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Turn one free sample into a long-running community discussion

I love this story of how to get word of mouth from a small, insider community.

Bill McCloskey participates in a guitar player discussion list and talks about how one inventor started a great conversation:

He had just developed a new type of “tailpiece” for the resonator guitar. He offered to donate one to the e-mail discussion group; he would send it to the first person who requested it, they would try it out, and then they would send it to the next person on the list and so on. The result was that the first person got it, raved about the product on the list, and reluctantly sent it on to the next person who did the same thing. Now this thing slowly makes its way around the list, each person trying it and raving about it; it was a brilliant idea.

(Read the full article from MediaPost here)

Big lessons:

  1. Sending tons of samples to a small community looks like a sales campaign. Nobody likes to be sold to.
  2. Instead, give a few samples and ask for feedback. Everybody likes to be asked their opinion.
  3. Word of mouth is slow. Take your time. Focus on quick conversations instead of aggressive buzz.
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