In Part Three of this word of mouth marketing series of articles
I've included some down to earth examples of techniques used by
ordinary businesses to get extraordinary results.
Use local media to talk up your events The UK 2005 Farm Market
of the Year can be found in the village of Orton in Cumbria. All
the produce sold at this accredited farmers market is from a
50-mile radius. And up to 45 local farmers, growers and
producers share their fresh produce and their knowledge with
customers on the second Saturday of each month come rain, hail
At least that's the promise.
On 8th of January 2005 they weren't able to live up to that
promise. The north west of England was hit by storms and
suffered severe flooding. Market manager, Jane Brook, turned
this negative into a positive by sending a news release to her
local paper titled "We've Broken Our Promise". And this was the
headline that the paper picked up, going on to emphasise the
points Jane made about all stalls being set up prior to 9.30am
and there right up to the 2.30pm closing time, with information
on the special events and happenings at the next monthly market.
A newsworthy angle that got people talking and helped bring them
back to the markets. Check out www.ortonfarmers.co.uk. It's an
impressive site with lots of examples of how they build customer
More lessons from the farm Following the constant doom and gloom
reporting about foot and mouth disease, the British public were
extremely cautious about going near farms. In fact, they thought
they were endangering farmer's livelihoods by going anywhere
near their livestock.
Richard Simkin at Essington Fruit Farm, a thriving Farm Shop and
café/restaurant decided on a novel approach to get the public
talking and more importantly get them beck to his business.
Always one to let his local newspaper know of any good photo
opportunities, he informed them of a new breed of pigs 'Porkus
Lignus' resident at Essington Farm. It turned out that these
were wooden pigs Richard set up in the field closest to his
farm. It made for a great photo and accompanying article and
more importantly brought a bit of fun and a lot of people back
to Richard's farm.
Richards 'local newspaper' in the English midlands has a
circulation of a quarter of a million. As a result of the
publicity, business trebled overnight (back to pre-foot and
mouth levels) and stayed that way because everyone who returned
just had to tell family and friends about the resilient 'Porkus
Lignus' at Essington Fruit Farm.
With Britain in election mode recently, Richard got tongues
wagging again by painting the pigs with the party colours (blue
for Tory, red for Labour etc) and giving them names - Laboar,
Conservapig, Pigeral Democrat etc. He made biscuits also with
the party colours and sold them for 25p. As people bought them,
they registered their vote which was monitored on the
Swineometer, a play on the Swingometer used on the UK TV
Miss Maud's coffee shops did something similar in Australia for
many years with their 'coffee bean poll' whereby everyone
purchasing a coffee in each of their Perth outlets was given a
coffee bean to drop into a long glass tube of whichever party
they thought would win. They then arranged for a prestigious
firm of accountants (bean counters) to man the tally room! This
certainly gave customers something to talk about and the media
really picked up on it....especially when four state and federal
elections in a row they proved to be a more accurate predictor
of the result than the national polls.
Sally Jackson of The Pink Pig Organic Farm Shop and Restaurant
near Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire has, instead of a normal DL
brochure, a pink cut out pig, about 14cm x 17cm, with opening
times, restaurant hours, map and contact details on it. This
simple idea is memorable, reinforces their brand, and gets
talked about. Not the sort of thing you would throw out without
The Big Sheep in North Devon isn't just a farm, it's a theme
park devoted to sheep. If you think that's bizarre...your right,
but it has proved to be phenomenally successful for the zany,
effervescent Rick Turner. He has sheep racing, sheep shearing,
duck trialling with championship sheepdogs, an undercover
ewe-topia entertainment centre and lots more fun on the farm
events and experiences. One of the many talking points is the
currency at The Big Sheep. You change your money for very
realistic looking Euro notes ('ewero'- get it?) to
your day out. Of course most people want to hold onto some
'euros' as souvenirs. Which encourages them to go back next
holidays or to pass them onto friends heading down to Devon.
It's an ongoing reminder and great conversation prompter about
The Big Sheep. Check out www.thebigsheep.co.uk.
Quiet ways of getting people to talk about you Yvonne McNeil,
runs the legendary 'Food For Thought' coffee shop on the main
street of Masterton in New Zealand. In the lead up to Christmas
her staff make occasional trips along both sides of the street
checking the parking meters. If any have or are about to run out
they feed a couple of 20 cents into the meter and issue their
own ticket on the car windscreen which says:
"Oh no, just before the parking meter attendant was about to
issue you a ticket we fed your meter. We hope that our small
deposit into your parking meter saved you from a parking ticket
before Christmas. - Merry Christmas from Yvonne and the Team at
Food For Thought."
I heard this example on Winston Marsh's excellent Business
Marketing audio magazine some time ago, and on the same edition
Hank Petrusma of Petrusma First National Real Estate in Hobart
gave this wonderful example. (Contact Terrific Trading if you
would like to know more about 'Business Marketing').
At Petrusma Real Estate they scan the community newspaper and
when they see a school student has won an award or a couple have
an important anniversary they send a congratulatory card. Hank
gave the example of a young lady going to Sydney as part of a
choir. When they read about this they sent her a congratulatory
note and a cheque for $50 towards her expenses. For an important
wedding anniversary they send flowers and a card saying that
they just wanted to add their congratulations from all the team
at Petrusma Real Estate. Wow, would that get talked about?
At Tom O'Toole's Beechworth Bakery, July is their quietest
month. So, they take this opportunity to offer school tours for
children from surrounding areas. Now, we all know that children
talk....and it works. Within one month of the tour one in four
children will have returned with their parents. Just imagine how
much that will be worth if the experience turns that child and
their family into life long advocates for, and customers of,
Linda Cleaver of Langsford House, a lovely historic B&B in York,
Western Australia as well as the romantic historic charm of the
setting has a poodle/Maltese cross, Monty that is often
befriended by guests and is notable for his bowtie.
Now, there are a number of B&Bs in and around York and when
people tell friends about 'that lovely place they stayed" they
can't always recall the name. That's alright at Langsford House
though. Linda received a call from a lady who said "This may be
a funny question, but my friend stayed at this lovely B&B in
York and can't remember the name of it. Do you have a poodle
with a bowtie?" "That would be Monty the Marketing Manager,"
said Linda as she took the booking.
Lancelin, an hour or so up the coast from Perth, is a popular
spot for windsurfing and snorkelling. Trish and Trev run
Lancelin Lodge and accommodate many backpackers. They also have
a dog which often befriends their guests and takes them to the
best surfing spots. Backpackers compare notes with fellow
travellers about places visited, what there is to do and where
to stay. Backpackers also tend to be well educated and like to
read so Lancelin Lodge provides them with colourful bookmarks
with photographs of young guests at the beach, wind surfing
scenes and of course their dog. On the reverse of each
beautifully photographed scene are all the contact details and a
list of facilities at Lancelin Lodge. Brochures would probably
be mislaid or tossed out but bookmarks are useful mementos. A
great way of being memorable and prompting word of mouth.
Wooden pigs, pink cut out pigs, bookmarks, a poodle with a
bowtie or 20 cents in a parking meter. It doesn't take much to
get people talking about you and once they do they start to
recall and tell others about the things that really impressed
them about the experience.
What will you do or do again to get people talking about your
business? I'd love to share your examples with your fellow
readers. Now, that's word of mouth!
About the author:
Jurek Leon is a speaker, trainer and consultant. To subscribe to
Jurek's FREE monthly email newsletter go to the Free Articles
section of his website www.terrifictrading.com
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