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If your New Year's resolution for 2015 is to work on your business (not just in it), look out for our daily online posts that get you thinking differently about an aspect of your business.

If you knew how to become highly recommended, how fast could you grow your business?

Our March challenge is about harnessing the Power of Word-of-Mouth in your business.


Day 1:          With the birth of the Internet, people have had to deal with an exponential increase in the amount of information available to them.

The advent of social media has allowed us to draw a line in the sand when it comes to information. We now have the ability to choose what kind of information to read, view and listen to through the people we follow and the content we subscribe to.

Your challenge for today is to work out what is 'recommendable' about your product or service.


Day 2:          They say that the Internet is just full of pictures of puppies and kittens, but the point here is....

The first step in becoming recommendable is don't try to sell kittens to dog lovers. They're just not going to recommend them. Today's challenge is to focus your efforts on all those people who are just as crazy about your product as you are. They are the ones that will recommend your brand and defend it from negative reviews.

So segment your market and build a community of loyal customers in a niche where you can excel.


Day 3:          There are 3 reasons people will talk about you or your business;

(1) your product or service has left an impression; (2) it makes them feel good about themselves or (3) they feel like they are part of a special group if they use it.

Your challenge for today is to work on these three areas and see which one you can build on to increase word-of-mouth.


Day 4:          Today's challenge is to identify ways you can make your clients feel good about choosing your product or service.

Maybe it's because you make them feel like an expert or that they know cool things.


Day 5:          Clients are IMPORTANT!

Your challenge for today is to come up with at least three ways to make your clients feel that they are important to you and that you appreciate their business.


Day 6:          Today's challenge is a tricky one...

People will often talk about a product or service because something in their environment acts as a trigger and reminds them about it.

Can you tweak the design of your product/service or even use advertising to trigger a desire for your product; for example coffee breaks were used as the trigger in the "Have a break, have a Kit Kat" advertising campaign.


Day 7:          Thinking about triggers again today!

Some triggers are better than others, especially those that appear frequently. Remember the Victoria Bitter ads; "A hard earned thirst needs a big cold beer and the best cold beer is Vic. Victoria Bitter." The trigger for this was a hard day's work.

Today's challenge is to think about frequency and triggers - can you build this into your marketing? 


Day 8:          Add emotion!

Some topics are shared more than others and the emotion that gets most sharing happening is awe. That's why science articles are shared so widely. Today's challenge is for you to find a way to evoke a sense of wonder and amazement in your customers. Some of the web's most viral videos evoke awe – remember Susan Boyle's debut on Britain's Got Talent?


Day 9:          Emotion and Marketing

Sharing emotions helps us to connect with each other and reminds us what we have in common. Emotion sharing can also be anger or humour, so today spend some time thinking how you can add some humour into your marketing.


Day 10:        Your challenge for today is to know when you need to get creative!

If your product or service is very personal in nature you might have to get a bit creative about your marketing strategy. For example, if you sell prostate medications, incontinence pads and haemorrhoid creams, your customers might find talking about their condition difficult. Companies that face these issues often have the most creative advertising strategies for example:


Day 11:        Be the topic of conversation!

While some people love to talk about their latest acquisitions, most people don't. In fact, even though you might have done everything right and provided a product people love or a service they can't live without; your product might not be "remark"- able in the sense that it's something worth making a comment about.

Today's challenge is to think of some ways to make it easy for your customers to introduce your product or service into a conversation.


Day 12:        What makes you so interesting?

Even your most dedicated supporters need something new to keep them interested and talking about you on a regular basis. If nothing special is happening in your business, there's no need for anyone to talk about you.

Your challenge for today is to come up with an interesting promotion or piece of news that your customers are going to want to talk about.


Day 13:        People talk about your product because of the way it makes them feel – angry or happy.

So, today's challenge is to make sure it's a good experience, go the extra mile and dazzle them.


Day 14:       The 5 T's of Word-of-Mouth!

Over the next 5 days we will focus on the 5 T's of word-of-mouth. Today's challenge is about identifying the 'Talkers' – who will tell their friends about you?

Who are the influencers in your community? The ones with the large networks that everyone listens to and whose opinions count for something? Are there any influential bloggers that cover your topic? Identify your happy customers, those who wear your logo or people who subscribe to your newsletter.


Day 15:       Create a story that will spread.

Today's challenge is about providing your 'talkers' with 'topics'. A cool new feature, a special sale, a charity fundraiser, a great experience. Share a special report, company news, a bug fix or way to get around a problem. For inspiration look at your inbox and see what your friends have shared with you.


Day 16:       Share it around!

Today's challenge is about giving your 'talkers' the 'tools' to talk about your business. This could be something like a coupon they could forward to a friend, a Facebook post they could share or an event they could bring a friend to.


Day 17:       Spread the News!

Now that you've identified the 'Talkers' and given them 'topics', the third 'T' is about giving them the 'Tools' to help the message travel.

Spend some time today thinking about how you can provide the infrastructure to help your story spread – maybe an easy to forward email, a gift for a friend, a free sample, a forum or blog post?


Day 18:       Get involved - join the conversation!

The fourth 'T" is about knowing when to "Take part". When should you join the conversation? When people are talking about you, you need to be prepared to answer them. Do you know where your clients are talking about you?

Today's challenge is to find those conversations and see if you can join in.


Day 19:       Tracking Progress

The final 'T" is about 'Tracking'. How do you plan to track whether your efforts are having any effect? Today's challenge is to investigate some of the tracking tools available to you - Special codes on coupons, special email addresses for different campaigns, subscribe to Google Alert, follow blogs and forums etc.


Day 20:       The Imitation Game

When we're not sure about something we look around to see what other people are doing and take our cues from them. It's very hard to imitate something that isn't clearly visible, so spend some time today thinking about how you can make people interacting with your brand more visible.

An example of a brand doing a great job with this is Fitbit. Next time you're in a meeting glance around and you'll be amazed at how many people are wearing them.


Day 21:        Stories are vessels.

People don't spread slogans, taglines or lists of features; they spread stories. Today's challenge is to think about how you can use stories to spread your message.


Day 22:        Today is the final day of our March word-of-mouth challenge.

We've talked about a lot of different ways to become 'remark-able', so today's challenge is to look back and choose the ones that work for you.

It's important to have a plan otherwise they will quickly be forgotten, so think about ways to incorporate them into your daily/weekly/monthly marketing efforts.


For some helpful advice, visit the Lighthouse Facebook page for online articles and resources to help you complete the daily challenges.


About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit for more information.