Direct Response Copywriter on The Surprising Truth About Word of Mouth Advertising

The other night, I got into a somewhat heated ‘discussion’ about word of mouth advertising.

You’ve heard the old saying … “word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising.”

It’s obviously and completely untrue.

Shock ... HORROR!

Consider this … if it were true, then nobody would advertise anything. They would only have to rely on word of mouth advertising. I would not have an existence as a direct response copywriter.

Let’s consider this scenario … TOTALLY true. A woman visits a ski lodge in a ski town for about 2 weeks every year in the middle of winter. She sits regally in the lobby every evening where she holds court. She proceeds to say HORRIBLE things about most of the restaurants in the ski town, as she downs several glasses of white wine.

This, my brothers and sisters, is called “word of mouth advertising.” How can this non-stop trash talking be the best form of advertising? In fact, I would call it the WORST form of advertising and I feel sorry for the restaurant owners who put everything into running a business only to have it sledged by this crazy person who only wants to hear herself talk and sound important.

I firmly believe my clients are generally happy with my work. They measure results and they keep offering me direct response copywriting assignments. Do they refer me to other clients?



Because they don’t want me working for competitors. I sometimes get referrals but they’re not the type of client or work I want. I’m also certain there are people in direct marketing who know me but say bad things about me. Maybe I’m wrong about this but I don’t think I am.

Either way, I’m NOT relying on “word of mouth” advertising. I’m not in control of my potential clients and I’m NOT in control of the message. Why would I NOT want to be in control of my marketing? I'm waiting for that answer.

What’s the best form of marketing?

It’s fundamentally sound direct marketing.

You build or find a list of people who need/want what you have to offer. You let them know you have what they want through direct response copy. You keep testing to discover what works. You have a relentless desire to boost revenue and conversion.

Easier said than done, of course, but that approach, my brothers and sisters, is more reliable and proven … and measured … than hoping that a woman in the lobby of a ski chalet decides she likes you.

Some people will understand the truth about word of mouth advertising. Others won't.


I'm a direct response copywriter working for clients around the world. Enter your information to the right for my free series: Seven Steps to High Converting Copy. Or contact me here when you have a project you'd like to discuss. I'm also a Dan Kennedy certified copywriter for information products.