The Big and Wide of Word of Mouth

March 1st, 2010 by | Print


The #1 form of marketing remains word of mouth (WOM). With the ever-changing range of vehicles available for delivering your message to your target masses, from ads to social networking, what other people say about you is far more important and effective than what you say about yourself. With today’s post, we’ll chat about the two different types of “mouths” and how to get them vocal about your products and services.

The Big Mouth

The big mouths are universally recognized people of importance. Big mouths are household names (think Oprah and Donald Trump) or people of great influence within a specific market (such as Seth Godin or Frank Kern). These mega-mouths can instantly alter the recognition and success of products and services with a few positively placed words.

But how do you get these people of prominence speaking favorably about you and your business?

First, you need to have a product or service that provides a unique, beneficial value. Big mouths are equally rich in influence as they are in income. They can focus the attention of their following because their audience trusts them. This leverage wouldn’t last if they pitched products as freely as your friend trying to make money through 10 different MLM programs.

Second, find a big mouth that has a passion for what you offer. Pitching your latest in hair care products to Seth Godin won’t likely produce much in the way of an endorsement (you would probably have a better chance with The Donald). If the mop top-free Godin hocked hair care products, who would care? However, what would happen if Tabatha Coffey touted the same products?

Third, determine how you can reciprocate. While some famous yaps may require compensation, this isn’t always the case. Start with samples. Where you write an ebook or have an innovative health care product, you will need to get samples into the celebs hands to review. Some may ask for a percentage of the sales they generate with their audience, while others may be willing to help you out because your personal story interests them. When possible, find a way you can give back to their goals – through charity assistance or affiliate programs.

Fourth, you need to get their attention. You can reach some influencers by contacting them direct. Others may find you because you leave frequent, relevant comments on their blogs and refer often to them on your own site. Still others may require you network through the friend of a friend or contact “their people”. You can find the appropriate people either online through sites like LinkedIn for networking or through sites like Build-A-Buzz for management contacts. The PR person behind Build-A-Buzz often provides high profile handlers in her daily emails.

The Wide Mouth

While the Big Mouth is a one-to-many relationship, the wide mouth is a many-to-many make up. Those in the Wide Mouth gene pool are often satisfied customers, but can include sample testers and paid reviewers, too.

How do you get this chorus to sing your praises?

First, ask for testimonials from your current customer base. The best time to ask is soon after they experience the benefits from your business. You should be following up with them anyway to make sure they are satisfied. While you’re at it, inquire whether they would be willing to give you a write-up. A satisfied client is likely to give you a glowing endorsement during the emotional phase of their experience in the beginning. Over time, they become less connected if you don’t keep in continual contact and may lessons some of the impactful language in their recommendation.

Second, just as with the Big Mouth, give the gift of samples. Instead of giving samples to Jessica Simpson, you may gift your products and services to 20 top bloggers who communicate regularly with your target audience or you can buy into a secret shopper program. Pending all goes well, you will receive various write-ups helping your online SEO rankings and offline marketing materials.

Third, you can pay to play. While some may consider this form of flattery less than impartial, it can still carry an impact. You can sign up with online services like Through this service structure, you can pay bloggers to do reviews of your offerings.

So instead of simply taking a passive role in hopes that satisfied customers will become engaged evangelists spreading the good word, get active in pursuing these word of mouth marketing opportunities.

All the Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide


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