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Topic: word of mouth

Employee Evangelism – 7 Reasons

I do not usually promote my book too much here, but give me this post to give you a little background on why you should buy Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing for every member of your organization.

My goal when I wrote it was to make it simple for non-sales and non-marketing people to create some buzz in a few minutes each day.  I know it is not an easy transition, and I know that 20% of the people will do 95% of the buzz, but it is a goal well worth pursuing.  Organizations that make it clear up front that advocacy is part of the organization will realize big advantages in sales and visibility.

Here are the 7 reasons you should buy a book for each employee and start putting some energy into making it part of your culture:

  1. Employee Moral – There may be some initial resentment from some, but others will see this as the opportunity they have been waiting for and have a good time creating buzz.  Those are the people you want to keep anyway.
  2. Simple ChallengesBuzzoodle Buzz Marketing is written in simple, one page buzz challenges that most people can do.  Even if your staff does not read lots of books, this one is easy to browse and pick stuff out.
  3. Share Responsibility – Buzzoodle is crafted around the idea that anyone that is a member of the organization is responsible for the success of the organization.  Once everyone understands they share the responsibility for buzz, there can be no more fingure pointing.
  4. Job Security – Employees can decrease the chance of slow-downs or layoffs by helping create buzz and increasing demand.
  5. Rare Word of Mouth – We all hear people complain about work a lot, but imagine how powerful it is to hear people praising work.  The positive word of mouth this creates strengthens brands.
  6. Help Sales People – Over time, Employee Evangelism will increase the inquiries coming into the organization.  This turns your cold-callers into order-takers, which is a much easier way to earn commission.
  7. Brand Strengthening - One unhappy customer can trash your brand online in minutes.  The best defense is a good offense.  With your staff writing and posting things that are positive about the company, search engines will already have so many positive pages indexed, that future bad buzz will be less effective or damaging.

There are more advantages.  These are just some of the benefits people enjoy.  If you are interested in 100 or more copies, let me know and I can offer you a special rate.

7 Reasons you must have an Intimate List

I have an intimate email list.  It is entirely separate from my main email list and it is called FoR: Friends of Ron.  Please click on that link and go see what it says.  Don’t sign up – unless you REALLY want to after reading that.

You see, that list is my friends list.  I write that email periodically just like I would write to a good friend.  I send links people might be interested in, I let them know about events, and I may just tell them how my latest trip was.

While we all want to cultivate new clients, consider how much stronger your “friends” would be at telling people about you if they simply heard from you a little more regularly.

Here are your 7 reasons to have a friends list.

  • Over 200% open rate – Everyone reads these emails multiple times
  • Over 30% clicks – they spend time with the email and check out the resources
  • Easy to write – If you want to be my friend, you have to be forgiving.  I write these emails quickly like a personal email.
  • A “Go to” resource – I do not think twice about asking this list for a favor.  They are my friends.
  • 50% of the list wants to be your friend.  -  I only know about 50% of the people that sign up.  The other group, I assume, would like to get to know me.
  • Replies directly to me – People always reply to these emails as if I’d sent the message to them personally. “I am sorry I can’t make it….” type thing.
  • Word of Mouth – The fresher you stay in the minds of people that know you, the more word of mouth you will create.  Plus, these people want to hear about what is new with you, so you can send them stories and updates.

This list is too new for me to know the impact it will have on the business, but I do know it is strengthening relationships and I enjoy the connections.

Las Vegas for Families

Speaking -Desgin for Business - Las Vegas 2007I just got back from speaking to the Business of Design group in Las Vegas at the Wynn.

I was talking to some locals – they had thier kids with them -  and we were talking about what kids can do in Vegas.  They did have some suggestions, but they also said that the city tried to rebrand itself a few years ago for families and failed.

That is how strong Buzz is.  Once you have Word of Mouth and buzz for something – it is hard to change.  A marketing campaign is certainly not going to change the powerful buzz around what people have experienced.

Business of DesignWhen I went into business 8 years ago, I was primarily working in technology.  We developed a great reputation for technology.  We were cost effective (cheap) and good.  Eventually we grew via word of mouth very effectively.  So effectively that we had hire and grow the company, even though we never planned to have a Custom IT service.  It wasn’t until I really thought long and hard about who we wanted to be that I realized I’d built great buzz and word of mouth for something I did not want to do.  Cutting it was a hard decision, but essential for me to grow the business intentionally.

This is the danger of word of mouth.  Once you develop it, it is hard to change.  Think about your real goals and focus your efforts on those.  It is not going to be easy to become family friendly vegas later on.

Colleges and Word of Mouth

Graduation CapI doubt this article will be shocking to anyone.  College students rely heavily on word of mouth for their purchasing decisions and they use social networking tools…..

But it is still interesting to read the details and eMarketer has a very nice article on it.

Anatomy of Your Online Presence – Part 3: The Nose

This is part 3 of a 13 part series on the anatomy of your online presence.

See Part 1: The Brain and Part 2: The Eyes

The anatomy of your web presence, the nose, represents your ability to sniff out new opportunities. The days of websites are over. Things are changing at rapid pace and new opportunities are coming up all the time to increase your links, visitors, exposure, etc.

The reason you have to develop your nose for sniffing out new opportunities is because you will usually get more buzz with less effort if you find some new, upcoming opportunity vs. jumping on a bandwagon and competing with everyone else.

Take Digg for example. It is a great site and getting on the first page is very valuable, but it is also not something you can easily accomplish because so many people are trying to get on the first page of Digg too. If you were an early adopter of Digg, before it was so popular, it was much easier.

So how do you discover the next Digg for your industry?

#1 It is not about technology.

The first thing to understand is that it is not about technology.

The tools for developing web-based applications have gotten better and easier. You can now go to eLance or a similar site and hire a consultant that can often build you something great for a few thousand dollars if an off the shelf open source (free) application does not meet your needs. Technology is only a barrier to entry if you let it be.

So if it is not a “latest greatest technology” issues, what is the issue?

You are the issue. How do I get you and 1,000’s of people just like you to use common tools and communication channels to create a community of people that pay attention?

#2 Community is the Future, and the Future is Now.

Your best bet is to become a major force in driving a community to success that is populated by your target audience. Notice I said a major force in driving a community to success. You have to find the right community online and help it grow, add value to it, be a major player and make it a better place for people to succeed in.

Can’t find a great community around your industry? Form one and commit to promoting it and adding value.

Here are some technologies to build an online community. Remember, the technologies are less the issue, and getting people to come an participate will be your challenge.

Wiki – A Wiki is a group of web pages that a community can contribute to, build and comment on.

Online Groups – For years there have been online groups consisting of message boards, profiles, email lists and image uploads. The obvious ones are hosted by the major search engines.

Online Communities – Many magazines and other online properties have their own community centered around there topic. Why don’t you? It’s Free.

News sites - News Sites are where the community posts and votes on the best news in their industry. Because you can also build a group of friends in these sites, you can build your own group around your common interest.

Blogging – The biggest advantage of blogging is the community you can build around it. Not only can you participate in other’s blogs, but you can build a great community around your own ideas. Add some of the following tools to your blog.

But do you really need to create a community?

But before you use any of these tools to create your own community, use your nose to sniff out other opportunities. Do some searches and sign up for some other people’s communities and lurk around a bit. Here are the questions to ask yourself when assessing the value of participating in a new online community that you have found.

  1. Are people in this group interested in what I have to talk about?
  2. Do I like them?
  3. Is the community active and growing?
  4. Can I stand out in this community is I participate regularly?
  5. Can I contribute valuable information regularly?
  6. Will this group be curious about what I am selling? – Since you should not sell directly, will the group be interested and explore who you are?

Don’t join too many. Find the best and commit to helping the group grow and you will have an impact and get more results.

How do you find new opportunities?

There are a variety of tricks to sniff out new opportunities.

Search Engines – The most obvious is search engines. Doing searches on your industry and words like community, profile, members combined should bring up some interesting reading.

Follow the leader – A great way to find valuable resources is follow likes from respected resources. For example, an article in your trade magazine or a popular blogger may point you to a great new resource.

Find lists – There are many websites that rate and list good resources. A good list can be very valuable to you. Here are a few examples.

Read Web 2.0 in the news – Keep an eye out for news items mentioning buzz and web 2.0. Things like this article – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19712442/

Word of Mouth – If you know some geeky tech entrepreneurs, I can assure you that they find out about these new things before they become wide spread. The first time I heard about Digg was from a podcaster. I wrote it off as not a big deal but should have jumped in back then. Ask your tech friends what is new.

Make a habit of sniffing around

Your Internet presence will be enhanced when you participate more. You will create buzz if you get comfortable nosing around online communities and new web 2.0 tools and giving them a try. You may even have some fun too.

Can you use public schools to create buzz?

I just presented at the Solar Energy Conference yesterday and I was very impressed. Not everyone there used online tools to create buzz, but they did understand advocacy. One presentation I saw talked about how they had developed vocational programs in their state for repair and installation of renewable energy sources. These programs were being taught in the schools.

I tend to spend a lot of time focusing on the quick things you can do to create buzz, but if you have a long term outlook and understand that an audience that is educated about your product will be a better consumer, you can build a long term buzz generator like this.  I found it inspiring.

They also showed great programs where they built great relationships with customers and created a strong sense of pride among the solar power users.  Word of mouth from those people helped then grow at a very impressive rate.

Thanks to RELI for including me in their buzz marketing for Solar Power presentation.

Are your going to be an influence have or an influence have-not?

Just got the eMarketer eNewsletter and it has an excellent Word of Mouth article along with great graphs and stats.  The most interesting thing for me is the rise of influentials.  More and more people are becoming influential and guiding what other people think.  That is our business model, although I never thought of it that way. 

What we offer:

All our books and materials are about Buzz Marketing but are really about increasing word of mouth and influence.

We are in the beginning of the Rise of the Influential Middle Class.  Just as an economic middle class exploded, so are we seeing an explosion of an influence middle class.  They do not have the same clout as the upper class influentials, but as a group they wield more power because of numbers. 

The question is, are your going to be an influence have, or an influence have-not?

 

Before you call me….

I get contacted by people frequently.  In fact, 4 different potential clients contacted me since Friday.  One person wants a word of mouth campaign, so I first went to their website.

I had to update flash, and then I was forced to watch a bad video, then click as I might, I could not get to any additional information about the products.  They have a very cool product, but the website is a disaster.  They probably have plenty of buzz but people get so frustrated on the website and cannot figure out how to buy.

Before you think you need buzz, you need to have clear conversion, clear purchase or a way to collect more information, and a clear path to creating a relationship with a new, interested person.

We can help people with this, but it is a bit of a let down when someone calls wanting cool buzz marketing and they end up buying web development.

What I am trying to say is fix your plumbing before you get fancy with the landscaping.

Can you plan on Buzz?

Seth Godin has a little post on the New York Time Effect. What he talks about is how buzz works and can you really plan for it. His conclusion is NO. He compares it to buying lottery tickets as a retirement strategy.

I agree you cannot count on huge buzz. You can, however, create a steady buzz that will do the following:

  • Make more people know about you and your product
  • Generate more visitors to your website
  • Get more word of mouth referrals
  • Land you more media exposure

And when those things start happening, the odds of one of those really great, big buzz victories increases significantly.

In case you are wondering, that is how we help clients. We create well crafted, interesting messages and get them to more and more people, creating steady buzz and eventually creating a sensation, if we are lucky. You just have to improve your message and increase your visibility.

Is Buzz Marketing the Next SEO?

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is a specialty that has been around for a long time. Buzz marketing is a vague term that seems to be taking on more the meaning of creating a buzz in social media / Web 2.0 stuff and less meaning around the big and crazy stuff that gets people lots of buzz.

At a conference on Friday, it was interesting to hear an SEO person say she was now doing Buzz marketing. I always thought of her as an SEO specialist, but more and more, buzz marketing is generating more content and getting more links, which is a great SEO strategy.

So you might ask yourself, are they the same thing?

No. SEO is the practice of targeting particular keywords and getting particular pages to rank highly for those keywords. A good SEO specialist will look at how your website is structured, the words in links, the text on the pages, the invisible (META) information of a webpage and who is linking to the pages. They will recommend places to buy ads and pay for directory listings. They will also attempt to get people to link to your page with the keywords anchored in the text of the link, because search engines use that information to help them rank pages.

Buzz marketing helps SEO a great deal because it creates more content on a regular basis, which gives you more chances to appear in search engines for a higher number of terms, even though it is unlikely you take the time to optimize the message. – For example, this blog gets lots of hits from search engines because it has over 650 articles, not from any intentional optimization strategy. Buzz marketing also encourages participation in the Internet as a social media. So you can generate inbound links all over the web to your website.

Those are simple definitions and in both cases, much more can be done. But for the sake of this post, let me move on.

I see that more and more of us are moving to some middle area. I do some SEO. I program sometimes. I am a marketer, a software developer, a data analyst, a PR specialist, a publisher, an author, a speaker, a blogger, a graphic designer, … I am not showing off. We are all taking on more and more rolls. I cannot hire someone every time I need an image cropped or a simple form put on the web.

So are SEO people morphing into Buzz Marketers? Probably.

Here is why: SEO serves some clients really well. Buzz marketing has some other advantages that serve some clients really well. It just depends on the client and their needs.

Take cost out of the picture. Having someone do these things for you is time consuming either way. It takes research, analysis and tweaking all the time for either of these things to work well.

Advantages of SEO

The advantage of SEO is that it does not take constant creation of new content. Instead, the website owner opts to focus their attention on getting a few pages to rank on the first pages of search engines like Google and Yahoo. This is a very good strategy if:

  • Owner does not want to create content regularly.
  • Owner has specific terms they can target for. (This works really well with specific product names)
  • Website plays small role in company marketing plan.

Advantages of Buzz marketing

Buzz marketing has some advantages as well. It captures more listings in search engines for a particular term. For example, you may be listed 3 or 4 times in the top 20 spots in search engines. You may also get incredible spikes in traffic from word of mouth or viral messages that you did not even create. You are a good candidate for Buzz marketing if:

  • You like to create regular content or can pay someone to do so. (Such as blogging)
  • You enjoy surfing the web, participating in online groups and doing online networking.
  • You would like to be seen as an expert in your field.
  • You can make creating buzz a daily habit, or can hire someone to be your online advocate daily.

SEO and Buzz marketing are different. If you can do both, it is great. If you must focus your time, use the above information to decide which approach is right for you.

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