Here’s a simple and sobering fact: you cannot purchase the best kind of advertising for your website that exists. The very kind of advertising is what’s known as “word of mouth” and this kind of advertising is 100% free. It also the hardest to get, especially in a world where people are busier than ever and more jaded than ever. Here’s what you need to know:
Check Out the Discover Card Commercials
Recently, Discover Card started running new commercials where they have people calling in to the Discover Card service center and getting a real human being. These days, people are so used to hearing the menu where they have to press a zillion different numbers before they finally manage to reach a real human being (if indeed they ever do get there – many of these systems are designed to loop on themselves) that people are shocked and don’t know what to say.
While the commercials are funny and a sign of the times we live in today, they also show us something about how to get word of mouth recommendations. Basically you need to offer your customers something so special and so over the top that they will decide that they should tell their friends about this amazing experience they recently had. It doesn’t have to include giving something away for free either. Merely offering a real, human experience is often all you need.
The Problem with Reviews
The problem that I find that many people have with reviews is that people are jaded about them. They tend to turn out to be faked by the company or requested by the company meaning that people often don’t believe them when they see them online anymore. That’s one of the reasons sites like Yelp have started to be more aggressive about flagging those they suspect are cheating.
Use Social Media Instead
However, the one bright spot in all this is in the world of social media. While I’m not a big believer in trying to spam social media, I do believe it is useful to try to engage with people in trying to grab more of that word of mouth. The way this works is that you engage with people on social media by offering real solutions to the problems they mention on Twitter or Facebook and do it under a private name.
When people get that kind of help, they’ll look to see who it is and see in your bio where you work. If you play your cards right, this is likely to be more impressive to them than pretty much anything else you might be able to offer. By engaging with these people in a non-threatening which makes you look like a real human being, you are offering them more of a reason to tell their friends about it.
The bottom line in all though is really simple. Whether you take the version of Hillel the Elder or Jesus, or Confucius, the so called Golden Rule (i.e. “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow” – Hillel or “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them” –Jesus or “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.” – Confucius) is the single best way to get that all important word of mouth.