Word of mouth

Word of mouth is the first traffic source. You can’t put a price on its value, and it sure as hell isn’t free. You’ll only get word of mouth when the same words come out of lots of different mouths.

The image above shows the story of the blind men and the elephant. It’s a famous story about a group who argue over what they’ve encountered, as they are each only exposed to a small piece of it. This particular elephant would struggle to get word of mouth as there’s too many conflicting ideas about what it actually is. Its messaging is confused.

This elephant, of course, is your product. As your product expands the number of things it can and will be used for will grow. Which means some people might call it a time tracker, while others will say it’s for tracking vacations. Some will say it’s a project management tool, while others call it a task list. This is one the reasons it’s important to have great messaging. It helps users learn how to explain your product.

Great messaging is simple, compelling, specific, differentiated, and defensible.

  • Simple. It’s easily understood by current and prospective customers.
  • Compelling. It describes something that is interesting or desirable to them.
  • Specific. It captures what your product does, not an overly abstract statement of it.
  • Differentiated. It includes something that makes it unique amongst peers.
  • Defensible. It shouldn’t be easy for your competitor to adopt/copy your messaging.

Without clear messaging about what your product does, you let everyone make up their own mind and thus their own messaging. And that’s how you end up with 5 people all failing to describe an elephant.