Thursday, June 29, 2006

Buzz Marketing Updates

A few web tools that create buzz have had some changes. Digg - Released a new version that has better interface management and a business section. Squidoo - No longer in Beta. They have moved the Google Ad Words around and now they appear at the top of the listing. I have expressed my lack of enthusiasm for the change with them because now a competitor can be listed as the first thing on your lens. Check out both. We see regular buzz and traffic from both tools. Here is the Buzzoodle Lens

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What kind of sauce would you like with that?

Discussing Taco Bell today at the conference table. The one near us has a disturbing habit of asking what kind of sauce you would like, and then not giving it to you. Talk about annoying, and not the kind of thing Taco Bell wants people to be sitting around talking about. It is negative buzz though unfulfilled promises. Do your customers feel like you are promising something you are not delivering.... even just a condiment? Take a look before you get everyone talking.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Thank you for voting

We did not win the Marketing Sherpa readers choice blog contest. Seth Godin won, and he has one of the top 100 blogs and excellent content, so no surprise there. See all the winners here. Thank you everyone who voted and if you visited this week for the first time, I hope you will stop back for more ways to create buzz.

Tips by the Marketing Maven

Some good basic advice over at Kinetic Ideas today by the Maven, Wendy Maynard. Make the messages buzz-worthy and get even better results than average.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Do You Know the Strategic Steps to Recruiting Advocates and Fans?

To create a buzz, you need to stimulate someone’s brain in a way that makes them want to tell other people about you. Sometime it is easy, and sometimes it is really a stretch to come up with buzz about you and what you do. If you spend time thinking about word of mouth and buzz, you probably spend time thinking about how to create a story people will tell their friends about. It could be all boiled down to great product or service that you actively tell people about, but lets think about the steps involve in getting someone to the end result of talking about you. The Strategic Steps to Recruiting Advocates and Fans Set One: Entice People to Notice You How do you get noticed? Without this step, the rest matters not a drop.
  • People skim for interesting things, how do you stand out?
  • How many new ways are you getting your message out?
  • What % of people stop on your message vs. skim over it?

Step Two: Entice People to Pay Attention

Are you paying attention? This must interest you just a bit then.

Having people notice you does not guarantee that you have gotten them to pay attention.

  • Have they forgotten what they were doing and are they focusing on you?
  • Will they feel incomplete if they do not get more information?
  • Are they open to finding out more?

Step Three: Entice People to Exploration

Hmmm, this is interesting. Let me take a look around, kick the tires or Google it. At this step you have created enough interest that some people will begin exploration. It might be picking up and shaking your product, it might be later on the Internet.

  • Is your product or service easy to explore?
  • Can people quickly grasp the concept and benefit?
  • Can they imagine themselves using it?

Each person has a different tolerance for how long they will explore something. That time varies based on the product and on their comfort level with your mode of exploration. Step Four: Entice People to Make a Commitment Play time is over and it is time to commit. Ideally, they buy 3 of everything you have to offer, but what is going on in their head?

  • That was mildly interesting – maybe I will get one some day….
  • I must have one. Here is my charge card.
  • Well, it might be OK to try.
  • That’s great! - I have to tell someone about this. (Takes out cell phone)
  • I am confused – Time to move on.
  • That sucks – Who would buy that!
  • That sucks – I have to tell someone about this train wreck of a product.

You will get more favorable results at this point if you have created high level of interest, trust and a strong understanding of the benefit. They may make a purchase, but they may also go out and tell others about you. Both options are good a good outcome. Set Five: Impress People with More This step assumes they have engaged with you in some way. Deliver a great customer experience, even if they do not buy. Freely give some value and positive energy to anyone that has gotten this far in your highly complex and intricate dance of advocate courtship. How do you leave them feeling?

  • That was dazzling
  • Just what I expected (Not bad if they had high expectation already.)
  • Didn’t live up to the hype
  • Ouch, I hurt myself

Step Six: Win People as Life Long Fans Assuming you keep in touch and keep delivering great value, you may have created a life long fan. This is better than the temporary buzz of step 4. This is a new sales person that will work for free, train themselves and get in line dressed as your CEO to be the first to buy your next new product. All of these steps are important to be truly successful at creating word of mouth and buzz. While sales people can play the role of guide, each of these steps is as dependant on the product and the services of the non-sales staff, if not more. By the way, if anyone out there needs to know how I dress, let me know. I am happy to provide photos.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How you can get a buzz from Marketing Sherpa

Thank you Marketing Sherpa for considering Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing along side so many other fine marketing blogs for MarketingSherpa Reader's Choice Blog & Podcasting Awards 2006. I would be amazed if we actually won against some of those other blogs, but the buzz is much appreciated. For those who do not know, Marketing Sherpa is one of the premier marketing resource sites in existence and I read its eNewsletters and visit the site regularly. They are conducting a survey of favorite blogs and they listed this one, which is quit an honor. Please vote for Buzzoodle here. Now, we could just get happy to be nominated and go on with life, but dear reader, consider the value in the blog list they have posted. Don’t let an opportunity like this pass you by. Visit each and every blog listed and congratulate the blogger (via comments) for being nominated. That is going to create some buzz for you because:
  • These blogs are done by experts that will probably check out your website because of your comment.
  • All the traffic they will get from the Marketing Sherpa site will ensure that more visitors to their sites also visit yours via the comment link.
  • You will get all kinds of ideas about marketing from visiting these blogs.

This is the kind of buzz opportunity that just falls in your lap. The question is, are you going to act on it?

Side Note: Consider the buzz Marketing Sherpa is creating for itself by doing this. What kind of contest could you do to get other people to talk about you?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Who are we and how did we get here?

This is less buzz marketing and more basic business, but this has been an interesting few days. My business partner and I have been going through the exercise of asking who we are and how we got here.

I defined 4 types of business we could be. I told him we needed to pick one as our main driving force and really build on that. This is important to buzz because if you cannot understand your company no one else will. Here were the four options for us:

Purpose Driven Philosophy The purpose driven business philosophy is one that focuses on the ideals and defined by the managers and understood by every team member and does not pursue opportunities that are outside of the core vision. This philosophy is based on ideals, vision, change and being disruptive to the current way of doing things. This philosophy must have a strong purpose that will rally people behind it and make them life long fans. Needed:

  • Strong, clear sense of purpose
  • Willing to sacrifice for purpose
  • Strong team
  • Champion that leads team unflinchingly

Financially Driven Philosophy This purpose is to drive down costs and drive up revenue, creating bigger financial gain for less effort. Ideal business is small items and information that can be sold with no consulting. Also building efficient machines that can employee people to complete sales transactions. Needed:

  • Willing to pass on complex opportunities
  • Make difficult decisions to keep costs low
  • Constant learning and promotion to generate revenue
  • Systems that make revenue steams turn key

Technology Driven Philosophy The purpose of the technology driven philosophy is to build technology that captures enough users to make it worth buying by a bigger company. This philosophy requires considerable funding because the technology must be of the highest quality and done with a passion for excellence. It must also solve a problem for the target audience and be simple to use. Needed:

  • Clear IT goal and definition
  • Strong tech team and marketing professionals
  • High venture capital funding to do it right

Service Driven Philosophy The purpose of the service driven philosophy is to provide high quality services to client that appreciate your ability to provide value. Strong performance will result in word of mouth recommendations until the client list gets large enough that you can sell to other firm. This has the most difficult exit strategy because people in the firm are the biggest asset. Needed:

  • Team of self managing professionals.
  • Project management definition and smooth process
  • Large pipeline for steady income

I am not going to tell you the final choice. It will be evident as we evolve the business based on our assessments of who we are and how we got here.

You may want to try a similar exercise yourself. Really look hard at what things you are doing and how they create value for your customers and income for you. You may find that you need to evolve into a more buzzworthy, more interesting company.

Digg vs. Netscape

Netscape seems to be coming out with a digg like service. If they do a better job of moderating and providing value and have the traffic, I will be spending time there.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Monday Buzz Party

No smoky rooms with lava lamps here. Instead, consider having a Monday After-work buzz party. Everyone volunteers to stay one hour and create some buzz. Break up buzz items among each other, here are just some examples:
  • One person writes a press release
  • Article writing for article repositories
  • Website updates
  • Mail hand written cards and letters
  • Blog posts
  • Seminar planning
  • Podcast
Maybe the employer would like to provide some food and drink and use this as a team building exercise as well as buzz creation. I am starting this in two weeks. I don't know why I did not start it sooner.

Referrals and the big picture

One thing about referrals that people forget is that they are not always sales, sometimes they are better. One of the best referrals I got a few years back from a leads group I was in was to someone we hired and helped our company out a lot for the year she was with us. A referral is something that someone refers to you that has value So what qualifies as a referral?
  • Job Candidate
  • Sale
  • Great person you should know to build your network
  • New partnership opportunity
  • New business opportunity (Ask me about the tropical island we may be opening offices on)
  • New job opportunity
  • Speaking opportunity
  • Other networking group you should attend
  • Name of valuable tool you should use
  • Opportunity to write or be interviewed
  • Gain an advocate
The list is probably much longer than this. Feel free to add comments. The key is to always consider that there is more to networking than getting warm sales leads, especially if you are in it for the long haul.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I need your story!

I am putting the final touches on the Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing book and to give it some zest, I would love to include more stories that were small, conscious acts that created big buzz and transformed your organization.

If I use your story, I will sight you as the source of the story, which is a good way to create some buzz for yourself. I will also send you a complimentary book when it is available.

Please be sure the stories are true and you provide me with enough detail so that I can tell it accurately.

You may email me the story at ron@buzzoodle.com. Please include your name, organization name, story, address and phone number (In case I have questions.) I will not use your information beyond what is stated in this message. If you want to get emails from us, you need to sign up for our newsletter here.

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Create Buzz by Celebrating Success

Buzzoodle Buzz Challenge #56 Celebrate Success (From the upcoming book, Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing) Difficulty: Simple Time: Ongoing Cost: Minimal Technology Required:Simple How do you get more people to create more buzz? Celebrate success and let people know when you do something buzzworthy. There are many tools that can be used to celebrate your successes as an organization. If no one in the organization has set up a formal way to disseminate success yet, mention it to management. It is critical that an organization knows what successes they are achieving and what stories they can tell. The tools to tell the stories depend on what works best for the organization. A simple bulletin board can work if some people do not have computers. Also a company newsletter or reading the items at a staff meeting work well. If you have a technical workplace and everyone has access to the Internet, you can use your Intranet to post stories. If that is not available, consider starting an online group, setting up a wiki or a workplace blog to let people know about your success stories. One of my clients has an eNewsletter that they have been using for years. The software archives the article on the web as well as sending it via email. The archives now get more hits than the main website, even though it is only published for employees. Of course, the public reading about success and how the organization treats the employees is a good thing too. Celebrate success every day in a public way.

Do challenges and contests work for creating buzz?

Yes. One of the main tools of Buzzoodle is the "Buzz Challenge." By challenging people to step out of a normal day and create some buzz, you can get some extraordinary results without spending a fortune. To see and example of buzz from a contest, read this post. What kind of challenge or contest can you do to get employees or customers involved in creating more buzz for you?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Set 5 Buzz Goals Today for more Buzz Tomorrow

What are 5 goals you can set to create more buzz tomorrow?
  • Do at least one press release per month. By sending out monthly press released you can increase the visibility of your organization. Make the press releases interesting and send them out through web-based press release services.

  • Review all documents for buzzwothiness. Every document you have can be made to be more interesting and buzzworthy. Make a list of the documents you send out to clients and review each one for ways to improve the selling aspect of the document.

  • Update website weekly Nothing kills interest more than a stale website. Update at least the news regularly, and blog for even more active and engaging content on the web.

  • Get non-sales staff involved. Regularly mention the importance of creating buzz and word of mouth to all staff. Let them know the successes and examples of how non-sales people have made an impact on sales. Schedule meetings regularly.

  • Ask clients if they know someone that would be interested in talking to you. Chances are, your clients know what you do and what the benefits are, and if they are a fan of yours, they will be happy to spread some buzz and give you some referrals. Ask clients for people they know that could benefit from your service. Also, ask if they ever talk about you and ask what they say. If they say they never talk about you, ask why.

All of these items are long term operational issues that need specific goals put into place. Create those goals, track your progress and watch the buzz grow.

Friday, June 09, 2006

What are you buzzing about?

If you read the previous interview, one question I always like to ask people is, "What are you buzzing about and why?" If you visit the Buzzoodle Squidoo Lens, I have put up a comment area just for that. The only rule is that you cannot have any financial gain in promoting it. The box did not work in IE, but I am sure they will get that fixed in a day or two.

What are you buzzing about?

If you read the previous interview, one question I always like to ask people is, "What are you buzzing about and why?" If you visit the Buzzoodle Squidoo Lens, I have put up a comment area just for that. The only rule is that you cannot have any financial gain in promoting it. The box did not work in IE, but I am sure they will get that fixed in a day or two.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Dan Tudor Interview Part 6 - What are you buzzing about

In my last question, I asked dan what he creates buzz about? I love to know what people sell just because they like it. Ron: What are the last 5 products or services you recommended without compensation or coercion and why did you recommend them? Dan: 1. The fish tacos at Rubios Baja Grill. It's a franchise restaurant with a location near me. They're incredible. 2. The Hilton Suite Dreams Mattress. It's made especially for Hilton by Serta, and after sleeping on it I knew I had to have one. I even took the sheets off the bed before I left trying to find the maker, with no luck. I Googled "hilton mattress" and discovered hiltontohome.com. You can buy anything that was in your Hilton room...how cool is that! I have told many, many people about the mattress. 3. The University of California football coach's clinic. I'm an assistant varsity coach at a local school, and Cal puts on a great coach's clinic every year. Go Bears! 4. I don't know if this counts, but I've told lots of sales people that they should watch NBC's "The Office" starring Steve Carrell. Smart, well written, and hilarious. I worked in an office like that when I was a sales rep for Pitney Bowes. 5. GoDaddy.com. I've built a website with them, host two e-mail accounts with them, and they're awesome. Great service, low prices, fun site. Plus the founder, Bob Parsons, has a great blog. Thanks for the interview Dan. If you have not read his blog Landing the Deal, get over there and learn how to close the big ones.

Dan Tudor Part 5 - Are you new to sales?

Ron: When someone is starting out in sales, everything is a challenge. What do you think someone new to sales should focus on for the first year to get the best results?

Dan: Another great question. You're on a roll. During the first year, one of the things I think a new salesperson needs to master is the compensation plan. That may sound a little surprising, but I've seen a lot of sales professionals get depressed and down in their new job because they don't understand the commission and bonus plan. Once they understand how the company compensates them, they are able to better understand how they should approach their new job.

The other thing they need to focus on is building up their bank of business quickly, and demonstrate that they can close business. Managers may say that they are patient and will give the new sales rep time to "grow" but I find that this is rarely the case. Non-performing sales reps are quickly replaced unless they prove that they have potential. That's the nature of the business.

Dan Tudor Interview Part 4 - Do you really look like that?

Ron: Do you always have that deer caught in the headlights look that is in your picture? Dan: Sadly, yes. I'm easily amused. By the way, when I was younger, I was the spitting image of "Cameron" from Ferris Buehler's Day Off. When I'm sad, I look like he did just before he sent his Porsche through the big plate glass window. Hopefully dan does not have that surprised look when he lands a deal!

Dan Tudor Interview #3 - Politics, Religion and Sales

Part 3 in our Landing the Deal Interview with Dan Tudor Ron: You mentioned in one blog post that you lean a bit to the right... what do you think are the advantages and disadvantages for someone's success in sales if they freely talk about religion and/or politics?

Dan: That's a great question. In some situations, I think it could hurt. In others, it could help. Obviously, if I were representing a company or organizations that was selling a specific product or service, I would make those types of conversations rare unless I knew - without a doubt - that a prospect or customer shared my point of view. Otherwise, its got the potential to be damaging to the relationship. Plus, in representing another company, I don't think you have the right to interject too much of your own personal, non-business beliefs into the way you sell.

I agree Dan, and I would say be really sure before you start assuming someone you are talking to shares your views.

Dan Tudor Interview - Small Business, Limited Resources

Question #2 of my interview with Sales Guru and Dr. Seuss fan Dan Tudor: Ron: If you were a new, small business owner with under $3000 marketing budget and limited time to send in the first year of business, what would you do to generate sales quickly?
For Retail? Dan: I would have 2500 full color postcard-sized flyers printed. I would hire a couple of high school aged kids to put one on every door around my store, or in a targeted desired neighborhood. On the card, I'd offer them 50% off any one item in the store if they came in by a certain date (with appropriate limits, depending upon what you were selling...that wouldn't work if you just opened a car dealership, obviously!) I've seen this type of thing work, and it can be done for around $1000. For Services? Dan: Same thing, but with a percentage off whatever the service is. Again, the benefit to this type of advertising is that it is inexpensive, effective, and measurable based on the coupons coming back in as they are redeemed. I've seen it work for both services and retail.
Good Advice for those businesses getting started on a limited budget, or even for those that just want more customers from around the neighborhood.

Dan Tudor Interview : Closing Sales

Question 1: Buzz and Word of Mouth create interest, but do not close the sale. What do you think the most important elements of landing the deal are once someone has called or emailed asking for more information?
Dan Tudor: In my experience, the first vital element in landing the deal is asking effective trial close questions - assuming you've established need, and they understand what your product or service could mean for their business. Not enough sales people take this step, and it ends up costing them the sale. The second vital element would be asking for the sale. That sounds like an obvious answer, but many, many sales professionals don't do it. They'll let the customer "think about it" or they agree to "get back to them in a week or two." Sales professionals need to be constantly asking for the sale. Over and over again, and not apologize for it. I think it demonstrates a belief in what they're selling, personally.
Dan's advice works well for getting your blog noticed too. Ask for interviews from people.

Dan Tudor - Landing the Deal Interview

Dan Tudor recently did a group of interviews that were fun, informative and with great people. Somehow I ended up in the mix with Seth Godin, Sam I am, and Jeffrey Gitomer. Not bad.

I thought that some of his advice might be great on this blog as well, because Buzz can create interest, but you still have to close the sale.

I will mention that I have not met Dan in person, and there is a good chance he is looney. He interviewed a Dr. Seuss character recently, and in my request I mentioned I would not do that, and he got very defensive.

Ron: I will not be interviewing any fictional characters or pet rocks, but I think it would be interesting to get some real "closing the sales" kind of stuff up. We have a lot of small business readers.

Dan: Ron, don't slam fictional characters. They are quite entertaining.

Later in the interview see how he replies to my question about his "Deer in the headlights" look. We also have reason to believe he posed as the complete cast of full house recently when commenting on a post. Read the interview that follows and see what you think of him.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Curious where the posts are?

For those of you wondering why I have not done a fresh post in several days, blogger has been having trouble and yesterday I lost a long post that did not go through. I guess I am getting what I pay for, and in over a year I do not have many complaints. Lets see if this goes through and then I may try another one.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #19 - From the upcoming book, Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Call/Email a Person You Respect Difficulty: Simple Time: Quick Cost: Minimal Technology Required: Simple Think about someone you would like to meet. It should be someone you respect and someone that would be beneficial for you to get to know. In this challenge we suggest you stretch and think of someone that is not easy but not too difficult to get to know. Contact this person and let them know why you would like to meet them. Briefly tell them about yourself and propose getting together for coffee or lunch. If there is any way that you can benefit them, let them know. If not, you could propose that they act as a mentor to you in your career or for your business. Some influential people enjoy acting as mentors to people that are working hard to grow and succeed. I know several people that have famous mentors and they leverage the name and relationships to create more buzz for themselves and for their mentors.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Annoyance Factor

What is the Annoyance Factor and what is yours? The annoyance factor is the % of people that are less than happy with your product or service but not so unhappy as to complain. Complaining is good. When you get a complaint, if you are smart, you address the issue, fix the problem and make that complainer into a fan again. Happy people are good. They tell people about you, promote you, buy more products and services from you, etc. Happy people are advocates for your business. Then there are the people that fall in between. You might think you have a lot of happy customers, but what you may really have is a lot of people that are annoyed, but not so much that they will go to the trouble of changing. Cell phone companies are a good example. I had T-Mobile and had horrible service. I had to call from my driveway to get a connection. I was annoyed. I complained to everyone, but not to T-mobile because they were not going to build a tower just for me. Yet it took a full year before I switched services, because getting out of the contract seemed a hassle. I was within their annoyance factor from the beginning to the end of the relationship, waiting for an opportunity to leave. Today I went to McDonalds after a meeting. I just wanted a quick bite. The menu in one place said medium fries were $1. In another spot, a piece of tape was over the word medium. They charged me $1.40. I asked why, and they said they were in the process of changing it. The menu did not state the change, and I was annoyed. No, I am not going to stand in a McDonalds and argue about 40 cents, but I really did not want fries yet I said to myself, it is just $1 more, so I got them. Then they were $1.40. Then I wished I’d not got them because my “It’s only a dollar more” became a lie and I was overpaying for something that was not good for me anyway. That brings me to software. Think about the user interface with the annoyance factor in mind. Most people will find ways around software quirks. They learn to get around the little problems. But is your software really good, or just not really bad enough to generate complaints? If a large percent of your users are existing in the annoyance area, you are sitting on a time bomb. Any seemingly minor hiccup could trigger widespread desertion that could put you out of business. To determine your annoyance factor, do a customer survey and ask some specific questions in relation to satisfaction. Here are some sample customer service questions.

  • Would you strongly recommend us to someone if you knew they could benefit from our type of product or service?
  • Has our product or service not met your expectations in any way?
  • How would you rate our product or service? (Great Value, I got what I expected, Needs improvement. ) (A scale of 1-7 will give you better data.)
  • Have you ever received less than fantastic customer service from one of our employees?

More questions like this, with clear guides to what makes someone fall into the “Advocate/Happy” category, the “I hate you” category and the “just waiting to find someone better” category will help you identify your annoyance factor and start working on a strategy. The more you can move people up to happy and out of the annoyance realm, the more successful your organization will be.

America's Funniest Home Videos as your blog strategy

We frequently talk to people about blogging and they think it is hard to create all that good content. Think about that show, America's Funniest Home Videos. People everywhere are creating content for it. All they do is create a wrapper and publish the best. This is how you blog as well. You create the blog, give it a purpose, a focus, and you add color commentary and let other people help out with the content. Dan Tudor is doing that a lot this last few weeks - see Seth Godin's comments on blogging as part of the interview Dan is doing. Rumor has it that Bob Saget and Dan Tudor are really the same person.