Ideas for Startup Marketing – Take something boring and make it exciting

If someone asks me which field should I choose for my new business, I would tell them to go with a boring field. Why boring, why not something exciting like Twitter mashups, iPhone apps, a brand new social network etc.

Well, there are multiple reasons for this.

  • Boring fields are time tested for profitability and they have existing customer base.
  • You can easily excite the customers in the boring field.
  • Hiring and retaining employees is easy.
  • Raising capital or getting help is a breeze because everyone knew the line of business and how it works.

But we tend to shy away from boring fields like accounting, law, manufacturing, education, various types of services etc. because, well they are boring.

So today, I want to share a simple example of how you can take something boring and make it exciting for your end users.

Take a look at the example

Medicine cups made exciting

Recently, both my kids had throat infection, cough, cold & fever. So the doctor prescribed a bunch of tonics (syrups) and asked us to medicate them twice a day. All the tonic bottles had similar looking medicine cup. A bland, boring, transparent plastic cup with markings on it to know when you poured 5ml.

Except one of them. It had a fish cartoon on the back. Guess what, my kids love to take medicine from the fish cup. They call it fish mandu – meaning Fish medicine. They line up and open their mouth excitedly when we hold the fish cup in hand. The others, not so much. And it is not because the medicines taste bad or anything. They all are sweet.

Are your customers excited about your product and service?

The lesson is simple. Deliver more than you promised. Understand what excites your customers and give it to them.

So, how are you planning to excite your customers? Share your ideas and interesting examples in comments.

Quick update + an Interesting Podcast Link

Sorry for staying away from Startup Desi for long. As you can guess, I am busy – with a product launch. Today, we have launched a new training program, called as VBA Classes to teach VBA to Excel beginners & intermediate level users.

I will be back on Wednesday with a juicy post on running start-ups. But until then I have a podcast interview link for you. This is an interview by Pat Flynn & Yaro Starak – two of my favorite start-up bloggers.

Click here to listen to How Pat Flynn Lost His Job Then Made $203,219.04 In His First Year Online

The interview is for about 45 minutes and packed with lots of insights and info on creating your own web-based start-up.

2 Lessons on Wowing your customers – From Kingfisher & Mozy

I am leaving to Maldive in a few hours and I will be away for a week. I am going there to do an Excel Workshop. But I thought, I will quickly share 2 wow experiences I faced in the last week so that we all could learn something.

Kingfisher Puts Sofas in their Airline Shuttle Bus:

Yesterday, we took a Kingfisher flight from Vizag to Chennai. After getting down at Chennai, we boarded a shuttle bus so that we could reach terminal. Everything was usual, except, they have sofas in the bus instead of boring gray-blue chairs. Big, red Sofas that made us feel relaxed, instantly!

I am sure it would not have cost Kingfisher airlines much to put those sofas in place of regular chairs. But think of all the word-of-mouth and wow-experience they created. Just impressive.

[photo of kingfisher bus from dingle-speaks]

Mozy lets go of $2

As some of you know, I use Mozy to keep online backups of my work. Recently, we bought a new desktop computer at home. So I went to Mozy’s site to add this new computer and download the backup software. Mozy is pretty cheap, they charge $5 per month per computer backed-up. So this new computer would be an extra $5 per month. But since I am adding it in the middle of month, they would charge me an $2 or so for the remainder of the current month.

At least, that is what I thought.

But nope, people at Mozy are pretty awesome. So they show me a message that goes like,

Your upgrade costs you $2 for rest of this month. Next month onwards we will bill you $10 per month. But since $2 is such a small amount, we decided to let go. Enjoy unlimited backups with Mozy.

How impressive!

How do you pleasantly surprise your customers, employees, partners?

Surprise is a such a good emotion for marketers. When used in moderation, it can result in lots of word-of-mouth and awesome experiences for everyone around us. What surprises you are going to unleash?

How are you WOWing your customers? – Story of Amazon Date Picker is one heck of an inspiration for many entrepreneurs. For me Amazon means excellent customer service thru their website. They strive to wow you every time you visit their site.

Today I want to share a simple story with you on how they wow with the date picker (little calendar like thing that you use to select a date on many websites).

Date picker?!? really? What can you do to make the date picking experience wow?

See what Amazon did:

(This is the date picker shown while selecting the date for delivery of a gift)

That is right. They highlight holidays and other special dates. They didn’t choose a standard date picker, instead, they customized it so that customers can be wowed even while picking a date for delivery of a gift item.

#1 Secret to Selling Better – Remind

Ever wondered what makes the best companies in the world sell more?

It turns out, Despite having a kick ass product, loyal customer base, stellar marketing efforts, all these companies use one simple trick that just works.

They remind customers to purchase.

That simple. See how, Rediff Shopping reminds me to get a gift.

Rediff Shopping sends me a reminder

How you can remind your customers?

Here are some practical ways to remind your prospects and customers about your products.

  1. Send a newsletter: Newsletter e-mails are best way to remind your members about website / business and invite them. Send useful information and add 1-2 sales messages once in a while. The results can be quite encouraging. [I recommend using Aweber for sending newsletter, they just rock.]
  2. Add links: Add links to your products and services at relevant places in your articles. For eg. if you sell call recording software, mention about it when you write about “10 tips to using skype better”.
  3. Do not abuse the permission: Many marketers think, just because a person has given them an e-mail ID, they can bombard the prospect with a ton of mails. This is wrong. You should be sensible and useful. Do not abuse the permission your customer has given you.

How to win back lost customers – example from Cleartrip

With this post, I am going to start a series called There is Awesome Everywhere. In this I will share examples of kick-ass marketing, simple but effective sales ideas and inspiration with you.

First thing is an email offer I received from Cleartrip is like kayak or orbitz for Indian flight, train and hotel reservations.

Today morning I have spent 20 minutes looking for trains so that my in-laws could attend a wedding this weekend. Even after finding a train, we couldnt book tickets due to excessive server load at cleartrip.

So I closed the window and resumed my work.

20 minutes later, I get an email from cleartrip folks with this message.

See how elegant, simple and effective this is. They have offered me Rs. 50 money back if I book a ticket in the next 2 days. They knew I have bailed at 2nd step of check out process. They knew that I am a reliable, repeat customer (booked so many tickets with them in last few years).

How can we put this idea in to practice?

Here are few practical ways for small businesses to put this in to practice:

  • Find all the people whose last comment at your site is 6 months ago. Invite them to a special one time bonus page for further engagement.
  • Use cookies to keep track of prospects who leave mid-way thru checkout. During their next visit, offer a personalized bonus or invite them for a webinar / demo.

What do you think?

Do you find this technique useful or awful. Please share using comments.