Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to make a comment under his blog posts or send him a personal message at member nickname, "Rich," here at StartupNation.

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Have you seen the results of a study done by Intelliseek and Forrester this fall?

The study indicates that word-of-mouth is far and away the most powerful way to influence the decision making of customers.

To quote, "Consumers are 50 percent more likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations from their peers than by radio/TV ads – a slightly higher level of influence/trust than found in the 2004 study co-authored by Intelliseek and Forrester."

"Word-of-mouth behavior among "familiars" trumps all forms of advertising and is more trusted than news or "expert commentary," the study finds. In addition, positive word-of-mouth from a personal acquaintance carries just as much impact as negative word-of-mouth. This has "critical implications for brands that nurture evangelism, brand loyalty, and advocacy."

This is big news for us little guys and gals who are considering traditional advertising as a way to get customers. But the question, then, is, how do you get people talking about you? How do you get people excited enough that they’ll be proactive and say something positive about what you sell?

Well, it’s not a science… and while you can influence word of mouth, you can’t really control it. The best thing to do in our experience is to create fabulous customer experiences and couple those with encouragement and promotions that make it easy for someone to pass along your company’s info to a friend.

If any of you have deployed specific word of mouth strategies that have worked well, please share!

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