Stay close to mother hen Keep close to customers that matter the most with Twitter

Posted by tom klein June 13, 2007 at 2:30 am

Got a hot stock tip or a great insight on a newly listed house, but don’t want to be accused of sending your clients spam (unwanted emails or text messages)?

Twitter, a text messaging service, gives people up-to-the-minute reports on each other’s thoughts or whereabouts. Use it to create a higher level of connection to those clients who choose to opt in to your personal text messaging network. When you send a text message, it is automatically forwarded to everyone who is in your personal network.

The system records your text messages on a website that can be referred to later. As you see in the service offered by Delta airlines, Twitter can help you stay connected to both your customers and also a broader network of partners.  Don’t your biggest fans deserve to get even closer?

Twitter is principally a text messaging service that you access by phone (by sending texts from your account to a specific number (a common short code, as we described in I just texted ...)). However, new tools let you access this service on the web and in conjunction with social networking sites such as Facebook.

Your most devoted clients and customers usually represent a disproportionate level of your sales and profits. Consider how you can use services such as this one as a way to recognize them while differentiating your offering.

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  Start from one Don’t reinvent, look to SlideShare as a presentation resource

Posted by tom klein June 12, 2007 at 2:30 am

Do you ever get the sinking feeling we’re all just creating the same PowerPoint documents?

SlideShare can come to your rescue as the “YouTube of PowerPoint” – a place where you can share your presentations and find other ones (by companies, consultants, financial analysts) that might help you avoid any painful slide reinvention.  Whether it’s a business plan, learning how to leverage social networks for results, or picking up tips on sales ROI benchmarking, you can search and find what’s relevant because the presentations have been tagged with key words. 

At the same time, don’t let your own great presentations languish.  You’ll find that once you’ve put your own presentations online, it’s easier to put them to work for your sales force, customers, and prospects.

In just a minute or two, you can post your own presentations. Once uploaded, the slideshows can be viewed in both a small version and full screen - suitable for you to use in a presentation if need be. In addition, based on the preferences of the user, some presentations can also be downloaded as PDF’s for offline viewing.

Remember to respect copyright laws and give attribution where it’s deserved.  At the same time, before you get started, be sure to implement precautions to prevent disclosure of confidential information.

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  Dig deeper Tell your entire brand story with help from a simple product code

Posted by tom klein June 11, 2007 at 2:30 am

What’s the value of your brand? It’s the price premium your customers will pay (over the price of a commodity). The web can help you romance your brand and help your customers feel good about paying more, especially when you don’t have a lot of room at the point of sale to tell the whole story.

Dole uses a simple coded sticker to provide visibility to its organic banana farms around the world. By entering the 3-digit farm code you can see the farm where the banana was grown, including a link to its precise location on Google Earth. Beyond location, you can find the organic certifications and learn more about the farm that produced your banana.

Don’t you feel better about buying Dole organic bananas already? This simple method can help you help your customer understand why your brand is worth a premium by providing insight into its special qualities. Have you mastered the web-enabled art of brand romance?

This is not complicated technology. The challenge here is creating a simple reference code and building out the website content that will be compelling. Next, there’s the challenge of changing your packaging to include this code. You get extra credit for using text messaging to make this information accessible on the fly.

You can’t just put a coded sticker on your product and hope your customers get it. You have to tell them the code is there and convince them to use it. Remember to build your story to highlight your brand’s key, differentiating benefits – not just your category benefits (e.g., why Dole organic bananas, not just any organic banana).

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  The dating game Use Google’s website optimizer to let data drive your site design

Posted by tom klein June 8, 2007 at 2:30 am

As with any communication or advertising, your website has a split second to work its magic – or your customer will just click away (what’s called a bounce). When you agreed to the design of your site, was that decision backed by data or was it shoot from the hip?

Now you can use Google’s website optimizer to inform your design decisions with knowledge of what worked and what didn’t. And for you research nerds like us, this tool replaces A/B testing (comparing version A to version B) with multivariate testing (comparing unlimited versions at once).

Once you’ve designed and tested the different versions of your page(s) (everything – photos, text, headlines, lay-out), you receive a detailed comparison report that will help you separate the wheat from the chaff. How long are you going to rely on your gut when (did we forget to say free!) tools like this exist?

In this superb video overview of how to put Google's website optimizer to work, you’ll learn everything you need to know. While multivariate testing is a long word, remember that just like any testing, it’s not perfect. It’s most useful when your site has a very specific, measurable goal.

When you’re working with your design firm, be sure to include in your detailed brief the requirement to develop several different designs for different portions of your site. But be cautious to prevent using this optimization ability to weed through designs that are clearly off-strategy. You’re showing alternative designs to customers, not guinea pigs.

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  Make a long story short Break lengthy internet videos into ordered chapters with Veotag

Posted by tom klein June 7, 2007 at 2:30 am

Few if any customers want to watch an hour long video. Conversely, it’s terribly difficult to edit a thoughtful presentation down to 2 minutes – and still have something meaningful left to share.

With Veotag, you can break any length video into chapters accessed by a scene index and description (similar to that of a DVD movie). No matter how long a video is, your customer can jump right to what matters most. Even better, you can link them directly to these video chapters. As you’ll see in these examples by Better Business Bureau and high tech gadfly Guy Kawasaki, your long video content is no longer destined to languish in the can.

We all know that long video content can sell, it’s just been too difficult to manage on the web. From old ads to old conference presentations, now’s the time to see what’s in your video library and put it to work on your site (and in the search engines!).

The content that you've veotagged can be uploaded to a website in hours and then posted directly on your own website. Consider expanding your search keywords to direct search engine users to specific video chapters.

Now’s your chance to think like a political operative – in sound bites. With your video content freed from its old confines, you can identify the sound bites that sum up your brand’s benefits. Then put them wherever they will work for you – online, in an email tagline, anywhere a link can go.

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