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The Key To Driving Word Of Mouth Advertising

Understanding the key to driving word of mouth advertising can help you grow your business exponentially. 

Last week, I was working with a new client on her company’s top-level brand messaging – including her elevator pitch and value proposition – and realized just how important they are to word of mouth advertising.

Yes, an elevator pitch and value proposition are pretty much one in the same, but they are used differently. Let me explain.

What you say out loud to someone is your elevator pitch. It needs to sound very natural and just roll off the tongue. What you write on your website, in marketing collateral, on social media, etc. is your value proposition. It can be a bit sleeker and a little longer than what you would naturally say.

My client and I had nailed down her value proposition and now we were discussing if it should be her elevator pitch or not. Here’s how the conversation went down:

“I have no idea what to say when someone asks me point-blank what I do,” D. told me. “I mumble something and then find I’m at a loss for words. I don’t know if I can remember the value proposition when I’m on the spot.”

“Well, say exactly what you do,” I suggested. “You’re the founder and CEO of a lifestyle networking company. People probably don’t know what lifestyle networking means, so they’ll immediately ask you, ‘What is that?’ And then you can pull out your value proposition.”

“Ohmigod – that’s brilliant!” D. replied.

Think people will remember her entire value proposition? No, and that’s OK. But they’ll remember that her company does lifestyle networking events for women that revolve around fun events and activities like wine tasting, travel, and golf. And they’ll be able to tell other people about it.

I think you probably know where I’m going here. Nailing your brand messaging is important for marketing, but it’s really critical for generating word of mouth marketing.

People need to be clear about what you do so they can speak intelligently and accurately about you to everyone in their network, and especially to the people they send your way.

Here’s how to nail your top level brand messaging and drive that word of mouth marketing machine:

Answer “why”?

Why do you exist, and why are you different? Answer it from your ideal clients’ perspective, not from yours. No one cares about you – they care what you can do for them.

I typically write a few options for clients. Then I sit on the options for a day and come back and read them with fresh eyes. One usually stands out to me, but I’ll share all of them with the client – and I won’t point out the one I love the most. I want to know what they think.

Get feedback

Whether you found the one perfect value proposition or can’t decide between a couple of options, ask for feedback. Share it/them with your mentor, trusted advisers, and/or your top clients. Their outside perspective can be extremely valuable.

Maybe you’ll tweak a word here, or combine thoughts from two different options. Or maybe you’ll start from scratch or say “I quit!” and hire a pro to help you. Either way, keep iterating and getting feedback until people read it and say, “Bingo – that’s totally you.”

True story: I was struggling with my elevator pitch, so my friend Nicole wrote it for me. And she nailed it. It is VERY hard to write it yourself because you’re too close to your own company and cannot be objective. No shame in that. It’s just the way it is.

Be consistent

Because my poor client D. was struggling with her value proposition, she actually had five or six versions floating around on the Internet and in her marketing materials. Go through all of your digital and print materials and replace every semi-explanation of what you do with your new value proposition.

Along with repeating the same elevator pitch in meetings, that consistency will ensure that people know exactly what you do. And it’ll supercharge your word-of-mouth marketing machine.


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