When your friend returns from vacation, he’s probably eager to tell you about his happy holiday. But which story really sticks with you? That the hotel has a great infinity pool? That local restaurants offer great food? What about something oddly specific – like a guide giving a different stuffed animal every day? still the most memorable. This makes them valuable in gold — and then some — as part of an effective word-of-mouth marketing strategy.
When marketers rely on unique selling propositions (USP), they position their products as effective — but forgettable — solutions. While a USP seems perfect in theory, too many marketers forget how important the first letter of an acronym is.
As part of my research for my new book, “ Chat trigger ,” we surveyed our customers Cheesecake Factory . As you might expect, about 60 percent of respondents mentioned “food quality” as the first thing they told their friends. Hey, that’s great. But do you know anyone else who claims to have good food? Every other restaurant on the planet. Even if you’re selling something unique, you need that perfect talking trigger to set yourself apart from the group.
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Moving Beyond USP
At this point, most marketing professionals understand the importance of Word of mouth. What those marketers don’t realize, however, is that their stories have to be interesting enough to pass. You can offer the lowest shoe prices on the block, but no one will tell their friends about you unless you try to remind your customers of this fact.
When the company misses on these opportunities, the consequences are costly. According to a study by Engagement Labs Last year, 19 percent of U.S. consumer purchases were the result of word of mouth — and that’s only for consumers to know about. Who knows how many people search for a new pair of jeans only to buy one because they subconsciously remember a friend’s story about the brand.
How do they talk?
This sounds simple, but developing the perfect chat trigger requires more than coming up with an attention-grabbing tagline. The following criteria can help you design a chat trigger to start a conversation rather than leave people speechless (in a bad way).
- Make it noticeable.
Every brand needs to tell a story, but that story has to be significant – this applies to both you and your customers. To motivate customers to spread your message, it must be noticeable. Shocking your customers is nice and great, but it’s not the same as telling a story that deserves a comment. Holiday World is a perfect example of a company that has connected its brand message to its products in a unique and engaging way. Originally called Santa Claus Land, the amusement park in Santa Claus, Indiana, includes a series of arctic-themed attractions. The business eventually expanded to celebrate other holidays, leading to a name change. Even when there is a change, the connection between the location and that original name is what first gets people talking. It is essential to find a chat trigger that is relevant to your overall goals. No one will ever forget that Santa Claus Land is located in Santa Claus, Indiana. In the same way, no one will ever forget your brand if you connect it with a remarkable conversational trigger.
- Make it suitable.
Uniqueness is great, but you’ll need more than that to make your talk come to life. People and their moms might give away a free smartphone or something similar to a grand prize in a contest, but that doesn’t have to be related to your brand. Instead of copying what works for someone else, find something that aligns with your broader brand positioning and goals. FreshBooks , a company that provides accounting services and invoicing software, hosts a series of events where experts give free consultations to clients. Instead of attending costly conferences — FreshBooks knows a large portion of its user base is freelancers — the company tweaked it to fit its audience and held meetups instead. their own across North America. By adapting to its users, FreshBooks solidified brand loyalty by demonstrating that they understood them.
- Make it reasonable.
When your chat triggers start popping up, you want something believable. It has to be noticeable enough to spur conversation but reasonable enough for people to actually believe it happened. If your way of speaking evokes more suspicion than intrigue, you’re probably missing the mark. Graduate Hotels , which has locations near university campuses like Virginia, Michigan, and Nebraska, provides each guest with a room keycard that looks like the ID card of a famous alumnus of a nearby university. This approach helps greatly support college nostalgia for guests, and it becomes a relatable topic when they share stories about their vacation.
- Make it repeatable.
When you implement conversation triggers, you’re essentially tailoring your audience. Just like parents always reward or punish their child to reinforce certain behaviors, consistency is key. Each customer must be able to enjoy the same (or at least similar) experience, as it allows each new person to be a part of the story. You may be familiar with magicians Penn & Teller and their humorous approach to the world of illusions. Audiences have enjoyed the duo’s performances for decades up until this point, but part of their longevity is what drives them to repeat it over and over again: They spend time mingling with their fans, creating pose for selfies and answer questions at the end of each show. Whether your conversation starter is meeting fans, handing out fancy jewelry, or something else entirely, you must deliver the same experience to every customer. An experience that’s exclusive to a select few seems more appealing, but that approach limits your chat trigger’s ability to go wild like wildfire.
While it may seem difficult to pinpoint the exact trigger of your dream, by following these guidelines you can start your journey with this proven formula and make progress. in turning your customers into volunteer marketers in no time. Experiment to see what resonates. There’s no such thing as an exact science about marketing – there never has been. However, once you find conversation triggers that your customers are happy to share with their network, you’ll be able to sit back and let them handle the marketing for you.