The Word-of-Mouth Revolution.

13/10/2010 at 02:45 2 comments

Yesterday I finally got a copy of ‘The Conversation Manager’, a book I described earlier in one of my blogposts. And even better, the person to explain us a couple of things about the book and the ‘conversation revolution’ was the conversation manager himself, Steven Van Belleghem.

He talked mostly about the importance of word-of-mouth, something I learned more about in England as well (during my Erasmus year). But in England they didn’t talk about a conversation revolution, they called it the ‘Word-of-Mouth Revolution’. And instead of ‘The Conversation Manager’, they referred to the ‘Word-of-Mouth Book’, written by (American) Andy Sernovitz. I learned some interesting things from him (through an interview I had to read at the University) about word-of-mouth. One of those things were four simple rules which, according to him, are necessary to create positive word-of-mouth:

1. Be interesting: Nobody talks about boring associations, boring events or boring brochures, so make them interesting.

2. Make people happy: Create amazing publications and events, provide excellent memeber service, go that extra mile. Make sure the work you do gets people (members as well as your extended community) energised, excited and eager to tell a friend.

3. Earn trust and respect: Nobody talks about an association that they don’t trust or don’t like. Earn the respect of your members. Be good to them, talk to them, honour their intelligence, fulfill their needs, stay honoust.

4. Make it easy: Find a simple topic that is easy to repeat. What can people tell a friend about you in one sentence? Then do everything you can to make it easy to share that topic. Use tell-a-friend forms on your website, put it in an e-mail, pass out filters, blog it or stick it on a T-shirt.

But rules alone don’t create positive word-of-mouth. Actions do. Andy brought up some good examples of WOM in the interview, but I’m not going to mention them here. I do want to mention an example that Steven gave yesterday, about the online shoe store Zappos. The CEO, Tony Hsieh, helped Zappos grow by introducing the 365 day return policy. You read it correctly, 365 days! A full year to return the shoes you bought online. You must think that’s crazy, but in fact only 2% returned their shoes, so it’s actually quiet brilliant. Because it’s buzz-worthy, it makes people tell positive things about Zappos. But that’s not the only thing he changed. He also wanted to make sure that every question about Zappos, no matter which medium used, would be answered within 10 minutes. And even though he had to hire more people to accomplish that goal, it was worth it because – again – it makes people happy. And happy customers tell good things about the company that makes hem happy.

And that’s what word-of-mouth marketing is all about: make people tell positive things about you or/and your company, make the message you want to spread buzz-worthy and most of all, make your customers (and your employees and your environment) happy. Or, if the word-of-mouth is negative, react positively and try to fix what makes it negative. As long as you handle it well…


Entry filed under: Conversation, English articles, Marketing.

YouTique. The Fun Theory.

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