Thursday, April 27, 2006

Seven Deadly Mistakes that can hurt a small business

We have been in business seven years. Here are seven things I have learned not to do in that time. Several of them have a strong tie to Buzz Marketing.

Unfortunately, it is hard not to be guilty of some of these some times.

  • Taking Customers for Granted
  • Not watching trends in your industry
  • Not knowing what young people are into, because it is coming your way
  • Not knowing what the latest hot technologies are for promoting yourself on the web
  • Giving up after one failure
  • Over Promising, especially when a client has an unrealistic timeline
  • Under Pricing

Avoid these and you will be very successful.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hunters, Gatherers and Buzz - How do you do a Career Fair?

Today we did a career fair. We are fairly desperate for employees due to fantastic growth and it was an important event for us. This time we did it right. We assigned a hunter, a gatherer and created buzz. The hunter walked the room sizing up the other booths as possible clients, talking to applicants in the aisles, and did everything she could to draw people's attention to our booth. Another person was the gatherer. She stayed at the booth and was friendly and encouraged people to talk to her. Then to create buzz we gave away cooler things than everyone else. 10 Copies of Career Intensity, Buzzoodle T-Shirts and fortune Cookies (courtesy of David Lorenzo.) Not only did the applicants want the book, but so did many of the vendors there. I guess a lot of people want to upgrade their jobs. If you are thinking about doing a career fair, do it well and make sure you give at least one copy of this book away. It brought a lot of people up to the booth.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Do you do Back Scratch Marketing?

Today I was training someone on how to stand out better on the web. He was shocked when I told him to drive traffic from his site by linking to other people. Just did not make sense to him. Here is how I explained it. Nearly everyone on the web is promoting something. Themselves, a book, a service, something. People appreciate it when you help them by linking to them and saying something nice about what they are doing. Many times they will link back to you, if not that day, eventually. This seems to be especially true with authors. Authors of one book rarely feel competitive with one another, because if someone reads one marketing book, chances are they are going to go out and read another. So if an author lists other author’s books they like, they are creating a valuable resource center and not necessarily hurting long term sales, although that day it may seem like it. This is Back Scratch Marketing. Embrace the fact that you are promoting something and so are other people. Link to them, email them and let them know you linked to them, and watch some of them link back. It is a win-win-win. Your visitors benefit from a more diverse resource, other resources benefit from the links, and you benefit from more people finding you through the links back.

Monday, April 24, 2006

8 Year Old is Business Conference Featured Speaker

How does an 8 year old get a speaking gig at the conference? Just like anyone else, doing something remarkable that people want to hear about. Visit the conference links here. Kids Roar released their first products today as well. Oooo, night lights! Bravo to the conference committee for taking a chance.

Mr Career Intensity - Mrs Career Intensity

Mr. Lorenzo is getting married at the end of the month and wants to offer a special on that day. Here is what he emailed to me: I’m getting married next Saturday – April 29, 2006! That’s right. It’s my big day but you get the gift.

On that day, and that day only, everyone who orders Career Intensity through my website will receive a free one-hour coaching session with me. During this session I’ll help you begin your own personal situation analysis. Here are just a few of the things I’ll help you with during our call:

  • Uncovering your passion.
  • Identifying potential barriers to becoming a Superachiever and teaching you how to begin to destroy them.
  • Identifying potential accelerants that can propel your career to new heights. The three tips that will help you boost your positive attitude and create great career karma.

Here’s how it works: Go to this page on April 29, 2006 – and click the order button.

You will receive your book in about a week. In mid-May you will receive some information via e-mail (a career audit packet). Once you fill out the career audit packet, my team will call you and schedule our coaching session.

This offer will be valid for everyone who orders Career Intensity on April 29, 2006. It’s my wedding day, but you get the gift.


We wish David the best of luck on this new adventure.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Personal Brand

David Lorenzo has a post about improving your personal brand over at Career Intensity. It is really a challenge to reexamine yourself and make improvements. To add to his recommendations, consider how you can create a little more buzz for your organization each day. If every employee did that, you would be working for a much more successful organization.

The Four Steps to building Buzz with Advocates

If you want to build a strong advocacy base, there are four broad steps to consider. Failure to do well in any of these four areas will result in failure in your overall goal. Don't worry, it all comes down to good products and good customer service. Build something worthy of buzz - If you are selling something everyone else is, at least create a new, exciting package plan. Anything to make it worth talking about, before and after using it. Recruit Advocates - By recruit, I do not mean hire. I mean cultivate relationships, find people who like to talk about thing, especially thing in your line. Treat these people special and make them feel like an important part of the product development and evaluation. Treat the customers they bring in like gold - If someone takes the time to refer someone to you, you'd better not drop the ball. Recognize and Reward Advocacy - Recognize and reward people that are out talking about you, brining you referrals, being your free sales person.... Doesn't this just make sense. This all seems very obvious, but it is easy to get caught up in one area and forget about the others. Assess your efforts in all four areas.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Accidental Bad Buzz - Andy Birol

I had a funny conversation today. A client of ours called and asked if I'd heard about how Andy Birol went nuts and sent out a nasty email to everyone. I'd gotten the same eNewsletter back on April 1st. When I'd first read it, I was shocked as well. Then I clicked on the link and saw it was an April Fools Prank. What is not so funny for Andy is that many people skim eNewsletters and do not click on the link. It turns out people are talking about how he went nuts and closed his business. That is not funny at all. When we write something, especially on the web, it is important to realize many people will just skim it. Are skimmers getting the right message from your writings?

Phil Gerbyshak

Creating great channels and flows that lead back to your blog and website are important for creating buzz and getting noticed. The funny thing is, the more of these you build, the more you have additional lenses, articles, pr to cultivate also. We no longer care just about website stats, but blog stats, Squidoo Lens stats, diggs, etc. A friend of mine that is a fellow blogger went above and beyond when he not only helped out with our squidoo lens by visiting it, but posted it on his blog too. All from a quick email He is one of those people that I have never met, but because of his blog, his 2 lens: Make It Great and PhilGerb, and being a very positive, communicative person, I have gotten to know him fairly well. We will be meeting at the Book Expo next month thanks to David Lorenzo, another great blogger, who is getting us tickets. How well do your blog and website visitors know you?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Advocacy Systems

It is one thing to focus on creating word of mouth, it is entirely another thing to get to the point where you create sustainable word of mouth with proper systems in place. To get that initial jumpstart, just create more buzz, more word of mouth, more stories people like to repeat. But at some point, if you are successful, you will have to create a system for strengthening the word of mouth process. Consider building a system that:
  • Tracks word of mouth
  • Creating stronger advocates
  • Rewards referrals
  • Makes every employee a strong advocate
  • Creates a strong relationship among advocates
  • Encourages customer generated media that promotes you authentically.

There are more, but blogger has an outage in 2 minutes so I better post!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Virusworthy Buzz

Seth Godin has a good post on Flip the Funnel. Seven questions to ask yourself. Great stuff. We often get calls from people looking for the magic buzz pill. It is really just a lot of work, a clear strategy, and thinking like the customer. His questions will help you focus on your strategy.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Selective Targeting - Influential People

One way to network and meet people is to go to every event and try to meet every person there. Another approach is to build a network of high quality via selective targeting. To build a target list of influential people you would like to meet, here is what you need to do.
  • Know what your goal is
  • Know how each person on your list can help you achieve your goals
  • Know enough about the person that you can carry on an intelligent conversation
  • Read trade magazines and belong to appropriate associations to help identify people of interest.
  • Ask other people you know about the people on your list (one at a time, don't read the list to them.) You'd be surprised how many of the people you know may know someone that can help you get an introduction.
  • If you work hard to meet someone, go the the meeting prepared.

It is good to take advantage of random opportunities, but the fastest road to success is a road well planned, or the lottery.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How to Bend an Apple

What kinds of titles can you write to get people to read your blog post?
  • Ask them a question - How do you increase....
  • Imply a list of useful information - The 8 secrets to....
  • intrigue them - How to bend an apple (You are reading this, aren't you)
  • Breaking News - Caught in the act! XYZ......

Review your past blog posts and see if you are writing good headlines. Think about if you would have cared enough to read it. Remember that having key words in your headlines is important too, so don't make them all crazy like this one.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Being the Highest Bid

Of the 4 quotes I got, yours was the highest by a lot. You're hired. Recently I have had the fortune to help put together several quotes. In the past, we have not been as busy and were always more worried about getting the work. Over the last year, the buzz and word of mouth have kicked in to the point were we are booked and hiring. We have also gotten our message honed to the point that people understand we care as much about their success as they do. Recently, we did several quotes. In two cases we came in the highest in a group of 3 and a group of 4. The person for the group of four asked us to reconsider the quote, because he really liked what we had to say but it was hard to justify the additional expense. Two of us went out, reviewed the quote in detail with him, and added about 35% more to the cost for some additional work. It looks like we are getting this job. It is very interesting that you can come in the highest and still get the job. It came down to something very simple. We could build him software for much less, but we could not make him successful in achieving his goals for less, and we insist in only working on realistic, goal and revenue driven projects. You can create a lot of buzz and not compete just on price if you put your clients success first, and forget about the product you are selling for a minute.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Standing Out on the Web

Putting together a complete web strategy, including buzz and word of mouth, is extensive. Here is a set of articles: 8 Secrets to your Online Success.

Create more buzz at events: Become a Peripheral Host

Have you ever been someplace that you did not know anyone? Become a peripheral host. A peripheral host is a person who takes it upon themselves to greet, take care of, and introduce to others, any person who seems like they have also not been there before or know many people. If I wrote, “Don’t worry about it. Own the room.” We would know that is easier said than done for many people. However, if you take the mindset that it is your job to be the host of the people that do not walk in and do not immediately gravitate to a group of people, you will soon find yourself meeting many people. This especially works well in a large group, such as a conference, seminar or larger networking group where not everyone knows each other yet. The funny thing about this is that people will assume, just from being hospitable, that you are involved in organizing the event. Most people walk into a large group atmosphere and start looking for clues as to what they are supposed to do. If they know people, they will gravitate to them because people that have been there longer will know what to do. If they do not know people, they will start to graze, moving about the room looking at things, getting a drink, etc. while they scope the room out. Few people go to an event like this and do not want to meet other people. Take the initiative as if this person just walked through the front door of your home. Ask them a few questions and introduce them to the other people you have met. It will go quickly. Within a short time, people will think you know everything about the event and all the people at it. You will be all the buzz.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Good Business or Bad Buzz

Seth Godin has an interesting post about treating customers differently. (Charging them more or less for the same product or service.) He has some good points about how much easier it is to do and makes a point that it should be done. I agreed when I read it, but then last night I got home and had second thoughts. We have a child in a good piano school. It is expensive, and we never hesitate to pay the bill even thought their are cheaper options out there. Everyone pays the same price, but some people have multiple kids in it, so obviously they spend more. While I like the idea of treating different customers differently, I think it is very easy for some of us to forget that some people are hyper sensitive to fairness, and even a slight perceived preference to someone else, pricing or otherwise, creates a lot of emotion in the person and can lead to negative buzz.

In the case of the piano school, my wife believes that they tend to have favorites, and once that opinion is formed it is easy to find additional evidence to reinforce that thought. Whether intentional or not, it is probably true. I do not care, but she does.

So yes, you can treat difference customers differently, even charge some more and some less. But be aware that people do not all think the same, and a slight difference in treatment could result in a lot of bad buzz.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Career Intensity

If you are a regular reader, you know I am a fan of the Career Intensity book. Don't take my word for it though, check out this review. I will be shocked with all the pre-release attention david is getting if it is not a best seller. (And no, I am not paid to say that.)

What is your Networking Diversity?

Everyone knows it is important to have a broad network to succeed in business. A broad network also helps when you want to create some buzz if many of those people are advocates of yours. We are currently hiring for a position that requires some tech, some design, some writing and marketing savvy and good communication and project oversight skills. It is not a great salary for a computer programmer, but an excellent salary for people in other fields. We wanted to use WOM to find the candidate, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that someone I have known for 6 months was able to forward it to someone she thinks is a perfect fit. The key was that she is graduating this semester and she is one of those people that you know is going to do well the first time you meet her. I assume she has to hang out with similar people, even though I knew she would not be interested. So how deep is you network? How many people do you know and are very different from you? A diverse network is going to be more interesting and more powerful, because it gives you access to more varied groups. You may not know all of these things about everyone, but if they are a strong connection of yours, you will have a good idea of many.
  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Interests and Skills
  • Location of Residence
  • Sexuality
  • Marital Status (With or without kids)

Do an audit of your Top 50 in the network and see how diverse you are.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Comment Language

Here is why you should not write in the same voice for blog posts and comments on blog posts.