3 word of mouth lessons from a bar

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Believe it or not, a coffee shop that also sells artisanal liquor and local beer in a rustic setting with live music is not that unique in a town like Austin. So how does a place like The Buzz Mill stand out in a city full of their competition? With these three word of mouth marketing tricks:

1. Make your customers part of a team
2. Host buzzworthy events
3. Give them tools to share

1. Make your customers part of a team

The Lumber Society is The Buzz Mill’s version of scouting for adults, inspiring people to become “better communal woodsmen.” When you sign up, you might get assigned to the Owl, Beaver, Mallard, or Raccoon Troop. Each week, the different troops have drink specials and sometimes competitions like a football tournament. This is a fun way to get their customers to feel like part of The Buzz Mill team — to feel like they belong. And that feeling is something everyone loves to talk about.

2. Host buzzworthy events

Events are great opportunities to get customers back in your store and inviting their friends to come with them. We’re not talking about your semi-annual sale or a “Spring Blowout.” No one tells their friends about those things. They tell their friends about boat builds and welding lessons. The Buzz Mill hosts events like these where they teach Lumber Society members how to build an eight-foot skiff they’ll race against other troops.

3. Give them tools to share

One of the bragging rights of becoming a Lumber Society member is a handkerchief with a patch from your troop sewn onto it. This is a physical word of mouth tool they put in their customers’ hands that also inspires that feeling of belonging. But The Buzz Mill also sends their customers digital word of mouth tools with weekly email newsletters announcing their events. It seems simple, but so many people forget about this sharing tool. (When’s the last time you got an email from a bar?) It’s still one of the most powerful ways you can spread word of mouth.

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