Christmas With the Kranks: Respond to Market Demands

Christmas with the Kranks“Christmas With the Kranks” is a slapstick comedy based on a book called “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham. The upshot is that the protagonists, Luther and Nora Krank (played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis), want to “skip” Christmas because their daughter is spending Christmas overseas in the Peace Corps. They plan to take all the money they save and go on a cruise. It’s a great plan, only they run into a few problems.

Their friends and neighbors object to their lack of Christmas spirit and heckle and bully them, attempting to force them to get back in line and get their jolly on. They successfully resist… until they learn that their daughter is unexpectedly returning home for Christmas.

The Kranks have to scurry around in order to create Christmas at the last minute, borrowing Christmas trees, pulling together an eleventh-hour party and trying to woo back the neighbors in the community they’ve alienated. Of course, all ends well once the Kranks respond to the external pressures and get back in line.

So, what do the Kranks teach business owners? The main lesson is that you can make all the plans in the world, but sometimes you just need to respond to what your market wants.

Poor Luther and Nora don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. So they want to head in a different direction this year. What’s the big deal?

Well, the big deal is that the Kranks’ audience (neighbors and friends) like things just the way they are. They don’t want the Kranks to change. They want things to stay the way they always have been – even if the Kranks have different ideas.

Think about trying to change something in your business – your website, your pricing structure, your offerings. Even if you’re positive the changes are for the better, you can hit serious backlash because your customers like things a certain way. They like knowing that the “buy” button is in red at the bottom of the page, or that your podcast comes out every Wednesday – not Tuesday, and certainly not Thursday. If you mess with their routines, you may have to pay the price – just like the Kranks.

Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t ever make changes to your business. It’s just a warning that you’d better make sure the risk is worth the reward, and that you’re not changing just for change’s sake.

Don’t mess with your customers’ Christmas.

Elf: Enthusiasm Is Contagious

Elf movieTake a six-foot tall adopted elf named Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) who wants to find his birth father, make that father the prickly James Caan, and throw them together in the midst of New York City and see what happens. Buddy wants a warm and cuddly family reunion; his father Walter wants nothing more than to make this newfound son disappear, preferably with a pair of cement boots on him.

Ah, but this is Christmas, so not only does Buddy convince his new family that syrup tastes good on everything; he also wins the heart of his stepmother, half-brother, and the cynical Jovie, his new love. And yes, Walter eventually sees the light.

So business owners, here’s your business lesson from Buddy the Elf: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

So… what if you’re not Santa? Buddy would tell you it doesn’t matter. Enthusiasm is catching. No one is going to be more excited about your business, your product, your podcast, your class, your blog than you are.

Sometimes we feel a little hesitant to show our enthusiasm. It can be risky to show how much we care about something. But if we don’t show our passion, we’re not going to convince anyone else to follow or act on our recommendations.

Think about the last time you went out to eat. If the waiter or waitress gave a lackluster endorsement to the daily special, you likely took a pass. But if she or he said, “I just tried it before my shift and it was delicious!” you’d be a little more likely to partake. Enthusiasm sells. Period.

Here are a few tips to make like Buddy the Elf without sounding like a used car salesman (or an escapee from the North Pole):

  • Be honest. Don’t sell or promote something you don’t believe in. It never works – people can tell, and you’ll damage your reputation.
  • Be yourself. You may be the understated type who isn’t going to jump out of a helicopter a la Richard Branson to promote your latest business venture. You don’t have to be! (One Richard Branson is enough for this world.) But do show your energy in a way that is natural for you.
  • Be realistic. If you promote every new thing that comes down the block, or have a new solution du jour, pretty soon no one is going to listen to you.

You don’t have to dress up in pointy shoes to get people to buy your new e-course. But hey… if the shoe fits… why not?

How To Take Advantage of Real-Time Search

Search-Engine-Marketing“Real-time searches”?  A few weeks ago, we explained the concept, but it bears repeating.   A real-time search engine will help you see what people are talking about “right now” on sites like Twitter. If you want to make sure your site pops on these searches, you’ve got to “get in the now,” so to speak. Doing so is going to make your website a lot more popular and get you a lot more traffic — which in turn makes you more visible and will bring in more customers, too.

Keywords count

Just as with other types of search engine savvy, the keywords you use so that you are seen by real-time search engines have a big impact, too. Use relevant keywords in your titles and in your updates. For example, you could be writing content for your “Widget X” website and the latest and greatest product updates, so you can update what you’re doing on social networks like Twitter, too.

This real-time inclusion helps your subscribers and customers feel “in the know,” which is going to bring them closer to you and make them more likely to check you out and stay on top of things — and thus keeping them loyal to you, which also means more cash in your pocket.

What keywords should you use?

Continue reading How To Take Advantage of Real-Time Search