Tag Archives: blogs

The courting ritual

By Stephen Rhodes

In our last  newsletter my partner Jeff Bowman talked about the value of building trust when including Social Media in your marketing portfolio.

It’s really no different than the time and effort required to build trust in a networking group. Your new friends need to know something about you before they are likely to stake their reputation by referring you to one of their customers.

Little Boy With BouquetNetworking online or in person is not about the hard sell. If you are hoping to establish long-term relationships your need to do little courting first. A kiss on the first date is out of the question.

So, as Jeff says, limit how much you talk about yourself – or your products and services –and provide ways to help others instead. Be an expert, a resource for others and you will be surprised how that will build a following.

Look for micro communities –social communities that are relevant to your business. Get involved. Leave comments, so people will see you as an expert. If you submit content, make sure it’s useful and unique.

Social media takes work. And initially, it will seem a little daunting, but the results will come with diligence. Like face-to-face networking, the return on investment will take some time to materialize. But, it’s well worth the effort.

Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, have written an excellent book Trust Agents on how to build trust. These two fellows are well ahead of the curve on what undoubtedly is the new frontier of marketing. I see the Canadian Amazon link shows it’s temporarily out of stock. Be patient or check this link.

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Doing business unplugged. Yikes!

By Stephen Rhodes

One of my clients was recently unplugged for a week. No email, no internet. No blogs. No Twitter. By day three I was detecting signs of withdrawal. Serious anxiety. We talked three times that week. We haven’t talked three times in the last year.

It’s difficult to imagine why this might be traumatic – until it happens to you.

Electrical OutletBusiness almost grinds to a halt. Eventually people start to call, albeit reluctantly, wondering if you are sick or hospitalized.

It is possible today to be available 24/7 with email, cell phones, PDAs and text message services. We all know someone who is an obsessive compulsive email checker, no matter where they are.

Is it too much, this plugged-in world?

A friend of mine says for a sale to occur two people must meet face to face. There is less chance of misunderstanding. There is not only an intellectual exchange but also an emotional one.

All these high-tech gizmos are there to help bring about that exchange – not prevent it.

Do you get anxious when you are out of touch?

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Filed under Customer Service, Networking, Sales, Stephen Rhodes

Get off the mat, you’re not dead yet

head-in-sandBy Stephen Rhodes

Get off the mat, you’re not dead yet. Just resting.

The economy has tanked, although we keep getting these annoying little signs of encouragement, jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate and consumers have stopped spending.

Take your head out of the sand and think about how your business can be ready for recovery, because it is surely coming.

Survival 101. Talk to your customers. Talk to your competitor’s customers. Create greater value. That’s how you keep business and win new business.

Most important. Don’t stop marketing your business. This does not have to be an expensive proposition. Go visit your customers. Join networking organizations. Look at alternative tools like your website, a blog and Twitter to create a dialogue. You want to build a culture of inclusion.

The chatter will allow you to assess your business, the products and services you offer and help you better differentiate from your competitors.

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Web 2.0 more than a shoe phone

By Stephen Rhodes

Web 2.0 gets people excited, even when they are not really sure what it means.

Cell phone and laptop computerWeb 2.0 is the next generation of the World Wide Web; technology that enhances communication and encourages collaboration online.

George Orwell’s 1984 is tame compared to the possibilities. Just this month Google announced a mapping technology that allows you to track the movement of your friends.

Social networks, video and picture sharing, wikis, blogs, podcasts and RSS feeds are at the heart of Web 2.0 and it is still evolving. It changes the way we utilize the Web by sharing your data – mixing global and local content – with new ways of searching and accessing the content.

The philosophy is built on the notion that people, who consume information online, shouldn’t just passively absorb what’s available (Web 1.0) but rather contribute to the discussion.

The danger, as my colleague Jeff points out in his column this month, is how trustworthy is the information? We are all aware of spin doctors.

At this point you’re thinking I am still trying to figure out Web 1.0, which largely involves static web reading.

The business implication in Web 2.0 is staggering, but not for the faint of heart. Companies who claim to want our feedback can have it, instantaneously. How many of us already review hotels, resorts, restaurants movies etc online before darkening their door?

When thinking about embracing Web 2.0, consider what you’re trying to accomplish, how much you’re willing to invest and what time frame you are working on. Plan ahead.

Web 2.0 may have a social interactive bent but it still relies on good content.  Bad content is bad marketing, no matter how you dress it up. Be relevant, interesting and real. Be intuitive, understand what your customer wants and give it to them. Help inform you clients. Anticipate their needs. Help educate them. Web 2.0 is not a high pressure advertising vehicle. It’s about building trust and credibility that lead to long-term relationships.

Technology makes the transition easier than it used to be. Buy a simple camcorder or audio recorder and you too can generate your own podcast or be on You Tube.

Start with a simple blog. Be an expert and share with others. Blogger and WordPress are simple free blogging tools that can get you started.  Surf other blogs to learn how to improve.

Visit YouTube, Digg, Technorati, Del.icio.us, Reddit, and other social media websites to better understand the Web 2.0 culture and whether it might be a good fit for your business.

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Filed under Online marketing, Stephen Rhodes