What Does It Take to Achieve Success through Word of Mouth?

In order to run a successful word-of-mouth campaign, you need to build an arsenal of credibility-enhancing materials.  You should always have these at your disposal to make the most of every networking opportunity

Note: Please keep in mind that this is not a complete list of items needed to market your business.  The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities which will lead to greater word of mouth and referrals.

1-Testimonial letters from satisfied clients

2-Photos of yourself, your office facilities, equipment, and/or products

3-Logos of your key customers

4-A list of your memberships and affiliations

5-Question-and-answer sheets

6-Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned

7-Articles you have published, or in which you’re mentioned

8-A one-page flier

9-New-product or service announcements or press releases

10-Current brochures, circulars, and data sheets, and product catalogs

11-Items that reflect your “brand”

12-Items that help you explain your business to your network

13-Client or customer proposals, bid sheets, or marketing letters you have written to existing clients

14-Articles on trends affecting your target market

For the sake of space,  I didn’t go into much detail here regarding each of the items in this list but I can certainly go into plenty more of an explanation as to what these items entail.

I’ll leave it up to all of you blog readers to weigh in on whether or not you’d like to see a follow up blog explaining each of the items listed above . . . so, leave a comment and let me know–should I write a blog giving the details regarding these items?  Thumbs up, or thumbs down?? . . . Thanks!

 

The Profit Puzzle of Business

I recently had several business associates ask me about finding a good model for a business plan that they can use for their franchise.

Being able to market your business is, to a large extent, based on understanding your business.  Understanding your business begins by creating a plan.  One of the best models I’ve seen is one that I have used and recommended for years.  It’s called the “Profit Puzzle.”  It was developed by a good friend of mine – Don Osborne.

Below are the key categories (or puzzle pieces) that Don uses in his system.  If you need, or want, to produce a business plan for your business.  I recommend you check out www.ProfitPuzzle.com.  Just remember – once you have a structure for your plan – it requires that you commit a fair amount of time and effort to actually complete the plan (the plan doesn’t complete itself!).  You have to do the hard work to think about what goes into each part of the puzzle.

Check out Don’s  categories below.  They are very thorough.

Get to Know the Go-to Items on Your Referral Marketing Checklist

Last week I had a couple of blog readers comment that they felt they would benefit from a detailed description of each of the items on the checklist of materials for a successful word-of-mouth campaign.  Thank you to Betsy Maniotis and Adam Erstelle for taking the time to send in their feedback and I’m more than happy to comply with their requests for the list below.

1)  Testimonial letters from satisfied clients–Testimonials are one of the most effective ways to showcase the quality of the products or services you provide.  You can keep hard copies in a binder, or you can post them to your website.  If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can ask the clients in your network to “recommend” you.

2)  Photos of yourself, your office facilities, equipment, and/or products–A professional photo, or headshot, is important for promotional opportunities and for your social media profiles.  Photos of your office or business operation and products help to legitimize your business and gain credibility.

3)  Logos of your key customers–You can put these on your website to show the type of clients you have successfully served.

4)  A list of your memberships and affiliations–This is very helpful when you meet someone for the first time — it’s a great way to see if you have mutual acquaintances or business associates.  It may also lead to an introduction to someone in one of your organizations to whom you have been hoping to be introduced.

5)  Question-and-answer sheets–One of the quickest ways to learn about a person’s business as a networker — and for him to learn about yours — is to make the initial meeting as organized as possible.  A sheet with questions that you can each ask each other can ensure you don’t forget to find out the most important information about each other’s businesses, the information that could lead to a referral the quickest!

6)  Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned–These items can rank almost as high on the credibility factor as testimonials.

7)  Articles you have published, or in which you’re mentioned–Writing articles (or being professionally mentioned in them) is a great way to become known as an expert in your field — and people like to know they are working with experts.

8)  A one-page flier–You should have a brief overview of your business ready to pass along at all times — both a hard copy to fax and an electronic copy to e-mail — in case you meet someone while networking who wants to quickly pass along your information to a prospective client she knows.

9)  New-product or service announcements or press releases–As you network, make sure the people who might potentially hire you — or refer others to you — are immediately informed when you offer new products or services, or if you are expanding you operations geographically, or of any other achievements that might help further establish you.  The best way to do this is through press releases and announcements.  In addition to submitting these to news outlets, you can also hand these out at meetings, or you can post them on your website and on your social media accounts.

10)  Current brochures, circulars, and data sheets, and product catalogs–This may seem like a no-brainer, but quite often I’ve noticed that business owners are too busy running their business and neglect their collateral materials.  If you hand out a brochure that doesn’t list your most recent offerings, you could miss a chance of earning the business of someone looking for just these offerings.

11)  Items that reflect your “brand”–These items go a long way in building the consistency and recognition of your brand: Logos, trademarks, service marks, patterns, designs you’ve used, posters, banners, and display materials used at trade shows.

12)  Items that help you explain your business to your network–These can include: your annual report, capability statement and prospectus; your motto, mission statement or service pledge; or even a written history of your company.  You can also use information from newsletters or news-type publications, survey results (from surveys created and compiled by you or by others in your industry), presentation notes or slides (including audio or video), advertisements you’ve run, or audio or video presentations.

13)  Client or customer proposals, bid sheets, or marketing letters you have written to existing clients–Keeping this information top-of-mind will come in very handy if you are at a networking event and have the opportunity to talk to a prospective client in depth.  The prospect may have a specific need that is similar in scope to jobs you have already bid on, and having the ability to quickly refer back to previously-completed proposals may give you an edge with the prospect.

14)  Articles on trends affecting your target market–Keeping up with issues and news items that are important to people helps you to be able to target your conversation and, subsequently, your products and services more directly to your prospects whom you want to turn into clients.

Remember, this is  not a complete list of items needed to market your business.  The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities which will lead to greater word of mouth and referrals.

Have You Made Your Word-of-Mouth Campaign Checklist?

If you want to develop an effective word-of-mouth campaign, you’ll need to have an arsenal of credibility-enhancing materials at your disposal to make the most of every networking opportunity.

Below is a checklist of items you may already have available or wish to begin assembling, which can be used as collateral materials in developing your desired image. 

  • Testimonial letters from satisfied clients
  • Photos of yourself and your office facilities, equipment and products
  • Photos of your key customers
  • Photos of awards and certificates you and your staff have earned
  • Articles in which you’re mentioned
  • Articles you have published
  • A one-page, faxable flier
  • Audio or videos you have used
  • Any of your new-product announcements or press releases that have been published
  • Copies of other display advertisements that you’ve used (text from radio or TV spots)
  • Advertisements that you’ve run
  • A list of your memberships and affiliations
  • Product catalogs you use
  • Current brochures, circulars and data sheets
  • Question-and-answer sheets
  • Logos, trademarks, service marks, patterns, designs you’ve used
  • Your letterhead and stationery
  • Your annual report, capability statement and prospectus
  • Newsletters or news-type publications you use
  • Your motto, mission statement or service pledge
  • Client or customer proposals and bid sheets
  • Survey results by you or others
  • Presentation notes or slides and PowerPoint presentations
  • Marketing letters you wrote to clients
  • Generic materials developed by your associations
  • Articles on trends affecting your target market
  • Posters, banners and display materials used at trade shows

Be sure to store your networking materials in a bin or a set of shelves built to make it easy to retrieve frequently used documents.  This equipment greatly aids any company’s word-of-mouth campaign and ability to respond quickly when necessary.

Note:  This is not a complete list of items needed to market your business.  The items in this list are focused on enhancing your networking activities.

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