Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Living a brand rather than seeing it

A brand experience is magnitudes times more valuable than observing a brand.

You experience the Apple lifestyle, you experience the Gary Vaynerchuk brand through his video blog, you experience my brand through this very blog.

Seeing an advertisement at a bus stop just doesn’t compare – however pairing that up with an experience completely changes the game.  A great example is a free ringtone which you can grab via bluetooth from the advertisement which then gives you something to walk away with and experience.

Living a brand is so much more fun, engaging and most of all attractive to others as they want to be a part of it.

Sure it’s not for everyone but those that can master it will reap the outrageous rewards….

April 30th, 2009

Where's Ben?

As most of you do not visit the blog and get it via RSS or Email (which is great, thanks for your subscriptions)  I thought I would let you know where I am and where I’m not.

Where I am:

  • Twitter – At @bwagy
  • Facebook Fan Page – (why? I keep my main facebook for personal use, so if you want to friend me on facebook fan page the way to go).
  • LinkedIn

These are the three ways to friend me up and keep in touch.  Email is always preferred but these platforms are the other avenues you can stay in the loop.

April 30th, 2009

Role Models & the Conventional Path

Of your role models which took the conventional path? Virtually none.

You see following the same path as everyone else is a surefire way to relative mediocrity.  Sure you may do well.  But imagine how much better you could do on your own path.

Think Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Fossett…

April 29th, 2009

The standardised addon

Everytime I go get Sushi, they say ‘Ginger & Wasabi?’ and everytime I say yes.

I do eat the wasabi but never the ginger yet I always say yes.

A quick poll of everyone else in line before me (three people) they all did as well.

Now I have said no before and other places haven’t offered and you know what? I didn’t feel like I got a good service.

For some reason those two little packets help communicate value.  In fact some sushi places charge extra for it.

The standardised addon has become an essential part of the consumer experience.  

What part of your service has become standardised? Or is there room to standardise something that others don’t? Just a thought.

April 28th, 2009

The Art of the Twitter Fart

Apparently if you add “the art of’ to a subject title it is viewed a lot more creatively than how to. Who knows. Anyway….

What is a Twitter Fart? It’s a lapse of judgement that results in a misguided tweet that impacts your brand negatively.

Real Estate Agents, Social Media Experts and Wealth coaches are farting all over Twitter and quite frankly ruining the experience. I thought I’d put together a bit of a guide for those using Twitter for marketing to avoid the Twitter Fart.

The key to Twitter (and of course at which I love) is that it constrains you to fit your message in and thus stimulates creativity. You have 140 characters to sell your message. However you don’t really. That is what people miss…

  1. You have 140 characters to get your reader to take action, to click a link, to ask a question, to make a connection. You ARE NOT going to close a sale in a tweet. A series of tweets yes but not a tweet. In your micro message view it as a way or reaching out to shake someones hand, if you’re good enough they will return the handshake and pave the way for a conversation to happen. Then once you have their permission & engagement you can get closer to a sale. Go straight for the sale without building a relationship people will shut you out quick snap.
  2. If you run a freemium based service; use twitter to engage people in the free edition, give them a free ebook, trial, coupons. Use the concept of free to start to build the relationship above.
  3. When you run a competition let the winner pick someone else to also receive the prize in fact let them give it to as many people as they want to tweet. Get them to help you spread your product.
  4. You have 140 characters to ignite a spark, an idea, a curiousity, don’t necessarily answer the questions going on in your readers mind, give them an url so they find the answer. Ie Grab bens latest book The Best Ideas are Free – it’s all abouts ideas’ vs ‘Grab a copy of @bwagy latest book The Best Ideas are Free, download free sample here’. Stop answering the questions for your readers… you are doing them (and you) a disservice.
  5. Remember it is all about branding and consistency, be consistent in your message, do not get angry at other readers, swear, or share whilst drunk (I know but see it all the time). This reflects badly on you (unless you’re a party brand?).
  6. Ask for feedback from your users and actually implement them, thank them publicly for helping you. It helps enhance their status but shows you value their input.
  7. Remember others are always watching. The 1 in 100 rule still applies 100 may read your message and only 1 respond. I often get a ‘hey I read your tweet….’
  8. Always thank people. Do not stop thanking them. If someone takes the time to retweet your tweets, share them, make a comment. Make sure they know you value their input.
  9. Pretending to be mystic, asking airy fairy questions, or hinting at your next product release doesn’t work unless your Apple stop it. People are only going to find that annoying. We don’t love your product as much as you do.
  10. Reward your fans, look after them, keep an eye on what they do and help them spread the word when they need it. A loyal fan is going to spread your message more than you can ever imagine. So try not to burn them!
  11. Use Twitter not in isolation but to reinforce other campaigns, those that spark an interest will spread through your channel, from twitter to your blog to youtube to subscription to purchase. It is a long dance not a short one, so let Twitter boost your other avenues.
  12. Sometimes you aren’t on topic, don’t sweat the small things, we realise there is a real person behind the account.
  13. Frequency of engagement pays off.
  14. Measure, measure, measure! Measure the time of day you release content, visits to your site, conversions, language use vs traffic, number of retweets. You can measure virtually everything. So do so! Once you find something that works focus your energy on that.
  15. Reward participation to stimulate it, offer competitions for best reply or question, or video reply, leveraging the conversations you create achieves coverage in the second tier network.
  16. Second tier is where the real value is. If 100 people read to 1 comment, garnering 5 comments from 5 different people has a potential second tier reach of 2500 people! If I talk to all of my 3000 followers I have a second tier reach of 20 million! Remember someone is always watching.
  17. Measure your time investment into Twitter with Rescuetime, compare vs return over time. Astounding how it changes.
  18. Evry chrctr is vluable, use them wisely. People understand that you don’t need full or proper english. That being said remember this is branding.
  19. Think ahead strategically, what kind of conversations would you like to stimulate? how can you do that or lead a conversation in that manner.
  20. Live Campaigns work best, can you tie in retweets to, where prizes are given out instantly? in a world of instant you can really leverage that.
April 27th, 2009

Building a Business API

API stands for Application Programming Interface.  A geek term which means you can build a system that uses functions from another (through the API).

Google, Digg, Twitter use APIs to stimulate innovation and really open the platform up.  

Having an API maximises the potential of your service.  Smart on every level: leverage, stimulate innovation, buy out those that work, learn from those that fail…

Arising amongst these purely ‘tech’ services are startups building web platforms that connect the previously unreachable  through their online platform.  Once they are connected innovation can really happen.

Take for example, by working with many different banks across the USA and importing their data into Mint they provide an industry standard.  The data is in a centralised location, abides by the same rules and can be opened up.

You see once you have ubiquity across an industry of data abiding the same structured rules you then provide a platform for innovation to happen over the API.

What could you do with Mint transaction data?

Compare spending versus external events (like google news, browsing habits, locality), provide a ‘new’ cashflow management tool, let people check their bank account via twitter or text.

Imagine the possibilities if you can create the same platform model in other industries, a platform for every postshop in the world, connecting all car yards or even every mobile network in the world.

Build a real life business api, open it up, see what happens.

April 26th, 2009

Smile & Move

This week has been a bit of a video week for me, so I thought I’d share my favourite one, it’s called Smile & Move. Hard to describe, just watch.

April 23rd, 2009

Pay What You Want Marketing Advice is back… for good

Given the huge amount of fun I had last time with Pay What You Want Marketing Advice  I have decided to bring it back for good.

Why did I do it as an experiment? To limit my downside of course.  As I found there was no downside, it was all a challenge and hugely fun.  So now it’s back…

For those who are new the gist is:

You email me with your problems, questions, questions on strategy.

Anything Internet Marketing related.

Who is this suited for? Any kind of business, maybe your a small business who hasn’t ventured online, a tourism business, owner operator, b2b, b2c….

You probably have made cuts of your marketing expenditure.

And so you should if it has questionable returns.

BUT with internet marketing you can measure your returns. Down to the dollar.

If you know how.

So to help clear misreprentations about it and encourage spending in internet marketing I am doing this.

The catch? Well the catch is I ask you to pay me what you think my information to help you out is worth to you. If its worth nothing pay nothingif its worth $250 pay that. Up to you, no pressure, my aim is to help you.

I just want to repeat that, my aim is to help you!

Basically you email me [email protected] with the subject line ‘pay what you want’, I give you a hand, you pay me what you think it’s worth via paypal.  It is probably the best way to get advice from me without committing to a contract.

Please note a few things:

1) Give me some background information about your company, clients (in the email).  I can clear up to several thousand emails in a busy week so if you have all the information in the email helps me out (vs a web address for more info).

2) If I help you, could you post feedback in the comments below (good or bad, mostly good Im sure)

3) Forward to friends this post to help them out.

April 23rd, 2009

Avon & Helping People

This article on Avon (the direct sales company which recruits people to sell their cosmetics product for them) came through my inbox Avon experiencing strong growth.

In New Zealand over the past few weeks 1,500 people have signed up to sell their products!

This on top of a 27% increase in sales so far this year.

Their model (from a potential sales persons point of view) is we help you build your income.

To the recipient you get catered at home service to sell you the products you actually want.

No need to go to a store, deal with a rude staff member, battle the crowds.

Stay at home and let someone you know come to you and help you with your cosmetic problems.

I wonder what’s next, bloggers selling avon products? An Avon video blog? Wonder if they have affiliate sales…. huge opportunity for growth.

The query is then, they are soaring in a downturn, what happened when times were good? Or have they always done well and are just now doing better.  

Either way if you can position yourself to cater directly to your markets needs and by doing so deliver real tangible value, it’s not hard to sell.

April 22nd, 2009

Forget the critics

They’ll only steer you from your course.

Listen to those that get it, talk with them, help them spread your ideas.

By pandering to those that have no motivation than to drag you down, you end up where they want you to be.  And that’s not cool.

So forget the critics!

April 21st, 2009

The hidden business angels

A completely unknown benefit of pursuing your dreams is that of the hidden business angels.

These are people who are successful in their own right, who take a fancy to what you do, and offer a hand.

Whereby it be business advice, a dead arm when you need it (keep you grounded) or hey I think you slipped up here.

They listen without assuming, provide real advice without catches, genuine people who want to help.

This is just my post to say thanks to those that have done so with me and those that do so for others.

You are all legends.

April 20th, 2009

The Art of Free

Giving away stuff for free is such a joy.

  • Advice
  • Coffees
  • Ebooks
  • Connections
  • Services & time

It is so relieving; not stressing about making a few bucks on an ebook, or negotiating rates for a hour long meeting.  Worrying I am not getting enough money. I don’t make any money off this and never intend to do so, I do it for fun. 

By deciding this is what I do for free.  This is where i make money and this is where I don’t.

It let’s me get those things done, no stress, then focus on those that make me money.

The crucial thing is the free doesn’t destroy business value, it forces you to focus on areas where you extract additional value.

What barriers can you destroy? To unlock what you have and just give it away for free? Be it reports, knowledge, ideas, systems…

Unlocking these expands your presence in your market and thus your opportunity to maximise the cashflow opportunities.

April 19th, 2009

Early Stage Marketing

Some guidelines for internet entrepreneurs developing their early stage marketing strategy:

  • SEO is about branding, it takes time, it does pay off, but don’t expect overnight success.  Expect months of hard work to recreate the apparent look of overnight success.
  • PPC is great if you can sustain it.  Often you are developing or creating a segment of which it is hard to get a return on this initially.  If you are in the rare stance of breaking even or making a profit (whilst in startup mode) go horizontal, invest in MSN, in Yahoo.  Get their lower competition marketplaces to help you drive profit.
  • Viral tactics are just as the term describes, tactics.  They help provide a short term boost, or add the icing to the cake.  Realise this and use it to your advantage.  Solid business growth still comes from delivering insane value to your customers and looking after them.
  • Marketing results always take double the amount of time that you predicted, it takes time to refine your strategy, make the technological changes, talk to all developed parties.  However picking up the phone and calling your existing clients can be done today.
  • Focus on building brand name searches, measure the numbers of visit by your brand, focus on pushing that.  No one can compete when people are motivated to look for you.
  • Do not skimp on metrics, use Google Analytics, capture all that you can (helps for future analysis) but focus on the key metrics that drive your business today.  Match them to business objectives and real dollars in the hand. 
  • Blogging will be your #1 Marketing Tool if you use it wisely, so only blog if you’re going to do a good job of it.
  • Communities are fantastic but like blogging require a lot of work, if you are time poor this may not be your best approach.  It is better to not do it at all than do it miserably.
  • The best people you can hire (if you need hire at all) come from referrals, they don’t need splashy websites to sell themselves, their clients sell them.
  • Free is good, creating a product that people marvel you charge so low for it is better.  Case in point Basecamp.
  • Stick to your strategy, it will naturally evolve over time but if you quit because you don’t get instant results you are following the path to mediocrity.
  • ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) question those that provide marketing advice, it helps you understand their thinking and helps them learn about you.
  • Once you have your strategy get onto it, there are a thousand ways to skin a cat, focus on yours.  Marketing fads come and go.

And finally….Stop procrastinating and start now!  Many entrepreneurs know what they need to do, they just don’t do it, like this blog I just do it, not spend all my time talking ….

April 16th, 2009

Twitter Business Models

Running early for a client meeting a fortnight ago I pondered Twitter business models, so here are the results of that brain storm.

Models seen in action:

  • Simple sales channel:  Push special twitter sales via twitter, coupons, don’t dilute keep them timely, relevant
  • Customer Service:  Answer questions via twitter, talk to clients
  • New Product Development:  Get ideas from your market, market research, watch the conversation.  Sure you can run focus groups but how relevant are they really, get unbiased reviews from real users of your product whilst they use it.  Fast & real time
  • Networking & relationship building:  Using the networking model to meet people on a local or global scale, help draw people to your website, ensure that you can convert on your website.
  • Building a niche audience:  To pour qualified prospects into your sales channel.

Potential Models I have yet to see utilised:

  • Sell subscription to your network:  Have a free network of tweets, then charge for private access which includes coaching, marketing help, health etc.  (Used by the protect updates feature).
  • Provide free data:  Users can take a new action to generate some dollars (ie free weather, txt for hourly forecast or traffic reports).
  • Extra service layer:  Provide dm reminders of appointments, or account balances, notifications of specials.  Perfect for service based industries like mobile, banking, auction sites.
  • Sponsorship:  Sponsor some twitterers to join in their conversation, or to mention your account, or to generate a conversation with them.  Like endorsement good to be seen with the right people.
  • Gaming:  Provide a text like game, interacts with your brand, charge for upgrades.

The loose platform for conversations has huge huge potential, it is just narrowing down the kind of conversations you can build or extend a business off.

April 15th, 2009

In the muck

Just before you reach your goal, there is a state of chaos, where lots of things are on the go, you’re never sure if you will make it, but you keep pushing through, incredibly you do.  Return back to normal.  Wake up two weeks later again to find yourself doing it again.  Face it, it’s reality.  If your in the muck now, keep at it, all those baby steps add up.

April 14th, 2009

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
- View my about page
- Or for first timers the New Here? page
- Or maybe email this to a friend
- Or subscribe to get blog updates