The 3 Sentence Strategy

I sat down to write my ivoteforart.com business strategy tonight. You know, really write it. I’ve had most of it in my head, but I really needed to actually document it. Even if just on one page.

I soon realised something. you don’t even need a page to write your strategy. You need just 3 points. In fact, you can only have 3 points.

Here are my three points:

1. Without arists, there’s no website

2. But then, you also need visitors

3. Once you get visitors, treat them right.

That’s it. That’s my strategy.

If I don’t have any new artists on the site, I have nothing. The very first thing I ever did when deciding to start ivoteforart was to contact artists. If there was no art to display on the website, there was no website. But also, good artists beget good artists. Whenevcr I add a great artist to the site, it makes it easier for me to attract more great artists.

My second point, about needing visitors, is the next step. Obviously I need to let potential visitors know about the site. And then visit the site. An then re-visit. And re-visit again. And maybe one day, make a purchase.

And once they do buy something, I’ve got to do whatever I can to make it a great experience for them. And hopefully then they will tell others about it, and the ultimate – word-of-mouth – kicks in.

Sure, mine is a pretty simple website. The content-traffic-customer service business model is fairly straightfoward. But whatever business you’re in – if it takes more than 3 sentences to describe your business, something’s not right. It’s not simple enough.

Where do you find the best online marketing blog posts for 2007?

Techipedia, that’s where.

Tamar Weinberg has put together a phenomenal list of over 250 blog posts from 2007, covering everything you need to know about marketing online. Blogging, social networking, viral strategies, social media – you name it.

Here it is – Truly a great list that will have you reading for hours.

2007 has been rather quiet here at my blog, and posting has been scarce. It’s been a busy year for me, changing jobs (on 2 occasions), getting married, buying a house and starting a business. Not sure if 2008 will be any calmer, but I hope to blog more in the new year. Thanks for reading!

Stormhoek Wine :: Blogging their way to bigger sales

Stormhoek Wines are a great case study about the power of blogs in action.

wine1.jpgHugh Macleod needs no introduction in the blogging world. His Gapingvoid cartoons are the web-geeks' illustration of choice. He's a clever guy who pushed sales of a Saville Row tailor through the roof by starting a blog. through the roof. More recently Hugh's work with Stormhoek is having the same effect.

Last year, Stormhoek gave away free samples of their Sauvignon Blanc via Hugh to bloggers in Europe, along with some information about the wine and the campaign. The bloggers, predictably, blogged about it.

The Result? Stormhoek doubled their sales in 2005.

There's a reason this strategy has worked for Hugh. His blog is popular – Technorati ranks Gapingvoid at 82 in their top 100. He positively A-list. By contrast, my blog (ranked 405,840 with a bullet) is unlikely to create quite the same tidal wave.

But my point is this – new marketing strategies, like using blogs promote your idea are working. Probably thousands of people have bought Stormhoek after hearing about the buzz online. If I saw some in the bottle shop tonight, I'd give it a try. So might you. Because we've heard the story.

Old marketing strategies apply here too. Being the first still gives you a clear advantage. If you are in the wine or tailoring business, Hugh has beaten you to it. If, however, you are lucky enough to be in an industry that hasn't tapped the potential of the blogosphere (a cringeworthy description I know), what's stopping you?

Here in the UK, the brand has also picked up distribution in retailers including Sainsburys, Asda, Oddbins, Majestic, Waitrose and Somerfield. They've also picked a major wine trade award.

This year, to support their launch in the US, Stormhoek are sponsoring a series of Geek dinners. Stormhoek will provide the wine, bloggers provided the buzz … let's keep our eye on what happens to sales this time.

Communities – Good or Evil?

Over at Vitamin, Jeffrey Kalmikoff has written a superb article about building communities. They key points that he raises are:

  • If you don’t trust your customers then you won’t be able to build a community
  • Communities aren’t an ‘add-on’
  • If you’re doing nothing wrong, people won’t have anything to complain about

Marketing these days is about building a communtiy, not just a customer base. You need to read this article to appreciate how traditional marketing has been turned on its head.  

Are the Apples falling off the tree? Or jumping a shark?

It pains me to say it, but does anyone else feel that Apple are on their way to jumping the shark?

There has been plenty of talk about bad customer service from Apple. And talk of "no blogging" policies, arrogance, television advertising. What's going on?

The whole "windows in a mac" strategy is not about looking after your uber-loyal customer base. It's about converting PC-users. It's not a passion or authenticity. It's a growth strategy. A market share strategy. Short term growth. For the Shareholders.

I think Steve Jobs has sold out. He wants to take Apple over the tipping point. Perhaps we should have realized this when they dragged U2 out.

And now Shea Gunther tells us that Apple shareholders have voted "no" to "a proposal by environmental advocates to study how Apple could improve its recycling program".

This is a sad day for geeks everywhere. It doesn't mean that you or I won't continue to buy Apple. God knows how much I want that MacBook Pro.

But Jobs and Apple had better be careful. No one has unlimited Lovemark equity.