How to Find Your Talkers
Your best clients are usually happy to share their positive remodeling experiences when asked, but how do you get them to spread the word on their own? Moreover, are there other "talkers" who can also actively recommend your business? In Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, Andy Sernovitz outlines how organizations of all sizes create passionate, loyal fans that do their marketing for them, for free. The section below is excerpted with permission. Learn more about the book at WordofMouthBook.com.
Find Your Talkers
Everything starts with the right talkers.
Each group of talkers will have a different set of interests. Figure out who they are and what pumps them up. Once you know your target talkers, you’ll know which topics they like, which tools to use, and how to join in the conversation. Here are the most common types of talkers.
Talkers #1: Happy Customers
The most familiar talkers are the happy customers you already have.
You know them: those customers who are just so pleased with what you do that they want everyone to do business with you. These are the people who love to tell their friends about you, who mention you nfirst when someone asks about a business like yours. The trick is to learn to separate the customers who are just satisfied from those who are eager to talk.
To find them: Learn to look for signs of extreme interest. Look for customers who come back frequently, who learn the names of the employees, and who are bubbling with enthusiasm.
Be sure your sales team knows that these are important people. It’s easy to get annoyed with overeager customers; instead, appreciate that their energy is a major word of mouth asset.
Pay attention to people who fill out comment cards, sign up for newsletters, submit suggestions online, comment on your message boards, or email you. All of these are indications that the person feels a greater connection than a regular shopper. Pay attention to customer surveys and referral programs. A lot of businesses ask, “How did you hear about us?” but rarely do anything with the information. The answer to that question may be the name of your new talker.
Talkers #2: Online Talkers
Look for people who have posted a comment about you on a website somewhere. Look for reviews, raves, and responses.
The fact that someone wrote about you at all is a major step. It shows a special interest in your stuff if someone has the time and personality to post a review. Look for these people because they have the extra motivation that takes them from being a consumer to being a talker.
To find them: Use any major search engine, which will also find mentions in blogs and social media. When you find these talkers, go ahead and make a list. Feel free to email them and introduce yourself, but do not spam them. Remember, when someone writes about a company, they are asking for attention. They’ll be thrilled to hear from you.
Talkers #3: Logo Lovers
Anyone who wears your logo is a talker. Hat, shirt, bag, whatever. These are the people who like you so much that they will advertise your brand for free. Do whatever you can to identify and encourage them.
People wear logos for a very simple reason: They want to show that they’re part of your group of fans. The need to belong is powerful.
To find them: Make it easy for people to ask for logo items and track who’s asking. These are very active talkers.
Logo lovers can’t show their support if you don’t give them a chance. Give out goodies with your logo. Create an online store with a full line of logo gear. There are sites where you can do this in less than an hour.
Talkers #4: Eager Employees
Your employees can be your most effective talkers.
Assuming you’re a good company, many people on your team will have a pride in what they do that is easily transmitted to potential new customers. Not every employee wants to be a talker, but you can identify those with that special team spirit that makes them ideal word of mouth spreaders.
To find them: First, look around. The right employee talkers will be fairly self-evident. They will be the ones with bumper stickers on their cars and briefcases with your logo. We had a new employee who was so excited about joining the company that he sent our electronic brochure to everyone in his online network on his first day of work.
Talkers #5: Listeners
People who listen are often the people who talk the most.
Look for the people who are eager to get information about your company. Someone who cares enough to subscribe to your newsletter or read your blog is hungry to know the latest news. A lot of them will be talkers who want great info nuggets that they can pass along.
To find them: Pay attention to your subscriber lists. Use an email delivery company that lets you track who forwards your newsletters—those are active talkers.
Talkers #6: Fans and Hobbyists
The most hyperactive talkers are often die-hard fans and hobbyists.
Chanel and Gucci didn’t build their brands on just the ultra-rich who wear their products. They did it with word of mouth from millions of fans who dream about being able to afford to be customers some day. These eager enthusiasts can become active talkers. Many products—cars, computers, music, movies, and luxury goods—have a similar fan base.
Word of mouth also can be a hobby for certain people. A woman named Harriet Klausner likes to write book reviews. She has a background in library science and has worked at several bookstores. She’s posted more than 16,000 reviews on Amazon—just for fun. Harriet is a talker.
To find them: Fans are easy to find—they almost always have websites these days.
Talkers #7: Professionals
There is a special class of talkers who do it for a living: reporters, columnists, critics, full-time bloggers, business networkers, and a whole variety of authors and experts.
Dealing with professional talkers is where we cross into what most people consider the job of the public relations department. Amateur talkers (real consumers) are the focus of this book, but many of the techniques that apply to them also impact what the professionals say.
For most of these talkers, objectivity and evenhandedness are paramount. They’re expected to know what they’re talking about and will take a credibility hit if they pass along bunk. They have a right to be suspicious and skeptical of your claims, and they won’t tend to get overly excited about new products.
But their caution also makes their recommendation more desirable. The professionals we trust earn that trust by being honest and smart. And, because of their reach, they can be catalysts for word of mouth. Particularly for brands that are not well known, being talked about in an influential newsletter, mentioned in a well-linked blog, or featured in a magazine review can be the nudge that gets the positive word of mouth rolling.
Excerpted with permission from Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, by Andy Sernovitz. Learn more at WordofMouthBook.com.
See previous d5R articles about word-of-mouth marketing:
- One-Man Business, 39-Person Salesforce
- Networking, Networking, Networking
- Building Your Brand with the New Word of Mouth
- Let Your Customers Do the Marketing (d5R Premium)
- Get Happy Customers Using Proven Methods and Basic Tools (d5R Premium)