11 Effective Word of Mouth Marketing Examples
Is your marketing strategy focused mostly on word of mouth marketing? It definitely should be. It is the best marketing technique in my mind, hands down. The key to its success is the way to get people to talk about you and start the buzz. These are called word of mouth triggers and word of mouth marketing examples will be the focus of this article.
The first thing you need to know about word of mouth marketing is this: generating consumers to talk about your business isn’t as random as you think. There’s a science to creating a marketing buzz, and it’s something you can learn to do.
Remember, the main goal of your business is not just to create customers. It is to create customers who then will also create customers (that is, customer advocates). This is the perfect marketing solution for 99 % of all businesses and is why we believe word of mouth marketing is your most important marketing campaign tool.
Word of mouth marketing takes consumers by surprise, makes an indelible impression, and pops up where and when people least expect it. It often has a large targeted audience and often can be accomplished at reduced cost.
By being a little more clever and unpredictable, you challenge consumers who appreciate a little fun in their products.
Let’s examine some excellent ways others have created a marketing buzz. Many of these can be easily copied by your company.
At Catbird Creamery in Maine, when you order a conventional flavor, they’ll insist that you sample something a little more adventurous. And even if you’re going to order vanilla anyway, they want you to at least try the strawberry balsamic, or green tea ginger. Catbird knows that anyone can make a good vanilla, but what makes them stand out is helping their customers see all of the other fantastic flavors they also make.
They’re giving their customers an experience to talk about. Even if the customer doesn’t order the hot pepper flavor they just sampled, they will likely tell others they tried it.
Learn more: Portland Press Herald
Headsets.com sells headsets and phone accessories, but they are most likely remembered for adding Tootsie Rolls to every order they ship. It’s a great word of mouth tactic and they like feedback. They use it to do something even more special. When customers thank their operator for the Tootsie Rolls received in an order and mentioned their favorite flavor, you can guess that information is noted for the next time.
Little actions to surprise and delight your customers can easily be created all the time. Follow Headsets.com example and treat feedback like a well-oiled machine, carefully gathering the information and doing something about it every time.
Are you mysterious? Do you think you can be? We looked at how people delight in the puzzle-solving aspect of pattern recognition. Now, let’s go a bit deeper and explore what drives this pattern seeking behavior: curiosity.
Great storytellers know how to turn an ordinary event—say, a trip to the grocer—into a suspenseful one by withholding information. In new relationships, flirtation often involves some element of playful teasing, whether through conversation or more sensual revelations.
And newsrooms have made a science out of crafting irresistible headlines: “Your PC might be infected!” or “Are you prepared for the tax law changes?”
We are captivated by unanswered questions. So try and put this mystery to good use.
Make people feel special
Comodo restaurant in New York encourages customers to snap pictures of their meals and contribute them to an “Instagram Menu” by adding #ComodoMenu to their posts. It’s a great way to collect all of their recommendations and photos in one place, but more importantly, it makes those contributors feel like a part of the restaurant.
Customers are often going to take Instagram photos of their fancy dinners. Why not make the most of that word of mouth by making those customers feel special?
Learn more: Signal v. Noise
Make people smile
Fleur, a florist shop in Chicago, puts a bucket full of bright balloons by the door of their shop both inside and out, with a handwritten sign that says: “Take a balloon.” That’s all. No logos, no catch. It is just a small action to make people smile. Inside the store, it makes a pretty display, and outside the store, people are likely to ask where you got the balloon.
That’s a simple, fun way to get a conversation started without a marketing message. A bucket full of balloons is a bucket full of word of mouth memories waiting to happen. It doesn’t have to be branded or a part of a larger campaign — in fact, the simpler you make it, the better.
Have you ever tried to create conversation starters? Consider this technique by Krochel Kids Intl. Every product they make has a tag that is signed by the person who made it. They are not the standard garment tag. They are large and prominently displayed on the outside of the clothing. It makes each product one of a kind that makes the clothing stand out.
With this kind of visual message, your customers don’t have to bring up the subject because their friends usually ask about it.
Word of mouth marketing examples … demonstrate synergy
Synergy is a quality that often gets overlooked, isn’t it? But it can be a very valuable tool in many ways. You don’t have to be a genius to know that student housing is frequently in demand. Likewise, you’d guess that seniors in nursing homes like to have companionship. So to solve both problems, one nursing home in the Netherlands provides a place to stay for college students, rent free, in exchange for visiting with the elderly for 30 hours per month.
Not much in common, you say? At least they have similar needs. Perhaps your customers who seem very different may have more in common than you think.
|Learn more: PBS|
Surely you have seen the tear-jerker commercials for abused or abandoned puppies or kittens. Not something you’ll often share with friends, is it? North Carolina’s Wake County SPCA tried a very different approach to this problem. They made a lip-synching music video to ABBA’s song “Take a Chance on Me”, with the entire shelter staff and most of the adoptable animals.
A success? It was watched on YouTube over 3.4 million times the last time we looked. Just because others do the standard tear jerking videos doesn’t mean they are popular. Surprise your audience with original things that are fun and approachable like this SPCA did. It may even surprise you.
|Learn more: YouTube|
Unique value propositions
The typical thrift store or vintage shop isn’t all that glamorous. But they do have one thing on their side when it comes to fashion: lots of rare and one-of-a-kind clothes. Goodwill capitalized on that concept by revamping some of their stores to look like upscale boutiques instead of the place you drop off your oldest clothes. Their new Rare by Goodwill stores are smaller, and they collect some of the more trendy vintage or antique stuff their regular stores have to offer.
Perhaps your business has more in common with your upscale competitors than you think, yes? What can you learn from them about attracting new customers?
Learn more: Small Business Trends
Do something different
Restaurants have a lot of overhead: plates, utensils, pots, pans, glassware, and the like. And this doesn’t last forever either. As table cloths wear out or coffee mugs chip, restaurants have to replace them. But at Cotogna and Quince, two neighboring restaurants in San Francisco, they use this aging inventory as an opportunity. They set out this type of used material for their annual “Smallwares Sidewalk Sale” and invite the community to shop, catch some brunch, and help them clean house.
Now that’s a fantastic way to address a standard problem and turn it into clever marketing. They’re saving a little money, bringing people into their restaurant, and getting rid of stuff they don’t want all at the same time.
Learn more: Restaurant Business
Tell awesome stories
When several guys had to give up the 1957 Land Rover they bought together in college, they were disappointed. So when Land Rover saw the boys’ ad for the sale, they bought the car and restored it down to the smallest of details.
But before surprising the guys with the return as a gift, they created a video commercial. Each place in the commercial reflected a memory of a car adventure from the group.
Your customers will often surprise you with many more great memories than you can build yourself. Look for them and put them to good use.
|Learn more: Brains on Fire|
The triggers of word of mouth marketing are all around us. All we have to do is be open minded in how we look.
Now it’s your turn. What are the creative word of mouth marketing ideas from your business?
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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