Word of mouth is often called the most powerful form of marketing. But the concept perplexes many small businesses. What is it? How does it work? Can it be controlled?
In this episode of Power to the Small Business, word-of-mouth expert Jackie Huba provides some answers to those questions. Jackie is the author (with Ben McConnell) of Creating Customer Evangelists and Citizen Marketers. She believes that customer evangelism should be a primary concern of your business. Huba advises that you build word of mouth in to the DNA of everything you do in business.
Guest: Jackie Huba, Author, Speaker & Consultant
Length: 23 minutes
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Jackie Huba on Word of Mouth
Customer Evangelist: Someone who believes so much in what you are doing, that they feel compelled to go out and tell their friends and coworkers about your product, service, company.
Citizen Marketer: Creates a piece of marketing for or against your company. May use the Internet or social media to create content about your company, distributed on the web using tools such as a YouTube video or a blog. You don’t control it.
What Should You Do About Citizen Marketing?
- Be aware of it – Know what people are saying about you both offline and online with tools such as Google Alerts. Monitor review sites such as Yelp.
- Welcome the evangelism, both positive and negative
- Contact people and respond to both positive and negative word of mouth
87% of Internet users will research a company or product online before they buy it. Even if the company operates offline. At the end of the day it’s all word of mouth. In fact more than 50% of your business can be generated through word of mouth. Word of mouth has never been more important in driving sales.
Building Word of Mouth
Businesses should strive to acquire as much positive word of mouth as possible. While it is necessary to monitor what’s happening online, focus attention on existing customers. Huba recommends developing a “recommend-ability score.” Ask your customers one question: Would you recommend us? (Yes – No – Maybe) Benchmark your results and keep track of the responses over time.
One idea to build word of mouth is to set up a customer advisory board. It’s a feedback mechanism to determine if you are word-of-mouth worthy. It will also help you filter out your customer evangelists because they love to provide feedback and help out. Don’t make it complicated, Just ask your customers to serve.
Society for Word of Mouth
Huba, along with McConnell, has also founded the Society for Word of Mouth, or SWOM. It’s an online social network for those who are interested in word of mouth. On October 30th, SWOM will host SWOMfestin Austin, Texas. SWOMfest is a one day event that will focus on the building blocks of discovering your purpose, telling your story, and then understanding how that spreads in networks and communities. It’s a conference for everyone: marketers, small businesses and large businesses. SWOMfest is a conference for people who share the same philosophy and interest in word of mouth