The Clean and Green Club, November 2014

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Shel Horowitz’s Clean and Green Marketing Tip, 

November 2014

This Month’s Tip: Do You Pay Attention When Key Contacts Drop Into Your Lap?

You know by now that my eighth book, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, was published by John Wiley & Sons, a major business publisher. But you probably don’t know how that came about.

It started ten years ago, when I got an order for my ebook on having fun cheaply from someone I recognized as an Internet marketing superstar.

So I seized the moment. Along with his ebook, I sent a note saying that I admired his work and offering him, as a gift, a copy of Principled Profit, my original self-published book on business ethics and green practices as success principles. Luckily, I didn’t know that he was living in New Zealand at the time, or I might never have made the offer.

He responded enthusiastically, I sent the book, and (as I’d suspected) he loved it. He wrote me a blurb, and we began collaborating on a few projects. I blurbed his next book, and then he asked me if I’d write an essay for it. I did, and invited him to be a guest on the business radio show I hosted at the time. We corresponded on various ideas about marketing and social change for several years.

And then one day, out of the blue, I got a note from him asking if I’d like the contact information for his editor at Wiley. It took me about eight nanoseconds to say yes, thank you. By that time, his editor had actually been promoted to Publisher. So I had a personal introduction to the head of a major New York publishing house from one of its best-selling authors, all because I had made a gift when serendipity dropped him into my inbox. Remember, he did not originally contact me for anything to do with marketing or social change. He wanted my book on having fun cheaply. (Years later, I found out he had bought it as a gift for his then-wife.) And so I pitched Wiley on an updated, expanded edition of Principled Profit.

While Wiley was considering my book proposal, I got a brainwave: if Wiley said no, I’d approach Jay Conrad Levinson, founder of the iconic Guerrilla Marketing brand, to be my co-author. If Jay said yes—and I thought he probably would based on some of his writing that showed sympathy to the green cause—it would be easy to find a publisher. When Wiley finally said yes, I realized, duh, I could still ask Jay. So after getting my Wiley editor’s approval (“oh, you mean we get TWO marketing geniuses? Yes, we like it.”), I approached Jay, using an ancient AOL address I had from interviewing him about 12 years earlier. Amazingly, it still worked. Not so amazingly, he was eager to participate.

I’ve reached out over the years to many people who have considerably more fame than I do. Some have responded, including former US President Jimmy Carter (who declined to endorse Principled Profit but added me to his holiday card list–and his beautiful cards always include a his own art on the cover), Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup series (who DID endorse that book), celebrity musicians including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Paul Winter, and Arlo Guthrie (all of whom I’ve interviewed for local newspapers), leaders in both the green and marketing worlds including BNI founder Ivan Misner, comedian Swami Beyondananda, green economist Hazel Henderson, and green business leader Joel Makower, all of whom I’ve interviewed for either my teleseminar or my former radio show, and Stephen M.R. Covey, the best-selling author who generously agreed to write the forward for Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green.

With the exception of Swami, for whom I’d organized a live event when he mentioned in his newsletter that he was looking for a gig in New England, I approached these folks cold, through public channels.

There are other ways, too. I’ve also approached well-known authors at conferences, and usually gotten their contact information (sometimes some quick informal no-charge consulting, too)—and occasionally an ongoing relationship. Another way is to comment (appropriately, please–absolutely do not spam them) on your chosen celebs’ articles, blog posts, videos, and social media presence. I’ve cultivated these types of relationships with many movers and shakers, sometimes maintaining the correspondence for years before I ever ask for anything. Just last month, I saw a Facebook post from an author I’d read decades ago, commenting on a mutual friend’s post. I immediately friended and corresponded with her, and she’s likely to become a client!

Some have not written back. I asked both the Dalai Lama and the late Nelson Mandela if I could interview them for a book project I was thinking about, and never heard from either one. But what did I have to lose by trying? Only a few minutes of my time. What if they would have said yes if only I’d asked, as those others did?

Next month: how to approach celebrities so they say yes.

Friends/Colleagues who Want to Help
Reminder: Business For a Better World Telesummit is Replaying NOW

You got a mailing on this on Monday, November 3—still seven more calls to listen to at no charge, starting today:

Nov. 17 Allen Rathey: Healthy Green Homes/Green Biz in Conservative Places


Nov. 18 Christophe Poizat and Tsufit: Building Successful Internet Communities

Nov. 19 Ivan Misner: The Ultimate Face-to-Face Marketing System

Nov. 20 Harry McAlister: Animations with A Message

Nov. 21 Ana Weber: Loving Mondays, Finding Passion, Shifting Hats 

Ongoing Shel Horowitz: Business For a Better World (interviewed by Tom Antion)

Ongoing Shel Horowitz: Overview: telesummit +8 bonus calls

Listen to each call on its appointed day, no charge.

And of course, you can get unlimited access to the entire series of 17 calls, plus eight bonus calls not available any other way, for just $49.95. You’ll get to here from world-class marketers, including:

  • Jay Conrad Levinson, who created Guerrilla Marketing, the most successful marketing brand in history (and my co-author for Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green) 
  • Michelle Shaeffer, who went from a stay-at-home teen mother to a celebrity blogger diva in the work-at-home-mom and homeschooling niches
  • Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, a networking organization whose members pass each other $6 billion in referrals every year
  • Marcia Yudkin, one of the world’s leading experts on marketing to and for introverts (and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met)–her insights on the size and power of this market will shock you

As well as top luminaries in the green business world, such as:

  • Joel Makower, founder and chief reporter/conference organizer for GreenBiz.com, a man with an in at every major company in the world
  • Hazel Henderson, who evolved from a children’s health and safety activist to one of the foremost experts on ethical business vs. traditional economics (I’ve been following her work since she published Creating Alternative Futures in the 1970s—what an honor to interview her for an hour)
  • Dean Cycon, the very creative CEO of a coffee company that is so successful, it can afford to give 50% of profits to village-led community development projects in the coffeelands

$49.95 gets you all these and quite a few more.

Visit http://www.business-for-a-better-world.com/telesummit/ to register for the freebie calls, listen to the two unlimited-access calls, and buy your recording package.


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About Shel & This Newsletter

As a green business profitability/marketing consultant and copywriter…award-winning author of eight books… international speaker and trainer, blogger, syndicated columnist – Shel Horowitz shows how green, ethical, and socially conscious businesses can actually be *more* profitable than your less-green, less-socially-aware competitors. His most recent book is category bestseller Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green: Winning Strategies to Improve Your Profits and Your Planet. Shel also helps authors/ publishers, small businesses, and organizations to market effectively, and turns unpublished writers into well-published authors.

Shel Horowitz’s consulting firm, Green And Profitable, is the first business ever to earn Green America’s rigorous Gold Certification as a leading green company. He was inducted into the National Environmental Hall of Fame in 2011.

He began publishing his monthly newsletter all the way back in 1997, making it one of the oldest marketing e-zines (it’s changed names a few times along the way).

“As always, some of the links in this newsletter earn commissions—because I believe in the products and services enough to promote them (I get asked to endorse lots of other programs I don’t share with you, because I don’t find them worthy).”
Another Recommended Book—Recommend This!

Recommend This! Delivering Digital Experiences That People Want to Share, by Jason Thibeault and Kirby Wadsworth (Wiley, 2014)

Here’s the perfect follow-up to last month’s review of Story Based Selling. Recommend This! incorporates the idea of the story, but wraps it around the lens of ongoing relationships. Whether in person at a retail store or digitally through top-quality content, you build relationships that move people along from prospect to customer to loyal fan to ambassador. Thibeault and Wadsworth don’t talk much about turning your customers into ambassadors (your unpaid sales force, as I call them in one of my own books)—but they do talk about building a relationship that could last decades.

And in the relationship economy—they coin the term “relawatts” to measure it—the true currency is attention.

Yet, it’s challenging to grab attention when we have access to—and use—a nearly infinite number of channels, and have limitless numbers of contacts. In the old days, people researching a major purchase might have consulted an issue of Consumer Reports; now, they go on the Web and read product reviews, talk to their friends on social media, pass through Google a bunch of times, and probably finish with a trip to the company’s own site (or Facebook page)—and they could be doing this from any mix of desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and phones, sometimes simultaneously. It’s a nonlinear pattern that looks random. And you have to engage people on these outside sites—but the goal of your interactions on social media should be to bring the visitor over to your own website, where you can control the process and mine the data.

Meanwhile, the old Dunbar rule about people managing about 150 connections is totally out the window. We might have thousands of people we’re connected to, but those connections are far shallower than in the past.

And they point out that a relationship has to be two-way, if the prospect or customer wants that. Which means customers and prospects have to have ways to interact with you, even if they’re just visiting a website or downloading a white paper. However, not every prospect wants to be interacted with, and smart businesses allow users to stay anonymous. Google, for instance, is based on a pure (non-monetary) transaction. The visitor is “just looking”; Google provides the desired information, which the visitor clicks on. Google does build more of a relationship with its real customers, such as its advertisers—but not necessarily with the causal visitor seeking information.

Thibeault and Wadsworth suggest that the way to solve all of this is by becoming a thought-leader, and they see four key mindset shifts that marketers must make: from firing messages at prospects to talking to (I’d say with) them; from transaction to engagement; from sales-oriented to helping-oriented, and from just-another-vendor to highly credible, trusted information source.

Forget about push-style selling, sales funnels, and such. Become an expert curator. Provide information, solve problems, and yes, tell stories—not so much about the brand, but about how its customers solved their problems by using the brand (a crucial distinction).

And let customers and prospects talk not just to the marketing staff, but to the product experts–including other customers. They see that two-way communication as conveying a major advantage to the digital world. When active users comment on your product, or even on your white paper, they become part of the curator world, and have elevated themselves beyond mere transactional interaction; they feel invested in your stuff.

But companies can go farther, and harness available technology to provide a first-class user experience. Thibeault and Wadsworth believe in websites that respond differently not just in adjusting to and optimizing for the users platform (what browser, what device), but in the content of the responses to visitor queries. Taking it even further, companies can start and nurture their own online communities. A well-run community, Thibeault and Wadsworth say, can be a powerful competitive advantage.

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