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There are many ways to spread the word about your products or services, but nothing beats word of mouth referrals.

We place a lot of weight on the recommendation of a trusted friend. When someone we know suggests something to us, we listen.

We’ve all had that experience where we were pressured to share something or “tell a friend” or “leave a review” and it felt pushy—or spammy even.

There’s a reason for that and we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Asking for a referral is still one of the most effective ways to get one, but the timing of that ask is crucial.

You’ll learn how to setup the ask ahead of time to increase the likelihood of getting the recommendation.

We talk about ways to get your past customers and clients to refer you, as well as how to get in the forefront of people’s mind so you’re who they automatically recommend.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins:
  • If the customer feels awkward when you ask them to refer others, then the timing is wrong.
  • Wait until the opportune moment to ask for a review (Hint: right after you’ve offered value of some kind)
  • Some people need a nudge to share a referral, while other people are natural sharers.
  • Give first, then ask.
  • Find the point where the user feels the most satisfied with your work, then ask for a referral.
  • Staying top of mind through content marketing is a good way to keep your name on the tip of people’s tongue.
  • If you want people to refer you, then be remarkable.
  • Highlighting customers gives people insight into the impact your work has had in a real business.
  • People don’t care about the work, they care if you’re an awesome person.
  • Make it easy for people to mentally package up what you do by curating what you share.
Show Notes
  • 03:06 Sean: I first want to define what I mean by word of mouth referrals because a lot of people might be thinking it has to be an in-person transaction. It could be face-to-face, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be online, publicly or privately, as well. Sending a text, making a phone call, tagging someone, or sending a direct message are all forms of word of mouth.
  • 04:17 Ben: A good example of this I see a lot on Instagram is when people leave comments without saying anything about the picture and tagging the person’s name who they want to show the picture to.
  • 04:34 Sean: It’s not a personalized recommendation, but it’s still an endorsement. If your friend says to check something out, then you’ll check it out. That’s different from some service featuring a profile or seeing an ad. You trust the friend. People buy from who they trust and they follow based on recommendations from people they trust.

How Can I Encourage Referrals Without Spamming?

  • 05:07 Ryan asks, “What is the next best thing you can do to encourage word of mouth referrals after you’ve already provided the best possible experience to your client and you know they are very pleased? Or should you rely solely on building those strong experiences and relationships with them and hope for the best? I know when I have a fantastic experience I can’t help but tell people, and I personally don’t like to be bothered with ‘Tell all your friends and family about us!'” I agree, no one likes to feel spammed. If you just had an amazing experience, you’re going to be more than happy to tell people what a great experience it was.

If the customer feels awkward when you ask them to refer others, then the timing is wrong.

  • 06:09 We’re going to be talking about the importance of getting your timing right. As a business owner, I know I don’t want you to think of me as spammy. A lot of it is facilitating a relationship and fostering a great experience, but Ryan is asking as if we’ve already done that part.
  • 06:40 Ben: I wonder if the Rule of Reciprocity comes into play here. Hopefully you’ve gone beyond what the customer or client is expecting and that’s one way for them to feel excited about your product, but does that make you even? They’ve paid you and you’ve delivered on the product or service. Now, in their mind, does that make you even, or have you gone as far beyond the value of what they paid for that you have some room to ask that favor?
  • 07:44 Sean: The example I like to think of is: say you download to app and you just start getting to use it when there’s a popup asking you to rate it. That can make you angry! It interrupts your user experience. If you’re smart, you’ll wait until the opportune moment to ask for a review. If it’s a media sharing app where you can subscribe to your friend’s feeds and like their posts, as soon as you like something the review box will popup—Vine is an example of an app that does this. They know you had a mini-positive experience and you’re more likely to continue with that momentum. You had a positive experience with their app and now they’re going to ask you for a review.
  • 09:11 That’s smart, but what’s even smarter is what 1Password does. 1Password is an iOS app that stores all of your passwords and it integrates with touch ID on your phone. In their app update notes, they say, “We care too much about your workflow and experience that we’re never going to interrupt you to ask for a review, so if you’re enjoying this it’s always helpful to us if you leave a review.” I have such a higher perception of them as a company because of that. I’m sure they’re not going to get as many review, but the reviews they do get are going to be higher quality.

The authenticity of a review that’s not solicited is greater than the one you had to go after.

  • 11:11 Sean: Brookes was saying earlier, “I like referring people, but only if I haven’t been asked to. It’s the opposite effect if you ask.” Some people think, “If you ask me then I’m automatically turned off,” but that’s not necessarily true. You do need to ask. Even 1Password solicited a review, it was just in a tasteful way that didn’t interrupt your experience. If you’re feeling like you don’t want to leave a review if someone says to tell friends and family, it’s because of a lot of factors but the biggest of which is the timing.
  • 11:55 Ben: Are there people who would be interested in leaving a review, but they don’t think to do? It’s not that it’s not important to them, it’s just not part of their habit.
  • 12:15 Sean: Jeff Sheldon, owner of Ugmonk, was saying that some people need a nudge to share, while other people are natural sharers. I think that’s a personality thing.

1. Actually Ask for A Referral

  • 12:37 Ask and you shall receive. You have not because you ask not. I think asking is important.
  • 12:49 Ben: I’m not a natural sharer, but I also feel self-conscious about that because it might seem like I’m self-involved. It’s not that I’m not appreciating the things I’m using, it’s just because of the way I focus and the habits I have, I don’t naturally take the time to share something I’ve gotten value out of unless I’m given that nudge. For that reason, I appreciate the nudge. It’s like my mom always telling me to call my Nana, who I’m hesitant to call because she talks a lot. I appreciate that my mom mentioned it to me because one of these days I’m going to have time to do it.
  • 14:30 Sean: A benefit of asking for a referral that isn’t apparent is that you’re planting a seed. Maybe you don’t get the referral the first or second time you ask because it’s not the right time for them to share. If I keep dropping my phone and I know I need to look into a case, and I see that you have a case, I might ask, “Do you like that case? Would you recommend it?” At that moment, you’re triggered by the seeds they’ve been planting. If you’ve been enjoying the case, you may or may not recommend it, but them asking you to recommend it might be what puts you over the edge. If you’re in the position of trying to get more referrals, it feels awkward and you don’t want to ask, but it’s like selling in that you have to get over the awkwardness of it or you’re not going to make money (Related: e124 How to Market Your Products or Services Without Feeling Awkward).
  • 16:17 Ben: There’s so many people doing it wrong when it comes to selling by spamming or shoving it down people’s throats. With asking for referrals, there are so many people doing it wrong as well with immediate popups and stuff. If you put a little bit of creative thought into doing that in a tasteful way, you’re already ahead of the game. If you feel hesitant about asking because of the yuckiness you feel based on other experiences, give yourself some credit. If you’re doing it creatively, you’re probably doing it much better than you realize.
  • 17:09 Sean: It doesn’t have to be awkward. People are used it and they likely heard of you because of a referral. That’s not their priority so it doesn’t hurt to remind people—it’s all about the timing.
  • 17:32 Ben: If you feel awkward, especially in a face-to-face interaction or over the phone, that’s going to translate and the customer or client is going to feel awkward with you. When you see someone feeling awkward, you have a natural tendency to empathize with that so you feel awkward for them. When you see someone being confident, you naturally feel confident.

2. Time Your Ask Just Right

  • 19:54 Sean: This is where the Rule of Reciprocity comes in: give first, then ask.

Find the point where the user feels the most satisfied with your work, then ask for a referral.

  • 20:20 The popup on an app before you even have a chance to use it, much less have a good experience, is going to feel wrong. You’re fighting against the Rule of Reciprocity when the person hasn’t received value. They’re not in a place to give back. You want to identify places in the process with clients or customers where the user has various highs and lows of feeling excitement, gratitude, etc. In the case of a client project, you charge them up front, then start the work, then you invoice them at the end. They need to pay you before you send the deliverables.
  • 21:48 That’s just good business, but it gives you the opportunity of having the last action when you say, “Here are the deliverables.” Now, they’re feeling that high—the project is complete and they feel like they hired the right person. This is a great moment to ask them for a referral, but don’t get upset if they don’t tweet it right then. Asking for referrals is important because the ask is the seed. Planting that seed at the right time is what’s going to result in growth later, when it matters.
  • 22:45 Ben: Let’s say it was a website design and you added a functionality that would make them more profitable, what if you had a followup contact point after they’ve been using it where you ask them how things are going. You give them an opportunity to say, “Since we’ve launched the new website, our sales have tripled,” and you can come back with, “Would you mind sharing a testimonial?” Does a testimonial on a website count as word of mouth?
  • 23:45 Sean: It’s not as direct, but it’s still relevant. I wouldn’t call it word of mouth but it’s related. What you’re saying is a great idea. Identify those places where they feel like they’ve received a lot of value, but even seek them out. Follow up to see how the work did and when they tell you, there’s a great opportunity. It’s going to be different for everyone based on their process, but maybe you’ve given someone something of value, like a blog post, and you ask for an email signup. That’s why they sign up but when they sign up, you promise them something of value. They’ve confirmed their subscription, you’ve given them something valuable, and now you have another opportunity to ask—“I just gave you this valuable thing, if you enjoyed it, share it with a friend.” It’s a back-and-forth game of reciprocity.
  • 25:09 Ben: I like that mentality of staying ahead of the giving game, because it may feel like you’re providing more value than what you’re receiving in terms of income, but it’s very valuable if you’re getting word of mouth referrals. Chances are you’re not going to be able to out-give everyone who’s pouring value into you and you don’t want it to be that way. You’re one person who’s capable of providing only so much value, but if your mentality is to out-give, you’ll find that it comes back to you more than enough to cover what you need. It’s going to help you grow in your ability to provide more value. It’s Scarcity Mindset if you’re thinking, “How much can I keep for myself here?” Instead think, “How much can I out-give this person?”

3. Surprise and Delight

  • 26:31 Sean: You can’t surprise and delight if you’re being stingy or thinking about cutting corners. How can you surprise and delight if you’re not thinking in this above-and-beyond mentality or giving and providing value? Brookes asks, “What things cause people to talk about you later the most? What makes the best impression?” What can you do to deliver something a little extra? A lot of people with t-shirt businesses are including stickers or buttons and that’s good, but what else can you do? What else can you provide on top of that? We’re talking about eating into your margins here, but how long-term are you thinking? Maybe this first product isn’t about making money, it’s about an experience.

What are some things you’ve referred to someone else, and what was it about that thing that made you refer it?

  • 27:49 What kind of things do you refer to other people and why? Think about the things you’d tell someone else about. Maybe I’m not consciously thinking about the packaging Apple uses being amazing, but it’s an experience. You can feel that they didn’t cut any corners. In a lot of cases that’s invisible. We don’t think about those things because it wasn’t negative, it was smooth and frictionless. Something about that smooth, frictionless experience transcends everything they do—software, devices, interfaces, etc. After running a computer repair business and living in the PC world, I got the iPhone and eventually I tried a Mac computer and haven’t looked back. It’s all these little experiences added up that has resulted in me spending five figures on Apple devices.
  • 29:59 Ben: When you create and deliver on something—whether it’s to a client or shipped out to a customer—do you ever go back and try to experience it from the perspective of the person receiving it? For example, if I write a song, record it, and send it to another person, sometimes after I click the send button, I’ll listen to it again and pretend I’m that person. Because I’m so familiar with it, it feels weird as to listen to it as if I have fresh ears, but there’s something I like about imagining the other person’s experience. If you can tap into that energy it can be powerful for the way you view your customer or client’s experience with whatever you’re delivering to them.
  • 31:13 Sean: With Learn Lettering, the year that’s passed between launching the first version and now launching the second version has resulted in me no longer memorizing every single word I said, which allows me to experience it like a first-time person would. It allows me to much more effectively get inside their mindset. You’re not able to get inside that mindset until you have the space and time away from it. If you’ve hired someone else to do your product shipping and fulfillment for you, mail yourself a package at your parents house when you go visit for the holidays. Maybe it’s been a year since you opened your own package. What is that experience like for you? Get back in that mindset. What makes this experience you’re creating for people so great?

Why should your client or customer refer you, your business, or your product over someone else?

4. Stay Top of Mind

  • 32:52 This is where content marketing—providing relevant information—comes in. They bought from you, now what? When are you following up? You have to stay top of mind for people. Why do you refer other people to this podcast? Maybe it’s helpful and relevant, but it’s probably because I’m here twice a week—I’m staying top of mind. It’s not that you don’t hear other people talk about business, it’s that you heard me talk about it most recently. You’ve got to be that for you customers.
  • 33:31 Get creative by putting something in the mail or sending an email newsletter. What if you reached out and said, “Hey, I’m putting together something specifically for you to make sure you’re keeping these important things in mind as you go forward in your business, taking this logo I’ve decided along with you. Can I follow up with you again?” That will help them keep those things in mind so they can get the most out of your service.
  • 34:24 Ben: What’s easier, getting more business from a client you’ve already done great work for, or getting business from a client who’s never worked with you before? Getting a customer that’s already purchased something from you to purchase another thing, or getting a first-time customer to purchase from you? A lot times, we don’t think in terms of having an ongoing relationship. The way you ensure that is continuing to provide value beyond what they’ve already received from you.
  • 35:05 Sean: You get to occupy prime real estate in their mind when you do that, which also means you’ll be at the tip of their tongue when they have someone to refer. I hear something from someone showing up prolifically so much that sometimes it just falls out of my mouth without consciously thinking it. Who else was I going to think about but the person who’s showing up every week providing value? When we need examples, we so often talk about Gary Vaynerchuck and Casey Neistat, why? Because they have daily shows! It’s harder to think about people that aren’t in the forefront of your mind, so use that to your advantage.

5. Give A Gift

  • 36:18 Find excuses to give a gift to your loyal customers on a random occasion, it doesn’t have to be a holiday. It doesn’t have to be a basket of fruit, it could be a list of the top things that relate to the person’s industry.

Come up with something valuable for your client and give it away to them.

  • 36:54 We’re kickstarting the Relationship Marketing positive feedback loop here. If you haven’t heard from them in a long time, put in some tokens and get it going.
  • 37:11 Ben: Bonus: content you’ve crafted specifically for that client probably relates to other clients you’ll work with in the future or can be repurposed for other things. It’s not like you’re spending all these tokens and you’re not going to use them again somewhere else. They’re almost doing you a favor because you have this opportunity to meet a need a client has with some value you can provide and you can use in the future to attract new clients or customers. If you provide that and for some reason they don’t feel the need to reciprocate that, you still have this valuable content you can use going forward.
  • 38:05 Sean: I remember this guy that reached out to me with an 11 minute long video recorded specifically for me on ways to improve the conversion optimization on my site. He has consulting services to sell and I didn’t end up hiring him yet, but he did this once and he’s still in my mind. If people did this every month, you couldn’t ignore it. He reached out and gave me personalized value.
  • 38:54 If you’ve been creating content, you’ve got a bunch of stuff that can be repurposed for your clients. Give them value, establish your authority, and even thank them for their loyalty. You’ve created an excuse to follow up with them by giving them a gift and then it’s a prime time to ask for a referral. Imagine giving feedback on something and saying, “If you ever need any work done in the future or if you know someone who does, feel free to pass along my name.”
  • 40:31 Ben: Maybe the owner of the business decided to do something in-house, I worry that providing that kind of feedback won’t be received as useful information and that it might be offensive, especially if it’s something they’re particularly proud of.
  • 41:12 Sean: In this case, you’re following up with a previous client who, in theory, hired you for your expertise. If they’re getting offended by you offering free, professional, objective advice on something that could improve their conversions, then they’re not a client you would want again anyway.
  • 41:55 Ben: It’s easy to look at something and say, “I would have done this differently,” but it’s more difficult to answer the question of why. What will result from that change? Instead of saying, “You need to make this change,” say, “You could potentially get more viewers or a better conversion rate by adjusting this little thing.” It makes the focus on the result and not on the change itself.
  • 42:23 Sean: You could reach out by writing an article or creating a free project for them, it doesn’t have to be critiquing something they’ve already done—just give them some form of a gift.

6. Incentivize and Reward Referrals

  • 42:54 Emily says, “People are lazy. Are incentives or bonuses a good idea to encourage word of mouth? We all know discounts are a bad idea.” This isn’t something you have to do but it’s an idea. You could offer a 5% to 10% cut of business that someone refers. Like Emily eluded to, you don’t want to discount. Don’t say, “If you refer, I’ll give you 50% off your next job,” because that’s devaluing your services. You want to pay them direct cash and by doing that you’re saying, “I’m acknowledging that what you did was helpful to me. I’m rewarding your support and loyalty to my business. This person came along and hired me, I charged them this rate, and I want to give you a cut of that for passing along the word.” It’s not devaluing your future services.
  • 44:02 Ben: Reflected in your price should be some percentage dedicated to the work it takes to get or maintain a client. A lot of times you’re doing that work, but if you already have a percentage earmarked, it’s good to keep it in mind for when or if someone refers business to you because it doesn’t feel like you have to mark up. You’ve already got it accounted for in your price, so it’s a matter of, “I didn’t have to do the work necessary to get this client and that’s worth something to me.”

7. Highlight Your Customers

  • 45:03 Sean: Make an excuse to put your customers in the spot like and make them look good. Hire a video crew to interview them and talk about what they do, because the whole game here is staying top of mind. Are you the person that creates an amazing experience? Are you remarkable? Are you over-delivering? Are you surprising and delighting? Are you following up? Are you caring about their success? Are you giving them gifts? Are you staying top of mind? Are you giving them relevant, engaging content? You can take any of these, but if you were doing all seven of them and highlighting them on your site, how can they ignore you? You’re the go-to guy for them. Not only are you going to be the first person they come back to for the next job, but they’re going to tell everyone about you.
  • 46:23 Ben: Is there a way to highlight them or talk about what they do, having not used their services, without coming across insincere?
  • 46:38 Sean: You mean if you made a logo for this company that creates a software product you don’t use, you’re concerned it might seem like you’re endorsing it?
  • 46:50 Ben: What’s the difference between endorsing their product or service and highlighting them as a customer?
  • 46:59 Sean: When I say “highlighting,” I’m thinking of telling their story and you want to position yourself as an expert and show the results of what you did, but also tell their story and highlight what they do.

Highlighting customers gives people insight into the impact your work has had in a real business.

  • 47:26 If you don’t have the story element, it’s not going to stick with people. Tell their story, but I’m not sure what to tell you about how to make it not come across like you’re endorsing it.
  • 47:44 Ben: When you talk about that, I think about case studies. Case studies can be strictly listing what the customer needed and what you did. I love going the storytelling route because it demonstrates to the people who might be interested in the services I provide that I’m not just about providing a service and moving on. I’m about what makes this business tick and why they care about what they do, so that I can care about their goals and what they want to accomplish through the service I provide. If you can demonstrate that in a case study, it’s a form of highlighting the customer, but it’s also talking about your own process and how you arrived at the solution you provided.
  • 48:41 Sean: It’s being objective, not saying things like, “They make this great service I love.” You don’t have to say that.

Should I Give Guidelines for Testimonials?

  • 48:54 Sarah asks, “When you request a testimonial from a former client, should you give him guidelines or should he be left free to write what he wants? What’s an ideal word of mouth referral? What’s in it?” I like to use this trick: I say, “Typically, my other clients will write two to three paragraphs, but feel free to write whatever you like and however long!” This way, you give them freedom, but most people will conform to the norm so you can expect them to provide two to three paragraphs. They’re business people and they don’t have time to think about your formulas and restrictions. If it’s not a restriction and more of a guideline, they naturally adhere to it.
  • 50:09 I do like the idea of giving guidelines, not just for how long it is, but for the kinds of things you’re hoping to see in the testimonial. I wouldn’t be afraid to load your testimonial ask with lots of questions. They’re not going to mind this because it’s easier to answer questions than it is to come up with content on the spot. If you’re looking for a testimonial, I’ve got some ideas of things you can ask about a product, but can be adapted for anything:
    • What do you feel this product helped you achieve?
    • Do you think since getting this product you’ve saved any time?
    • Did the time saved feel like a good value? Why?
    • Why were you hesitant about purchasing this product?
    • Once you overcame that hesitation, what was it like?
    • What could you say to the earlier version of yourself that was on the fence?
    • Why would you recommend product to a friend?
  • 51:34 You’ll notice that companies like to do surveys with questions like, “On a scale of one to ten, would you recommend this to a friend?” It’s not so much about the survey, they do these surveys so you’ll say, “Yes, I’ll recommend you.” It puts them at the front of your mind. I really like the question, “Why were you hesitant about purchasing this product?” With the client example: why you were hesitant to hire me initially? What helped you overcome that? Now that you’ve seen the results, what would you say to yourself back then to help you make that decision? That’s gold! If you put that on your page, your new perspective clients are going to feel like you’re reading their minds. They’re going to have the same struggles to overcome and you’re going to be speaking directly to them.
  • 53:02 Ben: Would you include examples of other testimonials people have left as part of the guidelines? I really like leaning more heavily on the questions.
  • 53:15 Sean: I’d lean more heavily on the questions because people like to conform to the norm, which means they’ll write the testimonial they see in that golden verbage they use.

How Can I Leave a Great Impression Over Email?

  • 56:09 Kyle says, “I’m guessing one of the ways to leave a great impression is to have a great presentation of the final deliverables. What if you cannot give a presentation of the final product in person – how do you still leave a great impression over email?” Create your own page for the presentation and craft the experience. Don’t just send the files over email—that’s what everyone else does. Go the extra mile and do something different. Produce a professional video for the presentation. You could even record an audio narration for the video so that it’s not only behind-the-scenes of the design process, but it’s your voice in there too. Do something cool to stand out instead of just sending an email with a PDF.

If you want people to refer you, then be different from everyone else.

  • 57:15 Ben: Bonus: you’ve got all the content you need to put together a case study for that specific project you can share publicly.

Can I Ask for an Introduction to a Client’s Associates?

  • 57:27 Sean: Randi asks, “Is it bad to ask a client for an introduction to a particular person or company that they are associated with? For example, a friend that you know they are connected to on LinkedIn or a customer of theirs?” Typically, yeah, that’s pretty tacky. When you listen to people who have a ton of influence who talk about these kinds of encounters, they strongly dislike them.
  • 57:55 You’re asking them to use their personal line—and reputation—to reach out to someone on your behalf. They’re having to vouch for you and that means they’re on the line if anything goes bad. I would much more strongly recommend that if you want that, target the person you do have a relationship with and overwhelm them with value, so you’re at the top of mind. When a conversation comes up organically, they’ll recommend you to this other person.

How Can I Turn a Negative Reference Into a Positive One?

  • 59:45 Charla asks, “What do you do about those clients you maybe shouldn’t have taken on, for those of us who are still working on that; should we discourage them from telling people about us, or how can we make sure the people they may bring our way are actually the right clients?” Terence follows up with something similar, “If something was wrong with the experience I provided, what’s the best way to get constructive feedback to improve my process for future clients and turn a potentially negative reference into a positive one?”
  • 1:00:14 The good news is you don’t need to worry about the negative reference. If you sucked, they’ve already stopped thinking about you. Unless you did something super terrible, they don’t care about you. Your problem is getting the happy customers and clients to spread the word about you. The people have already forgotten because you’ve ruined it and don’t have a chance anymore.

How Can I Make People Care About Sharing My Name?

  • 1:01:48 Brookes asks, “How can you package your work so that a customer is motivated to share that YOU made this work?” Ultimately, they don’t care that you made it. They don’t care you made it as much as they care that this thing you made is what they want and solves their problem. You don’t want to make them care that you made the work, make them care about you. It’s a personal relationship. Were you, as a person, pleasant? Your goal is for other people to know you made this, but why? So they’ll contact you and have you make things for them. Really, you want them to contact you and have you make things for them, but that doesn’t have to go through the route of them knowing you made something. They need to know you’re an awesome person because your previous client is going to tell them you’re an awesome person. How do you get them to think you’re an awesome person? It’s not about the work, but I know you want it to be about the work. You can’t remove yourself. You’re an integral part of this process.
  • 1:03:21 Ben: I’ve got a personal example of this. When we switched to a new insurance company, for some reason our previous pediatrician didn’t accept it so we had to go with another. We loved the bedside manner of our previous pediatrician—he was funny and encouraging. We’d come to trust and love him. The new pediatrician wasn’t nearly as charming or funny and he’s very straightforward. As far as care is concerned, they may be equally competent, but because the bedside manner and relationship isn’t there, I wanted to go running back to the other guy.

People don’t care about the work, they care if you’re an awesome person.

  • 1:04:48 I’m talking about your inflection, tone of voice, how quickly you respond, how helpful you are, and how friendly or cheerful you are—this is what people will remember. We’re emotional beings. Do good work, but don’t lose site of the fact you, as a person, are in this picture. They’re looking to you like a kid looks to their parent for a cue on how to feel. Are you excited and engaging? Do you personify someone that this client or customer wants to recommend? You have to go off the type of client you want to reach. Maybe that person is a corporate business person and it’s a matter of if you’re on time, professional, reliable, and trustworthy. It’s not just about being excited in that situation.
  • 1:06:27 Ben: You match the tone based on who you’re talking to.

How Do I Encourage Actively Talking About My Work?

  • 1:06:32 Daniel asks, “People seem less active about literal word of mouth these days, with a shift in just sharing everything on social media. How valuable has literal word of mouth been to your business and how do you encourage people to actively talk about your work rather than just hit the share button?” There’s a lot of stuff going on in terms of social media sharing, but you’d be surprised at what’s happening under the surface and not just in person. These type of word of mouth interactions are happening online, not just in the public sphere, via text, messages, tags, etc. Word of mouth is a broader definition, not just where you can smell their breath as they give their referral. In person is really important.
  • 1:08:35 I’ve actually tried to leverage this and think it’s working. The seanwes podcast benefits tremendously from word of mouth referrals in that broad definition and often times in person. If you look at the podcast artwork, there’s no title, tagline, or bar graphs. Even the title itself, seanwes podcast, isn’t keyword rich and super specific for business or marketing, but that’s by design. I want the type of people here that come from word of mouth referrals, not the people that search “entrepreneur” in iTunes.

Start with word of mouth because it builds this base of people who get what you’re about.

  • 1:09:55 It’s so much deeper, like 1Password not giving you the popup on the app. They may not have hundreds of thousands of reviews, but their user base is so hardcore that I’m mentioning them on my podcast and everyone who uses it freely recommends it to their friends. That’s not a number you can track, but you can compare the number of five star reviews this podcast has vs. other podcasts and you can tell from their customer base how they’re coming in, from word of mouth referrals or not.
  • 1:10:43 Ben: For In the Boat With Ben, the better kind of listener is one that didn’t arrive by accident. Even the title doesn’t necessary hint at the fact it’s a podcast about family balance, but the people in the Community and who already have a relationship with me are on board. As that’s shared from the group of people who already get it, it’s breeding more of the same. You want the people who already get it. Even if your seanwes podcast artwork doesn’t speak to the fact it’s about business and creativity, it has a huge impact on the type and quality of the listener you get.

Should I Tell People to Share or Let My Content Speak for Itself?

  • 1:12:37 Daniela asks, “Are the ‘remember to comment, share and tell your friends’ taglines necessary? Do people need these obvious reminders or should you allow your content and service to speak for itself?” People will be more likely to share if you remind them. If you have the share buttons and you’re telling them to tweet it, more people will do it, but:

I’d rather have a higher quality of share than a higher quantity.

  • 1:13:26 The vast majority of people who use click-to-share buttons don’t customize anything. I’m probably over-generalizing here, but it strikes me as the type of person who would have a noisy feed. That default text recommendation isn’t going to carry a lot of weight. Compare that to the person who takes the time to copy the URL when there’s no share button, write a personal recommendation, and tweet it out. They’re sharing their thoughts about what resonated with them and that’s what we’re all about! We’re trying to read peoples’ minds. We’re always trying to orchestrate the titles of these episodes with what people are looking for. Think about the effectiveness of that tweet in their own language, instead of the default text I gave them.
  • 1:14:31 Ben: Their friends are hearing what you said in the voice of someone they trust and that’s really powerful.


Make it easy for people to mentally package up what you do by curating what you share.

  • 1:14:45 Sean: What is your focus? What’s unique about your service? What will your product do for me? I have these little taglines I drop every once in awhile and I see them getting reused by people, which is awesome. This show is about making a living with your passion. That’s not in the title or artwork, it’s something we say. It’s actually quite difficult to package up everything that we talk about on this show! It can feel overwhelming so I try to give people the words to explain it—“Insights on creativity and business every Wednesday and Friday.” I also recently changed my Twitter bio to: “Fiery inspiration on creativity and business.”
  • 1:17:14 Package up what you do, what’s unique about you, and feed it to people. With Lambo Goal, we don’t call it, “The Two Entrepreneurs Show.” We don’t care about keywords and bringing people in. We care about people who dream big and have big goals, so my tagline for that is: “Two entrepreneurs set an insane goal and they take you behind-the-scenes to share real numbers of what it takes to build a thriving business.” I say things like, “There’s me, the online world, and Matt, the master of offline marketing, coming together with different perspectives.” I package it up for people so they have the words to share it and I see tweets with those words in them.
  • 1:18:30 Ben: You can go micro with the episodes and not just the podcast to. You can package up the gist of everything you’re saying about a specific topic in a bite size takeaway. You also have these bite size phrases that really sum up things like the Overlap Technique and the One Concept Approach. It provides language for people who want to talk about it with others.