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The story of blogging: Word of Mouth for SMB’s

Word of Mouth (WOM) is probably the oldest marketing technique in the world. One person has a good experience with a business and he shares and tells about it to his friend. Then the friend tries the product or service and then recommends it to his friend and the word just spreads. WOM has proven to be the most effective marketing method and it requires nothing but direct human interaction. The latter has changed dramatically in recent years thanks to the Internet. Today with check-ins, YouTube, status update, tweets and blogging people are spreading the word much quicker and to much more people at once. Some marketer calls it “Word of Mouth on Steroid” - a definition that is not far from the truth.

At the end of the day, the safest way to assure positive WOM is by actually giving customers superior service and product. However, nowadays the internet offers many tools for small business to create buzz around their product or service - the type of buzz that creates WOM and arises interest around their brand. Businesses, even small ones, can actually shape what is being said about them. Robin Stavisky, managing partner at New Venture Marketing (and a small business owner) wrote a WOM toolkit for Intuit and introduced different ways and means to achieve positive and effective WOM. He talks about microblogging, LinkedIn, syndication (such as RSS), widgets and online communities. He also talks about blogging which I personally find the most useful, easy and accessible method to generate WOM.

The key to blogging success is not to push your product to the readers but use your knowledge and business experience to attract people who share your interest and are more likely to become customers. One of the biggest reasons WOM is such a great marketing tool is that the recommendation about a product doesn’t come from the company itself. On your blog, you will need to switch the anonymous “corporate speak” used on your website, to a more informal way of communication, such as sharing personal opinions and beliefs (related to your business and industry, of course). By doing that, you will eliminate to a minimum the fact that it’s you, the business owner or employee, who is writing. Your own blog is a platform for you to interact with consumers, introduce new ideas to get feedback and even address sticky situations if they come your way. Blogs can also increase your visibility online because search engine robots love new content, and unlike a regular websites, blogs get updated frequently. Therefore, it’s better if you post a blog on your website so you can get more traffic to it.

Katie Novonty was struggling to keep her bakery open. She posted a blog and invited people to come over to her bakery to help keep it open. The word spread. Her blog post was forwarded thousands of times and within a week her business was back on its feet. Other less dramatic examples of successful blogs are the “Sweet Leaf Tea”, a company that sells specialty tea and uses a more informal approach on their blog, by including pictures and fun fact about its employee. Another great example is Stonyfield Farm, an organic dairy company who is staying true to its brand and focus on family health and health living, through its blog.

Creating an effective word of mouth is a hard mission. By writing a blog, businesses can manage what people think of them and create buzz around them. Just think about it: if you really like this blog, you will tell about it to your friends. One or two may even go online to read it. If they have a minute to spare, they may look around this website. Who knows - maybe one of them might even sign up and then tell about Soho os to his friends. That’s what it’s all about.

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