Optimizing Your Website for Word of Mouth

Last Thursday, January 10, I heaped praise on the TOMS Shoes use of strategic cause-related marketing to improve the world, launch their business, and generate terrific word of mouth.

Their appeal is specific, easy to understand, and streamlined. For every pair of TOMS Shoes you buy, another pair is donated to a child who needs them.

I also greatly admired their “shoe drops,” whereby they invite customers to join them in places like South Africa and Argentina… at their own expense… to give away TOMS shoes to kids. TOMS, I wrote, was well on its way to creating a “cult brand,” like Harley-Davidson, Jimmy Buffet, or the Star Trek franchise.

I did suggest there was more that TOMS could do to their website to make it more word of mouth friendly and left it at that.

One person anonymously commented on the post, saying, in effect; “alrighty, smart guy, what would you do to optimize a website for word of mouth?”

Glad you asked.

I would do at least the following:
Finally, it should go without saying that no matter what TOMS does to its website, it will all be for naught if it screws up its customer service or relationships.

TOMS must work at making its customers happy. It’s a cliché that unhappy customers tell two or four or… 67 people (or whatever the number really is) about their bad experience as happy customers do. A digital audio recording of your customer service rep abusing a customer can circle the world faster than you can issue an apology and correct the mistake.

The good news is that the social media also enables someone to pass around the world a story of just how good an experience they had with your company.

I’d bet TOMS already knows that.

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