Word of Mouth

Promoterz Gets Some Word of Mouth

Promoterz Gets Some Word of Mouth

A couple of great blogs highlighted Promoterz this week (and yes, we thought they were great before they mentioned us--now we think they are even greater).

Steve Rucinski at Small Business CEO , picked up on the Promoterz multiplying effect that enables a business owner to develop relationships with a lot more customers than they could on their own. You can read it here . Steve's blog does a great job of providing resources and knowledge to help the Small Business CEO.

Organizations that want to increase sales and visibility by creating buzz and word of mouth use Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing . Buzzoodle helps them energize and focus their advocates while measuring and improving upon the buzz created. Ron McDaniel, also known as Buzzoodle Ron, is the force behind Buzzoodle and has a blog dedicated to better understanding buzz and word of mouth. Here is Ron's post about Promoterz.

Promoterz is the hands-free, word-of-mouth marketing service that takes care of the details so you can focus on business. Learn more

The Starbucks Online Coupon Fiasco--Venti Size

The Starbucks Online Coupon Fiasco--Venti Size

Just about everybody with a blog commented on Starbuck's recent problems with online coupons. You can read the story here . John from Brand Autopsy asserts they never would have done something that dumb in his day (used to work there) and recommends more limited expiration dates. Seth has some additional principles for avoiding such issues. Countless others also weighed in on how it could have been avoided and what Starbuck's should do now that it has happened. All good stuff, but I hope the baby (online coupons) doesn't get thrown out with the bath water.

In a nutshell, Starbucks created an online coupon with about a thirty day expiration date for a free iced coffee drink. They gave the coupon to a few employees in select areas and expected it to stay limited. It didn't. It took off like wildfire thanks to the internet and they ended up posting signs in their stores saying "regretfully" they would no longer be valid at any Starbuck locations.

In my mind, the real story is not that online coupons don't work, but quite the opposite: online coupons work well--in this case too well. Remember the old days when you had to pay to get coupons printed in a newspaper or to hand out. You had to pay for every one! Not so on the internet. They multiply without costing you a dime. Isn't that just what you want to have happen? It should be. So the lesson is this: make sure that any offer you put on an online coupon is something that you would be happy to see proliferate. Tools to do that? Limit the expiration date, make it a "buy something to get something" offer, give away something with no hard costs. Have other ideas for creating coupons you're happy to see proliferate? Post them here.

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

Bringing the Diners Back

Bringing the Diners Back

Restaurant Hospitality recently listed some of the tactics that big casual dining chains are employing to try to lure diners back to their restaurants after suffering a poor 3rd quarter showing. Consensus seems to be that same store sales have slowed down due to economic conditions, an increase in the number of casual dining restaurants and a shift of consumers to a relatively new category of food service called fast casual. Fast casual is quicker than full sit down service and higher quality than basic fast food. Big chain solutions?

Reduce Prices--Applebee's has got a dinner combo including dessert for $9.99, TGI Friday's has got appetizers discounted up to 50%, Cheesecake factory has reduced portion and prices significantly on lunches, and Outback has reduced steaks by $1.

New Menu Items--Applebee's is going to try out star power by teaming with Tyler Florence from Food Network, 23 new items on TGI Friday's menu, and Cheesecake factory has 16 new items on the menu.

Seems like nothing more than the obvious to me. Any time sales go the wrong direction the knee-jerk reaction is to reduce prices and add features. Eventually that strategy is not going work. Great news for those of us that aren't big chains, but it is going to take some effort. The Restaurant Hospitality article notes:


you may have to fight to keep the business you've got, but it's still there to be gotten.

So how do you fight? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Get in touch with your customers. Walking around asking them how their meal was is great, but what happens when they walk out the door? Do you have a way to stay in touch with them? Start gathering email addresses and stay in touch regularly with your loyal clientele.
  2. Ask your customers for feedback. Hopefully you didn't wait till sales dropped to realize that your customers want a high quality food faster. Is there someway you can meet that need for them? What else do your customers want? You should be closer to your customers than the big guys and able to move faster.
  3. Get your word-of-mouth on! The best way to "fight" for more business is to develop a force of loyal customers that are actively telling their friends and associates what a great restaurant you run. Don't leave it to chance, get a program in place that makes it easy for your customers to spread the word.

Word of mouth fills seats, now is the time to get started.

Service or Tool for Small Business?

Service or Tool for Small Business?

One of the adages that Steve Covey popularized in his 7 Habits was "give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." The statement is obviously true and applicable in many of life's situations, but frankly there are instances when people either don't have the time or the desire to learn how to fish. I'm not talking about the welfare crowd (though that may be a problem). What I'm talking about is small business owners and what it takes to successfully sell to them.

Here is my experience: We developed Promoterz as an inexpensive, do-it-yourself system that any small business could use to collect customer feedback, generate referrals and stay in touch with their customers. In a nutshell, we help them make sure their customers are happy and get them talking to their friends. The system has been tested in multiple industries and it works. Those that use it, receive measurable benefit.

So far, so good. We've got a tool that the majority of small businesses could use to speed their growth. As we've met with business owners in person or attracted them to our website, it has become clear that most of them don't want to be taught how to use the tool. They don't have time. They would much prefer to pay for a service. In order to put fish on their table they have a list of about 100 other things they need to be learning and doing. One customer noted that when she wants an ad in the newspaper she just pays the paper and doesn't have to know how to use the press. Ouch!

As we tweak the pricing model to cover the additional service, some small businesses may balk, but I am now convinced that there are more small businesses looking for a fillet on the platter (complete with a wedge of lemon) than those interested in buying a fishing pole--even if it comes with a fly tying kit.

Food's on! Step right up!

When you pass out a Promoterz bounce back card you automatically build an accurate customer list, increase repeat sales, increase referrals and prevent lost business. Pretty powerful little card. Learn more

Have You Tried Turning it Upside Down?

Have You Tried Turning it Upside Down?

Do a search on innovation over at Amazon.com. 11,859 results! Innovation is good. Unfortunately in that search you won't find (at least not in the first 100 results) what I think is one of the best "how to" books on innovation. It's called "The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. Betty does a great job of explaining how the brain works with regards to creativity and includes exercises that can help anyone tap the right side of the brain to come up with creative solutions to business problems.

Here is a quick one to try. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil and draw the upside down picture above. Now print out the picture, turn it right side up and try drawing again. Which of your efforts look more like the original?

If you are like most people, the upside down version will look the best. Why is that?

It is because the left side of our brain is very good at what it does and is in charge most of the time. One of the things the left side is good at is assigning symbols to common objects which makes them quick and easy to reference. For example, a wheel is always round, an eye is almond shaped, etc. The left side is also very good at being abstract--taking a small bit of information and using it to represent the whole. Both are very powerful and useful skills for quickly dealing with most obstacles we face. Here is an example. The following letters in the following paragraph are all mixed up but I doubt you have any problem understanding it:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and youcan sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed erveylteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Let's hear it for the left side of the brain! It quickly solves thousands of puzzles a day without us even thinking about it. So why do we need the right side?

The very things that make the left side of the brain such a powerful problem solver, limit our ability to see creative solutions. Because it is quick to make assumptions and jump to conclusions, we are not even aware of the assumptions that are limiting us. In addition, symbols and names that it assigns have meanings attached that we don’t question.

Back to the upside down drawing exercise. When most of us draw, the left side of our brain uses its common symbols to help speed the process. If we're drawing an eye, it is almond shaped with a little circle in the middle. If we're drawing a wheel it is always round. Two arms are always the same length etc. Trouble is, once perspective gets involved (which it always does), rarely is a wheel in a picture round nor are eyes almond shaped. I know, I know--your left brain is telling you that is a lie. But it's not. Look at these pictures.

The men are all the same height, the tables both have the same size tops. Go ahead, get out your ruler and measure. In fact, measuring is one great way to shift from your left brain over to your right when you are looking for creative solutions. If you can invalidate assumptions that your left brain is operating on, new possibilities open up. That is one of the reasons real customer feedback is so important--leave nothing to assumption when it comes to the happiness of your customers.

Other ways to shift over to the right side? When you are trying to describe or solve a problem avoid using name references. Instead of saying draw a fingernail, say draw the hard thing on the end of your finger. Or instead of saying, "we need a new advertising campaign" say "how can we attract more new customers?" Anything you can do to avoid using terms that your left brain has assigned symbols to will help you avoid making assumptions and missing possible opportunities.

Turning things upside down is another way to get the right side of your brain involved. For some reason, the left side of the brain doesn't do upside down symbols. That is why most people are able to draw better when looking at an upside down picture--no left brain symbols involved.

Here is a final business example. When you hear the word restaurant what do you think of? Chances are you think of a building or facility where they serve food and you pay money. True enough. But what if you turn it upside down, or least take a different perspective. The symbol or definition that most of us have for restaurant includes a physical facility, but does it have to be that way? Historically it had to be because that was the only way people would know how to find you, but with today's communication devices that is no longer a requirement. What if the restaurant wasn't food in one specific place but great food in any number of many great places? Join their email list and you would be notified when and where they are serving food this week. The local zoo, middle of a football field, top of building--the possibilities are limitless. Talk about delivering unique dining experiences! At least a few entrepreneurs are already doing it.

Hpapy Iianonvntg !

Unhappy customers tell on average 22 other people. If you ticket price is $50 that is $1100 in revenue. How would you like to know before they tell 22 others? Learn more
Syndicate content

Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

Blogroll