Viral Marketing

One More Chapter in a Great Story

One More Chapter in a Great Story

About six months ago I wrote about a small, bricks and mortar business that had successfully implemented and was enjoying the fruits of an online system that increased word-of-mouth marketing for their business. You can read the original post here. In a nutshell, the business is a haircut salon for men--a Sportclips franchise to be exact. The owners, Chuck and Joan Matheny, were using Promoterz to 1) Collect feedback from their customers, 2) Establish an "opt-in" email relationship through which they could communicate directly with their customers, and 3) Give their customers an easy way to tell their friends about their store. Top line result: more than a 20% increase in revenue.

Here is a new chapter in their saga:

Corporate SportClips introduced and has been encouraging franchisees to promote a "Season Ticket" concept. Customers willing to pay for six haircuts in advance get a free upgrade to MVP service on each of those haircuts (MVP includes a hot towel and shoulder massage among other things). Because several hundred of the Matheny's customers have asked to receive updates about the store by email, promoting the Season Ticket with an email seemed like a natural. Think about the value of Chuck's email list: because he had reached out to his customers and provided a way for them to opt-in, he could now communicate with those that wanted to hear from him directly and at absolutely no cost. He didn't have to wait for them to come into the store or pay for an expensive ad.

Rather than just encouraging the customers to come in to a store and ask for a Season Pass, we decided to put the technology to the test and offer the customers a quick and simple way to buy the card directly online. The email included a "one-click" buy button. Customers could opt to have the card mailed to them or come into the store and pick it up. The test has been a great success. Several customers have purchased online and the orders continue to come in. Cha-ching! A new online revenue stream for a bricks and mortar business.

Small test--significant implications. Here is a small "old industry/bricks and mortar" business that has figured out a way to use the internet--not as a glorified yellow-pages ad, but as a tool to generate new revenue streams, increase repeat customer visits and collect new leads--all of which have a direct impact on the top and bottom lines.

The real "no-brainer?" The Matheny's used Promoterz to do all of this. The cost: $50 per month per store.

Get customer feedback, generate referrals, and increase repeat sales for as little as $150 a month. Learn more

Self-Multiplying Customers!

Self-Multiplying Customers!

I received a newsletter today from the folks at Nova Mind. Nova Mind makes a great mindmapping application that I use quite a bit. They also have a project management package for the Mac that looks good. I have yet to give it a try. Anyway, one of the lines in their newsletter caught my attention:

We often find that there is a single license sold in a particular place, and then within a couple of weeks there is a huge cluster of licenses sold within that same area, and we would like to thank all of you who think of your friends and associates now and recommend NovaMind to them.

What a beautiful thing! Isn't that what we all want? Self-multiplying customers! Nova Mind has some great products. They work well and have a significant impact on your productivity. It is hard not to talk about them (ask Joe and Dan how many mindmaps they have seen from me).

As we all know, in today's chaotic marketplace new customers are hard to get. Once you get them, it makes a whole lot of sense to not only keep them, but keep them so happy they multiply.

Need some help? See our sponsor Promoterz

They Call it the Hawthorne Effect

They Call it the Hawthorne Effect

In the 1930's some studies were held at the Western Electric production facility outside Chicago in a place called Hawthorne. The intent of the study was simple enough: invite a handful of employees to participate in various working condition tests to determine which conditions were most conducive to increased production. Those conditions that "tested" best were then to be rolled out to the general production floor. One of things they tested was brighter lights. Production went up. Then they tested dimmer lights. Production went up. In fact, no matter what they tested, production went up!

Dr. Paul Marsden, from the London School of Economics, brought my attention to the study and the results which have come to be known as the "Hawthorne Effect." He explains it like this in the preview chapter of his book Connected Marketing:

By singling out a small group of employees to participate in an exclusive trial, participants felt valued, special and important. The special attention they received gratified their ego and created a positive emotional bond with what they were trialing. The practical upshot was that the research trials effectively transformed the research participants into advocates for whatever it was they were trialing.

What does the Hawthorne Effect have to do with growing your business? Creating advocates, or promoters, or evangelists is the first step to harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing. The researchers at Hawthorne created advocates by singling out a small, exclusive group, giving them special attention, and asking for their opinion. It is possible to do the same with your product or service.

Case in point: text book publishers. Whether they know it or not, text book publishers have been using the Hawthorne Effect to sell more text books for years. The smart publishers pro-actively select instructors with large adoptions and stellar reputations to review forthcoming text books. Sure, they get good feedback to improve the text, but they also realize that professors that review texts are much more likely to adopt them. I know this because I worked with a unique company called Content Connections that helps publishers do exactly that. Content Connections has developed online tools and processes that facilitate the review process and helps authors and publishers harness the power of the Hawthorne Effect.

Put the power of the Hawthorne Effect to work for your business today. Choose some customers, make them feel special, and ask for their feedback on new products or services. Not only will you get good feedback, you'll get advocates and all those they go on to tell.

Need some help? Contact us at Zeryn.

Find your happy customers and put a megaphone in their hand. Learn more

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

We dipped our big toe into the brave new world of "podcasting" this week. For those that don't know exactly what podcasting is, Wikipedia defines it as:

Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video programs, over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The term gained wide popularity as a portmanteau of iPod and broadcasting, but was seen before that as an acronym for "portable on demand".

So there you have it. A podcast is an audio file that you can listen to on your iPod (or other MP3 player) or your computer. Most podcasts are serial in nature. So once you sign up, you get a new episode every week or day or whatever the time period defined is.

Benefits of podcasting? From a marketing perspective, they are one more way to create a more personal connection with your audience and tell a story that you just can't do any other way. Think of it as getting the opportunity to sit down personally with each prospective customer and tell them personally why your product is so great. It is also a great way to establish the fact that you are an "expert" in your industry. From the listener's perspective, podcasts offer convenience. Podcasts can be downloaded at the office or at home and listened to while commuting, exercising, or doing any other activity.

How popular are podcasts? Depends on who you ask. According to this CNET article, some researchers are predicting that the U.S. podcast audience will climb from 840,000 last year to 56 million by 2010.

Not wanting 56 million potential customers to live their lives in ignorance of Promoterz, Joe, Dan and I gathered around one of our computers last week and recorded our story. Why the picture of the 3 Stooges with this post? Well, you see there were three of us...

Listen now.

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

More Buzz for Promoterz

More Buzz for Promoterz

Couldn't resist pointing you to some more great things being written about Promoterz (c'mon, it's our baby! what do you expect?)

Robert Kingston over at Small Business Branding, posted a terrific "how to" on getting your message right and getting it out. He includes this about Promoterz:

If you take a look around now, a lot of businesses are realizing how beneficial WoM is for promoting their message. One such business I admire is called Promoterz who advocate the importance of being remarkable and worthy of your customer’s attention.

Zane Safrit is CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited and maintains a blog worth reading. He checked out Promoterz and had this to say:

Interesting service. I liked it. I REALLY liked their video. For a small company, getting started, running fast and being completely dedicated to their customers' immediate needs...this is the tool, I think. It incorporates the power of Fred Reichheld's Net Promoter Score and The Ultimate Question with a standardized, but flexible, program to stay in touch with your customers, follow-up, generate reports, extend special offers, etc.

Need we say more? Watch our REALLY cool video.

Customers who feel that you are listening to them are more likely to recommend you to a friend. How do your customers know that you are listening? Learn more
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We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

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