Sending gifts and promotional products has always been a powerful marketing tool. It can be used to improve client retention and to reach out to prospects. The Guinness Book of World Records Most Successful Salesman in the World used to send out greeting cards to every customer and prospect on a monthly basis. He was sending out more than 16,000 cards each month, and it worked. Customers knew him by name, and they came to him for all their car-buying needs.
But now, with the power of social media, gift giving as a marketing tool can make an even bigger splash than before.
I want to share a couple of stories with you of my experiences with receiving promotional products from some of my friends on Twitter.
- 2 Bottles of Wine from St. Supery Winery—I’ve been following @RickBakas, Director of Social Media for St. Supery Winery, for quite a while now. We had a little interaction with each other, but it wasn’t on a regular basis. Then, one day Rick reached out to me for help pushing some content on Twitter. I obliged, and next thing I know, I’m receiving 2 bottles of wine in the mail. By the way, the wine truly was amazing. Thanks again Rick!
So, why did Rick send me the wine? Well, I think there are a couple of savvy marketing reasons he did so.
- To cement our relationship. See, you can only build a relationship through Twitter so much by @replying and DMing. Rick decided to think outside the box by sending me 2 bottles of his companies wine, knowing I’d be forever grateful and pay much closer attention to him.
- To spread the word. After getting the wine from Rick, I of course thanked him through Twitter, and now even felt compelled to write an entire blog post about his company’s effective social media marketing tactics.
- Books from my followers—Rick isn’t my only Twitter follower who has reached out by sending me a promotional product. On a few occasions, my social media pals have sent me books they’ve authored or co-authored. The 2 most recent examples that come to mind are @ConvertBond and @AlisaBowman.
The book I received from @convertbond (Lawrence McDonald) was called A Colossal FAILURE of common sense(a New York Times best seller), and it took a look at the fall of Lehman brothers. Lawrence was a former VP at Lehman Brothers, so he had an interesting story to tell.
Alisa Bowman, who gives marriage advice at her blog, and has also collaborated on five New York Times best sellers, sent me a book she co-authored called The Skinny: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry.
What’s my point? The point is that you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Sending a promotional product or a simple greeting card can put you on a first-name basis with influential social media users and your customers. It can also create a buzz, getting your name out there and driving sales.
Do you have a “outside of the box” marketing story? We would love to hear about it in the comments.
Whenever we talk about guest blogging, the conversation usually focuses on the link building benefits of guest blogging. And while this is certainly one of the best reasons to guest post, I’ve personally found that the increased exposure and the ability to position yourself as an expert in your niche are the most profitable effects of guest blogging.
Let me explain.
I’ve been fortunate enough to guest post on several popular marketing blogs throughout the internet. At first, the only reason I was doing this was to get quality back links to my website. But as time went on, I started realizing that I was getting far more from my guest blogging efforts than some good link juice.
Suddenly, I was getting contacted by readers of my guest posts who were interested in becoming clients. I was also getting contacted by other bloggers who wanted me to contribute a post to their blog as well.
But I’m not the only one this happens to. Even in the comments of the post I linked to earlier, Ann Smarty admits
“The most recognition, client work, business contacts came from guest posts. I think I owe my whole marketing career to just a few awesome pieces I posted elsewhere.”
Why does this happen when you guest post? For a few reasons:
- You’re reaching a new audience—No matter how much effort you put into growing your own blog, any time you guest post, you’ll be reaching some new people. Guest blogging is a great tool for building your network. To get the most from your guest blogging efforts, make sure to respond to all comments left on your post. And don’t just respond with a “Thanks for leaving a comment.” Instead, take the time to push the conversation forward by truly engaging with the commenter. This helps you build relationships with this new audience.
- Guest blogging positions you as an expert—Being seen as a thought leader in your industry certainly has its advantages. As an expert, you’ll attract the top-shelf clients who are willing to pay more to get the services of an industry leader. You’ll also have an easier time earning the trust of new customers, a challenge for all online businesses.
- Guest posts act as an endorsement from the other blogger—Think about it. If another blogger allows you to write a post on his or her blog, that’s their way of saying “I endorse this blogger, and I think he has something of value to share with the community.” It’s like whenever a President endorses someone running for Congress. The endorsement builds your credibility and name recognition.
Tips for Guest Blogging Success
- submit your best content. This is your one chance to make a good impression on a new audience.
- Interact in the comments to build relationships
- Always look for guest blogging opportunities, even outside of your niche
- Use MyBlogGuest to find the latest guest blogging opportunities
Do you guest blog on a regular basis? How has it helped you? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.
Thanks to a recent feature story in Entrepreneur magazine, ghost Tweeting has once again become a hotly debated subject. So, I thought I’d throw in my $.02 on the subject.
Note: For those who don’t know, ghost Tweeting is when you hire someone else to Tweet under your name.
- It goes against the whole point of social media—Call me crazy, but isn’t the whole point of social media to be, umm, social? Social media is about interacting, building relationships, getting to know one another, and just being yourself. Now, if someone else is Tweeting under your personal name, doesn’t that violate all of this? It’s like when a 50 year old fat guy in a chat room pretends to be a 21 year old blonde chick. Not cool, man.
- It can distort the brand image—Celebrities and high-profile execs are usually the ones who hire people to ghost Tweet for them, and I get it. They’re busy. The last thing they have time for is to Tweet all day, but they also want to build their brand and keep their name out there. However, I think this is a bit dangerous and can easily backfire. Even if the ghost writer is good at capturing your exact tone and personality, there’s no way they can know the celeb’s thoughts on every subject they Tweet about. Sooner or later, something will be Tweeted that isn’t in line with the celeb’s “personal brand”, and this will distort that image and confuse their audience.
- The speed of Twitter makes it difficult to edit—I understand ghost blogging because the ghost writer has time to interact with the credited author to get ideas for posts and edits on their writing. But Twitter is a real-time conversation. There’s no time for editing and approving every single Tweet before it gets published. This creates a dangerous environment where the ghost writer can very easily slip up by Tweeting something they shouldn’t, and as a result, it’s the celebrity who ends up paying for it.
Alternatives to Ghost Tweeting
- Hire a social media consultant to train you on how best to use Twitter.
- Tweet when you have time. Quality over quantity.
- Don’t Tweet at all
For those looking to spread their message far and wide on Twitter, attracting ReTweets (RT) is a must. When your followers RT your content, it can create a snowball effect.—Your followers RT it, then their followers RT it, and then their followers RT it, and so on.
But to enjoy that snowball effect, it all starts with knowing how to attract those initial RTs. Here are 13 tips for getting more people to RT your content.
- Message your friends to ask for them—I’m assuming you have at least a few close friends on Twitter. To get that snowball rolling, shoot them an email or an IM asking them to RT your content. Most times, they’ll be happy to help. Just make sure you don’t constantly bombard them with RT requests. Moderation is key.
- Include “Please RT” on your tweet—It might seem a little desperate, but adding “Please RT” at the beginning or end of a tweet can help you get some good RT action. Again, this is something you don’t want to overdo as your followers will begin to ignore you. I prefer only using “Please RT” for important causes, rather than something that just benefits me.
- Install a Twitter button on your blog—Placing a TweetMeme button on your blog makes it easy for your readers to instantly share your content on Twitter with only a single click. Make sure the button is placed above the fold so readers easily see it.
- Include @mentions to those referenced in the post—Sometimes, you might quote or reference someone else in your post. Whenever you do this, include an @mention of that person. For example: “33 Copywriting Tips found on Twitter (include link) w/tips from @Copywritings @heatherlloyd and more” These @ mentions put you on the radar of those people, and it could lead to them ReTweeting your content.
- Don’t just drop a link. Add something to it—Take a look at the 50 most recent Tweets from your followers. I bet probably half of them are links to articles or blog posts. We’re constantly being bombarded with links on Twitter. To stand out, you need to add something to your link drop that makes it more intriguing.
About six months ago, I had 1500 blog subscribers—all of whom left few if any comments. On a good day, I would get maybe 8 comments.
On a bad day, I might get zero
It hurt my feelings more than a little.
And it made me wonder: Is anyone actually reading my blog? Or are all of these people pressing the delete button whenever my blog feeds into their inbox? Am I the most unloved blogger on the planet?
I thought about throwing a De-Lurking Party, as I’d read about other bloggers doing that sort of thing. But that seemed, well. In a word? Terrifying. What if I held a party and no one showed?
No, I couldn’t do that. No. No. No. A De-Lurking Party? That was waaaaay too risky.
So I did all of the usual things that people tell you to do in order to get more comments. I ended each post with this line, “Please leave a comment.” I installed the Comment Luv and the Subscribe To Comments plugins. I begged my Twitter followers to please comment on my blog.
Then, one day, I accidentally purchased the wrong size of bed sheets. I opened the package and washed them before realizing the issue. I didn’t know what to do with the dang things, so in the middle of a post Of Cobwebs, Bedsheets and Butter I wrote: Would you like a set of free Bakugan bed sheets? Leave a comment on today’s post that makes me laugh and forget all of my life’s problems and they are yours.
It was a joke. I didn’t think anyone would want them. I mean, seriously? They were kid’s bed sheets. They were already out of the package.
They had Bakugan designs on them.
That post? It generated 23 comments. As the comments flowed in, I danced around my room saying, “Who-hoo. People really do read my blog. Who-ho. People love me.”
Reward Your Readers
Let me tell you something. I. Did. Not. Want. To. Come. Down. From. That. 23 Comments. High.
So I decided to give away more stuff.
I included a line from Where the Wild Things Are in one post’s headline and offered to send a chocolate bar to the first reader who figured out the book from which I’d stolen the line.
I won a bunch of dildos at a conference (don’t you just wish you were at THAT conference?), so I gave two away to my readers.
I re-gifted swag. I gave away crap that I didn’t want anymore. I gave, and I gave, and I gave.
Here are some other things that I did:
Created a Reader of the Month award. I give it to one frequent commenter each month.
Thanked my readers. I thanked them in my posts. I thanked them in the comments area. I told them just how much their comments helped inspire me. I told them just had crappy I felt whenever a post did not generate a lot of comments.
Started a Reader Participation post. I did the first one on a morning when I was busy and didn’t have enough time to write a real post. So I posed a question, asking, “What was the best marriage advice you ever got?” In the body, I told readers that they would write the post instead of me. I would, however, reward one commenter with a subscription to Wired magazine. That post? It got 46 comments. Now I regularly post questions—usually ones that were sent to me by readers—and I ask my readers to answer them.
At a recent meeting of industry people I saw a self-styled social media guru – they’re everywhere these days – talk about the how to use social media to make potential customers like your product. In the middle of his talk he gave an uncomfortable example of how he used social media for personal gain.
He was checking in to an upscale hotel and the bagboy left his bag on the floor behind him and walked off. Now I’d personally be thrilled in such a case – no bagboy hanging around looking for a tip – but this social media guru went one better and used this supposed gaffe to blackmail the hotel. He took a photo of his lonely bag by itself and told the clerk he was going to upload the photo to the internet and Twitter the incident. The hotel clerk sheepishly gave him a free upgrade on his room as an act of apology, and presumably to avoid negative word-of-mouth from a social media guru. He was proud of his wily dealings, but the story struck me as embarrassing. I was embarrassed on behalf of the internet marketing industry and on behalf of decent people who don’t go around looking for ways to blackmail vendors for freebies. Is this what social media is for? Read more >>
Chances are you’re familiar with both StumbleUpon and Digg. Have you ever wished it would be as easy to Digg posts as it was to Stumble from site to site? Well, now it can be. Sub Digger Plus wasn’t created by Digg (so it’s uncertain if using it will get your Digg account in trouble), but it’s a great way to make keeping up with your friends’ Digg submissions. Not only is this tool helpful, it’s not difficult to use. In fact, if you know your Digg username, that’s all you need to enter to start using the tool (which works on Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome browsers.)
With no plugins to download or software to install, Sub Digger Plus makes it simple to easily check out Digg submissions from your friends. After entering your Digg username, you’ll go to a screen with a toolbar on the bottom. Your friends’ submissions will load in the top of the screen. All you have to do is click one button to see the next submission. There’s also a handy list view that’s sortable. Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose to sort the list by Date, Diggs, Title, Submitter, Topic or Read (and any of these options can be sorted in ascending or descending order). This makes it super easy to see what your friends are doing at Digg, and provides you with the opportunity to create a really personalized Digg experience.
Last Tuesday (May 19th), Digg held their latest Townhall. After talking about upcoming Digg events, they began answering questions from users, and a screenshot of the first question they answered is below:
When presented with this question, Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose stated that they were planning on shutting down this feature in a few days. They said that while they realized this was a controversial decision, they had decided to replace it with new sharing options. The two sharing options they mentioned were Facebook and Twitter, and they said that these changes would make the sharing process simpler and more streamlined.
Digg stuck to this promise, and on Tuesday of this week (May 26th), they made the official announcement on their blog that they were removing the shout feature. In addition to discussing the ability to quickly share via Facebook or Twitter, the Digg post also stated that while they have removed the “Blog This” feature, they still have a shortcut for sharing via email (as you can see from the screenshot below):
They say ‘Owning a Blog is No Longer a Luxury but rather a Necessity’. How true!
And so is social media marketing.
As the real focus of this ebook is on social media and in the true spirit of it, let’s take a look at the meaning of blogging from the s-o-c-i-a-l m-e-d-i-a perspective.
Selling – Blogging opens a window of countless opportunities. One of those is the opportunity to sell your product and/or service. Most bloggers, if not all, are online entrepreneurs who blog passionately for money.
What it takes is trust, credibility and the right product. Just be sure that the kind of product/service you want to sell on your blog should be relevant, of value and could really make a difference in their life.
Read more >>
If you have not figured it out by now, LinkedIn is a phenomenal tool. The possibilities really are endless, and if I can become successful from using it, then anyone can. But somehow, people just don’t understand why it’s useful, and how to use it to achieve their professional goals. I know I was unsure about how to use it, and in the first few months I still couldn’t figure out how to import my contacts. Sound familiar?
What does it mean to generate success on LinkedIn?
Success is determined on each individuals professional goals; finding a job, driving massive traffic to your website, generating quality targeted leads, increasing sales of any kind, finding a business partner, finding investors, promoting a company/product/event/service, finding the right service provider, becoming a globally recognized industry leader, and generating more income.
If the above paragraph describes something you are looking to achieve, then read on to learn about how to do this on LinkedIn.
How I Started Out
When I first got “LinkedIn” I didn’t have a job, had zero products or services to provide, and had very little work experience. I was a twenty four year old struggling professional athlete without a college degree and just got out of the hospital from a near life threatening surgery. I would say it was one of the lowest moments of my life, and I wasn’t sure what the future would hold.
One day, however, my most trusted mentor sent me an invitation to join LinkedIn. This was the first time I had heard about the business-networking site, but I figured if my mentor was on it, I knew it was something I should be using as well. I was right. I noticed the potential when I first “linked in”, and the opportunities continue to overflow in abundance today.
The more I figured out how to use LinkedIn, the more opportunities unfolded, and it came to the point where there were to many to manage.
Read more >>