Talking Talk Triggers with Jay Baer

To listen to the interview on the podcast, click here:

Talking Talk Triggers with Jay Baer

How do you get people talking about your business?

We all know that word of mouth is the most effective and cheapest form of marketing, and that if we had word of mouth, we wouldn’t need to spend as much on advertising, but most of us simply don’t know how to go about getting word of mouth in a systematic way. We just provide our products and services and hope that people will talk about it.

But what if there was a system or a formula we could use that could sustain-ably and repeatedly generate buzz and get our customers talking about our business in a positive way? Jay Baer and his co-author Daniel Lemin decided to do a lot of research and craft a method for generating word of mouth that’s scale-able and repeatable, and they’ve divulged these secrets in their book, Talk Triggers.

Jay is a business consultant, he’s a founder of Convince & Convert and sought after keynote speaker, he’s highly respected in the fields a digital marketing and customer service, and he is also the host of a popular social media marketing podcast called Social Pros. I listen to it religiously. I really recommend it.

He’s also a New York Times bestselling author of six books, including Utility and Hug Your Haters, and his latest book, Talk Triggers.

Talk Triggers is a comprehensive, but not a dense read and it contains a lot advice about how to generate word of mouth for your company or organization. It’s rife with case studies and interesting examples interspersed with humor and, at times, even heartwarming stories. This book doesn’t simply inspire you with some high level motivation or fluff. Talk Triggers actually breaks the concepts down and provides a step-by-step road-map for implementing the ideas.

Zev Gotkin:

So, Jay, I want to start with the most obvious question, and I’m sure you could do it more justice than I could. What is a talk trigger? How would you explain it to someone who asked you like in an elevator in a sentence or two?

Jay Baer:

Hey, Zev. Thanks so much for having me on the show, first of all, and for the kind words about the book. Indeed, we did want to focus on some process and some how-to in the book, because here’s the thing: there’s a bunch of good books out there about word of mouth already. But here’s the challenge. Most of those books go like this. Word of mouth is important. You should get some. End of book. Right? So, my co-author Daniel Lemin and I wanted to go beyond that and say, “Word is mouth is important. You should get some, and here’s exactly how to do that.”

In our estimation, a talk trigger is a strategic operational choice that you make in your business to do something different on purpose so that customers will notice it and talk about it. I think we can all agree that the best way to grow any business is for your customers to do it for you. That means word of mouth. Yet, here’s the crazy thing, Zev. Fewer than 1% of all businesses have a word of mouth strategy. It’s so important. But nobody has an actual strategy. We just take it for granted. We just assume that, if we do a good job, our customers will talk about us, but they don’t. That’s not how the world works. You have to give your customers a story to tell, and that story is your talk trigger.

Zev Gotkin:

Awesome. That’s a great explanation. There’s a lot to unpack here. I guess my other question would be if we all know that word of mouth is so vital, and it definitely saves you a lot of money in advertising, why aren’t more companies doing this? Its seems so obvious. Why aren’t all companies out there trying to get word of mouth? Why aren’t more spending time on being more talkable?

Jay Baer:

There’s probably a number of reasons. First, word of mouth is a little bit more difficult to measure than traditional customer acquisition vehicles. Second, word of mouth requires you to put some measure of authority in your actual customers to get your clients for you, and a lot of businesses don’t want to give up that kind of control. Third, most businesses are addicted to best practices, right? What they have been taught is find out who the category leader is in our space, see what makes them tick, and do those things, because have proven that that path is successful.

But same is lame, right? If you do the same thing that everybody else in your category does, there’s nothing differentiated or talkable about that. But, in American business, we really have become addicted to best practices, and rolling out a talk trigger does require you to purposely be different. A lot of companies just don’t have the courage to do that, or they don’t feel like they have permission to be different, but some of the best companies in the world have terrific word of mouth strategies.

As you touched on, one of my favorite quotes in business is from Robert Stephens who’s the founder of Geek Squad, and he once said that advertising is a tax paid by the unremarkable. Advertising is a tax paid by the unremarkable. Now, that’s not entirely true. There is a time and a place for advertising, but it is largely true, and the companies that are the very best at word of mouth, who have a word of mouth strategy, who are not afraid to be different, who have differentiated themselves with a talk trigger, are in many cases the companies that advertise the least, because word of mouth and their customers are doing for them the things that they typically have to pay advertising to do.

Zev Gotkin:

Excellent. Yes. And I love that quote. That is so true. So, this is another question I think a lot of people … Anyone with more of a business background or anyone who’s studied basic marketing class maybe listening to this, and they might be thinking, “Well, this sounds really cool, but how does a talk trigger differ from a USP, a unique selling point or a unique selling proposition?” We all hear about USP. You have to have something unique about you that gives you an edge over the competition. In what way does a talk trigger differ from that?

Jay Baer:

A USP, a unique selling proposition, is typically something that’s different about your product or service itself and usually is articulated sort of as a series of bullet points. A talk trigger is an experience, right? It is a customer experience. It’s usually articulated in a story. A USP is the kind of thing that you describe in a conference room; a talk trigger is the kind of thing that you describe in a bar. Now, I’ll give you an example.

CVS Pharmacy, okay? CVS Pharmacy. Their USP is that they have pharmacies everywhere. They are massively convenient because you can go anywhere in the US for the most part and find the CVS or one of their alternatives. It’s like Starbucks but for medicine. Their talk trigger is that, when you buy something with their membership card, doesn’t matter if you buy 1 item or 20 items, they give you a receipt that’s like seven feet long. And I’m not exaggerating at all. It’s like seven feet long. That’s their talk trigger.

That’s not an accident. That’s not a malfunction of their cash register. They do that ostensibly to make sure you know how many coupons you could get, but each of those receipts creates conversations. People say, “Man, I went to CVS. I couldn’t believe how long this receipt was.” Anybody listening right now, pause the show, go to Twitter, and search CVS plus receipt, and you will see dozens if not hundreds of examples of videos, photos, stories, of people talking about their receipt from CVS. It is a story catalyst, and that’s not an accident.

Zev Gotkin:

Yeah. I see those memes like making fun of it all the time, and it’s funny. I remember I was in line not too long ago, and before I read this book, and I was like, “Why do they do that?” Then I realized, “Wait a minute. They love this kind of attention. It must be on purpose.”

You cover a lot of awesome examples in your book. I want to go through a couple of them, but most notably you often cite DoubleTree Hotel, how they give you a warm chocolate chip cookie to everyone who checks in. You talked about … What was it? UberConference, how they let you select humorous on-hold music. The Graduate Hotel that gives you these really fun room keys. There’s a lot of awesome examples. Maybe you could just go through two or three that might be relatable to a lot of listeners out there that would get them that would help illustrate the concept of a talk trigger.

Jay Baer:

Yeah. Absolutely. And thank you. We worked really hard on the case studies in the book, and there are nearly 40 examples in the book overall. We wanted to make sure that there are examples from small companies and large companies, from B2C businesses and B2B businesses, from American businesses and global businesses. We wanted to make sure that everybody who reads the book Talk Triggers can see themselves in the book, because, if you can’t, then what’s the point?

If you’re like, “Yeah, that’s neat, but I can’t do that,” number one, let me tell you that we can. We do word of mouth consulting for businesses all around the world, and it doesn’t matter what kind of business you are. It doesn’t matter if you think your business is boring or small or whatever your presumed deficiencies are. You can do this, and frankly I think that you should.

So, we did spend a lot of time on the case study selection, and now actually the Talk Triggers Awards are coming out next month. We’re having a award ceremony where we found 18 new companies not in the book who are doing great things with word of mouth, and we’ve got trophies and a live webinar unveiling of the winners, and all that kind of stuff, which is super fun. So, I’ll give you a couple of examples that aren’t in the book, just because that’s kind of fun. These are guys who are candidates for the Talk Triggers Awards.

One is a doctor. His name is Dr. Chick Wilson. He is in Seattle, Washington. He is a surgeon, which isn’t in and of itself that interesting, but he is a surgeon that only does the vasectomy procedure. I’m like, “Oh, well that’s unusual.” But what makes him so good at word of mouth is that, when people leave his office post-procedure … You’ve just had a vasectomy. You get three things at the office of Dr. Chick Wilson on the way out the door. First, you get insurance paperwork. Then, you get post-operative care instructions paperwork. A frozen bag of peas or whatever the circumstances are. Then, you get a small, black box. In that small, black box in the offices of Dr. Chick Wilson vasectomy surgeon is an engraved, silver pocketknife. On that knife, it says “DrSnip.com: Vasectomy Surgeon.”

Now, you can imagine. You’re watching football, you’re on your boat, you’re playing golf, you’re hanging out with your buddies, and maybe you open a beer with that knife, and your friend’s like, “Bro, that’s a sweet knife. Where did you get that sweet knife?” Like, “This knife. I got this knife at Dr. Snip, vasectomy surgeon.” Now, that’s pretty great, right? Because, if you’ve thought about having a vasectomy or had a vasectomy, who else is likely to be thinking about that? Your friends who are probably the same age and in the same life stage. It’s a tremendous word of mouth generator. He’s far and away the most popular vasectomy surgeon in the Pacific Northwest and has spent a grand total of zero dollars on advertising effort.

Zev Gotkin:

Wow. That is a very interesting example. Yes, there’s so many awesome ones in the book like that as well that I really encourage everybody to read this book, because you will be inspired by these examples, and they’re for so many different kinds of companies. Or mechanics, you know, like the one … SheCANics, I believe I was called.

Jay Baer:

Yeah, SheCANics. Yeah. It’s all female mechanics, which is a really good angle.

There’s a new steak restaurant in Los Angeles at the top of the InterContinental Hotel, which is the tallest building in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s super swanky, right? It’s a really, really nice steakhouse, French-style steakhouse, and floor-to-ceiling windows and the waiters are in tuxes and the whole jam, a lot of expense accounts and celebrities and all that. So, it’s a pretty cool setting. It’s got an amazing view. You can see all of the Greater Los Angeles.

And that’s a USP. So, their view is a USP. Best view in town. But people don’t tell that story very often. I mean, maybe you might, but it’s just not quite unusual enough. A talk trigger works when it’s something that customers don’t expect. You expect a great view on a steakhouse on the 37th floor of a building, right? How could it not be a great view?

Here’s their talk trigger: You order your steak. After you order but before they bring out your appetizer, they have like a sommelier, maitre d’ type person, but he is the steak knife sommelier. Brings out a cart, and on that cart is a black felt top, and they have 11 different steak knives. They got like the big kind of Australian ones, the super fine bone-handled French ones, American ones, Japanese ones. 11 different steak knives. And they say, “Zev, which steak knife would you like to use this evening with your entrée?” Steak knife menu. Now, people tell that story all the time. Great pictures, people taking selfies with it, the whole thing. It’s an experience. It’s something that customers don’t expect, and the thing they don’t expect is the thing they talk about.

Like, I don’t know everybody listening. I probably know some of you. But I know this for sure. Nobody ever says this. Nobody ever says, “Hey, let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I’ve just had.” Right? Because it’s not a story. It’s not a story worth talking about. So, a talk trigger has to be something that your customers don’t anticipate. That’s what makes it worthy of a story.

Zev Gotkin:

Exactly. That actually brings me to my next question. To put the real cynic hat on, someone might say, “Well, what is this, a talk trigger? Is a gimmick? If I just have the best food or I make the best product or I have the best, most friendly customer service, won’t that just be enough to get people talking? Why do I have to get a funny knife or change how I do my room key?” What would be your answer to that?

Jay Baer:

A two-part answer. One, you don’t have the best food, and you don’t have the best service, and you’re not going to be able to. What are the chances that your food is so good that that’s the story that everybody tells? Here’s the challenge. People go to a restaurant. They expect the food to be good. That’s what a restaurant does. That’s what allows you to stay in business. The way we talk about this is that competency doesn’t create conversation. Competency is super important, right? If you’re a restaurant, you’ve got to have good food, but no one tells a story about having good food unless the food is like so beyond customer expectations. And, is that possible? Mathematically, it is possible. It is likely? It is not likely.

So, the things that customers expect you to be, good food at a restaurant, good service in a lot of places, doesn’t become talkable. If I flick off the light switch in my house, I’m not like, “Zev, guess what? The lights just went out.” I’m like, “I know that’s going to happen.” That’s how electricity works. The core things that you deliver as a business is almost never your story, because you can’t deliver that at a level that surprises people. The talk trigger is by no means a gimmick. This is not about going viral, not at all. This is about turning your customers into your greatest marketing advantage and doing it every day, every week, every month, every quarter, and every year. This is not about a short-term kind of contest or something like that.

I mean, you talked about DoubleTree cookies, right? DoubleTree has been giving out a warm chocolate chip cookie at check-in to every guest for 30 years. Every day for 30 years. It’s not a gimmick. Every day for 30 years. And we actually did a bunch of research on that one, because we were just really curious to see like, okay, how many people actually tell the story? So, every day, today, tomorrow, the day after, they give out about 75,000 cookies a day worldwide. That’s a lot of cookies. That’s a pretty good investment ultimately, but how does it pencil out?

So, we did a survey, my co-author and I, Daniel, and we talked to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of DoubleTree guests. We discovered that 34% of them say that they have specifically told a story to somebody else about that cookie. If you do the math on that, that means that today and tomorrow and the next day, approximately 22,500 stories a day are told about a chocolate chip cookie. Now, companion question. When’s the last time you saw a DoubleTree ad?

Zev Gotkin:

I don’t think I’ve seen one.

Jay Baer:

Right, because the cookie is the ad, and the guests become the sales and marketing department. So, no, this is not a fad, but it’s also not about doing whatever it is that you do a little bit better, because that’s what people expect you to do. That’s why you’re still in business.

It’d be like DoubleTree saying, “We have showers with really hot water.” You’d be like, “Yeah, that’s cool. I appreciate that, but I’m not going to tell a story about that.”

Zev Gotkin:

Exactly. So, if you deliver a great experience, people might like it. They might go back. You’ll retain a customer. But, it’s not going to get … It’s not going to generate buzz. It’s not going to get people going to their friend and saying, “Hey, did you hear about that place. It’s really good. You got to go. You got to check it out, because they do this really cool thing,” something that gets people talking. So, I see clearly why this is a huge differentiator.

Jay Baer:

It’s the difference between what we call reactive and proactive word of mouth. So, reactive word of mouth is … Yeah. Let’s say that you and some friends are talking about hotels. “Hey, where’d you go last weekend? Where’d you stay?” If a conversation is about hotels, you might say, “Oh yeah, and I went to DoubleTree, and they had this great chocolate chip cookie.” Okay. That’s reactive word of mouth. The topic was already on hotels. A better approach if the topic is not about hotels at all. You’re just hanging out with your buddies and you’re like, “Bro, I had the best chocolate chip cookie I ever had last week. I got it at a hotel.” That’s proactive word of mouth where somebody’s trying to tell the story. They’re not waiting for the conversation to be about hotels. That’s the key difference.

Zev Gotkin:

Right. I guess piggybacking off of that, you’re talking about one-to-one conversation, but I guess this is also social media’s become a huge part of our world. It’s something you know a lot about. One thing that struck me in the book that was really interesting and I think a lot of people do confuse social media as the new word of mouth or a replacement for it … I often hear it described as word of mouth on steroids.

I do think it’s a big part of word of mouth, but I can see how all these experiences would get people not only to talk to their friends but they’ll probably post them on Instagram, a picture of the cookie, or they will share it in a tweet. It probably gets people talking in variety of different contexts. But, would you say that word of mouth, the one-to-one, has more value or the same value as when people amplify it publicly?

Jay Baer:

There’s a bunch of research on that. According to studies on this subject, 50% of word of mouth is online, and 50% is offline. It’s almost exactly split down the middle. Now, online word of mouth, Instagram, Facebook, a Yelp review, etc., is going to naturally reach more people just because of the dynamics of the internet. But the persuasive power is higher offline. So, if you and I are having a conversation via Zoom or face to face or even email, and you say, “Jay, I recommend X, Y, Z. Let me tell you a story,” that’s going to mean more to me because you and I know one another than if you just post it in social. So, social has more exposure but less power. Offline has more power but less exposure, which is why you really need both. And that’s the key.

But I will tell you it’s really interesting. We’re seeing more and more companies, including our clients at Convince & Convert, rolling out talk triggers that have some strong visual element to them because of the impact of Instagram and photo-sharing and the fact that social has become more about pictures than about words. It just makes it easier. I mean, going back to my example from the beginning, the CVS seven-foot-long receipt. There are so many memes about that, right? Just go to Reddit, and there’s like a million photos of the people saying, “My receipt is as long as my couch.” “My receipt is as long as my sister.” “My receipt is as long as my car.” There’s so many of those. If you didn’t have that visual, if you just wrote a sentence that said, “My receipt was really long,” you’re like, “Yeah, okay.” But the visual’s what makes it.

So, that’s one of the great things about modern social media is that it actually gives even more amplification to some talk triggers when you can prove it with a picture. Steak knife menu, same way, right? You see these pictures of people with the 11 steak knives lined up in front of them. That’s a really cool picture. You get it when you see the picture even better than you did when I told you the story.

Zev Gotkin:

That makes perfect sense, and that’s really interesting how they’re taking into account that, yes, we do live in a world now where people are putting things online and seeing is believing. I have a couple more questions. One would be … Obviously, if people really want to apply this and truly get the full understanding of talk triggers, they should definitely get the book.

But maybe we should break down … You’re talking about scale-ably, repeatably generating word of mouth. You’re approaching it in a very systematic way. It’s not some high level concept. Maybe you could break down what the criteria is that would classify something as a talk trigger.

Jay Baer:

Yeah, thanks. Because not everything you come up with will work as a talk trigger. Again, I want to reemphasize that this is something that you do in your business every day. This isn’t just a contest or a promotion or “Hey, we’re going to rent an elephant for a week and walk it down Main Street,” or whatever. Right? This isn’t a stunt. The reason I don’t like that kind of marketing, this idea of going viral, is that it’s a lottery ticket. It might work. It might not work. You don’t know necessarily whether it’s going to work or not. It’s hope masquerading as strategy, and I don’t do that. I’ve been a strategist for 30 years. I work on things that I know are going to work, and a talk trigger will work if you keep at it day after day.

So, there are four things that must be true for your differentiator to be a talk trigger. First, it has to be remarkable, meaning that it’s worthy or remark or it’s a conversation worth telling. It has to be something that customers don’t expect. That’s the first thing.

Second thing, it needs to be repeatable, meaning that it’s not something that you do just once or every once in a while or only for new customers or only on your customer’s birthday or only for your best customers, because, remember, what you’re trying to do here is create conversations among as many customers as possible. Consequently, you want the talk trigger to be offered to or experienced by as many customers as possible. So, you don’t want to hold it back just for your platinum customers or whatever. You want everybody to have access to it. Everybody who gets a vasectomy from Dr. Snip gets a knife. It’s not just only if you’ve got really good insurance, or only if you’re paying cash. Everybody gets a knife.

Third thing it should be is reasonable. One of the things that we tend to do in marketing today is we think, “Well, geez, attention’s hard to come by, so the only way we’re going to get attention is if we make it really, really big. So, we’re going to shock and awe people into talking about us.” I call this the Publishers Clearing House effect. Publishers Clearing House would tell you that you can win $5 million or some large amount of money like that.

The problem is that it’s such a big number that nobody actually believes they’re going to win, and that’s why Publishers Clearing House had to spend millions of dollars on television showing actual winners to convince you that it’s not fake. That tells you all you need to know. They have to spend money to convince you that it’s not fake, because it’s too big. If Publishers Clearing House said, “You win, I don’t know, a thousand dollars,” they never would have had to spend any money on television to convince you it wasn’t fake. We think that when we do something really big, customers will talk about it, but actually what we discover it’s the opposite. When it’s too big, it creates suspicion. And suspicion stops the conversation.

Like, I’m not going to recommend something to you, Zev, if I think it might be fake, if I think there’s no way you’re going to win, if I think there’s a catch, if I think there’s some kind of terms and conditions. So, it doesn’t have to be big. Look, DoubleTree has built an entire hotel brand for 30 years based on a chocolate chip cookie. Is it a good cookie? Hell yeah. It’s an amazing cookie. But it’s just a cookie, man. You don’t win a car. It’s a chocolate chip cookie, okay? So, don’t overthink this. You’re not bribing people to talk about you. That’s not the game.

The fourth thing that your talk trigger must be is relevant. It has to tie together with who you are and what you do. This isn’t randomness. That’s why I say you don’t rent an elephant to be like, “Oh, an elephant,” because people are like, “Why do they have an elephant?” Unless you’re a circus, it doesn’t really make any sense. And I’ll tell you how this works in DoubleTree’s case. So, there’s I think 14 brands in the Hilton portfolio, something like that. You’ve got the Conrad at the high end. You’ve got the regular Hilton, DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, all that, right? Each of those brands have their own brand positioning, and that’s important because they don’t want to compete head-to-head for the same traveler as much as they can avoid it, because that’s a really inefficient use of corporate resources. So, they each their own brand position, and they try and stay in their lane.

DoubleTree’s brand positioning, according to their chief marketing officer who we interviewed for the book, is the warm welcome. The warm welcome. DoubleTree wants to be disproportionately good at that, whatever, seven or eight minutes between when you set foot in the hotel and when you set foot in your room. So, they put more time, money, effort on lobby design than most hotels at that price point and more time, money, effort in front desk clerk training than most hotels at that price point. And the chocolate chip cookie thing is a big part of that, because it’s not just a pile of cookies on a counter under glass, because that’s not an experience. It’s not talkable. Zev, I’ll bet you and everybody listening has been to a hotel in some point in your life that had a basket of very nice apples at the counter. Right. You ever seen that?

Zev Gotkin:

Yup.

Jay Baer:

Have you ever told a story to somebody about that?

Zev Gotkin:

Nope.

Nope, exactly. You have not.

If the cookies were just sitting there, nobody would remember it. Instead, DoubleTree has an oven baking cookies in every hotel. The front desk clerk turns, goes to the oven, grabs a fresh cookie, it’s hot, puts it in a paper sack, turns around and hands it to you. It’s a hand-to-hand pass. It’s a tactile delivery. It is a cookie ceremony. That’s what makes it talkable, right?

Zev Gotkin:

Yes.

Jay Baer:

A warm welcome is their brand positioning. Warm cookie is how they deliver that. So, that makes sense. The best talk triggers make sense in the context of who you are. The guy does vasectomies. He gives you a knife. If the guy did vasectomies and he gave you, I don’t know, cookies, it wouldn’t make any sense. You’d be like, “Okay. Thanks, I guess.”

So, those are the four things. It has to be remarkable, has to be repeatable, has to be reasonable, and has to be relevant, the Four Rs.

Zev Gotkin:

Right. Relevance. That’s very important, because actually it brings me into my final question, which was … Let’s say I owned a company. I’m a business owner. Maybe I just own a regular small company, not a big corporate entity. And I want to get more positive word of mouth. I need a talk trigger. Where would I start? Do I call a meeting with my staff and lock them in a conference until a talk trigger comes out? Or do I do some soul searching? Where would I … How would I make sure it’s not random and people see the connection between my business and my talk trigger?

Jay Baer:

Yep, we actually go through it in great detail in Talk Triggers, which you can get all the different ways that you can get books, audio book read by Daniel and myself, Kindle, hard copy. If you go to talktriggers.com, there’s tons of free resources there as well to help you on your talk triggers journey. The book goes into great detail on exactly how to do it, but locking yourself in a conference room is the worst way to do it, is to brainstorm it. If it was that easy, you’d already have one.

The key is to understand very clearly what your customers expect. The best way to do that is I actually talk to your customers and say, “Okay, when you come to the office, what do you expect? When I send you an invoice, what do you expect? When I send you a proposal, what do you expect? In all the different kind of key touchpoints, what do you expect and anticipate will happen?” Because, once you know what people expect, you by definition know what they do not expect, and the talk trigger has to live in the place where they don’t expect it.

If every vasectomy surgeon in the world, for reasons I couldn’t possibly articulate, but let’s just assume this is the case … If every vasectomy surgeon in the world always gave somebody a pocketknife on the way out the door, it wouldn’t be talkable because we would come to expect it. But nobody does. Therefore, when you got a knife from Dr. Snip, you’re like, “Wow. Cool knife.”

You think you know your customers, but you don’t. Trust me, I’ve been doing this a long time. Everybody thinks they know their customers well enough to just sit in a conference room and figure that out. Trust me when I tell you that you don’t. You just don’t. You’ve got to go out and talk to customers and say, “When we send you a proposal, what do you expect?” “Well, we expect that you’ll attach the proposal as a PDF to an email.” Makes sense. That’s what everybody does. Okay.

If I know that you expect me to send you a proposal as a PDF attached to an email, what if instead I printed out the proposal, and I put the proposal in a plastic sleeve of some sort? And then I went to one of those custom bakeries, and I got a sheet cake, and I designed the frosting on the cover of the sheet cake, the top of the sheet cake, to look like the cover of the proposal. But then I put the proposal itself in a plastic sleeve underneath the cake and delivered it to the prospect’s office so that, in order to actually access the proposal, your prospective customer had to eat an entire sheet cake. Would that create a story? Yes, it would. Yes, it would.

Zev Gotkin:

For sure. That’s really awesome. The importance of creating word of mouth cannot be understated. I really recommend anyone out there to get this book, Talk Triggers: A Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth. Jay Baer and his co-author Daniel Lemin really have a lot of awesome stuff to share. You’ll love the examples. You’ll also have a clear roadmap.

But the most important thing other than just reading the book or listening to this interview is actually putting it into practice. It really will only provide as much value as you put in. I think that, if people read it and they put it down, they say, “That’s very inspiring and interesting,” and go on with their day, it’s not going to help very much. But if people take these concepts that you’re talking about and really work to apply it and find a way that they can apply it to their business, they’re going to see a lot of positive results.

So, thank you so much for being here with us today, Jay, and sharing these insights. Really appreciate it.

Jay Baer:

My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.

Advertisements

How Do You Do Social Media Marketing for a Boring Business?

What do you do when your business or your client doesn’t have a “story” or anything interesting to share on their blog or social media?

“We sell garbage bags. What are we supposed to talk about?” “Nothing exciting happens here.”

Sure, you understand that stories sell. But, how do you story-tell when you’re in a “boring” business? How do you turn people on when your business isn’t sexy? 💋

My advice:

Go beyond WHAT you do when creating content on social. When coming up with content to share on social media, dig deeper into your WHY — the reason you exist, the problems you solve, and the role you fulfill in the lives of others. 🤔

And, then expand beyond what it is you do for a living. Because the truth is we’re all short on time and attention spans. Your target audience doesn’t want to hear only about you, your industry, or what you do.

They’re interested in themselves and the things they care about.

So, when crafting content, you don’t have to make it all about your business, product, or service.

In fact, you should focus primarily on what will educate, inspire, or entertain the audience. That will give you the attention equity you need before you can ever hope to generate a lead or make a sale. 🌈

It can be as simple as sharing an article about something relevant to your audience and featuring your take on it in the caption.

It might be simple tips, pieces of advice, or short funny clips that relate to your audience’s pain points. 🎥

Your blog, social pages, vlog, or podcast can be the trade journal, TV show, or radio show of your industry. 📺

Regarding the example above, you can feature content that highlights neighborhood heroes who are cleaning up their communities.

Think outside the box and have some fun with it! 😀