Terrific Tips on Optimizing Your Word of Mouth Research – They’re Excellent!

Posted by Kevin Wessels on November 28, 2020

People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising, and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm, though.  In fact, this could easily drive customers away. Instead, you need to have a product or service that is high quality and easily marketable.  Then, you need to market it as extraordinary and new.

How and Why to Conduct Word of Mouth Market Research

As you’re researching Word of Mouth (WOM), there are some questions you need to ask along the way:

  • What are your customers/users willing to tell the non-users?
  • Exactly how do your customers describe your product?
  • What are the non-users willing to ask the users?
  • What are the things they need to know, but are unwilling to ask?
  • What happens when these issues are raised?
  • Exactly what do your prospects have to know in order to trigger a purchase?
  • Exactly how do your customers answer the objections, concerns, and qualms of your prospects?
  • How do your customers persuade their friends to use your product?
  • How do your customers suggest they initially get to know or try your product?
  • What warnings, safeguards, tips, and suggestions do your customers suggest to your prospects?
  • Are your sales messages, positioning, and important facts about your product getting through and surviving Word of Mouth?
  • What messages do you need to inject into the marketplace in order to turn the tide in your favor and how will you deliver them?

There are two main reasons why Word of Mouth research is so important:

  1. To get the real impression and feedback from customers.
  2. To define Word of Mouth itself and the concept it creates.

There is a simple formula that can help you conduct your Word of Mouth research. It’s called the “2-2-2” model.

The 2-2-2- Model

What this breaks down to is:

  • 2 groups of customers
  • 2 focus groups of prospects
  • 2 mixed groups (enthusiasts & skeptics)

In these groups you need to ask the following questions:

  1. What would you tell a friend?
  2. How would you persuade a skeptic?
  3. What questions would you anticipate from a skeptic?
  4. How would you answer their objections?

The best way to conduct these groups is by teleconference. This ensures you’ll get a good variety of demographics for your customers and potential customers. It also allows people to feel safe and more able to express their true feelings. These teleconferences should not be conducted by you, but rather by an independent party to avoid adding pressure to the situation.

The Pillars of a Well-Crafted Word of Mouth Campaign

Now, we’re going to transition a bit and talk about how to construct a Word of Mouth campaign. First, we’ll take a look at the essential ingredients you need to put together a campaign. These ingredients are:

  • A superior product
  • A way of reaching key influencers in your marketplace
  • A cadre of experts willing to go to bat for you
  • A large number of enthusiastic consumers
  • A way of reaching the right prospects
  • One or more compelling stories that people will want to tell to illustrate your product’s superiority
  • A way to substantiate, prove, or back up your claims and how the product will work in the real world
  • A way for people to have a direct, low-risk experience, a demo, sample, or free trial
  • A way of reducing overall risk and an ironclad guarantee

Once you have those ingredients ready to use, you should consider the situations in which your company can benefit from a strong Word of Mouth program. Some of these situations are:

  • When there are credibility problems
  • When there are breakthroughs
  • When there are marginal improvements
  • Where the product has to be tried in large numbers or over time
  • Where there is a high risk in trying the product
  • With older or mature products that have a new story that people tend to ignore
  • With dealing with unfair competitive practices, such as spreading rumors or telling lies about your product
  • When there are governmental or other restrictions on what you may say or claim directly

While most of the Word of Mouth tactics are positive for your Word of Mouth program, there are a few products to avoid using in this program. They are:

  • Products where a seminar would not provide meaningful added value
  • Products that can’t be tried and where there is no consensus among experts
  • Products that are clearly inferior, without having a compensating superiority for similar products
  • Products that are so personal or emotional that rational discussion is irrelevant to the decision
  • Products where the decision value is so small (e.g. low price/low volume) that the medium will not be cost-effective.

This wraps up this post on Word of Mouth research and how it can be used when formulating your Word of Mouth campaign in route to earning more raving fans.

 

If you need help with this type of marketing research and a proven, polished plan to more effectively leverage its results and enhance your Marketing messaging and ROI, take a quick, guided tour of our Small Business Growth Academy and E-Marketing Platform.

Posted In: Education, Promotion, Small Business, Startups, Target Market,
Tagged: Business Development, Houston Small Business, Houston Startups, Marketing Strategy, Sales Tips, Small Business, Word of Mouth,

Leverage WOM to Convert More Sales

Posted by Kevin Wessels on November 8, 2020

In the latest edition of the RevSherpas Growth Academy blog for Small Business Owners, we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process via positive Word of Mouth or “WOM”.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

 

There are typically 5 stages in the decision-making process for your customers:

  1. Give the product a chance and go from a “no” to a “maybe”.
  2. Check out the options and investigate the different products available.
  3. Observe the product to check for potential benefits, features, and operations to see if there is a fit with their needs.
  4. Become a customer and purchase their first item. They then begin to form their opinion of you.
  5. Purchase again and start spreading positive Word of Mouth as an advocate of your products.

Now, let’s take a closer look at each one of these.

From “No” to “Maybe”
This stage is really important because if your potential customers don’t even take a second look at your products and services, then you have no chance of sealing a deal.  This is why you need to offer credible information and well thought out pricing, guarantees, and incentives.

Investigating Your Products
At this stage, they are taking a closer look at your product line to see if there is actually anything that could benefit their life or business. This is where you need to make sure your hard data is right out there in front for the customers to see and compare.

Trial Period
Customers often feel more at ease and ready to purchase when there is some sort of a trial in place. They usually want to try vicariously through someone else, so they don’t feel any risk involved. A good way to offer this is through demo videos, product demonstrations, or a tour of your facilities. This stage may invoke a reaction of “I tried it and liked it. You should check it out.”

Make a Purchase
At this stage, they have taken the risk of purchasing one of your products or services and are now evaluating how easy, convenient, cost-effective, and satisfying your product or service is. At this stage, a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, you should get it!

Advocates for Your Products
At this last stage of decision making, the customer is immensely pleased with your product and often keeps using it and/or comes back for more products and services. They are likely telling everyone they know how much they like it, that they use it every day, and that they have already been back or will be back to your establishment for more.

We talked a minute ago about the different types of purchasers. Now we are going to further examine their unique characteristics, so you can figure out which tactics are best to use at the right stage of the decision-making process.

The Innovator
 Wants to stand out from the crowd
 Knows what’s hot and trendy
 Likes “strange” or “weird” new products
 Wants to be the first to try and will talk about it animatedly

Early Adopter
 Driven by excellence
 More concerned with possibilities than realities
 Always looking to be a leader
 Always looking for a new vision

Middle Majority
 Wants to be perceived as competent
 Concerned about practicality and easy comparisons
 Needs an easy way out if not satisfied
 Wants products that meet the industry standard

Late Majority
 Generally skeptical and wants to know the risks upfront
 Needs to shop around for the best deal
 Needs a support system
 Wants what everyone else has

Laggard
 Needs it to be completely safe and traditional
 Needs reassurance that nothing will go wrong
 Won’t try new things unless it’s the last resort
 Will search for loopholes and problems
 Wants to use it in the standard industry way

As you can see, each type of consumer wants something just a little different depending on their personality type. The key to successful Word of Mouth is to target and cater to each type of consumer.

If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently targeting/helping and how to attract the types you are lacking, take a look at our Online Small Business Growth Academy for the resources and tools you need to get the job done.

CONTACT US if you would like to have an exploratory business discovery and strategy consultation on how RevSherpas can help you solve your most pressing challenges in the areas of cash flow optimization, lead generation, marketing strategy, salesforce enablement and productivity, and customer support.

Thank you for your continued support and readership and have a profitable week!

Posted In: Education, Promotion, Small Business, Startups,
Tagged: Business Development, Customer Experience, Houston Small Business, Houston Startups, Marketing Strategy, Sales Tips, Small Business,

35 Ways to Unleash the Power of WOM

Posted by Kevin Wessels on

For today’s lesson, we’ll discuss how to unleash the power of positive Word of Mouth marketing.

To begin, here is the proven six-step process to successfully harnessing Word of Mouth:

  1. Understand your customers’ values and priorities…this helps you understand why they would buy your products.
  2. Understand the different adopter types: innovators, early adopters, middle majority, late adopters, and laggards.
  3. Identify which decision stages are needed for your product to be adopted.
  4. Use the information from steps 2 & 3 to figure out which wording and Word of Mouth tactics will work based on the needs and decision-making process of your respective adopters.
  5. Put together the resources for the highest Word of Mouth impact.
  6. Create and implement your Word of Mouth campaign.

 

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

 

Next, let’s move on to the 35 ways to unleash the power of positive WOM:

Use Experts
Experts can come in many forms and all their opinions should be taken into consideration when putting together a WOM campaign. Some experts to gather information from include:

  1. Customers
  2. Suppliers
  3. Experts
  4. Salespeople
  5. Experts’ roundtables
  6. Experts’ selling groups

Seminars, Workshops & Speeches
These venues are a perfect opportunity to gather information. People who attend these types of events are used to giving feedback, so you can use a survey or other method to gather information you can look over later. Some events to use are:

  1. Speakers programs
  2. Seminars
  3. Group selling
  4. Dinner meetings
  5. Peer selling groups
  6. Teleconferenced experts’ panels
  7. Trade show events/opportunities

“Canned” Word of Mouth
The concept of “canned” Word of Mouth is using hard and online products to get feedback and offer information at the same time. Some ideas for these are:

  1. Videotapes
  2. Audiotapes
  3. World Wide Web
  4. CD’s

Referral Selling
As we’ve highlighted before, a referral program can help with a variety of things in building your business. By using some of the following tactics and opportunities you can find out exactly what you need to do to generate positive Word of Mouth. These tactics and opportunities are:

  1. Testimonials
  2. Networking
  3. Referral Selling Program

“New” Media

The concept of “new” media is the use of up and coming media sources and opportunities to get the word out about your products and services and listen for the feedback about them. Here are some of the “new” media options:

  1. Hotlines
  2. Web-based word of mouth, such as forums, e-mail, etc.
  3. Call centers
  4. Faxback services

Using Traditional Media for Word of Mouth
Using traditional media is a great way to get feedback. These are still considered mainstream ways of interacting with the public and consumers. Some traditional media outlets are:

  1. Customer service
  2. PR
  3. Placements
  4. Events
  5. Promotions
  6. Word of Mouth in ads, sales brochures, or direct mail
  7. Salesperson programs, sales stars, or peer training
  8. Word of Mouth incentive programs (“Tell-a-friend” programs)
  9. Customer gifts they can share with their friends (articles, how-to manuals)

Internal Word of Mouth

  1. Encourage employee Word of Mouth and sharing feedback with family, friends, and others
  2. Offer rewards or commission for Word of Mouth success

As you can see, there are a plethora of ideas you can work with to increase your level of positive Word of Mouth marketing.

What have been your success stories for obtaining a consistent flow of positive Word of Mouth buzz and referrals from your customer base? 

Please leave a comment below.

Posted In: Client Retention, Education, Promotion, Small Business, Startups,
Tagged: Customer Engagement Management, Customer Experience, Customer Focus, Customer Service, Houston Small Business, Houston Startups, Marketing Strategy, Small Business,

Why Word of Mouth Worked Then and Works Now

Posted by Kevin Wessels on

The purpose of today’s blog is to introduce you to the most powerful form of marketing that is absolutely free…Word of Mouth!

People talk about ads they see, the experiences they have, and the products they purchase.  If you treat people right and they spread the word about your new products/services in a positive way, you’ll attract the right customers and clients who will sustain your business for a very long time.

And, remember…Word of Mouth is all free advertising for you!

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

 

The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of Word of Mouth. With blogs, podcasts, digital marketing, chat forums, social networking, and all the other online mediums available, it’s easier than ever for consumers to share their experiences.

Now, as positive as Word of Mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news travels faster than good news and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know to not buy your products and services.

Why Word of Mouth Works

When you get information from a friend via Word of Mouth, you are more likely to trust it and act. On average customers purchase two out of every five recommendations their friends make. Conversely, traditional advertising draws about one response for every thousand ads and most of those are to ask for more information before the customer even considers purchasing.  That’s a HUGE difference.

Let’s expound on some reasons why Word of Mouth works. Some of these are:

  • It’s more personal, relevant, and believable.
  • It saves you time and money – customers make purchasing decisions and referrals more quickly and confidently.
  • The information is custom-tailored to the potential customer because of the friendly relationship of the referrer.
  • It’s customer-driven and customer-focused.
  • It’s self-generating and can take on a life of its own, especially with the information age of the Internet.
  • It becomes part of the product’s description.
  • The source of word of mouth can be important and more effective when coming from an expert.

How to Measure Word of Mouth

There are nine levels you can use to measure the word of mouth circulating around your company, products, and services.  Upon seeing where you are getting negative or weak word of mouth, you can then find ways to correct it.

In the rating framework that follows, it should seem relatively obvious that the negative levels are, well, negative and the positive levels are positive.

Minus 4
This is the worst of the worst and means your product is creating a scandal. Remember, when the popular over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol, were deemed unsafe? Yeah, you don’t want that kind of word of mouth.

Minus 3
Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you essentially.

Minus 2
While not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you they will give a negative response.

Minus 1
At this level, people are mildly dissatisfied and while not outwardly talking about it, they will have an opinion if asked. Now they may purchase from you despite their negative feelings.  This admittedly can be a little confusing.

Level 0
This is sort of a neutral place to be. Customers are using your products, but don’t really talk about it. People rarely ask them about it, so they aren’t sharing their opinion with others. This can be a bit of a slippery slope because you don’t want to turn that neutral experience into a negative one. In fact, you should work to make it a positive one.

Plus 1
At this level, we are finally starting to work our way into the positive Word of Mouth about your company, products, and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products, but unless asked, they don’t really say anything about them.

Plus 2
When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products.

Plus 3
Customers will go out of their way to talk about your products, services, company, and their shopping experience with you. This is most evident when you see how people recommend movies to their friends and family.

Plus 4
Your product is the toast of the town!  There is an obvious buzz going around and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your great products and services, but they are talking about their shopping experience, your customer service, and how they perceive the company to help them in the future.  Examples include Tesla and Apple.

Does your firm have a positive or negative Word of Mouth rating?

Where is your Word of Mouth coming from?

Which of your products is being affected by Word of Mouth?

How is your Word of Mouth traveling?

If you found this blog helpful, please share it with a friend or colleague. 

That would be positive Word of Mouth in action and deeply appreciated!

Posted In: Promotion, Small Business, Startups,
Tagged: Customer Experience, Customer Focus, Customer Service, CX, Houston Small Business, Houston Startups, Small Business,

12 Ways to Multiply Max Performance of Your Small Business

Posted by Kevin Wessels on October 4, 2020

Have you been relentlessly searching for the ultimate growth hack for your business to no avail?  If so, you’re in luck…The intent of today’s in-depth blog post is to address how to go beyond maximizing resources and multiply them for even bigger results.  These areas are all key to keep up the momentum you’ve found in making what you have work harder for you.

Exhausted trying to find that elusive growth hack? Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

 

In particular, we’ll cover:

  1. Call in the Troops
  2. Bring ‘Em Out of the Woodwork
  3. Black Sheep Clients
  4. Olympic-Size Sales Staff
  5. Open Water Fishing
  6. Call for Back-Up
  7. Go Big Online
  8. Bartering with the Best
  9. Give Away the Farm
  10. Finding Your Pot of Gold
  11. Stay at the Top of Your Game
  12. Wealth from the Inside Out

Call in the Troops
Finding and securing new clients can be exhausting and expensive. Instead, work with other companies to help you find new clients. Find solid companies with secure, positive relationships with their customers/clients. Also, ensure that their products/services are not directly competitive with yours. Contact prospective partner companies and talk with them about helping promote your products/services to their clients. Always offer them a commission on the sales that come from their client lists.

Be sure to include these key points in your proposal:

  • Ensure that your products/services don’t compete with theirs.
  • The partnership will not take away from their current or future sales.
  • The partnership will increase their profits.
  • They won’t have to do nor spend anything on the partnership.
  • You will produce all the needed marketing materials.
  • You will offer an unconditional guarantee on all products/services.

Bring ‘Em Out of the Woodwork
If you take the time to put together a solid referral system you’ll draw new customers/clients out of the woodwork through everyone you already know. You can start doing this by first showing all your current clients how much you care about them.

Then show them how your products/services can significantly improve their lives or businesses. If you can do this consistently, they will naturally and comfortably bring new clients right to you.

Black Sheep Clients
One of the best ways to rejuvenate business is to find your stray clients and offer them something amazing. First, you need to understand why they strayed and are no longer purchasing from you. There are generally three reasons why customers/clients leave.  They are:

  1. Unrelated causes that have nothing to do with you.
  2. A problem with their last purchase.
  3. No longer benefitting from your products/services.

The best way to bring these clients back is to simply contact them. If you don’t make the first move, they’ll never come back. You make an appointment to visit them or call them if it’s not possible to meet in person.

Talk openly with your stray clients. Let them know you noticed they were no longer working with you and that you’d like to talk with them about their experiences with you and how you can improve things to work together again. Take the time to make them feel special and work hard to make sure their experiences with you going forward are the best ever.

Olympic-Size Sales Staff
Now we all know you can’t have a sales staff of 10,000 who work around the clock for free, but there is a tool that will do exactly that – direct mail marketing.  Direct mail is a written piece of sales and informative copy that offers information about your company and your products/services to potential customers/clients. You can use sales letters, brochures, or proposals that can be mailed out to a list of leads. This approach can not only open your door to thousands of new customers/clients, but it can also save you thousands of dollars in advertising.

Open Water Fishing
You have to be careful not to waste your time on clients who are simply not interested.  You have to focus on bigger fish. Remember, in prior lessons we talked about how you should always be targeting higher-quality prospects.  To do this you have to take the time to research and learn about your potential clients to make sure you are targeting the right companies to work with. Make sure they are companies that will benefit from your products or services over a long period of time.

If you’re not sure where to start in finding big fish clients, go back over our previous lessons or look into purchasing a direct mailing list that specifically targets the clients you need. You can purchase or rent lists with name, title, job specs, and contact information. This gives you a jumping-off point in finding high-quality clients.

Call for Back-Up
Don’t be afraid of telemarketing! It’s a powerful tool that can be done tastefully and be highly effective. However, keep in mind, when not handled correctly, it can bring about negative reactions. To be successful with telemarketing you need to use these tips:

  1. Your first line of defense should be mail marketing.
  2. Test before you start a telemarketing campaign.
  3. Set the price for your offer.
  4. Use a progressive approach with your campaign.

Progressive contact helps build trust and allows the potential customer/client to establish a positive relationship with you. These are the progressive steps you should take:

  1. Put your prospect at ease.
  2. Present your offer in a natural, conversational way.
  3. Avoid being argumentative or pushy.
  4. Always be honest.
  5. Perfect your 30-second elevator speech.
  6. Clearly state your name, business name, the reason you’re calling, and where you got their information.
  7. Offer the benefits of your products/services.
  8. Mention one of the features that back up the benefits.
  9. Ask preliminary questions that give you information about the prospect.

These step-by-step methods can help you be successful with a telemarketing campaign and avoid a negative response that could stigmatize your business forever.

Go Big Online
There are businesses that solely operate online, there are those with only physical addresses and there are those who do both. Those who do both are by far more successful than the previous two. When you take the time to establish an online presence, you open up your business to the entire world through a few clicks of the mouse.

To successfully sell products online, you need to:

  1. Offer high-quality products/services that people want.
  2. Build an attractive, effective website that’s user-friendly.
  3. Generate high-quality traffic at a low cost.
  4. With all of these things in place, you can find success with your online exposure.

Bartering with the Best
If you’ve ever gone to a yard sale and paid the sticker price, then you need to up your bartering game!  Everything is negotiable and you need to take the time to barter with your suppliers. Companies are always open to bartering and when all is said and done you could find yourself saving significantly on the things your business needs to operate
smoothly.

Give Away the Farm
Ok, so not literally, but you have to be willing to stay in contact with prospective clients and offer them products and services they are going to need. You don’t know what they need until you offer them everything you’ve got.  Then, you’ll work with them to put together the perfect package that fits their needs.

When you take the time to put yourself at the front of their minds, they are more likely to work with you going forward. You can do this by offering free newsletters, a free consulting session, or other valuable tools.

Finding Your Pot of Gold
You must always have a goal you’re working toward in order to stay on course. Your goal needs to be something you can attain and utilize your full potential. Don’t be afraid to aim high, just make sure you are clear on what your goal is and exactly what you need to do to get there. You need to continue to hold yourself accountable to your goal and raise the bar as you accomplish the steps to your goal.

Stay at the Top of Your Game
Once you’ve mastered these areas, you need to make sure you are staying competitive and constantly coming up with new ways to use your new tools. Don’t rest on one success when there are more on the horizon. To continue to be successful your business must continue to learn and revolve.

Wealth from the Inside Out
Wealth and riches are defined within yourself, not by your profits or the world beyond.  You can use all these strategies in both your business and life to find a greater level of success. When you naturally reflect who you are and what you mean, you will automatically attract the right people to you. This will happen in life and in business.  You are capable of reaching your goals as long as they are well-defined and a solid road is built to them.

Throughout these lessons, we’ve talked about how to take a hard look at the resources you currently have right in front of you and maximize them to get the most out of what you already have. Then proceeding to multiply those maximized resources to take them to the next level.

If you need help with any of these areas, steps, or processes, CONTACT US to speak to a business growth advisor to determine which of our business elevation programs is best suited for you.  We want to help your business succeed!

Until next time, make it a profitable day!

Posted In: Education, Small Business, Startups,
Tagged: Customer Engagement Management, Houston Small Business, Houston Startups, Small Business,