My dad is a great poker player. When I was growing up, we would take a few trips through Nevada every year so he could join in some of the big games in Vegas, Reno and Winnemucca. Every morning he would give me a stack of silver dollars from his winnings. Part of playing poker well is knowing when to fold and when to stay in the game. It takes guts to keep your cards in the game, especially when it looks like the odds are stacked against you.
I have been thinking a lot about poker as I have watched businesses fold here in my hometown, Corvallis Oregon. It is a shame to see good businesses falter as their income dwindles. One reason I got into social network marketing was to help others get the most out of their dream business. Over the past weeks, I have often wondered how I could have helped the businesses now closing their doors. Many owners brush off tools like blogging, twitter, and facebook as passing fads. It is times like these that can convince them to take a risk on something new. Explaining the difference between interruption marketing and permission marketing usually gets their attention. Interruption marketing usually gains a 1% return on the dollar spent compared to ~5% return for permission marketing p.59 Meatball Sunday, Seth Godin. Permission marketing is so cheap that it hardly seems like a risk at all.
Social networking is really just another way to mobilize their greatest marketing tool, word of mouth. Little do they know, many of them are already benefiting from it without buy in.
Here are a few examples:
A few weeks ago my friend Lance posted on twitter that he was enjoying the coffee and internet at a local shop called The Vibe. Soon a few others were joining him. I myself went there for the first time today. My wife and I liked it so much we tweeted about our experience. The rest of the story is yet to unfold, but I know it has only gained them more followers than they would have without this publicity.
Another story started the old fashioned way. I was taking my daily coffee walk to the Great Harvest when we began to talk about where we have been eating out. One of my friends mentioned that my favorite restaurant, Big River, had a weekday entre menu where every item was only $9.99! This news made my day, and I decided to take my wife there on Wednesday. Tonight we both enjoyed a meal off the special menu. They kept the great quality, and it was such a remarkable experience I decided to post the menu to twitter and make sure others knew about the deal.
Neither of these establishments is willfully involved in social networking. The possibilities could be endless if they were to engage. Luckily, I don’t see Big River hurting for business. As our economic situation grows direr, many businesses that are still thriving today may find a similar fate as the ones currently folding. Engaging in the tools of today may be their only shot at getting their message out before they are forced to close their doors as well. Being a little gutsy early in the game may allow them to be the ones still holding their cards and cashing in on the pot.
Other than poker my Dad loves to entertain guests at his Mountain Lodge and Resort Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge
This post keeps getting new traffic over time so I thought I would do a revisit.
My friend Kevin Miller posted a really good video on his blog: Restaurants should own their local market
with his permission I have embedded it here. Enjoy!
Free Agent Underground: Restaurants should own their local market from Agent Kevin Miller on Vimeo.