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How do you earn word of mouth in tough times?

Give away the stuff that isn't selling.

Use your surplus to make friends — when they most need it. 

Ideas I overheard:

  • Gyms should let people who lost their job have a free off-peak-hours membership
  • Salons should give free haircuts/facials to anyone on their way to a job interview
  • Conferences should give scholarships to struggling small business who ask nicely (<– that's a hint)
  • Restaurants should offer a free dinner for anyone who just got laid off

Your kindness will be repaid many times over when good times return.

Update:  NPR ran a story about First Professional Cleaners in Manhattan that has a sign
in the window that reads: "If you are unemployed and need an outfit
cleaned for an interview, we will clean it for free."  Listen here.

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  1. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach March 25, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Wonderful ideas! I’d add that online marketers should consider giving away some of their helpful digital products as well. Anything that gives people ideas is a good thing indeed!

  2. Mary Schmidt March 25, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    Reduced fees for memberships (“We’re all in this together”
    Free seminars on topics such as financial planning (with NO sales pitches.) You’ve got to eat lunch anyway – so use the “free” time to build relationships.
    Offer extended payment terms, without the usual “gotcha” double-digit interest at the end.
    Waive the “convenience fees” for online payments. Those are goofy to begin with.

  3. GoEverywhere Team March 25, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    I really like the fact that a cleaner is willing to do that for folks who need just a little hand up. If that doesn’t boost their bottom line in the long-term, then I don’t know what would.
    Good hearts and good people out there…we just need some more really good ideas like this that people can act on. Including me.

  4. Fabio Platero March 25, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    A trend of the month club, where each month you get mailed something hip with a glossy booklet explaining how cool that item is about to become. Limited to 5,000 people. Gives you a cool story to tell yourself for the rest of the month, and something to talk about with your friends.

  5. Scott Dodds March 25, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    I love these! Actions that show you are human and care about people pays dividends in the long run. What makes it great WOM is that you give them a story to tell their friends.

  6. Ron Patiro March 26, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Nobledesktop – A company that offers training in creative software is running a special for anyoen on unemployemt to take their classea at a deep discount so they can get back in the workforce with new skills.
    I should also mention that they give free classes and they are phenomenal.

  7. March 26, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    Local barber shop gave free hair cuts to real estate agents!

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