Are you word of mouth worthy?
Word of mouth is the most valuable marketing you can have.
Word of mouth is far more credible, far more targeted, and far more cost effective than any other form of marketing or advertising. And sure, it can't replace all of your marketing, but it should be the subject of your primary focus.
Let’s explore why.
Word of mouth gets through
Word of mouth is inherently more believable because we all have well-refined ad-blocking instincts. We're hit with thousands of messages each day and we've built up a powerful tolerance to them - we scan them for what the eminent psychologist Robert Cialdini calls "triggers" - phrases like, "But wait, there's more!" and we tune them out like so much white noise.
Word of mouth behaves differently - it's the ultimate Trojan horse because the message comes not from a faceless company, but from someone you trust like a friend.
When these people tell you to try something out, you have good reason to believe that the recommendation is genuine (Unless it's for steak knives or nutritional supplements, in which case, yeah, be dubious).
Word of mouth hits home
It's also more targeted than your other marketing because word of mouth is like a homing missile. Instead of air-dropping leaflets and hoping that someone picks one up and reads it, you're arming consumers to seek out the people in their lives who need your message the most and to deliver it.
After all, we all want to look good by delivering useful information and you’re arming them with the means to do this.
For example, if you're a company that makes bespoke bamboo bicycles, people are going to tell only their friends who are interested in sustainability and cycling.
If you're a software company that helps startups build beautiful websites, people are only going to tell their friends in tech or who are considering launching their business.
In this way, the word of mouth message is targeted down to the individual by the individuals sharing it.
Talk is cheap
What's the best benefit of all of this working for you? Word of mouth is free. It doesn't cost a dime and it's the hallmark of a well-designed product. Apple, GoPro, Dollar Shave Club, Instagram, these are all companies that have ridden a sustained wave of people-to-people sharing because they got this right.
The only challenge?
Actually being word of mouth worthy.
Being worthy means having a good enough product that people want to talk about it. It means solving people's challenges so well that you become the obvious answer to their problems and you evolve into a verb in the process:
People Google to find answers.
Friends Uber to the bars.
Artists Photoshop their photos.
This closes then with an interesting twist on what's usually a marketing-focused blog: before you work on your marketing, work on your product. Create something that people fundamentally want to talk about it and it will make your marketing will be more credible, more targeted, and endlessly cheaper.
Do this, and it will travel on its own by word of mouth.