5 warning signs that your word-of-mouth strategy will never go viral

5 warning signs that your word-of-mouth strategy will never go viralHow well is your word-of-mouth strategy doing these days?  How many new customers, unique visitors, retweets, likes, or comments did you get last week as a result of a conversation between two or more people?  Did you get more word-of-mouth referrals this month or last month? Will you be able to meet your revenue growth goals using word-of-mouth advertising alone?

Let me take a guess, you have no clue.

As we come to the end of the month, these are some basic questions you should be able to answer without stuttering. However, if you are like most bootstrapping entrepreneurs, you would be lucky if you could answer just one of these critical questions to gauge the health of your word-of-mouth campaign.

As the old saying goes, You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure. Predictably enough, this is the first warning sign that your word-of-mouth strategy will never go viral.  Below are the other four:

2.  You don’t have a system to track where your word-of-mouth referrals comes from

So, if not measuring the statistics around word-of-mouth referrals is the first warning sign, then it follows that not keeping tack of the people, places, and things that drive word-of-mouth referrals is the second.

Chances are if you are not doing one, then you are not doing two.  On the flip side, you can also put a system in place that kills both of these birds with one stone. It could be as simple as adding a field in a form asking a new customer or prospect how they found out about you.  This is not rocket science. However, the problem is not collecting the data.  The problem is taking that data and doing something with it other than looking at it for your health.

3. You or your customers can’t explain your unique selling proposition in 30 seconds or less

How often do you look yourself in the mirror and practice saying out loud the specific benefits your business provides to your customers? How often do you tell your customers what differentiates you from the competition? If the answer is not everyday then you have work to do.

There is only one way your customers and prospects are going to know the right moment to bring your business up in a conversation with friends.  That is by you repeating your unique selling proposition to them over and over again every time you communicate.

The only way you can do this effectively is to know your unique selling proposition cold, and be able to rattle it off in less than 30 seconds.

4. You are not viewed as an expert in your niche

If you are not viewed as an expert in what you do, nobody will trust you with their friends and family. How embarrassing would it be for you to recommend a chiropractor to a friend and then that chiropractor hurt your friend’s back?  You would feel awful.  So if there is any doubt in your mind that the chiropractor in question is not an expert is his field, you will pass on making that referral.

Your customers must believe in their hearts that you are an expert.  If they don’t, it is very unlikely that they will bring you up in the type of water cooler conversations that lead to word of mouth going viral.

You must become a visible expert in your field, no exceptions.

5. You can’t clearly define your niche in one short sentence

Word-of-mouth advertising spreads faster when it starts within a niche.  One of the three traits of a viral advertising campaign is that that the viral spark is ignited through a niche market.  You must take advantage of this in your word-of-mouth strategy.

If you can’t answer the simple question what’s your niche? using plain language in one short sentence, you don’t really know what your niche is.  Remember, a niche is not defined as a demographic alone; women age 18 to 25 is not a niche.  You have to go much deeper than that, because all women age 18 to 25 will not value your unique selling proposition the same.  Besides, unless you’re a psychologist or some other type of researcher,  how can you be the expert in women age 18 to 25?

Everyone defines a niche differently.  However, when it comes to getting a business’ word-of-mouth campaign to go viral, there is only one definition that matters.  Your definition.

So what do you think about these 5 warning signs that your word-of-mouth strategy will never go viral?  Are there more warning signs I missed?  Do you have any advice to make covering these 5 things easier? Do you disagree with me? If so, please leave a reply below with your comments.


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