How to create long-term word of mouth

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Word of mouth works best when you’re focused on long-term, sustainable strategies that keep people talking over the long haul. Here are four ways to do it:

1. Use word of mouth tools that stick around
2. Keep supporting your great topics
3. Invest in the customer experience
4. Empower employees to earn fans every day

1. Use word of mouth tools that stick around

Some word of mouth tools last longer than others. A flyer for an upcoming conference might stay on the office fridge for a month, but a great calendar will stay on a client’s wall for a whole year. Give new customers a couple coupons and they might share them with a few friends once — or, give them a “honeymoon kit” filled with goodies and they’ll have lots of great things to share for a long time.

2. Keep supporting your great topics

When you find a great topic that people love to talk about, go with it. Support it. Protect it. Invest in it. You’ll get bored with it long before your fans do — and that’s OK. Great word of mouth topics can be hard to find, so keep supporting the ones that get people talking about you.

3. Invest in the customer experience

Great customer experiences can generate word of mouth for a long, long time. When you order from Zappos, they usually surprise you by upgrading your shipping at no cost. Even for regular customers, this never gets old. Try a lot of these little moments to find which ones start the most conversations — and invest more in them.

4. Empower employees to earn fans every day

Your employees are a potential word of mouth machine. They’re on the front lines interacting with customers and represent one of your best ways to earn referrals. Give them regular training and support. Teach them how to thrill customers. Give them the authority to go the extra mile. Do this, and they’ll help you earn new fans every day.

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