One of the most powerful, high-converting forms of traffic that you can generate is via word-of-mouth. Think about it for a moment… 

When you use traditional advertising, you’re basically tooting your own horn. People tend to be a bit on the skeptical side with regards to your products or services. They put their defensive walls up. They think, “Well of course he’d say that – he’s trying to sell me something! 

But now imagine that this same prospect receives your advertising message from a friend. Maybe the friend says, “Wow – you need to check out that new sports memorabilia store on 10th Avenue. You’ll LOVE it! 

Will this prospect check it out? You bet! And that’s because someone he knows and trusts made the recommendation.  

You understand now why word of mouth marketing is so powerful – and why you’ll want to make sure you put it to work for your business, too.

Here’s how: 

  1. Create something worth talking about. People won’t talk about your business if it’s not buzz worthy. So if it’s not naturally buzz worthy (i.e., worth talking about), then need to create something for people to talk about.


    • A publicity stunt. Kick start the viral effect by sending out press releases, using social media to spread the word and advertising it. 
    • A contest. A big, exciting contest with awesome prizes tends to create a buzz. But if you create a contest that includes a referral component (e.g., “get an extra chance to win by telling your friends”), then your contest becomes even more buzz worthy.  
    • Something controversial or even offensive. Be careful with this one, as doing it the wrong way can alienate your prospects. But do it right, and you’ll draw then closer. For examples, just look at what partisan political commentators say on their radio shows and on their blogs.  
    • Something extremely unique, useful or entertaining. Here you can create a useful tool, report, video or other resource that your prospects are likely to pass around. 
    • An amazing deal. Create coupon codes to offer a “once in a lifetime” deal – then watch your prospects share these codes with their friends! 
  1. Make it easy to share. In other words, don’t create hoops.

Example: If you’ve created a viral video, then put it on so that people can access it and share it easily. 

  1. Give an incentive to encourage sharing. If you create something share-worthy (like a humorous video), people will naturally share it. But if you give people an incentive to share it, you’ll get even better results.

Example: The online bank ING often runs a referral promotion. The person who gets the referral receives $25 if they open a new bank account. But the person who provides the referral also gets an incentive if his friend joins: Namely, he too gets $25 deposited into his account.  

  1. Provide a call to action. Whether you’re incentivizing your word of mouth campaign or not, you still need to provide a call to action. This is where you specifically tell your prospects and customers to share your marketing message.


    • “Tell your friends about our new line of products and you’ll receive 5% off your next purchase every time one of your referrals becomes a paying customer!” 
    • “Give your Facebook friends a laugh – click here now to share this video!” 
  1. Offer tools to make sharing easy. Finally, you can offer tools to make it easy for your customers and prospects to tell their friends. Examples of tools include:
    • Business cards, flyers or paper coupons that people can distribute. 
    • Social bookmarking buttons. 
    • “Tell a friend” forms. 
    • Facebook and other social media widgets (so people can share with one click). 

And there you have it: Five keys to unleashing the power of word-of-mouth marketing.