3-Minute WOM Lesson: How to create word of mouth on zero budget

Word of mouth is the great equalizer. You don’t have to be a giant company with a giant budget to earn amazing word of mouth and loyal fans. The best word of mouth ideas are easy-to-do, inexpensive, and fun.

Few people on the planet are as good at this as Saul Colt. He’s a legend at getting people talking on tiny budgets, and he’s done it for brands both big and small.

At our upcoming Word of Mouth Crash Course, Saul is teaching a class on how to do this. To get an idea of all the incredible ideas you can expect, here are just a few he shared at our last event:

1. It doesn’t cost much to take a stand
2. Beg, barter, and borrow
3. Use the leftovers (even when they’re not yours)
4. Promote your customers
5. Watch Saul’s video

1. It doesn’t cost much to take a stand

When you stand up for your customers, they’ll stand up for you (and tell their friends). In his class, Saul shared the story of Upstack, a place to find designers. They took a stand against spec work (something most designers despise), and designers loved them for it. A policy like this doesn’t require any budget – it just takes a willingness to stand behind your customers.

2. Beg, barter, and borrow

When Saul was helping launch Zipcar in Canada, they gave him a tiny budget to throw a staff Christmas party. But instead, he threw a rock show for all their customers. To pull it off, he traded access to cars (which they had plenty of) to secure a venue and bands. He also found a co-sponsor, and they were able to trade and share for everything it took to make the stunt happen. It brought a ton of customers together, created a whole bunch of conversations, and cost next to nothing.

3. Use the leftovers (even when they’re not yours)

Saul says leftovers like unused inventory are some of the best opportunities to create something worth talking about. In one stunt, Saul worked with the Toronto Blue Jays to fill an otherwise empty section of their stadium with hundreds of customers and prospects. They created a whole series of activities around the promotion, and everyone who came went home with a bunch of reasons to talk (and the Blue Jays probably added a few fans, too).

4. Promote your customers

It’s one thing to ask customers to talk about you, but it’s much more powerful to ask them to talk about each other. Saul talked about how FreshBooks — a company that helps with invoicing — always looks for excuses to promote their customers. At SXSW, for example, they published a daily 4-page newspaper featuring their customers at the event. They even distributed packs of “baseball cards,” complete with photos and bios of their customers (both their famous ones and their not-so-famous ones).

5. Watch Saul’s video

…and Saul shared all these ideas in just the first 10 minutes. Watch Saul’s video below to learn more about these and other ideas. And when you’re done, check out our upcoming Word of Mouth Crash Course to get registered to see an incredible lineup of inspiring word of mouth speakers (including Saul!).

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