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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is probably the most effective form of marketing there is. It’s not what you say about yourself, what you pay others to say about you, or even what others say about you to you–it’s about what others say about you to their friends and associates and colleagues.

The thing about word of mouth is it tends to work in favor of the negatives. That is, people are more willing to say something about a negative experience they have had rather than a positive experience. A negative experience stirs up emotions, which tends to activate the vocal cords (or fingers, depending on the mode of communication.)

Every business wants to have good word of mouth about them, and while natural word of mouth is good, sometimes it requires a bit of an incentive.

We have started sending our clients an email to do just that.

We would like you to give away $1000 worth of our optimization services to other businesses which you have a relationship with. Simply forward all or part of this email to anybody you know that has a business that may benefit from our optimization services. If they contact us through this email (being sure to mention that they received it from you) we will give them $1000 off from their optimization strategy purchase.

Who Should You Send This To?

Anybody you know that owns, operates or is in a management position of a business (with or without a website):

• Colleagues
• Friends
• Distributors
• Suppliers
• Relatives
• Contractors
• Sub-Contractors
• Vendors
• Personal Gardner
• Baby-sitter
• Favorite restaurant
• etc

But it gets better. For every account that gets signed as a result of you forwarding this email, we’ll give YOU $1000 worth of optimization services as well. And the best part for you is that there is no limit to the thousands of dollars worth of our services you can receive.

This is my first draft so if you have any revision suggestions, send them along. While we have many, many clients who are happy, and willing to give us testimonials, this is a bit of an extra incentive to remember to brag us up to others, and hopefully drum up some additional business for us and some extra cash for them.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

5 Responses to Word of Mouth Marketing

  1. TheBizofKnowledge says:

    I came across your blog while browsing through Technorati this morning. I read your post with interest because word-of-mouth marketing is definitely important to small business owners.

    Anyway, my gut reaction to your first draft here is that a) you don’t value your service; or b) it’s way overpriced to begin with if you’re willing to knock $1,000 off. I say this because you’re offering unlimited discounts to customers who make the referrals and because (without knowing your price point) $1,000 sounds like an unusually large discount.

    Again, this is just my own reaction as someone who doesn’t know much about SEO services at all.

  2. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    Interesting feedback. I have to say both are incorrect. Follow me through on this. First, we have several SEO strategies, but let’s say that our average 12-month contract costs $10,000. I’m always willing to spend up to 20% of our budget on advertising and marketing, which means $2,000 is worked into our pricing for this reason. Well, then giving away $2,000 in referral fees is right in line with that. But when you factor in the longer-term benefits, say that client stays with me for two, three, or even five years… that reduces my advertising expense (percentage wise) considerably. Not bad.

    Does that mean I’m charging too much? Not at all. I know what our services are worth based on the knowledge, skills and experience (not to mention the hours) that goes into it. With any business you’ve got to look at multiple factors when deciding how to price. Overhead, payroll, experience, hours involved, and yes, marketing and advertising.

    I guess the question that remains is this: is 20% too much to spend on advertising and marketing? I’ve always been comfortable with that figure.

  3. Tyler McKinna says:

    Word of mouth marketing is by far the best way to market one’s business.
    For some great information and examples of word of mouth marketing, please refer to Malcolm Gladwell’s Book “The Tipping Point”.
    It talks about different kinds of people that can set off massive word of mouth marketing.
    The company Vespa (tht makes scooters) hired “cool looking” people to drive their scooters in large cities and park them in popular areas. They succeeded by using these undoubtedly good looking and “cool” people to translate the scooter into “coolness”.
    I am starting to get off on a tangent, but the point is not to get as many people as you can to suggest your service, but just to get the “right” people with the ability to influence many others to suggest your service.
    Peace and best of luck!

  4. Stoney, I welcome the idea. Few things though.

    The first paragraph “the offer” was not too clear. Maybe because it’s 4:30pm and I am falling a sleep due to short hours of sleep last night. Look into it.

    Second … at the end you mention the discounts … people might be a bit confused by the $1,000 discount when it can’t be compared to anything else. For example, if you say …. Take $1,000 off from the $3,000 job, that tells me something, but just a number all alone doesn’t connect.

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