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People love the sound of their own names. They want people to remember their names. They want businesses to recognize their names. More importantly, they want their names to mean something to other people. So, let’s talk about how promoting vanity helped some businesses.
The Larry David Sandwich
How many of you are fans of “Curb Your Enthusiasm?” For those of you who aren’t, there was an episode where a deli named their sandwiches after local people, most of which were celebrities. These people would compete with each other over whos sandwich was better. They would tell their friends about their sandwiches and bring them to the deli to try it. In short, the deli tapped into the local vanity market and sold a ton of sandwiches.
Names, Names, Names
Now, consider the local newspaper success story Chip and Dan Heath talk about in “Made to Stick.” The Daily Record, founded by Hoover Adams, focused on “names, names, names.” This strategy helped them take this local newspaper from startup to the number one Dunn, North Carolina newspaper. Or, more specifically, one of the only local papers that had more subscriptions than people living in town.Overall, The Daily Record crushed the competition because they stuck to their local roots by using community names and community pictures.
College Girls on College Humor
When I was in college I remember these two girls. They went out one night and drank too much. They ended up making out and pictures were taken of them. About a week later, one of the girls said, “How cool is this? We’re on College Humor.” They told their friends about it and asked us to check it out. College Humor gave people their five minutes of fame and every person featured talked about it, which resulted in more traffic for College Humor.
More recently, they launched the “Hottest College Girl” contest where they ask for user submissions and let the community vote on the hottest college girl. Since these girls want to win, they will tell their friends and family to vote resulting in more traffic for College Humor.
The Success Factors Prescription
You now know three things:
- How a deli built buzz
- How a newspaper crushed its competition,
- How College Humor grew organic traffic
But, now you are asking yourself, “What can this information do for me? How can it improve my business?”
1. Make Your Customers Celebrities - The college girls were personally involved in promoting the College Humor website since they wanted votes to win the contest. So, you should look to make your customers personally involved in promoting your business. For example, when Shoemoney sends out a free Shoemoney t-shirt, he asks people to take a picture wearing it. They’re glad to do it because they get on Shoemoney’s popular website, and he’s glad to let them because he gets free promotion.
2. Find the Influencers and Talk About Them - The deli found the local influencers and played on their vanity. While the influencers argued over who had a better sandwich, several local customers would be buying the sandwiches and trying it for themselves. You can look to use this in your business by getting the big name influencers involved. For bloggers, you don’t need these celebrities to promote you. Instead, write an article about them and see what happens.
3. Join the Community – The Daily Record joined the local community and stayed local, which made local people want to read it. You can accomplish this by immersing yourself in your niche and never leaving. For example, now that Darren Rowse started Twitip, have you noticed how much he talks about Twitter on Twitter?
What Do You Think?
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