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Say Hi (It's Great Marketing)
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Say Hi (It's Great Marketing)

Mar 7 2014, 8:48am CST | by

By Neal Taparia, co-founder, Imagine Easy Solutions. “Hey you,” I yell to the man strolling in a purple shirt about 15 feet ahead of me.  He slows down. I think I’m going to reel him in, but he...

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20 weeks ago

Say Hi (It's Great Marketing)

Mar 7 2014, 8:48am CST | by

By Neal Taparia, co-founder, Imagine Easy Solutions.

“Hey you,” I yell to the man strolling in a purple shirt about 15 feet ahead of me.  He slows down. I think I’m going to reel him in, but he speeds up again to New York City walking pace. With some gusto I shout, “Hey you, in the purple.” He stops, turns around, and is greeted by my smile.

I should clarify that this wasn’t just any purple shirt; he was wearing a Northwestern purple shirt. As a fellow alum, I wanted to introduce myself. I found out that we lived in the same freshman dorm and both studied economics. He was looking for finance opportunities in New York City, and knowing some people in the space, I facilitated introductions for him that evening.

I love doing this, and I do it whenever I see someone wearing a Northwestern logo. We share a special experience, so the ability to develop a rapport is natural. Moreover, these opportunities present themselves everywhere — from transatlantic flights to the New York City subway.

When it comes to marketing a new product, then, why do so many people struggle getting the word out? In my experience, the key to marketing is to simply start talking — preferably to the people most likely to listen.

When my friend and I launched our first product in high schoolEasyBib.com , we postered flyers in our school and even left them at barbershops. We invaded AOL chat rooms (remember those?), and even naively reached out to the Chicago Tribune, which later featured us. Today, due to our efforts, and of course some luck, EasyBib has over 40 million users.

Now, as a Northwestern grad, I can do one better: I can tap into a native network whose members often have genuine interest in what I’m doing. Recently, using Northwestern’s alumni database, we’ve been reaching out to targeted alumni to get feedback and product validation on the beta version of our new product GetCourse . Not only has their insight been helpful, many of these individuals asked to be our initial customers, or recommended others. What more could you want when trying to get initial traction?

We’ve now gone beyond Northwestern. My business partner reached out to his Brown University database. Then we asked part of our team of 35 to become part-time marketers to reach out to their respective databases to get more feedback and cast a wider net. The more we learn, the better the product we can create. And, not uncommonly, those who give us feedback are also truly interested in GetCourse.

Don’t get me wrong. Not every alumni connection is open to providing their thoughts, but the ability to have a material conversation is significantly higher than cold outreach.

In fact, we had some fun and crunched the numbers to see which alumni network was more receptive: 40.6% of Brown alumni talked with us, with 15.4% interested in trying GetCourse when ready. Only 7.8% of Northwestern alumni talked to us, but 75% of them asked for early access to the product. We consider this an interesting snapshot of alumni affinity.

Such outreach doesn’t have to be limited to your alumni network. You could try:

  • Attending a conferenceBeforehand, research which attendees or speakers you’d like to connect with. Two weeks before the conference, ask if they have availability to provide feedback on your work. Be sure to explain why their feedback is valuable to you and your product
  • Joining a meetup.com (or similar) group. Get in touch with those attending the next meetup session, and ask if you can talk with them at the session. While direct contact is alway a great way to develop a relationship, meetup.com also has tools to send messages to the group (if appropriate).

When launching your product, yes, tell everyone. But focus your energies on those groups of people who are mostly likely to engage with you, like your alumni network. More importantly, don’t shy away from saying hello to someone you may have something in common with. It may lead to an opportunity to relevantly promote what you’re working on, which can lead to introductions or new business.

As Wayne Gretsky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Neal Taparia is the co-founder of Imagine Easy Solutions, whose newest product GetCourse  enables simple online course creation. Prior to working on Imagine Easy full time, Neal graduated form Northwestern University, and worked at Lehman Brothers but left 8 months before its demise. Follow him @tapneal.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective , a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan R ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by robber ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by t ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Husse ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last month. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Moha ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 mill ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Ba ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Sky ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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