Build Online Visibility – Contributed by Vijay Pullur, President, SocialTwist
If a good business idea, sound technology and a well thought business plan are the life and blood of a start-up, PR and Marketing are its survival kit. There is no point in creating a great state of art product if you cannot market it effectively. Reach out to your end consumers and make them believe, how great and state of art your product or service is.
Today the explosion of information over the Internet has resulted in more informed and social media savvy customers; customers who have slowly become marketers in their own right.
The concept of word of mouth marketing or WOMM is the art of reaching out to these customers and converting them into your brand’s advocates. Ensuring they lend the force of their own personality and experience when promoting your brand to a third person.
WOMM has emerged as the simplest and fastest way of promoting your brand among your target audience with the necessary recommendations. In this post, I share five tips with you on how you can build WOMM into your overall Marketing Strategy.
WOMMA defines Word of Mouth Marketing as giving people a reason to talk about your products and services, and making it easier for that conversation to take place. It is the art and science of building active, mutually beneficial consumer-to-consumer and consumer-to-marketer communications.
1. Give your brand a distinct character and personality
It is important that your company and its personality give people the reason to talk. It is important that you create a distinct personality for your brand or product. It could be very similar to other existing solutions in the market yet it should have its own distinct character something that would make it different from the rest. It could be the technology, the approach or the target segment. Be very clear on how you will ensure that your end customer is able to differentiate between your brand and a 100 others. Your distinct personality will become the reason for people to talk.
2. Make your website user friendly
Your website is the display window of your brand. Make it as attractive and simple as possible. When building your website, visualize your end consumer, what information would s/he look for? How best can I convince her? What would appeal to her and make her come back for more? What would be the easiest way for her to navigate my site? How will she share any information she likes on my site with others in her circle of trust? Your website should clearly take care of these queries.
3. Grab the attention of people who can spread the word
In his book named WOMM, Andy Sernivitz states, “Everyone who walks into your site is a prospect for spreading your content. It is not necessary that this person be a subject expert, an evangelist, or even a blogger. It is simply enough, if the visitor thinks that your content is of relevance, need or entertaining for someone known to him/her.” In other words, good content, interesting visuals, and relevant information are critical to the success of your business, your website and to your WOMM strategy.
4. Make it easy for them
Now that you have a nice looking customer friendly website which has lots of relevant information which people can talk about, it is important to empower your site or blog visitor with the right tools which help him spread the word. When a user has to remember his friend (contact) or go somewhere else to find that, it reduces the chances of word of mouth happening. Helping him find contacts of friends on various channels on your website itself will make it easy. Today there are many widgets available which enable this, like AddThis, ShareThis etc. The social media sharing widget from SocialTwist, Tell-a-Friend also enables sharing of content across channels, however it also gives you measurable information on your WOMM activities like referral traffic data, how many people shared the information, the channels used for sharing etc. which can help you strategize your next move better.
5. Be everywhere your customers expect you to be
In a white paper recently released by Charlene Li (Altimeter Group) and Ben Elowitz (Wetpaint) the authors linked financial success with social media engagement. Their findings reveal, “… the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social engagement. The relationship is apparent and significant: socially engaged companies are in fact more financially successful.”
To a great extent, this statement is true; today social media enables companies to know the pulse of their customers. They have a direct medium to communicate with their customers, act upon their grievances, understand and meet their needs.
In his blog, All Things WOM John Moore states, “The more a company knows about the likes, dislikes, etc. of customers, the better they can develop products and services to meet their needs to drive business success. It’s basic but true. If your customers are heavy users of Twitter, your company should be heavy users of Twitter. If your customers are heavy users of Facebook, your company should be heavy users of Facebook. If your customers are active users of Yelp, your company should actively use Yelp.
Word of mouth can only happen if a conversation happens. And the more places where conversations happen, the more opportunities for word of mouth to happen. And thus, it pays to be social.”
Whether you are a big time marketer or small business owner or simply a blogger, Word of Mouth Marketing must be on your mind. There is no better way of marketing your product or service than empowering those who believe in them. Who will market it in their own words, among those who they know would appreciate the same qualities they liked about your brand.
In the last month I took a bit of a unplanned vacation from the blog and for those that are faithful readers I am sorry for the hiatus.
Sometimes the break is needed just to gain perspective, refocus on goals and set a great path for moving into the fall. Honestly I think August should be go away and reflect month. This time of reflection does a lot more in the summer then doing it when you are drunk on eggnog and full of turkey making New Years Resolutions that you won’t remember a week later.
By doing it this time of year and you have 1/3 of the year to take action and put yourself into a great position for next year where I think the economy will start to look much better.
Scapes Creative the company I am run day to day has been focusing on the shift to video on the internet especially when you are able to take advantage of local keywords with Google. Watch this video on getting your clients to give your video testimonials and then head over to http://www.scapes.ca and sign up to get 4 ore Free Videos about the power of video paired with distribution.
If you work in management in any way, shape or form, chances are that at some point in your career you are going to have to propose something to someone. This could be a proposal to your boss to start work on a marvelous new project, a proposal to an investor or a bank for an injection of cash into the company, or an approach to another company for some form of co-operation. What all of these have in common is that you, as the person making the proposition, are trying to get something from the recipient. This immediately puts them in a position of power in any negotiations, so it is vitally important to impress and make yourself out to be competent and worthy of their time, effort and investment.
All business proposals need to meet some criteria before sending them off to anybody. Firstly, be original. Copy-pasted form letters impress people as much as junk mail through the mailbox. If you want your recipient to give you the time of day, extend them the same courtesy. Write your proposal, make it individual and tailored to them and their needs, and be as frank and honest as possible. Don’t try bullshitting, as this will more often than not make you look like a complete idiot. At the same time be confident and straightforward, and don’t try pandering to their egos or filling valuable writing space with aimless platitudes. Make your point, make it clearly and concisely, and sign off with a simple “Yours Sincerely/Truly/Faithfully,”
However, this does not mean that your proposal should be dull and boring. Let your personality show through to a point—the occasional joke or anecdote is often appreciated and helps remind the recipient that you are an actual person and not some automaton paid to hammer words on to a keyboard and not say a damn thing. Don’t ever be informal, but feel free every now and again to prove that you are actually a real person.
Keep your language jargon-free and as simple as possible. Avoid acronyms if at all possible—nothing is worse than reading a business proposal that looks like something you expect to find in the top-secret drawer at the Pentagon. Read it through three or four times, run it through a spellchecker, get someone else to proof it, and then read it yourself one last time for good measure. It is impossible to stress the importance of good writing in any proposal. Clearly set out the aims, goals and needs of your proposal, in a format that makes sense. There are hundreds of business proposal templates floating around on the Internet, so don’t be afraid to research styles and layouts.
Lastly, always keep the reader in mind. Stress why they should be part of this grand plan you have envisioned, and what the advantages are to themselves or the company of going along with your madcap little scheme. At the end of the day this entire endeavor is for their benefit, so do not forget that fact while you are putting your proposal together.
Just a quick note to say we are sorry about some of the problems we have been having on the blog over the last few days. It looks like someone may have tried to do some less then nice things to my the site that need to be cleaned up.
For those that came and found it really slow, that part is all fixed now.
The good lesson in this is backups, Backups, BACKUPS!!! I would not know what to do without Bob Bloom at http://www.southlasalle.com/ . He is just finishing up his custom state of the art backup system for your WordPress and Joomla sites not that will take all the worry away. As a bootstrapped business we can’t afford to have our sites go down or worse then that be lost.
I have been away so I have not put new stuff up in a while but I have some new articles and Video’s coming up this week.