THE “MYSTERY” OF WOM MARKETING
Like any good marketing plan, it follows a standard framework. Amazing marketers take the same basic skeletons and flesh them out.
“It doesn’t take a marketing genius — though they are smart marketers — to think about this,” says Berger. “What it takes is understanding the psychology behind social transmission — what makes us talk about and share things.”
The trick is to stop thinking of your brand-building as a stream of consciousness, creative endeavor.
Think like a system with the following steps:
1. TAKE CONTROL: CONTROVERSY GETS PEOPLE TALKING
Want to be a powerful influencer? Then own it. To be an authority, your brand persona needs to project confidence and charisma. No matter what you do, this mission-critical component will be your wow-factor.
Don’t be afraid to polarize people. If you’re scared to put yourself out there at the risk of pissing people off, you’ll be missing out.
Controversy gets people talking, and in terms of WOM, that’s awesome.
2. VALUE = WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS CARE ABOUT
It’s simple, folks. Know what your customers care about. What keeps them up at night, what motivates them to go to work in the morning, and what holds them back. It’s your job to give them exactly what they need.
3. QUIT BEING PROPERLY POLITE AND BE AUTHENTIC
You probably hate the fluffy ‘be yourself’ advice. Thing is, you need to hear it. It’s natural to feel self-conscious and to hide behind a ‘professional’ mask. It’s natural to want approval from others. Thing is, it’s only going to hold you back. If you’re constantly trying to please others by looking like everyone else, you’re not going to stand out.
For example, take James Altucher, a financial expert and entrepreneur who built some of his biggest businesses through blogging. As he puts it in his Twitter bio: “For some reason, I’ve turned myself inside out and all my guts have spilled onto my blog.”
Why’s he so popular? Well he writes about topics that make us human, not rich. He helps us understand why our bosses are jerks and why we should think twice before judging a genuinely good person.
Ask yourself some questions: Would you say what you’re about to say to your best friend over a beer? What makes you passionate beyond the cubicle? That is what you should bring to the table.
Here’s a fun hypothetical exercise; wear a rubber band on your wrist. When you catch yourself saying something that doesn’t represent you, or that echoes someone else, pull the rubber band and snap it onto your wrist. Not only does that condition you to be more honest, but it is a funny talking point and will make you more remarkable (re: quirky, weird).
“Oh, yeah — I’m trying to be more honest, and I caught myself trying to be someone else. That thing I just said? I didn’t really mean it.”
You know when you meet that really boring person at a networking event or party. Yeah, they’re plenty smart and articulate, but man will they put you to sleep. Don’t be that guy. When you’re authentic, you’re interesting.
Tucker Max is interesting because he’s a jerk. He stands out. You don’t need to be a jerk, but you can and should embrace your inner edge.
4. WHERE TECHNOLOGY MEETS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
WOM is not about knocking on your neighbor’s door. It’s about tapping into social psychology to connect with customers on a human-to-human level. Technology amplifies that process and helps you do it at scale.
The brilliant growth hackers at AirBnB, for instance, have built a technology model to auto-post to Craigslist.
“It’s a win-win for everyone involved — both the people renting out their places by tapping into pre-build demand, and for renters, who see much nicer listings with better photos and descriptions,” wrote Andrew Chen for his blog.
5. BE RELENTLESSLY EMOTIONAL
Logic keeps people intelligent and informed — but emotions move them. Word of mouth marketing depends on your brand’s ability to keep people engaged, energized, and inspired. It’s about love, anger, and humanity that’s powerful and raw.
Never, at any point in the game, let the fire of your emotional hook die. Write with emotion, tweet with emotion, and no matter what the hell you do, do not hold back. You’re lightning in a bottle.
A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog.
Dan Martell is the CEO/Founder of Clarity.fm. Co-Founder of Flowtown (Acquired ’11), Founder of Spheric Tech (Acquired ’08), Mentor @ 500Startup. Investor in many.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.