Tag Archive | "Dominate"

How Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Creates ‘Closed Ecosystems’ To Dominate Markets (And You Can Too)

A few years ago I read the Amazon/Jeff Bezos bio – The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. In the book, the author highlighted how much Bezos was impacted by Jim Collin’s book ‘Good To Great‘, and in particular the concept of the ‘Flywheel Effect’ and the Virtuous…

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Here’s how to use Twitter to dominate the Google search results

If you want to displace negative content or build a strong brand identity, Twitter can help, says Contributor Chris Silver Smith. Here are 10 ways to use tweets to dominate page one on Google.

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Google’s growth in online local reviews continues to dominate, but…

Contributor Jamie Pitman shows us why we should keep an eye on TripAdvisor and Facebook when trying to increase online reviews.

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Educate to Dominate Your Competition

three people engaged in content on a screen - copyblogger

First off, check out this quotation:

“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Now, let me ask you this … How do you spark the buying process without a lot of high-pressure, high-hype selling?

You do it by getting the reader, listener, or viewer to imagine buying from you, even before you’ve presented the full offer.

Why is that important?

It’s important because once someone imagines buying from you, they’ve made a mental commitment.

The size of that commitment will depend on how well your content resonates with that particular individual, but it’s a commitment nonetheless.

And at that point, it’s a commitment voluntarily made, without any overt request on your part.

You may still be thinking, so what?

Well, we humans are funny that way. Once we commit to something, we tend to act in a consistent manner with the prior commitment.

The six psychological shortcuts of Influence

In his famous book Influence: Science and Practice, Dr. Robert Cialdini identifies six judgmental heuristics that create mental shortcuts that can drive our behavior:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Social proof
  3. Liking
  4. Authority
  5. Scarcity
  6. Commitment and consistency

Note that by giving away free content, you’re invoking reciprocity, which triggers the psychological need to give something back in return.

When people share and comment on your content, you’re invoking the power of social proof.

By creating conversational content that builds rapport, you are also bringing liking into play, because people want to do business with people they like, even if another choice might be technically more appropriate.

And by taking on the role of teacher, you’re becoming an authority figure, which makes what you say more likely to be accepted and acted upon.

Then when you get someone to imagine themselves buying, you’re bringing commitment and consistency into play, and this shortcut can tip the scales in your favor.

This is why in-person sales people will constantly ask you, “If I can get this price, or this added feature, will you make the purchase?”

When you verbally commit, they know they’ve gotten one crucial step closer to the close due to the psychological principles of commitment and consistency.

Even a smaller level of mental commitment can lead to consistency when the prospect makes the commitment based on their own (seemingly) unprompted decision.

This prospect will view your eventual offer through a more positive frame than someone who sees the offer cold. As long as you deliver what your content created a desire for, you’ll sell a lot more.

Now you understand what da Vinci was saying.

When you come rushing out of the gate selling, it’s easy for people to resist. But when you establish yourself as a teacher who people have bonded with, it gets much harder to say no by the time the transaction is proposed.

Smart selling empowers people to buy

So many people equate selling with hype and shady tactics to trick people into buying. In reality, smart selling is about empowering people to make the right decision.

Oftentimes, people simply need to be thoroughly educated on the basics, which naturally reveals the ultimate benefits of doing business with you along the way.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on August 25, 2009.

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How to Use an Iterative Loop to Dominate Your Niche

How to Use an Iterative Loop to Dominate Your Niche

Here at Rainmaker Digital, we’re riding an iterative loop. It’s how we do business.

We listen, we create, we offer, we improve, and the cycle goes on.

Approaching your content strategy as an iterative loop will help you create useful, in-demand information that serves your customers and builds your business.

Out in the business world, this approach is called design thinking. And design thinking is in the news right now. Harvard Business Review ran a cover story on it this past September. The New York Times featured it earlier this month.

Here at Copyblogger, we’ve been talking about design thinking since 2010.

Design thinking isn’t difficult — it’s just different. It requires a mindset shift that will change the way you create products, content, and customer experiences.

What is design thinking?

It might be easiest to answer this question by comparing design and design thinking.

Design is about making objects functional and pleasing to the eye. Traditionally, design has been a discipline that was practiced by the small percentage of people who’d studied it or those whose aesthetic sense made them especially qualified.

Design thinking is about developing products and services using a methodology that puts the customer’s needs and experience at the forefront. It’s a different way to approach the development process.

Design thinking is driven primarily by audience needs, and the fruit it bears is based on the challenges and problems they face. It’s about looking at how real people interact with your products and services, and adapting them so they truly meet their needs.

Companies that practice design thinking put an imaginary sticker on everything they produce that says, ‘Designed by our customers.’

IBM bets their future on design thinking

Profits are down at IBM, but I’m not too worried about it.

How many technology companies can boast that they’ve been around for more than 100 years? It’s only through aggressive adaptation that IBM has succeeded despite all the changes in the technology landscape since they started back in 1911.

Their latest adaptation is to incorporate design thinking as an integral part of their business. They’re using design thinking to change their culture and the way they do business.

IBM is in the process of hiring 1,100 designers, with a long-term target of 1,500. They’re training a large portion of their management staff in the principles of design thinking. They’re “embedding” designers inside product development teams throughout the company. To date, 8,000 people company-wide have received some type of design thinking training.

It’s a small percentage of the total employee population, but it represents a significant investment of resources in a new way to look at their business.

They’re banking on design thinking to improve their long-term outlook.

How to apply design thinking to your content and your business

The goal of design thinking is to make your content, your website, and your products and services inherently simple and useful.

Aim for something that is so well designed that people don’t notice the design.

The goal? Design that doesn’t call attention to itself. Design that isn’t ‘precious,’ or even very noticeable.

It all starts with one important question.

“What is a better way to do ___?”

Ask this question of any process, product, or service.

Then grab a physical object — a pad of sticky notes, some pieces of paper, a whiteboard and marker — and map out what your customer experiences now and what you’d like them to experience. Even better, get a customer or two in the room with you to tell you firsthand what they’re experiencing.

Very basic prototyping gives you insights into the important customer touchpoints in your business. It shows you where you can improve their experience either through better content, a streamlined interface, or a more robust solution.

When thinking about your content, incorporate a customer experience map. Create a content strategy that serves customers along every step of their journeys.

Design thinking. Do. Iterate.

Iterative loop graphic

Graphic courtesy of Diagrammer on Duarte.com

Here’s an example from our own company.

A couple of months ago, we launched the Rainmaker Labs feature within our Rainmaker Platform software.

Labs is a place where a select group of users are invited to experiment with features that are currently in development and provide feedback directly to the team that’s working on those features.

  • Design thinking: We’re thinking about our customers as we develop new features — they’re often a result of direct requests.
  • Do: We develop the feature enough to be tested in the real world. It’s the software version of a physical prototype that real end-users can try out.
  • Iterate: Based on the feedback we get, we improve and polish the software enough to release it as part of the platform that all users access.

We’ve built design thinking right into our software. Pretty cool, huh? :-)

The downside of design thinking

Design thinking sounds great, doesn’t it? What’s not to love?

Here’s the thing: people who live by the rules of design thinking welcome failure. Often. If you’re going to ride the iterative loop, you have to be prepared to fail and learn from that failure. You’ve got to embrace the fact that things will have to be pulled apart and re-done when the best customer experience demands it.

You’ve got to put your ego to one side, and recognize that the customer is king and their experience rules the process.

If you haven’t done business this way, it can be uncomfortable. But when you see the final results, you’ll recognize that it’s worth a little discomfort.

Design thinking makes space for emotion

Traditional design is about functionality and aesthetics. “Does it work?” “Does it look good?” These are the questions you consider.

Design thinking folds in emotion. “How do our customers feel when they use our product or service?”

This might sound a little woo-woo. But design thinking means having deep empathy with your users and producing experiences they’ll remember. Those memories are sealed in with the emotions they experience when interacting with your business.

And those emotions make your business memorable — remarkable, even.

The iterative loop and where to use it

This iterative loop — design thinking — do — iterate — is something you can use to make deep cultural changes within your business, whether it’s a one-person shop or a 412,000-employee corporation.

The iterative loop can touch every single aspect of your business, even down to elements like your shopping cart software and the copy on your invoices.

Adding design thinking to your process leads to products that are simple and human.

Every aspect of your business, from the front end to the back, can be designed around your users’ needs.

Let the iterative loop guide your strategy

One warning: design thinking often makes your future unpredictable. Planning months ahead of time is difficult. You have to be willing to ride the loop wherever it takes you.

Your customers will lead the charge, not you.

You’ll be alongside them, serving up what they need with a dose of memorable emotional appeal.

About the author

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is Executive Vice President of Educational Content at Rainmaker Digital. Follow her on Twitter, and find more from her at BigBrandSystem.com.

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Follow This Superstar’s 7-Step Example to Dominate Your Industry

black leather platform heel crushing a cupcake

I woke up like this. I woke up like this. Flawless.

After listening to “Flawless” five times, Evette went to the mirror, and told herself the lyrics in the Beyoncé song were true.

She believed it. She internalized it. She embodied it.

Ready to dominate, Evette strutted over to her computer to fire off a blog post. A post that would enable her to claim her rightful place atop her industry.

The same way Beyoncé dominates her industry.

You’ve met an Evette before, right?

Someone who thinks she’s so flawless, all she has to do is show up and everyone will bow down to her.

But it doesn’t quite work that way. Not for the Evettes of the world. And not even for Beyoncé.

As a result, instead of showing the world she’s a rock star like the Queen Bey, Evette ends up looking more like this.

No bueno.

But there’s a better, more strategic way.

The blueprint for dominating your industry

As talented as Beyoncé is, it’s tempting to believe that she does indeed just wake up flawless.

But the Queen Bey is human. Just like you and me.

The difference between Beyoncé’s mega-success and yours is a matter of executing the right game plan to make the most of your abilities and opportunities.

That’s what Evette is missing.

So if you want to dominate your own industry, follow this Beyoncé-inspired, seven-step blueprint for consistently crushing your competition.

1. Stand on a soapbox

Women’s empowerment has been a consistent theme throughout Beyoncé’s career. Through songs like “Independent Women Part One” with Destiny’s Child, to “Run the World (Girls)”, and “Flawless” as a solo artist, the singer has a long history of touting girl power.

The self-proclaimed “modern-day feminist” also has a 10-piece, all-woman band dubbed The Sugar Mamas. Her motivation for forming the band was to inspire young women to get involved in music.

Beyoncé’s commitment to promoting women even led her to write a piece on gender equality in The Shriver Report earlier this year.

If you want to dominate, you must elevate your tribe.

Lead them. Empower them. Make them better off for having you in their world. To strengthen your tribe, you must stand for something bigger than the products or services you offer.

Fashion designer Tory Burch, for example, strengthens her tribe by supporting economic empowerment for women.

The Tory Burch Foundation provides small business loans, mentoring, and entrepreneurial education for women. Tory was recently named an Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship by the Obama administration because of her commitment to her cause.

What do you do to elevate your tribe?

2. Practice until your feet bleed

On Day One, Beyoncé wasn’t the amazing rock star she is today. She’s put a ton of work in over the years honing her craft. At times, she even practiced her choreography until her feet bled.

Even though she’s long-passed the 10,000-hour mark in performing, Queen Bey still puts in major work to keep growing.

Lacey Rose of Forbes noted:

Beyoncé constantly works and reworks her act, watching every two-hour performance on tour — even after the hundredth appearance — taking notes on how to improve.

If you want to dominate, you must work harder than most people are willing to work.

You must put in the work on the key things that propel you beyond your peers. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you’re already pretty darn good.

Jon Morrow stuck to an insane practice schedule early in his blogging career. Even while toiling away as Associate Editor at Copyblogger, he wrote 100 headlines a day, every day, for a year to master the art. In addition, for years he wrote at least 2,000 words per day.

As a result, he’s one of the most popular bloggers around.

What do you do to improve your craft?

3. Be a weirdo

Few others are able to do what Beyoncé does. Her knock-out performances, complete with strong vocals and epic dance moves, leave audiences spellbound and leave other artists struggling to compete.

Even with all that performance power, Jody Rosen in The New Yorker described the weirdness of Beyoncé’s music as her true point of differentiation:

She is such an effortless entertainer, such an unerring singer and hoofer, that it’s easy to overlook her music’s defining quality: strangeness. Beyoncé is an eccentric, a vocalist with truly weird and original melodic and rhythmic approaches. Listen to the slippery rap-style syncopations in ‘Say My Name,’ to the melodies that float and dart over the thump of ‘Single Ladies,’ to the jarring timbral and tonal variations in ‘Ring the Alarm’ and ‘One+One’. Those sounds didn’t exist in the world before Beyoncé. If they sound ‘normal’ now, it’s because Beyoncé, and her many followers, have retrained our ears.

If you want to dominate, you’ve got to be strange.

You can’t be another lame “me too” version of all the other businesses in your industry. You’ve either got to do different activities, or do the same activities in a different way.

Dance choreographer, author, small business, and personal development guru Marie Forleo embraces her weirdness. She uses it to deliver memorable and helpful training videos week after week.

Need further proof that people like weird? This episode of Marie TV has more than 350 comments and 1,300 social shares.

What makes you the type of weirdo your customers can’t live without?

4. Tightly choreograph your story

Beyoncé has also successfully managed her brand. The singer’s hand is in almost every detail of telling her story to the world. Like that time she wrote, directed, and produced a documentary about herself.

At the core of her brand, she has established herself as a prolific entertainer. With 10 studio albums under her belt, she’s maintained a steady presence in front of her audience.

She also stays present in front of her fans via a well-curated Tumblr account and through behind-the-scenes videos of performances.

After establishing herself as a strong force within the music industry, she expanded her empire through movies, merchandise, a clothing line, perfumes, and tons of endorsements.

If you want to dominate, you must shape and tell your own story.

Take control of your reputation by actively managing your brand. Position yourself for growth by consistently telling your story through action and message, regardless of the medium.

What is the story you communicate about your brand?

5. Assemble a rock star crew

Beyoncé’s career started off as part of Destiny’s Child. Upon launching her solo career, she formed an even stronger alliance when she began dating and later married rapper Jay Z.

This past summer, the entertainment power couple, with 36 Grammys between them, made their partnership work harder for them with their “On the Run” tour. Tickets for their co-headlined performances sold for 44 percent higher than their individual tours.

If you want to dominate, don’t go it alone.

Collaborations are game changers. Brian Clark has noted that the relationships he’s developed while building Copyblogger have made the difference in his professional life.

You’ll get further much faster when you have a crew of fantastic people around you to propel you toward your goals.

What can you do today to strengthen your network of rock stars?

6. Produce epic content

Part of staying at the top of your game involves continually changing the status quo. Innovations that get people talking.

Like performing a live concert fewer than five months after giving birth, or filming a star-studded fake movie trailer to promote your upcoming concert tour.

Or releasing a surprise visual album with no promotion.

Rolling Stone editor Rob Sheffield described the impact of the visual album:

Beyoncé has delivered countless surprises in her 15 years on top of the music world, but she’s never dropped a bombshell like this. The Queen Bey woke the world in the midnight hour with a surprise ‘visual album’ — 14 new songs, 17 videos, dropped via iTunes with no warning. The whole project is a celebration of the Beyoncé Philosophy, which basically boils down to the fact that Beyoncé can do anything the hell she wants to.

The visual album generated over 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours and more than 800,000 copies sold worldwide in three days.

If you want to dominate, don’t play it safe.

Entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau traveled to all 193 countries in the world by age 35. He also hosts the annual World Domination Summit.

Coincidence? I think not.

What type of epic project will you work on to get people talking about your business?

7. Transform yourself into a dominator

Beyoncé didn’t start off with a domination mentality. Like many, she initially approached her career with a “work hard, and all my dreams will come true” attitude.

She quickly learned that hard work alone wasn’t enough:

I thought of this performance, which was a real defining moment in my life as a child. In my mind, we would perform on Star Search. We would win, we would get a record deal, and that was my dream at the time. There’s no way in the world I would have ever imagined losing as a possibility. You know I was only nine years old, so at that time you don’t realize that you could actually work super hard and give everything you have, and lose. It was the best message for me.

Losing Star Search transformed Beyoncé into a dominator.

It transformed her into an artist who wouldn’t be satisfied with showing up and waiting for others to pick her.

She now creates irresistible offerings that compel droves of adoring fans to eagerly line up to get a dose of whatever she dishes out.

But you don’t have to lose Star Search to be transformed into a dominator.

Decide to dominate

Decide you’re not going to be satisfied with the results of just showing up, and then follow the blueprint.

In time, your own droves of adoring fans will tell you how flawless you really are.

Ready to dominate?

Strut on over to Google+ and let me know which part of the blueprint you’ll start today to begin your transformation.

Flickr Creative Commons Image via Tanya Dawn.

About the Author: Sonia Thompson is the founder of TRY Business where she’s on a mission to help entrepreneurs build businesses that ooze awesome. Jump on her free eCourse on how to get your customers to love you.

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Search and Email Marketing: Why these channels dominate

I sometimes ask in interviews, “What are your top marketing channels?” Some say ‘catalogs’ or ‘telesales,’ but the two channels I most often hear are email marketing and search. That got me thinking about the similarities between email and search engine optimization (SEO)/pay-per-click (PPC).
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How to Dominate Your Industry like Drudge

image of matt drudge

On any given day, The Drudge Report drives more traffic to major news sites than Facebook or Twitter.

Think about that for a minute.

One man with a 14-year-old, one-page, static html website sends more traffic to the CNN, Yahoo, New York Times, LA Times, FOX News and USA Today websites than the nearly one billion users of Facebook and Twitter combined.

In driving traffic to those sites, Drudge is second only to Google. The journalistic world has accordingly beaten a path to Matt Drudge’s door, all seeking just one link from the Master.

How does he do it?

What if you could replicate even a fraction of that power?

Here’s a few lessons in content marketing I’ve taken from the man in the fedora …

Curation is critical

Drudge has been called the greatest wire editor on earth.

The ability to parse the fire hose of raw digital information and craft it into the stories that your audience wants — or needs — can ensure legendary success.

Becoming a trusted editorial source in addition to your original content can make you an indispensible expert in your field.

Send them away with links to the stuff they want, and they’ll come back — to you — again and again for more.

Master the art of the headline

If nobody clicks your headline, you don’t exist.

Drudge knows this and is one of the best headline writers in the business.

On average, only 2 out of 10 people will read beyond your headline. This brutal statistic can be improved by learning how to write useful, unique, urgent and ultra-specific headlines that make a promise your audience can’t turn away from.

Don’t let your first impression be your last chance.

Develop a singular voice

We are living in the age of auto-content. No, not stuff about cars, but content you’ve read and heard everywhere else.

Drudge — mainly through the use of linking and headlines — has created an unmistakable voice. His is a voice that cuts through the unrelenting waves of information crashing on us at all times.

Be funny. Be serious. Be dark. Be outrageous. Be yourself.

Whatever you do, don’t be boring.

Keep it dead simple

14 years ago Drudge cobbled together a plain, one-page website in basic html. It hasn’t changed.

Through all the amazing advances in web development — the widgets, the social software, the rise of apps — his “little” site has remained relatively untouched. His entire site is a single landing page.

You aren’t going to be able to get away with this approach today. This, however, doesn’t excuse you from keeping things simple and solid, and keeping your editorial eye on what’s truly important.

He set it up so that he could run it alone, no matter how big things got. Though he’s employed one or two people to help out through those years, he’s generally been able to do it all himself.

One man with a laptop has altered elections, bruised Presidents, and changed the face of one of the oldest businesses born of the industrial revolution.

Use the tools available to you, don’t let them use you.

Practice maniacal consistency

It seems as if Drudge doesn’t sleep.

No matter the day or hour, if something important (or weird) is happening in the world, he shows up and shows it to his audience.

Your content strategy probably doesn’t rely on the merciless nature of breaking news, but if you’re doing things right, your audience is absolutely relying on your advice and opinion.

Grab the AP news wire. Hit Google News. Read the classics and the latest books in your industry (especially the classics). Turn all of it into an undeniable stream of opinion and expertise.

Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up”.

Show up everyday and tell the stories your audience needs to hear.

If your business is worth doing, it’s worth doing. So do it.

Be patient

Drudge started right where you are. Most likely, with less.

The Drudge Report began as a simple email newsletter to friends. He worked for minimum wage in the CBS gift shop. The content of his early newsletter consisted mainly of overheard hallway banter, cafeteria whispers, and discarded memos he’d cull from the trash.

It grew slowly, steadily. His audience was hungry for more.

He didn’t make a dime for years. Years.

Today, his estimated annual revenue is at least $ 1,000,000.00. And that’s only a rough estimate.

Ignore the myth of “overnight success”. Keep working.

Cultivate eccentricity

Drudge lives in the penthouse of a very expensive hotel.

He doesn’t do interviews anymore. You’ll rarely see him walking the streets. He doesn’t return emails.

He’s utterly unavailable.

This runs counter to the popular contemporary advice to be everywhere, be open, be … transparent.

You won’t be able to pull off Drudge’s level of eccentricity (unless you pull off his level of success), but you can learn from it.

There is power in mystery.

Doing and showing less creates desire, if you do your thing well. Yes, I’m arguing that you not be everywhere, that you not show all of your cards, that you do your thing and then go away until your next unforgettable at bat.

Find the theatre in your business and exploit it.

And remember, there’s nothing more weird (or more difficult) than simply being yourself. If you happen to be a hard-working, idiosyncratic whack-job (like me), all the better.

I’d be willing to lay a bet that eccentricity is the secret to his success.

There’s too many buttoned-down, orthodox, pressed-suits in your industry anyway.

OK, let’s hear it …

Matt Drudge is a polarizing, fascinating, powerful character.

Love him or hate him, he’s utterly dominated his industry and shown the world what one person with a laptop and an old-school work ethic can do.

In fact, the evidence argues that he’s actually changed the world. Not many without serious political or star power can legitimately say the same.

How does any of this apply to your work, to your marketing?

Give me your best shot in the comments …

About the Author: Robert Bruce is Copyblogger Media’s resident raconteur and copywriter.


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