Small Biz Watch: Creating a word-of-mouth marketing campaign
Want to create some buzz about your small business and the product or service it sells with a word-of-mouth campaign? Here are some more tips from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, drawn from a recent report coauthored by research firm eMarketer:
- Be authentic. Refrain from carefully crafting ad copy that will be immediately identified as such and ignored. Think of how you would talk to a friend or family. And be honest. Are there weaknesses with your product? Be upfront about it, or you might create mistrust and potentially damage your brand.
- Identity the "influentials." These are key people whose views help determine what others think, in wide circles. They can efficiently spread your word to huge numbers of interested parties. In Emanuel Rosen's book The Anatomy of Buzz, he recommends finding influentials and arming them with relevant information about your product or service. Search blogs and message boards for people who are talking about your goods.
- Make it easy to spread the word. Do whatever you can to facilitate the diffusion of your message. E-mail is one of the simplest ways to achieve this, but there are other tactics as well. You can include "Forward to a Friend" buttons on your website, create entertaining podcasts to encourage send-along activity, or provide funny IM or text messages that can be instantly relayed by others using a cellphone.
- Tie your word-of-mouth campaign to the rest of your marketing campaign. Doritos employed an interactive and "viral" campaign (one that creates, as the WOMMA puts it, "messages designed to be passed along in an exponential fashion," through electronic means or by E-mail) using a mix of outdoor billboards, cellphones, and a website. For the campaign, outdoor billboards contained a mysterious message that could be deciphered only by typing a special code number into a cellphone. Those texting in with their cellphones were, in turn, directed to the Doritos website, where people could read and post to blogs, socialize with others, win prizes, and receive free IM buddy icons. An entire community was created using multiple content platforms.