The Power of Help in Marketing

The Power of Help in Marketing

In his book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is about Help Not Hype, Jay Baer extolls the value of smart marketing by providing self-serve information, radical transparency and real-time relevancy. I love this philosophy and look for it in my own interactions with businesses. Here are three recent experiences about the power of help for marketing your business.

1. Women’s Plumbing Repair

I had a leaking shower-tub faucet, so I searched for a “plumber near 94612” and found “Women’s Plumbing Repair” on Yelp. The reviews looked excellent so I called. Instead of getting a receptionist though, I got an answering machine message saying, “Please do not leave a message here as I have hundreds of messages that I’m unable to check. If you need help, please call or text my cellphone number at …” I was surprised by this message, but also impressed, because if they had so many messages on their voicemail. To me, that meant they must be busy and therefore good at what they do. So I called and left a message on the cell number. Jac called me back and left me a message this time. She said to send her a text with the details of when we could meet etc, so I did and we scheduled something. Since I figured she would likely need a part for the faucet, I asked her if she wanted a photo and here’s what ensued.

1 Power of Help 1 SMS conversation 2 Power of Help 2 SMS conversation

3 Power of Help 3 SMS conversation 4 Power of Help 4 SMS conversation

Not only did she tell me how to get the part, but she also referred me to a supplier who could help me source the part, and she told me that I could do the work myself. Wow! She didn’t want to charge me. Yes, my job was small, but I was quite willing to pay to get it done. Instead of her taking every project, Jac is building up goodwill by being super helpful. As the Yelp reviews and her full voicemail box attest, the power of help is definitely working.

I got the diverter part from the manufacturer and another one from the supplier and both were free. I did need some help installing it, but I was able to get that from Jason, my handy HOA maintenance person who I’ll talk about next. Oh and one more thing, since this post is about marketing and social media, my neighbor Philip offered to help anyone having a similar problem on Facebook through our private neighborhood group, so all in all it was very much a community project. Philip showed me how to remove the faucet, Jason helped me drill away some of the travertine (marble) to allow for the new diverter to be installed and Jac helped me find the part.

I am extremely grateful to all three people here and was particularly impressed by Jac’s helpfulness. I definitely know who to call if I have a bigger plumbing issue or need to refer a plumber to someone. In fact if you’re ever in need of a plumber in the Oakland area, I recommend you call Women’s Plumbing.

2. Jason Parker HOA Maintenance

The Power of Help for Marketing on Facebook, an example of a post from Jason Parker, HOA Maintenance manJason Parker is a handyman who helped our HOA on various small projects in the building. He has built a reputation for being helpful not just by fixing things and helping people install new lights, TV mounts and electrical wiring, but also because of the tips he offers on Facebook from time to time, just for the good of the community. Every few weeks, Jason posts a tip to our private group page which is very helpful. He doesn’t ask if anyone needs help or offer his services. He simply provides useful information out of the blue. This is usually information which someone might need and use at some point, but it is unsolicited and just plain helpful. What this does is keep Jason top of mind for building residents and homeowners. It also makes people feel like they know and understand Jason and that he can be trusted. Then the next time someone needs some done work in the building, who do you think they think of first? That’s right Jason Parker HOA Maintenance man is who. He’s also available via text and phone and is just a really good guy. He has used power of help to build strong relationships with residents of our building and in so doing, we trust him and think of him first for any odd jobs that we need to get done.

3. Smog Fail Repair

I recently needed to get my smog check certificate for renewing my registration and took my car to the nearest Smog Test station. To my surprise, the car failed. How horrifying! The tester told me that I could get the car repaired by my mechanic or any smog repair shop and also that I could apply for financial assistance from the State of California to offset some of the expenses. I asked if the failure could be due to the cooler weather or the car being cold and the tester said no. The tester also indicated that the car had failed quite substantially, so I was very concerned.

I have a 1998 BMW 323is and have been taking it to Bavarian Professionals for years. (I was referred to them by a friend I trust.) I drove home from the Smog test station and called Bavarian Professionals. I told them that my car had failed the smog test and they said they would be happy to schedule an appointment, but I might want to try driving the car for a bit longer before getting a smog retest. They recommended driving the car for at least 15 minutes on the freeway before getting the car tested again, apparently because the catalytic converter takes a while to warm up. They could easily have taken my car in and charged me for a diagnostic and any repair they felt like doing, but instead they told me the truth about the car and offered a free solution. I said I would try that first before scheduling an appointment, so a couple of weeks later, I did just that. I drove the car on the freeway for about 30 minutes and then took into into the same smog test station as I had been to before. The car passed the test easily and there were no questions asked. What a relief! If I had spoken to a mechanic who was just trying to get money out of me, I probably could have spent a few hundred dollars on needless repair. I am extremely grateful for the honesty of Bavarian Professionals who once again rose to the occasion to earn my trust. Their power of help leads to happy and loyal customers like me. I will always take my car to them for service.

Lessons from these examples:

  1. While it may be tempting to take any job that comes your way, think about it from a longer view perspective. How many people would have heard about the service provider if each of the above people had just taken the job instead of being helpful? And how many people will hear about them since they were helpful? That’s right, a lot more.
  2. Doing the right thing earns trust and trust is crucial to staying in business and earning more work than you can handle.
  3. Make sure your car’s engine is nice and warmed up before you get a smog check.
  4. Always offer value and treat your customers like you would treat your friends.
  5. As Jay Baer says: “Smart marketing is about help, not hype.” Helping earns trust. Being helpful can be a powerful marketing tool.

Your turn:

Have you had any experiences in which you were particularly wowed by the customer service or “un-marketing” of a business or service professional? What does the power of help mean to you? Please share your experience in the comments below. Thank you!

Repurposing Content Across Different Platforms

An Excerpt from: Like Follow Share: Awesome Actionable Social Media Marketing to Maximize Your Online Potential

11.4 Repurposing Content and Material Across Platforms

Like Follow Share: Awesome Actionable Social Media Marketing to Maximize Your Online PotentialSocial media has brought about truly significant changes in the way we produce and receive information. A piece of news that in the past might have been distributed as one unit, in one specific way, can now be posted as four or five separate bits of content. For example, 25 years ago, a company might have written a single press release to announce the launch of a new product. Today you could write a detailed blog post about your new product, or even several posts if you wanted to provide the story of its development, list its technical features, interview the designer, and explain how to use it. Then you could tweet brief announcements about the launch party the day before, and the day of.

Post photos of the new product on Instagram, along with a link back to your blog or webpage. Make a behind-the-scenes video before the product’s launch, and afterwards make a video demonstrating how to use it. Post that video on YouTube and on your company’s Facebook page. Make a cool infographic with some details about the item or your company, or even about similar products and post it on Pinterest. Update your company’s LinkedIn profile or add a Spotlight page to provide more information to your professional network, or even post it on LinkedIn from your personal profile since LinkedIn now offers longer posting capabilities.

While this might seem like overkill, remember that all of your customers or potential customers will not be following you on every form of social media. Even if they were, people generally only see a fraction of all the content that is posted because of the way their news feeds are structured. For example, an individual person might follow your company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but they haven’t logged in to Instagram since last July and they have 750 friends on Facebook so your post got lost in the noise. That means that they only actually saw your tweet!

Furthermore, you will not be posting exactly the same content on each page – Instagram has a photo, while your blog has an article. The content will be adjusted, customized to reflect the culture of different social media sites. Producing different content is not only a cheap way to extend your marketing; it’s an essential tool for reaching your audience. Remember that people have different learning styles as well as different levels of interest and understanding about your product. While some people would prefer to read, others like videos. For someone who is only tangentially interested in your product, a tweet might be all they need or want to know, but an industry insider will be eager to read all of the in-depth details. You can actually help the public and the media understand your product better by providing materials and information in a variety of formats to meet their needs.

Blog as Social Media Marketing Hub - Repurposing Content

For repurposing content: your blog is the center, or hub and all other networks can be used to share content from the blog and also point back to the blog. © 2015 Suse Barnes

Another way to create fresh content is to ‘spin’ popular or detailed topics into multiple posts. Take one key concept or piece of information and write about it from a variety of different perspectives, or as a series. For example, I could take one topic, vegetarian cooking, and write “Vegetarian Cooking for Beginners,” “Top 5 Tips for Vegetarian Meals” “Video: How to Make Vegetarian Lasagna” and “The Vegetarian Revolution”…and so on. This level of detail can be attractive to people who are hunting for quite specific advice.

If you are short on time and resources, you will definitely need to make the most of the content you have created. Here are just a few of many repurposing content shortcuts that anyone can use. Start by choosing a solid piece of content, perhaps your “evergreen” content, or just one that got a lot of likes or has really great information. Then, create an outline or list of the main points and share it on social media. Or, find a great one-line quote from the text or an interview and use it to create a word-image to post on Instagram. Alternately, you could tweet a great quote from the article, with a link back to the original post. Combine some statistics or data from a blog post with an image and post it on Facebook, or create an infographic to post on Pinterest.

Your turn: What have you found to be most beneficial when sharing content on social networks? Do you share the same content on all networks? Or do you repurpose or spin the content to best meet the needs of each visitor on each different social platform?

Small Steps to Success

“Improve 1,000 little things by 1%…”

Dollar Sign

A few months ago, I was referred to a new customer by a colleague of another customer. Since most of my new business is referral based, I spent extra time getting to know the business of the new customer and understanding how we could help. As is quite common in the Digital Marketing industry, the project as described originally by the client turned into something a lot more extensive. What started as SEO consulting for an eCommerce site, blossomed into social media marketing, being the webmaster, blogger and web marketing analyst. Needless to say it has been a blast learning a new industry, business and making a new relationship with my client. I am also grateful for the opportunity to share a small success story about it.

What’s the biggest indicator of digital marketing success?
Dollar signs of course! And we saw a significant increase in the number of sales in Q4 2013 compared with all previous sales on the website. We started optimizing the website in August and adding the other responsibilities in September. As you can see from the chart below, the numbers speak for themselves.

Chart Showing Success with large increase in sales in Q4 2013

“You cannot improve one thing by 1000% but you can improve 1000 little things by 1%” – Jan Carlzon Former President & CEO of the Scandinavian Airlines Group (SAS)

What are your favorite success stories from 2013? Please share in the comments below.

Google AdWords Certified

This is a belated announcement, but never-the-less important. We are proud to say that our very own Cariwyl Hebert is a Google AdWords Certified specialist. In order to achieve Google AdWords Certification one must study a series of lessons and then take a rigorous exam. Cariwyl passed the exam with flying colors and is our in-house AdWords specialist. We’re very proud of Cariwyl and very pleased to be able to offer this qualification to our valued clients.

If you are in need of Google AdWords assistance, please give us a call at 415.305.6403. Thank you!

Sleep your way to the top (in 4 minutes and 11 seconds)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been sleeping a lot in 2011 and it feels really good. I hope 2011 is the year of sleeping your way to success, well ahem… literally that is. Sleep is important. Here’s Arianna Huffington’s take on it. (And if she’s not successful I’ll eat my pillow!)

How much sleep is best for you? Do you see benefits to sleeping more or sleeping less? Please share your comments below.

Susby Turns One

Happy Birthday to Susby! We have been in business for one year now and it has been a wonderful experience. This post is to say thank you to everyone who has helped us this year. Big thank yous to all of our loyal clients, for choosing to work with us and also to our excellent partners for being people we can depend upon to make clients dreams happen. While the only constant especially on the Internet is change, we are honored to know and be able to work with such a special group of people. Each of you has been instrumental in keeping Susby in business and helping us learn, grow and succeed.

Thank you to Sue, Courtney, Kathy, Sarah, Mel and Jodi at PIER 39. You are a dynamic team and it is a real pleasure to work with you. I love our brainstorming sessions.

Thank you to Taylor, Katie and Dennis at Blue and Gold Fleet. There is never a dull moment on the bay with RocketBoat and the Blue and Gold Ferries to promote.

Thanks to Louise, Rich and Gary at the Japan Center Garage Corporation. You are all delightful people and I feel very fortunate to know you.

Thanks to Greg of Galliant Group. You have no idea how much I admire your courage, drive and passion for your business. It’s truly an honor to work with you and your team.

Thanks to Tim, Alf, Reinald, Matthew, Nazy, and Ernaz at Netfira. I am thoroughly enjoying the start-up vibe and learning so much from you.

Thanks to Paul and Mitchell of G-Tatts. I love working with musicians!

Thanks to Michelle at Dome Construction, Morgan at Oakland Chamber of Commerce, Jodie at Poster Compliance Center and Drew, Kathryn, Kat and Vicki at MacKenzie.

Thank you to Michelle at The Law Office of Michelle Brodie, the best workers’ compensation attorney in San Francisco. You have taught me more than you can imagine and I am so proud to be part of your successful practice.

Thank you to D’Layna at Vocal Downloads who kept me going when I was just starting out and continues to be a source of inspiration for your persistence, courage and for always believing in your dream.

Thanks to Amy of A2B Strategy for being a fan, supporter and patient client.

Thanks to Jennifer, my programmer and Chief Technology Expert, you are the best person I have ever worked with on development projects and I am very lucky to be able to continue working with you after more than 6 years.

Thanks to SF State for employing me to teach classes which help me stay current on industry trends. I learn so much from my students and have started many excellent relationships with you. Thank you for your interest in my classes and for continuing to stay in touch.

Thanks to my friends, especially MD at Quiet Action, you are a constant source of grounding, support and inspiration all at the same time. Michaela of Hayes Marketing and Communications, you are one of my favorite people and someone I respect and admire more than I can express. To Sandra and Orah who probably know more about me than anyone should, thanks so much for all your listening. Thanks to Nic for being a true friend always and for opening my eyes to new ways of thinking and being. Thanks to Anna, Steph and Brad at Click to Play Media, and Rob, Rob and Karoline at iConfident, for your friendship and collaboration on the video. Thanks to Jose at WikiKreate Expansion, for your smart ideas. Thanks to Renata of Being Daring for always being in my corner, and last but not least, I am grateful to Kate, Pablo and Isabel for your service on the Classes for Causes board of directors, for your constant support and encouragement and for being people I can trust and rely on always.

After one year in business, most of all I am grateful for the relationships I have started, friendships I hope I have earned and connections you have made with me. It is a pleasure working with you, talking with you and collaborating with you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Evidence of the Long Tail

If you haven’t read The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson, read it.  The book is much more entertaining that the Wikipedia definition.

I was just referred to this blog titled “Social Media Will Change Your Business” from one of my favorite Facebook contacts.  She’s not really a friend and I don’t even remember how I am connected to her, but she posts really great quotes on Facebook and I am inspired daily.  Thank you @claudiaguzman who I just today discovered that you are on Twitter.  I’m really going to enjoy following you on Twitter too.

The blog (and introductory video) mentioned above, was last updated in February 2008.  Yes, that’s a long time ago, but the story was first published in 2005 and the post is still receiving comments.  That’s the power of the long tail.  Post something once and it may just live on forever.  If it’s on the web, people can find it, link to it, share it and help it spread.  This is a great example of that and also the power of crowd sourcing.

What’s your favorite Long Tail story?

Social Media’s Power Shift

Here’s a good commentary on Social Media from the CEO of Radian6. Radian6 is a social media market research platform which enables you to listen, measure and engage with your customers across the entire social web. Think comprehensive analytics for social media sites and tools for increasing engagement.

Radian6’s CEO Marcel Lebrun says that Social Media is bigger than TV. Why? Because it’s “the biggest change in business communication since the introduction of mass media.”

While some people are still asking “Is social media is a fad?”, companies like Radian6, Biz360, Trendrr, Infegy, ScoutLabs and many others are figuring out ways to help companies rethink the way they communicate.

What do you think?

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