Recently, I spoke with word-of-mouth marketing guru, Andy Sernovitz. As the author of “Word of Mouth Marketing – How Smart Companies Get People Talking” and the GasPedal.com blog, he has some great insights for StartupNation entrepreneurs.
Here’s what he had to say:
Why is word-of-mouth marketing so important to new entrepreneurs?
Because word of mouth is how you win. You can’t out advertise big companies, you can’t out spend them. But you can get people talking. You can earn their respect. You can win their love.
Word of mouth requires that special personal touch that entrepreneurs have and big companies lose.
Why is it important to take the time and effort to reach out to the media members to increase buzz?
The media are the ultimate word of mouth talkers. They already have the audience you want, and people trust them to tell a story. My PR secret?
Remember that reporters are regular people with regular jobs. Help them out, don’t waste their time, make them laugh, and they’ll be happy to help. (Act like a spammy idiot and they’ll ignore you.)
In your book, you state that “online tools spark conversations that may begin on the Internet but don’t necessarily end there.” What is the most important online tool entrepreneurs can use to spread the word about their new products and services?
There are two essential tools for online word of mouth: They tell-a-friend form and the email newsletter.
Tell-a-friend forms should be on every page of your web site. Think about it: Someone wants to advertise you for free, with their personal endorsement, right now. Make it easy. This is why YouTube beat all their competitors and became a $1.6 billion company: better sharing.
Email is also vital- nothing gets shared faster or farther than an email message. You don’t need a cheesy viral video. Start with a newsletter or a coupon.
For more of Andy’s great tips, please check back on Thursday.
I’m also here to help with your questions and comments at [email protected]! Thanks!