It’s a simple enough concept, isn’t it?
If you create a product or service that’s good enough, those first customers will tell others, who will tell others who will tell others and so on.
It’s called word of mouth marketing and it’s both cheap and effective.
Word of mouth is less expensive than hiring someone to write a blog about your product or service or spending your precious time to do it yourself.
It’s certainly less expensive than producing a Super Bowl commercial about your company or taking out an ad in the New York Times.
It’s more effective because people are often referred by people they trust.
This could be a friend, a family member or a favorite respected blogger whom you did not pay to write about you. No, this blogger wrote about you just because he or she likes what you do.
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The trouble is, it’s not so easy to get these referrals as it might at first appear.
Well, one reason might be the risk the person who enjoyed your product or service is taking, says marketer and author Seth Godin.
In a recent post on his blog, Godin explains:
Being really good is merely the first step. In order to earn word of mouth, you need to make it safe, fun and worthwhile to overcome the social hurdles to spread the word.”
For example, what if that friend or family member your customer refers to you has a bad experience? Godin adds.
Sure, the customer who sampled your product or service enjoyed it. But is it really worth the risk that someone else important in his or her life will not?
Then there’s the opposite possibility, says Godin.
What if the the person your customer refers to you doesn’t pay or behaves inappropriately? Will that affects your original customer’s relationship with you?
There’s also the concern that referring too many people to your favorite restaurant will make it harder for you to get a table … or affect the quality of the food.
And don’t forget that blogger.
Godin says those interested in referring others to your product or service may also have trouble if what you do is too difficult to explain … or understand.
And they may be worried others believe they received a “kickback” for helping to spread the word.
So does this mean that getting those all-important referrals from ecstatic customers is impossible? Hardly! But it should give you an idea of the obstacles you will need to overcome.
Word of Mouth photo via Shutterstock