One simple word-of-mouth shortcut for service providers and digital sellers

One simple word-of-mouth shortcut for service providers and digital sellersAs an entrepreneur bootstrapping your business with a small or no advertising budget, you are left with no choice but to depend on word-of-mouth advertising to grow your customer base. For some types of businesses, such as clothing companies and tech gadgets, this serves as an opportunity for them to do something remarkable with their design and/or packaging. For other types of businesses, such as service providers and digital sellers, generating word-of-mouth buzz is a more complex problem to solve.

Nichevertising is a web application that provides software as a service.  So since we are both a service provider and digital seller, this problem is something we are facing head on.  In this post, I want to share one relatively simple technique we think you may want to try if you are in the same boat as we are.

The idea for this particular technique was sparked while I was reading a blog post titled Word-of-Mouth Advertising {How to Get More of it!} by Tim Layton on the website Etsypreneur.  Etsy is an eCommerce marketplace that allows individual entrepreneurs to sell their handmade craft products over the internet. Etsy provides each individual entrepreneur with their own virtual storefront to list and sell their products.

What I discovered while reading this post is that Etsy entrepreneurs have a word-of-mouth problem similar to service providers and digital sellers. Etsy entrepreneurs create remarkable handmade designs that have a huge potential to generate buzz since they have physical products that are word-of-mouth ready.  However, the problem they face is that buyers often tell their friends “I got it on Etsy” instead of disclosing the name of the specific entrepreneur on Etsy.

Tim Layton provided this recommendation on his Etsypreneur blog to overcome this:

The best possible scenario would be for your customer to actually hand out a business card, so it might make sense for you to include a few extras in your packaging. I think the more likely “best case” scenario is your customer telling a quick story about you and your great “extra-mile” service, hopefully complete with your name and twitter handle!

We’ve talked about surprising customers with wow customer service in a past post.  Without a doubt this is something you should be doing if you depend on word-of-mouth to survive.  But what about Tim’s “few extra business cards” idea?

Business cards are tangible products.  Service providers and digital sellers have no tangible products. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me. Do you have “wow” business cards that you mail out to your customers?  But I want to take it a step further than just business cards.

If you are an entrepreneur that has no tangible products, then I want you to start thinking about everything tangible you do or can produce.  Everything from your estimates, invoices, receipts, training guides, consulting documents,  and promotional items (pens, mugs, t-shirts).  Your items could be minted in pure gold if going viral is worth it to you and this creates a viral word-of-mouth chain reaction.

Minting in pure gold may be a bit much, but then again maybe not.  The fact is that if you survive by using word-of-mouth advertising, then you must take every tangible item you produce and transform it to something buzzworthy.

This is a relatively simple technique to shortcut the process of getting word-of-mouth to go viral.  Put something remarkable in the hands or on the bodies of your customers, and let it do the work of telling your story.  Get creative and don’t stop with just one thing.  The more remarkable you can be, the greater chance you have for your word-of-mouth campaign to go viral.


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