Butter vs Margarine. How Spreadable are you?

This post will give you some tips on how to get more word of mouth referrals. Let us start by asking you a question that you most likely haven’t been asked before:

Is your business like butter or margarine? i.e. just how spreadable is it?

What we mean is how easy do people find it to recommend you, tell people about your business, and generally talk about you in a positive way for what you are doing in your industry. You need to be aiming for margarine – very spreadable, not like butter – we are looking at you Lurpak!

Making yourself spreadable isn’t as hard as it sounds, and here’s 6 top tips for doing just that…

ACTION: Think about each stage, and think about how you can improve to make yourself more spreadable.

STAGE 1: THE BASICS
1. Your Business Name – you need a business name that is easy to remember and pass on. People often make the mistake of thinking their business name needs to say exactly what they do, and you end up with a business name like “Michael Shaw and Co. Chartered Accountants and Tax Specialists Ltd.” (we really hope that isn’t a real business!) It’s a mouthful, hard to remember, will end up being shortened anyway, and ultimately blends in. Something shorter, punchier and memorable would be far more effective and easier to spread.

2. Your Proposition – make sure you know how to explain exactly what you do, and more importantly what problems you solve, so people know how your services will benefit them. We meet so many businesses and visit so many websites where we still aren’t 100% clear on exactly what they do, and HOW they do it. Make it ridiculously obvious and clear (but short and sweet), so that people understand well enough to tell others, because then it’s easier for people to know when their contacts need your help too.

STAGE 2: YOUR BUSINESS
3. Be Interesting – a boring product and service is never going to be 100% spreadable, because the harsh truth is that nobody really cares enough. Do you think we would tell everyone about our dentist? Probably not. However what if our dentist had a “smile of the month” competition to win something awesome! That sounds like something we might tell people. Push the boundaries in your market of how you do business. Just because something is done a certain way in your industry doesn’t mean you have to do it that way. Market yourself as an interesting proposition, which gives people something to talk about.

4. Be Yourself (if you are a nice person) – we are strong believers that people buy from people. So don’t try to fake it or people will see right through it. Be nice in business, be honest and you’ll see that people will respond positively to that, and will want to tell people about you.

STAGE 3: YOUR BRAND ADVOCATES
5. Treat Your Fans Well – your fans, clients, followers, groupies, brand advocates, whatever you wish to call them (we like the term brand advocates), are the lifeblood of your business. These are the people who are going to ensure your business is as spreadable as the most spreadable margarine. So keep them happy. Kick ass customer service is so so so so important when it comes to marketing, so spend some time on it and go out of your way for them. Make your brand advocates smile, make them want to spread the word about you, keep in touch with them regularly, but remember to do this honestly and don’t expect anything in return (remember point 4.)

6. Keep Them Interested – Things change all the time, industries change, the way we do business changes, and you need to keep up. Keep your brand advocates not only happy but wanting more from you. Comment on relevant changes in your industry, have an opinion on things that are happening, and never get complacent. Your business proposition is allowed to change too. Your USP is allowed to change even! In fact your business in 5 years time shouldn’t be the same as it is now. There’s constantly young blood trying to change things, but don’t wait for them to change it. Be the leader in your industry.