From the book: New word of mouth case study on Potbelly

One of the biggest additions to the new edition of the best-selling book, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, is the five new case studies of brilliant word of mouth marketing from Dell, Potbelly, FreshBooks, Microsoft, and Levenger. We’re highlighting a different case study each day this week, continuing with Potbelly today:

Word of Mouth Case Study: Potbelly — Multiply the Talk

Potbelly, a fantastic sandwich chain based in Chicago, is just starting to go national. The way they got people talking in each of their new markets is a fantastic demonstration of pure offline word of mouth.

After opening their first stores in Austin, they rented a postal mailing list of people who had moved there from Chicago and sent each of them a single-page, hand-signed, hand-addressed letter, saying:

Congrats on your recent move! I hope you are settling in and enjoying Austin. But I must ask, are you at all homesick? … We are thrilled to bring you a taste of home by opening a Potbelly Sandwich Works in Austin. Now you can finally introduce your friends and coworkers to that quirky sandwich joint you’ve been talking about so much. Enclosed you’ll find 10 free sandwich tickets, our gift to you, to help you share the Potbelly love with your friends.

The genius part: The 10 free sandwiches. A single coupon would have been quietly used by the recipient, but ten coupons meant they were talking around their offices or dorms inviting people to lunch with them, telling them how great Potbelly is.

Those ten tickets represent a multiplier, something that turns a single recommendation into many recommendations.

We’re giving away 10 copies of Andy’s book. You can win one by letting a friend know about it! Click here for more details.

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