Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to reach bloggers. Just ask!

Recently, a representative from jooble-us.com (a job site aggregation, which helps people find jobs), contacted me and asked to post about it on my Blog.  (Done).

What was really interesting was the method of the message.... I actually think this might be a robot!  (filling in my most recent 2 posts, the url of my blog, and my Zodiac Sign automatically!)!

So, if a freaking ROBOT can get me to post about their site on my blog... you can easily do it too... just ask!  (this probably goes for anyones blog by the way).

Here, learn how a robot does it... full email from jooble-us.com below:


I just want to thank you for your wonderful blog tytusblog.blogspot.com.

I read the post "A Marketing Basic: Speak & Write Plainly!" and then I spent another hour on your blog by reading your posts with pleasure :) Every article is interesting and easy to read. I really like the "Research Brief: how to write "engaging" Social Posts on Facebook and Twitter".

I work for Jooble company, we aggregate job adverts around the world.

My job is to persuade bloggers to link to our site.

I really love my job! We have a friendly team and good management, but unfortunately I have no idea how to convince a blogger to link to us, I'm afraid I might lose my job because of it :(

And that is why, instead of sending letters to thousands of different blogs, I am reading yours.

Honestly, I am not really sure if the link to our website in United States - jooble-us.com, will be appropriate for your blog, but if you believe it will and you can add it, I would be really grateful to you! Our site is really cool, it can greatly help hundreds of people to find jobs.

I wish you to have a good day and excellent mood! Thanks again for your nice blog. Write more! Thanks!

P.S. I am a Aries by zodiac sign too :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Marketing Basic: Speak & Write Plainly!

Speak Plainly.  Seems obvious, but us marketers often get into the habit of "word-smithing" till the text on the page is unrecognizable by normal humans (and worse, by our target customers).  Writing regular Facebook or Twitter updates for your company SHOULD be part of a solid Marketing campaign (try our own tool to help: http://postontime.com... but keep the writing simple.  Here are a few examples to avoid, and better alternatives.

  • Don't say user:   "Users can now log in via our web interface"
    • Say instead: customer or you.  "You can now log in via our web interface"
  • Don't say best, most, or other false-ly colorful exaggerations: "This is the Best interface ever."
    • Say instead: we think you will like. "We think you will like our interface upgrades."
  • Don't use acronyms:  "Anyone who wants higher marketing ROI should click here"
    • Instead, use simple terms: "Anyone who wants to get higher profits for their investments in marketing should click here."

Remember, short is sweet, but complex, obtuse, or marketing-speak is sour.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Research Brief: how to write "engaging" Social Posts on Facebook and Twitter

According to eMarketer.com's recent study, having a picture and a clear call to action (e.g. request for likes or comments) leads to the most engaging social posts: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008677.  My own research by running social campaigns for 6 Fanpages simultaneously has led me to agree with this, except for 1 additional comment: Keep it short!

Keeping your posts short, and varying the time of their postings (possibly using my companies own tool: postontime.com) is the way to go!  Shorter posts are more likely to get read, and short posts with calls to action ("Like this if...").

For more tips on making your social campaigns work, check out my white paper here.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Top Tips for Social Network Marketing!

My top tips for Social Network Marketing are very simple: * full details and white-paper here

  1. Acquire lots of fans.  (try a Karmaback Sweepstakes to help!)
  2. Engage fans with REGULAR and ENGAGING posts.
  3. Convert fans into customers by making them unique/special offers (only for fans).

It is nice when the marketing industry in general agrees with you!  Check out "Involver's" top tips as well (note: matches mine very closely):

  1. Post Regularly
  2. Time your Posts.

So, how can you do 1 and 2 VERY easily?
For Facebook and Twitter try my new tool: http://postontime.com

Friday, October 28, 2011

Marketers want to better measure Social

Ever wanted to know exactly what Social Network Marketing is doing for you?  You are not alone.
According to eMarketer.com measuring social effectiveness is of paramount concern.

My question is what do you want to measure?

Respond to me here or by email to harlan@karmaback.com

Karmaback builds tools to improve Social Marketing effectivness... tell me what you want us to measure, and if we're not doing it already, we will be!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

PostOnTime lets you post to Facebook and Twitter while you are away.

If you are "into" social network marketing like I am, then you already know that posting to your Facebook and Twitter page on a consistent (and constant) basis is vital to keeping your Fans and Followers active and growing.  A daily or twice daily post is not at all too much.  However, knowing and doing are 2 different things.  My company, Karmaback, has just launched PostOnTime  to make the doing part of posting to Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis MUCH easier.  You can now schedule posts for any time of the day, even when you are away from your computer.  You can even post on weekends, evenings, and when you are travelling or on vacation!  It is free for 30-days, and as low as $4.99/mo after that, so give it a try!  It's awesome!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

90% of Sweepstakes entrants are interested in buying the product.

According to http://www.sweepstakestoday.com90% of Sweepstakes entrants are interested in buying the product.
Source:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/9/prweb8786147.htm

That means that if you get 1000 entries to your sweepstakes, 900 of them are actually considering BUYING your product.

Those numbers are hard to deny... why aren't you running branded sweepstakes on your Facebook, Twitter, and Web pages?  

Karmaback makes it extremely easy to setup a branded and fully hosted sweepstakes AND we now guarantee it:  http://karmaback.com/platform/signup_success_guarantee/ 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Engineers should NOT start a business.

I'll say it again, Engineers should NOT start a business... unless they are prepared to run a business. So many people I meet are hungry to "have no boss" and "work on what they want", that they forget that to start a business is to run a business. If you are not willing to "work on stuff that needs doing", then starting a business is probably a very bad idea.

Consider the ideal case. You are an engineer. You love doing engineering. You start a business that is just consulting your engineering skills.
  1. Do you think you will always be able to pick and choose your contracts? -Wrong. You work on what the client wants... and if jobs are scare, you take work where you can get it.
  2. Do you really think you have no boss?  -Wrong. The client is the boss.
  3. No accounting? -Wrong. You now track hours, expenses, invoices, etc.
  4. No sales? -Wrong. You have to sell yourself for every bid.
  5. No marketing? -Wrong. Every client is a Word-of-mouth marketer for you.
So... by "starting even the simplest business", you've just made a bunch of work that you probably don't like doing.  You've just created a bunch of bosses where you used to have only 1.  And now you are working harder than ever.  So why do it?

1 word: Profit.

The reason you work harder, you do the extra yicky work, etc. is because you can charge WAY MORE than you were before.  As a variable resource, people will pay more for your services. You just have to keep the pipeline of work filled and you will rake in the extra 25-50% due a contractor/consultant.

If you are starting a business for more "freedom", you might get some... but Profit is a far better reason.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Referral Marketing and League of Legends

First, if you love PC games... or even just like them... you HAVE to try this Free downloadable game: League of Legends.  It is really an amazing game, and it's free.  How easy is that.  Best of all, if you use MY track-able link: http://signup.leagueoflegends.com/?ref=4e80eb3ecc45f219796048  then, I get bonuses for you joining and could even earn the right to "design my own character"!

What was that?  A perfect example of referral marketing in action.  In truth, I do love the free game league of legends, and I do want you to try the game!  Here is that link again in case you missed it: http://signup.leagueoflegends.com/?ref=4e80eb3ecc45f219796048 .   Why do I care?  Because IF people use my referral link (which is easily track-able and associated with my account), THEN I get stuff.  Some of it REALLY cool!  

Referral Marketing works.  It worked "before" Facebook.  It works "after" Facebook.  

Before Facebook:  People got paid to get their friends to buy stuff (Tupperware Party), and they could get a discount if they brought a friend, and they could get real hard cash if they referred somebody to somebody else...  

During Facebook: Everybody got crazy about this "Free" system that seemed to do referrals for free... but there was a cost: it was called SPAM.  And Facebook couldn't afford to pay that cost any more.

Now After Facebook (because they virtually removed the SPAM capabilities of viral apps): Referral systems STILL work.

If you are NOT giving rewards for referrals for your business... I ask, why not?  Isn't that cheaper than advertising?

Karmaback has actually built a FULLY track-able Online Referral system.... but we shut down the project once our Sweepstakes began to take off in popularity.

Any interest in us restarting the referral SaaS tool?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marketing is WAY harder than Engineering

I've written on this topic before, but I just thought it would be worth a mention again.  I do think Marketing is harder/more challenging than Engineering, and I'm starting to think I understand why...

  1. Marketers have to figure out "what" to build... Engineers figure out how to build it.
  2. Marketers have to choose what to say, and when to say it... Engineers get to stay quiet in public.
  3. Marketers have to figure out why something isn't selling well... Engineers get to work on the next thing.
  4. Marketers stress over business success and deadlines... Engineers fret over deadlines (sometimes).
  5. Marketers micro-optimize the un-measurable... Engineers optimize the measurable.
  6. Marketers have to deal with shifts in culture, business, and fashion... Engineers work with laws of physics.
Having been (and loved being) an Engineer, I can also make 1 more statement that I think perhaps most interesting of all....

Engineers get to see, daily, their progress and fruits of labor... they are appreciated for it.
Marketers often can't see the effects of their work at all... and many question a Marketers value.

So, pat a Marketing guy on the back next time you see one... believe me, they are likely stressing more than you are!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ALWAYS provide an "Easy Button" for your customers.

It doesn't matter what you sell, who you sell to, or how much you are charging.  There should always be an "easy" button for your customers.  In fact, the most basic, core functionality of  your product should be so easy, it barely even needs a button.  How do you do that, you ask?  Well, simple.  First, find the core functionality of your product.  Knowing that can be a huge help!  Second, make sure that the user can see (and use) the core functionality of your product in 1-click (or less).  If you don't have a software product, let them see/use your product with no clicks... right out of the box... no assembly required.

At Karmaback, we recently improved our entire setup flow to require just 2 clicks.  Yah it's not 1 yet.. (we're working on it!)... but its a huge improvement.  Companies can now setup a fully functional, completely operational, fully hosted Sweepstakes for Facebook or Twitter or Web or all three, in 2 clicks.  Nice. 

How did we do it?  Easy Default Settings.  Simplified setup process... and most of all, the "Save" button.  (see screenshot below)

Setting up a Viral and Social Sweepsakes to run in your Facebook Fanpage or Twitter Feed couldn't be more easier that it is now!  Well maybe a tiny bit easier... we want to get it down to 1 Click... we're working on that.  Maybe we'll call the 1 button "Easy".  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Video Games need more "bosses".

Do you remember the old Nintendo Days.  Finally fighting Ganon in Zelda?  All the "mini-bosses" in Metroid? Or the countless other timeless boss encounters? Or on PC, the "Doom" Demon Bosses?  Probably you remember the feeling of excitement, accomplishment, dread, and relief that was part of the encounter.  Where have all the boss encounters gone? Recently I have enjoyed playing Mass Effect 2 a ton... mostly because it has some decent Boss encounters here and there... but not as many as the old days!  To me a Boss encounter means that the Boss is actually bigger and more powerful than you could EVER be...  and to kill him, you must learn his trick/secret/weakness.  And that makes for some serious fun gaming!

What does this have to do with Marketing you ask?  Well, there are two lessons here:

  1. Marketing isn't just promotion (how many times a day do I say that...).  The most important service Marketing can do is to give product guidance.  In this case, there is a target market that craves Boss encounters because the feeling of excitement, accomplishment, etc.
  2. Your target market might be hungry for Nostalgia!  If you can feed them something they used to love... you could make serious cash!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why do Social Marketing?

Social Marketing is more than just a buzzword.  If you are not doing "basic" Social Marketing, you are missing out in a revolution of internet marketing; and failing to market where your customers live.

This video explains (statistically) why the hype about Social Marketing is important... I'll summarize it: BECAUSE ALMOST EVERYONE IS THERE!  e.g. almost your entire market is spending more and more of their time on social networks!!!

Got it?  Here are 3 levels of Social Marketing you should be considering:
  1. Just be there!  Make a Facebook Fanpage and a Twitter account.  Link Facebook to Twitter, so when you post to Facebook, it posts to Twitter automatically.  And write 1 post per week about something new at your company.
  2. Grow your page by getting more fans, likes, and followers.  Simply run some sweepstakes (using Karmaback of course), or ads, to encourage your fans/followers to join!
  3. Reward your Fans/Followers for following you.. and encourage them to talk to you on Social networks.  You can reward them by doing give-aways (using Karmaback of course), and by offering them special discounts/offers.
Now stop procrastinating and make a Facebook Fanpage or Twitter Account.  It's super easy!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bigfoot Networks Acquisition

I am super delighted to announce that a company I founded based on my own original idea (to build products that Fight Lag in Online Games) has been acquired by Qualcomm!  Congratulation to the whole team, and THANK YOU to all my friends and family who helped Bigfoot Networks get here.


It is a great ending to an amazing story of adventure, passion, and persistence.

Founded in 2005, Bigfoot Networks grew out of my own idea, and 18 of my own patents.  The idea was simple: develop networking products that reduce online lag in video games.  I had expertise in networking technology due to my 5 years working at Intel in their Platform Networking Group.  At Intel, we focused almost exclusively on "throughput", often to the detriment of "latency".  Being an avid gamer, I realized that if we simply made a few different decisions about "latency" that we could reduce Lag in online games by 10% or more.  This led to the development of Bigfoot Networks first product, "The Killer NIC", which was released in 2006 to much pessimism and doubt.  It took much less than the $4MM we raised from our investor Venio/Raven Capital Partners.

Persistence and willingness to put our technology to the ringer led to our first big customer, Dell/Alienware.  At Alienware, where gamers were buying new PCs just for gaming, we had some amazingly good success (20-40% attach rates, as has been previously published).

From there, additional research into Lag and Latency led to many more patents and several new products, including "LLR SDK" a network SDK for online game developers to optimize the server side of latency.

With multiple products under our belt, we were invested in by North Bridge Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures to the tune of an additional $8MM.  The new capital was put to use bringing several new products to market, and hiring a California executive team.  Shortly after that I moved on to found a new company (Karmaback, Inc.), but stayed involved in Bigfoot and remained on the Board of Directors.

Now almost 2 years (and quite a bit more money invested) sinceI left Bigfoot Networks, the company that I started with my 2 U.T. MBA friends Bob Grim and Michael Cubbage, finally got acquired!

What a long and awesome road.

I do have several regrets from the adventure:
  1. I wish I had gotten an EVEN BIGGER return for my investors (especially friends and family).
  2. I wish I could have slowed down the company a little earlier... we were growing so fast and furious that we should have stopped and noticed the big wave that was coming: Cloud Computing....  our technology could have really made a big impact in Cloud should we have gone that direction.
  3. I wish I could have finished my ultimate vision for 100% lag-free gaming (for which the Patents were filed)... because even today, I still suffer from too much Lag while playing from my remote ranch in East-Central Texas!

Best wishes to my friends and colleagues in their new career at Qualcomm.

NOW, I get to take all my learning and skills building Bigfoot Networks from nothing, and make Karmaback, Inc. into the next big thing!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Karmaback has been upgrading its servers in advance of the roll-out of our new upgraded Social Sweepstakes systems from companies.  Watch the video to learn just how many TPS (transactions per second) we can handle! *hint=it's a lot!*

Special thanks to the Disqus team for showing us the way to MASSIVE scale!

Also, check out the video to get a sneak preview of the many new customizations you can do with our sweepstakes system.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Google+ Will Fail and Why.

Many of you know I'm in the business of Marketing; specifically social marketing.  I've been playing with Google+ lately and have come to several opinions about the service that I thought I'd share.  In general, I think the service will die, and die quickly.  Here are the 5 observations why I think this is so:

  1. Google+ has no cachet... it's not really that cool to be on Google+... there is no reason to right now (as opposed to just being on Facebook).  Google tried to make some buzz with the "fake" limits on user growth, but those in the know, know that was contrived.
  2. Google + doesn't help companies (yet).  I expect Google will get around to it, and when that happens, companies will rush to setup their pages... but soon they will realize: it's EXPENSIVE to maintain Google+, Facebook, and Twitter: then they'll say, gee, we've invested in Facebook; we're staying.
  3. Games will kill it.  Games on Google+ are coming, and when they do, let the spam wars begin.  Google has a TON of work, trial, and error to do, to keep up with Facebook on this delicate balance of fun and non-annoyance.
  4. Google+ doesn't "give me more" of anything over Facebook.  It's just not superior in any way; so what's the point?
  5. Google Adwords is too expensive; and Google+ may "dilute" prices over time for adwords (which Google WILL NOT LIKE).  Hence, the quick, fast, and early demise of Google+.  
Google.  Stick to search!  It's making you rich!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Video: Engineers Make Better Business People, because they MEASURE!

I have a strong core belief that (if they wanted to) Engineers (and other mathematically trained professionals) would make better business people than "business graduates" or MBAs.  An Engineer-MBA is the best combination, because they learn the MBA lingo, but not the bad habits.

Watch the video to see WHY I think Engineers make better business people, and what you can do about it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Video Blog: How to Advertise on Facebook and Google (CPC/SEM)

Tytus explains how to run a CPC Marketing (Promotional Advertising) campaign on Facebook and Google... and also the difference between CPC and SEM.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tytusblog 6/28/11: Marketing is MORE than just Advertisements (4 Ps of Marketing)

Tytus explains the 4Ps of Marketing (Product, Place, Price, and Promotion)... and how Marketing is NOT JUST promotion (advertising)... and in fact, PRODUCT has the biggest impact on marketing & sales success.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summary from my Entrepreneurship Speech at The University of Texas: Austin Technology Incubator

Sometimes I wish I had a little camera the followed me around taping some of my ranting/speeches.  Would certainly save time having to type anything up!  Usually I speak about either Marketing or Entrepreneurship; so when I was asked to speak on "What it's like to be an Entrepreneur" at The University of Texas: Austin Technology Incubator I thought I knew just what to say.... but after some thought I realized, the usual crap people say about Entrepreneurship is just flat wrong.  Hard work WILL NOT win the day.  An awesome idea is NOT the way to success.  What is needed is 1 skill: Sales.

I began this speech saying that I wasn't going to say the usual stuff about Entrepreneurship.  Yes, you'll be poor for a bit, and yes, you'll work hard, etc.  But in truth to be a successful entrepreneur all of that barely matters; what matters is:

  1. Sales (your ability to sell product/service/and STOCK).  
  2. Presentation/Showmanship (your ability to present ideas and put the best foot forward; even when sometimes "THERE IS NO FOOT".
  3. Persistence (your ability to NOT QUIT, even when everyone around you [especially potential investors] make it seem hopeless.
Theses skills can all be learned and practiced, and here are a few "Sales books" that I think are really, really good:

Sales Dogs: A great intro to sales and YOUR personality for sales.

Sales Bible: Amazingly good book filled with tactics and skills you NEED to learn to be good at sales:

I also went into great detail about the organization of VC funds (their management structure and decision making process), and also some small bit about my Laser-beam-Shotgun approach to fundraising!

More on those topics soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tytusblog 6/22/11: Give a Sh*t Already! (How to be Indispensable)

Tytus explains how to become a "Linchpin" like Seth Godin's awesome book.
A.K.A. How to "Give a Sh*t"!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Video Blog 6/14/11: Magic Marketing Formula for Engineers

Discover the "magic" of Marketing in an Engineering Formula.  The Dominant Coeffecient might surprise you... it's what makes a product/service SUCCESSFUL vs. UNSUCCESSFUL.

In case you missed it, the Formula is:

This is a true statement for at least the Killer NIC and various iPhone games I've worked on.

Is it true for you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Video Blog: Engineers Hate Fashion

What is Fashion?  Why do Engineers not get it/hate it?  Why do Marketers Love it?

Fashion, Function, and their interplay in Marketing

Saturday, June 11, 2011

First Video Blog: Be Different! Create a "polarizing" product.

Welcome to my first video blog entry.  This quick video is a brief introduction to me, and goes into something that is super important to me: Seth Godin's principle of creating "unique" products... I call them polarizing products.   Watch on!  It's short.  Feedback welcome... I'm new to video blogging.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Where has Harlan Been? Where is Karmaback Going?

I've been away from my Blog lately, and recently realized that not only do I miss it; some of my faithful readers miss it.  What can I say, I've been busy working!  Read on to see exactly on what...

So where have I been?  
First, I've started living what I preach: I've taken on some major contracting/consulting work in Marketing.  I am leading the Marketing strategy and teams at 2 different companies, and advising on marketing at several more.  Why?  Well, I needed some steady income as Karmaback is on hold [more on that later].  Second, I really wanted to put into practice all I've been saying here on this Blog into the real world.  The great thing is, that because I'm working with several companies, I can leverage what I learn one place at another, and vice versa.  I can also take what I learn and post it here, for you!

What companies are you working with?
I think it may be interesting for you to follow some of what I'm doing, so here's a quick rundown of companies I'm helping with Marketing.  First, an iPhone Game/App company called ingZ, Inc.  This is my primary contract and I'm basically full-time here running all of Marketing and Sales.  Second, a Facebook Game company called Night Owl Games.  This one is part-time contract only, but I'm fully in charge of all Marketing and Sales efforts.  (cool side-note, my Marketing assistant starts today!)  Third, I'm helping several young startups with their Marketing direction and also general strategy.  I can't list those all here, but one of my favorites that I'm helping is CuttingEdgeGamer who "leases" high end graphics cards, WITH infinite upgrades!   Why all the gaming companies?  Well, mostly because I'm a gamer and love it.  But also because it's been "my industry" now for almost 10 years... so my industry expertise and contacts help me to land gigs like these.  You'll be hearing more about all these companies and all my goings on right here in the future!

So what's up with Karmaback?
Very short answer is that it is "on hold" from a growth standpoint until our new server work is completed.  We actually grew too fast (really!)!  We outpaced our server infrastructure and had to move to a multi-server, cluster approach that is taking time to get just right.  When we're done, we'll be able to sustain a MEGA twitter blast from the likes of Kim Kardashian or Terrel Owens twitter feed: up to 10,000 hits per second shouldn't be a problem!   We'll be able to take on bigger customers and help smaller customers get BIG bang for their marketing dollar.  In addition we'll be rolling out new products and new features at a very nice pace: and generally speaking, Karmaback will be back in business.  We're hoping to get it all ready by the end of the summer.

So, what about the blog?  
Here is the good news, I've been reading Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin (for the third time) and realized I not only am passionate about Marketing, I am passionate about talking about Marketing: SO... This blog is going to grow.  I'm going to start doing regular video blogging, and also starting a Facebook Fanpage, just for blog readers.  Stay tuned: MUCH is coming very very soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Awesome Article about Call to Action Buttons

If you like design, or are building websites or ads, this is a very good overview with examples of what makes a good Call to Action Button:

WordPress For the Win.

I know countless other people have said that WordPress is amazing.. that it's powerful, complex, rich, and easy to use.. that it is the only thing people should be building websites on today! Let me add my thoughts on WordPress: THEY ARE RIGHT!  I've been using it for about 6 months now on a number of marketing projects,  and every time I use it to: create a quick web-page, post a blog, add a side-bar widget, add a social plug-in, or build a site in a week or two... I get goosebumps.

If you are building a new website, and you are not using WordPress (and running a Blog too), I wonder at your sanity!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Working in Spurts improves Productivity

A Spurt, a Wave, a Session... whatever you call it: working in spurts can be more productive than trying to work a full day non-stop.  This is especially true when you can design your spurt session for a specific objective/milestone.  Not a "full project" but one piece that you are going to get done in this spurt.  The amazing feeling of accomplishment you get when you complete your "SpurtSprint" motivate you to take a short break, and then execute on another SpurtSprint.

So, don't "grind away your day", barely working.

Work in "SpurtSprints" and take 10-15min breaks in between.

Not only will you feel better (from the breaks and the sense of accomplishment), but you will almost CERTAINLY be getting more done than facebooking.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Marketing Innovation now moves FASTER than Technology Innovation

Technology is now moving slower than marketing.  Think about it: WordPress and Web 2.0 are 1999 technologies still used everywhere.  Web 3.0 is just Web 2.0 but easier, and more broadly used, not really "new technology".  Today, what distinguishes a great blog, website, or online application is how it is marketed.  And the marketing of websites, blogs, online applications and the like is evolving faster than we can even imagine; much faster than the technologies they run on. 

At Karmaback, we help companies experiment with new forms of online marketing: Sweepstakes on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, Viral Coupons, Groupon-like Online Coupons, Referral Contests, Rewards Program, Loyalty Programs, and much, much more.  Most importantly, we have technologies and reporting tools that let marketers determine IF what they are doing is effective.

Karmaback now has almost 2 years of experimentation, best practices, and data in all things Marketing in this new era of marketing dominating technology.  We can tell you what works, what doesn't, and a little bit of why.

Check out what we do at Karmaback with our Social Sweepstakes, Social Coupons and Social Feedback System.  Find out how to keep pace with "The New Marketing"!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Never be out of work. DO!

Never be out of work.  It just looks bad.  "I'm looking for a job" has never been a bigger turn-off to employers.  Who wants to hire someone who doesn't at least have "something" they are working on.  At least run a blog and offer some consulting services.  Lean forward.  Do!  Don't just "be out of work"... or "look for work"... make something.  It's never been easier to start a small business and offer some consulting services or build a simple app or make a craft or something...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Turning "Visitors" into "Loyal Evangelists" is Impossible.

The verb turning implies that you actually turn something.  I believe it is impossible to "turn" a visitor of your website/store/product/service into a "Loyal" evangelist.  It is hubris to believe that we caused a "turning" to happen on a person.  So, instead, we must console ourselves by giving our visitors/customers every possible reason to decide to turn themselves!  Here is a short-list of things I've tried to "turn" visitors into evangelists.... and the success thereof.

  1. Make the website/app look good.   Result: fail.  Opinion: good looks are not enough... they are expected.
  2. Make the website/app easy to use.  Result: helps.  Opinion: combined with good looks... it is definately a "reason" someone might turn themselves into an evangelist.
  3. Cheap Rewards.  result: fail.  Opinion: cheap rewards (such as useless points, etc.) are not effective.
  4. Expensive Rewards.  result: so-so.  Opinion: if combined with other "reasons" it can push some % of visitors/customers over the edge.  *See loyalty cards.
  5. Charity involvement: result: fail.  Opinion: Charity connections really don't motivate like they used to.
  6. Delight the customer... underpromise, overdeliver.  result: WIN.  Opinion.. if there is ever any reason that a person might have to "turn" themselves into a loyal evangelist... this is the one.
An anecdote: I am a fanatic about Audible.com.  I use it for 2 hours every day (on my drive to/from work, I listen to books).  It's super easy to use website is reasonably attractive, and never fails me.  I always find new books I want to read, and the simplicity of sending them to my iPhone is delightful.  I am a delighted Audible fan, and for that reason (and maybe a few others), I am a loyal evangelist for audible.

The question: how can a Marketing Company (like Karmaback) help other companies DELIGHT their customers?  (and how can we measure it)?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Getting more Twitter Followers does NOT magically lead to sales

So, you have a lot of new Twitter Followers eh?  You may have gotten them by running a Karmaback Social Sweepstakes, or maybe you just been collecting them a while?  Well, here's a news-flash, just having twitter followers is NOT enough to get you sales.  You have to do something else, 2 things actually, and one of them has to be "extraordinary".

First, and foremost, you have to offer a product or service that is TRULY valuable to the target market.  It won't have value for everyone.. but to those that it was built for, it has to be THE most valuable solution they can think of.  Your product/service has to be "extraordinary" to the target market.

Example: You make Caramel Ice Cream, with Caramel Swirls, and Caramel Candy inside, with Caramel topping.   You make the "Quadruple Caramel Ice-cream".  *** THIS is PERFECT for me (Harlan) the target customer and people who: 1.) wants ice-cream, 2.) loves caramel, and 3.) can order the ice-cream (either lives nearby or can get it delivered).

Example 2:  You fix Small Business Tax Problems, by training small business owners the "simple steps to managing your books and filing taxes" and provide backup tax help hourly at just $40 per hour.  *** THIS is the PERFECT solution for me, and People who: 1.) have a small business, 2.) have tax headaches and fears, 3.) want to do as much as we can ourselves to save money, but 4.) need to have backup ready instantly, and 5.) can order/use the service (either via Web or in the same city).

NOTICE: These examples are VERY specific products, and NOT built for everyone in the whole world.  (some fools actually don't like Caramel!)

Now, you've got an EXCEPTIONAL PRODUCT... you've got to make an EXCEPTIONAL DEAL to the PEOPLE THAT NEED IT, and then, and only then, will you get sales from Twitter.

EXAMPLE;   @QuadrupleCaramelIceCream  live in Austin?  Try a Quad Caramel Ice-cream from #QCIC for just $2 with this code: bit.ly/34f6


EXAMPLE: @SMBTaxHelp get a $250+ training and tax consultation for just $40 with this code: bit.ly/554d


Are you getting it?
To me, (who wants/needs both of those things already)... I'm DEFINITELY going to get the icecream.. and I am GOING to check out SMBTaxHelp and see if it really is $250+ in value.

Engineering Formula:
(ExceptionalTargetedProduct + SpecialOffer) * TwitterFollowersThatNeedYourStuff = Win Sales with Twitter

Let Karmaback help you win: http://karmaback.com/platform

*photo from: http://slurplog.blogspot.com/2005/10/food-fanny-ice-cream-vietnam-hcmc.html

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Networking 101: winning a crowd is easy!

It's easy to win over a crowd.  The crowd is fickle, simple, and easy to manipulate.  Social science and thousands of years of conditioning have trained us humans to be "social" and move like a herd.  Here's a few tips to try out at your next Networking event... they all work (for me):

  1. Be the one who asks the most questions!  (people like people that ask about them & listen).
  2. Be the one that "merges" groups of people/makes introductions (even to people you just met).
  3. Wear something flamboyant (a piece of flair)... it breaks the ice, and makes you memorable.
  4. Above all else, smile, have fun, and keep it light: nobody likes the serious one...   
    1. Tell a VERY SHORT story or two.
    2. Ask lots of questions.
    3. Listen to peoples responses, and use what they say to make connections for them (ideally AT the event).
  5. PASS OUT and COLLECT business cards with anyone and everyone you find even remotely interesting or interested.  Why not!  It's the point of networking right?
Go, Network.
It's easy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Selling Products is EASIER than Selling Services.

I've sold both products and services.   I've sold them together, and separately.  Without a doubt, no question about it, selling a product is far easier than selling services.  Here are some examples of stuff I've sold, and why products were easier than services:

At the age of 10, I was the youngest kid in Lima, Ohio (where i grew up) to ever have their own paper route.  My job was to deliver papers (the easy part, and fun on my bike), and to "collect" payment...  People see newspaper as a service... and collecting that $5 per month was the bane of my existence.  People just didn't want to pay me.  "The kid is knocking again" would be their complaint... when I came knocking, door-to-door to collect the monthly fee for the Lima Newspaper.  The problem: they weren't "getting a product" at that moment.  Those same houses would gladly fork over $1 for a candy-bar sale, or $5 for a dinner plate...but newspaper service... "ah, come back tomorrow when I've got some cash".

At 16, I went door-to-door selling "Ariel Photography"... it was much easier than selling newspaper service!  I could show them a picture of their home... in full color and a huge picture.  "Yours right now for $100", I'd start out.  Surprisingly many would say yes!  (even though I'd go as low as $25 for the sale).  Why? It was a product.. it was done.. it was right there...  and I would "fake-walk-away" to close the sale all too often.  Don't get me wrong... walking door-to-door is always hard... but selling a Product was far easier than selling the service.  Imagine: "Hi, I've got a plane, and would like to fly over your home and take a photo for just $100, can you please pay me now, and then I'll send you your picture?" ---> yah, that wouldn't work at all!

Selling Killer NICs from my startup Bigfoot Networks was easy too: list the product at the store... tell people it's there... get some press... watch sales happen.

Same for selling Psyko 5.1 Surround Sound headphones: get listed, get decent reviews, market a little... watch money come in.

Now try selling "social marketing".. such as I do with Karmaback.  Selling it as a product: "click here to setup your sweepstakes now for $49" vs. a service "call us or email us for a free quote in 24 hours"... which do you think is "easier to sell"?  The product is easier to sell (as long as it satisfies the needs of the customer)...  unfortunately a Sweepstakes alone often doesn't satisfy...  customers often want more... (how to turn it into sales, how to customize how it looks, strategy, iphone apps, coupons, etc. etc.)...    these additional needs DO mean additional revenue opportunities.   But selling them is harder: figure out needs, work up a proposal, develop a relationship, build a plan, get consensus, get internal acceptance/approval, etc.

So, if you can possibly "productize" your "service offering".. go for it!  Karmaback is sure trying to do just that: stay tuned!

p.s. buy the t-shirt here:

Monday, January 10, 2011

The iPad and Kindle are the top prizes of 2010

Karmaback runs sweepstakes and contests for companies that want more fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook.  We've run hundreds of contests in 2010, and to our shock and awe the top prizes by a landslide were the iPad and the Kindle.  These $150-$500 prizes were about 150% more effective at "earning" fans and followers than prizes less than $150.  In fact, the iPad and Kindle, specifically, were 120% better at earning fans and followers than prizes above $500 (even prizes such as Football Tickets and $2,500 vacation packages).  If you are considering running a Sweepstakes or Contest, there are a few key things to consider when choosing a prize:

  1. Ideally pick a prize that is relevant to your business or customer.  Picking a relevant prize is the MAIN way you will attract the "right" new fans and followers.
  2. Choose a prize between $150-$500 in value.
  3. Consider an iPad or Kindle (perhaps preloaded with your marketing material or application)...
So, why were the iPad and Kindle so successful?  I believe the reason is that people: 1.) don't already have one.  2.) do want one. and 3.) aren't yet ready to "actually" buy one.

Now, go, Get Some!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Confusing Marketing doesn't Work.

Have you ever seen a TV commercial that made you go... huh, what was that about?  Did you ever wonder who the heck that ad was targeting?  GoDaddy is a good example... their early TV commercials made no sense... many people still don't know they are a registrar and web hosting company.  I recently watched a Chevy commercial with 3 guys in a car, they turn on the CD player, and it's kids music thumping... I didn't get it.  Am I supposed to want this embarrassment for myself?  Confusing marketing doesn't work.  If your target audience doesn't know who you are AND why you exist, you may as well have not bothered to tell them who you are.

Some companies websites are the worst (examples: http://www.rootlearning.com/ , http://www.motive.com/ , many, many more).  That clever Flash animation you have: I didn't watch it.  That annoying "auto-play" audio you launch when I hit your site: made me close your site in 1 second.  The funky, indirect, "marketing-speak" on your home-page: might be good for SEO, but please, just TELL ME WHAT YOU DO!  Directness is valued by customers who are shopping for your goods.  Leave the indirect stuff for latter pages.. and always open and close with directness... it works.

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