Posts Tagged ‘business’

Client-based marketing: What’s in it for them?

Sometimes we all get stuck in a creative rut. With the small stresses each new day brings, it’s easy to get wrapped up in tasks and forget why we’re doing what we’re doing. That’s why every now and then, I like to refer to the “old greats” for inspiration.

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Lately I’ve been revisiting How to Win Friends and Influence People, and one principle that’s really struck a chord with me  is “Arouse in the other person an eager want.”

Hmm. That’s obviously what most marketers are aiming to do when they reach out to clients or prospects, but how many of us are actually achieving that goal?

As you may know, in January I started working as Director of Communications at an architecture firm.  I recently received an e-newletter from a vendor that went something like this:

<Vendor Name>

Check out our website!

Hello!

We have an updated website!

Our workers are very experienced and take great pride in their work. We will be happy to give you a free estimate, so feel free to call us at <phone number> to schedule a time for us to bid.

<Pricing list>

We provide our customers with innovative materials…we offer quality installations…We are committed to enhancing your ability to achieve the goal of your building project through our desire to excel…

We would love for you to stop by our showroom. <Address and hours>

Sincerely,

<Respresentative>

My first reaction was to delete this email. They were asking me to visit their website, but why would I want to take the time to do that? I am too busy trying to figure out how to drive people to my own company’s website! And what will they have to offer that others don’t?megaphone

Lots of people say they have high quality products and good customer service. These things just look like empty brags.

Finally, in the last paragraph, they mention my needs, the “ability to achieve the goal of your building project” but even that is vague and they start right back into talking about their own desires for us to come visit their showroom.

So I started thinking, what does our newsletter look like? What do our proposals communicate? What messages are we sending our clients? While I am glad to say I think our messaging focuses on answering concerns of the client, I was able to think of ways that we could be even more client-centered.

Take a step back and look at your marketing message – your e-newsletter, your flyer, your website. What message are you sending? Is it focused on your company’s desires, or your clients’ needs?

After all, as humans, we are all focused on our own needs. No one is going to use my services or go to my website just because I tell them that I want them to. What value am I really offering? How can my business make things easier or more efficient or higher quality for them?

In an effort to keep this question at the front of my mind, I printed off this label and stuck it to the top of my work laptop (sorry boss!) 😉

Have a great weekend everybody!

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Superfriends and Business: The Beauty of Influencers and Strategic Partnerships

In almost every big, successful campaign I’ve worked on, there was one thing in common – strategic partnerships. The client had a message to get out, but did not try to go it alone.

wordofmouthThe thing is, people are bombarded with information and advertisements   almost everywhere they turn – commercials on the radio, billboards on the streets, TV ads, flyers, Google ads, Facebook promotions, banner ads, and more! Chances are, if you’re a small business with a message to get out, it’s going to be pretty hard to break through that noise – unless you’ve got a million-dollar budget to hire the Biebs to sing at your new store opening, or whatever it is you’ve got going on.

Well, where do we get our most trusted and valuable information? Word of mouth. So let’s think of people we know who are loud, and give them something to talk about. I should note, when I say “loud,” I don’t mean obnoxious or speaking at a high volume. I am referring to the influencers of society – the people with large networks who trust them and wait for their next recommendation (kind of like Oprah’s Favorite Things…what I wouldn’t give to have gone to one of those shows!)

Find someone who is loud, who cares about your message. Make them an ambassador of your brand, of your message. Help them help you. And then do it again. And again. And again. Maybe the loud friend in this case is not a single person, but another business, or five other businesses.

Check out the Fiskar’s story from Brains on Fire for my favorite case study of brand ambassadors, but here’s another example: If you are a frozen yogurt shop and you’re rolling out a line of healthy sorbets, why not throw a party? Why not invite health bloggers, and create a competition or event benefitting a cause worth caring about, like children’s diabetes?  Why not invite similar businesses, like gyms, bike stores, athletic

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stores, and others to come out and partake in the fun? Maybe they will all agree to give something away in a raffle. Now, that’s a lot to talk about. It’s a good cause, everybody benefits, and it has the potential to be a lasting movement rather than a one-time campaign. If you’ve created sorbets to help people make healthy

choices, let that be your business mission. Let that be your way of life. It will make your business more than just a business, to both you and your customers.

So, think about it. Who are your “superfriends?” What are the neighboring businesses or groups with which you have a good relationship that you can build on? Who are the customers or friends that talk about your business on social media, or recommend you to others? Who are the bloggers or reporters who are looking for your industry news?

If you look around, I bet you will find you have more ‘superfriends’ than you thought!

Can’t buy me love: Twitter adding services and PR ethics

It seems like every time I get on Twitter, I am bombarded with messages from sketchy “tweeps” inviting me to “gain 5,000 followers immediately!” by signing up for their services. I usually brush them off as spam, assuming such a service will give me some sort of horrible virus that will cause me weeks of headaches and a call or two to Geek Rescue.

Besides, even if the companies aren’t truly spam, I thought, isn’t buying followers still unethical? Social media is about engaging with real people, forming mutually beneficial relationships, and letting your connections grow organically through valuable conversation.

A few weeks ago, a client asked me to sign him up for one of these services.

His goal was not to immediately grow real, valuable followers, but to:
A) Appear more established at the first glance of a new potential follower – making them more likely to follow him, thus gaining more real, valuable followers, and

B) Increase the limit of friends Twitter allowed him to have so that he could add more real, valuable friends without being penalized – and hopefully, many of them would follow him back as well.

These seemed like reasonable expectations to me, so, still slightly apprehensive, I agreed. The client and I both felt that, at the very least, it would be a good learning opportunity.

After some research, I found there are basically two ways that these services work:

1. Mass following services (such as http://www.tweetadder.com/) follow a large number of users and let them follow your profile back. After a few days, they go back and automatically unfollow the people who have not followed you back. It has many bells and whistles but I’m fairly certain that Twitter penalizes users of these services.

2. Buying services (such as http://www.buy-followers.org/) that seem to have access to profiles of people who have opted into some sort of program. The cost is much higher per follower, but, supposedly, there are no “bots” involved. Some of

these services claim to bring in quality leads – users who have said they are interested in particular topics (so, hypothetically, if you’re a sales coach, and someone says they are interested in sales or business, you’re more likely to get that person.)

I chose a service like option number two and I have to say – although they turned out not to be “quality leads,” and some of their profiles are a little sketchy, (They might have a male Twitter name like @ChiTownDave and a profile that says “My name is Anna, I’m a nanny in the Dallas/FTW area!”) the client’s goals have been met.

What do you think? Is buying followers unethical PR practice, or a smart step toward reaching out to real, quality connections?