In order to optimize the word of mouth of your product or service, try following what I call the six F’s:
- Fit. Your product or service must fit my ideals, wants and situation. If your product is a new, amazingly-accurate scope for a hunting rifle and I am apposed to hunting, then to borrow loosely from Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, “No fit for you!” Or if I was just accepted into grad school and I will not have time to date let alone hunt (not the same thing by the way!), again there is no fit. If there is no fit, I will either ignore your product or service or place it on hold in the recesses of my mind until there is a fit. Find your “fit” and speak to them.
- Fix. My experience with your product or service must actually fix my problem. I think we have all bought something and latter regretted it because the product did not live up to its claim (uh hum…some infomercial products). Since I put my reputation on the line when I talk to others about your product, I do not want to recommend any product or service that does not fix the problem.
- Flagrant. One definition of flagrant is “obviously inconsistent from the norm”. My experience with your product or service must be unmistakably different to stand apart from the noise of the status quo. A “good enough” product or service rarely gets talked about. Flagrant products (whether they are much better or much worse from the norm) get most of the attention.
- Frictionless. My experience with your product or service must be easy to spread. It must be simple enough to be understood and transmitted to the other person. Take for example, a weight loss program. If I run into a friend after she has lost 50 pounds, her weight loss is easily understood and transmitted back to me.
- Forum. To truly optimize your word of mouth potential, I must have a forum or place to talk about the greatness that is your product or service. This could be a fan club, a blog or website, a conference, a feedback tool or some other network. If the forum is started by your company, it must include open, two-way conversations free from dilution and filtration.
- Feedback. If you seek out, listen to and respond to my feedback then I am more apt to continue to spread the word. You do not always need to follow what I say, but you must at least thank me for my feedback.
If your product or service gets all F’s, congratulations! You have the best opportunity for word of mouth.