With these six "word of mouse" tricks, marketers can spread the news on the Internet about their products and services, says David Meerman Scott, a Lexington, Mass.-based marketing strategist and author.
Keynoting during the opening day of SES New York, a conference hosted two weeks ago by Search Engine Strategies, Scott provided the gathered marketers with advice from his most recent book, "World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories."
Beginning with the concept that the content marketers put on the Web is how they're known on the Web, Scott provides the following advice:
- "Nobody cares about your products, except for you." Consumers care about themselves and their needs, so explain how the product or service addresses those concerns.
- Use their language, not "corporatese," to talk to buyers.
- Visual "gobbledygook" should not be used. For instance, who are those smiling, multicultural models in stock photos? Do they actually work at the company? Businesses such as Charlottesville, Va.-based retailer Crutchfield Corp. put pictures of real employees on their site, which is the right way to do it, Scott says.
- Avoid coercion, such as misleading display advertisements that lead to landing pages that have nothing to do with the display ad. Here, Scott notes that the "back" button is the third most popular Web navigation feature.
- Lose control—of content and marketing. Scott cites how the Grateful Dead, instead of fighting fans who were recording them, allowed word of mouth to make them the most popular touring rock band of its time.
- Put down roots. Scott says marketers should understand where their consumers are on the Web and how to communicate with them. For instance, a video expert from B&H Photo Video of New York chats in online forums, providing free advice.
- Create triggers that encourage customers to share. When NASDAQ allowed him to invite 50 people to ring the opening bell on March 27, 2009, to celebrate his "World Wide Rave" book launch, Scott invited them all through his Twitter feed. Word got out and he had 50 guests.
- Point consumers to a (virtual) location where they can take action for the marketer. A section of Australia wanted attention from the outside world, Scott recounts. Applications for the "Best Job in the World" opened in January 2009 to become Tourism Queensland's Islands Caretaker, a task involving exploring the islands and the Great Barrier Reef, then blogging about it and otherwise promoting the tourism destination to the globe. Scott says Queensland saw a 34 percent increase in flight bookings because of the contest.