Viral Marketing

Building Trust Instead of Selling

Building Trust Instead of Selling

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame was recently interviewed by a BusinessWeek editor. A few of the tidbits:

It appears to me that advertising itself is at an all time low for effectiveness, and businesses that really succeed are focusing on the idea of building trust and educating as opposed to selling.

When asked for the short list of what small businesses should absolutely be doing to market themselves, Mr. Jantsch responded with the following three:

  • One: Absolutely differentiate yourself from everyone. You have to find a way [to make] people say you're something different, whether that's to focus on a narrowly targeted market or [through] packaging. Otherwise you're just competing on price. And the line I use all of the time is that price is a really bad place to compete because there's always someone willing to go out of business faster than you.


  • Two: It's more important than ever, and easier and cheaper, to embrace technology, and specifically the Internet, as a tool to educate, market, and generate leads. It offers a tremendous way to automate the whole process and is a great tool for customer service and project management -- things that add value with clients. If a small business isn't taking advantage of these tools, they're giving up a great way to level the playing field with much larger companies.


  • Three: I always ask people how they got to where they are now. Amazingly, it's mostly through word of mouth referrals. The follow up question is: What do you do to systematically take advantage of that? One of the most powerful tactical aspects of marketing is referrals, and when it's done right, there could be zero cost.

Differentiate, use the Internet, and systematically generate word of mouth referrals. What a great list! I couldn't agree more. And you know the easiest way to do it? (shameless plug coming) PromoterZ is the easiest, quickest and most inexpensive way to do all three of those things. If you haven't already checked it out do it now at www.promoterz.com. (end of shameless plug)

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Word of Mouth Wins Again

Word of Mouth Wins Again

This from Double Click's report on the internet's role in the modern purchase process:

'Word of Mouth' Is the Single Greatest Form of Purchase Influence.

No great surprise there. We all experience it every day. The real question for us as business owners is: is there some way we can increase the positive word of mouth about our business?

I think it goes with out saying, that we have to start at the beginning with our product or service. It has to be remarkable. In other words, our offering needs to stand out so much that our customers want to talk about it. Assuming we've got remarkable, we can either leave the "word of mouth" to chance or help it along.

Shameless plug: a tool like PromoterZ™ is like a putting a megaphone in the hand of your happiest customers. Why leave the word of mouth to chance? Help it along by giving your customers an easy way for them to tell their friends about your business. End of plug.

Whatever you are doing to grow your business, remember: word of mouth rules. Do you know what your customers are saying about your business?

Get customer feedback, generate referrals, and increase repeat sales for as little as $150 a month. Learn more

Small businesses main problem? They need more customers.

Small businesses main problem? They need more customers.

In September of 2005 our company sponsored a survey of small businesses in the service areas. The purpose of the survey was to ask the business owners, many of them franchise owners, what their significant business hurdles were. The key areas of the survey were customers, growth, technology and research, and employees. You can see the complete results here.

There are many things to be learned by studying the results that you can see here, and I hope you'll find them interesting and helpful. It will probably come as no surprise that the common problems facing service businesses are:

  1. Finding new customers does not occur fast enough
  2. Growth of revenue is also not as fast as desired
  3. Cutting through the advertising chaos to reach customers is difficult
  4. The internet is providing little benefit to small businesses
  5. Issues regarding costs and working capital are also significant.

No real surprises but it does highlight the need that small business owners have to gain new customers and get the ones they have to purchase more often. Doesn't that solve most, if not all, of the issues they identified?

The question is how to do it. Our suggestion?

The internet provides a powerful tool for communication and advertising that small business and franchise owners aren't using enough or effectively for marketing. It's called "internet marketing" or "online marketing" and it can include "email marketing". It's likely that small business owners don't know how to use internet marketing as the internet is seen as a big nebulus thing with no tie to location and most small businesses are tied to one location.

The business principles we espouse, regardless of the vehicle used to enact them, are:

  1. Making our businesses remarkable by taking great care of customers
  2. Listening to and acting on what they have to tell us
  3. Giving them a megaphone to tell their friends and colleagues.

It's a simple formula for success and it works. The internet provides a very inexpensive and effective means of doing so when you use the right software tools.

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Justifying a Fishing Trip

Justifying a Fishing Trip

I like trout. I like being out where they live. I like to watch them and figure out how they work. I have discovered an interesting characteristic of trout. They are wary and careful as they investigate food, but once they see another fish feeding, their wariness takes a back seat to quick action.

It is as if two criteria must be met, first is it acceptable food, and second, can I get it first. Since another has obviously met the first condition then it is OK to move on to the second immediately, often resulting in a feeding frenzy. This characteristic serves the trout well as it quickly discovers available food and can eat it immediately.

Maybe I have spent too much time fishing lately, but it seems that trout rely on word of mouth, so to speak, to survive and prosper.

Our customers are also wary and looking for a good, safe solution. Once they have met that condition then they will buy. A referral or word of mouth recommendation provides them with the confidence to move directly to purchasing.

So the question is, are we making it easy for our customers to spread the good news? What are we doing to help potential customers see our happy customers? Spending some time and thought on empowering your customers to share could very well lead to a purchasing frenzy.

Finally, should we use worms or flies?

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

Can you buy Word of Mouth Referrals?

Can you buy Word of Mouth Referrals?

It is clear everyone is starting to get it. Word of mouth or referrals bring in business because it brings credibility. Tom Fishburne's cartoon aptly shows the power of word of mouth over other advertising.

NPR had a segment this morning about something called Buzz Agents. Marketing agencies, realizing the power of word of mouth, are signing up people to use products and then talk up how great they are. These "buzz agents" do it for free use of the product.

Business owners are sitting on a gold mine of happy customers. Their own personal buzz agents. Those happy customers could be even more effective if they were given opportunities to share and even something of value to give to their friends.

If you are not regularly staying in touch with your customers someone else will. How do you stay in touch? Learn more
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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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