4 Examples of Great Marketing
I've been interested about marketing for a long time. I was the marketing manager for a small oil company for 15 years, and that company sent me on plenty of training sessions.
So, as a writer, I've been writing about marketing for years. The first thing I wrote about it was a series of articles for Canadian Cattlemen called "How to Market Your Farm or Ranch Business on the Internet." That was in the late 1990's, and no, I don't think it's available online. The articles were published in the print editions.
I've also read tons of books on the subject, and I, well, study, it. Really good marketing stands out because there so much poor marketing and mediocre marketing.
I'm going to give you four examples of really great marketing under different categories and tell you about what makes them so good.
I can't speak to all the different Virgin companies, but Virgin Mobile Canada has unbelievably good customer service. No matter how you contact them, you can always raise a friendly person very quickly who speaks a good English. They even respond quickly if you @ message them on Twitter.
I began having a cell phone in the early 1990's when cell phones were $2500. And I always used Telus Mobility. My experience has been that Telus Mobility and all the other carriers had strictly mediocre customer service.
So, after 27 years with Telus Mobility, I changed to Virgin. And I really feel sorry for anyone using any carrier that isn't Virgin. Most people are reluctant to change, even if they are experiencing something unpleasant. It's called inertia in physics. That was a big deal for me to change carriers.
These folks wrote the book on customer service, and if anyone is exploring improving customer service for his or her company, I suggest you use Virgin for a while and learn how it should be done.
One of the values of great customer service is that it creates evangelical marketing customers, who tell all their friends because it's so astonishing. That is the kind of marketing you want.
Note from Cynthia: Since this article was posted, someone told me that Virgin Mobile Canada was bought by another entity and the customer service has greatly declined. See the comments below.
The next example I'd like to offer is a company called Ereleases. This is a company that does press release distribution.
Let me stop for a moment and explain. If you're not familiar with how press releases work, they have two parts. There is the writing of the press release, and then there is the distribution of the press release, or getting the release out on the newswires and in front of journalists. The document is a release to and for the press.
It's possible to do the distribution yourself, but it's not easy to do it well, and it's quite time-consuming. Most people who write press releases for clients, like me, pay a third party to do the distribution, and it's not cheap. Agencies might do it themselves. The price of distribution varies depending on where the release is being distributed and how big of a splash you want to make.
So, a few years ago, I started using Ereleases, and I wouldn't use anyone else.
First, their customer service, like Virgin, is stellar. You can always reach someone on the phone.
Second, the people you're talking to on the phone are professionals trained in press releases, so they can give you information or solve problems immediately. You're not talking to someone sitting behind a desk in a foreign country with a handbook on how to talk to customers.
Press releases are almost always time-sensitive. And they are frequently written during the twelfth hour. So, when you're ready for distribution, you need it RIGHT NOW, not in a week from now. Ereleases understands that and makes for a very easy streamlined process.
Third, they go the extra mile to connect with customers. When I did a first press release with them, I got an email reply that was funny and memorable. Here's a screenshot.
Now most businesses have figured out a way to send some kind of automatic email thanking people for using them or signing up or whatever, but this one is different. It's funny, and it's memorable. Usually what you receive is a robotic generic thank you.
A few days later, I got another message from them (see below). Even funnier, and more clever. And original. This is a great marketing ploy, and it's so good, and so memorable, I'm talking about here in my blog, two years later.
It's easy to craft a thank you email. What's less easy is crafting one that's memorable, makes the client feel important, and feels personal.
Every company has some kind of relay set up sending out an email to thank the customer. Very few of them are this good. The majority are spammy and a waste of bandwidth. If you're going to do this, then do it well. Hint: humor is very effective and vastly underutilized in marketing.
Drip campaigns are a series of relatively short emails sent at a regular interval and sometimes it's on a frequent basis as part of a marketing plan. Usually the drip campaigns are trying to get you to buy or do something. Occasionally, they're just either trying to stay in touch with customers or develop brand awareness or drive more traffic to the website or trying to get more inbound links or some combination of these factors.
Drip campaigns are often part of a complex internet marketing scheme including landing pages and sales funnels. You should be able opt out of drip campaigns easily. Occasionally, it's not so easy.
I get a lot of them. I elect to receive them because I want to see how different companies do them, and how effective they are. I want to see how they make me feel: good, bad, or indifferent.
Everybody is doing or wants to do a drip campaign, and I'm here to tell you that most of them are dreadful. They're terrible. They're not funny, not offering anything of value, not timely, not personal, and a giant waste of time. They often feel spammy and boring, and definitely not inspiring.
The only drip campaign that I've ever seen that I think is really excellent is the one that Matt Olpinski has.
I first heard of Matt Olpinski on a podcast being interviewed by Ed Gandia, who coaches freelance writers. Matt builds custom websites and apps, and he's in the big leagues. His clients include Coca-Cola, Porsche, and PayPal, for example.
Matt has an unbelievably good drip system. His emails are useful, interesting, and I'm always happy to read them. And I am not a potential client of his. I am not Coca-Cola.
So, if you want to see how drip campaigns should be done, you should sign up for something on his website, and watch the master at work. Most people opt out of drip campaigns if they don't think they want the product.
Not this time. I'll never be able to afford one of his websites, but I want to stay on his list, just so I can learn from him.
Today's email from him was about how changing his perspective and changing his website to more suit the client rather than himself changed his career. It's thought-provoking and interesting. It adds value. It doesn't clutter my Inbox.
Marketing on Social Media
Marketing on social media can be a big plus for a business if it's done well. Unfortunately, it's often not done well or not done at all.
Here's an example of a great business page on Facebook. Mackenzie Gartside & Associates is a local (Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia) mortgage broker. I know her personally. Her website is good too--perhaps because her husband is a software engineer--but her Facebook page is a lesson on how to do a Facebook business page well.
So, let's analyze what she's doing right:
First, she's got over 2000 followers. No sense being brilliant if no one sees your stuff. When you start a new business page, first you try to acquire some followers.
Next she posts frequently, averaging about once a day.
Her posts are varied, which keeps it interesting. One post is about mortgage rates, and another is about the "floaties" that they're giving away. Another post is about the different dogs that come to the office.
It's a fun account, and it makes you feel like interacting with them. I would bet that plenty of leads are coming in just through the Facebook page.
The next time someone asks me about a Facebook business page, I'm going to send them the link to Mackenzie's. This is how it should be done.
I have on my home page, a quote from H.L. Mencken: "There are no dull subjects. There are only dull writers." Just because your business isn't fun and exciting to the layman, doesn't mean your marketing copy should be as boring as dirt.
Marketing can be effective and fun and interesting. If your marketing copy is boring or your social media accounts are a snore, that's a function of the writer and the strategy, not the industry.
As is said in Latin, "clarere audere gaudere," or be bright, daring, and joyful in your marketing, if you want people to remember you.