You've successfully subscribed to Above the Fold by Writing Inbound
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Above the Fold by Writing Inbound
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.
Is it contagious?

Is it contagious?

Mike Doane

4 tips from Jonah Berger on how to stand out and create word of mouth marketing that spreads like wildflowers.

Word of mouth is much more effective than advertising β€” here's how to use it to reach more customers.

Word of mouth is a primary decision in 20%-50% of all purchases.

This is the number one insight from Jonah Berger's 2016 book, Contagious.

With the onslaught of ads on social media, TV, and just about everywhere you go, people are tuning out. When they're looking for new products, they turn to a source they trust. Friends, colleagues, and families.

So why is word of mouth so effective and how can we manufacture it? Here's what Berger has to say.

Why word of mouth works

Get two people talking about a product and you'll have a conversation full of emotion.

Word of mouth is more effective than traditional advertising for two key reasons. First, it’s more persuasive. Second, word of mouth is more targeted. It is naturally directed towards an interested audience.

Jonah Berger
Contagious: Why Things Catch On

It's in that emotion that someone who loves or hates a product to convince the other party to form the same opinion.

Keeping your product top of mind

Your product comes up in conversation only when it's top of mind. How do you keep it top of mind? Tell a story.

People don't think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.

Jonah Berger
Contagious: Why Things Catch On

If your story is any good, it'll stick with your consumers and they'll want to shout it from the rooftops.

How to manufacture word of mouth

If only we had a magic wand that would remind people of our story...

Unfortunately that doesn't exist. But an understanding of psychology just might be the next best thing.

We need to design products and ideas that are frequently triggered by the environment and create new triggers by linking our products and ideas to prevalent cues in that environment. Top of mind leads to tip of tongue.

Jonah Berger
Contagious: Why Things Catch On

By connecting our product and its story to environmental cues, we can remind customers of our products without even being there.

Getting people to share your product

But reminding people isn't enough. We need to make it in their interest to share information about the product. That's how we create the ultimate ad.

To get people talking, companies and organizations need to mint social currency. Give people a way to make themselves look good while promoting their products and ideas along the way. There are three ways to do that: (1) find inner remarkability; (2) leverage game mechanics; and (3) make people feel like insiders.

Jonah Berger
Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Give people a story β€” and information β€” that will make them look and feel good. Reward them and improve their status through your product and you'll have something that catches on in no time.

β€” Mike Doane