Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

Want to Get More Referrals?

The Referral Engine BookI’ve written about the topic of referrals a bunch this year, but you get that, right – I mean, I wrote an entire book on the subject called The Referral Engine. (Hint: It fits in most small business owners stockings!)

I’ve also posted some ideas on the subject over at American Express OPENForum and thought I would share the entire series with you here?

Want to learn more about building a referral engine? Read these articles:

5 Steps To the Perfect Client

ideal client

Image credit: Photofinish 2009 via Flickr

One of the foundational elements of any marketing strategy is a narrowly defined target client. For the small business I take that a step deeper to something I call the ideal, or for the sake of this post, perfect client. That one perfect kind of client is what all business should understand and I think it’s unique to each and every business.

You can’t simply define a set of demographics to find the ideal client – the ideal client finds you, but then you’ve got to build your entire business around that understanding.

The 5 steps below, applied to your current client base and worked in order, will tell you more about your true ideal client than any marketing class or book ever will.

  1. Find your most profitable clients
  2. From the above group identify those that refer
  3. From that even smaller group find common demographic characteristics
  4. Take the time now to understand the behavior that makes them ideal
  5. Draw a fully developed biographical sketch to use as your marketing guide

I explain each of these steps in great detail is this week’s column at AMEX OPENForum.

Mining Twitter with Google Turns Up Some Interesting Stuff

As a marketing tool the Twitterverse gets so much more useful when you can filter out all the noise and drill down to people and communities that might very much want to know what you’ve got to offer.

twitter search with GoogleA bit of bloom has gone off the Twitter hype, but make no mistake, there’s still plenty of powerful ways to tap what’s going on there.

A great deal of information out there centers around searching the Twitter stream for related content, but that only allows you to focus on what’s being said. In this week’s post for AMEX OPENForum I explain 7 Insanely Useful Ways to Search Twitter that focus much more on who’s saying it. For some this is a much more interesting way to look at doing business on Twitter. Most of my tips rely on blending Google’s passion for real time search and search syntax to slice and dice Twitter in new ways.

Social Media Infecting Every Aspect of Business

For this week’s post at AMEX OPENForum I outlined 5 Ways That Sales People Can Benefit From Using Social Media

Social media tools are incredible for engagement, amplification, nurturing and deepening relationships – all the stuff that sales is supposed to do. In fact, social media tools are probably more useful in the hands of the right salesperson than the entire marketing department.

CES Coverage and a Few Finds

As many of you may have noted by some posts here and on Twitter I attended the recent CES show in Las Vegas as a participant in the AMEX OPENForum booth. I gave presentations on social media and was joined by Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, Adam Ostrow , Barb Dybwad and Ben Parr of Mashable and Tony Hsieh of Zappos.

I thoroughly enjoy working in a live environment with small business owners and loved getting a chance to work with and hear what this great group of speakers had to say. For those who could not attend the event, the presentations were recorded and will be available at OPENForum’s CES page.

I walked the floor a bit, although it’s total sensory overload, and wanted to share two of my favorite finds.

Bing Application overlays on Bing Maps.

Melissa Powell, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft explains Bing Map Apps

You have to download Silverlight, Microsoft’s Video tool, but it makes for a much richer experience than other mapping tools. Here’s the link to the Bing Maps beta.

I also found a nice option for recording live interviews on the iPhone from Blue Microphones. The iPhone built in mic works pretty well up close but the Mikey has settings that make it much more sensitive when conducting an interview in the field. I use a Blue Snowball USB mic to do my podcasts and really love their design.

Small Business Speaker Series at CES

Las VegasIf you are planning to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES ) in Las Vegas Jan 7-10 make sure you check out the American Express OPEN Booth in the South Hall. They are sponsoring a central hang out hub for small business folks to network, share small office electronics ideas and a speaker series featuring Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Anita Campbell (Small Business Trends), Guy Kawasaki (Alltop), Ben Parr and Barbara Dybwad (Mashable) and myself.

Here are the presentations/discussions I’ll be leading: South Hall: Booth 20925

  • Fri Jan 8th – 1pm – The Simple Truths of Social Media for Small Business – Yes, it’s a bit of work, and yes, it’s worth it.
  • Sat Jan 9th – 1pm – How to Use Social Media for a Local Business – Leverage online tools for offline business building

I’ll be around the booth chatting with other small business owners on Friday and Saturday so I hope to see you there.

Image credit: Post 14

Made to Stick Podcast

Marketing podcast with Chip Heath (Click to listen, right click and Save As to download – subscribe now via iTunes

For this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast I reached back into the archives and grabbed a greatest hits session with Chip Heath, co-author, with his brother Dan, of the mega hit Made to Stick.

Chip, Stanford Professor and Dan, Duke Professor, also write a terribly smart column for Fast Company.

Also, check out this AMEX Open Forum video with Dan Heath – How to Stand Out in a Crowd – “It’s not enough to be 3% better and 2% cheaper.”

Blogging – It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

You know I’m a huge fan of blogs for small business and an equally big supporter of the WordPress blogging platform.

The wide adoption of WordPress is aided greatly by the fact that its open source architecture means that outside developers can create add-ons to extend the basic functionality.

So, now you can think outside of the blog. WordPress, developed as blog software, is, through various plugins, capable of supporting full web sites, membership sites, e commerce premium content management and multi-author publications with ease.

For this week’s AMEX Open Forum column I introduce 10 Ways to Make WordPress More Useful – go check it out.