People Will Talk.
How to get more word-of-mouth buzz for your buck.
Talk is cheap. But word-of-mouth advertising is priceless. Here’s a few ideas on how to generate buzz for your product or service.
Ask for feedback. Develop forums or panels composed of people from your target audience. Involve them in giving you feedback on your product or service. If you’re marketing a new soft drink for kids, do samplings in malls and
amusement parks—then ask their opinion. If you are a software company, invite key influencers—technical experts and people known in your business—to test the new product. If you’re a non-profit company, invite influential community members to a panel discussion. Make your target feel that their opinion is valued.
Become a sponsor. Sponsorships of community activities are a great way to strengthen your image and boost your company’s morale. Private sector companies can sponsor events like a 10K run for cancer prevention, or an evening gala for AIDS research. Non-profit organizations can sponsor town meetings and grass-roots forums related to their service. High-tech companies can sponsor happy hours where people in the field meet and network. It not only gets your name out there, but your employees will also feel good about working for a company that gives back.
Get on the information “free” way. The Internet is a treasure trove of free and creative ways to keep in touch with a your customers. Take the time to email them appropriate jokes, anecdotes or quotations. Or articles or websites that might pertain to their businesses. Email them e-cards on their birthdays or when they get promoted.
Give them info they’ll want to pass on. If you've heard of something new, share it with your customers. They'll in turn share it with others who'll want to know where they heard it from. Use email to send your customers reminders about activities or events that they may be interested in.
To err is human, to give is divine. The old adage is true. Do something well, and no one talks about it. Make a mistake, and everyone does. Happy customers are the foundation of word-of-mouth advertising. Be sure that you provide beyond-the-call service, and if you do make a mistake, be sure to implement immediate damage control. Apologize, but don’t dwell on the error. Instead, immediately remedy it, and be sure to give the customer something for their pains. It can be something as simple as a discount, or as elaborate as a gift certificate. If the customer is impressed by the way you handle a blunder, they’ll be forgiving—and they’ll talk about it to others.
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