Text

Best of 111in2011

Yes, one of this content free summaries about previous read books - but I think it would be nice if you had a small reading lists with some great books.

Best of Marketing
Ice to the Eskimos

Probably to most creative marketing ideas I’ve ever read about. Jon Spoelstra has excellent writing skills, it’s so much fun to read this book even if you’re not into basketball. He’s probably what you think a marketing guy should be. Creative, uncommon and full of power. If you want to read about marketing that stands out of common marketing then this is the book for you!

The Referral Engine

Not as loud as Ice to the Eskimos but filled with love and thought about your customers. Show love to your customer and he will probably learn to love you. I think this book is ideal if you work in some sort of service industry where you have direct contact to your customers. But even if you build some product, you can learn a lot about how to please your customer and why pens as advertising gifts probably won’t work.

Best of Organization
The E-Myth

Probably one of the most important books if you got more than one employee. Micheal E. Gerber shows you how you can organize your company so that you don’t have to work in the company but you can work on the company. This book is so full of useful ideas and their implementations that you probably won’t be disappointed.

Built to Sell

One could say that Built To Sell is a unofficial sequel to The E-Myth. John Warrillow tells this excellent story in this book about a guy who has a advertising company and he wants to sell it. Like The E-Myth this book shows how to make yourself dispensable in your company - and so got more time for other important things. Awesome book, even if you never will sell your company.

Best of Entrepreneurship
Running Lean

The best book, I read, about customer development. Ash Maurya explains demonstrates colorful how to find markets, test your ideas and track your objectives. Furthermore, the book is neatly organized and quite short. If you want to start a company then Running Lean should be on your reading list.

Best of Management
Rework

A book for people how value quality over quantity. The guys from 37signals explain their business philosophy in Rework and it’s excellent. It’s a down to earth approach on running a business - work less, but better - stay simple - hire reasonably. A magnificent book for small and medium sized business owners or new entrepreneurs.

Text

#39/111: Think Outside the Inbox

What is it about?

David Cummings and Adam Blitzer explain how to automate your sales process and how marketing automation can save you time and increase your customer count.

Key points?

Segment your customers: It’s nothing new to segment your customers into age, location or job occupation. But you could also segment your customers into their willingness to buy. They propose to add scores for each customer on which they get treated differently. For example, you could give someone +10 points, if he enters his email address or +25 if he downloads the trial. This allows you to tailor individual action to each willingness segment.

Join your customer informations: Most companies got a CRM, website analytics, bid on Adwords and maybe work with salesforce.com. It’s important to collect all data and make it more useful. If you connect your CRM and website analytics, you can ask people why they don’t use your website anymore or offer upgrades for power users. But beware, it shouldn’t be too creepy.

Drip marketing: In Referral Engine I presented this concept at first. It’s about staying in touch with your customers and prospects. You can send them useful information, offer specials or invite them to webinars. It becomes especially powerful if you use it with customer segmentation. You could take people with low willingness scores into a nurture program where you offer them useful information and slowly build a relationship.

Conclusion

There are some really cool ideas which only a few companies use today. I think these tools are extremely powerful and you should really consider starting to employ them. Think Outside the Inbox is not really a how to guide but maybe there is one. If you know one, please comment on this post. Thanks!

Text

#37/111: The Referral Engine

What is it about?

How did you first hear about Google? Someone probably recommended it to you. Why are restaurants often fully booked? Mostly because of recommendations. John Jantsch shows how to build a recommendation process for your business. The key to one is content, context, connection and community.

Key points?

Be recommendable: Firstly, you have to be recommendable, i.e. your service has to be outstanding. One example was a kitchen remodeler who always cleaned up the space after a workday. This is simple, but not standard.

Create great and useful (contextual) content: Even if you don’t work online this is a great strategy. Let’s take a kitchen remodeler again, he could probably gave each customer a short booklet with tips for how to buy great kitchen equipment. Or just simple instructions for how to clean the surface. Most customers would be happy to see that you care for them.

Don’t disconnect: Yeah, it’s great to hit one deal, but make it two or three. Try to connect with your customer. Send them thank you notes (handwritten!), send them some useful information or send them a gift. How about three high quality wooden spoons?

Work with a community: The last part is to connect your business to customers and other businesses. Invite your best customers to a dinner so they can create relationships and you can get useful advice from them. Furthermore, try to find businesses that can help you generate more referrals. The kitchen remodeler could build a network with a bath remodeler. Both get more referrals and can help their customers to get high quality work. Don’t build a network with everybody. Select them thoughtfully!

Conclusion

My recommendation is to read this book. Firstly, it is very well written, the format is great and each chapter has a short summarization. Secondly, the advice is really great and there is tons of it. I don’t think that there are people who already doing everything recommended in this book. Thirdly, do I really need more reasons? Yes? OK, John Jantsch gives specific advice for a lot of businesses (e.g. lawn services, computer stores or law firms) and he tells you how to implement his recommendations. Extraordinary book!