The Web For Business.com Blog

Internet marketing observations, perspectives, tips and tricks for your education and enlightenment.


Brute Force Social Media Marketing

Mark Kawabe - Sunday, March 13, 2011

One of the "golden rules" of social media marketing is that you need to give value in order to receive it back. It's considered a "best practice". It's what the "gurus" preach. So why isn't it the norm?

I think there are two factors. The first is that like any other form of interruption advertising like radio, television or print, drawing attention to yourself via social media appears to have some effect.

The second of course, has to do with the values of the people doing the interrupting as well as those of the people receiving the message. The person sending their message takes advantage of a tacit level of approval by people who are their "friends" or "connections" to hear from them. The logic is hard to deny. After all, if I am your "friend", then why wouldn't I want to hear about your new product or service?

I don't expect all businesses on Facebook or Linkedin will change their ways, but here are my suggestions on winning over more of your friends or connections.

  1. Lead with the benefits. Here's a typical post: "All you can eat pasta tonight at the XYZ Diner!". Rephrase to focus on the benefits. "Enjoy a great family meal without cooking. Join us for all you can eat pasta tonight at the XYZ Diner! Now rated at 4.5/5 on restaurantica.ca!" Now add a link to your website or to the review site. It's still an interruption, but it's more subtle and conveys benefit, value and quality while you inform.

  2. Target messages carefully. You have a fan page or group, right? Well then, perhaps you can avoid blasting your message to everyone you know. Just send it to those who cared enough to like or join. Those people EXPECT business-related communications from you; your regular friends or connections don't.

  3. Test your approach. Many people get started in social media because it's now the "in" thing to do. Interruption marketing is what people are used to, so it's just perpetuated through social media. Measure your results from your existing campaign, then switch your approach and see if the "giving before receiving" method gives you any better results. If you never try, you'll never know : )

As people become more familiar with social media tools, filtering is going to become more widespread and your message won't get through as easily. It's better to start building value now so people will want to hear what you have to say in future - and they'll let you through while the rest of the social media "noise" gets blocked.

A Million of Their Closest Strangers

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A post on Facebook about an unhappy experience with a local business reminded me of a quote I read in Joseph Jaffe's Customer Service Manifesto:

The old marketing adage is that a satisfed customer will tell 5-7 of their friends about their experience, whereas the dissatisfed customer will tell 15-20. Today, an unhappy customer will tell “a million of their closest strangers."

When you leave someone unhappy, you risk doing irreparable harm to your business reputation. Social media gives the customer a powerful tool to voice their opinions about your company, good or bad.

Best to focus on delivering a better customer experience, wouldn't you agree?

Here's the manifesto, in case you haven't read it.

http://changethis.com/manifesto/68.06.ServiceManifesto/pdf/68.06.ServiceManifesto.pdf

If It's True for Graphic Design, It's True for Online Marketing Too!

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, March 03, 2011

In her article "6 Questions to Ask Before You Spend a Dime on Graphic Design", author Pamela Wilson highlights the main questions one should ask a graphic designer before starting a campaign.

She could have just as easily substituted "Building a Website" for "Graphic Design". The questions are the same.

Here are the questions:

  1. Do you know who you're trying to reach?
  2. Do you know where to find your market?
  3. Do you have a decent tagline?
  4. Do you have a compelling offer?
  5. Have you positioned the offer in terms of benefits along with features?
  6. Do you have a system in place that will lead toward sales?

Here's the link to the original article.

I consider this a must-read for anyone doing business online.

Happy Thursday!

What Level Playing Field?

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Remember those heady days when people used to announce that "the internet has leveled the playing field"? Well, it's still kind of true. The abundant existence of online tools to help entrepreneurs and smaller companies get their message out to their target audience means that there are no longer significant technology or cost barriers preventing small companies from getting bigger.

That being said, the playing field is still not a level one for several reasons.

  1. The DIY Mindset- small companies start small and most of them stay small if they make it past the first five years of life. I believe the mindset of the owners prevent them from growing their companies in a meaningful way. Many take on too many tasks that prevent them from developing their core strengths. Bookkeeping, graphic design, printing and website development are a few categories that come to mind. It reminds me of the saying "Just because you can doesn't mean you should".

  2. Budget - closely tied to point #1, small companies are loathe to spend money unless it's guaranteed to produce results. The flipside of this is that they then do things themselves, not realizing the damage they do to their brand and in the long-run, to their companies.

  3. Knowledge - There are a lot of tools available at little to no cost that companies can use to market themselves online. Many companies either don't know they exist or don't know how to use them effectively. A little bit of knowledge can go a long, long way. An example of this is with online metrics. There are many ways one can measure how effective one is being online but most companies don't even know how many people are visiting their website.

  4. Willingness to Change - Many companies do the same thing, year in and year out, getting largely the same results as they've always gotten. As long as you're happy with that, then life's wonderful. If you want to grow, you have to be open to doing things differently.

There's a lot of new-age speak about how your intention determines your outcome. I think this is a good place to start. You should intend great things for your business. What I suggest is to clearly define your intended outcome and then think about the ways you're going to achieve it. Identify internal and external roadblocks and work on eliminating or neutralizing them. Take the time to learn how to EFFECTIVELY use the tools that are available to you and start working on your plan. That will be much better than intending great things and fumbling around without a plan on how you'll achieve them.

Social Media Marketing 101 - Seminar New Date Announced

Mark Kawabe - Tuesday, March 01, 2011

If you missed our first seminar of the year because of the bad snow, fear not - round 2 is coming soon!

Announcing the 2nd Social Media Marketing 101 Seminar, scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2011 from 1~4 at Keith's Restaurant in Fonthill (Corner of Pelham St. and Hwy. 20).

If you can make it, please R.S.V.P. as there are limited seats available.

We're also in the planning stages for Social Media Marketing 201 so stay tuned for more details about that!

When Will the Spammers Stop?

Mark Kawabe - Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I know I shouldn't, but I hope for a day when reputable businesses don't spam prospective customers. Now that Bill C-28 is a law, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the shaft. It seems though that most businesses are still in the dark.

Today I'll pick on the Buffalo Sabres who on Feb. 8 sent me an "insider" email promoting their game against the Thrashers on Feb. 23. The email address they used was only ever used once for one purpose - to register a domain for a client. It's never been used otherwise, so how did it wind up on a mailing list for the Buffalo Sabres?

Simple: the Sabres organization probably bought a list with email addresses and other contact information "scraped" from online domain registry databases. Oh sure, they were probably told that everyone on the list had "opted in", but the reality is there are precious few lists like that and the list owners, if they're smart, wouldn't dream of corrupting their brand by sharing their carefully-built list.

So, what can you do about spam now that there's a law about it? Until enforcement comes into effect in the next 6~8 months, you can expect things will stay much the same. However, you CAN help educate other business owners about the new laws so they will reconsider their actions. And of course, don't buy anything that is promoted through spam. If there's no money to be made doing it, eventually people will stop using it. Then again, with 200 BILLION spam messages being sent per day (as of August 2010), someone's making money, somewhere.

Please don't let it be you.

Facebook Bug #2 - Who Do You Work For?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, January 28, 2011

If you're trying to link to update your Facebook profile and link to your employer, you may find you can't find your company's Facebook page in the list. This seems to be a problem for smaller companies. Here's a link to a hack that fixes the problem.

http://www.wchingya.com/2010/10/official-facebook-page-employer-link.html

It's a bit complicated - and I hope you like FireFox : )

Suggest to Friends Disabled on Facebook

Mark Kawabe - Friday, January 28, 2011

Page admins all across Facebook are crying the blues about the "suggest to friends" function being removed from Facebook.

At present, only admins can see this feature, but people who like pages or who just visit them can't suggest the page to others at this time.

Apparently the feature's been wonky for a while, so the decision was made to pull the plug on it until it can be fixed.

So don't fear page admins! It'll be back soon!

Holy Cr.ca.p - Changes to .ca Domains

Mark Kawabe - Thursday, January 20, 2011

If you never gave a second thought to which domain registrar you'd like to use, think VERY carefully. It could save you a heap of money.

Today I was contacted by two clients whose .ca domains had gone into the redemption period, both because the administrative email addresses for the domains were no longer functional (note - check up on this because it's really important).

Both domains were recovered from the redemption period. One for $275 plus the cost of a yearly domain renewal and one for $0 plus the cost of a yearly domain renewal.

Yep. Different registrar, different cost for redemption fees.

CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) does not charge anything extra to get a domain out of the redemption phase. REGISTRARS can choose to do so.

Also, in an interesting twist, if a .ca domain expires, IT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY GO OFFLINE. How's that for confusing? Your domain could be expired but depending on your registrar's policies, your domain could stay active until it goes into redemption. That could cost you $275.

I also discovered you can transfer your domain to a new registrar if your domain is in the redemption period, so in theory, if your registrar was going to charge you $275 to get your domain out of the redemption phase, you could switch to one that has no additional fees for that service. Unfortunately I didn't discover that until I spoke to a representative at CIRA.

So, note to selves: check up on the renewal dates of your domains - especially .ca domains.

If You Can't Market Yourself, Who Will Market You?

Mark Kawabe - Friday, December 17, 2010

I suppose the answer depends on you.

Being online means you have access to all sorts of technology to better represent yourself. The internet allows you to "level the playing field", doesn't it? Well, sort of.

All the technology in the world won't make up for your lack of ability to communicate to the world your uniqueness.

Don't think you're a good writer? That eliminates a lot of opportunities for you. Content is still king online.

Afraid to be in front of a camera? I guess video's out for you as well.

Hate your voice? Podcasting's gone too.

So what's left?

Facebook and other social media tools require you to communicate in writing, video or pictures your special-ness. If you can't do it, I guess you're stuck.

Hmm.

Oh wait - there's another option.

Hopefully, there's at least one person who can market you, and do it in a credible way.

Who's this person?

The customer you have delighted with your incredible product, service or kindness.

Perhaps there's more than one of them. The best thing about them is they can make up for any deficiencies you may have in your ability to communicate - as long as you can communicate your need to them. They can help you get your message out powerfully, credibly, personally and honestly. Why? Because you've helped them and you've done it wonderfully.

Got one of those people in your corner? I sure hope so, because they're your best salesperson.