The past few weeks have been very educational for Jane, dear readers. We feel as if we're getting the hang of this 'blogging' thing. It's so much more than a communications tool. It's so much more than networking and connecting, although those are highly important parts of what it is.
Blogging, the act of writing stream of consciousness posts that you hope will benefit others, is very much like writing a book. And, like writing a book, the content in a blog becomes bigger than life. We envy those bloggers who have the talent and wherewithal to actually write books online (David St. Lawrence comes to mind, as well as Shel Israel and Robert Scoble). Our partner, Tom, over at the WME Books Aha! blog wants us to write our next book online - but we're still a bit shy about that.
For us, of late, this blog has graduated from a little something we write in the hopes that our research and thoughts will help you market to women online more successfully, to an online magazine, of sorts, that provides solutions as well as advice. As such, it's our duty to do more than 'report' on the women's market, or do book reviews, or tell stories.
This week, we offer you with something that occurred to us while presenting at Ad:tech NY, and then sitting in other sessions. Clearly, women are the driving force to all sales. Yes, we said ALL sales. Women dominate the economic landscape, partly by the numbers of businesses we not only own, but work in. And partly by being the gender in charge of hearth and home, a concept Jane hopes you have your head around by now. Remember, Jane influences just about everything Dick purchases.
Knowing this, and knowing that word of mouth marketing is predicted to be a major part of online marketing in 2006 (and beyond), why not start your word of mouth campaign today -- gather at least two women, preferably current customers or clients, and invite them talk to each other- about you.
Ask them for permission to broadcast (or document) their conversation - and open it up to the public via a podcast or notes on a blog.
You will need to provide guidance. Develop a series of questions. Not a full dialgue, mind you. Just a few questions to get things started.
Consider having the discussion evolve over a period of weeks, with a specific question for each week. Yes, you may request they begin their conversations with input on a new product or service, or feedback on an existing one. You may even ask them to offer input on designing new products and services -- just be prepared to offer guidance. Sometimes we merely parrot answers back, but Jane promises that if you point us in a certain direction, we won't disappoint you. [we may go off in an entirely DIFFERENT direction, but - you'll get loads of great stuff from it.]
Before you begin, have a companywide meeting to decide on how to choose your customer evangelists, which is what this experiment should end up providing. Be selective, but not restrictive. You want honest feedback. Encourage discourse. Try to pick women who have differing opinions. This isn't a 'he said - she said' kind of thing. That's so overdone! Instead, why not a 'Jane says' ... but then... 'Jill says.'
If you're wondering what to give these customer evangelists as a reward, here's what Jane learned at Ad:Tech: make the 'reward' reflective of their contribution. In other words, the recognition on your website or blog may be all the women need. Thanks are always appreciated, and perhaps a coupon to a favorite eatery-- but whatever you give, must be given carefully. You mustn't be seen as 'buying' their support.
Perhaps you could donate to a favorite charity in their name. Perhaps you could give them a subscription to a book club. Be creative - specific - and thoughtful. Then, let us know how it works out.
What's not to like about that?