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You’ve got a lot of competition when it comes to starting conversations. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to help you get above your benefits and deliverables to create a message on a deeper level and get people talking.

Amazing customer service, fantastic experiences, and remarkable products are just the beginning of word of mouth marketing. If you want to cultivate a group of people who can’t stop talking about your stuff, you have to be proactive in earning their recommendation.

Here are three different programs that turn customers into talkers:

1. Invite them in
2. Teach them something
3. Help them help others

1. Invite them in

Amtrak response

Photo thanks to The Wire.

It all started with a tweet from a writer, “I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers,” and Amtrak responded by letting her do a test run. Now Amtrak gives some writers long train trips in exchange for a few tweets and an honest Q&A about the experience (fully disclosed, of course). Two lessons here: First, listen closely and be prepared to respond quickly to word of mouth opportunities like these. Second, find ways to make big talkers (like writers and bloggers) at home with your brand. The more open you are to these big talkers, the more opportunities you have to show them how great you are.

2. Teach them something

Aston Martin driving classes

Photo thanks to Cool Hunting.

Aston Martin held a series of winter driving schools this year. How-to classes are great, but we’re talking about learning how to drift in snow in an Aston Martin. That’s a brag-to-everyone-you-know type of class. But you don’t have to be Aston Martin to get your talkers this excited. For example, Best Made Company teaches people how to restore old axes. Your big fans would be thrilled if you gave an advanced workshop or held an exclusive retreat. Don’t be afraid to offer something extreme. The more unbelievable you make the experience, the more likely they’ll talk about it.

3. Help them help others

Telstra, an Australian communications company, encourages their power users to upload videos to show other customers how to solve problems. They also hold monthly contests and feature their top contributors on a CrowdSupport leaderboard. That’s not just helpful, it’s also a powerful word of mouth motivator. When you make your customers experts, you make them feel smart, appreciated, and important — and who wouldn’t talk about that?

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