Thursday, April 16, 2015

Do You Practice Word of Mouth Marketing?

I just came across an advance review copy of the latest edition of Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz.  It’s worth your time.

The author founded the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (  His book and organization is geared to serving companies and helping them to generate customers for free.  But his book is certainly applicable to authors who seek to build a brand and sell more books.

Word of Mouth Marketing is what it sounds like – getting others to talk about you and endorse enthusiastically what you do.  It’s not a paid advertisement, it’s not telemarketing, and it’s not pushing stuff in an unsolicited way.

There are five principles to Word of Mouth Marketing, according to the book.

1. Talkers
Find people who will talk about you.  They may be fans, customers, bloggers, volunteers, influencers, friends, and family. Find people who influence others, such as a teacher vs. a parent, a company manager vs. an employee, or a coach instead of one player.

2. Topics
Give people a reason to talk about you.  What will do this?  Having a great book, giving a special offer, or exhibiting a cool, unique or quirky style – voice – character.

3. Tools
Help the message spread faster and farther.  Help things by blogging, sending viral emails, asking others to tell others, using coupons, and holding online discussions.

4. Taking Part
Join the conversation.  Reply to feedback or comments.  Participate in social media and join discussions.

5.  Tracking
Measure and understand what people are saying.  Search blogs, read online discussions, listen to feedback, and use advanced measurement tools.

Sernovitz narrows it down to these three reasons as to why people will talk about you and they are as follows:

·         It’s about you – they love you, love the book.
·         They feel smart and important when expressing themselves about you.
·         They feel part of a group or team that is aligned with you.

So what happens when people talk about you but not to praise you?  They trash you, rip your book apart, attack you personally, and treat you like a plague!

“People will say bad things about you,” writes the author.  “In fact, it’s already happening.  So what do you do?  The worst thing you can do is nothing.  If you’ve got a negative word of mouth problem, it’s not going away by itself.  People will keep talking; negative stories will keep spreading, and it will forever damage your reputation.  If you don’t get involved, It’s going to get worse.”

But the answer is not to necessarily get revenge on the naysayers or to confront the critics.  “The solution to negative word of mouth is more word of mouth marketing,” writes Sernovitz.

He suggests a number of defenses.

First, let your fans defend you.  Second, build credibility and good will before you need to cash it in.  Third, don’t be caught by surprise.  Anticipate what could be your perceived weak spots and address them in advance.

If you respond to an attack, he offers these six strategies:

1.      Respond calmly and offer to help.
2.      Do not get into a fight.
3.      Be human and don’t sound canned.
4.      Correct the record – tell people what you did to address a concern.
5.      Follow up and deliver on your promises.
6.      Do something wonderful and surprise your critic with a gift or personal apology.

Word of Mouth Marketing shows us that in addition to – not instead of – advertising, publicity, and marketing -- one must go out there and talk things up and hope that others will do the same.

Writers, please never violate these three rules!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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