Enchanting customers

Maintain the price even if the competitions increases it.

Extend the guarantee for an additional one more year.

Reward new customers with educational value.

Develop a gratification program aimed to every loyal customer that buys from you.

Build better products, products that best meet people or business needs that are already your customers.

Two months after every sale, ask your customers five (or more) questions related: how they feel about the purchase, what it was the real value the product added, what’s missing from the original promise, how it can be improved and what else you can do for them without an additional charge.

Build a more complete, dynamic and useful set of services.

Don’t sell the information you get from your customers.

Send email marketing just for addressing your customers queries.

Make visible and big the must-know information placed at the most invisible sections, the fine print basically,

Build the first base of 100 customers, get to know them, interact with them. Serve them. Please them. Meet with them every year.

Create, at least, three peripheral services that increase the product or service value, and add no extra cost to your customers.

Reply to every person that reaches to you.

Don’t wait to gain the trust of your customers, trust them first.

Teach your employees how to lead, how to listen, how to persuade, how to stay human and how to enchant.

Most of the people, especially the persons who you want to sell. They’re not worried about:

  • Paying a little more.
  • Telling their friends.
  • Go the extra mile for buying from you.

If the transaction comes with dignity, trust, vulnerability, utility and a smile. That’s what enchanting customers are all about.

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Reality is malleable

You don’t want to listen it’s easy because I know it’s hard as hell. So you have to know the real truth, but you don’t like what lies inside the truth. Then your worldview creates a different reality.

You don’t want to believe that your mission it’s going to happen, mainly because I know it’s not going to happen by chance or while you’re waiting. Unless you go at take the permit to make a dent in the universe.

Your customers don’t want to see your new record sales or new brochure because I know they don’t give a heck about it. They are eager to know how your product is going to change their lives.

The investors don’t want to meet another me-too-entrepreneur with a great idea ready to be funded because I know they’re being sick of wasting their time listening great storytelling. They want shipped ideas that transcend silos and get their own auto-funding first.

Your Instagram community doesn’t want to be bothered with another breakfast pic because I know this doesn’t add value to them. They want the utility you can provide.

Your colleagues don’t want to be told about your trip to Burning Man or Coachella because I know they are your colleagues for a business reason. They want to know about compelling business.

Worldview vs reality

We’re so obsessed with our worldview that we avoid seeing the world as it is, which is the only way to make a real connection. The reality is malleable beyond the way we see, perceive and think about almost everything.

Disruption starts here

Once you see the reality outside your worldview, disrupting the status quo starts happening. Then enhancing yourself, your business or other people becomes easier and real.

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17 habits for staying human

People and business that stay human through the Internet. Thus, harness the power of this connection economy, they practice the following every day “staying human” habits:

1. Addressing people by their names.

2. Making jokes. Saying funny things. Don’t take matters too seriously.

3. Don’t take problems as something personal.

4. They feel more, instead of thinking more.

5. Listening, really listening for acting accordingly.

6. They practice active listening: verbal confirmation & verbal communication.

7. Demonstrating with results that they are paying attention to what you are saying.

8. Making compliments that make sense. Sincere, descriptive and insightful ones.

9. Giving constructive feedback, instead of criticizing.

10. The don’t complain about you, they try to change what they don’t like by turning the situation upside down.

11. Responding assertively to critics, complaints or troll attacks.

12. They ask interesting, propelling and descriptive questions all the time.

13. Being real persons instead brands or companies. They let you know who is the person behind the digital channel.

14. They know how to tell compelling  and sticky stories.

15. Asking you for advice, acknowledging they don’t know about certain things.

16. They do their best to surprise you every time they can.

17. Practicing generosity, don’t ask anything in return. They just want to add some kind of value to you.

As you can see, most of this habits are little techniques that you can (and should) implement every day. You’ll stay more human, and this will make a big difference in your community, business, clients and the world.

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Reasons for doing marketing

 

1. For selling a product o service.

2. To make a difference.

3. Because your boss told so.

4. For getting paid.

5. To delight your customers.

6. For getting to know more about if someone is going to buy from you.

7. Because anybody can nowadays. Because you must.

8. For the ease.

9. Because it’s cheap and profitable.

10. To create a positive impact in disadvantaged people.

11. For the sake of being a great and well-known marketer.

What number of this list bests represent you?

 

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It does not work

  • Sending CVs: not working.
  • Staying until late at work: not working.
  • Billboards: not working.
  • Having a master degree in order to be successful in life: not working.
  • Scoring high in the university tests: not working.
  • Reading every post you can: not working.
  • Watching House of Cards or Narcos: not working.
  • Blaming the system and expecting a different outcome: not working.
  • Reaching everyone on LinkedIn: not working.
  • Tagging friends on Facebook so you can promote your business: not working.
  • Believing that everything it’s going to be like before the crisis, like the good old days: not working.
  • Working on the next APP: not working.
  • Raising your children to become the next in-garage-entrepreneur: not working.
  • Showing smiling faces through Selfies: not working.

It does not work. It’s broken. It’s never going to work again. See what it changes today.

Whatever it was valuable years ago, whatever, it’s not valuable now. Your job is trying to figure out what’s going to be the solution today and then tomorrow. It does not work, sure.

A lifetime opportunity, drawing what’s coming next, and makes it work.

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Like a heart beat

You work for a decade or two for being tremendously fascinating, you learn, fail, try again, make something happen and ship, change things. And then, you find yourself on the top of your career, ahead of the competition, rockstar, you.

When in the top, the last thing you want to be told it’s that the top it isn’t as high as the first time you thought about it. In fact, at the end, there’s  no such top. That was just an illusion made by the system. Heck. What now?

The world is changing faster than ever, this massive and overwhelming change has been with us from the day we were born, it’s like a heart beat, if it stops, we will die.

And yet, we are still horrified with the fact that change will come. Why don’t we accept change and its journey and see where it can take us?

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How to set the difference as a freelance worker

Freelancing, for me, is possibly the best profession there is. Maybe this is because I consider myself part of a legion of agents of change. Freelancing is a job where you can decide how to make a difference, how to stand out, how much you’re going to work, where and how you’re going to do so. You work for a living (the money factor is involved) but, moreover, you work to be happy doing what you love. That is, you choose yourself to the fullest extent.

freelance - how to stand out

Freelancing is a way of life where you need no one’s permission, only your own drive. There’s no one there telling you exactly what to do and how to do it. This involves great responsibility and also a great opportunity. You decide exactly how much of your own time, effort, passion and interest you put into it. The outcome hangs on this.

How to set the difference as a freelance worker

This post includes a number of practices that could be the fuel you need for your freelancing work to stand out, tweaking whatever you feel needs changing. After all, it’s up to you:

  • Create your own personal / professional brand: a freelancer without a personal brand is like the weatherman without a Meteosat satellite. You can find  some tips, here.
  • Ask yourself three direct questions (or more): 1. Choice: why do you want to start freelancing? (Tip: here are some valid answers: being master of my own time; not obeying orders, but leading; working on what makes me happy; living the life I always wanted to lead). 2. Change: what are you going to do differently from other freelancers? (Tip: look for your answers in the micro-segmented services offered to specific online communities). 3. Grabbing attention: how am I going to discover you? (Tip: use your creativity).
  • Communication: everything you do has something to say about you, so you must align your online and offline activity to convey a unique, cohesive, human and truthful message.
  • Choose your clients: be careful with what you do, say, share, respond to, sell or discard.
  • Use connected marketing: find your audience (those interested in what you do and say) and ask them or research how you can add value and be useful for them. And then, do just that!
  • Show your vulnerability: be yourself, mix what you do with your own peculiarities or eccentricities. Counteract criticism by doing your best work and openly talking about what you do best and the results you get. Find an opportunity to face your most critical audience and present yourself to them the best way you can. This wouldn’t be wrong; quite the opposite: it can lead you to meet people who value what you have to offer and who want to do business with you because something in you resonates with them.
  • Social media can help but isn’t creative: if you don’t have an idea, project, initiative, product or service that changes things in your target market, one that is really worth taking the plunge for, then my advice is don’t bother working on the social media aspect: it won’t fix anything. Continue working on something that is at odds with the world. Social media helps to show yourself to the world; however, your creation is what you have to show the world.
  • If you generate waste, you’ll amass waste: if you spend your time talking about others’ failures, pointing your finger every time someone makes a mistake, sending tweets complaining about the lack of professionalisation in your industry or gossiping about the poor work your competition is doing, then waste will be creeping up on you at home. Your own cynicism and negativity will prevent you from seeing all the ways you can fail and how you can get back up to grow further and stand out.
  • Online reputation: As long as you don’t decide that it’s a good idea to show up to a meeting with potential clients stark naked; as long as you don’t appear shirtless in photos, “cross-eyed” or kissing a girl who isn’t your girlfriend; or as long as what you say and do causes no harm or suffering, or can’t be considered to be stalking other people or breaking the law in any way. As long as you don’t do any of the above, don’t worry about online reputation; worry only about achieving results.
  • The best marketing: keep your promises. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it and keep your word. The worst marketing is doing otherwise.
  • Your goal is what matters: the great drawback to being self-employed is the responsibility involved. Working freelance requires a much higher level of responsibility than being a hired worker. Essentially, this is because you go from being the person who does whatever their boss or area manager tells them to, to being the person who has the drive, takes the risk, plunges forward and makes things happen. You need well-defined objectives for this.
  • The new king or queen: it isn’t content but the result you achieve. So leave content aside for a while and focus on your work to exceed market expectations or to get your product to your client in less than 24 hours. If you do all this well, results will speak for themselves and get everything else rolling.
  • Build your digital empire: you must establish your online operations centre. Attacking: traffic, leads, conversations, branding and connection. Defending: active listening, monitoring and community. Use the platforms and tools that best suit your purposes so you can get your message and history out there, finding the drive that will get people to find you.
  • Work flow: organise your workload. Freelance workers are their undertaking’s own managers, administrational staff, bosses, interns and technical staff. Productivity is essential. Find ways to be efficient and prioritise your workload in a way that allows you to move forward.
  • Work structure: define the tasks you need to carry out weekly and monthly so that all areas involved in your work are complete. Take into account the deadlines of the different projects you’re involved in, meet up with people who can collaborate in your projects, think about their part in the project; and remember to invoice your work, prepare sales pitches, retrain professionally, get your brand going (posts, podcasts, videos or any actions you define), etc.
  • Learning process: find the best way to learn about your field of specialisation at all times, spending at least one hour every day (two if you don’t sleep much) staying up to date with any developments that interest you. Tip: be careful and try to be strict in regard to places and contents, the blogs you subscribe to, hangouts or webinars you attend. Otherwise, you will be overwhelmed and can end up spending more time reading and handling all this information than working!
  • Blog: my opinion, experience and results, and that of many other work colleagues who have at some point or other been freelance workers (or who still are): Juan Merodio, Carlos Bravo, Paco Viudes, Víctor Martín, Aitor Contreras, Álex Rubio, Berto López, Amel Fernández, etc., is that you should create a blog to expand on your personality, skills, attitude and specialisation beyond the people who you are in contact with in real life.
  • Productivity: find tools that make your work easier, either by investing the same time to create more or working less to live more.
  • Leverage: if you’re a freelance web designer who’s been working long enough to have gained ample experience and your personal brand has been developed in such a way that a considerable amount of people are interested in what you do, then you can use your influence to develop projects that are leveraged by your current work: for instance, training, writing a book or starting a consultancy company.
  • You don’t work for everyone: since you have to meticulously choose where you invest the limited, valuable time available and your limited resources (compared to any organisation), this is the time to work only for the people you feel at ease with, those who value your work, the jobs you enjoy doing and that you feel can contribute to change (and viceversa).
  • Keep your ego in check: no one escapes this. Perhaps being self-employed, making it ‘on your own’, not having anyone run your life, control your time or supervise your results (clients aside) may make you fall in the trap of making you believe you’re better than anyone else. You could pay for such mistake but it will be interesting for you to run into that wall!
  • The rule to success: you want to make it? Get to the top? Get it all under control? Then you must be prepared to work without a rest, without a break, holidays, days off and work more nights than you’d ever wished for and over Christmas for the next 5 years. Being ready and willing to go through all of that is getting there!

You’re self-employed and you have one of the best advantages life has to offer: being master of your own time. Stand out and set the pace, decide what it is that you feel like changing, find out how and then do it.

Photo credit: Steve Kodis.

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Chronological Twitter-Use Analysis: 2007 to 2015

I’ve created a timeline from the moment I started using Twitter in 2007, analysing the strategy and use I’ve made of this platform, right to the present, just as we’ve just entered in 2015.

Twitter use analysis

These are the results of the analysis:

2007 and 2008

I couldn’t find my way around it! I needed to work out how this thing worked! Twitter? A bird? What a drag!

2009 and 2010

Twitter was a place where I would share my blogposts once a week. Yeah, it was OK. Everything else in it was just a machine gun endlessly firing information on social media and anything connected with it. Everything that fell into my hands was shared. I probably wasn’t objective enough yet. 95% of the content I shared belonged to external sources. I spent almost 4 hours a day reading, learning, implementing. I was sleeping 5 hours a day on average (less so in 2009.)

I was possibly using Twitter for up to 3 hours a day. Unbelievable.

2011

During 2011 I would massively share loads of links regarding social media, online marketing and Internet. Resources, best practices, newly-arrived platforms and tools, start-ups regarding the Internet and similar stuff. Most of the content came from blogs, platforms and English-speaking websites. This was possible thanks to the number of sources I was hooked up to on a daily basis. I spent two hours reading and filtering content (at night).

Meanwhile, among such content, I would also share the posts from both my blogs, in Spanish and in English. The workload then was less as I wasn’t publishing on isragarcia.es every day (that would start at the end of 2011.) The ratio then was 85% external content vs. 15% own content. I used Twitter 2 hours a day on average, or slightly more.

2012

In 2012, I decided to stay more human. I would look for interesting stories on my timeline and share them, without turning to the main platforms such as Mashable, TechCrunch, Social Media Today or the blogs on Social Media Examiner, INC, Brian Solis or Jeff Bullas to recommend valuable and interesting content with my community. This increased my interaction with Twitter users and significantly increased conversations regarding these stories. This, in turn, led also to my own content having more repercussion and a greater reach. This led to more connections, visits and, as a result, more leads.

I noticed how Twitter improved my efforts to market my contents. This made me take greater care on what I published. The ratio in 2012 was 70% external content vs. 30% own content. I realised at the time how important it is to becoming your own communication company.

I continued to decrease the time spent searching for information, reading and filtering contents, from two to one hour a day. The average use of Twitter that year must have been approximately 1.5 hours a day. Not bad at all!

2013

2013 came. One thing was clear: once you regularly share interesting content from the same platforms, it’s no longer a novelty, it’s accessible to all and it’s no longer relevant. If it becomes a routine, it no longer adds value. 60% of the platforms I was sharing from in 2012 had already reached saturation point. I say 60% as I’m always looking for places where I can find interesting ideas. Nowadays, the number of sources I work with is 400 blogs and 175 platforms or specialised sites. Of course, I don’t read them all. In fact, I’m reading less and less.

There has been a significant change in the way I use Twitter this year. I stopped sharing as much external content from other sources, although I continue to use what I consider to be the star platforms: Social Media Today, FastCompany, eMarketer, INC, Chris Brogan or SmartBrief. I’ve shared the best content from these, but in an irregular way. I’m no longer necessarily sharing content from these platforms every 2 or 3 days. The content I’ve been producing daily has been up to 5 times the amount I produced in 2010, for instance. Projects, ideas, collaborations, speeches, blogs, adventures, challenges, etc. I’ve simply become my own communication enterprise. Another great change is that I’ve stopped being connected to Twitter during the day. I never log on while I’m working at my computer. I only check it out using my smartphone or tablet and the time I spend on it is 30-45 minutes. Lucky me!

The ratio this year has been 30% external content vs. 70% own content. That 30% external content is shared as follows: 15% is from selected sources, 10% from contents I’ve come across during the day and the remaining 5% I dedicate to contents I’ve found from anonymous people who have great stories to tell.

The time I’ve spent to reading, searching, filtering and absorbing contents this year is 30 minutes a day, maximum. Obviously, my search is now more clearly guided and intuitive and my expectations much higher.

Above all, I’ve tried to stay human first and foremost. I’ve answered and connected 99% of the times, with the remaining 1% left to the “not worth my time” segment. One of the things that best works for me is asking questions. Asking specific users, or asking the entire world; asking out of curiosity. You always get some sort of answer.

2014

My ratio of external content continue to diminished. I stopped publishing so much of my own content. I looked for more personal stories to share and I shared them. I used Twitter for less every day. What was my strategy? I published less of my own posts per day. I continued to work towards creating and sharing the content that created a greater change in you and frankly, it worked.

2015

I frankly don’t know what is going to happen. What I do know is that I will be using less Twitter and keep reducing the amount of tweets I’m sending every day. Let’s see what happens.

Photo credit: Scott Beale.

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Content is your best product, definitely

content is your best product

If you value your content like you value a product, you realise that you have the opportunity to “sell” your product every time you create and publish content. Usually, like a product, the only content that really sets the difference is that which we create ourselves, our own crafted content, not the one we’re taking from somewhere else and simply sharing.

Take a look:

Newsletter / RSS / Database

To provide quality content that makes a change in a free private newsletter take a look at what Carlos Bravo is doing. Monday or Tuesday could be a great day for this. Perhaps you may consider doing it over the weekend, aiming to create a tribe outside the noise of the busiest days. That’s exactly what Chris Brogan does, with a long, active database that he nurtures, giving him a competitive edge. I’m currently working on the daily RSS subscriptions to my blog and they continue to rise. The greater the audience, the more new people I “bump into”. This has led to an increase in the average business opportunities (“leads”) coming through my blog: increasing to 0.9 per day (up by 0.3 compared to 2012).

Audio / Podcast

Provide audio content. Have you considered carrying out a weekly podcast that your audience may listen to while they’re practicing sport, working or going from one place to another? Juan Merodio has been doing this with his posts for a couple of years and they have now been listened to 200,000 times. Another idea is turning this audio content into subscription podcasts published through a programme (for instance, iTunes), allowing you to choose your own periodicity.

Video

Video as content. In his channel, Valentí Sanjuán entertains, connects and has something to say. With his videos, he reaches more people than any other blogger in Spain. His reach and impact continue to grow daily as a result of the significant emotional bond that his audiovisual content provides. Valentí has created a line of branded content that is tightly linked to a community of followers that continues to grow with every video he publishes. It’s easy to see how he cleverly “calls to action” in every video, pointing towards other videos that may be of interest to his audience. This maximises the experience, contact and bond with the content, making a huge impact. In the case of Valentí this is further strengthened by the great personal brand that he’s building around himself and his work.

Ebook / Book

You can compile your best and most valuable posts into a book or ebook, for offline or online use. In that way, people can read you while they travel by train or plane. This has worked for Seth Godin, or Guy Kawasaki with “What the plus!”. However, you don’t need to be a celebrity to compile a book based on your articles or posts and turn it into an ebook; anyone can do it, with next-to-nothing marginal costs involved. This makes it possible for anyone who writes to become their own publishing house. If the content is good, you will reach thousands, hundreds of thousands or, who knows, maybe millions of readers. Couldn’t it work for you? I’m going to try this out. I’m currently preparing my second book, which I was writing at the same time as my first. Let’s see what comes of it!

Sharing content is really great, but tell me something: why look at you if you do exactly the same as anyone else?

Bonus: perhaps that “anyone else” has been doing exactly that for many years.

Photo credit: Gauravonomics.

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What needs to be done in Social Media so it doesn’t die?

During my intervention at the Madrid Music Days event last year, I stated my idea, reasoning and examples of why social media marketing as we know it is coming to an end. I rescue here four of the most important points of my speech about what we can do so that Social Media doesn’t die. Note: this won’t avoid its evolution, however.

what needs to be done in social media so don't die

What needs to be done in Social Media so it doesn’t die?

This is the approach we’ve been working on for the past two years and it’s working.

1. Social platforms are communication and marketing channels and, as we’ve proven, are still viable sales channels. However, they need to be led correctly. They need a coherent strategy and execution that focuses on results, on connecting with our community, therefore creating certain resonance with our people in a dynamic, interesting and brilliant way.

Social Media doesn’t create a different world; neither does it invent or define. This is something that only comes about with an idea, initiative, project or business. At the end of the day, it’s only marketing through a new means of communication. Navigate your project or brand through these channels, seeking a clear, defined project. Do so without losing track of the people because, most of all, you need them right now. The value you provide is the value that the world will give in return.

2. Symbiotic models have always worked best (except in the case of Spiderman and his alter ego). Throwing conventional communication and marketing out of the window was, still is and will always be a dumb idea!

Look for a cross media strategy. Traditional communication isn’t dead, PR is extremely useful for word-of-mouth, there are still a variety of offline means to cross over to digital communication. Use what you do well out there, such as sales, to bring your customers to your company blog or to have a 24/7 customer service over Twitter.

3. Companies that claim to care about people but who can’t be bothered to interact with their buyers can ignore all of this. We’re ignoring you in one way or another.

Ask, listen, do something with all of this. Look out for conversations, take part in them. Recommend services that are in line with your audience, become “the person to turn to if I need something” and let the results speak for themselves.

4. If you want to use the social web and the great opportunity that lies therein, at least attempt things, learn from them, fail often, experiment, fine-tune, use any feedback you get, be creative and try something different; all of this before, during and after using social media. There’s no other way. That’s my recipe to get to where you’re so good that no one can ignore you.

Should you advertise on Facebook? If that’s your concern, there’s so much more you should be concerned about. Is being on Pinterest worth it? Who knows. Should you programme your tweets? Have you ever tried this and measured the results obtained? The only way to get an answer to these and many other similar questions is to just go for it and try it out. You need to work with the social web thoroughly to understand what works and what doesn’t. The best –or worst– thing about this is that it’s a day-to-day job. What worked yesterday may not work today, or what works today may not work tomorrow.

The direction that such work is taking means that if you want to make the social web to work for you, it must become a part of all your business processes. It’s not less important but, rather, the driving current. The work you carry out is part of your marketing, your customer services, internal communications, human resources; it’s part of your company’s wiring. It’s a part of it all!

What else needs to be done here? What’s your role?

Photo credit: hollywoodhollows.

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