Great ways to use Google Sidewiki

This is a Google Sidewiki I wrote on Will Robinson's great article about Google Sidewiki called, Google SideWiki and Your Business.

I had convinced myself that I was a little bit of an expert on Sidewiki but still managed to learn several very useful points on the new Google tool.

Great job Will.


Just when I had led myself to believe I was a minor expert on Google Sidewiki, this article bursts my balloon and shows me some great ways to use it that I never thought of.

I love the idea of creating a webmaster post on sidewiki to greet other SW users. Genius.

Of course using SW to find potential fans and brand ambassadors is also inspired.

Thanks for humbling me a bit. I really learned from this article.

in reference to:

"Use positive comments as an opportunity to nurture brand enthusiasts. These people are knocking on your front door while serving as ambassadors for other site visitors. Share their post and cultivate them as you would a blogger who just wrote a glowing review."
- IBM InfoBOOM - Google SideWiki and Your Business (view on Google Sidewiki)

How to Integrate Your Social Media Marketing and Email Marketing

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of the product I mention at the end of this article.

One of the problems a lot of businesses have when implementing any web marketing strategy is getting people to take action. We may have fans or friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, or subscribers to our blogs, but does this necessarily translate into actual customers or clients?

The answer is, of course, not always.

Unless we can get our friends/fans/followers/subscribers to take action, to actually DO something, we can build all the trust and credibility in the world and still go broke. A lot of us, myself included, make the fatal error of not asking for the order.

I am basically a soft-sell kind of guy. I was drawn to social media marketing in the first place because I would rather develop relationships (and even honest-to-goodness friendships) online that to put someone on the hot seat and ask them to give me money.

But in truth, if you or I have something really valuable to offer, are we not doing our friends/followers etc. a disservice by not encouraging them to actually buy the quality products or services we sell?

The solution is simple. We must continue to position ourselves as trusted advisors to our intended clients so that they will regard us as providers who deliver excellent expert solutions, and at the same time, ask our friends/followers to take action.

Asking For the Order

I once heard a sales trainer read what he described as the World's Greatest Book on Selling. He built up the anticipation about this greatest book for quite a while, promising that this book would change our business lives.

When the time came for him to reveal this Greatest Book Ever Written on Selling, it was Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

If you are like me, and have read this book to your children so many times you have it virtually memorized, you will probably get it right away.

The main character, Sam-I-am, is trying to get the other character (I can't remember his name, so I'll call him "The Customer") to try green eggs and ham. At first
the customer does not like Sam and says he does not like green eggs and ham.

When the customer says no, Sam does not give up. He asks if he would like them in a box or with a fox.

This goes on until the customer finally tries green eggs and ham and, surprise, actually learns that he LIKES them. And he likes Sam as well.

Does this mean we should all start badgering our prospects and make pests of ourselves trying to get them to buy? Absolutely not.

Autoresponder Email Marketing Systems

But we can use and autoresponder system to gently offer our green eggs and ham in a variety of creative ways. And with each email they receive we can give value and offer them a solution to a problem they may be desperate to solve.

Both the lesson of Green Eggs and Ham and the mechanics of autoresponders work because most people will not buy something the first time they are exposed to it. No matter how good the product or service is, no matter how perfectly it fits the customer's needs, people need to be asked to buy multiple times before they will take action.

The reason autoresponders work so well is that the person warms up to the idea a little bit more with each message. Additionally, it increases your likelihood of reaching the person at just the right time in their lives. They may have been considering what you sell for a while but for whatever reason, the time was not right before.

But as effective as they are, there is a right way and a wrong way to use autoresponders.

  • Absolutely never just start sending out emails to people who do not know who you are. You can funnel people to your autoresponder who have already come to like and trust you through your blog or through Twitter and Facebook. But let them opt in. It is a trust and relationship game and you can't make it work by spamming people.
  • Give value with every email. Make your emails something they can look forward to. I am a big fan of Marcia Yudkin, whose Marketing Minute newsletter comes out every Wednesday. Each email does have something to sell, but before that, she has a short, very helpful article that gives value.

    Don't misunderstand my Green Eggs and Ham example. Yes, Sam persistently asked the customer to try green eggs and ham. He did not give up and he asked for the order again and again. But he also tailored each offer differently. "Would you like them in a car? Would you like them in a tree? Could you eat them on a train?"

  • To get your emails opened, I have learned that "How to" subject lines work best. Make sure your subject line promises valuable information that they will want to read. And make sure your newsletter delivers on that promise.

If you aren't already using an autoresponder, I recommend RatePoint. As I mentioned before, I am an affiliate of this service so here is my blatant sales pitch:

I like RatePoint for a variety of reasons. Primarily because it is much more than just an autoresponder. In addition to helping you manage your email list and schedule your messages, it also comes with a survey system that is really great.

You can send out short surveys to the people who are on your list that can give you a lot of valuable information about what your prospects want and need.

Additionally, it has a feature that makes it easy for people to give your business a rating and review. Few things on the web are more compelling than having a number of really good reviews online. Ratepoint makes it easy to invite customers to give you a review or rating.

Additionally, RatePoint can be fully integrated with your Twitter and Facebook efforts. It is practically seamless in the way it allows you to build relationships on social media and move these relationships to your email list.

Whether you choose to go with this service, or prefer Aweber or Constant Contact, the main point is to let an automatic system ask for your friends/followers to take action while still giving them valuable solutions and information.

A system allows you to be informative and be persistent without ruining the relationships you've worked hard to build.

What are your thoughts? I am very interested in hearing about how you get your Twitter or Facebook followers to take action. Is anyone having success converting contacts into customers? I would love to hear your success stories.

If you like this article:

----------------------------------------------------COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown Add to OnlywireAdd to Technorati Favorites

A (Sort of ) Book Review of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day

I started reading Mari Smith and Chris Treadaway’s new book, Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day and it is slow going.

It is NOT slow reading because it is poorly written or dull.

I'm reading it slowly because I am literally using up my highlighter marking important passages. Then I have to pause to write little margin notes. And then of course I must put those little sticker bookmarks on pages I know I’ll want to refer back to again and again.

Not to mention that I have to jot down ideas gleaned from Smith and Treadway in a little notebook I keep with me at all times.

And all that doesn't include the time I spend being envious of these two and their brilliant ideas. I just wish I had written this book instead.

Treadaway and Smith have written that rare book that balances in-depth, expert advice without leaving the newbe behind in the dust. It is just packed with actionable ideas any marketer can use to take advantage of the breathtaking potential of Facebook to promote their business.

One of the ways I measure a great book is the extent to which it launches me off into new trains of thought or sends my mind racing off in new directions. You know what I mean. One new idea can triggers a whole chain of new thoughts and ideas that take on lives of their own.

Here’s an example:

The authors explain that a Facebook Page is not the personal Profile that most users begin with, in which they share photos, connect with friends and talk about what is going on in their lives.

In contrast, a Page is set up by a business, organization or an artist to promote what they do. (Pages were originally called “Fan Pages” because their original users were celebrities, musical groups and solo artists). This means that Suzy Smith might have a profile, whereas Ford Motor Company has a Page.

But the idea that has spurred me onto a whole new direction of thoughts and ideas was a passing mention that many Page owners create their own “online magazines” with their pages.

This really intrigued me because I have been reading a lot of Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett's brilliant blogs about content marketing.

Both Pulizzi and Barrett have written case studies of companies that have launched their own magazines that target the interests of their customers. These magazines are not merely glorified sales pieces that constantly talk about their products and services.

Instead, these magazines focus on the audience and provides information that appeals to that audience's interests. Some of these interests are obviously related to what the companies sell, but generally only a small portion. They are perfect soft sell vehicles because they are primarily about giving the reader information they want and need.

How many marketers could connect to their customers better if they had their own “lifestyle magazines” ? For example:
  • A financial services company could have a lifestyle magazine devoted to retirees.

    Instead of promoting financial products, this Facebook page could talk about reduced-price vacation ideas for active seniors, health and fitness topics, or how the marriage dynamics change when two formerly employed people suddenly find themselves spending a lot more time together.
  • A business that markets to young couples could have a lifestyle magazine Facebook page that deals with raising small children.

    Topics could include how to keep children safe, how to keep them entertained while traveling, their first day at school, how to deal with a small child when a newborn sibling enters the household, etc.

  • Other businesses could create magazines devoted to specific communities or geographic locations. These magazines could features local businesses, schools, events, charities and public awareness.

Other uses of the lifestyle magazine format could include the lifestyle issues of small business owner, golfers, minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, or college students, etc.

The ways to connect with potential customers through a lifestyle magazine on Facebook are endless. It is simply a matter of connecting with prospects on the level of what they want to read about and what problems they want to find solutions for, rather than focusing on churning out product information on the things we want to sell to these people.

So where do you get all this content for your Lifestyle Magazine Facebook Page?

Simple, think Readers’ Digest. Gather content from all over the web and link to these articles on your page’s wall.

Facebook even does you the favor of allowing you to include an image from the article or uploading your own.

As marketers, our past education and experience generally taught us various ways to “interrupt” a prospect and divert his or her attention to what we wanted to talk to them about. Seth Godin calls this “Interruption Marketing.”

Creating a lifestyle magazine in which a small part of the content is related to what you want to sell is what I call “Conversation Marketing” because it looks to what the prospect is already thinking about and talking about and simply adds value to those areas of a person's personal or business life.

Believe it or not, your very best prospects probably do not wake up each morning thinking about your widgets. Perhaps they will get around to thinking about widgets sometime during the day, but they have other problems they want to solve in the meantime.

Become an expert on solving 10 or so problems your best customers are concerned with, that are unrelated to what you want to sell to them. If you can offer solutions in these other areas of their lives, they will listen to you when you offer solutions related to what you sell.

A lifestyle magazine / Facebook Page approach earns you the right to talk to them about your widgets.

Thank you Chris and Mari. Sorry I ran off with this book review in a different direction but you gave me the original idea.

Want to learn more about how to engage in conversation marketing? Be sure to download a free copy of my ebook, 101 Ways to Promote Your Brand With Social Media Marketing. If you like it, be sure to forward a copy to someone else you think could benefit from it

If you like this article:

----------------------------------------------------COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown Add to OnlywireAdd to Technorati Favorites

Why should your business or organization be using social media?

Why should your business or organization be using social media?

Here's why:

Suppose you are in the market for a new widget. My company makes and sells widgets that exactly meet your qualifications. You have been doing your homework when you see an ad my company has just put out. My ad is informative, entertaining, and seems to solve your widget issues.

But then someone you know gives you a testimonial about their experience using one of my competitor's widgets. The experience was positive and that person highly recommended the other widget.

Which would you choose?

... Really? .... But, wait! Let me explain, I spent a LOT of money on my ad.

... What? But, wait! You don't understand. MY AD WON AN AWARD!!!!

... Are you kidding me? You barely know that person who gave you a referral. In fact you've never met that person face to face. You can't seriously mean you are going to go with this person's referral over my EXPENSIVE, AWARD WINNING ad!


And so it goes. People are naturally inclined to believe and trust personal referrals and testimonials over even the very best advertisements.

Does this explain why companies like Pepsi are choosing to reduce their advertising budgets in favor of redirecting that money to social media marketing. Pepsi chose not to advertise in the 2010 Super Bowl in favor of using social media marketing.

This is revolutionary. When was the last time you didn't see a Pepsi ad in the Super Bowl?

Does this mean that advertising is dead? Of course not, but companies are finding that creating word of mouth online via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other platforms is much more powerful than advertising alone.

Personal testimonials are simply more trustworthy in the minds of most consumers and even corporate buyers.

But here's a big caveat: If you choose to start using social media to market your products or services, don't just slap old-school advertising tactics on new media. Don't use Twitter and Facebook to pump out and endless stream of marketing messages.

That strategy doesn't work.

Businesses that are truly successful with social media marketing understand that these platforms are 10% broadcasting channels and 90% listening tools. These marketers are successful because they learn to listen and respond, engage in conversations, ask questions and listen to the answers they get back.

In other words, they have conversations online.

It doesn't matter that these conversations are with one individual at a time because other users are able to see that the companies are listening and responding.

Furthermore, the individuals who are engaged with are more likely to share that experience with their friends and contacts online.

Want to learn more about how to engage in conversation marketing? Be sure to download a free copy of my ebook, 101 Ways to Promote Your Brand With Social Media Marketing. If you like it, be sure to forward a copy to someone else you think could benefit from it.

If you like this article:

----------------------------------------------------COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown Add to OnlywireAdd to Technorati Favorites

Conversation Marketing

Below is a Google Sidewiki comment I posted to a great article on Mashable called 6 Challenges to Managing a Brand on the Social Web.

I really urge you to check this article out because it is a roundup with six social media experts who each highlight a challenge marketers face when bringing a brand to the social web.

I love this comment by Scott Monty about consistently "showing up" on social media to engage in these conversations. It is vital to participate in as many conversations as possible. Check out my ebook, "101 Ways to Promote Your Brand With Social Media Marketing" at

in reference to:

"Monty noted that half the battle is simply showing up. “It’s not just about running an online promotion or campaign and expecting results. You need to be there consistently and reliably every day, so that over time, a community will grow — and that’s when the magic begins to happen.”"
- 6 Challenges to Managing a Brand on the Social Web (view on Google Sidewiki)