Today’s lesson will focus on how Word of Mouth (WOM) messages are delivered and what you can do to influence those messages.
There are essentially 3 methods of WOM:
- Expert to Expert
- Expert to Peer
- Peer to Peer
When experts are discussing your products and/or services you will most likely receive a noticeable increase in sales and new customers, so obviously this is one of the best things that can happen. You can also facilitate this outcome through offering free products to experts for them to review.
Expert opinions can also bring about new ideas that fuel new products, services and operating systems within your company. If you take the time to change or cultivate the opinions of even a small group of experts, your business has the potential to expand dramatically.
There is a standard WOM delivery system that, in most cases, takes a few years, but you have the ability to speed this up into only a few weeks. The standard system is:
- First impressions from an expert;
- Organized trial of your products or services;
- Pooling peer experiences.
It’s pertinent to be aware of exactly who is promoting your products and/or services. Take the time to find out who they are and reward them appropriately. While you may already have a customer service system for filing complaints, it is unlikely that you also have one for compiling praise. However, if you take the time to show these people your appreciation, they will be the ones that will continue to promote your products and/or services all the way to the top.
Some of the ways you can show your appreciation for the promoters of your products and/or services are:
- By inviting them to a customer appreciation dinner;
- Offering to videotape their testimonials;
- Asking to interview them for feedback;
- Offering them a premier customer membership;
- Asking them to join a referral incentive program.
There are many things you can offer your biggest fans to further spread the word about your products and/or services.
Conventional media has been around forever and while it can still be effective, it has lost a bit of its appeal over the last few years for the following reasons:
- It is expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results;
- It is boring and lacks innovation;
- It has too short of a time slot to offer enough information.
While the above is all true, there are ways you can make conventional media work for your business. For the information to be effective, it needs to be presented in the right sequence, come from the right sources, be relevant to the target customer, be credible, and be delivered at the right time in the medium.
Now we are going to switch gears a bit and look at the two phases of the product adoption cycle. Traditional media is great for taking you through the information stage where you are able to offer the required information to your potential customers, but it is not ideal for measuring the results of those efforts.
Without results of your efforts, you will not be able to fine tune your marketing and as a result could easily miss the mark and lose potential customers, not to mention waste a whole lot of money. Once a consumer has the information they need to make a purchase, they will go through a verification process as they analyze whether or not the purchase was a favorable one. They generally will get their information through:
- Direct experience with the product;
- Interaction with peers using the same product;
- Experts’ experience;
- Scientific journals and other resources;
- Independent reviews and opinions.
You can accelerate this process by:
- Providing your own demos and free trials;
- Offering them indirect experience through the experience of others;
- Offering a good, credible story that can be passed around.
Once you have the ability and can work through these concepts, you will be better able to target your customers. If you need help with any of this along the way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for assistance.