Social Media Drives Greater Employee Engagement
Here's a terrific case study from Swedish/US communication
consultants and training firm Gronstedt
Group on the role social media plays in helping...
More Subscription Choices
There's no doubt that subscribing to someone's blog or website via RSS in order to automatically receive their content each time their site is updated is a convenient way to stay on top of the latest information.
Stars Of Blogging Come Out At PubCon
Mike McDonald sat in on WebmasterWorld's Pubcon Boston morning session today, featuring a trio of bloggers well-known to our search marketing and optimization audience.
MySpace For The Office
Nice piece from BusinessWeek's Steve Rosenbush today: MySpace For The Office.
Software Testing and Talking
I've spent a bit of time this weekend with software and servers.
Companies Blocking Employees from Reading RSS
I dream of a world without prejudice. Wars will
be a distant memory. And organizations will trust
their employees enough to let them subscribe to
The Next Wave at Work
A report in the Financial Times on social media in the workplace highlights some terrific examples from companies who talk about the benefits to be gained from deploying blogs, wikis and RSS.
Employee Performance Reviews — Dealing With Disagreements
What do you do when an employee disagrees with something
you've written on their performance review?
The Real Value of Communication
Headline findings from the 2005/2006 Communication ROI Study from employee benefits and HR consulting firm WatsonWyatt:
Reaching Decision Makers
To develop an effective lead generation program,
you need a process that identifies decision makers
along with their sphere of influence...
A Place to Get a Look at Office 2007
I've been getting more and more email lately asking to have a look at Office 2007.
Disney, Pixar Imagineers Blog Company Missteps
Pixar and Disney's imagineers have started up a rather forthright blog called Re-Imagineering.
Lame, But Lame
In a post entitled "Lame, But Smart," Nick Carr writes...
AjaxWrite wants to take on Microsoft Word
What if there were an alternative for Microsoft Word that would install and open in 6 seconds, read and write Microsoft Word .doc files and run on Macintosh, Microsoft Windows or Linux computers? asks Michael Robertson.
Another Offline Editor: BlogDesk
Following my earlier post about RocketPost, I've just found out about another offline blog editor for Windows - BlogDesk...
Feed Harvest is talking up a good game.
The More Things Change...
Edelman's Phil Gomes offers a thoughtful piece (from Steve Rubel but posted to Phil's blog) on blogger relations, suggesting that it's better to build relationships with bloggers than it is to just hurl pitches at them.
Google Calendar a Reality
It looks like Michael Arrington has real screenshots and info on the new Google calendar, named CL2.
Tips for Corporate Blogging
Backbone Media has published a list of tips for corporate blogging. They are...
Four Steps to Overcome Collaboration Obstacles
A thoughtful feature in the Financial Times discusses the question of why in-house collaboration in organizations is so difficult, with the consequent impact on effective working.
The Middle Ages
What if leadership didn't originate from the top of an organization, society or ecosystem, but from its middle?
Microsoft Releases Add-Ons For Office 2003
has released Microsoft Dynamics
Snap, a collection of programs that "snap" into
Customer Referrals: Viral Marketing Goes Old School
Getting referral business and new customers, through recommendations by satisfied customers and clients, is a dream of most business owners and managers.
Of course, it's often more likely thought about as an abstract
concept, than really put into practice. Many business owners
dream of referral business, but not every entrepreneur takes
advantage of this powerful marketing tool.
Referral business is often called word of mouth advertising. More recently, the term viral marketing has been applied to the age old concept. In the end, it's getting a happy customer to help you sell your products or services. In fact, it's the cheapest sales force that a business can ever cultivate.
Surprisingly, referrals are one of the least used sales and marketing techniques around. Sure, you'll hear many business owners ask their customers if any other people would be interested in the offered products and services. You might even have said the same tired old line yourself.
Usually, the customer smiles, nods, and then forgets the entire conversation ever took place. After all, your business, products, and services are not the most important thing on their minds. Instead of creating a customer evangelist for your business, another golden marketing opportunity was lost. Developing a customer referral system could be the most profitable marketing step ever taken by a business. It's time to get one started for your business.
The satisfied customer as target marketer
Most business people, when asking for customer referrals, are much too vague in their request. After all, if a business targets their marketing to specific customers, it only makes sense to apply the same principle to seeking referrals. Make the request specific, and aim for the proper target market.
All too often, a business person will simply ask if they know of some friend, relative, or business associate who requires a similar service. Little response is the usual result. Instead of being general, be specific. Provide specific examples of a type of product or service offered. Let the satisfied client discover the person who needs it.
For example, a men's tailor would not simply ask if a customer knew who needed a new suit. Instead, the approach would be if the client knew of a friend or relative who was getting married in the near future. The tailor would remind the customer that the new groom would be made look like a movie star in just the right fitting suit.
The client is not only now thinking of who is getting married, but who might also be attending a wedding. The same approach could be used to specifically target graduations or prom clothing. The goal is to zero in on a specific target person for referral. Aiming too widely will capture fewer referrals. Being specific is the key.
Help the referrer to get the new prospect
If the business service or product is fairly complex or a large investment, a few sales props are helpful to the referring customer. Provide them with a sample or a brochure to give to the prospect. Giving the customer evangelist something to work with helps her to demonstrate the opportunity your business offers. The information you provide will answer many of her prospect's questions.
Make certain that not only your sales staff ask for business referrals, but have every member of your organization working on the referral system. Treat the entire staff as a sales referral team, and provide them with the sales tools to add their social and family networks to the business client base. Many potential customers are lost because not all members of the firm were aware of the company's products and services line. Don't miss that built in company referral system.
Rewarding the helpful
Most people want to be helpful. They want to share good experiences with their friends and family. Referrals are usually treated as part of a business transaction, and most people will be open to the idea. People want to help. You just need to help them a bit too.
Offering a small referral gift or reward often works very well. The possibility of getting a free product or service is appealing. More importantly, it keeps the referral in the satisfied customer's mind. They think of the gift and remember to market your product or service wherever possible. The key is deciding what sort of reward to offer as an incentive.
Don't offer anything too extravagant. It makes the business appear too profitable, and can even make the satisfied customer think she paid too much. After all, the cost of an expensive referral gift has to be covered somewhere. A potential customer might believe that the incentiv reward forms a large portion of the purchase price.
A better idea is to offer some additional service or accessory as the referral gift. Our tailor could offer free alterations, or a minor clothing accessory, for every successful referral. The point is to have the customer make a referral to a new prospect; and to make it somehow related to the product or service on offer. Keeping the concept of referrals in the customer's mind is what counts. A product or service, that works with the referral item, is an ideal referral reward.
By putting customer and staff referral systems in place, your business can grow by word of mouth. Treat your customers well, and reward them fairly, and they will happily do your target marketing on your behalf.
Old school know how will enhance a business's modern viral marketing program.
Wayne Hurlbert provides insigtful information about marketing, promotions, search engine optimization and public relations for websites and business blogs on the popular Blog Business World.