In this day and age, most of us are totally engulfed in the world of internet marketing and advertising. But what about “Word of Mouth” as a tool to emotionally provoke and connect with our target audience? It’s something we may not give as much thought to in our modern context, but according to Jonah Berger’s research, it could just be the most powerful tool we have.
Jonah’s Target Audience: Jonah’s target audience includes entrepreneurs with small businesses to large fortune 500 companies to non- profits, to start ups and everything in between.
You may have come across Jonah on Marie Forleo’s show some time ago. Jonah is a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania and also recently wrote a book entitled “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” – a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller. The purpose of his book is to help people use word of mouth in order to grow their business.
Jonah’s background is unique in that he is a journalist and a scientist. His research over a span of 10 years focused on studying word of mouth. He questioned why certain things get talked about more than others and collected data around this subject. Why does some content go viral while other content doesn’t? The psychology of sharing is what really fascinated him.
In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he evaluates six different areas of sharing psychology:
- Social Currency
- Practical Value
Jonah believes that people are under the misconception that think they NEED to advertise. However, most people make decisions because a peer recommended something them (word of mouth). It’s really about TRUST. It’s a known fact that business owners don’t always have funds to advertise. His guidance includes helping business owners turn their customers into “advocates”- people who will share their message.
So, what EMOTIONS drive sharing? Ask yourself why someone would work with you/buy your product. This will help you to identify the emotional reasoning and thus the customer’s core motivation to buy. An error many business owners make all too often when creating a message, is that they think about ourselves. Jonah recommends thinking more about what your client’s needs are. How can you offer something that is useful to them?
Jonah wasn’t always such an expert. In fact, he experienced his own time in the trenches when he was an academic and realized (at one time) that it was just him and his book. He asked himself how would he grow his audience because without an audience, who would he affect? How would he get his ideas out there?
In working with limited resources, time and money, he asked himself how he’d build a movement around what he had to offer. Once that was attained, how could he use these customers to help him grow? He realized that when people experienced high emotions like inspiration, excitement and humor- they were more likely to share.
In this episode we’ll cover:
- The misconception that advertising is the only way to grow an audience
- Why people trust their peers more than anything else
- Why some things get talked about when others don’t
- What high emotions cause people to share
- Why thinking of yourself less and your audience more can help to grow your business
- How Jonah turned his audience into “advocates” who continued to share his message
Resources and Links
- Contagious: Why Things Catch On
- Jonah’s website
- Workbooks for becoming more Contagious
- Jonah on Twitter
Practical and Actionable
Jonah suggests checking out his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On and his free workbooks. Sit down and ask yourself “what’s my message?” What would people say about me? Use the steps in the workbook to think about how you can do it. Jonah believes there is certainly a science behind it. The process ultimately creates a greater understanding of how to then turn customers into your own advocates who will go on to spread your message.
Do you have questions about today’s episode?
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