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: , , 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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