3-Minute WOM Lesson: Three myths about word of mouth handouts

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Handouts, giveaways, and freebies are classic word of mouth triggers — something that inspires someone to tell a friend about you. But most aren’t worth talking about. When creating yours, here are three myths to keep in mind:

1. It’s about sales, sales, sales!
2. Everyone loves our logo
3. Nobody keeps them anyways

1. It’s about sales, sales, sales!

A great handout is designed to get shared, not to hit people over the head with a salesy message. You want to avoid being the classic Mitch Hedberg joke: “When someone hands you a flyer, it’s like they’re saying, ‘Here, you throw this away.'” Don’t bother creating a handout until you have a good answer to the question, “What about this would make someone want to share it with a friend?”

2. Everyone loves our logo

It’s true, for some iconic brands, fans go out of their way to wear their logos like tribal badges. But, unless you’ve earned the following of Apple, Harley, or Nike, you’re probably not quite there yet. Take another look at your design and see if there’s a chance to make your branding a little more subtle — and as a result, a much more usable word of mouth trigger.

3. Nobody keeps them anyways

Here’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: Since nobody keeps the swag and handouts we give away, we should make them as cheap as possible. But we’re betting you’ve got something now — a great reusable bag, a poster, or an impressive case study or white paper — that you’ve saved and used to spread word of mouth. It’s like any form of marketing: If you’re not going to make it fantastic, don’t bother.

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