trust. Even problems and complaints can be used as a way to go above and beyond expectations in remedying the situation. It’s a good idea to create a system of recording customer interactions to help determine patterns not only in customer complaints, but in their preferences as well.

For example, many luxury hotels observe the choices guests select during their stay, such as extra towels, then extra towels are provided every time that customer visits. Upscale retailers tend to have personal shoppers who record preferences in colors, styles, brands and size so they can notify their client when new merchandise appears.

Adding a personal touch to your interactions with customers can go a long way. It doesn’t always have to be an up sell or business related. Simply paying compliments or asking specific questions about something that was discussed in a previous conversation helps to create that elusive customer loyalty.

Social Media Policy for Employees

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

You need to protect your brand, your business, yourself and your employees by implementing a social media policy. Through the Internet, the public can access a great deal of information about a person or organization, including information that, in the past, people would have only shared with close friends or family.

Have you implemented a social media policy for your employees?  If you haven’t, start drafting your policy today!  Check out this list of social media policies from Social Media Governance to help begin your policy.

Your employees are involved in social media and you need to be aware of this presence. What are your employees sharing about themselves online? What are they saying about you online? Implement a social media policy today to protect your business tomorrow!

Great Moments to Create Word of Mouth

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Originally published by GasPedal
August 16, 2011

Some moments are just naturally better opportunities to create conversations than others. If you can improve your timing, you’ll get a lot more word of mouth for the same effort. Moments to focus on:

1. After the sale
2. After the support
3. After the check-in

After the sale

The moment of purchase can be an exciting experience — and it can make for a great opportunity to get people talking. You can help them do it with simple forms or social media links to tell friends about their purchase, coupons they can share, or catalogs, stickers, and brand gear they can take with them. A new, happy customer has great talking potential, but only if you put the tools in their hands to do it.

After the support

Thrilling a customer with great support can be a fantastic word of mouth moment. After you’ve saved the day, ask for feedback, a referral, or try pointing them to review sites. This is also a good time to be on the lookout for incoming praise from customers and to politely ask if you can use it in your marketing materials.

After the check-in

Do you do regular check-ins with clients? Not only can it be a great customer service program, but it can also be a great way to reconnect and restart conversations. Smart car dealerships do this with follow-ups to make sure everything is still running well, and Zappos is famous for emailing to make sure you’re still happy with your shoes a year after your original purchase.

Getting Employees Involved in Word of Mouth

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Originally published by GasPedal
July 26, 2011

The people on your payroll can be a powerful word of mouth force if you equip them with the training, the tools, and the motivation to do it right. How to get started:

1.   Give them guidelines
 
2.   Give them tools
 
3.   Give them status

Give them Guidelines

Create simple rules and guidelines for your employees on how to engage with fans and customers. It’s not about creating restrictions, it’s about straightforward education on how they can participate in conversations about you honestly and ethically — and most employees are happy to be shown the boundaries. And when you do, start by teaching these 10 magic words: “I work for _____ and this is my personal opinion.”

Give them Tools

To help your talkers tell friends about you, you need to put tools in their hands — and your employees are no different. Try giving them coupons, friends and family discount codes, leaked information, beta tests, or product samples. And when you find something that really gets your employees sharing, there’s a good chance it’ll work for your external fans too.

Give them Status

Want your internal experts to get more involved in online forums or industry groups? Declare them your company’s subject matter experts on the topics they know best and help them get involved in blogging, online communities, events, or local groups. Or on a larger scale, try creating an ambassador program that gives employees the product expertise (and the VIP status) to go out and engage customers on behalf of your brand.

Word of mouth is the most credible source of information about a product, aside from actual personal experience with a product.  What consumers tell each other about your product has a huge impact on your effort to recruit new customers.

How can you control what people say about your product?  Encouraging customers to say nice things, and preventing them from slamming your product is hard – many marketers assume that doing so is impossible.  But you can influence word of mouth, and you must try to do so.  Following are some ideas for how to manage word of mouth communications about your product:

  • Make your product special.  A product that surprises people because of its unexpectedly good quality or service is special enough to talk about.
  • Do something noteworthy in the name of your product or company.  Support a not-for-profit organization in your neighborhood.  Stage a fun event for kids.  Let your employees take short sabbaticals to volunteer in community services.  All of these strategies have worked well in the past to generate positive publicity and word of mouth.  Get creative.  Think of something worthwhile — some way of helping improve your community that will make people surprised and happy about the good you’re doing in the name of your product.

Source:  Marketing for Dummies, by Alexander Hiam, MBA

The Importance of Public Relations

Friday, June 17th, 2011

A press release is the most under-rated form of promotion.  Why?  Because it’s free, and, moreover, a press editorial is perceived by the audience as true; whereas advertising tends to imply skepticism.

  • All newspapers need press releases to help fill their pages.
  • Local newspapers need news submitted by their local community – or they have to pay more for journalists to go out and ‘get’ news.
  • Press release publicity carries more credibility than paid-for advertising.
  • People are largely unaware that much of what they read in the local newspapers is in fact carefully planned PR.  They are, therefore, more receptive towards it and believe that it is without question.
  • A photograph improves press release pick-up by 100%.

Complete a press release today!

Simple Ways to get More Testimonials

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Originally published by GasPedal
May 17, 2011

Great testimonials from happy fans are an important asset to any word of mouth program. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-location restaurant or a billion-dollar BtoB brand — testimonials will help you make more sales. Three quick ways to get more of them:

1.  Your feedback forms
2.  Your unsolicited praise
3.  Your loyal fans

Your feedback forms

Make the most of the times you’re already asking for feedback (because you are asking for feedback, right?). After the section on your form where people can leave their comment, add a checkbox that says something along the lines of, “Yes, I give you permission to use this in your marketing materials.” Even if just a small percentage of customers check the box (though it’ll probably be much higher than that), you’ll instantly get more testimonials you can immediately put to use.

Your unsolicited praise

Keep your eyes open for all the unsolicited praise from happy customers. You’ll often find it in blog posts, in emails from customers, or in everyday conversations. When you see or hear it, simply ask if you could quote them on it.

Your loyal fans

It is absolutely OK to ask your happy customers for a testimonial. Most of them won’t think to do it on their own — they don’t realize how much it could help you. Think about it: If you’ve done all the other stuff it takes to earn great testimonials, you’ve probably got a bunch of customers who would happily do it.