You have heard the story of how one friend tells another friend who tells five more friends and pretty soon you have an economic revolution. Product reputations are built this way. It does not really matter how much money you spend on promotion; what does matter is doing what it takes to get the BUZZ!
In an article on public relations entitled “WORD OF MOUTH,” L. Ron Hubbard spells it out perfectly:
“The keynote in any promotion is word of mouth.”
Now, it so happens that we live in the age of marketing renaissance, where the cost of contacting your clients, prospects, publics, etc., is so very minimal. You can send out vast quantities of mailings and letters with literally the click of a button. This means getting your buzz or getting something to go viral is right at your fingertips.
We are talking about e-mail and the ability to get your message across to thousands, even millions, at the speed of the Internet. What a boon this is to the marketer. You can access your customers and send out promo, messages, letters, and links to videos. You can send newsletters, brochures—just about anything you want. You can post on social media until you have built a juggernaut of word of mouth. You can build your viral empire by getting people to talk about your product.
The perfect example of this is Harry’s, the renegade shaving company that put an all-out blitz on existing razor companies and is finding itself a growing dynamo. What an incredible job they have done leveraging their social media and e-mail campaigns.
Word of Mouth Matters
You want to get people talking about you. How about you put together a mailing list of 100,000 your first week in business? Well, that is exactly what Harry’s did.1 How they went about accumulating so many contacts in that amount of time is of extreme interest. But first a little background on the company and its birth.
Harry’s was founded by Jeff Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield in March 2013. They had spent almost two years researching the global men’s shaving market. They discovered a nearly century-old German manufacturer who would make their razor blades, worked with talented industrial designers to create an ergonomic handle inspired by fine pens and knives, and laid the groundwork for the direct-to-consumer online brand that would become Harry’s. They were excited to offer their customers a quality shaving experience at an affordable price.
In Harry’s founder Jeff Raider’s own words: “Much of the success of week one was due to what we did beforehand. One week before our e-commerce site went live, we had gathered e-mails from nearly 100,000 people who were eager to learn more about Harry’s. We had collected those e-mail addresses thanks to a one-week-long prelaunch campaign.”
As Mr. Hubbard states in his PR reference:
“You can talk all you want about paid ads and radio ads and every other kind of ad but sooner or later a property gets into word of mouth or it doesn’t.”
And as Raider points out, Harry’s gathered together 100,000 e-mails before they opened the doors. Ahead of their launch, Andy and Jeff spent a couple of months meeting friends, entrepreneurs and virtually anyone else who would listen to them talk about Harry’s. Whether these people were interested in razors, they soon became interested in the story. That list of individuals was probably a couple hundred long by launch time, and Harry’s created the campaign to help that group of people publicly share in the excitement of their launch. Then they created the ultimate referral campaign—friends would tell friends, neighbors would tell neighbors.
Talk, Talk, Talk
Harry’s referral campaign depended on the use of technology to deliver their message and get people talking about their product. It included several steps:
Step 1: Make Special People Feel Special. They saw their prelaunch as an opportunity to make people feel special. As the first people on Earth to discover Harry’s, they were vital potential proponents and thus very special to the team at Harry’s. They made their first customers feel as if they were getting the inside scoop—insider access to this revolution in shaving culture. The world of shaving was no longer just Gillette and Schick: now there was Harry’s.
Step 2: Choose Tangible Rewards and Make Them Achievable. The fundamental mechanic of their campaign was a game: complete the challenge of referring friends and earn prizes. They developed a very straightforward game with tangible prizes specially selected and doled out to get people excited to play.
Step 3: Make Sharing as Fun as Humanly Possible. They created the entire experience to feel like a fun game.
Step 4: Make Sharing as Easy as Humanly Possible. Throughout the campaign, they encouraged friends to tell friends, and those friends to tell their friends, and so on and so forth.
And Step 4 was the prize, as Mr. Hubbard so simply states:
“In other words people start telling each other about it.”
Making the e-mails upfront and personal was critical to their campaign. As a reader, if you have a similar story to share of your application of mailing list policies, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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