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Newsletter #883: The “10 of the Greatest Word of Mouth Stories From My Book” Issue

Big news! My book is officially out in paperback this week.

Everything is updated and improved, but it’s still the classic book that will help you master the art of word of mouth.

To celebrate, we’re giving away the first chapter and, if you buy the book this week, we’ll send you our 16-page Word of Mouth Workbook. (Details here.)

And as a preview, here are a few of the great word of mouth stories featured in the book:

1. Potbelly moves to Austin
2. The Saturn Family Reunion
3. FreshBooks’ trade show brilliance
4. Steve Jobs creates the perfect topic
5. MCI helps friends help friends
6. Maker’s Mark’s ambassador program
7. Southwest Airlines does all the little things
8. White Castle becomes Love Castle
9. Harley’s Owners Group
10. The Wynn Las Vegas finds the perfect talkers
11. Download the first chapter

1. Potbelly moves to Austin

When Chicago’s Potbelly Sandwich Shop opened their first store in Austin, they bought a mailing list of people who had also recently moved from Chicago to Austin. They sent them a friendly letter saying they hoped they were settled in and asked if they were at all homesick. They also told them about Potbelly’s recent move and included 10 free sandwich coupons. And that’s the best part: One coupon would have been used quietly by the recipient, but 10 meant they were going around their offices and dorms trying to find people to take to lunch.

2. The Saturn Family Reunion

In 1999, 60,000 people drove their plain Saturn sedans to Spring Hill, Tennessee to meet the people who made them. Why? They felt taken care of by the company’s no-haggle concept. They were amazed when they got a friendly note twice a year with instructions on how to adjust the clock for daylight saving time. Saturn customers supported the company that supported them — and they told their friends.

3. FreshBooks’ trade show brilliance

FreshBooks, a company that sells simple invoicing software, doesn’t just show up at trade shows — they make them more awesome. At conferences like SXSW and the HOW Design Conference, they’ve handed out hangover kits, hired a customer to paint a mural in their trade show booth, and rented an RV to host pancake breakfasts in the parking lot. These stunts create so much word of mouth that FreshBooks doesn’t have to hunt people down at these events, people come to them.

4. Steve Jobs creates the perfect topic

We all think of Steve Jobs as the greatest computer marketer who ever lived. So what did he do when he returned to Apple in 1996 with the mission of reviving a stumbling company? Did he talk about great software? Stable operating systems? No. Jobs’s great marketing insight was … pink and purple computers. It got everyone talking. It restarted positive word of mouth about the company. And when people heard about the cute computers, they were ready to take another look at the more important features.

5. MCI helps friends help friends

So many “refer-a-friend” programs make everyone feel awkward by turning friends into salespeople. But do you remember the original MCI Friends and Family promotion? It was all about mutual benefit. When you told a friend about the program, each of you got a reduced phone bill. You both benefited, equally and together. It kept the motives pure, it respected altruism, and everyone felt good about it. It was all about sharing the savings, not one person making money off the other. It’s still one of the greatest word of mouth programs in history.

6. Maker’s Mark’s ambassador program

Maker’s Mark’s ambassador program is one of the most incredible fan clubs of all time. Hundreds of thousands of people call themselves members. They carry around ambassador business cards. They talk about how their name is engraved on a barrel of whiskey. They forward the special messages they get from the CEO. And the best part: It’s incredibly simple and old-school. The entire program is run with email and postal mail — and ambassadors eagerly await every new message or gift.

7. Southwest Airlines does all the little things

Southwest is committed to earning the love and respect of their customers — and they do it all within their extremely strict budget. They’re able to be the low-cost airline and the most enjoyable one to fly by doing all the intangibles: They offer incredible customer service, they don’t hassle customers with fees and penalties, they sing the safety instructions, they smile. In an industry with so much negative word of mouth, people truly love Southwest.

8. White Castle becomes Love Castle

In what is possibly the greatest word of mouth promotion ever for a restaurant, every Valentine’s Day, White Castle converts itself into the Love Castle. They bring out candles, tablecloths, and take reservations. It’s unlike any fast food restaurant setting you’ve ever seen, and photos and stories from customers talking about the Love Castle experience have gone viral on YouTube and Facebook.

9. Harley’s Owners Group

In the 70’s, Harley-Davidson sales were weak and the company spent nearly a decade on the verge of bankruptcy. But in 1983, they launched a fan club — H.O.G. — that helped completely turn around the brand’s image. Today there are more than a million H.O.G. members who remain incredibly loyal to the brand, organize fan events, and spend 30% more than the average Harley customer.

10. The Wynn Las Vegas finds the perfect talkers

When Wynn Las Vegas opened its massive, lavish hotel/casino, it turned to the most important talkers in town: cabbies. The hotel recognized that these are the guys who talk to tourists about where to eat, where to gamble, and where to shop. Before the hotel officially opened, it gave this high-powered group of talkers rooms and the run of the place. Which hotel do you think the cabbies are talking about now?

11. Download the first chapter

Download the first chapter to learn the definition of word of mouth marketing, the four rules of word of mouth, the three reasons people talk about you, and a whole lot more.

Download it: http://wom.us/Jfchqd

And remember! If you order this week (April 30 — May 5), send your receipt to workbook@wordofmouthbook.com and we’ll send you our 16-page Word of Mouth Workbook. Details here: http://wom.us/KDSYL4

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