Monday, August 11, 2008

Mastering EAP Word of Mouth Advertising

Nothing works like word-of-mouth advertising, and the best part is that it's free. Did you know that word-of-mouth marketing is taught to employees at Disneyworld? It's is a major marketing strategy for them. And it can be the same for your EAP. What's more, you can influence word-of-mouth advertising favorably with a conscious approach to a marketing strategy that includes it. You don't have to hope that word-of-mouth advertising works. You can know it is working. Let's talk about that.

There is a single, basic secret to stimulating a high rate of word-of-mouth advertising among employees so your EAP will be well utilized.

The key is this: Purposely, consciously, find ways to do what you do so well and so uniquely that employees cannot resist telling other employees about it. When it comes to Disneyworld, their target for what they do exceptionally well that flips people out is cleanliness and authenticity. That's what sticks in people's minds who visit Disneyworld--how clean the place is, and how real everything looks in those theme parks. When people go back home after visiting, they tell coworkers. The rest is dominos.

You will stimulate referrals if you apply the same formula to your EAP.

A quick digression: Remember, as I have said on numerous occasions, you must market confidentiality in numerous ways. Any EAP client fears a lack of confidentiailty. This "concern" will breed its own counter-measures to your confidentiality message if you do not beat it back by promoting and marketing the confidential nature of your EAP frequently. Without that, not much else will aide your word-of-mouth marketing efforts.

What will give EAP clients a "wow" experience?

Here are few suggestions: Treat employees with tremendous respect--almost as though they are your first client ever, or that they are visitors to the Ritz. Tell them how you store information they provide you and explain the confidential process of how that information is retained. Give them a cup of coffee in the waiting room. Follow-up and find out how clients are doing, and use a tickler system to do so in the future, even if their personal problem is not associated with something major like abstinence from drug use. Use your professional self to communicate a feeling of enhancement--that the client is going to be a happier person as a result of coming to the EAP and something is going to be added to their life. Certainly you believe this is the case, but communicating it in so many words or with your tone and non-verbal approach to the client gets missed. Understand that everything you do relates to word-of-mouth advertising and you may discover a new attitude about service and energy in your EAP work.