The Secret to Marketing Like Google and Starbucks

I was just reading this article about Google’s abysmal advertising budget and this quote from the writer summed up how great products and services generate natural and amazing marketing on its own:

Like Google, Starbucks made a name for itself by developing a distinctive product that quickly resonated with consumers whose enthusiasm became infectious.

Those rich, compact words describe great marketing so well that if I were writing a foundational goal or mission statement or whatever for any new potential business idea, product or service, that’s how I’d write it …

With just some tweaking, here’s the quick formula for the kind of marketing of a Google or Starbucks:

“[Company name] will [create/build/develop] … a distinctive product that resonates with our consumers in a way that produces infectious enthusiasm.”

[By the way, this kind of language permeates the hot business marketing books circling around today.]

Google and Starbucks have created such stellar products — in which their customers love, cherish, admire, etc. so much that they give great word-of-mouth marketing to — that they can afford NOT to do much traditional marketing.

Their “distinctive” product does it for them!

Making It Easy For Prospects To Test Drive Your Products

Here’s one way to lower the bar for your product’s free trial: Don’t require them to give you their credit card!

Insertit, a new codeless content management system, has a 30-day free trial … and on their signup button it says very plainly: “No credit card required.”

They are differentiating themselves from the hundreds of other free trials that require a credit card in order to sign up.

As a prospective client for these services, I think to myself, “If it’s free, why do they need my credit card?” And if they really want my credit card that bad, it is a red flag that tells me signing up for this product will probably turn out to be a great source of irritation for me. They’ll probably require me to cancel it somehow and then I’ll have to make sure my credit card isn’t billed.

Of course, this approach might not garner as many “qualified” or serious contacts, but my theory is you should lower the bar for your prospective customers to actually USE your service.

Why do you think car dealerships want you to test drive their cars?
Why has Sam’s Club, for years, offered “taste tests” of certain foods?
Why do software companies, like Adobe, offer trial versions of their software?

Because if prospects end up test driving (or eating) their product, then the chances are significantly greater that they will end up buying.

Think about it … a user downloads or test drives your product and spends the next 30 days getting familiar with the product. They find all the shortcuts. They see first-hand all the functionality you’ve got Or better yet, they see the results they can have using your product …

In other words, they’ve invested their time in the learning curve for your product.

Now, it’s an easier buy for them because they already know how to use your product.

5 Thoughts on Blogging Your Very Own Book

LifeHacker’s editor Gina Trapani has some great advice about blogging a book … that is equally as sharp for writing and maintaining a blog that people actually want to read.

Blogs are perfect for helping you write the book you’ve always wanted to write … but just haven’t.

Here are 5 ways I think blogging your book rocks:

1. You know someone is reading it (even if it’s your mom). Still, it helps knowing someone at least might be reading it for motivation’s sake.

2. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. This is the mantra that got me through my final year of my bachelor’s degree and I’ve savored its wisdom for a lot of things. The same principle applies for blogging your book. Thinking about one big massive project overwhelms me. But chipping away at that thing one post at a time … well, that helps put it all in perspective.

3. Build a readership for your book. If you want to write a book and aren’t building your email newsletter list to announce the book, I think you’re missing a great opportunity. Think about it … you pitch your book idea to a publisher and tell them you’ve got 1,000 built-in potential readers of your book on your email newsletter!

4. It helps get you found in the search engines. Once your book is actually in print and you begin to sell it on your website, you’ll want people to find you (through your topic’s keywords aka buzzwords) in Google and Yahoo! A blog is a great way to start talking with them about it! :-)

5. Once it’s finished, you can sell it online. The web is a great place to sell your book (or ebook). If you’re blogging your blog and getting content up regularly, you’ll have a great platform to peddle your pulp.

Go read Gina’s excellent advice about blogging your book … it’s sharp and very applicable to those of us who just want to blog!

Also: Here’s another interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on the writing style of LifeHacker.

CopyBlogger’s Brian Clark on Business Blogging, Email Newsletters

I greatly admire and read everything Brian Clark of CopyBlogger writes … and while reading this post at The Long Tail titled Don’t Quit Your Day Job, I saw a comment he made to that post that caught my eye … it’s very appropriate for this blog and for small businesses, I think … and it’s worth reposting because what Brian says is backed, I think, by a proven track record (Note my italics for emphasis):

“There are simple email newsletters that make $100 million a year via direct marketing (yes, $100 million). There’s no reason a blog can’t do the same. And scores of small business owners directly drum up respectable sales with regular content publication via email. Blogs are much more powerful from an attention standpoint, if properly utilized in context.”

Read more of Brian’s excellent insights at CopyBlogger

See also my stuff on: Business Blogging 101 series and Using Email Newsletters.

Hook Customers on Your Website Like Hercules

Hercules Hook has one seriously awesome marketing website.

An excellent and energetic infomercial-type video runs immediately once you log on to the site. The front page is packed with graphics that look like a direct mail flier, only they’re clean and effective.

To cap it off, an order form is included “below the fold.” Although usability experts say that typically users don’t scroll … i think it’s still effective where it’s at.

One of the great things about a site like this is you can compact everything — sales pitch, order form, etc. — into one neat and tidy page.