Microsoft sweetens pay-to-search deal
By Yi-Wyn Yen
It’s been four months since Microsoft introduced its cashback rebate scheme that pays people to use its Internet search service. But Microsoft continues to fall behind Google in search.
On Wednesday, Microsoft (MSFT) plans to unveil a new rewards program to get more consumers searching on the company’s Live Search engine. While a company spokesperson would not discuss details of the latest rewards gimmick, a Microsoft executive says the promotion is designed to generate user loyalty and more searches on Live.
The program gives consumers a discount every time they use Live Search to find and buy a product like a digital camera. The company is banking that as more people spend time on Live, the more advertisers will promote their products, and Microsoft will grab a bigger piece of the paid search market.
So far, cashback does not appear to be helping the company’s search efforts. For the seventh straight month, Google (GOOG) widened the gap with Live Search. The search king extended its lead to 63% in August while Microsoft dropped to 8.3%, according to comScore’s latest monthly report for U.S. traffic. For the first two months of the third quarter, Live Search has lost 14.4% of its traffic from year-ago levels.
A Microsoft executive says comScore’s figures do not accurately reflect how well the cashback program is doing. “Those numbers don’t seem right to me. We just had our highest month ever [for unique visitors in August],” says Brad Goldberg, Microsoft’s general manager for search. “There is always going to be volatility with monthly metrics. Cashback is a long-term bet.”
ComScore’s numbers represent total market share. While Microsoft is steadily losing search traffic share, Live Search continues to gain more users as more people search. Goldberg says the company is pleased with cashback’s progress though he would not reveal the number of transactions made or how many people that have enrolled in the program.
The cashback promotion is part of Microsoft’s broader goal to combat Google’s ever-growing share of the online ad market. The program marks Microsoft’s first major initiative to grow search traffic since the company ended talks with Yahoo (YHOO), the No. 2 search engine that owns roughly a fifth of the U.S. search market.
Goldberg hints that the company plans to offer consumers even more savings leading up to the holiday season. “We look at traffic, different tactics, and ways of execution… and we’ve learned that the higher the rebate [we offer], the better,” Goldberg says. “I’m not joking. EBay’s a good example. They have a relatively high rebate level in the 20%-30% range and they had a big increase in traffic as a result.”
Analysts say that Microsoft needs more advertisers to join the cashback program to attract more consumers searching on Live. Cashback has enrolled than 700 merchants, including eBay (EBAY), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and Overstock.com (OSTK).
“Our assessment is that MSFT is gaining supply side traction with advertisers and if that remains sustainable, they should eventually gain traction with end users (traffic) as well,” writes Sandeep Aggarwal, a senior Internet analyst with Collins Stewart, in an e-mail to Fortune.
Microsoft, with its deep pockets, may be committed to cashback for the long haul, but industry observers say the company needs to produce results soon.
Search marketers put a January expiration date on Live’s cashback program. “The whole value of cashback is tied to the retail season,” says John Tawadros, the chief operating officer of search marketing firm iProspect. “I would think advertisers are thinking about it now and looking at adopting cashback to differentiate themselves with the competition. After the holiday season would be a perfect time to assess if this has taken off or not.”
About 9 months ago, we did a “meat” remote broadcast at Kroger with one of my radio stations, WXKE.
It worked, Saturday around lunch time, shoppers followed their noses to where we were cooking steaks and handing out samples and coupons. Is there a way to give samples away in your business (count it as part of your marketing), that will translate into sales?
Read more from Brandweek:
Study: Sampling Works
Sept 29, 2008
Want to get someone to buy your product? Then give them one for free. While this might sound counter-intuitive, a new survey from Arbitron found sampling works.
More than one-third (35%) of customers who tried a sample bought the product during the same shopping trip, per the poll of 1,857 respondents conducted earlier this year via the phone. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed reported they would buy a product again after trying it.
Sampling, which reaches 70 million consumers every quarter, “is both effective in making new customers aware of products, while also establishing a firmer identity with those consumers who have considered the product before,” said Carol Edwards, svp of sales at Arbitron’s out-of-home media department, in a statement.
The survey divvied up consumers into three segments: acquisitions (those new to the product), conversions (those willing to buy it after sampling it) and retentions (those who had previously purchased the product).
Eighty-five percent of retentions who sampled a product said they would purchase it again compared to 60% of conversions. Almost half (47%) said they would now look to purchase it.
Twenty-eight percent of respondents received a free sample in the past three months. Of that group, 64% said they accepted the sample.
Perhaps the most surprising finding: Nearly a quarter of those polled (24%) said they bought the product they sampled instead of the item they initially set out to purchase.
Despite all the news about Main Street vs. Wall Street and the economic woes created by sub-prime lending, etc… I have some news about how consumers are stretching their paychecks and how food marketers are reaching out to them.
This story originally came from the Wall Street Journal:
Food companies hope to capitalize on the slumping economy by steering consumers to cheaper, high-margin products.
On Monday, Kellogg Co. is beginning a new advertising push for staple cereals such as Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies, while Campbell Soup Co. is about to launch a multimedia campaign to trumpet its condensed soups as a bargain buy. Kraft Foods Inc. has begun advertising its Kool-Aid powdered beverages on national radio for the first time in 11 years.
Campbell and cheese giant Kraft are also teaming up to promote meals of soup and grilled-cheese sandwiches. Kraft’s Web site will add recipes for cheap sandwiches and suggest Campbell soups to pair them with.
On Nov. 2, newspapers nationwide will carry coupon inserts pitching Campbell soups and sandwiches made with Kraft Singles cheese as the “wallet-friendly meal your family will love.”
It is a big shift for food makers. For several years they have tried to increase their profit margins by promoting higher-priced “premium” brands such as Campbell’s Pepperidge Farm cookies and Kraft’s Wheat Thins crackers.
But lower-priced “value” products can also have wide margins because they’re cheaper to make. “Food companies will be careful to shift consumers to products that are still high margin,” says Robert Moskow, an analyst with Credit Suisse. “Powdered Kool-Aid beverages are one of the most profitable food products in history.”
Also Monday, the milk industry will begin running ads touting milk as a bargain. Financial guru Suze Orman will don the familiar milk mustache in a print ad that reads: “Even at today’s prices, a glass of milk only costs about a quarter. …” The ad is a big departure from prior “Got Milk” campaigns that focused on the nutritional value of milk.
The milk industry plans to spend just under $1 million on the Suze Orman ads.
ConAgra Foods Inc. is rolling out a line of single-serve frozen dinners priced at $1.50 each and embarking on a word-of-mouth campaign through PTA meetings and church groups. “So good for so little” goes the slogan planned for part of an ad campaign.
ConAgra’s new Banquet dinners – called Banquet Select Recipes – will be priced 41 cents higher than the company’s existing Banquet line, giving them a higher profit margin, says Joe Bybel, vice president of strategy at ConAgra. “It’s good for ConAgra but also a good value for consumers.”
Companies’ “value” pitch is, in part, a defensive move against private-label food makers that could steal market share with their cheaper goods. But it’s also a response to how consumers have changed their behavior as the U.S. economy has soured. Consumers worried about jobs, 401(k)s, gasoline prices and winter heating bills are eating less often at restaurants and making fewer supermarket trips to stock up on groceries.
Food companies themselves have contributed to the pressure on consumers by raising prices on a host of items – ranging from bread to meat to cereal – in response to rising commodity costs. Prices for food for the home rose 7.5 percent at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate in the first eight months of this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some consumers are holding off trading down out of concern that lower-priced products are less nutritious. “I’m noticing the higher prices and I’m feeling it, but I want my kids to eat well, so I’m still buying organic,” says Becky Jeffers, a 36-year-old yoga therapist and single mother of two who was shopping at a Lake Forest, Ill., Jewel-Osco last week.
Food makers have also been substituting cheaper ingredients and shrinking package sizes for products ranging from cereal to ice cream. While some companies expect their cost inflation to moderate as prices of some commodities fall, they don’t expect inflation to drop to its levels in past years.
In any case, the companies won’t be able to raise prices indefinitely, says Frank Luby, a partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners, a marketing and strategy firm specializing in pricing. “I don’t think food companies have reached a breaking point yet, but they ought to be worried that they’re getting close.”
High food prices have driven some consumers to trade down to supermarkets’ private-label products, particularly in milk, cheese and canned tomatoes. The growth of private-label market share accelerated in the 12 weeks ended Sept. 6, with private-label items in 89 of 105 categories posting gains, compared with 80 in the prior 12-week period, according to a Credit Suisse report.
Food companies continue to tout their high-end offerings, and not all plan to push cheaper goods harder. Spokesmen for ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co. and Sara Lee Corp., maker of Jimmy Dean sausage and Ball Park hot dogs, say their brands have always stood for good value.
ConAgra, of Omaha, Neb., hasn’t advertised its 55-year-old Banquet frozen dinners in more than a decade. Until now, the company’s premium line of frozen dinners, Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers, which are double the price of Banquet meals, have gotten more marketing support. But the new Banquet Select Recipes, in varieties including chicken parmesan and home-style pot roast, will be supported by radio spots with country singer Lee Ann Womack.
TV ads show a family eating dinner. When the mom tells the dad that each meal costs $1.50, he looks so shocked that she splashes him with a glass of water.
ConAgra’s word-of-mouth effort will enlist hundreds of mothers to provide money-saving tips and free product samples at PTA meetings and church groups across the country. The moms will be paid in Banquet product coupons, the company said.
Kellogg will begin airing TV ads for its Frosted Mini-Wheats, Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes brands, hailing them as affordable breakfast choices. The Battle Creek, Mich., company is also working on search-engine optimization so that when consumers type “cereal” plus “deals” or “value” into an Internet search engine, Kellogg’s Web site will pop up.
In mid-October, Campbell Soup will launch TV, radio, print and Internet ads touting its condensed soups as cheap eats, a departure from last year’s ads, which played up the soups’ quality.
Chief Executive Douglas Conant told investors recently that “we clearly recognize there’s a value proposition there and we’re going to exploit it.”
One print ad shows a lineup of five condensed soups, including chicken noodle and minestrone, calling it the “original dollar menu.” Another ad says, “To save you money, we left one ingredient out (we figured you have plenty of water at home).”
In supermarket aisles, Campbell has begun separating higher-priced, ready-to-serve soups from cheaper condensed soups. “It’s important for consumers to see value in our category,” says Colin Watts, vice president and general manager of Campbell’s U.S. soup business.
Mr. Watts says that after Campbell noticed that consumers were making fewer grocery visits, it began offering 10 cans of condensed soup for $10 at some stores. The company’s Web site offers recipes for meals that use the company’s condensed soups and Swanson broths and cost less than $10 to make.
Kraft’s Web site shows visitors how one bag of groceries filled with Kraft products can be stretched to make five dinners. And a 15-second TV commercial for Kool-Aid shows that four pitchers of Kool-Aid cost the same as a two-liter bottle of soda. At the end, a voice-over says, “Kool-Aid: delivering more smiles per gallon.”
Top 250 Blog Posts – Advertising, Marketing, Media & PR
This is very much a work-in-progress with lots of tweaking still to do, including additions to the list. But it’s a start and will, hopefully, turn out to be of interest and use to the general reader of advertising, marketing, media & PR (with some of the posts covering niche topics, as well).
(Related post: Top 100 Blogs – Advertising, Marketing, Media & PR)
Marketing / branding – general (50)
- Permission Marketing – Seth Godin. Jan ‘08.
- What do you know? – Seth Godin. ‘What Every Good Marketer Knows’ – some general guidelines / tips for marketers. May ‘08.
- Tribe Management – Seth Godin. Jan ‘08.
- Understanding The Funnel -Seth Godin. Jan ‘06.
- Top 10 Secrets of The Marketing Process – Seth Godin. Oct ‘06
- The Intagibles – Seth Godin. Aug ‘08.
- The long tail and the dip – Seth Godin. July ‘08.
- Scarcity – Seth Godin. July ‘08.
- One, a few, most, or all – Seth Godin. May ‘07.
- Nine Things Marketers ought to know about sales people (and two bonuses) – Seth Godin. Jun ‘06.
- You should write an e-book – Seth Godin. Mar ‘07.
- Make Something Happen – Seth Godin. Oct ‘07.
- McDonald’s Inside / Outside Success – Brand Autopsy. Jan 07.
- Solving Starbucks Problems : One Post at a Time – Brand Autopsy. Mar ‘07.
- Manifesto : WHAT MUST STARBUCKS DO? – Brand Autopsy. Apr ‘07.
- Starbuck’s AudioBlog – Brand Autopsy. Feb ‘06.
- The Downside of Upside – Brand Autopsy.The downside for Starbuck’s of going into partnership with Lion’s Gate Films. Jan 06.
- The Would You Miss Series – Brand Autopsy – What brands would people miss if the brands suddenly disappeared. Jul ‘08.
- JumboSHRIMP Marketing Video on YouTube – Brand Autopsy. Marketing nuggets by Brand Autopsy in YouTube video format. Apr ‘06.
- Marketing Lessons Learned From Freaconomics – Brand Autopsy. Apr ‘05.
- Attention footprints – Russel Davies. ‘Create things that either demand very little attention but still do something for you or things which really reward a lot of it’ Jan ‘08.
- The year of peak advertising – Russel Davies. ‘2008 may well also be the year of Peak Advertising. In the West at least. The year in which there is the most advertising. And after that there’s less and less each year.’ Jan ‘08.
- The uncanny valley of relationship marketing – Russel Davies. Nov ‘07.
- One genius or 13 smart guys – Russel Davies. In the world of agency work today is it better to have a genius or 13 smart guys. Nov. ‘07.
- Brand Handling – Russel Davies. Oct ‘07.
- Brand marketers join (or don’t join) the conversation – Jaffe Juice. Aug ‘08.
- The New Marketing Podcast – Jaffe Juice. Jan ‘08.
- Marketing’s wheel of misfortune – Logic + Emotion. Looking at marketing long-term / looking at the big picture, and what work on now. Jun ‘08.
- Brand as facilitator – Logic + Emotion. ‘What some brands have chosen to do is to act as “facilitators”. This means that like any good facilitator, they get off center stage, move over to the side and let others do the talking.’ Jul ‘08.
- Surprise (Marketing Lessons from Walt) – Drew’s Marketing Minute. Marketing and Walt Disney – with more posts in the series. Nov ‘06.
- Is your little wagon stuck? – Drew’s Marketing Minute. Do you really know what your brand is, and if so have you shared that knowledge, properly, with your employees?
- What’s working in lead generation – Buzz Marketing for Technology. Choosing the right lead generation strategy. Mar ‘07.
- A brand dilemma for Guinness – Neville Hobson – user-generated content dilemma for the Guinness brand. Aug ‘08.
- Planning – old school or new school – Influx. The difference between advertising account planning past and present (and future). May ‘08.
- Data as a brand service tool – Influx. Mar ‘08.
- Walmart – to change or not to change – Ries’ Pieces. July ‘08/
- Apple’s Golden Goose – Ries’ Pieces. Sep ‘07.
- Branding brilliance from Apple – This Blog Sits At. Jan ‘06.
- The authentic brand – Brand Engagement. Jul ‘08.
- Does marketing exist anymore – Brand Engagement. Feb ‘08.
- Talkers: who is spreading word of mouth about you – I wish I’d thought of that. Nov ‘07.
- Oomph factor – Modern Marketing. Dec ‘06.
- The problem with marketing measurement – Ron Shevlin’s Marketing Whims.
- Writing a brand manifesto – What’s Your Brand’s Mantra. Aug ‘04.
- Passive Branding – Make Marketing History. Jul ‘06.
- Why cost-per-lead budgets fail and fewer leads are better – B2B Lead Generation. Mar ‘08.
- Five secrets to marketing – Bizsolutionsplus. Jun ‘08.
- The importance of a logo in branding – The Marketing Spot. Oct ‘07.
- One liner marketing ideas – Decker Marketing. May ‘08.
Digital Marketing (35)
- The Secret of the Web – Seth Godin. Aug ‘08.
- The web doesn’t care– Seth Godin. Jul ‘08.
- How to create a great website -Seth Godin. Oct ‘07.
- How to create a good enough website – Seth Godin. Oct ‘07.
- Cloud Computing’s Impact on Digital Marketing – Trends to Watch – Micro Persuasion. Aug ‘08.
- Three Internet Careers That Soon Won’t Exist – Micro Persuasion. Social Media Consultant / Social Media Manager, Internet Advertising Sales / Online Advertising Sales, Digital Talent Agents. March ‘08.
- Media’s Rising Digital Acuity Puts Agencies at Risk – Micro Persuasion. Feb ‘08.
- The future is web not websites – Micro Persuasion. March ‘08.
- Three Digital Business Models That Could Rock Your World – Micro Persuasion. Jan ‘08.
- Nine Digital Trends for the Future – Edelman Digital. May ‘08.
- How to get noticed – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Aug ‘08.
- Who do people trust (it ain’t bloggers)? – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. April ‘08.
- The many challenge of widgets – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Feb ‘08.
- WidgetyGoodness – Russel Davies. Part of 4 post series. Dec ‘07.
- Free Online Reputation Management Beginner’s Guide – Marketing Pilgrim. Mar ‘06.
- 200+ Internet Marketing Gurus on Twitter – Marketing Pilgrim. Jan ‘08.
- Google Reputation Management: Fix Your Google
- Reputation & Remove Negative Results – Marketing Pilgrim. Oct ‘07.
- A Small Business Marketing Success Story: John Tuggle, Guitar Teacher – Search Engine Land. Apr ‘08.
- Direct marketing vs social marketing – Online marketing blog. Apr ‘08.
- 5 Tips for content distribution networks – Online Marketing blog. Feb ‘07.
- Online marketing blog resources – Online Marketing blog
- The Micro-site Isn’t Dead. (It’s Just Not Useful) – Logic + Emotion – Aug ‘08.
- Designing the digital experience – Logic + Emotion. Jul ‘08.
- Brand Interactions Are the Future: But Are Interaction Designers Part of Your Agency? – Logic + Emotion. Apr ‘08.
- Why digital marketing needs a reboot – Ad Age. July 8.
- The real digital revolution – The Toad Stool. Consumer empowerment. Jun ‘07.
- Context is to Chicken as Content is to Egg – Agency Spy. ‘Context or Content? .. whoever answers it will have the fundamentals of advertising in 2008 figured out’. Aug ‘06.
- Branding from email to customer service – Get Elastic. Sep ‘08.
- Web 1.0 vs 2.0 – Advergirl. Oct ‘07.
- Is it Time to Send Your Website to Summer School? – My Name Is Kate. Apr ‘07.
- Jan Chipchaseon Future Social – PSFK. ‘a study of how the ubiquity of mobile technology is changing our social spaces, and vice versa.’ Sep ‘08.
- Schools In – Buzz Machine. Fundamentals of interactive advertising. Aug ‘08.
- Mobile advertising – walking the talk – London Calling. May ‘08.
- Location-based advertising – London Calling. Advertising on mobile phones in relation to the location of the mobile phone user during use of phone. May ‘08.
- What is your definition of international web marketing – Cindy King. Aug ‘08.
Social Media (45)
- 50 ways marketers can use social media to improve their marketing – Chris Brogan. Jul ‘08.
- 100 blog topics I hope you write – Chris Brogan. Sep ‘07.
- 7 Tips for building meaning – Seth Godin. Sep ‘07.
- How search will search will revolutionize social networking – Micro Persuasion. Sep ‘08.
- Buzz Monitoring: 26 Free Social Media Tracking Tools – Marketing Pilgrim. Aug ‘07.
- What I Want PR and Marketing Professionals To Know – Chris Brogan. Aug ‘08.
- Tools For Engaging In Social Media – Search Engine Land. Apr ‘08.
- What is your social media marketing strategy? – Online Marketing Blog. Mar ‘08.
- Lee Lefever on the Common Craft Show – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. ’social media in plain English’. Jul ‘07.
- The Many Challenges of the Social Media Industry – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Aug ‘08.
- List of Enterprise Microblogging Tools: Twitter for the Intranet – Web strategy by Jeremiah. Sep ‘08.
- Web Strategy: The Evolution of Brands on Twitter – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Aug ‘08.
- Guidelines for brands using Twitter – Logic + Emotion. Aug ‘08.
- Learning from Dell’s experiment with Twitter –Neville Hobson. Aug ‘08.
- 7 Tips for new Twitter Users – Global Neighbourhoods. Aug ‘08.
- Write Your LinkedIn Profile for Your Future – Chris Brogan. Aug ‘08.
- What Facebook’s New ‘Engagement Advertising’ Means to Brands – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Aug ‘08.
- Facebook Marketing Success Stories for Businesses – Buzz Marketing for Technology. Dec ‘07.
- Understanding Gartner’s “Generation Virtual” – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. How generation V isn’t specified by demographics but technological usage and how they split into 4 main types of behaviour patterns. Jun ‘08.
- Best and worst of social network marketing 2008 – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Jul ‘08.
- The value of online conversations – PR2. Jan ‘08.
- The Social Media Manifesto – Integrating Social Media into Marketing Communications – PR2.0. Jun ‘07.
Gary Vaynerchuk Puts the Social in Social Media – PR2.0. About Gary Vaynerchuk and his marketing / social media success with the Wine Library. Mar ‘08.
- Cultural Voyeurism and Social Media – PR2.0. Mar ‘08.
- MicroMedia paves way for macro influence – PR2. Oct ‘07.
- The new rules of viral marketing – Web Ink Now. Jan ‘08.
- New Rules of Viral Marketing update and free virtual book tour teleseminar – Web Ink Now. Feb ‘08.
- 8 tips to make your YouTube video go viral – Web Ink Now. Aug .07.
- KLM – Great viral success with fly for fortune – Viral blog. Nov ‘06.
- Do you know this person? Is it you? – Web Ink Now. ‘New rules of marketing & pr job description.’ Feb’ 08.
- The Gobbledygook Manifesto – Web Ink Now. Avoiding gobbledegook writing in social media and PR. Oct ‘06.
- 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization (SMO) – Influential Marketing Blog. Aug ‘06.
- Sony PS3 – How you killed your brand – Viral blog. Oct ‘07.
- The Orange Balloon Race – Playballoonacy.com – Crackunit. Jun ‘08.
- How social networks work: the puzzle of exhaust data – This blog sits at
- If You’re Not Participating in Social Media – Duct Tape Marketing. Aug ‘08.
- The Hierarch of social marketing – Duct Tape Marketing. Blogging -> RSS -> Social search -> Social bookmarking -> social networks -> Micro. Jun ‘08.
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to Social Media: Content Creation – The Buzz Bin. Aug ‘08.
- Start ups and social media: a perfect fit – The Buzz Bin. Jul ‘08.
- Stealth Fun – Russel Davies. Playing and social communication. Apr ‘08.
- The big ban on employees accessing Facebook – Neville Hobson. Jul ‘07.
- Social media is the strategic core, says Dell – Neville Hobson. Aug ‘08.
- The SEC’S big idea – Neville Hobson. Using social media to communicate financial information. Aug ‘08.
- Got the Munchies? Have a Media Snack – Every Dot Connects. Oct ‘07.
- 10 Aspects of an Effective Social Media Campaign – Traffikd. Jul ‘08.
Blogging – general (25)
- Why blogging matters – Logic + Emotion. Oct ‘06.
- 50 Ways to Take Your Blog to the Next Level – Chris Brogan. Sep ‘08.
- How Your Blog Helps You Do Business – Chris Brogan. Sep ‘08.
- New Guide Release: The Professional’s Guide to Blogging – SEOMoz. Aug ‘08.
- A Foolproof Method for Great Blogging – SEOMoz. Jul ‘08.
- Looking for trouble – Seth Godin. ‘Attract people in trouble–>Help solve their problems–>Build your reputation–>Sales happen.’. Sep ‘07.
- How to get traffic to your blog – Seth Godin. Jun ‘06.
- The Lazysphere and the Decline of Deep Blogging – Micro Persuasion. Jan ‘08.
- The many challenges of corporate blogging – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. May ‘08.
- Learn from my pain: Business blogging “best” practices – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Nov ‘05.
- RSS – Blog Directories – Online marketing blog
- RSS Buttons – online marketing blog
- Social bookmarks creator – online marketing blog
- A blog post mantra – ConverSations. Aug ‘06
- Game of Tag? -ConverStations. Use of tags. Feb ‘06.
- Blogs drive business opportunities: UK survey– Neville Hobson. Sep ‘07.
- WOMBAT 3 – How to Use Blogs to Keep the Buzz Going – Hyku. Apr ‘07.
- How to blog a conference – Hyku. Jun ‘06.
- Predicting What Will Generate Comments and What Won’t – Hyku. Feb .07.
- 7 Tips on pitching bloggers – Influential Marketing Blog. Mar /06.
- Should every company have a corporate blog – Marketing Nirvana. Jul ‘08.
- Is it a blog or a website – Duct Tape Marketing. Feb ‘08.
- Bounce rates – Online Hipster. Bounce rates as in Google Analytics bounce rates.
- How to mine the blogsphere – Marketing for Technology. Apr ‘07.
- Corporate blogging guideliness – Diva Marketing. Mar ‘05.
Blogging: what’s it for – This Blog Sits At. Jan ‘05.
Blogging – copywriting (20)
- Why No One Links to Your Best Posts -(And What to Do About It) –Copyblogger. Aug ‘08.
- How to stop being invisible – Coyblogger. Nov ‘06.
- How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254% – Copyblogger. Sep ‘08.
- Just say no to these 3 enemies of clear and direct writing – Copyblogger. Mar ‘08.
- Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques– Copyblogger. Sep ‘07.
- Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking? – Copyblogger
- The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging – Copyblogger. Feb ‘07.
- 10 Effective Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers – Copyblogger. Nov ‘06.
- 5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang – Copyblogger. Sep ‘06.
- The two most important words in blogging – Copyblogger. Apr ‘06.
- Aristotle’s top 3 tips for effective blogging – Copyblogger. Aug ‘06.
- 16 important but potentially distracting blogging tasks – PROBlogger. Sep 08.
- Calls to Action – 12 Tips To SNAP Readers Out of Passivity – PROBlogger – Aug ‘08
- Does your next blog post matter? –PROBlogger. Aug ‘08.
- Is Writing Great Content Enough to Build a Successful Blog? – PROBlogger. Aug ‘08.
- How to Craft a Blog Post – 10 Crucial Points to Pause – PROBlogger. Aug ‘08.
- 24 Things to do When Stuck for a Topic to Blog About – PROBlogger. Aug ‘08.
- 21 Ways to Make Your Blog or Website Sticky – PROBlogger. Jul ‘08.
- 10 Ways to Optimize a Popular Post on Your Blog – PROBlogger. Jul ‘08.
- 12 Traits of Successful Bloggers – PROBlogger. May ‘08.
- Trends That Will Help Define the Future of PR and Marketing – Micro Persuasion. Aug ‘08.
- Open Collaboration and the Future of Public Relations – Micro Persuasion. Jan ‘08.
- PRWeek Claims Industry Enters Age of PR 3.0 – They Couldn’t be More Wrong – PR2.0. Apr ‘07.
- Why PR Doesn’t Work and How to Fix It – PR2.0. May ‘07.
- PR is About Relationships, Just Ask Robert Scoble – PR2.0. Aug ‘07.
- How PR Can Help Some Startups: Perspective of one Industry Analyst – Web Strategy by Jeremiah. Sep ‘08.
- What is PR’s Elevator Pitch? – PR2Squared. Sep ‘08.
- Why hire a PR firm – PR2Squared. Aug ‘08.
- Got some personal branding could borrow? – PR2Squared. Jul ‘08.
- The value of PR agencies – Part 2 – PR2Squared. Aug ‘08.
- What I wish my new employee knew – PR2Squared. Jan ‘08.
- Example of a Great PR Pitch – Chris Brogan. May ‘08.
- Some Differences Between Pitching Mainstream Press and Bloggers – Chris Brogan. Apr ‘08.
- 12 Steps to a successful PR campaign – PR Blogger. Jun ‘06.
- The importance of crisis management – PR Blogger
- PR shifts towards marketing – Pop! Aug ‘08.
- What does the ‘P’ in PR stand for? – Pop! Oct ‘04.
- The real symbiosis between PR and journalism – Neville Hobson. Apr ‘06.
- Skills to be Successful in Integrating PR and Social Media – Buzz Bin. Jul ‘08.
- A dozen things I wish PR pros would blog about – Teaching PR. Oct ‘07.
Creative / Design (20)
- What would Dave Trott do? – Scamp. Sep ‘08.
- How to freelance – Scamp. Aug ‘08.
- How to present to clients – Scamp. Jul ‘08.
- How to know if you’ve really got an idea – Scamp. Jul ‘08.
- Is it time for a new sort of creative team? – Scamp. May ‘08.
- What would John Webster do? – Scamp. Apr ‘08.
- How to write copy – Scamp. Mar ‘08.
- How to write press ads – Scamp. Dec ‘07.
- How to do posters – Scamp. Nov ‘07.
- How to do virals – Scamp. Mar ‘08.
- How to do digital – Scamp. Nov ‘07.
- How to do TV – Scamp. Dec. ‘07.
- Good ideas have lonely childhoods – Gapingvoid. Sep ‘08
- 20 questions that clients ask before choosing a designer – David Airey. Dec ‘07.
- Cadbury’s Trucks – The Verdict – Scamp. Mar ‘08.
- The Guinness Dot Commercial – 10Ad. Jan ‘08.
- Honda Impossible Dream Sung by Andy Williams – The Inspiration Room. Dec ‘05.
- The smokes of Kilimanjaro – Russel Davies. Jan ‘08.
- Looks Like Carphone Warehouse, Smells (and Sounds) Like Minilogue – Crackunit. Aug ‘08.
- Top 10 Coolest commercials by movie directors – Shiznit
Customers / consumer insight (10)
- Starting over with customer service – Seth Godin. Feb ‘07.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Book of Lists – Brand Autopsy. Feb ‘07.
- ‘Vive la Resistance’ and What it Means to Marketers – Conversation Agent. Nov ‘06.
- Danger in Discounts – Neuroscience Marketing. Aug ‘08.
- Turning your customers into advocates – Wish I’d thought of that. Aug ‘07.
- Are You Really Listening? – Drew’s Marketing Minute. Nov ‘06.
- ‘You’ named Time’s person of the year – Hyku. Dec ‘06.
- Rockin’ Customer Feedback: SuggestionBox.com – Customer’s Rock . Aug ‘08.
- Ikea Rocks with its Retail Customer Experience – Customer’s Rock. Aug ‘08.
- Guest Blogger: Esteban Kolsky on Customer Service and Email – Customer’s Rock. Aug ‘08.
SEO / Search / PPC (25)
- The future of search – The Official Google blog. Sept ‘08.
- 6 Common Website Mistakes That Are Costing You Money – Search Engine Land. Aug ‘08
- Google Insights For Search Launches – Search Engine Land. Aug ‘06.
- Eight Keyword Research Mistakes That Are Costing You Money – Search Engine Land. May ‘08.
- Hitwise: Google Hits New High; Microsoft & Yahoo New Lows – Search Engine Land. Apr ‘08.
- The Google Quality Raters Handbook – Search Engine Land
- Fast, Free and Easy Tools to Get You Going – Search Engine Roundtable. Aug ‘08.
- Should I Dump My Reciprocal Link Partners? – Search Engine Roundtable. Aug ‘08.
- Maximizing SEO Returns with User Generated Content – Search Engine Roundtable. Aug ‘08.
- Why Reputable SEO Firms Don’t Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings – SEOMoz. Sep ‘08.
- New Guide Release: The Professional’s Guide to PageRank Optimization – SEOMoz. Sep ‘08.
- Unfriendly Domain Names and Multiple Versions of the Same Site – SEOMoz. Sept ‘08.
- Keeping people away from your website – SEOMoz. Aug ‘08.
- Information Architecture – A Site Review is Nothing Without It – SEOMoz. Jul ‘08.
- Optimizing for Multiple Word Order Search Phrases – SEOMoz. Jul ‘08.
- How I Optimize My PPC Campaigns – Shoemoney
- Google rolls out Adsense for feeds – Search Engine Journal. Aug ‘08.
- Google launches Google Affiliate Network – Search Engine Journal. Jun ‘08.
- Get indexed and ranked in Google News – Search Engine Journal. Sep ‘08.
- The collection of SEO and web accessibility tools – Search Engine Journal. Sept ‘08.
- 5+ SEO text analyzers for SEO diagnostics and copywriting – Search Engine Land. Sept ‘08.
- Rushing your seo doesn’t mean quicker results – Online marketing blog. Jun ‘08.
- Search marketing blogs – Online marketing blog
- Measuring SEO: why rankings are worthless – Yoast. Sep ‘08.
- SEO – The beginnger’s guide – Yoast – Jan ‘08.
This Week’s Tip:
How to Listen for, and React to
“Problem Trigger” Words
Quiz time. Here’s a situation. Think of
the very next thing to leave your mouth
On a call with a prospect, someone who
has contacted you after visiting your
website says, “Our issue is that we need
And then let’s assume she mentions a
problem that your product or service
Ok. Did you respond with something like,
“Oh, well let me tell you how we can
If you did, BZZZZZ, wrong!
That would be pitching, in a non-sports
sense, as opposed to finding out exactly
WHY she said what she did. And that will
give you the reasons why they will buy
from you. Plus, then they are selling
themselves, which is much better than
you trying to sell them.
Too often sales reps hear what I call
“problem trigger words” and then begin
puking out a presentation.
These words are signs that your prospect/
customer has, or perceives, a problem.
They might not explain it fully without
“We need to …”
“We’re thinking about…”
“The challenge is…”
“We’re planning on…”
“The problem is…”
These are all invitations for you to zero
in on these areas to root out the specific
reasons they will buy from you.
“Tell me more about that…”
“Let’s discuss that a little more…”
“What do you think is causing that?”
“What other effects is that having?”
And of course you want to quantify their
pain or problem whenever you can:
“How long has that been going on?”
“How often does that happen?”
“What is that costing you?”
The keys to success here?
1. Listen as if your livelihood depended on
grasping every word that comes from your
2. Take notes and write down the SPECIFIC
terminology they use, so you can repeat it
back to them in your questioning, and
3. Do NOT jump in with your recommendation
until you have fully developed an understanding
of their issue. Which also carries the benefit
of them thinking more about the problem,
therefore making them more receptive to your
For a great resource on other powerful questions
to ask, in another of my Audio Seminars for the
Platinum members of my Telesales Success Inner
Circle I interviewed Jim Meisenheimer who shared
his “12 Best Questions to ask Prospects and
You can hear an excerpt from that program with one
of the 12 questions, and see more about that Audio
Seminar, including how you can listen to it within
minutes by going to http://www.BusinessByPhone.com/12Best.htm
Have your best week ever!