What are the signs you need to keep working your company story?
By Ted Wright January 20, 2020
The heart of the word of mouth marketing process is the company story (or stories!) – something that is authentic, interesting, and relevant to a group of people who can become your customers.
At Fizz, we put a tremendous amount of effort into creating these stories. It might involve weeks of research and days of team brainstorming and testing. But many businesses might not have the time and resources to go that route, and so creating the ideal story about your business or product becomes iterative.
At a fundamental level, you have to give it your best shot and keep testing and progressing. So a key question is certainly, “How do you know it’s working?”
Review the basics
If you believe your story isn’t working as well as it should, let’s step back and look at some fundamentals before starting over.
First, is the story actually being shared? Getting out of the office and talking to people takes hard work and discipline. It’s an unfamiliar practice for some. Before a story spreads you might need to share it hundreds of times. Is this happening?
The next question might be, are we telling our brand story in the right places? This gets back to the relevant piece again. If we’ve put all this work into a story but it’s the wrong audience, of course, it’s going to fall flat. Take a look at your audiences. Are you missing something?
Re-working the company story
There are two key quantitative measures that can be a leading indicator of sales success.
The first is follow-up inquiries. Are you getting calls and messages from people in your audience who want to know more? Are people asking you to share your story in a community group or service organization? Do they want samples? Can you do a demonstration for my club that I saw you do last week? “I have a group of friends who would really like to hear more about this.”
If you’re not getting at least one inbound inquiry per week within the first six months of starting your effort, that is a good sign you need to work on your story. Either the story is failing on interesting or inauthentic or you’re not out there doing enough work.
This second way of checking on your story is by doing experiments early on. Literally, take people to lunch and talk about your story. And if you have a spouse or significant other, bring them too. Drop your brand story into the conversation somewhere. And if your loved one gives you the spousal eye-roll or kicks you under the table, then you know that your story is not interesting. You’re boring people.
But if you see people lean forward and ask questions, then you know you’re onto something. So that’s how you can test the story. And you can keep refining the story. Because as you’re sharing the story out there with people, you’re going to see reactions about the part they like, and what are they don’t gravitate to. And just because you thought something was cool, they might not think it was that cool. So you’re always testing or finding.
In any event, don’t give up. The benefits of word of mouth marketing are too important to give up easily!
Ted Wright is the founder of Fizz, the world’s leading word of mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Ted is also an acclaimed WOMM keynote speaker and the author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth.
Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com