This is a guest post from Drew McLellan, CEO and Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

We all know how awesome word of mouth is.

Amazon Vine program

Click to zoom.

We know it beats any mode of advertising and that over 90% of consumers say it’s the most compelling factor in their decision to buy.

We all want it. We want our customers to go skipping down the street, singing odes to us. We want them to pull out their Rolodex and drunk dial their peers to shout our praises. We want them to tattoo our logo on their rear end. (Hey, it works for Harley.)

So we patiently sit and wait for them to do just that. And we wait. And we wait.

Perhaps it’s time we actually do something to make it happen.

Amazon created a program they call Vine. They have formed a small cadre of customers and invited them to be Vine members. A Vine member gets two free books or any other item (they provide a list, and you choose from that list) that Amazon sells every month. In exchange, you agree to review those items. Good, bad, or ugly — once you publish your two reviews for the month, you’ll become eligible to get more free stuff the next month.

I’m a Vine member. Of the 12 or more reviews I have written, almost all of them have been positive. A couple effusive and a couple were so-so. So at least 80% of the reviews they’ve gotten from me have been praising the products. They generated word of mouth because they set out to get it.

If mega-store Amazon has to actively create word of mouth opportunities, what do you suppose the odds are that you’ll suddenly get a bunch of spontaneous praise?

Exactly. Which is why we need to purposefully and actively generate it.

How could you do that in your business or how are you doing it today?

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About Drew McLellan

Wall Street Journal calls Drew McLellan’s blog, DrewsMarketingMinute.com, "one of the ten blogs every entrepreneur should read." His passion is helping clients discover their story so they can create authentic love affairs with their customers. He's also an author, national speaker, and has owned his own marketing agency in the Midwest since 1995.

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