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Monday, December 17, 2007

Be A Real Person On The Net

Every business needs to have a unique selling position(USP)...something that makes them unique from the competition. There are a multitude of different unique selling positions you could make, and we will explore some of them in a future article. But the First(and in my opinion the Best) way to get people to do business with you is to Personalize your business. What do I mean by that? Well, let's look at some examples of what I call "personalization"

1) Kentucky Fried Chicken-Actually, they have used 2 USPs. First, they used personalization with Col Harlan Sanders. It was "Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken" with a logo of the gray headed and bearded Colonel at every resturaunt, on every bucket of chicken, on every cup of soda, etc. The second USP was the slogan "the Colonels secret blend of 11(or 18 or whatever it was) herbs and spices." Again, they made it personal.

2) Wendys Hamburgers-Originally, the red-haired Wendy was the daughter of the founder of Wendys-Dave Thomas. However, that did NOT really do the job of selling the product. When Wendys needed to really boost sales, they had Dave Thomas, the down home, slow talking "regular" guy, appear in the commercials. Dave Thomas and his picture started appearing in more and more Wendys restaraunts and the sales kept climbing.

3) Chrsyler and Lee Iacocca-When Chrysler was facing bankruptcy, their new CEO took the bull by the horns. He immediately dropped his salary to $1 per year and started appearing in ads for the new Chrysler models. He also got involved in things like restoring the Statue of Liberty and other humanitarian efforts. Whatever Iacocca did, it became news! And any time you thought of him, you thought of Chrysler. Needless to say, Sales skyrocketed and Lee Iacocca was considered a marketing genius. He also made himself millions of dollars by exercising stock options that he was given in light of the way he turned Chrysler around.

4) Maytag and the lonely repairman-You can not get much more basic than a washer and dryer. It is just a basic commodity. How can you make selling that unique? Maytag had a brilliant concept-create a repairman that has nothing to do(because, they want you to reason, the product is so good it never breaks down.) Obviously, this is not a real person, but a concept, almost subconcous, that makes you think you must buy a Maytag if you do not want to spend money on repairs.

5) Mcdonalds-They have lots of USPs but the personalized one I want to talk about is Ronald Mcdonald. Again, like the Maytag repairman, he is a fictional character, but he is a clown (happy, fun) and he does good things, like run the Ronald Mcdonald House for charity. Ronald appeals to children and encourages them to want a "happy meal." Burger King has attempted to copy this, but their "King" is just a guy with a mask, so you can NOT see his face move when he talks. In MY opinion, this is really dumb on the part of Burger King. They should get a "real" person or just forget the idea.

6) Ken Nugent-"One call, that's all"- Ken Nugent is a real attorney, but he has satelite offices in many major cities. Ken may not even be practicing law anymore, but he is the personalization of a network of law firms. Many people do not like the idea of meeting with a lawyer, especially a stranger. Ken Nugent has put a face to lawyers everywhere. Now they can call and talk to "Ken." This is really a brialliant marketing strategy.

There are countless other examples, but I think the 6 listed give us a good foundation to prove that personalizaton works. How can You use it in your home business or internet business? Start by asking yourself the questions that your potential customer will ask. Do I want to do business with a nameless corporation? Do I want to be regarded as a number instead of as a person? What happens if I need a product replaced or even a total refund?

How I "personalize" everything I do

To asnwer those questions, I realize that people want to do business with a person-not a "company." For that reason, in my business, every business card, every website, every blog, EVERY resource of my business has my name, picture, phone number, and address. That does two things:

1) First of all, it lets people know I am a REAL person. They can see what I look like, call me on the phone or even know what part of the country I live in. It shows that I am not a stranger and I am, hopefully, on the way to becoming a friend.

2) Because my name is on everything, it helps me avoid the temptation to take shortcuts! In other words, since I do value my reputation, you can be darn sure that I will do everything I can to make sure my customers are completely satisfied when doing business with me. Conversly, a lot of shabby internet marketers hide behind a P O Box and use automatted phone services. I may use these as well, but I am also using my REAL name and picture and not hiding behind a false address.

What this means to you

Since the internet can be a cold, impersonal tool, I strongly suggest you do everything you can to make it more warm and friendly. I suggest that you include your picture, your personality and your individuality into your internet business. Don't just be one of the numbers. Be the unique individual that you are! And, if you provide a good service at a good price, I am sure you also will not just be an internet marketer, but you will become a wealthy marketer as well!

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