Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Six Ways to Create Buzz with your Employees

I am doing a speech at a Rotary Club tomorrow and will be handing out something with tips to go back and get your employees to create buzz and word of mouth. Here is my first pass at the handout.
  1. Get employees with a computer to post to a blog or message board once a week, with the link going back to your website. Be clear on what they can and cannot say.
  2. Have your employees call one past client per week and check in with them. They can ask how they liked the product or service, find out how they are doing, and let them know you value their patronage.
  3. Have employees stop by in nearby businesses they have never been in before. They can introduce themselves and let the people they meet know they work by. They can invite those people to stop in some time if appropriate.
  4. Have employees write a letter or email to an author, reporter, or some other media professional and let the person know they appreciate their work. Offer to be a source of information if they ever need information on your industry.
  5. Spend some time talking with employees to teach them what your core competencies are. What makes your business special. Find out good customer service stories and let everyone know the stories and that you encourage them repeating the stories at every opportunity. Have them let you know when they spread a little word of mouth. Be sure they know what kinds of people you would like to meet and what are ideal prospects.
  6. If your employees have email, have them "ping" at least one person per week. This is a quick "Just checking in" email to someone they know but do not know too well.

This list of buzz challenges are good for individuals, but even better is you can get every member of your organization involved. Recognize people's effort and reward people that get results.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cost of a Word of Mouth Campaign

What is the cost of a word of mouth campaign? Nothing if you have a good, buzz-worthy product, good customer service and some very happy customers. But what if you want to actually do a formal, measurable word of mouth effort that will expose you to new markets? I was doing some research, and this is hard to pin down. Consider your options: 1) A formal design and implementation of a Buzz Campaign will cost nearly $100,000 (minimum). This should include the careful crafting of the message, the development of an advocate base and the dissemination of the message in organic ways. (Buzzoodle consulting services can do this) 2) DIY with Buzzoodle is when you create groups, get your employees and other advocates to spread the message, and craft your own message. This is inexpensive but takes a lot of time, careful crafting of the message, and training of the staff. The cost for the word of mouth campaign can be as little as a few hundred dollars a month. 3) Build your own wom campaign and ask people to start talking about you more. This is not much different from referral networking but if you go into it with the idea of creating some buzz and word of mouth, it becomes a little easier. Just ask people to talk about you. Create more stories that will get passed from person to person. You can try asking some employees to do this as well, but we created Buzzoodle because we found employees do not usually participate unless it is a controlled, measurable environment. Of course, the easiest way is to create the coolest, hottest must-have product. Then you just let the world do it's thing.

Monday, August 29, 2005

QvQ - Connecting online

Lots of people are talking about QvQ. Quantity vs. Quality. It is the number of people you connect to in an online social networking system. Quality means you are stuck up and only connect with people you know well. Quantity means you are a bad person and try to connect with everyone. The true issue is how much time and how committed you are to creating, maintaining and growing your network. If you cannot drop an email to every person in your network every six months, you are probably over extended and do not have as valuable of a network. But how valuable is it if I am only connected to people I know super well? Not very. manageable is different to everyone. Keep your network manageable for you, and you will have a quality network no matter what the size.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Be a Connected Twinkie

How fresh is the memory of you with your contacts? Become the twinkie. You have to stay forever fresh in their mind or they will think of the person they just met and refer them, buy from them, etc. It is just plain human nature to think of people that you just met or communicated with lately. It is why I have had five lawyers in six years in business. I tend to meet a lot of them and if something is on my plate that day, I may have them do it for me. Lawyers I have met tend to work hard to get a new account but do not realize that unless they follow up regularly, people tend to drift away. You have to be the Twinkie Lawyer is you want to retain more accounts. I just ran into David Ramsell, a graphics designer I have known for years. He is very good and inexpensive, but I have not talked with him in a long time. It turns out we should have been using him for some graphics work, but I'd just plain forgotten about his prices compared to other people we are using. He made a point to reiterate his pricing to me when we ran into each other, after talking for a while. Excellent move, because I assume everyone is in roughly the same range. It has been my experience that a few emails a year is enough to create a lasting impression instead of fading into the sunset of another networking event. Keeping your network of connections fresh is what nights and weekends were made for.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Set some articles free

To help create some Internet Buzz, I published that last article in a free article directory. I know some writers are fiercely protective of their work, but if you are trying to get noticed and create some buzz, give some stuff away. I submitted an article here and will continue to post it around the web. As long as it has my author info attached to it I am happy. I published it on the blog and here: Create Free Internet Buzz with Your Workforce This is just one of the many challenges in the Buzzoodle system, which gets you higher visibility.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Create Free Internet Buzz with your Workforce

There are many different ways to increase your traffic on the web. Just as there are get rich quick schemes, there are get traffic quick schemes. These can backfire on you just like any other shortcut to results. As part of your overall strategy, it is possible to create a plan that will get your steadily increasing traffic, increasing visibility and results. The more employees you have that use a computer the better. Here are the key elements to getting your employees to create some Internet Buzz for you. # 1 – Prepare The first key is to create a clear document on what your employees can and cannot say about the company. What is the vision that you want to make public? What is unique about the organization? What stories can they tell? Collect examples of good and bad posts from employees in other companies. #2 - Coach Once this is done, have a meeting and explain that if everyone spends a short amount of time each week participating on the web, they can significantly increase the visibility of the organization and all its employees. Clearly state if this is to be done on the clock or outside of business hours. Explain that this is not sales. Each employee should participate in online communications and add something of value to wherever they are posting information, and work in where they work if they can. Links are the best, but do not force it. #3 – Set Minimum Goals Ask each employee to commit to doing a minimum amount of online buzz each week. Some examples of online buzz are:
  • Post comments on other people’s Blog
  • Create or maintain your own Website or Blog
  • Email a friend and tell them something interesting on your organization’s website
  • Write an article for another website, with a bio and link back to the organization’s website.
  • Set up a profile on a social networking site and participate in discussions
  • Email an author or writer that you have read and introduce yourself, and let them know you like their work.

#4 – Collect & Reward Efforts Have employees email you or record their buzz in a central place. (Buzzoodle does this.) Have someone review each buzz effort and recognize excellent buzz creation. Talk about how buzz effects search engine ranking and traffic. Give rewards to those top buzz creators and publicly thank them for their effort.

#5 – Review and Renew Periodically give your employees new talking points about the company. It might be an exciting new product line coming up, it could be a great customer service story to work into a forum post, but keep giving them fresh new things to talk about.

If you give employees exciting new buzz-worthy stories they can repeat plus stress the value of their participation, you will find you have more inbound links and internet buzz than any SEO firm could have generated for you in a legitimate way. And it was basically free.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Raving Fans

There is no substitute for having a good, memorable product if you want word of mouth to spread. Three days ago I was at a party where some people were raving about Kalahari resort in Sandusky Ohio. They compared it to Disney, which I found hard to believe. But the very next day a friend got a call from his cousin from Detroit. They were coming this way and wanted to know what the best place to take their small children was, and sure enough I suggested the resort. Memorable name and raving fans made it easy for me to recommend it even though I did not have first hand experience.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Extra Effort

Consider the power of a little extra effort. I am cleaning out my address book this week and it got me thinking. In the course of an average week, I probably meet 20 new people on average. Why do I make a good connection with some and not with others? It really boils down to one of us deciding it is worth knowing the other person and then doing something above and beyond the typical "Nice to meet you" email. There is a level of things that make you say "that was nice" and forget someone, and then there are those things that make people reply or follow up. We recently mailed some shirts out to people we met, just as random gifts. Within days I got very nice phone calls and have set up some meetings with people that otherwise would have become a memory. People, including myself, love random surprises like that. It does not have to be a product though. Send someone the contact info of someone they will enjoy meeting.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

WOMMA Conference Pictures

I did not take pictures but someone else did. It was a good conference. For those that wonder that I look like, here are two pictures of me on the WOMMA website.

David Lorenzo and Buzz

Funny thing happened today with Mr. Lorenzo in NYC. I have never met him in person, but we have exchanged some emails and have mentioned each other while blogging and such. Seems like a sharp guy with an interesting job. He also gets buzz, networking and how to build a business. He introduced me through email to someone he said was in my area. I emailed that David Every and it turned out we are only one block away from each other. So we had lunch, and it was a really good connection to make. It is just funny to me that, despite my best efforts to meet everyone in Ohio, it took someone in New York to hook me up with a neighbor.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Make Things Easy

Making something easy is a sure way to create some buzz and word of mouth.

Take some time to write out your sales process and find out how you can simplify it. Look at the road blocks.

For another company we simplified and in some cases eliminated the design stage for internet marketing by using another company that has 1,000’s of template online that you can browse.

That cut the execution time in half and saved clients considerable money.

Create buzz and do not forget that the easier your conversion, the faster something will spread.

Monday, August 15, 2005

eNewsletter vs. Blog

What are the differences between eNewsletters and Blogs? Which one is best for you? Both. There are advantages to both technologies and the savvy Buzz Builder will publish in both mediums. Blog Advantages: Blogs are easier to write for. They lend themselves to being less formal and more forgiving. I spend much less time creating much more content on this blog than in our eMagazine. Also, readers can visit it when they want and do not have to give me information. eNewsletter Advantages: With a well defined eNewsletter, you will capture more information and pull people back in on a regular basis. They need more attention to detail, and careful thought to additional details like the subject line, subscription, etc. In an ideal world, you can publish a monthly eNewsletter and create a high traffic blog. In our publication, we have added a category called "From the Blog" that allows us to utilize content we have already created. It draws more attention to the blog and enhances the newsletter.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Back Room Buzz

Who do you trust? Who shares clients in common with you? Who has the cajones to tell you people are saying bad things behind your back? You may think all your clients are all happy. How do you find out if they really are? 1. Listen carefully. Often times complaints will come your way but be padded by good stuff. Read between the lines and ask questions if people are not sending you 100% happy comments. 2. Ask questions like "What do you think we can do better?" or "What is the biggest weakness when working with us?" 3. Ask partners and business acquaintances if they are hearing buzz about you. Today I had to tell a good partner that I have been hearing negative things from multiple sources. I was not keen on telling them, but finally did. I know it is due to growing pains, but she has now gone straight back to the office to focus and resolve the issues. - And I am so happy she took it so well. 4. Always look for opportunities to make someone's day better. Deliver more than what is expected and you will create positive buzz.

5. Don't take on charity cases unless you can deliver quality. When you cut your rate and help someone it can back fire when you do not deliver as high of quality services. You can try to do someone a favor and end up hurting your word of mouth.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mystery Buzz

Mystery is a fun buzz tool. We still get people commenting on the way we did our release party, three months ago. Our registration form displayed the name, title and company of each person that was signed up. All they knew was it was something called Buzzoodle and involved WOM. They had to come to find out. I worked my network through email, we were on a Capitalist Cleveland radio show, and all our business acquaintances were talking about it. It was a big success because of the Buzz. The Buzz was because of the mystery.

Try creating a little mystery for your business. Do you have an upcoming new product, feature or service? Start a list for people to sign up and get a preview. Make it exclusive and limited and you will not have trouble filling the place.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

You can have more than one!

You can have more than one phone number, more than one email address, and yes, you can even have more than one website or blog. We tend to work with a lot of professionals that would like to stand out. They are often surprised when we mentioned they can keep their website (the corporate brochure) and build another one that engages people more. Just today we talked with two different professionals that are looking at building resource centers to engage their existing clients more, get them to know each other, give them opportunities for free exposure (the PR kind) and other helpful things. Because they will not be selling themselves blatantly, it will be much more along the lines of Viral Marketing and will get people talking.

SEO and Buzz

SEO Strategies vary. One important aspect is the inbound links. Buzz and word of mouth is an essential element of yor SEO strategy. On an ongoing basis, you need to have a website or blog worth visiting, you have to SEO optimize it, you have to have a call to action (get the visitor to do something) and you have to have the solid plan to keep promoting it, grow it and create buzz about it. Our other company, Outstanda has made our proprietary buzz strategy part of the overall SEO strategy that helps people stand out on the web. Whether you use an SEO strategy or do it yourself, you should be creating a little buzz about your site every week on the web. It will build up and couple that with the other strategies and you will have a powerful site and powerful results. Even without a link the name is out there.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Who is blogging about you?

Find out what is being said about Buzzoodle on blogs all over at Technorati To create a link to Technorati with your business search defined, do this: as the link. This allows people to see what is being said about you on your blog and others.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Realtor Blog Use

I just had a bit of a brain storm while I was meeting with a realtor today. I suggested he create a blog entry for every property he sold and invite the buyer or seller to post testimonials in the comments. It is an online journal of their success, in the words of their clients, and is a great information source for anyone that is thinking about working with him. This is a great, no cost way to promote what you do. Be sure to link to your main realtor website if you use a hosted blogger service.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Virtual Handshake

I just got this book this weekend and it seems very good as I hop around and skim parts. For those of you looking to create buzz on the web, this is a very comprehensive resource. The Virtual Handshake book cover

Buy The Virtual Handshake here

Visit the The Virtual Handshake Blog and Resource Site

By David Teten and Scott Allen

Friday, August 05, 2005

Buzz Word Novak

The Robert Novak incident got me thinking about rapid blog response, or RBR, as I am now calling it. I looked at Technorati and saw that Novak was coming up a bunch. I then saw what happened with him walking off and then I thought... how can I write something about Novak? People will be searching for things about him today and tomorrow. Find out what it hot and work it into your blog post to drive more traffic to your blog. If you cannot do that, at least use an incident like that to touch base with a few people.

Buzz on your website

I like visiting author's websites. I often decide to buy a book or not based on the value and professionalism of a website. One of my clients in another business is dedicated to making his site a complete experience that accompanies his book.

If you want to find out what your overweight employees are costing you in sick time, increased health care, etc. you can use his online calculator.

This was a low cost thing to add to the site but makes it very interesting for business owners. As he continues to add things that engage his audience, his book sales and consulting practice will continue to grow.

If you are considering writing a book, start with the website now. Build an audience. This way, when your book hits the shelves, you are adding cool features instead of writing your about page. You can visit Tom's ever growing site at

Insisting on bad press

If you want to really create some word of mouth, do something really bad to a client and then keep insisting they pay you for it. I completely understand accidents happen and I have been patient for 9 months, but Nuvox, our past provider of T1's has insisted that we pay for service that did not live up to their promises. After several outages last year, one for almost two days, we decided to move everything to a wonderful datacenter. Nuvox continues to bill us and insist that we owe them money. We spent a lot on buying new equipment, mirroring everything and sending it across the country. On principle we refuse to pay them, even if it hurts our credit. My buzz point here is this. I was quite willing to quietly leave their service and move to one I could count on. For a few thousand dollars they have continued to badger us and now I am going to be sure to tell everyone I know. Why have they worked so hard to keep that very negative experience fresh in my mind? There can never be a strong, positive buzz or word of mouth success unless you can provide great service. Negative is much easier.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Repeat Performance

I have watched the Buzzoodle list grow lately, and I have noticed a funny thing. Clients that have known about it for months are just signing up. One reason may be that they have known about it but have not had the time. I think that the main reason is that they keep hearing and reading about it on an ongoing basis. Think about how much more likely you are to purchase something after the third person tells you about it. How many times does someone have to hear about you to buy from you? This is a very valuable number to know and it drives home the point that you have to keep broadcasting your message in different ways all the time.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Piggyback on Buzz

Here is an excellent blog on email marketing. Chris Baggott was mentioned on the Forbes Best of the Web list, which is great buzz for him, so I visited him and liked what I saw. I commented on a post where I thought I could be insightful, and he then highlighted me in a post. Please note that I did not promote myself or the company. I always try to add value to the blog through meaningful comments. By watching what other people are buzzing about, you can perfect your efforts. If you read the email marketing blog, you can learn a lot about how to create more buzz with email.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

CNN - How has the Internet changed you?

CNN is collecing storys about how the internet has changed your life. This is the kind of thing that takes five minutes, and if you are selected could get you a lot of visibility. This is the kind of thing Buzzoodle challenges are built around. If you read this and don't post something there, you are not serious about buzz.

Forbes Best of the Web

Forbes best blogs list: Is nicely categorized and interesting. I already read many of the listed blogs. Feel free to email the editor and tell them that Buzzoodle was robbed.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Buzz and Industry Buzz

A lot of companies are jumping on the bandwagon and talking about Buzz and Word of Mouth. For many of these companies, measuring the number of posts on blogs is how they measure results. This is probably effective if you are releasing a Hollywood movie, but is it effective if you are releasing a new trade magazine for kitchen appliances? No. Blog measurements are only effective for the very mainstream products that can build a universal buzz. If I had a trade magazine and a bunch of people started making comments on their blog, but they are not in my industry, it does not have the same value. Target your buzz and word of mouth to your audience and find better ways to measure it, such as with Buzzoodle or by building your own campaign. Don't be swept up by the hype over having every blog posting about you. That is not automatically a good thing.