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Hey it’s Friday!… Just keeping it real.
Thoughts and view expressed in this blog are my own. This is a personal weblog of my pest control marketing via SEM/SEO and Social Media. Please feel free to add or comment. Thanks.
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Hey it’s Friday!… Just keeping it real.
A fellow Bulwark employee and I recently attended AZIMA‘s August dinner event: How To Build Social Communities For Your Brand. The night’s speakers was Kevin Spidel, a self described “recovering political hack” who has extensive experience building and growing online communities in the political realm before doing so for more mainstream clientele.
Though the entire presentation was excellent and worth reviewing if you can find a copy, here were the few takeaways that really stood out to me. (Not all the ensuing content was covered or discussed during the presentation, but has simply served as a foundation for the following thoughts.)
“Communities are not audiences”. This is an important starting point to remember. Communities simply don’t happen. They don’t just appear all of a sudden and coincidentally happen to be comprised of people with strikingly similar preferences, passions or habits. Communities form for a reason. If you’re wondering where a given community is in the consumer funnel, forget it! You’re thinking of a different funnel. So don’t think like that. For that reason, communities do not need to be spoken to. They do not need marketing in the raw sense. They are beyond that point. What it needs is direction and purpose.
“Once you have a brand ambassador, forget a digital strategy. You need a volunteer strategy.” As vendors, or as markers, we easily get wrapped up in numbers. “What’s the ROI from last month?” “How was last month compared to like-month from last year?” “This customer just bought our product. How can up-sale him on additional products or services?” These are all statements that stem from the line of thinking that dwells on numbers and upper-right trending charts. It’s too easy to only view a consumer as a potential repeat consumer. Measureable performance is one thing, but when it comes to an organic community in an online setting, that is simply not the case.
Once you have a self-appointed brand ambassador on your hands, the possibilities are limitless. So, stop figuring out a way to keep selling stuff to that individual and come up with with a plan to empower them as vocalists. Provide a way for them to vocalize and share their experience or opinion. Build them a soapbox that they can stand on and say it in their own words. Better yet, let them borrow your soapbox.
If you think about it, brand ambassadors will continuously and willingly purchase your brand, so don’t worry about that. Your strategy for those consumers should be to help them educate and proselytize within their circles – circles that you most likely don’t even know exist and to which you will certainly not have access.
And, the gem of the night: “Loyalty is lack of a better option”. HALLELUJAH!!!
We as marketers have a propensity to pat ourselves on the back at the thought of how loyal our customers have become. We often credit our elaborate campaigns and strategies as the reason our consumers like our product and service so much that they are unwilling to defect to a competitor, even at the temptation of a lower price or additional perks.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they don’t have a better option. Or, said different, consumer’s don’t know they have other options. Every company thinks they provide the best products within their industry. Every pizza parlor thinks and advertises theirs is the best in town. Every bike manufacturer sells the “best bikes in the world”. On top of that, each one of those companies’ marketing campaigns suggest they have successfully conveyed that idea and that is the reason they have as many customers as they do.
Now, let me tell you a different story. A friend of mine has been with his insurance agent for close to 15 years. All his insurance is through the same agent. Minus any catastrophic claims, they’ve been through thick and thin with each other. Their business relationship has even survived the possibility of changing to a competitor based on price….until recently. My friend was recently solicited regarding his policy and this unnamed competitor offered the same coverage, plus additional products at a noticeably lower price. Not just a few dollars, but a considerable sum. My friend even consulted with his long-time agent first, to see if he was able to compete with the new competitor. His agent still could not get within the same ballpark. Given that my friend was actively looking for ways to cut living costs, he has now agreed to terms with a brand new face and a brand new provider. Just like that!
At the end of the day, doing business with consumers or other businesses comes down to three things: price, results and tolerance. Are consumers comfortable paying the determined price to receive the expected return? Are the results in line with the consumer’s expectation, and within reason relative to the vendor’s price? Does the consumer harbor enough tolerance, mentally and financially, to accept the results (or lack thereof) relative to the price and expectation. When it’s said and done the consumer will ask themselves one thing: “Am I getting what I pay for?” Consumers will be loyal to those that get the job done. End. Of. Story.
Building and nurturing communities within your brand has an intrinsic way of bypassing all of that. Healthy communities are comprised of believers, and even their faith in the brand will be tested. That’s normal. As you continue to educate and monitor your fold, the likelihood grows that their trust and belief in your brand will stand the test of time.
If you check out the search terms that are being used to find your WordPress blog you may come across this phrase “encrypted_search_terms”. Why? Has your site been hacked? Or are you a sneaky SEO that has been hiding something and you’ve been caught by Google. If you are worried about this term showing up in your wordpress dashboard read on.
It is nice to know what people are finding your site for, so I keep track using wordpresses traffic tools. “Christmas Lights Ditto” has been one of my best search terms ever, but it and others were just passed by “encrypted_search_terms”. But it’s not that I rank for “encrypted_search_terms”, it’s because the search terms the googler searched are actually being encrypted. If you use Google Analytics you will find these terms labeled, “Not Provided”. Per Google it is only going to effect about 10% of your traffic. That was the stat they gave when they first launched this encryption, “to protect the user.” But there are many that report this impact is far greater than 10% and that it is only expected to grow.
The term showing up does not indicate anything about your site. You are most likely not being found for that term. This term is now showing up for everyone using WordPress’s site tracking. If you care about knowing how you are being found, then yes you should be a little more than worried about this. Google is taking away search data. If you have been trying to watch your search terms trends then this will be a problem. Your data from year to year will now be flawed, especially if the percentages continue to change.
Here are a few more sources for you to really dive into this discussion:
You will find the following “Consumer Alert” on yelp:
We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here. ( http://s3-media3.ak.yelpcdn.com/saphoto/RU7bd3h2f6pBlf8BfAyxGQ/o.jpg )
Clicking the link provided will take you to an image caption of the correspondence between the yelp sting operative and the company. This jeweler was offering $200 for a review, per the craigslist post they had created. And apparently they are not the only ones using this technique… per google search for “Craigslist.org Yelp review”:
Levi Jewelers still ranks #1 in the yelp search “Jeweler” from a desktop, as of today. It still shows the 5 stars and 91 reviews. ( Interesting to note that they do have 366 filtered reviews. )
When you travel to their page the consumer alert is below the fold:
The mobile version does not currently show the consumer alert whatsoever. And the yelp deal with Levi, one that pays yelp, is still active.
Honestly, I think yelp could show some more teeth here. But for the sake of making a public example of this company, I believe they are opting to keep them up. This is also a recent update and I am sure that the future versions of Yelp penalties will be modified. The email correspondence occurred beginning Oct. 11th through Oct. 13th. It appears that it was leaked to the press very quickly and thus the public relations team is getting their message out.
However, from a previous yelp broken filter blunder in which Yelp quickly reacted to remove the reviews, I feel yelp still fails to make a solid stance. Their previous blunder only called for a quick cover up, it did not remove the members who violated the guidelines. Will yelp protect the other members that the Jeweler paid off to get good reviews? Will there be a point when businesses get an advocate to combat yelpers gone wild?
Rumor has it that there is a pest control guy that was caught red handed buying reviews on yelp as well. I have not been able to find this bugger. I am shocked however that a Phoenix pest control competitor of mine openly offers a credit for a yelp review on his website. It seems that this should certainly be a red flag for yelp.
“Love Us? YELP! Post a positive comment on YELP and receive $5.00 off any service. Let us know through our Contact Us page”
Apparently a yelp review is only worth $5 for pest control companies. That is a bit shy of the $200 the jeweler is offering and the $100 a restaurant in Sedona is offering.
Pretty funny considering hashtags are a twitter thing. Perhaps google+ should just copy that as well, oh wait they already did about 4 months ago. Now just wondering when they will add a Red Google+ Bird.
Just goes to show that the Google+ crowd is the same twitter crowd. Are they just copying and pasting their tweets? I wonder who would get dinged for duplicate content in this scenario.
My boss was interviewed by a big magazine that published both off and online. He gave some great info and insight into running an exterminator business. What he forgot to do was ask for a link. While this should happen naturally from writers/editors, it doesn’t. Perhaps I live in a dream world that would deem that linking to your source as ethical. Maybe I am alone in thinking that writers should know to link out. Perhaps someday, but for now on my boss has been advised to proceed as follows.
It’s really very simple boss, when they quote you they need to do the following:
“Adam Seever, CEO of Bulwark Exterminating, says…”
If it’s an exclusive interview of you then they should conclude with an about section or begin with an introduction were they can build up more of your expertise. You can get a few more links in if it’s an exclusive interview.
In the past I would have pushed for an anchor text link for targeted keywords like pest control , and if I author a guest post for someone then I typically do drop in such a link, but today Google wants to see more of your branded keyword linking to you over heavy anchor text links. You can still accomplish this in an interview if you reference something you have written elsewhere online… “In my recent article on ant control I showed how statistical evaluation of treatments..”
These are just a few thoughts on how to get valid links through interviewing or blogging. But don’t over do your linking. If you submit an article to me as a guest blog post with as many self promoting links as what are in this article then I’d reject your article submission. I think 1-2 selfish links per article is permissible. More links are acceptable if they are not self serving. So if you want to load up a few more links then link to your friends.
Want to guest post? Then contact me: @Thos003
Samples of facebook ads and the change that the new facebook timeline layout has on the facebook ad space.
Image size in facebook ads are 110 x 80.
Full post on Dream Systems Media : http://www.dreamsystemsmedia.com/blog/index.php/facebooks-new-layout-changes-ad-space/
A Promoted Tweet on Pest Control term by an electrical company?
Why would GE want to promote this tweet on the pest control stream? Where is the connection? Did someone just do some keyword research and find pest control related to technology? Are exterminators a large consumer of light bulbs? Sorry, just not getting it. Pest Control Technology… Hmmm…. I mean there is a pest control technology magazine. And I often feel that Bulwark Exterminating is becoming more of a technology company than a residential pest control service… but still not getting the full picture here.
I guess the plus side to this is that I am blogging about this simply out of awe. But does it make me more inclined to buy from the promoter of said tweet?