The best word of mouth strategies in the world

1) The Doubletree Cookie

On check-in at any Hilton Doubletree hotel, every single guest gets given a warm chocolate chip cookie.

75,000 are given out each day. 34% of guests tell their friends. That’s 25,000 stories being told about Doubletree, every single day.

The unit cost of a cookie is $0.20.

Hilton Doubletree cookie

2) Skip’s Kitchen

Skip’s is a classic Californian burger restaurant. Except just before you pay the waiter pulls out a deck of cards. If you pick the joker your meal is free.

2% of customers win. The financial cost to Skip’s is just $2 for every $100 spent.

They’ve never spent a single penny on advertising.

Skip's restaurant joker

3) The Neptune Theatre

In 1973, John Neville took over as director of the Neptune Theatre.

Every time a new show opened, he’d give free tickets to local taxi drivers. In return, they’d talk up the shows to their passengers.

Two years later theatre subscriptions had doubled.

4) Penn & Teller

Every Penn & Teller show ends the same way. The magicians dash up the center aisle of the theatre and wait in the foyer to greet their fans.

They take selfies, shake hands, and answer questions. Each night 200 customers leave with a story to tell.

That’s how you become the longest-running headline act in Vegas history.

Penn and Teller selfies

So there you go

Well executed word of mouth strategies pull in customers just as reliably as paid ads. Yet they’re neglected. Marketers are more comfortable imitating than originating.

Don’t be afraid to stand out. Give your customers a story and they’ll sell your product for you.


If you’d enjoyed the article I’d really appreciate it if you joined the email list or shared the tips on social media:

Shoutout to the book Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin where a lot of these examples came from.

Thanks to Ahrefs for sponsoring. I rely on them to grow my own search traffic.