Reputation Leverage Using Widgets

The use of widgets as a marketing tool has been around for many years. Widgets deliver value for the provider, the publisher, the end-user and in some models, even more levels, so marketers have used this value chain for brand leverage. These widgets have tended to be of limited business value; little more than gimmicks as a vehicle for the brand. But what if widgets could deliver more than just weather predictions, a world clock or news feeds that can easily be found elsewhere?

Widgets can be very powerful for the simple reason that they have the potential to reach a very large audience. Say 15,000 Facebook users have embedded the widgets sponsored by Brand A. Brand A captures a year-round exposure to 1.5 million people assuming that each FB user has a network of 100 friends. This marketing leverage becomes exponential as a certain percentage of each FB user’s friends will also embed the widget.

Reputation Leverage

Political economists Klein and Leffler in their Reputation Model observed that reputable brands can charge a premium based on the strength of their reputation but lost reputation due to poor quality erodes long-term profit streams. Additionally, reputation can extend into other products via umbrella branding notes Eric Rasmusen, business professor at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. Basically, a good reputation has value and this reputation can be extended.

B2B Reputation Leverage (RL) Widgets

Systems integrators and software developers typically mention that they are IBM, Microsoft or Cisco “Business Partners”. They place the logos or trademarks of these IT giants along with their online content. This way, they can charge a premium or close a deal more easily versus competitors that are non-business partners.

On the other hand, a potential client has no readily available way to validate if such claims are true. With a reputation leverage widget however, such claims can be verified. A Microsoft partner logo for instance, can invite the user to “Click to Verify Business Partner Certification”. When clicked, the widget directs the prospect to a new window where a widget clearing house has the Extended Validation SSL Green Address Bar potentially avoiding phishing scams. As another layer of trust assurance, the clearing house can periodically check Microsoft’s partner database to ensure the certified business partner is a member in good standing.

Another useful application is for professional certifications such as the Microsoft Professional or Cisco series. RL widgets can serve as the online certificate of any professional that can be verified, validated, authenticated and checked. MBAs, professional association membership, PADI licenses; just about any certification that might be useful to have on display.

The distribution of RL widgets need to be controlled, monitored, well-managed and exclusive. If good reputations create value then so does scarcity. Therefore while brand leverage widgets need to have a viral quality, reputation leverage widgets are earned like trust, skill and status.

A Tale Of Two Widget Salesmen

Many people see sales as an exercise in confrontation. If you’ve ever bought a high ticket item like a car, then you know what I’m talking about. You want to get a cheap price, and the seller wants to make as much money as possible. For the most part, the difficulties in buying and selling aren’t centered around the price, they’re centered around the transaction itself.

Consider somebody who is selling widgets at a booth. Say the booth is at a home show. For every widget he sells, he’ll make a profit of a dollar. Naturally, the more widgets he sells, the more money he takes. If he had his druthers, he’d sell a widget to everybody that passed him by. This is precisely what he tries to do.

He comes up with a huge pitch, designed to lure in as many people as possible. He claims this widget can do anything, so more people will want it. Because he is so good a persuasion, or sales, a lot of people are convinced they want this widget. They get it home, still feeling happy that they’ve bought this widget.

But a few days and weeks pass, and they find they really don’t have much use for this widget. After a while, they wonder why they bought the thing. Soon their friends start asking them why they bought it. They don’t know. They say they were conned into buying it. The salesperson was really pushy. They bought it just to be polite.

Pretty soon this widget seller has developed a reputation as a pushy salesperson. He has to travel to a new city every couple months, because he quickly wears out his welcome. Such is the life of a traveling widget salesman.

Now consider another widget salesman. He doesn’t promise the moon. He just says what the widget does. His reputation is more important to him than anything. Instead of trying to sell his widget to every single person that walks by, he qualifies his customers. He asks them questions to make sure they can get a real use out of the widget. Plenty of people like the widget, think it looks cool, but the widget salesman is clear that they really won’t get much use out of it, unless they really do need it.

So a lot fewer people buy his widgets. But the ones that do, really use it. And enjoy it. And tell all their friends. Pretty soon people that really need this widget are beating down this poor widget salesman’s door trying to buy his product.

Before long, he’s got a huge mail order business, and he doesn’t have to do any more traveling to sell his widgets. He can relax at home, while his business runs itself. He out-sources all the people he needs to handle his orders.

The first widget salesman was worried about not selling anything, and thus created a life of hardship. The second widget salesman was convinced of the quality of his product, and in the interest of his reputation, only wanted to put it in the hands of people who really needed it. As a result, he lives and easy life with easy money.

Which one are you?

Benefits of Blogs For Business Marketing

After the advent of the World Wide Web the next big fad was blogging. Suddenly everybody from home-makers, young mothers, businessmen, and grandparents were blogging. Personal blogs sprung up dime a dozen all over the internet, leading to a blogging network of similar blogs and bloggers. The word ‘blog’ sprung from the term ‘web log’ coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. The blogging boom began with the appearance of easy-to-use blogging software developed in 1999.

What exactly is a blog?

A blog is an online journal that can be updated at your convenience. You can have a personal blog, like keeping a diary open for public viewing or a business blog maintained in order to have a platform to discuss business-related topics and share your expertise online with potential customers, interested clients, or your employees.

7 Marketing benefits of having a business blog

Having a business blog can have several advantages for a small business on a tight marketing budget. If you do not have web designing know-how, a blog is a great alternative that offers free setup and easy maintenance.

You can offer helpful hints and promote your own products, upload instructional or demonstrational videos on to your blog. You can build a subscriber base using your blog, and generate leads by notifying your followers when you have new content up. Google’s Blogger allows for Google AdWords to post ads on related products or services in your blogging space, giving you the option of passive earnings through affiliate marketing. Listed here are 7 important benefits blogging offers to business marketing:

1. Low-cost internet marketing tool: Opening a blogging account on Blogger or WordPress is free and you have the required software to be all set in a few hours. However, it is important to host your own blog even if you use free blogging software. Registering your own domain name and having your blog on your own server space gives you better visibility in search engine rankings.

2. Drive web traffic to your business website: When you have a blog and a regular following it is like having another website, but with reduced functionality. Your blog will rely on SEO articles, images, or videos. Your followers can be redirected to your business website if you have one, with the goal of converting interest or leads into sales.

Make an SEO keyword list for your niche market and base your articles and videos on these keywords. This will drive both natural and paid search to your blog. Include your blog URL in your social networking site profiles encouraging friends or fans to follow your business blog. This will drive traffic if you have a reputation for great information or expertise in chosen your niche.

3. Build your product or brand image: You can build your brand imageusing your blog. People reading your blog maybe interested to know what you do – add your business widget or button to your blog. Write a product description or post an infomercial.

4. Maintain a customer dialog: Blogs are interactive, which means that your readers can interact with you through posted comments and questions on the blog (which can be moderated). This is your chance to weigh customer opinion, suggestions, and comments.

5. Gain new customers: Some followers may recommend your blog to others bringing you new business prospects.

6. Network with other similar businesses: All businesses run on internal and external networks. Keeping up with similar blogs and their articles can give you an opportunity to comment on their articles while adding value to them presenting your knowledge on the subject. A reader interested in their blog may click-through to yours to read more! These kinds of click-throughs are free and generate more traffic to your blog.

7. Great public relations outlet: In case, your business runs into some bad press your blog can be your chance to demonstrate a clean slate. You can make your stand clear or challenge a public opinion. As regular readers are aware of who you are and know you from regular online interaction, you have a better chance to garner support through viral means.

Blogs are great additions to your Social media marketing (SMM) strategy. For those who do not have the money to pay for website design and site building, blogs double up as a website cum interactive online tool. The only downside is that they do not provide the functionality of web pages, have limits for e-commerce solutions, and can be time-consuming with regular posts; but blogs rank high as a low-cost marketing option.