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Always give them something to share

One of the most important word of mouth marketing tools is the idea of giving people something to share.  Never let someone leave without something to give a friend. Offline, we're talking about handouts, samples, flyers, menus. Online, we're talking about downloads, emails, white papers.

Your goal: Every person who talks to you tells the next person they see, "I was just shopping at ___ and they gave me this." That object is a trigger that kicks off a conversation that wouldn't otherwise happen.

A simple example is this single sheet of notepaper at each seat in the meeting rooms at the Holiday Inn Dayton. Definitely nothing fancy — but you're more likely to keep it than that stubby notepad you usually get. And on the back… a tasteful promotion for the hotel.


Here's a cool-but-silly example created by Rafael Martinez Gallardo, one of my students at Northwestern, to promote our class blog:


Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.


  1. Social Marketing with Impact April 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    I love this!
    And so simple :-)
    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  2. CoCreatr April 7, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    Thank you for this insight, Andy. My childhood village butcher always gave the kids a slice of tasty sausage when mommy bought something. Always a type of sausage she had _not_ bought. Worked wonders for where the kids pulled her.

  3. Joy April 7, 2009 at 12:45 am #

    I think you have a very good point – having something tangible to hold is a very effective and yet simple means to marketing. I came across a slightly more involved but as effective variation at – they provide you with a link for your site which connects your customers with a calendar builder where they can personalize calendars already customized with your company’s brand.

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