This is a guest article by Charlie Page, owner of the Directory of Ezines.
Let’s begin with a short quiz. One question. No pressure.
1. What is the best type of advertising?
When asked this question many people answer “the kind that works!”
While no one can disagree with that, I submit that the BEST type of advertising is the one that is most overlooked.
I’m talking about word of mouth advertising.
While targeted email, banner ads, billboard ads, and even television ads all have their place, nothing compares to the power of word of mouth advertising.
When one person tells another person about your product or service, the very fact that they are speaking about you constitutes an endorsement.
While people might not trust advertising (in fact, they don’t) they DO trust people they know.
If Jane feels strongly enough about what you offer to tell Jim, Jim will take notice even if Jane gets the facts wrong.
When Jane tells 15 or 20 Jims, she has become a center of influence.
How can we develop a powerful word of mouth advertising campaign in our businesses?
By recognizing, developing and rewarding those people who can become a ‘center of influence’ in our lives.
It’s done in three steps. Let’s look at each step.
====> 1. RECOGNITION
In order to become a true *center* of influence, a person needs to be in regular contact with the type of people who can benefit from
what you do. This begs a critical question.
Do you know what your ideal prospect looks like? Once you know, do this.
* List the type of clients that you would like to have more of. List what makes them an ideal client for you (they need what you do, they are open to change, etc.)
* Find common characteristics. Do these super clients go to the symphony, play golf, visit certain web sites, participate in online forums?
As much as you can, be where they are.
* Get to know them on their turf. Let them see you at events they attend. Volunteer to help their favorite charity. Make yourself visible. Before people will buy and recommend us, they need to get to know and TRUST us.
====> 2. Development
This is NOT manipulation, but education.
Have you ever had someone you know buy what you sell from a competitor because they just didn’t know YOU sold it?
We are not at the top of people’s minds. They have kids, mortgages, college to pay for, as well as work pressures, just like we do.
We need to position ourselves at the top of their minds by being in constant contact. We have so many tools at our disposal for this
purpose. Here are three to start with.
* Send them an email once a week to announce something new in your business.
* Phone them to say hello and announce your next big event. Ask them how they are first, and keep notes so you have a point of contact for the next call.
* A personal note works very well for developing this type of relationship. Have you written a new article or been in the newspaper? Write a brief note and send it along. Notes take time, which shows that you value this relationship.
* Use social media to stay in touch.
Today we have so many more options than ever before.
Only a few decades ago we used the phone and mailed letters. Then came pagers and cell phones.
Next came email and instant messaging.
Today we can tweet, poke, write on a wall and comment, all thanks to the new wave of social media.
By the time the ink dries on this article there will undoubtedly be more new ways to stay in touch.
It does not matter what new and cool-sounding name we give them … what matters is that we learn about them and use the ones that fit us and are productive.
Like most things in life, they have their use and their popularity will ebb and flow. But by all means – use them to stay in touch if you can!
Just keep your communications real, honest and transparent and you will do well.
====> 3. Reward
No, I am NOT talking about only money here. This relationship goes much deeper than that.
What I am saying is that, while you are getting to know them better and educating them about what you do, take the time to LISTEN to their needs.
When you can meet one of their needs, do it immediately. This person is important to your business. Don’t TELL them, SHOW them how important they are.
If this relationship does not include reciprocity, it will degenerate into a ‘what’s in it for me’ situation that will not stand the test of time.
Please understand that these relationships must be open and honest in order to work. People like to help other people, especially those they know and trust.
Here’s the thing – you know several people right now who could easily become centers of influence for you!
They are in your address book right now. They are visiting your blog today. They are buying your products or on a teleseminar you are listening to.
They just don’t know yet that they will someday become an advocate for you. But you know it, and now you can act on it and begin looking for, and working with, key people who can help you succeed online. And you can help them in return!
Develop that trust relationship with people who are well positioned to help you. You must earn their referrals.
When you do, your marketing will become supercharged with what is clearly the best form of advertising … positive word of mouth.
And THAT is a beautiful thing indeed!
Charlie Page helps people succeed online with products that educate combined with personal support.