Web of MouthWritten by Joelene Wickens-Orlando
Word of mouth marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating potential for exponential growth in message’s exposure and influence. Like viruses, such forms take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode message to thousands, and even to millions of people.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You’ve undoubtedly seen those buttons on web sites that say ‘click here to send this page to a friend.’ With this simple tactic, your site visitors are able to provide you with “web of mouth” advertising for your web site, and each successive visitor can do same. Word-of-mouth advertising has traditionally been one of most effective advertising strategies available. The Internet does not change that principle, but makes it easier for you.
How can you build more ‘web of mouth’ advertising to your website? You want your customers to talk to their friends about their experiences in doing business with you, and why not set up forums, chat rooms, blogs and ‘refer to a friend’ to bring your level of word of mouth marketing to a whole new plateau? Word of mouth marketing doesn’t cost you any money, and you reap benefits from this form of marketing as it simply functions without any implementation on your part once you set up a good solid communications system on your website. What’s really nice about various methods of ‘communications’ tools out there, is that you can view what people are saying, and what they’re discussing, and you have opportunity to jump in periodically. The most effective way for you to promote your site is to become a regular participant in discussions relevant to your site. Why? By showing that you are taking time to actually read what people are saying, and offering input with useful content, reflects how seriously you take other people’s opinions or thoughts about your business.
Using your website along with a very cohesive mix of advertising forms of customer relations in forums, chat rooms, signature files, tell-a-friend, and blogs, you can spread your marketing messages from person to person, reaching potentially more people than normal word of mouth could ever create, generating a continuously growing stream of new leads for your business.
To stimulate word of mouth advertising, check out these different types of ‘web’ interaction tools that will definitely get your business noticed!
There are three general types of forums that you may want to consider for your website. Usenet newsgroups, web-based forums, and email discussion lists. Usenet is system of online discussion groups where participants post messages related to newsgroup topic. Web-based forums exist solely online. You don’t need a newsreader to participate, and some sites include a discussion area where you can register by submitting your email address, along with your “sig” (signature file=name, title, company, email address or URL). Usually there is a password entry requirement to participate. Your site should have a password entrance for users to participate. Email discussion lists are forums where group members send in messages of interest to forum and they are compiled into one large message and sent to everyone who has subscribed to list. You have to sign up initially to receive discussion via email. The nice thing about this email list is once you receive messages, you can add your comments or contribute to list to keep topic moving. Usually all comments or feedback will go through a moderator, which it edits lists to make sure messages remain on topic and initiates new conversations, and keeps nature of lists in an appropriate light.
Business Cards Go Fishing!Written by Gloria Cohen
The offline effort of business cards should focus on getting your website address out there for everyone to see. How do you broaden your reach by using this simple, but one of most effective marketing tools? (Assuming that you already to have a good stack of business cards with who, what, where, why and most importantly your URL information stated in them.) Most likely, you have handed out numerous cards to people you have met on streets and you’ve hit up various business/retail storefronts with your business cards that sit by cash registers which pretty much go unnoticed. The good news with leaving your cards at checkout counter is that it’s still a viable place to get people to notice your cards if it’s presented in a unique way. What you need is some serious ‘bait’ for potential customers to sink their teeth into. This is where we go ‘fishing’ folks.
Business cards are left everywhere, and seriously, left behind. If they are just sitting in a pile, it’s hard to grab attention of person if it’s just dormant, or if there isn’t a ‘catch’ to it. Instead of just leaving business cards at counter, offer various retail places a fishbowl. Yes, I’m talking about those small, clear glass fishbowls. Provide a small sign to encourage other patrons, business owners, corporate employees, and anyone who has business cards, to drop in their cards, conducting a monthly drawing for a free prize. Of course, on sign, you would indicate what prize would be. It can be a free service or product that you currently provide, gift certificates to local restaurants, or even tickets to a Broadway show. You will find that you will get more people to take your business cards because you’ve ‘hooked’ patron in participating in your contest. People just love to do things for free, and if it only takes dropping in a business card to enter a simple contest. Each month, after you conduct your monthly drawing, you would announce winner on your website for others to see, and even put a small article in newsprint about who won monthly drawing. This will get people to keep dropping their cards in those fishbowls, because people are always ‘fishing.’ What a great way to ‘lure’ potential customers. That’s what I call a serious ‘hook’ to new consumers!