A Word of Mouth Marketing Call to Action for Critical Mass
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How to Use Word of Mouth Marketing
By Ken Evoy
C T P M has long been an abbreviation for the core SBI! process. In fact, there's a big "letter" that comes before it all...
B C T P M.
"Brainstorming" includes the whole process of developing and refining your niche, positioning and voice to the point where you have nailed down a sharp, short, brandable domain name. It is, of course, a critical part of the process, perhaps even the critical part.
But there's another concept that is growing increasingly important, one that we haven't directly touched upon. If it's going to change the abbreviation (which it isn't; we prefer to keep it short and simple), the abbreviation would become...
C T P M + E.
So what's the "E?"
E for "Evangelize."
Now, I don't want to take your eye off the "M" prize. After all, if you don't monetize well, you really don't have to worry about what happens after, right? But what about when you do?...
Plan ahead. Grow evangelists now.
We've always talked about the importance of delivering a great product, support, etc. If you basically "just" do that, customers stick with you and some will buy your next product.
Nail the basics down: great product, even better customer care service. Handle problems with class and go overboard on fairness (a great way to convert possible detractors into huge fans).
Small mistakes or oversights, or even just an off day, can hit the wrong person in the wrong way, who then complains in all the wrong places. Apologize fast and fix the problem...
You do not need "anti-word of mouth publicity evangelists!"
From here on, I'll assume that you've got the basics down.
Moving From Passive to Active Monetization
Word of mouth publicity is nothing new. It has always been important, even if you depend 100% on passive monetization models (which you shouldn't).
It generates some quality links and mentions, which brings some traffic and, ultimately, better search rankings. So it's always been "baseline important."
Now, though, as more SBIers move from passive forms of monetization to active, it's that much more important. What happens if you go above and beyond and keep on doing it?
"Word of mouth marketing" has become louder.
And it's not just word of mouth marketing that you want...
It's rave of mouth. People have the vehicles to write paragraphs about you, personally, without being a "pro" in your niche.
Aside from those pros in your field (whom you cultivate through personal social, many more people have personal blogs, Facebook profiles, Yola sites, and often several other social presences. They participate in major sites related to your niche.
Now that social is everywhere, word of mouth is not just "nice." If folks really, really love and respect your work, and if the product exceeds expectations (or at least meets them), they go beyond "word" to "many words," raving about how great you are.
The Edge of the "Little Guy"
One of the advantages of the little guys is that they're underdogs. And folks cheer for underdogs, especially the ones that make them love a little guy. They want to both share a great-but-little-known thing with friends and followers and do the underdog a good turn at the same time.
When the occasional "word of mouth publicity" turns into regular raving, you have an evangelist.
Nothing is better than the ongoing, free viral spread that evangelists deliver. If they have a highly followed Facebook personal profile, or an authoritative reputation in a related forum, that's all the better.
But really, any customer now has a "megaphone" online. The whole world now communicates socially. In your little corner of that world, you want them to either be...
Evangelists help with that, deepening the PREselling and facilitating more sales. Nothing is more credible than the voice of a neutral third party.
The CTPM-E Funnel
The C T P M process is more like a "leaky funnel" rather than a linear progression.
Folks bounce around in that so-called "funnel," leak out, come back. Over time, some of them steadily move down towards the exit of that funnel... the M.
The Content builds Traffic, reaching a small number of people (relative to the total online) who become highly targeted Traffic. Of that total, a sub-set becomes PREsold. Finally, a fraction of that group Monetize and become customers.
Word of mouth helps seal the holes in the funnel, helps redirect folks back into it. Together with you reaching out on a regular basis (newsletter, RSS, social, etc.), you and your evangelists keep serious prospects moving toward that M, boosting your conversion rate.
How Do You Create and Encourage Evangelists?
It starts at the beginning, with your body of content. A certain number are going to love your material, your voice... you!
It builds with repeated contact (newsletters, social, etc.). After a while, they're pre-disposed to supporting your product and don't even know it yet.
Some will promote it even if they haven't used it! That's "PREsold Plus."
But the ones you really want are raving users. Why are they so important?
It's real. It's emotional. And...
It's not you saying that it's the greatest thing since the invention of sliced bread.
They'll be the first to call it out on one of the mega-sites in your niche. They'll post how much they love your product in your Facebook comments, knowing that they're supporting you.
So they help sell directly. And indirectly, too, by helping you build your business vibe online...
Evangelists add so much energy to everything you do. They'll enter your contests and share special new content. When you find yourself thinking, "I should pay that person," you know you have an evangelist.
Do not offer to pay them. You could destroy a beautiful friendship, changing the dynamic forever, no matter how well-intentioned your offer may be.
How do you encourage them?
"Pay them" with what matters to them. Here's what I mean...
You need to understand (without it going to your head) that you have become special, a sort-of celebrity in your field.
You know that you can't leap buildings, but they don't feel that way about you. Recognizing them is worth more than any dollars you could offer. So...
Encourage folks by recognizing their comments, and not just with a "thank you for your kind words."
Next, create tools, such as contests and hashtags, for them to use. Or schedule a live streaming session and ask folks to spread the word.
Could you start a public group about your product? Keep it open to all. Let potential customers ask questions, while existing ones leave terrific compliments.
"But what if a problem comes up," you ask? People know that problems always come up. They won't judge you on that, but rather on how you handle it! It's another selling opportunity.
All of these are things that you should do naturally. If not, work on it until it's a habit.
Growing an evangelist base is so important that I'm tempted to "add a letter"... C T P M + E.
With an increasing emphasis on higher margin products (ex, your own services and goods), and given the social megaphone in each of your customer's hands, we all need to be spending more time on growing and encouraging our evangelists.
Remember, everyone has a megaphone. Delighted fans use it; some use it a lot.
Those are your evangelists.
You want a lot more of them!
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