What can we learn about marketing from a group of 7-year olds?
I was driving out of my neighborhood in Austin, TX yesterday when I stumbled upon a group of young entrepreneurs with a sign reading, “The Best Lemonade in Austin!”
Wow! The BEST lemonade? That was an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I pulled over and was enthusiastically greeted by the three marketing moguls. “Hello, sir! How are you today?”
What wonderful customer service, I thought. I said that I was having a wonderful day and that’s when the older of the three (7 and a half) gave me their pitch. “Today we have lemonade and cookies, each for a quarter and if you buy both you get a basketball card.” His female business partner chimed in, “The cookies are delicious!” She spoke with such genuine enthusiasm, I couldn’t resist. In the end I walked away with a cup of lemonade, a cookie and a Fleer, Marvin Williams, basketball card. As I approached my car the third kid shouted to me, “Thanks! Tell your friends!”
Once back in the car, I took a sip of the lemonade…DELICIOUS! I bit into the cookie…soft oatmeal, raisin, chocolate chip greatness! I was thrilled with my purchase. This really was the “Best Lemonade in Austin.” There was no buyers’ remorse in sight. I immediately texted five friends that lived in the area and told them to be sure and stop by the lemonade stand if they were out and about in the neighborhood. As I drove off, I saw more cars drive up to the stand. These kids were creating a buying frenzy!
So here’s the five marketing secrets that we learned:
- Create Perceived Value. Perceived Value is the difference between a sign that reads, “Lemonade” and “The Best Lemonade in Austin!”
- Customer Service is key. You might be able to get them in the door, but if they don’t feel comfortable once they are there, it will be hard to close the sale.
- Stand behind your product. Create an intimate relationship with your product and then get excited about it. Enthusiasm sells and if you’re excited about your product, that excitement will begin to spread.
- Make your product great. All the advertising in the world is not going to help you if you have an inferior product. Before you spend money advertising your company, spend money making sure your product is great.
- Ask for referrals. If you’ve been successful in implementing the above four strategies, you won’t even have to ask for referrals, but it never hurts. Your customer will be much more likely to tell people about your company if you just ask them to do so.
So, there you have it. Five marketing strategies to bring more business to your company from a group of clever 7-year olds. And all is cost was 75-cents (plus a hefty cash tip for the good advice).
Are you interested in discovering more ways that you can build a great word-of-mouth business? Fill out our contact form. We’ll be in touch soon.Marketing
The title of this blog post is probably the most well-known up-sell of all time. McDonald’s has sold billions of hamburgers, making them billions of dollars. But, a simple question like, “Do you want fries with that?” which takes no more than five seconds, has easily made them billions more than hamburgers alone.
Up-selling is one of the easiest ways to increase revenue, because you’re taking someone who has already agreed to buy your product and offering them just a little bit more. This weekend I was buying a new golf bag (a treat for consistently breaking 90). I had no intention of buying anything else, but when I got to the counter with my bag, the clerk asked me if I needed any golf balls or tees to go with the bag. A logical question, seeing as I had mentioned that I was on my way to the course. So, I decided that yes, I did need some golf balls and tees. With a simple question, the clerk had turned my $150 purchase into a $180 purchase. A seventeen percent increase in revenue! The key was that he wasn’t pushy. Had I said no, I don’t think he would have tried to convince me otherwise. But, I did need golf balls and tees and because he reminded me of that, I spent an extra $30 in his store.
At Papertank Productions, my media production and marketing company, it is standard operating procedure to offer additional services to our clients. Many people come to us for video production, but end up buying video production and a marketing strategy for their video. Rarely, does someone just want a video once we pitch our marketing campaign for that video. It’s a simple up-sell that takes almost no time at all, but it raises our bottom line significantly and adds value to a product that our client was going to buy anyway.
How can you start up-selling in your business? How much more revenue could you bring in by simply asking, “Would you like _______ with that?”Marketing
I had a phone conversation today with a colleague regarding what “Buzz Marketing” was and how to best implement it into a campaign. This is an interesting question, in which, there are many schools of thought. Many people go about buzz marketing, or word-of-mouth campaigns in a way that does more harm than help. With so many other people putting their two bits in about buzz marketing, I decided I’d go ahead and lay out my theory on building buzz with your marketing campaign.
Grab Attention and Keep It
It sickens me when I get a message through Facebook, Twitter, or e.mail that claims to be someone that I know or that is interested in something that I supposedly like. Automation is not the way to build a buzz campaign. If you ask me, the best way to build word-of-mouth or buzz is simply by engaging your audience in a fun and creative way. Don’t tell them what their supposed to think or believe, but rather set into place a system that they want to believe in. Give your audience something they want to talk about. Forcing a message is never the way to go about spreading news of your product or service. If you truly want people to talk about your product then make it the best it can be and then when it comes time to promote it, create an event or presentation of some kind that is worth talking about. When I was in school, to raise money for new computers, we had our principal promise that she would put her desk on the roof of the school and use that as her office. Each $10,000 that was raised through various fund-raisers would result in another day on the roof. The media loved it and more importantly, ALL of the students wanted to see their principal conducting business from the roof. In two weeks we raised nearly $70,000 and our principal spent a lot of time on a windy roof. That’s what buzz marketing is all about!
Use advertising to generate press for your product.
Let’s face it, there is WAY too much advertising for someone with a small ad budget to break through all the noise. Even those companies that do break through, aren’t seeing the returns that they could see if they would just refocus their ads. Too often are people with ad budgets wasting them away, when they could see plentiful returns. The key is grabbing attention, as mentioned above, and then capitalizing on that attention, or raising awareness to others through your advertising. If I’m Red Bull and I advertise that “Red Bull Give You Wings” there’s a good chance that the average reader is going to skip over that ad. But, if I’m Red Bull and I advertise, “Red Bull Flugtag: A contest to build the most outrageous machine that you can possibly think of…and then fly it into a lake!” Now, I have something worth talking about! An ad for something like Red Bull’s Flugtag generates a lot more buzz between people, but more importantly, gets the press writing about Flugtag. And consumers are always going to trust the press more than they trust traditional advertising. Make your product newsworthy somehow and then promote it through good advertising and PR.
Engage the consumer even after your campaign is over.
I see so many campaigns that spend millions of dollars building a customer or fan base in a certain demographic and then the next year roles around and they start from scratch. You should constantly be nurturing those that are gracious enough to give your company or product the time of day. Many campaigns run for 60-90 days (if that) and then leave their fan base high and dry, longing for more. A great way to remedy this is to build your product the best it can be, create a way to promote it that is newsworthy, couple that event with appropriate advertising and then continue to engage your consumer with branded content and relevant information on the web. It could be as simple as a blog that is updated three times a week or get as complicated as offering five new branded content videos every single week. The key is to take the attention that consumers are granting you and keep it. I might see an ad campaign that I really like, but not be in the market for their product at the time. Three months pass and the campaign ends with no attempt to keep me informed on what is happening with the brand. Six months later, I’m in the market for that product or something similar, but have forgotten about your brand. But, had you merely kept an interesting blog that was relevant to me and reflected why your brand is great, then maybe I would have bought from you. Maybe 100,000 people in my demographic would have done the same. Don’t abandon those who have been so kind to grant you a little bit of their attention. It’s rude.
A Quick Recap
In the end, I’ve been talking about ways to build buzz about your product without spending too much money. I’ve also highlighted some ways you can spend a lot of money and see little, if any, return. To recap, here are the main points you should consider when putting together a marketing and advertising strategy:
- Build your product or service to be the best it can be.
- Create a way to promote it that is newsworthy.
- Couple an event or promotion with appropriate advertising and PR.
- Continue to engage your consumer with branded content and relevant information on the web.
If you just use this as a guideline when putting together your next campaign, you’ll find that you can stretch your ad dollar significantly and start building relationships with your customers that last longer than any 60-day campaign could ever hope to achieve. Your customers are people. They want to know that your company is run by people. So, make your campaigns about people communicating with people, and you’ll have more customers than you ever thought possible.Marketing
Dressed as my alter-ego, Michael Sugarberry, to start conversations about our band promotion packages with industry folks at all of the SXSW parties.
It amazes me how many bands out there do not have the slightest clue how to promote themselves on the internet. With so many tools available, it is flat out irresponsible to not have an internet marketing strategy for your band. Seeing as a great deal of the marketing consulting I do is for various bands and creative artists, I figured I’d give all of you out there a free look at what I suggest to any artist during my initial consultation with them. This advice, for the most part, could easily be transferred to any small business looking for inexpensive, but effective ways to utilize the internet and grow your company.
Your Band is a Company
As much as you want to focus on the creative side of your project, you have to realize that your band is a company and should be handled as such. So, first things first, consult with a media attorney and decide the best entity for your band. I won’t get into too much detail on this, because I’m not qualified to comment on it other than this: having a business entity, even if it’s just a sole proprietorship, will allow you to deduct relevant expenses on your tax return. It also makes you legit in the eyes of investors, labels and the government. Again, consult an attorney. The SBA (Small Business Association) can offer you business counseling to help you through this process.
Now that you’re a real business, you need to think about the best way to go about marketing and growing your company.
Your Marketing Strategy
The internet is full of inexpensive or free tools to help you promote your band, you just have to know the best way to use them all to compliment one another. Here is a list of ways to use the internet to become a huge rockstar:
- Build a website. You can’t expect for any record label or investor to take you seriously without having a website for you band. Sure, a MySpace profile is another great tool on the internet, but it should be used to drive traffic to your website. A good website doesn’t have to have all of the expensive bells and whistles, it just needs to have a striking photo of your band and some good information. It should also have links to the rest of the things listed below.
- Blog your Band. This is a great way to build your fan base and while it’s something that can be done within the MySpace platform, you’ll want to setup your own blog, either on your website, or at a separate URL that your website and MySpace profile points to. An interesting way to raise your ranking in Google is to build all of these tools at separate domain locations and then link them all back and forth between each other. But, if you have a blog, you need to always be updating it. The more often you update, the more often your fans will check back in with you and share you with their friends. Read my post on starting a blog for more information.
- Make a Video Podcast. A great way to share what’s going on with your band is to have a video podcast. You don’t have to do this everyday, but once or twice a week is a good way to provide fun content for your fans. It could just be a video of your band practicing, or a video promo where you tell your fans about an upcoming show. Or just fun footage from your tour. Get creative with it. If you need a camera there are many inexpensive options, the Flip Camera is a cool camera that makes importing to your computer easy and is lightweight and easy to carry around. You can host your videos on any of the video hosting websites and the more you upload each video to, the more audience you’ll reach.
- Make an audio podcast. This is very similar to the video podcast, but provides yet another way to give your fans consistent content, thus strengthening their relationship with you and your music and making it easier to sell albums, merchandise and tickets to your shows. This is a good format to suggest fans ask you questions, to which you record your answers. It also helps to have a moderator or someone interviewing you to help the conversation go on smoothly.
- Where’s your press kit? Very few bands that I come across have a press kit at all and those that do don’t have a very good one. Higher a graphic artist to help you design a press kit that is visually stimulating. The kit should include all of the following:
- Detailed description of the band and music.
- Testimonials from fans, but more importantly other members of the press.
- High resolution photos of the band. Included posed photos and live photos.
- High resolution video clips that can be downloaded for use in television stories.
- MP3’s of full or partial songs.
- List of scheduled shows.
- Contact Information.
Take all of these files and compress them into a .zip folder and put it on all of your webpages and profiles as a downloadable link. This makes it easy for the press to write a story about you and press leads to more press. When writing your bio, you’ll want to write it as if it is an article itself. This allows reporters with busy schedules to simply copy and paste material into their publication.
- EPK. Electronic Press Kit. This goes a little bit further than the press kit listed about. What I like to do is get professional interview footage of the band answering a series of relevant questions. We then shoot three mini-music videos, each only 20-seconds (after-edit) in length. Then, we have an editor cut all of the interview footage in with the three mini-music videos. This gives the appearance that you have three full-length music videos, when really you only have three 20-second music videos. It’s simply a technique that gives your band higher perceived value.
- Live Music Videos. This should be a no brainer. Get a friend with a video camera to film ALL of your live shows. Even if you just set up the camera at the back of the venue on a tripod the whole time, this is another great piece of content to promote your band to your fans and spread the word. Another good idea might be to broadcast your show live via BlogTV or Ustream, but if it starts to affect the number of people who show up to the actual venue, you’ll want to do it less frequently.
- Music Videos. If you’re using all of the above tools correctly, you’re probably building a sizable fan base and hopefully making a little bit of money. Now, you need to go out and shoot a professional music video. A music video is the ultimate promotional tool, when used correctly. There are numerous outlets for your music video to air on public access television and a good music video can even land on sites like Fuse and MTV2. A music video is a great way to build perceived value around your band and another good reason for the press to write about you. It doesn’t hurt to tag something onto the end of a video that gives details on how to purchase your album, as well.
- Sell Merchandise. Hire a graphic artist or design them yourself, but get merchandise. I’ve seen bands make thousands of dollars each show just by selling out of their three t-shirt designs. If you don’t have merchandise to sell, you’re missing out on a lot of money. I personally like to find a good local vendor and have designs printed on American Apparel t-shirts. You can charge more money and again, it’s all about perceived value. Don’t forget about bumper stickers, posters, sweat bands, hats, lunch boxes, toothbrushes, etc., etc.
- MySpace and other social networks. I’ve saved this for last, because it seems to be the most obvious to most bands. If you don’t have a MySpace page and you’re in a band, then go and get one now and stop living under a rock. It is probably the greatest promotional tool available to you as a musician and it’s completely free! Now, as I mentioned earlier, don’t use this as your main band site, use it as a tool to send people to your website and other sites carrying all of the above content. Other social networks that you should be on include, PureVolume, Facebook, MP3.com, Music Gorilla and Twitter. Again, all of these sites should be used to drive traffic to YOUR website.
The idea behind all of the above suggestions for promoting your band is to create a conversation and relationship with your fans. There are a lot of bands out their and people’s attention can be diverted pretty easily. But, if you fans get to know the people behind the music, then their loyalty to you is going to be much stronger than if their just fans of the music. Give your fans something extra, give them a reason to tell their friends about you and respond to their comments and questions. Create an on-going conversation with your fans and you’ll find they are much more supportive of your music and creative efforts.
All of the above can be slightly modified for ANY creative artist or company. The end goal is to reach out and humanize yourself or your company to your fans and customers. Show people what goes on behind-the-scenes and you’ll reach rockstar status in no time.
How else are YOU promoting yourself as a band or company? What success stories do you have in building a loyal fan or customer base? Share your success stories in the comments section of this post. Proper promotion is all about building a strong conversation and strong relationships with the people who care about your band, music, company or product. How are you building those relationships?Marketing, PR, Social Media, Video Production
I was interviewed by Aaron of Stickam at the Mashable party and wanted to post the video for you guys. Stickam is a great service that allows you to stream live video over the internet. In this interview, I talk about some of the services my company, Papertank Productions, offers and why Austin, TX is such a great city to form a start-up company.
Other talking points:
- How Papertank Productions helps companies build communities and create compelling content.
- Leveraging advertising dollars to drive traffic to a community.
- Community Management
- Training companies to better understand and utilize social media tools.
- Finding passionate people in your organization and making them your online advocate.
- Training companies on how to handle their own PR, Marketing, and Social Media
- Learning best practices in PR, Marketing, Social Media, and Video Production
- What kind of feedback are your customers giving?
- Finding new tools that corporations can utilize.
- Why Austin, TX is a great city for a start-up company.
- Austin, TX is a great place for independent film.
- Becoming a thought leader.
Once again, a HUGE thank you to everyone who sponsored Mashable party and major props to Mashable.com for throwing such an amazing event!
If you are looking for someone to help you or your company learn or implement a social media, marketing, PR or video production strategy or campaign, then you are in the right place. Contact us, here, ring me on the red emergency phone or just put out the bat signal. I am at your service!Marketing, PR, Social Media
Well, given I was listed on a top ten list for PR people in Austin, I figured I’d take a stab at teaching you how to get famous on the internet. The next thing you know, you’ll be speaking your new catch phrase into homes across America.
10 Tips for Getting Famous Online:
- Create cool content all the time. Take pictures. Write blogs. Tweet, tweet, tweet. Make videos. Record your voice. Creating consistent content means that your message, opinion, etc. goes out in front of your audience all the time. The best way I know of to get people to help you is by showing them who you are and how they can be a part of it. If I have to choose between an artist that updates her website once a month vs. an artist that blogs, tweets, picture journals, etc. three times a day, I go with the later, because I feel like I know her better through the content she is consistently creating. People hire, promote and associate with people they like. Think of your content like a date. The more dates you go on, the more the person you’re dating begins to know you, feel comfortable with you and trust you. After enough dates, the two of you will just spend all of your time in bed with each other and isn’t that why you wanted to get famous anyway?
- Promote other people’s stuff. People love to be complimented and in the online world the best way for you to compliment them is by promoting or sharing their online efforts. Did you read something that you liked? Tweet about it. Digg it. Write a response blog post on your blog about it. Bookmark it or share it on Facebook. If you promote enough people’s stuff, they will promote your stuff too (if it is half-decent). Link loving each other makes for good clean fun.
- Listen. Encourage. Share. There are a lot of people out there saying things. What are they saying? Well, a myriad of things, really. Here’s a good plan that has worked well for me. Get yourself an RSS reader (I prefer Google Reader). Now, anytime someone adds you on Facebook or Twitter, add their blog to your RSS reader. Then, actually read a few posts. Make a comment, sharing your opinions on the post’s content. Now, throw this RSS feed into a folder titled Twitter, Facebook, Austin Friends, Porn Starlets, Etc. Every morning, “J” through these posts quickly and if anything jumps out at you, read it and comment on it. You don’t have to read every post, every day. No one has time for that. But, you can easily read fifty or a hundred and comment on the ones you feel you have the most to contribute to. People like to see that their content is being seen. Commenting is a great way to encourage people to continue creating the content they want to create. Love others and it will reciprocate back to you. Aren’t love triangles fun?
- Call yourself what you want to be. This goes back to the old saying, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.” In the online world and well, in reality too, people know you by the way you introduce yourself. Now, obviously, you don’t want to go around pulling a George Costanza and claiming to be an architect if you are not an architect. But, it is very easy to start calling yourself a blogger or a writer or a filmmaker, etc. Just because you haven’t hit your peak or you are still learning doesn’t mean you can’t start calling yourself the thing you want to be. I’m not famous by any means, but I call myself famous all the time. There’s no harm in this, because eventually, I will be famous. Right? Right!? Validate me! So I jumped the gun a little; so what!? Start introducing yourself online and in the real world as the person you want to be. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you become that person once others believe it to be true.
- Do fun stuff. Just because you’re trying to run a business and appear professional doesn’t mean you can’t reveal a little of your personality. I used to struggle with this a lot. I thought I had to project a professional level of success all the time for people to take me seriously. Then, one day, I said, “Fuck it!” and I started saying whatever I wanted and guess what? I got a lot more clients and they are clients that I actually enjoying working with. Being professional and being dull are not the same thing. Let people know who you are. Be yourself. Talk some trash. Curse from time to time. People like to see that you’re real. Do you like going to Britney Spears concerts and getting trashed on Mojitos? Me too! Share those pictures with us. Don’t hide the person you really are. When you hide who you are, you end up with clients and friends that you have to pretend around. By being yourself all the time, you can be certain that when you do get clients, they are going to love you for you. And isn’t that what you’ve wanted since you were a kid?
- Be transparent. Be honest. Be yourself. Be cool, man. I can’t harp on this more, but being yourself is so important. People are instinctively drawn to honesty and things that are real. Just because you have flaws does not mean you are a flawed person or unworthy of stardom. It means that you are just like everyone else in the world and not perfect. People like knowing that you’re not perfect, it makes them feel good about themselves for not being perfect. You can be not perfect together and really make something happen. It is our imperfections that give us character. Embrace them.
- Your status message is the key that opens their hearts. What are you doing? Answer this question 25 times a day. Use a service like Ping.fm to broadcast it to all of the social networks you populate. And then once or twice a day, check in with each network and comment on the chatter around your status updates. Use your status updates to ask questions. Do you want to be hired for some position? Tell your online community about it through your status message. Do you love Whole Foods, Tito’s Vodka, Bud Light or book deals? Tell us about your love for these things in your status message. I have had more sponsorships and opportunities come out of me Tweeting and Status Updating more than I should, than I ever had Tweeting too little. Every status message allows someone to get to know you better. It puts your personal brand in front of their personal face. People can only help you if they know what you need help with. Let them know and then reciprocate the favor.
- Build those relationships. How much coffee are you drinking? Okay, double that. Building relationships online is easy. By spending an hour or two a day in front of your computer, being resourceful and having a positive attitude, you can make a lot of friends in the online world. But, when you move those online relationships into the real world, that’s when they become REALLY powerful. So, make a habit of having coffee, brunch, lunch, drinks, etc. with a few of the people you meet and trust online every week. Meeting people in real life is fun and can yield amazing results. You don’t always have to hide behind an avatar. Get out there, meet some people and make a few bad decisions (the fun kind of bad). I promise it will be the best decision you’ve made all year.
- Be helpful. What’s your specialty? Even if you’re like me and planning on becoming famous for being famous, you still have a specialty. I have lots of them. PR, Marketing, Video Production, Social Media, Blogging, Writing, Partying, Scoring Free Tickets, etc. Search yourself for a few things that you are good at. Even if it’s something stupid like being really good at shrinking chip bags in the microwave and making them into keychains, it’s still something. Your expertise does not have to be something that appeals to the mass public. It’s the weird niche fish which makes the biggest splash in the pond (why am I writing in haiku?).
- Listen and comment and listen again. Finally, I’ll talk about listening, again. Because listening online, like in the real world, is the most important thing. People aren’t jibber-jabbering all day on the internet because they like to hear their own voices. Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with my own voice and could listen to myself ramble for days, but ultimately, I’m hoping that one or two people out there are actually listening to what I have to say. When those people that are listening comment on my blog, or DM me, or write a blog post about me, or offer up sexual favors, cash or hard candies, it makes me feel all good and squishy inside. They like me. They really like me! When you comment, etc on other people’s blogs, they will have this same reaction and then you can move forward in becoming internet besties with them.
So, you see, by working with each other, we can all get famous together. Or, if nothing else, one of us will get famous and then sneak everyone else into all the cool parties. Now GO GET FAMOUS!
These are the things that are working for me. They are certainly not the only way. What is working for you? How are you getting famous? Can I come to your party?
Oh, and as a bonus, this video taught me more about becoming famous than anyone or anything else ever has.
Want to hire me for your next PR, marketing, social media, video production or writing gig? Let’s talk about it.
Jon Ray – whoisjonray AT gmail – 512.785.9160Marketing
I’m going to share some of the ways I and others promoted ourselves at the ACL Festival and hopefully shed some light on how you can become a rockstar in your own right, the next time you visit an outdoor music festival. Here are 8 ways to meet hundreds, even thousands of new people and get your brand out to the masses.
Put your logo on everything.
With 100,000+ people walking around, you never know who you’re going to meet or who might approach you. One of the easiest ways to promote your company/band/self is to put your logo on everything. Bring a cooler? Put your logo on it. Umbrella? Get a logo on it. Blanket? You guessed it…logo. You could even wear a T-shirt with your logo on it, but make sure it’s a cool t-shirt and not something you got for free at your last 5K Fun Run.
Plan ahead and bring something useful.
This past weekend at ACL, it was HOT, HOT, HOT! So, the popular free handouts were the paper fans being passed out by Heineken and a few other companies. As you walked around the park, nearly EVERYONE was carrying one of these paper fans sporting the Heineken logo. People even started referring to all paper fans as Heineken fans. These things couldn’t have been more useful under the hot Texas sun. Thanks, Heineken! These paper fans are cheap, useful and a way to get 100,000 people walking around and literally waving your logo in front of their friends faces.
Bring something fun.
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Beach balls! You see one or two of these everytime you go to a concert, ballgame and many other events, but it really is a great way to get your logo in front of people and while I know a few people that hate these things, I happen to enjoy and even wait in eager anticipation for a beach ball to come my way, so I can get in on the fun. But, be careful. It’s better to have a fewer number of really big beach balls, than to have a lot of little ones, in which, no one can clearly see your logo.
I mark this land mine!
Get a flag and a retractable flag pole that’s at least fifteen feet tall and plant it wherever you end up sitting or standing with your group in front of each stage. Not only is this a really easy way for friends to find you, but it creates a reference point for the hundreds of thousands of people around you. When the people next to you are trying to give their friends directions to where in the huge crowd they are, you can bet their going to say something along the lines of “Just look up, we’re 10 feet left of the ‘Your Company Here’ flag.” I felt like a broken record this past weekend because I said something similar to this about ten thousand times. That’s a lot of people talking about your company.
People want to know what you do.
Outdoor festivals are the melting pot for music fanatics and if you’re sitting in front of the same stage as some stranger, you can bet that you already have at least one thing in common. Because of this, starting a conversation becomes easy. With all the other branding you’re doing, you can be pretty confident that people are going to ask what your company does. And while you could easily tell them and you should. You can also be pretty confident that after 12-hours of booze and sun, they’re not going to easily remember you. So, get a flyer, brochure, poster, business card or SOMETHING and give it to anyone that inquires about you and your company. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and efforts. I was amazed at how many people I came in contact with this past weekend that had nothing with their contact information on them.
Dress to Impress. And for a few laughs.
Festival attire is very different from any other event. Anything goes and the weirder the better. If it fits your personality, dress up a little. Festivals are kind of like an out of season, more casual, Halloween. If nothing else a fun or silly hat is a great way for people, who might not otherwise, to come up and approach you. In the past I’ve pulled out my alter-ego, Michael Sugarberry, with great networking success. But, a Trojan Warrior Helmet, Beer Hat, Cat In The Hat Hat and other smaller costumes have worked with similar success. But, only do this if it fits your personality. It sucks to walk up to someone with a fun costume on and find out that they’re not at all interested in laughing about it with you. Darn you! Darn you!
Capture those moments.
Another simple way to meet people is to bring a good digital SLR camera and take photos of people. Then, tell them that they can go to your website to see them later that night. You don’t necessarily have to be a great photographer to do this. Just put the camera on auto and you’ll be able to take a reasonably good photo. Just brush up on the basics of photography and practice good framing. If you’re not confident in your photography skills, you could always just hire one for the weekend and have he/she do the work for you. This is a great way to drive hits to your website, as everyone loves to see pictures of themselves. Use an automated formula in a software program like Adobe Photoshop to brand the pictures with your logo and then upload them to a gallery on your website. Just make sure you get the pictures up ASAP! There’s nothing more frustrating than coming off a sun drunk, looking for pictures of yourself and not finding them. This can also be a good way to get opt-in e.mail addresses for your newsletter, as you could require an e.mail to download high-res versions of the photos. You might even allow people to print the photos online through an affiliate online printing company. If you’re a photographer, there’s no excuse for not doing this at EVERY event you attend.
Side Note: With a little more effort and expense, you can take the same formula above and apply it to video that is then posted to your website. This is even more attractive and draws even larger web statistics.
Make the people you meet VIP.
Everyone wants to think of themselves as being a Very Important Person (VIP). That’s why such a premium is taxed onto VIP tickets for events. It’s not necessarily that the benefits are THAT great, because usually they aren’t. But, it is fun to think of yourself as VIP and rub shoulders with other VIPs. So, make the people you meet VIP! It’s pretty cheap to print up the laminated lanyards that are often used for VIP passes. Take your company logo and create a VIP section on your site. You could pair this with any of the other things listed above, but give people some reason as to WHY this is a VIP section on your site. Perhaps a free music or video download? Now give this new contact your branded lanyard that in BIG letters says “VIP” in plain font. Then have your company logo, a brief description of what being in your VIP program means and a list of your services. Oddly enough, people love to wear something that says VIP on it, because it makes them feel just that, like a Very Important Person. It’s perceived value and they like the way people look at them, when they are a part of an elite club. Perceived value is king and VIP badges are a good way to assure that your branded lanyard isn’t thrown on the ground.
In the end, all of these techniques will allow you to meet more people, get your brand out in front of a ton of like-minded people and make your festival experience a lot more fun. And that what it’s all about! The more contacts you make, the more fun it is to walk around the park and run into your new friends time and time again. You can easily make yourself, your band or your company a mini-festival celebrity just by implementing the above techniques. So, try them out and see how they work for you. What do you do to promote yourself at festivals or events? How are you starting conversations online and in real life? What ways would you suggest people NOT use to promote themselves?
The Barnum & Bailey circus has come to Austin and that excites me because I LOVE circuses! When you think about it the circus is the ultimate PR spectacle and Barnum is a big reason behind that. P.T. Barnum was one of the greatest showmen of all time because he knew how to put on a spectacle that people would talk about for ages.
Here are 5 things the circus teaches us about making your PR campaign a spectacle:
- Build Anticipation. If you’ve ever lived in a town where a circus is going to visit, you know that they don’t just show up. They flyer the entire city with fun posters that announce when they will arrive. Any good PR/Marketing campaign would be good to build anticipation for what is about to happen. It is important to wet people’s appetite and find early adopters who will spread your message. People don’t generally like to be flat out surprised, they like to slowly be surprised. Start out slow and clever with your message and you’ll find you have more success, as you slowly unroll the magnitude of your spectacle.
Example: David Ogilvy ran a billboard ad in France once that showed a girl in a bikini, the tagline read something to the extent of “On Sept. 28, I lose the top.” This was building anticipation. On Sept. 28th, they replaced the billboard with the same girl only she was topless. This time the tagline read something like, “On Oct. 15, I lose the bottoms.” More anticipation created a lot of buzz and then finally, On Oct. 15th, the model stood on the billboard naked. Building anticipation is powerful.
- Make a grand entrance. The circus takes making a grand entrance to the highest degree. As it parades into town, it literally parades into town. In Barnum’s day, an elephant might even lead the parade down main street. It’s hard to ignore an elephant stomping by your office. Whatever your event, promotion or campaign, make sure you create an element that people can’t stop looking at. The nightly news is told in images, when you create an irresistible image, it won’t just be the press talking about you, it will be the entire city.
- For a limited time only. One of the reasons the circus does so well wherever it goes it because it only comes around once or twice a year in each city it visits. By creating a scarce window of time, they create an urgency to get people to act and buy tickets before it’s too late. If people can see you every night of the week, you’re not going to have a sold out show on any night. But, if your event, promotion or campaign is limited and creates a sense of urgency, then you’re more likely to get an influx of customers and press coverage.
- Feeding the elephants. Now that you’ve got people’s attention, you want to seal the deal and convert anyone still on the fence. What the circus does is publicly invite the entire community to come and feed the animals for free. No need to buy a ticket, just bring your kids down and see how much fun the show is going to be. It’s hard to see all those animals and clowns and then walk away without seeing the show. What’s even more powerful is that every member of the circus is so passionate about their part of the show. That passion makes buying a ticket almost irresistible. Once you’ve got attention, invite people in to see your operation, or test your product. If you are the remarkable company you say that you are, then you’ll have no problem converting visitors into customers, especially if each member of your organization can sell their part of the “show” effectively. Members of your team don’t have to be sales people, you’ve got sales people for that, but they do need to be passionate about what they do. Trust me, passion sells.
- The Greatest Show on Earth. Finally, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? The circus gets you all amped about its arrival, then it parades into town making a spectacle, it promises you the greatest show, but only for a limited time. If you want to dig deeper, it lets you feed the animals and meet all the members of their circus team, each of which speak with passion about their craft and then the circus delivers on everything they’ve built up in your head. The Barnum & Bailey circus really IS one of the greatest shows on earth! And when it’s all over, you leaving with a feeling of wonderment, just as you pass the gift shop. You always tend to spend more at the gift shop than you did on the entire family’s tickets and that’s the point. They put on a show that you want to tell people about and then they sell you the tools to tell their story.
After you’ve given a client everything they wanted and more, it’s not a bad idea to have something you can up-sell for added value. With our music video packages, we offer a top notch music video. Once we have a happy music video client on our hands, we talk about shooting an EPK (electronic press kit) that they can use to further promote the band and once they love their new EPK, we offer them a series of social media, PR and marketing campaigns that will allow them to promote their new video content. Then we build anticipation around their album by releasing snippets of footage from behind-the-scenes, then parade into town pushing the music video all over the place…wait this is starting to sound familiar.
How do you organize and execute your PR/Marketing campaign? What tools or techniques allow you to garner the largest response from your product launch, promotion or campaign? What is your company’s giant elephant marching down the street? How are you up-selling or adding more value to the product’s you are selling?Marketing
While working out of Conjunctured today, we got into a brief conversation about sponsorships and the best way to go about attracting them. Here’s how I would attract sponsorships and keep them. But first:
Why do companies give?
It seems to me that their are several reasons that it would benefit a large organization to give to a charitable or smaller project:
- Promotional Reasons. You’ll notice that a lot of the sponsorships that you are familiar with are focused around events that generate large audiences. The reason that you can’t find a sporting arena, music venue or roller coaster that isn’t sponsored by a company is because those types of venues see hundreds of thousands of people go in and out of their gates on a yearly basis. If you can generate a great deal of traffic to whatever it is you are doing, landing a sponsorship becomes easy.
- It looks good and it feels good. Fortunately, you don’t HAVE to get 100,000 people through your doors every single day to get a company to consider sponsoring you. If you are a charitable organization, you’re in luck. It is very commonplace, if not an unwritten rule, these days that companies give back to their communities. Many companies only exist because of their underlying community. So, when someone in that community is in need, most are willing to give back a little something. It looks good in the papers, the company blog and their website. Employee morale goes up because they feel like they are doing their part to help the community around them because they work for a company that cares. And, of course, let’s not forget that giving really is the best policy. Every business plan should include some way to give back.
- Niche groups with similar interests. Another reason companies give is because they share the same common interests with a smaller niche organization and it is beneficial to them to see this smaller niche organization succeed. You’ll see this, for example, when a small programming firm, working on a niche segment of computer software is sponsored by a larger organization, who in return for providing sponsorship, get access to data. Or a young athlete, who shows potential, will receive a sponsorship from a sporting goods company to continue their training on the hope that they will become a champion and then be associated with their brand. This type of sponsorship is the “nurture them while they are young, then watch them grow up to be big and tall and we’ll be so proud” approach.
- People like People. Finally, the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is especially true when it comes to sponsorships. Often times, companies will have a certain number of dollars each quarter or year that HAVE to be spent on sponsorships of some type. Sometimes this is just part of the corporate mission statement, other times it is because those sponsorships are needed as tax write offs. Whatever the reason, many companies will give to a cause, simply because they know someone involved. And here you were, trying to avoid that fun run next weekend!
Here’s how I would attract a sponsor?
Alright, now we know what sponsors are looking for, so how do we attract them? Well, you can fall into any of the above categories and have a real shot at landing something, but to swing things even more into your favor I might try some of these things:
- Put together a press kit, or something similar that is geared toward explaining to prospect sponsors why your organization is a good fit with their organization. You’ll want to include any recent press here, because a company is much more likely to sponsor someone that is receiving a lot of press, than someone no one has ever heard of before.
- Get to know your prospect companies. Don’t pitch to companies in which your organization is not a good fit. It’s much better to do some research and pitch to a few companies, than blindly pitching to many. And remember, you might be amazed at the links you have to a specific company. Do you know an employee of the company? An employee’s family member? The more support you have on the inside the better.
- Throw an event. This is one of the easier ways to gain sponsorship. Events have to be promoted, otherwise no one would show up and it wouldn’t be any fun. One of the easiest ways to get a sponsor is to imagine the greatest event of all time, pair it with some great marketing, PR and a little advertising and then get the sponsor to pay for it all. This is a win-win because the sponsor gets to put their name on all of the marketing material associated with the event and you essentially get a TON of free publicity and credit for throwing an awesome party. Play your cards right and you can turn sponsors from just an event sponsor to a full-time sponsor, even after the event is over.
- Offer up property. A big part of companies sponsoring something is being able to see where their money went. So, allow them to slap a logo on something. Running a 24/7 operation? Get an energy drink to sponsor the office webcam and stream it live over the web 24 hours a day with their logo bug in the bottom corner of the video stream. Got a conference room? Guess what? Now, it’s the Office Supply Store Think Tank. Do you get a lot of people hanging out in your lounge? Pride yourself on the music played? Post playlists online and share them, but label them “Playlists from the Rhapsody Lounge.”
- Be creative. Some of the ideas here might work and some might not, but the key is to always be creative. Companies want to be creative and cool more than anything else, which is why so many are willing to waste millions of dollars on ideas that some ad agency told them were “cool.” If you can be creative and come up with a cool idea, then finding sponsorships will become easy.
How to keep sponsorships?
This one is pretty easy. If you were able to get someone to sponsor you initially, then getting them to continue to do so is just a matter having good relations. Get to know the people sponsoring and invite them to be a part of what you are doing. People like to feel needed, so get your sponsors involved in the projects you are working on. If they are personally invested, they aren’t going to want to cut off your funding because they’ll be having too much fun. A lot of people will tell you that sponsorships only continue if an organization is seeing an increase in public awareness, but most of the time, you can keep a sponsorship for a long time just by getting key members at your sponsors organization involved in your project. How hard was that?
What has your sponsorship experience been?
That’s how I would do it, but sponsorships come because of many different factors. What has your experience been? What worked for you and what didn’t when you were attracting sponsors? What are you trying to find sponsorship for right now? How can we help? I’d love to hear all of your sponsorship hardships and hurrays, so tell your story in the comments section of this post.
All this talk about sponsorships at 3 o’clock in the morning has me thinking…perhaps an energy drink should sponsor ME.Marketing
This past Wednesday, the folks over at Mashable.com threw a rager at Buffalo Billiards and were nice enough to pick up the tab! Not only did I have a blast, but I have already picked up a few clients interested in either marketing, PR, social media, video production or the whole lot. Here’s how I approached SummerMash and how I try to go into every conference or mixer I attend:
5 ways I used SummerMash to get more business:
- Be prepared. This first one is a no-brainer, but seeing as I met more than a few people who disobeyed this rule, I’ll go ahead and mention it. When you go to a networking event, make sure you have a business card or SOMETHING with your contact information on it. It’s hard to pick up new clients if they don’t know how to contact you.
- Be creative. It’s a networking event. Unless, they were breaking rule number 1, EVERYONE is going to be passing out business cards. Does yours stand out? Does it say something about you that will make me remember you? The more you can do to make me remember you, the better. Because, trust me, when there is an open bar, you’re going to have to be pretty darn creative to get people to remember you.
- Be personable, but time conscious. If you’re attending a small event, this isn’t as important, but with a huge blowout party like SummerMash Austin, you’ve got a lot of people to meet in a very little amount of time. So, have a quick pitch on what you do and get your contact information in their hands ASAP. Now listen to their pitch (oh, side note: have a pitch), when you have a good idea what they do, tell them how great it was to meet them and assure them that you will be in contact soon. And you’re out! Now, of course, you want to gauge this on a case to case basis, but let’s face it, an open bar is not a good place to get into all the gory details of your business. Make a good case for yourself and then talk shop when everyone is sober.
- Know thy cameraman. This one isn’t mandatory, but I throw it in because I love having my picture taken. But, make sure you’re being photographed with other people. At event’s like SummerMash, people will post the photos they are in all over the web and then tag all of the people in them. If you’re in photos with a lot of people, guess what, that means their entire community is about to find out who you are. Plus, isn’t taking photos fun? As an added bonus, go to the event’s official Flickr feed and comment on the photos your in. Not many people do this and if you’re the first to comment, a decent amount of people will read your comments. Make sure to link back to your blog.
- Follow up. And I’ll end with another no-brainer. You know that big wad of cardboard you found in your pockets when you woke up this morning? Those are business cards and they represent all of the amazing people you met the night before. Go through each of them and look at all of the websites; reacquaint yourself with the people you met and then shoot them all an email telling them how much you enjoyed your brief meeting. Now, is a good time to request a follow up meeting to talk in more depth. Make sure you find everyone on Facebook, Twitter and the slew of other social networks you might populate, so that your new friends will have no option but to pay attention to you.
See, wasn’t that easy! If you follow those 5 tips every time you go to a networking event, you’ll have so much business, you won’t know what to do! Just think if everyone in your organization was as tenacious a networker as you are? Yeah, that penthouse office is becoming more of a reality everyday, isn’t it?
I had an amazing time at SummerMash, was able to catch up with many old friends and made some great new contacts. Thanks to Mashable.com and everyone else that made SummerMash Austin possible.
Here are some of the great new people I met. Not on this list? Then you didn’t give me your card. Shame on you. Shoot me an e.mail if we met at SummerMash and I’ll throw you on the list.
(no particular order, other than this is how they fell out of my bag)
- Paul Terry Walhus – Web Designer – Spring.net
- Dee Dee Dial – Sr. Recruiting Consultant – BazaarVoice
- Chris Mullins – Product Management – Social Media
- Jeremy Arntz – Web Application Developer – Jaduka
- Clint Howell – Senior Account Executive – BusinessWire
- Dane Hurtubise – Student – Electrical Engineering
- Bill Erickson – New Media Entrepreneur
- Allison Allen – Founder – WomenBloom.com
- Holt Hackney – Managing Director – Hackney Communications
- Hayes Davis – Founder & CEO – Appozite.com
- Jenn Deering Davis – Chief of Community Experience – Appozite.com
- John West – Digital Media, IPTV & Web 2.0
- Aaron Novak – Marketing – Stickam
- Oscar Tijerina – Blog Catalog
- Eve Richter – City of Austin – Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services
- Jason Domangue – Vice President of Marketing – uControl
- Mark J. Schmulen – NutshellMail
- Yoono – Awesome Photo Sponsor and Firefox Social App
- Michael Cummings – Awesome Photographer
- Kristine Gloria – Austin 3.0
Did I mention that SummerMash Austin was awesome!