IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

What ‘Star Wars’ Fans Can Teach You about Word-of-Mouth Marketing

These four lessons are what you need to get people talking about your business. By Alison Aldrich

Star Wars fans are some of the most enthusiastic on the planet. And they can teach your small business a lot about what it takes to get people talking, and ultimately purchasing, your products and services. Here are the top four lessons Star Wars fans can teach you about word-of-mouth marketing:

1. Create great content and people will talk about you. Why do Star Wars fans love the franchise so much? Why do they dress up as Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Princess Leia, and Obi Wan Kenobi and congregate in giant conference centers? Because Star Wars is awesome.

The lesson here is simple: Create excellent content every chance you get. For example, you can make funny or interesting YouTube videos or, if you have the resources, television commercials. But remember that great content isn’t limited to video. The creators of Star Wars know this. That’s why there’s no shortage of Star Wars comic books, novels, cartoons, and more.

Compelling articles and other types of content that interest, entertain, or solve problems are a great way to get people talking and sharing. It’s been said before but it bears repeating: Content is king.

2. There’s no substitute for customer satisfaction. As kids, many first saw Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and immediately felt it was the greatest thing ever. They didn’t want it to end, but when it did, they couldn’t wait to tell their friends about the Ewoks and (spoiler alert) the death of Emperor Palpatine.

The point of the story is that people talk when they’re happy with a product or service. And by creating high levels of customer satisfaction, trust, loyalty, and positive word of mouth will come naturally. So make sure you’re doing your best to provide customers with the highest quality and highest value products and services.

3. Directly influence what people say about your business. The Star Wars cast and crew have a huge social media presence. At last check, the @StarWars Twitter page boasted more than 1.32 million followers. The Star Wars team uses this and other social media—and regular media—outlets to influence the conversation around new Star Wars-related content and merchandise. 

Now 1.32 million followers may be too ambitious a goal for your small business. But you should still do what you can to keep people talking about you in a positive way. According to one definition, word-of-mouth marketing and advertising differ from organic word-of-mouth referrals in that it revolves around campaigns that are actively managed and influenced by businesses. So do what you can to get the conversation going today.

4. Create buzz around your products
The creators of Star Wars, including J.J. Abrams, director of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, do an excellent job of creating buzz around their product, and the fans simply love it. When the new trailer for The Force Awakens was released in April, fans went crazy for it. Legions of grown men couldn’t help but shed a tear of joy upon seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca on screen once again.

The lesson here is clear: Do what you can to create buzz around new product releases, and be savvy about it. Don’t let the proverbial cat out of the bag all at once. Share a few details and get people talking before the big unveil.

If you haven’t seen the new Star Wars trailer yet, you’re in for a special treat. It’s here.

ALISON ALDRICH is director of channel marketing at Carbonite Inc., a provider of cloud backup services headquartered in Boston.

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