Word of mouth marketing is considered by many to be the most desired form of marketing. The trust, referrals, and overall brand-building buzz that’s garnered by customers spreading the good word to prospects are worth its weight in gold. Some products, services, and experiences naturally produce chatter, but there are certain things that any company can do to stimulate word of mouth and cash in on the buzz.

Here are six ways to get your customers talking about you and your organization:

1) Ask them – The best word of mouth starts with “word of listen.” Call your customers up and ask them why they buy, why they stick around, and why they tell their friends about you. You might be a bit surprised by their answers. Hint: it’s usually not the stuff you have in your new marketing brochure. You stand a far greater chance of attracting the right customers and the right buzz if you really understand what your current customers value about doing business with you. This goes for online and social media listening as well – what are they saying in Slack channels, blog comments, on LinkedIn, or Twitter?

2) Teach them – Sometimes great word of mouth just happens, but sometimes you’ve got to help it along. One way to do this is to make sure you are teaching your customers how to spot an ideal client, what a prospect in need might say when looking for your products, and how to properly and concisely describe how your company is different. Of course, in today’s hyper-social media world you should also be teaching your happiest customers how to write reviews on Yelp, Google My Business, Facebook Ratings and Reviews, Insider Pages, and CitySearch-type rating sites.

3) Star them – Letting a customer testimonial or success story go uncaptured or untold is downright criminal in WOM circles. Today you can easily record customer testimonials on an iPhone or Android or you can start doing video interviews over Zoom to record their success stories. These “real life” bits of content are gold and turn your featured customers into talking referral billboards for your brand. Want to take this idea up a notch? Hold a customer party and film a dozen or so at one time in a great atmosphere – this alone will get your customers talking.

4) Include them – People like to be asked what they think, it’s just human nature, but it’s also a great way to get some sound advice. Create a round table discussion group made up of select customers and charge them with advising you once a quarter or so on new marketing and business initiatives. (Reward them for this in some way as well.) This can include advising on everything from a product extension to the look and feel of your website redesign. Members of your marketing round table will become natural ambassadors for the brand. (You can do this with simple video chat meetings – Zoom or GoogleMeet)

5) Video them – People are more likely to respond t0 a personalized video over a generic one any day. People’s email inboxes and newsfeeds are flooded with businesses trying to sell to them so much so that it’s hard to stand out in all of the noise today. One-to-one video is a highly effective way to stand out in the crowd. You can use a tool like Loom to send a prospect a quick personalized message about something you saw on their website, invite a lead to sign up for an event you’re having that you think would be valuable to them, or follow up with a potential client with a personalized video instead of an email.

6) Surprise them – I like to think I saved the best for last – few things get people talking faster than surprising them. This can include doing something that was out of the blue and much appreciated to just giving them more than they bargained for. I remember a PR firm that was pitching me some business and the account rep showed up to meet with an apple pie (I’m still talking about it.) I once worked with a financial planner that hired a mobile auto detail firm to detail his customer’s cars during their annual review – that created some buzz.

The bottom line of course is that you’ve got to do good work, do something that somebody appreciates, and create an experience worth talking about, but then, prime the pump and leverage all that greatness.

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The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network has helped me to grow my business by over 40% in the last 12 months. ~ Michael Quinn – Michael Quinn Agency, Fargo, ND