Secrets to Success
Deborah Cole Micek
and John-Paul Micek

Sunday, March 27, 2005

in the digital age

It's the oldest form of marketing in the world, and it's the most effective. Now, with the technology consumers and business owners have at their fingertips, word-of-mouth marketing can be leveraged for more bottom-line impact than ever before in history.

Online forums, blogs, vblogs (video blogs), moblogs (blogs fed from mobile phones or PDAs), podcasts and a host of other emerging technologies all combine to put consumer opinion on multimedia steroids.

If you want to succeed in the marketplace of the new millennium, gaining consumers' trust is critical.

With consumers being exposed to more than 3,000 marketing messages a day, trust is essential to overcoming the clutter and noise of traditional interruption advertising. And most important for business owners, trust is an undeniable prerequisite for persuasion.

Done correctly, word-of-mouth marketing is a solid strategy for attracting highly qualified prospects to your company's doorstep.

Beware, though, word-of-mouth is a powerful tool that cuts both ways.

Try to deceive or trick the consumer and blog-powered "word wardens" will snap into action. Try to shaft the consumer and search engines will remind the world of your foolish actions for years by ranking the most scathing testimonials at the top of any search for your company name.

There are strategies and techniques that you must learn, and certain rules that you should adhere to, but don't be afraid to jump in. The information and coaching you need is available. The bottom line is, you must make word-of-mouth part of your click-and-mortar growth strategy before your competitors do.

There are two simple steps you can take to begin learning how.

» Dedicate time each week to be active in online business networks, online communities, and blogs related to your industry or niche. This will give you a feel for the multiplication power that technology and the Internet have.

» Whether your company is large or small, local or national, you should have your own business blog. This will help you build rapport and trust with consumers by giving them insight into your business operations. It'll equip you to respond immediately to situations in your company or industry.

Plus, a properly structured business blog will help you achieve top search-engine rankings.

Taking action on these steps will allow you to build trust and maximize your leverage of word-of-mouth marketing.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

John-Paul Micek is the lead business coach at RPM Success Group Inc. Reach him at JPM@RPMsuccess.com or toll-free at (888) 334-8151.

Deborah Cole Micek, chief executive officer of RPM Success Group, is a business success coach and life strategist. Reach her at DCM@RPMsuccess.com or toll-free at (888) 334-8151.

Read an expanded version of this article at www.GetCoachedforFree.com.

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