Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/deltab77/public_html/wp-content/plugins/cleaner-gallery/cleaner-gallery.php on line 84
Delta Business Solutions » Building A Steam Engine for Referrals

Building A Steam Engine for Referrals

Posted August 30th, 2010 by Brent Bowthorpe with No Comments

Today companies are looking to create a buzz like never before. Getting recognition and publicity has always been an objective of companies, but the tools and the possibilities have changed and the results are more evident. The common vernacular is “going viral.” What business wouldn’t like to accomplish the kinds of free publicity and recognition that a company like Blendtec has achieved with their “Will it blend?” campaign on YouTube? The amount of recognition they have created with that campaign is astounding. There is no question they have created some great sales and opportunities with that campaign. One of the great lessons from this Blendtec example is how they transformed it into an entire campaign, not just a single viral video. People started anticipating what they would do next.

Why did people forward the videos for Blendtec along to friends and colleagues? Did they think Blendtec was the greatest blender they had ever used? NO, virtually everyone that sent the videos around had never used a Blendtec blender. What did they pass on? They passed on something they found very interesting “the fascinating video.” The cool thing is that the video ended up driving up sales for them. Why did that happen when most of the people that sent the video didn’t even own one and most of the people that got the video weren’t interested in a blender? The videos got such broad exposure that they found, and even created, people who wanted a great blender.

In a service business engagement is life or death. Buzz is engagement. Buzz is finding you interesting. Buzz is the key to an active referral program.

The real issue is this, what can you do with all that buzz? Getting people to engage with you is the key for most any business. In a service business engagement is life or death. Buzz is engagement. Buzz is finding you interesting. Buzz is the key to an active referral program. The objective is to build a process that runs like a steam engine. A steam engine does not work like a gas engine; first, it must heat the water and build a head of steam. Once it has heated things up and built up the steam it can release that steam and create incredible power.

Let’s consider, at the core, what Blendtec did. At the very core they created something people were interested in. It was so interesting they told their friends and other people about it. Those people found it interesting and sent it on. They built up an incredible head of steam and continued it with more videos of interest. That is what we have come to know as “going viral.” The result is that they got referrals from people that were not even customers. Can you do that? Do people have to use your services in order to refer you? If you create value and things of interest can you get people to send it on?

The internet and other drivers in the market have created a different environment today. This environment is an incredible opportunity when you take advantage of it like Blendtec has. You can engage with a large market that wants to talk about your business (if your business is worth talking about). Many people want to use social media and make efforts to connect with a bunch of people. They don’t have a head of steam and they don’t have any power because they are missing the buzz. Learning to create a buzz and, even better, creating a consistent buzz on your business is the true key to building up the power of a social network.

Now we have that ambiguous concept of creating a buzz. What will create a buzz in the market place? Is there a key to finding how to generate that? Creating a video and posting it online is NOT the key to getting interest. The vast majority of all videos posted online are almost instantly abandoned and not viewed beyond the author’s close network. What is the key then? I think the key is so simple that we often miss it. People want things they find of value. People don’t value sales pitches. Could Blendtec have gotten millions of people to forward videos of their sales pitch? There is always an audience for fun things and funny things and much has been created with that in mind. The real challenge is creating things of interest to the audience you target, not things of interest to you. Not the things that you are interested in telling them. Not anything focused on what you do unless that’s of great interest to them. Find out what your target market likes and wants. Produce things of value for them; the more interesting and valuable, the more likely it is to be passed on. Give it to the audience in a method they can consume it.

Many great messages and resources have been created and delivered in a way the audiences are not interested in consuming. Do you think that if Blendtec had written some articles about their “Will it blend?” concept that people would have forwarded the articles? I don’t think so. It’s the video that created the fascination. Video overall has truly exploded in the marketplace. People will watch videos who would never read an article. People will send coupons and deals who would never send advertisements. Our interest in sharing savings happens with incredible zeal. Groupon’s success has been huge at proving this recently in the marketplace.

Getting to the question of what people value is where the heat is built up for the steam engine. The key to building that value is solving problems that people have and recognize. ‘Funny’ and ‘entertaining’ are clear and simple issues that are also universal. They are problems that are much shorter-lived, however, once you we have been entertained. Making people’s lives simpler, more organized, less threatening, more connected, safer and more secure are all examples of problems we are frequently aware of.

You build a network of people who like and enjoy your content. You continue to produce content they like and enjoy. They continue to use and share your valuable content. The result is, you keep a boiler heated up with interest and generate the power of growing interest in who you are and what you do.

Much of what I have written to this point has been discussed and presented in a number of marketing circles. Here is a little different thought. Could you produce such content to create a referral machine? It would be your steam engine for referrals, relationship-referrals. Could you have customers and potential customers and friends of potential customers share something of value? Could you ask and even promote such a process? Instead of seeking the uncomfortable direct referral could you ask for people to send out your content of value? You build a network of people who like and enjoy your content. You continue to produce content they like and enjoy. They continue to use and share your valuable content. The result is, you keep a boiler heated up with interest and generate the power of growing interest in who you are and what you do. The real power is that you can promote referral of your content more broadly than you can promote straight-up referrals. In a service business I want a lot of people that know me and like me when they reach the point of needing my services.

Growing a database of people that like getting information from you is a powerful marketing engine. The great sales motivator Jeffrey Gitomer constantly reminds, “people hate being sold, but they love to buy.” He recounts that providing value to potential customers first and putting them in a position they can buy from you is the simplest way to build a friendly sales machine. You provide this value regardless of whether they buy or not. The neat thing is, you provide valuable content and people find it valuable and they consider you of worth then they are in a position to send and refer it to others, even when they are not your present customers. Get the water heating up, build that head of steam. Once it starts moving it’s tough to stop.

Posted in Marketing
Tags Buzz Marketing
Written by Brent Bowthorpe

Comments

Leave a Reply