Be Contagious

Your own personal pollster

Your own personal pollster

At this time of year in the United States there is a massive amount of marketing going on. Political marketing. Email in-boxes and physical mail boxes alike are stuffed with glossy literature spinning their own story.

My wife saves all of the mailings in a big pile. Then we take the time to go through them, sort them out and try to decide who to believe. We invariably call a couple of people more involved, that we trust, to tell us how they are going to vote. We put it all together and then head off to the polls.

Recent years have been even more difficult as the number of propositions has grown. You want to make the right decisions on those, but often don't have any reliable information.

There are all kinds of polls out there, except a personal poll of people I trust. It occurred to us we could make a tool people could use to find, assemble and view the opinions of their friends.

So we made just such a tool, we call it Pollstir and it is free for anyone to use. Think of it as your own personal pollster and our little gift to a great country.

Here is how it works. You pick a ballot for your state and invite friends to "vote" and leave comments as well. You view their responses with interactive charts. Clicking on the charts will display the "reasons" behind the votes.

You can also enter PollstirIDs of others to include in your "mixins". So if you want the opinions of candidates, columnists, talk-show hosts, and celebrities you could just type in their PollstirID.

Our hope is that our little tool will help all voters, regardless of party, become more informed and therefore better voters. Just as your customer's comments about your business help their friends to "vote" on visiting your business.

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

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

Wanna Listen to a Good Story?

We dipped our big toe into the brave new world of "podcasting" this week. For those that don't know exactly what podcasting is, Wikipedia defines it as:

Podcasting is the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video programs, over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. The term gained wide popularity as a portmanteau of iPod and broadcasting, but was seen before that as an acronym for "portable on demand".

So there you have it. A podcast is an audio file that you can listen to on your iPod (or other MP3 player) or your computer. Most podcasts are serial in nature. So once you sign up, you get a new episode every week or day or whatever the time period defined is.

Benefits of podcasting? From a marketing perspective, they are one more way to create a more personal connection with your audience and tell a story that you just can't do any other way. Think of it as getting the opportunity to sit down personally with each prospective customer and tell them personally why your product is so great. It is also a great way to establish the fact that you are an "expert" in your industry. From the listener's perspective, podcasts offer convenience. Podcasts can be downloaded at the office or at home and listened to while commuting, exercising, or doing any other activity.

How popular are podcasts? Depends on who you ask. According to this CNET article, some researchers are predicting that the U.S. podcast audience will climb from 840,000 last year to 56 million by 2010.

Not wanting 56 million potential customers to live their lives in ignorance of Promoterz, Joe, Dan and I gathered around one of our computers last week and recorded our story. Why the picture of the 3 Stooges with this post? Well, you see there were three of us...

Listen now.

Find your happy customers and put a megaphone in their hand. Learn more

Hey, look what I discovered: Animal Style!

Hey, look what I discovered: Animal Style!

Did a little substitute teaching this morning at a local high school ( Go Toros! ) Think you are a good presenter? Go volunteer at your local high school. If they're not interested, they don't even pretend to be.

As part of the lesson I played a game with the kids. I made some motions with a stick, tapped it on the ground a few times and asked the kids to guess the word I was thinking. Of course, none of them could (the word was hat). I then gave one student in the class the "decoding ring" to make sense of my stick motions and senseless babbling and sent her out of the room while the rest of the class picked a new word. The student with the secret was now easily able to "guess" the word. The really interesting thing that occured was that after a few rounds other students began to figure out the code. Their reaction was always the same, they shouted "Oh I got it!" and immediately wanted to tell the world. The first student that was given the code never had the same reaction.

Here is the principle (based on purely non-scientific data): people are more excited to share that which they "discover." In fact, you have to work hard to keep them from sharing. It was all I could do to get the "discoverers" to sit still and keep it secret. After all, what fun is discovering something if you have no one to share it with?

Do you let your customers discover anything?

What? Are you saying I shouldn't shout everything I have to offer to my potential customers?

Exactly. In-N-Out Burger is a master of this. They have an entire "secret menu" that you cannot find anywhere in any In-N-Out store nor on their website , but it is part of their process. The items are in their point of sale system and print out on the receipt.

What good is a secret menu? Have any third parties ever created web pages dedicated to your menu? You can read about In-N-Out's here , here , and here and several hundred other places. Oh, and you can download a pdf version of it (complete with pictures) here. Ever met somebody that loves In-N-Out? They've got the secret menu memorized and will describe every option for you. They've discovered something and can't wait to share.

So, what are your customers going to discover today?

More happy customers. More repeat sales. More referrals. Learn more

Great Coffee--and I don't even drink the stuff!

Great Coffee--and I don't even drink the stuff!

So this morning I was scheduled to give a presentation on how to create word-of-mouth using Promoterz to new Entrees Made Easy franchise owners. While the participants were on break and I was getting my laptop set up a discussion about coffee got started. I think it started with a person asking if there was more coffee. There was. She wanted hers dark. Another person overheard and said, "Oh, you've got to try my coffee!"

"Your coffee?"

"Yeah, it's just down the street. The guy is a chemist and has traveled the world to find the best beans. You know how there is a burnt after-taste with some roasted coffee?"

Everyone nods in unison. By now there were seven people listening intently (yes, I counted them.) I was listening too, and I don't even drink coffee.

"Well this guy figured out a way to roast it so that it has no after taste."

"Oh, where is this place? We're going there tomorrow."

What a perfect lead in to a presentation about the power of word of mouth! Notice how the happy customer started the conversation by referring to it as "my coffee." There is a customer that feels like she is a part of something great and is not only willing, but excited to share.

You can't buy better advertising. Are your customers that excited about your business?

Full disclosure: I'm not being paid to write this and I wouldn't know what a good cup of coffee tastes like. But, here are the details: It is called The Village Coffee Roastery and is located in Scottsdale, AZ. Here is a review from a local paper and here is their website . Looks like you can order online! Tell them Lisa sent you...

Find your happy customers and put a megaphone in their hand. Learn more

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.

The growth of your business will be determined by what your customers say about it. Do you know what they are saying? Learn more
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