Category Archives: Social Media

Small Business Marketing 100 – Premiums Outperform Discounts

58% of US Facebook users EXPECT to gain access to exclusive content, events, sales, discounts or promotions for no better reason than clicking a “Like” button.

Talk about an over-weaning sense of entitlement.

These results from an Exact Target study are nothing new to us. But it is a little surprising that we haven’t been paying attention to what it means for the sort of customer we’re getting from social media.

Let’s face it, the customers we’re getting from social media are bargain hunters. They’re only coming for a deal, and their loyalty doesn’t last past the cash register. So why are we settling for such crappy results?

Probably, likely (in my opinion definitely) because today’s social media gurus are stuffed full of old-fashioned – even mainstream – “throw-mud-against-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks” marketing concepts. They’re the sort of person who thinks ads on Facebook are social media marketing.

Every marketing test done show that discounts bring in low quality customers. They also show that premiums consistently outperform discounts in terms of response rate, customer quality, and how long the customer stays with you. That’s because there’s a fundamental difference in attitude between the bargain hunter and the rewards shopper.

That’s why credit card companies and airlines (and most other successful companies) have rewards programs rather than discount programs.

The obvious question at this point is what kind of premium can we use to tap into the other 42% of US Facebook users who might be of higher quality and deeper loyalty?

The answer lies in remembering that social media is also called Relationship Marketing. This week on we devote the entire show to exploring this topic.

The premium is the relationship, the conversation and the social interaction inherent to social media. It’s also the key to the small business marketing goldmine: word of mouth advertising.

Listen to this week’s episode on to discover four examples of conversations that are happening right now – and why they’re happening. We also look at a small business that is connecting business owners with the conversations that are happening in social media.

And those conversations are not all happening on the “big” social media sites.

Many of them – and most of the conversations among buyers – are happening in a place that most of us have stopped thinking about.

Can Social Media Ever Be Profitable For Small Business?

It feels good to see research coming out that social media marketers believe a social media presence is more important than social media ads. It’s good because I’ve been saying that ever since Facebook introduced ads and called it social media marketing.

This week we look at that research, and more research that shows just what kind of customer small business is most likely to attract through what has quickly become the standard approach to social media.

Tune in to Social Media: Cheap and Easy to hear the details

To show the most effective means of using – and profiting – with social media, our second story looks at current examples of how everyday people are using social media. These are practical examples that show you what your customers want in their social media experience. If your small business is going to use social media profitably, you have a definite need to listen to what your customers want.

To see what works in action, our last story looks at an event that’s happening in Chicago. More importantly, we look at a small business that’s connecting business owners with consumers so they get meaning, and increased sales, from the relationship.

That’s really the theme of this week’s show – relationships. Hear it all at

The market was fat for a long time. Long enough for small business owners to get the idea that all they have to do is “get their message out there” to pull in customers and profits. We also got the idea that customers were disposable. That’s a big part of why we now experience such atrocious customer service on a regular basis.

It’s also why small business owners are failing to engage or profit with social media. They’re so accustomed to easy sales that in this tougher economy they are unprepared for relationship marketing. That’s what social media is really all about. You’ll see that during the second story when we look at how it is that Sims Social, Occupy Wall Street, UAW contract talks and even Steve Jobs’ passing have become such popular topics.

Listen to the show today at, and leave a comment here so spark conversation.

Knowing Your Target Market – The Chained Duck Prospers Off The Web

It’s called Le Canard Enchainé (The Chained Duck).

Published since 1915, it does quite well today with a minimal web presence. Mostly it uses the URL so scammers can’t pose as the newspaper.

You can visit their web page at And Google does a fairly good job of translating the page.

This is just one example of a business that’s moving along swimmingly without a lot of bother about the internet, mobile marketing or social media. In fact, they are social media. Their paper is circulated and talked about all around the world.

Keep in mind that this is also a media that the cow-pattie gurus and pundits keep saying is dead, dying or otherwise on its way out. Yet this little, 8 page, French newspaper has an international base of loyal readers.
It may not be of interest to you and me. Then again, you and I aren’t from France, and this paper specialises in satirical stories about the French elite.

The question – and answer – that’s here for us is: How are we specialised?

We need to know who is our target audience, and how Continue reading

Real World Lessons For Why Less Is More

Sounds like a load of crap, doesn’t it? “Less is more…”

86 people paying $97/month equals $100,104 per year. Small number of people paying a fairly small sum.

Groupon says 80% of people actually redeem their daily deal coupon. And retailers hope that’s true because when that number goes up, they really start losing money. Now we have a lot of people getting a big discount and it’s driving business owners out of business.

This week, the whole show is focused on getting the real meaning of phrases such as “Go Big Or Go Home,” and “Bigger Is Better.” There are good uses for these phrases. The problem is that we’ve forgotten what they are.

Hear the solution on Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

From LinkedIn to Facebook to Google and Yahoo – everyone is enraptured with the idea of having access to a huge audience.

Open Networkers on LinkedIn think they’re making a value statement when they declare having thousands of first level contacts. The gurus and pundits declare there’s inherent value in advertising on Facebook and Google because of their massive audiences. But how many of those first level contacts do the open networkers actually have relationships with? And just how many people seeing your ad on Facebook or Google are going to do business with you?

The answers to these questions are clear in our first story. We look at specific reasons why people WON’T click on your ads, and just how much value is in someone having thousands of first level contacts on LinkedIn. These are real world lessons for why less is more.

In our second story, we look at the trend toward mobile computing. “Everyone” has a smartphone (actually, smartphones account for around 37% of cell phone usage), is getting a tablet, or has an Apple device, right?

Well why should that matter to you and your business? It’s corny, I know, but just like our mom’s always said: Just because your friends jump off a bridge, does that mean you jump, too?

There are a lot of folks screaming about one of the many new and shiny objects. They’ll tell you each one means the difference between life and death for your business. Right. That’s pure poppycock.

Get the straight story now on Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

I have said from the beginning that business have survived quite nicely without the internet and social media, and they can go on surviving without using them. Can these things bring in new customers, create new sales, and make for a better customer experience? Yes, they can. And I agree that you should give serious thought to using them. But they are a long way from determining the success or failure of your business.

Listen in and hear what the trends are with mobile computing among consumers. More importantly, hear just how simple it is to tune in to these trends and benefit your business.

Then we wrap up the show with some resources you can use – online resources – to get inexpensive office space, book events and even sell physical products.

And most importantly, we close this week’s show with a few choice words about what “bigger is better” really means. And you hear how you really should “go big or go home.” It all revolves around the Value Of One.

Hear it all in one place: Social Media: Cheap and Easy. Then start the conversation here with your viewpoint, agreement, criticism or comment.

Amazon Goes Capitalist

Amazon has announced they are opening up the Kindle to library e-books.

Yippee! Amazon Goes Capitalist.

As you know, Amazon wants to build a digital library. Google tried the same thing, and they’ve both met a lot of resistance from authors and publishers. (Mostly from publishers.)

A few weeks ago, I did a story on Social Media: Cheap and Easy about what Amazon is doing and gave them specific advice about how to make it work. Judging from their change in a long-held policy, I say it’s great that they’re listening.

Public libraries are an established part of our communities. They’re free to use, and libraries provide access to information, education and recreation. It’s understandable that we all get a little upset when a for-profit company comes along and says they want to get into the library business.

That said, I think there’s an entirely viable, capitalistic and useful way for Amazon to build their digital library.

For starters, imagine how much easier it would be to give remote communities a bunch of Kindles loaded with thousands of books. The Kindle is easier to take care of than all the books, and all you need to keep it going is a solar power charging unit. Amazon can open whole new opportunities for people who can then prosper to become customers for Amazon.

That’s capitalism at work. You invest, do the work, then reap the rewards.

Pop over to Social Media: Cheap and Easy now to hear the whole story.

Groupon IPO Is In Trouble

Turns out there’s something to be said for being capitalist, and a rather large downside to being a profiteer. Unfortunately, Groupon is just finding this out.

The Groupon IPO is in trouble after the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) informed them their revenue reporting is out of whack.

Apparently, Groupon has been reporting the full value of a Groupon sale as revenue – in spite of having to give at least half that value back to the store owner. The result is that they’ve had to change their revenue claims from $1.52 billion for the first six months of 2011 all the way down to $688 million.

That has to be the world’s quickest way to lose a billion dollars!

If you’ve been listening to the show over the last few weeks (, you know I’ve been driving home the difference between Profiteering and Capitalism. One of the targets of this point has been ALL the daily deal sites.

It’s common to hear marketing and internet gurus talk about having the “tollbooth position.” This is where you control access to the traffic – just like a tollbooth controls access to a roadway. People have to go to you if they want access to a particular audience.

The daily deal sites have taken this idea and exploited it to Continue reading

Social Media For Survival, Amazon Listens, And Facebook Makes Changes

Can tweeting get you killed?

The rise of violence in Mexico has caused news outlets, and even the authorities, to stop covering what criminals are doing. In response, citizen journalists are spreading the news and helping to keep people safe. But the criminals don’t like being tweeted about.

In countries where freedom is not guaranteed, social media has become a tool for survival. Listen to know what’s happening, and how you can support the citizen journalists.

That same journalistic spirit is alive and well with Social Media: Cheap and Easy. Amazon listened and shows signs of turning toward capitalism with their digital library efforts. They’ve literally joined with public libraries and now it’s possible to read that borrowed e-book on your kindle.

Hear the story on Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

We also look at the changes Amazon is making to their kindle. It’s in colour now, and the new version can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

It has been a while since I’ve seen Facebook in the news for so many stories. They’re introducing new services – which seem to making a lot of folks upset. They’ve also decided to form a political action committee and start funding candidates.

That’s definitely too bad since it signals that they’d rather keep stepping on people than clean up their act.

And they’ve signed a bunch of deals with corporations. Facebook is no longer for sharing the college experience, or even dissing the girlfriend that recently dumped you. Now Facebook is all about collecting your data and making you – the audience – the product that’s up for sale.

Hear all the stories now on Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

Think I’m wrong, crazed, or on the money? Let us know at And join the conversation here by leaving a comment.


Facebook Killing Music Sharing

Is Facebook killing music sharing because they’re profiteers or just ignorant?

Facebook is talking about bringing music sharing services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, MOG and Deezer onto their site. The idea is to make your profile an entertainment hub. But how much of a hub will it be if it drives these businesses out of business?

Very few online music services are profitable, and they have a model that causes them to lose money every time a free subscriber joins. After all, even “free” music requires a royalty paid to the record companies.

Pandora, which had a successful IPO, has yet to make a profit. Martin Scott from Analysys Mason estimates Spotify had a $6 or $7 million dollar profit in 2010, and Rhapsody’s president Continue reading

Amazon’s New Library, Google’s Review Site, and Cable’s Going Mobile

Is capitalism dead?

The stories this week on Social Media: Cheap and Easy are all about companies that claim to be capitalist. Are they? Or are they just profiteers and opportunists who no longer understand the meaning of capitalism?

In the latest effort to establish an e-book lending library, Amazon is putting forward their plan. It’s different from what Google tried, and definitely different from what a group of research libraries has done (and those libraries are currently being sued by authors).

Will Amazon be successful? The answer lies in whether Amazon chooses to be capitalist and stick with their origins, or abandon capitalism for pure opportunism. When Cornelius Vanderbilt moved from steamships to railroads, there’s no question he did it because it looked profitable. There’s also no question that the basis of the profit was developing a reliable transportation system across land for business owners and passengers.

Vanderbilt used capital (and capitalism) to produce the needed transportation systems, and got wealthy in the process.

Is Amazon pursuing an e-book lending program because they want to Continue reading

Is Groupon Worth 75% Of A Sale?

Welcome to our new 243 community members. Thank you for joining us.

This week’s episode of Social Media: Cheap and Easy brings up several points that need more discussion. But since I promised to keep each post to one topic…let’s focus on Groupon and your small business advertising.

FYI – the other topics are:

  1. YouTube – how to use it, and video in your marketing
  2. Social Media TV – we’re ready to launch the TV show (video in action)
  3. Integrated Marketing – this one episode covers e-mail, video, coupons and lead generation

I’ll know you’re interested in these other topics based on how you comment on this one.

Now on to Groupon…

They’re in the news this week because they’re Continue reading