Word of Mouth Advertising And How To Create It In The “Lab”
Did you ever look for a good, honest mechanic or a wonderful doctor, veterinarian, graphic artist, hairdresser, or even a copywriter? And then a friend or colleague told you about the one she used and loved – and why.
You, my friend, were on the receiving end of the best marketing tactic never invented. Word of Mouth Advertising referrals.
Word of Mouth Advertising is tremendously effective for three reasons:
- The source of the “advertising” is trusted by the recipient.
- Those giving the referral are almost always enthusiastic about the service provider and tells specifically WHY they like/love/trust this provider often giving a first-hand account of their experience.
- The referrer has nothing to gain.
If only a marketer could capture and duplicate the effectiveness of Word of Mouth Advertising and apply it to a mass audience.
Creating Word of Mouth Advertising in the “Lab”
The laboratory of which I speak is the everyday marketing a small business does to generate leads and repeat business.
Let’s examine the elements that make up Word of Mouth Advertising.
- Trust in the source
- First-hand evidence
- A success narrative
- A pure motive
Three of these, at least, can be replicated in the lab…the fourth…maybe.
Trust In The Source
Oh, come on. Who in their right mind trusts advertising? It’s all hype.
Yes, and no.
Businesses – especially small businesses – can establish trust by giving the prospects a reason(s) that calms their natural fear of buying. Reasons like guarantees, ease-of-return, try-it-before-you-buy-it, etc.
By removing the risk associated with buying from an unknown source, we can recreate enough trust in the mind of your customer, to have them proceed and purchase. (Also see my Article: Take Away The Fear and Risks Of Buying)
“I went to ________ and he/she/they were great. They fixed my problem quickly, and at a reasonable cost.”
What assurance could anyone expect that is more powerful than a first-hand experience from an actual customer? Thus, the importance of third-party reviews and direct testimonials. Testimonials are rendered more believable when they include the name of the person. Full names, (“Joe Thomas”), are most believable, followed closely on the believability scale by “J. Thomas”. Less believable are “Joe T.” and “J.T.”
Be sure to get permission to use names on testimonials on your website, landing pages, emails, and brochures.
A Success Narrative
One step above the first-hand evidence as depicted above, is the success narrative.
This is an actual story about the results your customer experienced by using your service.
- “I took my dog to a “discount” grooming place, and she came out looking terrible. I humbly went back to my regular – and somewhat more costly – groomer, Joe Thomas, and not only did he fix the bad haircut, but he didn’t even charge me. I’ll never go elsewhere.”
- When “Flower Delivery By Pete” brought their van to us for a second opinion, he showed us the estimate given to him by another shop. Not only were the parts prices inflated, but the recommended a service not needed for 10,000 miles. We’re happy to have “Flower Delivery By Pete” as a new client.
The more specifics in the narrative, the more believable to a prospect.
A Pure Motive
Now, this one is more difficult to “lab-create”, but not impossible.
I’ve gone through this with a number of my clients and the approach that worked most often was a straightforward statement that you’re in business to make a profit – but never to abuse you customers’ trust.
- “One of the hardest decisions we make as a business is how to price our services. As any business, we need to consider our product costs, employee costs, and taxes before setting a price. But we go one step further – we consider you, our customers, and our reputation in the community. We will never sacrifice these for the sake of one extra dollar.”
Some folks call it hokey. I think hokey sincerity and the truth beats slick advertising any day of the week.
Listen to One of the World’s Best Copywriters
As a young freelance copywriter, I worked with Doyle Dane Bernbach, among others.
The head of DDB was Bill Bernbach, one of the World’s Best Copywriters and one of the original “Madmen” my site is named for. Mr. Bernbach’s statement is etched in my mind, as I hope it will be in yours.
YES YOU CAN Create Word of Mouth Advertising in the “Lab”!
I’ll agree with all those of you who say, “It’s still not as good as real Word of Mouth Advertising". But in this case, second place is a definite WIN!
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My new book for 2023 is out. I’d be honored if you took a look at it. Pre-reviews were quite enthusiastic and encouraging. It’s called How To Write Copy – Your Million Dollar Advantage!