I’ve gotten lost in many hours of dominoes as a kid. I remember trying to do a few difficult structures that spiraled in a circle, went down a hill, and even a pyramid that starts at one then knocks down two then three then four and so on. This last one was my favorite. It showed how one could start a whole chain reaction.
Of course since this memory popped back in my head it got me to thinking. Social media works this way. Connect with someone on Twitter they check out your blog then refer a friend to an article and now their friend is checking you out and buying a product or service from you. I like to call this the Domino Marketing Effect.
Every action you take is marketing. Whether you give amazing customer service, write a blog post, tweeting, leave a comment on Facebook or create something so amazing (*cough* New York Super Fudge Chunk *cough*) that people can’t help but tell their friends about.
Everyone that talks about you is marketing your business. The more people talking about you the more dominoes you have in place and the more chances you have of finding a group of fans for your business.
The problem with dominos is if they are spread too far apart you miss out on hitting the next one. You may be talking to 10,000 people on your blog, Twitter or Facebook, but if they aren’t paying attention you should really be catching up on your Netflix movie queue.
That’s why consistent actions are so important to get your desired marketing results. People want to know that you will deliver and you aren’t all talk.
Like any game there are rules. You can’t just be amazing and expect people to come and throw money at you. They need to trust you before they buy from you.
So let’s talk a little about the rules and how they can be applied to your business.
Rules of Domino Marketing:
1. Live Your Core Values
Your core values will determine how you connect with people. If honesty is one of your core values, you’ll find that living this value will bring people with the same value to your company.
The key is to stay centered on what your core values are, so you can connect from them. Too often people forget why they do what they do. It’s this lack of focus that alienates customers
One of the best marketers on the planet is Scott Stratten of Unmarketing. His brand is all about marketing not to entertain, but engage. It’s why he chose his name. His focus has been steady and consistent. He knows that when he wears jeans and a t-shirt in front of 1,000 people for a speech he is sending a message to everyone listening. The simple message is I’m not your typical marketer. I’m here to teach you new ways to build your business.
“Stand up for what you believe. Stand out when you do it. Stand together when you build relationships.”
– Scott Stratten
If you live your values you know why you do what you do. It makes marketing so much easier.
2. Deliver Value that People Appreciate
This should be common sense to most businesses, but for many it’s amazingly not. They expect that they show up and that’s good enough. You need to deliver amazing value to your customers every single interaction. The problem is knowing how to deliver value that people appreciate.
The systems that allow your people to be creative with how they deliver their value are the companies that impress their customers on a regular basis.
The Double Tree hotel created a system for delighting people before they get to their room. When someone checks into their hotel they offer the guest a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Some of these Double Trees’ employees will offer to warm the cookie up for you. This small offer starts the relationship off right.
Learning how to deliver amazing value is all about trial and error. You’ll notice when people get excited about your results or how you interact with them. Every time you get a positive reaction take notes on why they liked what you did and how they reacted. You’ll start to see patterns. This is how you create systems that you can refine and improve.
It’s the little things that matter to people. So you have to look at what you can offer that is fun, amazing and worthy of sharing with their friends. Set an hour or two aside and brain storm some ways to deliver amazing value that delights your customers.
After making a list of ways to deliver extra value then gather a group of your smartest and savviest friends or employees and get their feedback. They might also be able to add a few suggestions to your list. Then take the best one and implement it as soon as you can.
3. Engage with Your Ideal People
You’ve probably been at a party where some fool is talking his face off at everyone he meets. How cool his trip to Spain was and how he is such an amazing photographer. He never asks, “What do you do?” or “What interests you?” He just loves to blather on and on and on.
This is how you send people running in the other direction. If you don’t care about them they for sure won’t care about you.
So be interested in what they need by asking questions. Ask them about what challenges they have. Ask them how you can improve your service. People want to help you improve your company if you just give them the chance.
4. Earn People’s Trust
If you have a great mechanic that you trust you know exactly where you’ll go when you car breaks down. You don’t ask how much it will cost. You just take it in and know that you will be treated fairly. That trust is comforting.
I have a mechanic that is amazing. I recently had car trouble. My alternator went out. I took it to my mechanic and he gave me a quote. I told him to go ahead and take care of it. I was curious about his price so I called another mechanic to see what the price difference was. The other mechanic quoted a 40% higher price than my mechanic. I was shocked. I knew my guy was fair, but now I was even more impressed with my mechanic.
I’ve told 3 people about him in the last 3 months. I want everyone to go to this guy because he does a great job and treats people fairly.
This trust that he has earned from this customers has rippled through the community very fast and now he has a ton of business. He treats his customers well and they treat him well.
Look at how you earn people’s trust. Maybe you are quick to respond to emails or you are consistent with how you show up 5 minutes early to everything. Knowing how you earn people’s trust will help you understand your business’ superpowers. It’s these superpowers that keep people coming back again and again.
5. Share Your Story
Stories are the fabric of all good marketing. It’s these stories that allow people to connect with what you do. The marketing focus has shifted from you telling your story (old school advertising) to your customers helping tell your story (The social media way).
People need to know what you stand for. I was looking around for a great vision statement from a popular company and out of the dozens I read, Google’s was my favorite:
Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Google’s vision is succinct and helps the company stay focused on what is important to them.
Before everyone knew about Google, the people in the know would tell their friends to “Google it.” That two word story would start a conversation. Maybe they knew Google maybe they didn’t and if they didn’t they would have to ask, “What do you mean by Google it?” The person would then explain that they needed to go to Google.com and type in the search phrase that they needed. Of course they would explain that Google would make sure that the best search results came back and end it by saying “best search engine by a mile.”
When you do amazing work it’s these people that can tell your story to all their friends. If the only thing you take away from this article is this point I would be happy. Word of mouth still accounts for 65% off all purchases. You just need to make sure you stay at the top of their mind when their friends need what you do.
6. Encourage Others to Share Your Awesomeness
You might not be able to let your customers tell your story in two words like Google, but you can make it easy for them. Let them know exactly what you do and who you help. By making it easier for them to tell your story to their friends, you are setting the dominoes closer together, so they begin to knock into each other and create a domino effect.
7. Build a Small Frenzy
What seems like the hardest part about marketing is creating enough excitement that it ripples out into various communities. This takes a lot of focused effort, by stringing a few events together to create a marketing plan that is cohesive and builds on itself.
Creating a product frenzy is different from a service frenzy. A service frenzy is a bit more organic and you probably want slower growth. So we’ll focus on product frenzy in this section. They idea is to build up enough excitement that when the product goes live it spreads on its own.
That means lining up blogs, media outlets, and social media to talk about what you do, all at the same time, so it creates a lot of touch points. 99.99% of the time no one will buy your product the first time they hear about it. It takes multiple touch points to convince people to click through and give your product a chance. But the more they hear about you the more likely they will buy.
This also means creating micro-events like Twitter parties, Facebook events, webinars, videos, etc. to keep your product at the top of people’s mind when they are ready to buy. If you don’t keep people excited and reminding them about what you do they won’t remember to buy from you.
You have to look at your marketing and see how you can layer everything you do like dominoes. If your marketing efforts are spread too far apart you won’t gain any traction within your community to create excitement, build trust and make sales.
The biggest difference between successful marketing plans and unsuccessful is creating a marketing timeline for your series of efforts. If you have an e-course coming out in 6 months you need to start planning now. I like to organize my thoughts with post-it notes, create a mind map and then create my plan.
I’m a visual person. When I can see everything laid out before me I know which actions to take.
You have an infinite amount of marketing efforts you could actually do, but you must be strategic in what you implement otherwise you’ll miss your target. The first domino will fall, but will miss the next one, leaving you lost and confused. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you understand which projects are going to give you the most bang for your time and money.
What experience have you had with building up your business by creating a Domino Marketing Effect?
If you want to create your own Domino Marketing Effect, but need a little help, you probably want to start with my Product Launch E-course. You\’ll also receive access to my Unlock Your Marketing Superpowers manifesto. Both of these courses/docs will help you build attention and trust through building great relationships.
Image courtesy of Micah Taylor (Domino).