The Power of Word-of-Mouth

A few years back, I was lounging around the pool with some ladies from my neighborhood. One of the ladies suggested that we all go to Rita’s. I knew Rita’s was a new establishment about two miles down the street because I had seen the sign. However, I had not paid much attention to it, so I did not know what Ritas’ sold. Upon inquiring, the ladies all began to gush about the Italian Ice Rita’s serves, convincing me that I had to give it a try.


I tried Ritas because of the recommendation from these ladies I knew. Word-of-Mouth is ten times more powerful than advertising. Here is why.

1. It is more persuasive.

It boils down to trust. Which do you trust more: an advertisement or someone you know who has tried the product or read the book? You trust your friend, co-worker, or neighbor more. We know that advertisements are trying to sell us something. People we know are simply making recommendations based on something they liked or that worked for them. Hence we are far more likely to believe people we know and act upon their recommendation.

2. It is more targeted.

Identifying and reaching your target audience—those people who are most likely to read your book and benefit from it—is the goal of any good marketing campaign. Advertisements will reach your target audience, but they will also reach a lot of people who are not. Word-of-mouth is highly targeted. When I like something, I usually don’t go and tell everyone I know about the product, restaurant, or book. I tell the people I know who would be most interested in what I have discovered. For example, I have a friend who only eats American food. If I try a fantastic new Indian restaurant, I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant to her since she is not interested in Indian food.

Jonah Berger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, is a marketing professor. He says that publishers frequently send him a review copy of a new marketing book they have published. The publishers do this hoping that he will read the book and decide to assign it to his students, hence bringing in multiple sales.

Jonah tells the story of one smart publisher. Instead of sending him one copy of the book, this publisher sent him two. The publisher included a note telling him that the second book was given to him so that he could pass it on to a colleague who might be interested in reading it.

What a brilliant strategy. By sending two copies and encouraging Jonah to give the second one to someone who might be interested in the book, the publisher was getting Jonah to provide word-of-mouth recommendation, even before he read the book and made a judgment on it.

If you want to increase word-of-mouth for your book, you could try this strategy. Give two review copies to someone in your target audience—a pastor, teacher, nurse, etc.—and suggest they give the second one to a colleague who might be interested in the subject. Exposure coupled with word-of-mouth is powerful.

Related Posts:
The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing
Micro-Target to Get Results
A Growing Influence

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The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing

People love to talk about what is important to them. Spend a few minutes asking someone a few questions, and you will soon learn what is important to that person.

Most individuals are natural sales people when it comes to things they like. Your friends will sell you on a new toothpaste they have discovered, a restaurant they love, or a great book they recently read.

I, for one, am extremely grateful for my friends’ recommendations. I have discovered a number of restaurants, products, movies, and books from listening to my friends rave about something new they have discovered.

Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. Unfortunately, publishers and authors have no control over this valuable marketing venue.

However, if you write or publish books that address a need in people’s lives, word of mouth promotion will come from the people who have been touched by your book. And social media is a powerful vehicle for these word of mouth recommendations.

Recently, one reader who stopped by the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award’s website to vote for the 2011 Book of the Year left the following comment:

“Too bad Multnomah isn’t a small publisher, because Radical by David Platt was the best book I’ve read since Crazy Love.”

That’s a reader who is passionate about a book he recently read. He just could not keep quiet about it. Even knowing that Multnomah is not a small publisher, so the book could not be included in the award, he felt compelled to let us know what the best book he recently read was.

I don’t know this individual. This individual does not know me. However, he took the time to use social media tools to leave a comment on the website to promote a book that has touched his life.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media and word of mouth. People whose lives are touched by the books you write and publish will let others know.

Remember, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 NIV

How about you? Are you spreading the word about books that have touched your life on social media? Talking about Christian books that touch our lives helps share the word of God so people can have faith?