I bought a terrarium for my budgies this week. Not a typical purchase. I was looking for a way to give my birds more room to move without letting them fly all around the apartment. My brother pointed out the flexible terrariums in the pet store – they’re like large mesh tents – and that seemed to fit the bill.
The pet store didn’t sell the size I needed, so I went online to try and find a source. The manufacturers of the product I’d seen in the pet store don’t sell online. Another company had a similar product, but they didn’t sell in Canada. By trial and error, I found Pets and Ponds, a Canadian company that does sell online, and their freight charges were very reasonable.
I was looking for a very specific product, and I was able to find it by searching online. I will probably never buy from that company again, but it doesn’t matter. They were there when I needed them, and they were prepared to deliver the product to my doorstep.
Thanks to the internet, companies can shift their focus from trying to reach people who aren’t aware of their product to providing the products that people are looking for.
The Personal Touch
I recently stumbled upon Camellia Sinensis, a Montreal company that sells loose-leaf tea. I enjoy trying out new teas, but what really impressed me about this site was their blog.
In a weekly posting, they describe their buying trips to India and Taiwan to purchase tea; they introduce some of the farmers who grow the tea; and they provide tips on the best way to prepare tea and describe the different varieties.
Through their blog, the store owners demonstrate their knowledge and provide a personal touch despite being online. I placed an order.
I am trying to take a similar approach in marketing myself as a freelance writer. I’m developing a website, but I’m also using my blog to write about communications topics such as resume writing, oral history or technical writing. Potential customers can get a feel for how I write and for how I approach a communications project. And perhaps I can attract customers, not only locally but nationally or internationally.
As Seth Godin says in his book, Meatball Sundae: Is your marketing out of sync?, “You can dream of the AOL strategy or the Oprah strategy or some other strategy that involves vast amounts of cash or vast amounts of attention. Far more realistic (and profitable) is to ignite your networks. To create a story that spreads from person to person, from blog to blog, that moves through a community and leaves an impact as it does.”
What is your Experience?
I’d be very interested in receiving feedback. Do you have some examples of successful marketing techniques? What would you recommend?
In my next post, I’ll provide some further examples of techniques that organizations can use to promote their products or services.