Author Archives: openbusinessinnovation
Chris Brogan on How to Make Your Customer a Hero
Marketers often look at their product as the raison d’etre of a company. “How can I get more people to fall in love with this amazing product?” they ask. Of course, that’s the opposite of how buyers see the scenario. A buyer is asking, “How can I be even more amazing?” The challenge, then, is to position your product as the element your hero requires to be successful.
But when you look at how companies market online, they still make the product out to be the hero. The e-mail you receive talks about all the amazing features. The Twitter stream is a raft of offers and quips about how great the products are, with zero engagement with their potential heroes.
Marketers need to use digital marketing tools to make heroes of their customers, not of their products. Here are a few ways to do that:
Video interviews and testimonials
YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google (at least in the U.S.). If you’re not creating brief, interesting video testimonials with some of your success stories, you’re missing a great opportunity. Be careful to word the title of the video something akin to what someone searching for your product or for products in your category would use as search terms.
Also, if you really want to stun people positively, allow for a negative review of your product or service, hopefully with some kind of silver lining to how things end. According to Bazaarvoice, an online review and ratings platform, an absence of negative reviews and opinions will trigger a sense of a lack of trust, whether or not you notice it directly.
Profiles and content promotions
Want to make your buyer the hero? Write about the customers. Show recent successes. Don’t talk about your product. Instead, make it a piece about your buyer. That customer will bring their friends and colleagues to show off the profile, which is of course on your site and means they might peruse your offerings.
This content shouldn’t be sales material for your product; it should just be interesting content that is helpful to your buyer. Make them grateful that you care so much about their victory.
If you want to keep the hero story going, reach out to bloggers who cover the space your product serves. Not sure where to start? Alltop.com is the magazine rack of the internet. Look around for bloggers who talk about your space and build a relationship with them. Don’t immediately offer information or access to your products. Rather, learn what the blogger writes about, comment where appropriate (still not mentioning your product) and build a relationship. From this, more opportunities will arise.
Steve Jobs gave you an iPod that let you carry 1,000 songs in your pocket. Richard Branson let you flaunt the sexy way to fly with Virgin. You can make your buyer a hero, and that will ensure your future as a company doing good things for its community.
10 Blogging Tactics That Increased One Business’ Traffic by 300%.
River Pools and Spas publishes the most popular blog in the pool industry and is the number one pool company in the United States that specializes in fiberglass pools. The company started blogging in 2008, and to date, it has 760 blog subscribers.
This company is a great example of an organization that uses blogging and organic search to its benefit. But what were the decisions that RPS made that set themselves up as successful business bloggers?
10 Things River Pools and Spas Did Right While Blogging
1) Got rid of PPC and decided to focus on earned traffic through blogging. In the early days—when pool companies weren’t using PPC—the cost-effectiveness was relatively high. As more competitors utilized paid search, pool-related keywords became more and more expensive. For River Pools and Spas, this meant it was time to focus on organic content and traffic.
2) Used its blog to educate many potential customers at once. Before blogging, many people would call the company simply to ask for pool information. Without knowing if these people had any intention of buying, these one-on-one conversations were not leading to sales. By educating many potential customers at once through the blog, RPS could now funnel people through the sales cycle.3) Blogged consistently, writing two posts per week. This consistency held subscribers’ interests and engaged new subscribers. By having an ongoing stream of published content, it also increased the probability the company would get found online. 4) Used questions from prospects and customers as fodder for blog posts. The company prioritized the questions it received most frequently and considered often-used keywords in prominent components of the blog article—like the headline! 5) Optimized for long-tail keywords. River Pools knew it was best to target easier keywords when just getting started, and very specific words—or long-tail keywords—worked best. For example, ‘vinyl liner pools’ was a long-tail term the company targeted. 6) Made sure its blog was on the same domain as its website. River Pools blogged on the domain that also hosted its company website so that all inbound links to blog articles also gave SEO credit to the primary domain. That way, non-blog website pages could rank well too.
7) Shared blogging responsibility throughout a team. RPS understood that blogging is hard work. Team members compiled a list of topics or questions they could answer and rotated who would publish what article next.
8) Answered questions publicly that its competitors were afraid to talk about. For example, competitors never published information regarding pricing for others to see, but RPS broke the mold and published market prices of pool material on its blog. The post called “Fiberglass Pool Prices: How Much is My Pool Really Going to Cost?”, received 20,359 page views and 84 inbound links, the highest numbers for both categories in River Pools’ blogging history. 9) Encouraged conversation by responding to all comments—even negative ones. Subscribers noticed the frequency that RPS responded and felt welcome to share their ideas too, creating a collaborative environment.
10) Added calls-to-action on all blog content that led to conversion forms. These CTAs are what helped River Pools’ blog subscribers eventually filter down the sales funnel by giving readers an opportunity to raise their hand and potentially engage in business! These factors combined helped River Pools and Spas. Have you had similar success? Get any new ideas that you might start implementing on your blog?
Case Study eBook: How to Achieve Business Growth Through Blogging
Learn how River Pools and Spas increased traffic by 300% and what best practices they followed.
Posted by Rebecca Corliss on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 @ 02:15 PM
Apple has become Australia’s top mobile brand.
Apple is reported to have a 40% market share of Australia’s smartphone market, a rise of about 10% quarter-to-quarter. Android has a 30% share, while Symbian is plunging to a third place 22%. The IDC analysts expect the Android OS phones to eventually be the top sellers, which is something we’ve seen here in the states.
Meanwhile, Comscore is reporting that the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch account for 50% of Australia’s mobile traffic, while Android devices consume 10.5%. Comscore is also reporting that the iPad is the dominant tablet in Australia, which is no surprise, as that aligns with numbers collected from other countries.
3 Secrets to AWESOME Presentations.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been subjected to Death by Powerpoint.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever subjected an audience to Death by Powerpoint.
Let’s stop killing each other with boring presentations, shall we?
Here are three simple, powerful things you can do to transform an average presentation into an awesome one:
1. Don’t just share information; TELL A STORY.
Most presentations share a common goal: to persuade the audience to take action.
What’s the best way to persuade someone? Get them to attach to your story emotionally.
What’s the best way to get them to attach emotionally? Tell them a story with a likeable hero who encounters some roadblocks and then, [thanks to your product] emerges transformed.
Reframe your presentation like a great story: three acts with two turning points. Let your hero make your points for you. Have him show your audience “what is”—and contrast that with “what could be.”
Nobody likes being sold to, but who doesn’t love a great story?
2. Go overboard.
Boring presentations are safe presentations. They take no risks. They state the obvious. And they’re more likely to provoke napping than purchasing behavior.
Sometimes the best way to make a presentation more awesome is to go completely overboard. Make ridiculous claims. State the opposite view. Use ginormously humongoussive words.
Polarizing slides engage audiences—they get people thinking and talking. So go ahead, BE EXTREME, and give them something to talk about.
3. Make your first slide and your last slide the AWESOMEST.
The first slide sets the audience’s expectation. The last slide is the one thing they’re most likely to remember.
And the stuff in the middle? It really only matters if the first and last slides kick major butt. So make sure they do.
What exactly makes a slide “awesome”?
Ask ten people that question and you will get ten different answers. But for me, it boils down to one simple thing: emotion.
Awesome slides make you feel something.
Love or hate.
Fear or desire.
Pain or pleasure.
Comedy or tragedy.
So go ahead. Take off the safety gear, let your hair down, get crazy. Make your next presentation AWESOME and kiss Death by Powerpoint permanently goodbye.
Are You Keeping A Brand Photo Album Of Your Story?.
In Personal Branding, Success Strategies |
My Mom Ruth was big on keeping photo albums of me and my two brothers until we were about 10. These albums showed the birth, infant, kids, and children pics of us to coming into our own as we grew up. Seeing those physical and personality changes is always fun, but they also tell a story about us.
They showed us in action in school with friends, doing hobbies, vacations, family, and sports. They showed us growing through hair styles, clothes styles, shoe size and toy and game trends.
Our personal and professional brand should show and tell this same story. That’s what makes us all authentic, real, organic, living beings and not just some text and images on a web page or blog. Over the past 4 plus years the evolution of me and my business is well documented on my sites, and social media platforms.
Are you keeping people up to date?
When I put my first website up in February 2007, for Train with Shane it was pretty much text about what I did and provided. As I lived the business and delivered the events and activities of my services, I got to add pictures and testimonials about people experiencing the benefits and results of what I did and what they got out of it, as well as my connection to the community I lived in. The site came alive with real people and my brand came alive with my tangible value.
Are you keeping a brand photo album of your brand story and keeping people up to date on what you are doing and how you are growing your impact?
Three platforms to tell your story
Here are three platforms you can use to keep a “brand photo album” and keep telling your story.
1) Pictures organized and grouped on Facebook, Flickr, your website, blog.
2) Written and video testimonials of your work results from colleague relationships, networking connections, long term personal friendships.
3) Blog posts and articles that share your ideas, expertise, wisdom, experiences, knowledge either you on your own blog or writing for others.
Keeping a “brand photo album” is not only fun but for someone that doesn’t know you, it’s a way for you to speak and brand yourself and make a connection and impression that just may lead to a referral, sale or new business friend!
Deborah Shane is an author, entrepreneur, radio host and expert. She is the heart and soul of her business education and professional development company, Train with Shane and is in her third year of hosting a weekly business radio show on blogtalkradio.com. She writes for several national business, career and marketing blogs, and websites including smallbiztrends.com, careerealism.com, Internationalbusinesstimes.com, Smartbrief.com and blogher.com Her new book Career Transition-make the shift-the 5 steps to successful career reinvention is available now on amazon.com. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogtalkradio @Deborah Shane, or visit www.deborahshane.com.
- Let Your Story Cut Through The Noise and Clutter Tweet The universe is made of stories, not of atoms….
- Take Your Time Developing Your Personal Brand Tweet “Does your brand splash around and do cannonballs off…
- Value Who You Are And What You Do Tweet This excerpt is from my new book: Career Transition-make…
5 Amazing Foursquare Stats [Infographic].
Last week, Foursquare published a cool new infographic to announce a major milestone for the location-based social network: 10 million users!
Based in New York, Foursquare has offered its check-in service since March 2009 and, in addition to 10 million users, has some pretty amazing stats to share. Below are some of our favorites, but the infographic boasts several more:
5 Awesome Foursquare Facts
- 10 million people currently use Foursquare
- 3 million check-ins occur each day
- 400,000 businesses use Foursquare as a marketing tool
- 78,387 venue mayors are ousted each day
- 358 million check-ins have occurred outside the United States
Check out the infographic below (missing animation) or click on over to the Foursquare blog to view the animated version (cool!).
With a growing community of users, will you consider taking advantage of Foursquare for your business? If you’ve tried using Foursquare for business, what have you learned?
Want to grade your Foursquare mojo? Check out http://Square.Grader.com
Branding: Should journalists build a personal brand?.
June 27, 2011
If you’re teaching journalism today, you must be aware of the discussion that surrounds branding.
If you’re a young journalist, or someone planning to enter the field of journalism, you need to understand what personal branding means.
On June 23, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten wrote about this, and in summary, he said it’s a bunch of hooey. However, being an intelligent person, he also makes a very good point:
When I was a hungry young reporter … [my goals were]: 1) Get great stories that improve the world. 2) Get famous. 3) Get doe-eyed young women to lean in close and whisper, “Take me.”
Note the order. First came the work.
Now, the first goal seems to be self-promotion — the fame part, the “brand.” That’s because we know that, in this frenetic fight for eyeballs at all costs, the attribute that is most rewarded is screeching ubiquity, not talent.
It’s very important that new or would-be journalists take Weingarten’s point to heart. There won’t be anything to be branded unless you have some substance to market, and that means much more than a talent for writing glibly. Lots of people have such a talent. Many of them spend their lives writing for an audience of one.
“The work” is just that — work — and as part of the work, you have to get off Facebook and go outside and speak to real live people. You have to read, widely and voraciously. You have to be curious about those who live in skins other than your own. You have to learn what makes a good story and how to tell a good story well.
Journalism educator Owen Youngman put it this way:
[E]ffective personal branding turns out to be less about self-promotion and social networks than it is about accuracy, fairness and credibility. Whether the subject is a blogger in Portland, or a newspaper reporter in Kankakee, or a TV anchor in Florida, it turns out that the work creates the brand, and the brand then helps people find more of the work.
If you don’t like the word brand, you can substitute reputation. The reason we talk about this more today than anyone did back in the 1970s when Weingarten was starting his journalism career is that the pace and reach of journalism have changed quite a bit since then. Today someone who’s looking for a stringer to cover events in a hot zone might well turn to Google — and will that employer be able to find you?
Veteran journalist Steve Buttry responded to Weingarten’s column with this:
[B]randing starts with quality and hard work. But lots of outstanding journalists who did the hard work are losing their jobs. They are losing their jobs mostly because their industry has failed to develop new business models and new revenue streams in a period of disruption. But some of those journalists are losing their jobs or struggling to find new ones, in part, because they failed to show their value to their employers and their communities. Personal branding is about showing your value. It starts with quality and hard work, but if you don’t show the value, you can become undervalued. (Emphasis mine.)
That is the lesson new and would-be journalists need to learn so that they can make it in today’s media ecosystem.
Branding isn’t hooey — but it’s also not a shortcut to fame and admiration.
Related post: Journalists must build a personal brand: 10 tips
Update (June 27): Steve Buttry used Storify to compile a sample of the reactions to Weingarten’s column.
PayPal has hit 100 million active users.
PayPal has hit 100 million active users. The company confirmed the milestone today. Last week, the company announced that it was upping estimates of the amount of mobile payments transactions using the technology this year; doubling the estimate to $3 billion in mobile total payments volume (TPV) in 2011.
At the end of last year, PayPal, which is owned by eBay, had around 94.4 million active users, and has been adding approximately one million active accounts per month. It’s unclear, however, what PayPal considers as an ‘active user.’
PayPal now represents 39 percent of eBay’s total revenue, and nearly made $1 billion in revenue for the company in the first quarter of 2011, up 23 percent from the same quarter in the previous year
In terms of mobile, PayPal is also seeing up to $10 million in mobile TPV a day, which is up from $6 million PayPal reported in March. The company currently has eight million customers who are regularly making purchases on their mobile phones, up from a previously reported six million users.
2011 should continue to be a big year for PayPal, as it becomes a central part of eBay’s local commerce strategy. And PayPal now faces competition from Google’s mobile payments system, Google Wallet, Square and maybe even Facebook.
Verizon and Google Set Sights on Improving Digital Safety with Innovative Android Mobile App
On Monday, Verizon raised the curtain on “Net Safety Tips On The Go,” a mobile app that the wireless carrier is calling the first-ever digital safety and security advice app for Android smartphones.
The app is being released in conjunction with National Internet Safety Month.
Verizon, however, isn’t taking the lone share of credit for the new offering. As it turns out, the app was developed by Google and Verizon. The companies worked with several online safety education organizations to make the app possible.“Net Safety Tips On The Go” provides critical online privacy, security and youth online safety educational messages to help Verizon Wireless customers protect their privacy, families and finances when using their Android smartphones.
Verizon says the app gives customers a broad range of tips including:
- Mobile – Tips around mobile teens, mobile privacy and mobile safety, including how constant texting and talking can affect customers sleep, concentration, work and school, among other important life activities.
- Secure Data/Device – Information on how customers can protect themselves against fraud, phishing, ID theft and general password-protecting suggestions.
- Sharing Privacy – Advice and tips for social networking privacy, sharing locations and surfing the Web privately like considering requiring a password before anyone can use their computers or wireless devices.
- Family Safety – Tips for parents and children on social media tactics, cyber bullying, reputation, privacy and unwanted contact. Examples include how to set real expectations when trying to limit the time a child spends on a social network or the importance of explaining that GPS-technology is a service that should only be used with known acquaintances.
- Smart Android Tips – Besides giving simple “how-to” directions, the app gives tips on protecting data, managing apps and more – even advising customers how to be aware of the interferences mobile devices might have with implantable medical devices.
- Digital Citizenship – Tips to help customers become an upstanding digital citizen, such as advising customers to never post anything to any site that they would not want to see on the front page of a newspaper.“Net Safety Tips On The Go” is now available in V CAST Apps.
U.K. Cellphone Companies Plan Mobile Pay Venture
Vodafone Group PLC, Telefonica SA’s O2 and Everything Everywhere said their new venture would create a “mobile wallet,” which cellphone owners can wave in front of censors to pay for goods. It also aims to establish a central portal for advertisers to deliver discounts and loyalty offers to participating U.K. cellphones.
The venture is scheduled to launch by the end of the year, subject to antitrust approval. Its unveiling comes just seven months after the U.S.’s biggest wireless operators—AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA—revealed their own mobile-payment joint venture, known as Isis. Google Inc. revealed a mobile-payment service last month.