Last week, I wrote 11 Signs Your Word-of-Mouth Campaign My Be Mute. I had fun writing it; I hope you had fun reading it. At the end of the post I promised to write that post backwards. Well, not backwards. I promised to show how you could turn those 11 signs into steps that would make your word-of-mouth...loud and proud.
You Live It; You Breathe It.
You create word-of-mouth in every way on every day. You know this. You live it; you breathe it.
You, the collective you, understand every thing, every step, every decision, every call and email and meeting and blog post, every conversation, every feature, every goal and strategy and tactic...everything creates an experience. Those experiences are what your stakeholders talk about at the end of the day. Your most important stakeholders in this conversation are your employees and your customers. In that order.
You cannot directly control what they say.
But you can feed it. You can feed it positive, inspiring, experiences that your stakeholders will then share with their community. Or...not.
You Light their path
You light the path your prospects walk to reach your company. Light it and remove their darkness and all the obstacles, real or imagined, that could stand in their way.
You light that path for everyone in your company to see, too. How can they understand the experience your prospects have to reach your door unless they, too, can see it?
Remember: your prospects experience on this path determines your ability to sustain and grow your business.
This path creates the word-of-mouth your prospects will share. That word-of-mouth will bring their friends and colleagues with them to you, now as fellow customers. Or your prospect’s word-of-mouth will take their friends and colleagues with them to your competitor.
That is the path on which your business will grow.
You Know Your Referrals
Who referred them? Why did they refer them? What did they say? Why did they say it? When did they say it?
You know the answers to these questions. You collect those answers; you track them and share them with everyone in your company.
Their answers are what they say to their friends and colleagues. Word-of-mouth. Fix what they tell you is why the do not refer people. Accentuate, accelerate, amplificate what you do that they say inspires them to recommend your business to their friends and colleagues.
You know their answers help you light their path.
Some use the Net Promoter Score. I highly recommend it. Regardless, you know your referrals.
You Stop Feeding Your Competitors
Remember: Customer churn is customer chum. Chum is what you feed sharks, your competitors.
You don't feed your competitors with your unhappy, newly departed, customers.
If there is anything not rocket science, this is it.
How? Well, you ask.
Who? Your employees and your customers.
Ask why they stay, why they're inspired to tell others about their experiences with you. And you feed them more opportunities to repeat or even expand the experience.
Ask why they left. Then stop doing that.
All that feeds those stakeholders reasons to stay, reasons to celebrate, loud and proud, with word-of-mouth.
Conversation is Golden
Your culture is noisy and boisterous. It's loud and proud. (Big point: Word-of-mouth for a brand ultimately and always reflects their culture.)
Everyone is talking. Most are talking at the same time.
It is messy. Desks are sometimes cluttered, including yours.
Mistakes are made, sometimes frequently. The same mistake is rarely made more than once.
Chaos appears to rule, at times.
You are growing. You are learning. You are failing in the process and learning even more.
Underneath it all, underneath this carnage of change, is a passionate connection and commitment to finding better solutions.
The result is a culture of learning, as Gary Harpst described it in a conversation with me. A culture of learning, he said, creates a culture of leaders. Leaders are loud and proud for their members, for their strengths and accomplishments, for finding new solutions, for removing obstacles, for charting and communicating new courses.
You're Neither an Airline nor a Resort Hotel
You have no add-on, bait and switch, sucker-punch, ooops-did-we-not-mention-them-? fees.
You don't need them.
See previous point.
You have a culture of learning that constantly finds new solutions to deliver positive cash-flows for their company and positive experiences for their customers.
If nothing else, you have integrity. You honor the Golden Rule.
Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.
You don't like fees billed to you. So... your integrity and realize you dislike them when you see them on your bill. Why assault your customers with these kinds of fees.
See Stop Feeding Your Competitors. Add-on, bait and switch, sucker-punch, ooops-did-we-not-mention-them-? fees feed your customers ultimately either content for their negative word-of-mouth or they feed your customers to your competitors.
You Have, In-Effect, Daily Contracts
You prove to them on a daily basis why they should stay. You provide them a reason on a daily basis to celebrate being a part of, now, their company, too.
And you prove and provide them every day. Every way. So, they stay. And they celebrate you every day. Every way.
Your Employee Turnover and Hiring Costs are Well Below Average.
You hire A-Players. You keep A-Players.
Together with your A-Players, you have created wonderful culture where their talents and strengths are on display and recognized every day.
You have a culture of learning. That culture converts learners into leaders.
Leaders lead your company forward.
They recruit other A-Players to help lead their company forward, also.
You showed your marketing manager what Google Alerts can do you.
All your managers use them, as well.
Not only that, but see below. You have been invited to join their party to celebrate what together you have created.
There in that party, celebrating together, you hear and see and read what is good, what is desired, what could make the party better...
Oh sure, like with any party sometimes there are challenges. Some gate-crashers, the guacamole runs out, somebody drank too much.
But with your support and leadership and clear purpose for these communities the problems are resolved. That makes everyone want to stay.
Social media monitoring is for the fearful. We have to watch out for what's said about our brand...We have to defend our brand.
All the previous points here show that social media for you is a source of celebration. You created the content worth sharing. Now you use social media to receive your invitations.
Customers and Employees are Your Social Media Community Managers
They build, sustain and grow your online presence. How? By sharing on Facebook and blogs and Twitter and YouTube....their stories of life with you. And the meaning and value you bring to their lives.
Sure, you give them the basics and the inspiration. And social media gives them the freedom to create these communities to share your story, now their story, with everyone.
Of course, you're invited. You play a key part. In some respects you are the honored guest. But this is their party now. You started it. But now you're a participant.
Maybe, An Agency
Maybe. Maybe there's some expertise outside your community of passionate stakeholders. Design, copywriting, graphics...some cool coding, some fabulously new and innovative tools that will light your party cake even brighter.
Maybe. But the main thing is you have baked the party cake with your ingredients, your love, your passion. You bake better ones now than last year. Some of this year's cakes are ideas submitted by customers. Some are refinements. Some are just the ones everyone loves and loves to rave about.
And if some sparklers or frosting can add a little punch to it...go for it.
11 steps to make your word-of-mouth, loud and proud. And sustainable. And worthy of your reputation. And cash-flow positive. And fun....