Hey awesome clinicians!
Natalie here, Jo’s business manager and wing (wo)man. I’ve got free reign of Jo’s blog this week. (Will I use it for good or for evil? We’ll have to wait and see.)
So Jo and I were speaking lately about all the different tactics and strategies people get caught up in when it comes to growing their business. I told her about an audiobook I’ve been listening to on my way to work this week (Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz) – and she asked me to share my thoughts on how this book can help you grow your business.
Ok – here’s a total spoiler:
You already know exactly what you need to do. I’ll explain what I mean by that in just a moment.
You see, when I picked up Andy’s book on word of mouth marketing, I was READY to learn about a killer strategy for getting people talking about your business – especially when you consider the fact that word of mouth marketing is the most inexpensive and cost-effective type of marketing there is.
Sometimes, it can be totally free to make a lasting impression on someone and get them talking about your business in a good way.
And yet…. as well thought out and research-backed as this book is… I couldn’t believe how freaking OBVIOUS the majority of the of the advice inside was.
Wanna know the keys to word of mouth marketing?
– Do something worth talking about.
– Don’t treat your customers poorly.
– Try not to lie. Lying is BAD.
Seriously, it took the audiobook 2.5 hours to cover off on these points. Do we really need to be told to treat people well and tell the truth if we want to succeed in business?
After 2.5 hours of learning How To Be a Good Person, the second half of the book walked me through the five points of a successful “Word of Mouth Marketing Plan”. I particularly liked point number one:
1. Talkers – you need to find and engage people who like talking, like talking about what you do, and have the ability to influence others by helping you spread your message. I like point his a lot – so much of succeeding in business is about connecting with people who are willing to advocate for your brand and connect you with new customers and clients. I know that this is a terrifying idea for most introverts, but it works!
2. Topics – give people something actually worth remarking on! (Duh)
3. Tools – This is what you’ll use to help spread your message. Do you want people to share written information, or encourage them to talk about you online, for example? Think about how you actually want your message move about and which platforms you’ll use. I like this point – it’s crucial to think about how you actually want new clients to find you and hear about you.
4. Taking Part – You must participate in the conversations that are already happening about your brand, address negative feedback and lead the conversation where possible. This point in particular seems more relevant to brick and mortar businesses, but with the rise of websites dedicated to reviewing all types of businesses and even individuals, it’s worth checking whether there’s already a conversation happening about your business that you need to be aware of and participate in.
5. Tracking – Where you measure your results and take a step back to look at what messages are being spread about you and how effective they are. Yep – like any great marketing initiative, if you don’t know and track what’s working, what’s the point?
Still, the thing that struck me, as I worked through this book, is that this is yet another example of how you seriously have everything you need to start moving forward now.
Growing your business isn’t easy but it’s NOT rocket science. And yes, like all types of marketing, word of mouth marketing hinges on you treating your customers like real people. Go figure.
Sure, maybe you don’t fully understand the latest tactic for increasing your email open rates, or maybe you have no freakin’ clue how SEO or Facebook ads work. Doesn’t matter. Maybe you’re a little knowledge-hungry like me – always trying to learn more about how you can reach more people and connect with potential new clients. So it’s easy to get stuck in research mode, which means you’ve wasted a whole afternoon (maybe an entire day) on learning, with not a whole lot to show for it. As dangerous as this is, it sure feels a lot more safe and comfortable in the “learning” zone rather than the “doing” zone, doesn’t it?
One of the things I loved about this book is the simple reminder to get back in touch with what matters most: serving your clients and doing it well. There were so many great examples of companies who are doing this well, and you might find some inspiration for approaches you can try in your own practice.
But, like most books about business, this one won’t change your life or make you a million dollars. It’s time to get back to basics and do work that matters – then learn how to talk about your work to the people who need you!
Share with us the comments below – have you tried to leverage word of mouth marketing before, and did you learn anything new from this post?