Is There a Place for Word of Mouth Advertising in the Digital World?

digital business solutionsLets cut to the chase.  Absolutely!  In fact it is alive and well and possibly more effective today then it was 20 years ago.  It is simply just a process of leveraging where your customers want you to be.  Did you get that?  Not where your comfortable, but where your customers are comfortable.  Here is a graphic of the minimum digital properties your small business should own:

Pitfalls

To this I would caution that email marketing is seeing signs of decline for effectiveness.  Even though the latest studies show that open rates are up, that stat is skewed because of the proliferation of “Deal of the Days” (groupon, livingsocial, etc.)  In a couple of weeks I will share with you why Groupon is bad for business, but that is another post on another day.  In my real world interaction with small business and my email marketing to 40k plus subscribers, there has been a significant decline over the last couple of years.

One item not on this list that I would suggest for the small business owner is a blog.  It is a great way for you to communicate and vent, specifically when it is tied to all of your other digital properties.
Another downside is time.  Some of these products do take time. (which most small business owners don’t have)  The alternative is to hire a service to manage your accounts which can actually be quite cost effective.  However, with the proper connections between all or your products it really is a simple task to post once and have your promotions, events or thoughts travel to all of your digital properties at the same time.

Making Marketing Fun Again

Marketing should be fun.  The reason it became un-fun is because of cost and lack of tracking or effectiveness.  It is very hard today to get a decent ROI on traditional marketing efforts.  Think your TV advertising is kicking butt?  I have a client that purchased $7500 worth of TV advertising and was ecstatic that many of his customers were mentioning that they saw him on TV.  Good…but, I asked him to track new customers and existing by making it part of his greeting: “Hi welcome to _________, have you been in before?”  Yes or No “Did you see our TV ad?”  Here is where it got interesting, a 4 week flight brought in 57 new customers.  Seems like it worked, right?  That is until you divide $7500 by 57…ouch, that is $131 per customer!  We could go deeper into the mathematics of actual ROI by factoring food costs and so forth, but i think you get the idea.  Paying a marketing company a couple of hundred dollars a month doesn’t look so bad now.

Back to the original thought, marketing should be fun.  When you have a mobile marketing platform, Facebook and Twitter, you can put all of the crazy things you have always wanted to do but couldn’t afford the failure of paying the bucks up front.  Here are 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. Make it worth your customers effort.  Groupon didn’t invent half off (75% off for the business owner) just the delivery system.
  2. Have multiple offers and change them up often.
  3. Use your platform to post community events.
  4. Use your platform to announce new product, menu items or special buys.
  5. Get a calendar with all of the obscure holidays listed.  One of our most successful holidays is Emelia Earhart Day.  It took a couple of years but, the rise in engagement was significant.

So go out there and have fun, engage your customers and they will create word of mouth advertising for you and it will by far be the most cost effective marketing you have ever done.

Here is a fun piece we’re doing for the launch of Marketing Reimagined.com :

We’re Nuts

Have Fun, Make Money and whatever industry your in, Provide the Worlds Greatest Experience!

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