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6 Simple Steps for Word of Mouth

image(This was originally posted on the MarketingProfs blog.)

Holly Suttmann, a former schoolteacher, started the Black & Light Candle company.

Holly really understands word of mouth. She’s proof that every business can master these inexpensive techniques. There are lot of global companies that should study what she’s doing.

Lessons from Holly:

1. Cultivate key talkers.  She’s sent me two personal notes and really built a relationship with me. Not sales calls, just friendliness.

2. Use samples. People can’t talk about a product they haven’t seen. Holly sent me three $40 candles. She earned it back in sales from the people who visit my house.

3. Make it easy to spread the word.  Holly sent me a stack of postcards to forward to friends.

4. Make your talkers look good.  She gave me a discount code to share, which makes me feel that I’m doing my friends a favor when I tell them (FOH12707 = 15% off and free shipping). She even offered to send samples to my friends.


5. Add remarkable features.  Sometimes you need a reason to talk that is more than the product itself.  I can say "these are great candles" … but there are lots of great candles.  You need to add something else to spark the conversation. Holly created a whole system of packaging that is reusable, environmental, and buzzworthy.  Watch Holly demonstrate:

And, most important … 

6. Create a fantastic product.

The lesson: High-touch, high-quality word of mouth is effective and inexpensive. Are you spending more on cold sales letters and glossy flyers than it would take to get real word of mouth?

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