I am a big fan of comedian Dane Cook and have been watching his Tourgasm show on HBO. On the show, he and 3 other comedians travel the road in a big bus and perform all over the country.
On the last episode, Dane was giving advice to a younger comedian on the tour. He was talking about how he was really utilizing Myspace and other similar technologies to market himself. He said that he had embraced every new technology as a way to reach out to his fans.
He showed the young comedian the 12,000 add a friend requests he had gotten in three days on Myspace. Wow. Imagine tens of thousands of people basically begging you to market to them.
Dane Cook really understands his market, in fact he has been credited with bringing the younger generatio back to stand-up comedy. He views technology as a force multiplier - allowing him to keep in touch with tens or hundreds of thousands of his fans.
This is a great use of technology - and his is free.
When can small business marketers learn from this?
Technology, particularly to the younger generation, is about community. Myspace, for example, is now the most popular web site in the world. The new Internet (reffered to as Web 2.0) is all about sharing and connecting.
As a small business you probably can't afford to hire dozens of programmers to build a community portal like Myspace. However, you can learn to leverege the tools that are already out there for you.
Look at community sites like Myspace and linked-in. You should be blogging. Build an opt-in newsletter. Frequent message boards where your customers go. Connect, connect, connect.
The most important lesson of all!
In web communities sales pitches will get you nowhere. In fact people will resent you if your only intent to connect with them is to deliver a sales pitch. Comedians and musicians tellking people about albums and gigs seem to be the only exceptions to this rule.
Look for conversations with your target market. You can get a lot of insite into what they are looking for. As they start to trust you - they'll seek your business out.
J D Moore - Marketing Comet