Sunday, May 30, 2010

Offline Marketing With a Better Business Card

If you are doing any sort of publicity, advertising or marketing in Japan, then you need a business card. In this country, a business card is a must. 


But is your business card boring and forgettable?

I think I have one of the best business cards around...

One of my favorite writers is a guy named Gary North. Gary writes for Lew Rockwell and he also sends out a weekly newsletter with tips on making and saving money. I highly recommend it. Gary gives out great information in his articles and newsletter for free! You can find it at the link above.
Divorce Lawyer's business card

Interestingly, Gary's newsletter this week was about a topic that I had written on yet never posted, yet I think about it every time I hand out my business card. Gary's weekly newsletter had great advice about business cards. I had never posted the article I wrote and it sat in my "edit bin" for months, because I thought what I had written was only half the equation. I was right. Gary had it pin-pointed precisely in this week's newsletter. 

He writes:

If you are in business, you have a business card.

I'll bet your card features you.  Mistake!

Why is this a mistake?  Because a stranger does not care about you.  He cares about himself.

Your card has your name in bold print in the upper left-hand corner.  Why?  "So that he will remember me."  But why should be bother to remember you?  "Because I can help him."

Conclusion: design your card to help him.
The #1 goal of your card should be this: to let him find the card readily when he wants a problem solved that you solve for a fee.

The upper left-hand bold-faced words should relate to the problem.  Example: Car repairs.  Example: Lawn mowing.

He will not recall your name.  He may recall the card because of the topic.  When he thinks, "Where did I file that card?" the card's topic may pop into his mind.  Your card's topic had better trigger this response. 


This is excellent advice. The only thing that I would add is that 
if you are going to make a card that is about you, then you had better stop to think of how you will leave your mark on the person you hand it to. In my former profession, nobody really thinks, "I need a disc jockey or a producer." So I had to make a card that people see once and they never forget me. I did.

The front and back of my "show business" business card* 

In Japan, there is a sports-card collecting boom going on. It's not just professional sports athletes, it's Star Wars, Pocket Monsters, Harry Potter, you name it, they are collecting it. I made my card to look like a sports card.

Now, when everyone else gets a standard white business card and then, two months later, they look at that card and wonder, "Who is this?" With my card, people keep it and show it to their friends and say, "Look at this cool card I got." Now, that is having people run around and promoting me when I'm not around. And that is smart.

Click here for a bunch of other good ideas for cards.  

Now some of you might be thinking that my silly card would be too expensive to design and make. Not true. I hired a professional designer and calculated the cost to where I got the per card cost down to the same price of a standard white card in lots of 100. (In Japan, 100 standard white business cards cost about ¥3,000 - ¥30 each). I printed up 3,000 cards and they were even cheaper than ¥30 each! 

So make a card that says what the customer wants in an easy-to-find place like Gary North advises. Or, if you can afford to go crazy due to your work, then GO crazy.

Stand out and be noticed. Do that online and offline.

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*My business card was designed by Tsuchiya san at G-Love... One of the best design companies in Tokyo. I highly recommend them!

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Keywords: publicity, advertising, marketing, Japan, business card, Gary North, Lew Rockwell, information, articles, newsletter, Tsuchiya, G-Love, design

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Make a Press Release Every Week

Creating a buzz is always hard work, but you can increase your chances of doing so by operating like a weekly magazine publisher and making a weekly press release. It doesn't matter if you don't have "Big" news every week... The important thing is that you use your creativity to make something newsworthy every week so that it merits a press release.

Some good folks have asked, "What is the best way to keep in the public eye?" Of course there are many ways, but one of the best and most profitable ways to do so is to create continual press releases about you, your company and product or service; and do it every week religiously.



Think about those weekly magazines; it is incredibly difficult to come up every week with an interesting jacket and headline that sells magazines. But they work at it and come up with a catchy idea and and catchy image that sells magazines. You should think like they do. The magazines and daily newspapers have it hard. You have it easy. All you need to do is to come up with one good idea once a week that will have people reading about you and thinking about your service.

You will also want to target your press releases to the public and certain people in the media - and I am including all forms of media. Find specific media targets that may be able to help you. Send out e-mails to them - not BCC - specific e-mails addressed to them personally. Keep doing this and, after a few months, they will start to pay attention. Trust me, I know this for a fact after years of working as a radio and TV producer; editors and producers get tons of mail and junk; it takes a special effort to get them to sit up and take notice. Items addressed to "anyone" just don't cut it.

With bloggers or online items, you might be able to get a bit more luck if you take the time to find out who these people are and then write to them directly. A warning though, people don't like it if you ask for favors without knowing at least a little bit about that person (it used to drive me crazy when a record company promoter would give me Hit Parade of Hell albums (Top 40) or a Madonna CD and ask me to play it on my show when I was producing a show that only played Punk and Alternative music.)

I talked to media star George Williams the other day and he mentioned that he was going to start his own blog and design it much like Max Keiser's web page or Mike (Mish) Shedlock's. Like the examples I mentioned, George's web blog will have blogs, videos, U-Stream, Tweets, Pick, and other goodies.

George Williams (right) with up-and-coming rockers,

George and I also discussed promoting it properly. We talked about having a press release party whereby he announces his new web blog and, then for laughs, maybe he announces that he's changed his name to georgewilliams.jp. The party will have drinks and snacks and unveil the web page. This is a good opportunity for George to build a buzz. First, he gets to announce the event; then, report on it as it is happening; then he gets a follow up report... There's three press releases right there. From then on, it's just a small step to making a useful and beneficial press release every week to promote himself and his business.

You can do the same.

So, don't forget to think like a weekly magazine publisher; send out a press release every week. Target several important people who could help you or write about you. Then, of course, you place your press releases on your web page too.

Make a press release every week. It's good enough for the big boys, it's good enough for you...That's just smart marketing.

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Keywords: Buzz, business, press release, smart marketing, catchy idea, weekly magazine, publisher, Max Keiser, Mike "Mish" Shedlock, blog, web page, promote,  U-Stream, Tweet, Pick, George Williams, Nothing's Carved in Stone, publicity, advertising, marketing, Japan

Friday, May 28, 2010

Read Books. Improve Yourself... You Are the Only Asset You Really Have.

If you want to make it in today's world, then you need to read books. Lot's of them. I especially recommend books on business and Internet marketing. Today I will recommend some of my favorites.


The reason you need to read books is that books help you to improve yourself and to learn.




Many people say that now is the digital age and if you do not have command of IT and the Internet, then you are doomed to failure. I might agree. But I'd also like to point out that today, and as has been the case for a thousand years, the successful, educated, and wealthy read books. The future will be no different; the  people who do not read books are left behind. 


If you do not read books and watch even a little bit of TV, I suggest that you stop the TV immediately and start on books. Watching TV is a displacement of time that could be used for more important, fruitful endeavors. Even reading a novel is better for your brain as, with a novel, your imagination is at allowed to exercise itself.


I work in publicity, advertising and marketing in Japan and I know if I don't keep up on new things, I will fall behind very soon. 


I know one guy at a major Japanese TV station who complained to me that things weren't going so well. I recommended that he start reading books... He looked flabbergasted. Now, here's a guy who is about 40-some years old and in-charge of about 6 people. His business is going really bad. I told him to look for the answers in reading books... he replied, "Mike-san, I hate reading books. I haven't read a book since high school." 


I replied, "There's is no difference between people who can't read books and people who don't read books. Think about that." 


He acted as if it were impossible for him to read books because he has some sort of learning disorder.  


  
This is a guy who is a section chief at a company that is losing a quarter of a million US dollars a year. Are you surprised that they are losing money? I'm not. Doesn't he realize that he has a responsibility to his staff to keep up on information? Doesn't he realize that he is being negligent towards his families' future?


No. He doesn't. Why doesn't he? He watches too much TV and hasn't read a book in almost 20 years?


What an idiot. I hate calling him an idiot, but no other words apply.


Reading books helps you to imagine, to grow, and to develop your skills and knowledge. You'll need to do these things and constantly improve yourself to be able to compete in the next 10 - 20 years.




As famous American professional basketball coach Pat Riley once wrote, "If you are not getting better, you are getting worse."


One of my favorite books is Focal Point by Brian Tracy. In Focal Point, Mr. Tracy supports my argument by writing; "To earn more, you must learn more... You are your most valuable asset... You must continually feed your mind to develop more of your potential. You must continually upgrade your abilities to think and perform at higher levels. "


So improve yourself. Get into the habit today of reading at least one book a week... Preferably not novels or comic books... I mean books about business and self-improvement.


Improve yourself... You are the only real asset you have.


Here are my recent favorites:


Brian Tracy; Focal Point and Goals
David Meerman Scott; New Rules of Marketing & PR
Chris Anderson; Free the Future of a Radical Price
Seth Godin; Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, New Edition and Linchpin
Malcolm Gladwell; Outliers 
Marie Winn; Plug-in Drug




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Keywords: business, internet marketing, books, skills, knowledge, Brian Tracy, Focal Point, upgrade, ability, abilities, self-improvement, publicity, advertising, marketing, Japan, Mike Rogers, Mike in Tokyo, Marketing Japan

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pick is Going to Blow Away Twitter in Japan

Into social media at the click, or, should I say, at the Tweet of a button? Then, if you are in Asia, you are in for a treat. There's a new social networking tool just out of the market and I predict that it is going to blow away Twitter. The new service is called Pick.  (http://pick.naver.jp/)

Why is Pick going to change short-text social media? It's easier than Twitter and it puts your photos right next to your text...And! (And this is the kicker) because the girls seem to love it. You can put your photos right up on your page, next to text and there's no waiting and troublesome hyper-links to follow, like Twitter does with Twit Pics....

While Twitter, from what I understand, is definitely male-dominated, the new kid in town, Pick - by a South Korean company named Naver (http://www.naver.jp/) - is 70+% women users.... In Japan, it's the women who control the money, so targeting them seems like good common sense.

What makes Pick better than Twitter?

One simple thing; Pick allows you to take photos while using your cellphone camera while inside of the Pick software and put them immediately on your page - cool and incredibly fast and convenient - while Twitter forces you to upload a link and then your followers have to click another hyper-link after they read your Twitter.

On Pick, it's all on one-page.

Another thing that makes me sure that Pick is going aggressively after the women in Japan is that they've hired multi-media star George Williams to be their "face" and spokesman...

Probably Japan's Top Multi-media Star,
 George Williams 

George is well-known on TV and radio and is considered one of Japan's opinion leader's and Internet trend-setters.

Pick. It's going to happen big-time in Japan. You read it here first.

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Keywords:

Pick, Twitter, George Williams, Multi-media star, Asia, Naver, South Korea, cellphone camera

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Should My Corporate Web-Page Look Like?

Lots of people ask me to show them a good example of what a corporate web page should look like... That's a tough question to answer. But I'm going to show you two ideas that might get your brain working and point you in the right direction.


Of course what your corporate web page looks like depends a lot on what kind of business you are in. If you are Toy-R-Us, then your site might be fun and colorful... But this type of image is not good for a company that does, say, Liposuction or performs frontal lobotomies. So spend a lot of time thinking about what your company stands for...


As I have mentioned in other posts, here, and here, you have to give in order to get people to come visit your site; people have to be motivated to go to your site or they won't come. They'll be motivated by free give-aways or by free content that is useful and beneficial to them.


Anyway, I do not want to get into a long discussion about what the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 at this moment (I promise that I will explain this, in detail for you, by the end of this weekend)... So just let me jump forward to two examples of fun pages that are up now and doing well.


The first example is of Monty Python's Flying Circus page on YouTube.

The YouTube page bio reads:


"For 3 years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube. Now the tables are turned. It's time for us to take matters into our own hands.

We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we've figured a better way to get our own back: We've launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube.

No more of those crap quality videos you've been posting. We're giving you the real thing - HQ videos delivered straight from our vault.

What's more, we're taking our most viewed clips and uploading brand new HQ versions. And what's even more, we're letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there!

But we want something in return.

None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years."



So Monty Python creates this great page (that does allow comments - so it is a start at Web 2.0) and what were the results? Amazingly, it created renewed interest and Amazon.com sales of Monty Python's products (CDs, DVDs, books) exploded up 23,000%!  


This was a campaign I arranged for Domino Pizza.
5 Lucky couples buy a pizza and win a vacation to Macau!


Another good example of a company that I have been working with who really "gets it" is Domino Pizza Japan. Their page isn't perfect, but, for now is pretty darned-near perfect. The guys handling this for Domino Pizza, Mssrs. Ikeda, Karasawa, and Higa deserve some kind of award!


Domino Pizza has the right idea about their web business. Their landing page has videos, contests, and free games for people to play.


This is genius because, if they can make money off the web page itself, then they create their own media, replacing the old "advertise on TV or print" model.


The results?


Their web page gets over 1.2 million unique users per month... They have an e-mail magazine mailing list of over 750,000 people... 


Domino Pizza Japan also "gets" the idea that their pizza boxes and menus are "media" too! In fact, I am now arranging a few campaigns this year whereby 4 or 5 couples who order Domino Pizza through the Internet and sign -up for the e-mail magazine get the chance to win all expense paid vacations to Europe or the United States. 


Who wouldn't want to join a contest like that?


I have also arranged a contest for people to visit Croatia this year along with several other vacation spots. The fans of Domino Pizza get a chance to visit one of Europe's most beautiful countries and the airlines and Croatia win too because the campaign is featured on Domino Pizza homepage and in 5.5 million menus that Domino Pizza prints...


Zagreb is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
Croatia is "The Mediterranean As It Once Was"... Beautiful!


Don't forget that those Domino Pizza menus are powerful media as they are kept by the people on their refrigerators by magnets for a month or two... What a great vehicle for promotion.


The customers win, Domino Pizza wins and Croatia wins. Everyone is happy...



I'll have more on these types of mutually beneficial promotion tie-ups later this year as this is my forte... and what I spend most of my time doing. It is the future of advertising and marketing in, not only Japan, but the world. Don't forget, Google gives away everything for free and is one of the most profitable companies in the entire world.


So when Domino Pizza and the government of Croatia get together and start giving away things for free, they both get great promotion and new customers and everybody wins! Of course, it is free!


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Keywords:


Domino Pizza, Croatia, Google, free, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Europe, menus, advertise, TV, print, Monty Python, Toy-R-Us, web 1.0, web 2.0, unique users, e-mail magazine 












Monday, May 17, 2010

Social Media for Businesses - Create an Online Persona

Creating a useful and powerful way to utilize social media for businesses and corporations can be tricky. Social media is not conducive to "in-your-face" advertising. In fact, if a company is not careful using social media such as Twitter or Mixi to sell product, it can completely backfire and be a total turn-off. A good way to get many people to stop following your, say, Twitter account or blog is to consistently bombard them with information that says, "Buy Me!" or "Sale!" Not cool. Think about it... Would you look forward to, or like to read, blogs or tweets like that?

American icon Betty Crocker sold millions... 
She never existed except on boxes and TV

For your websites and social media to be effective, they need to give and not to take. The killer blog and/or Twitter will be giving away great content for free and doing it consistently. Then the receivers pass the information on for you.

Just as your website should not be a one-way sales brochure, so should your social media usage be geared towards giving away something for free to the receivers so that they actually look forward to your tweets and updates.

I am about to start helping some friends of mine with their online sales of adult beverages. Sure, they have a great line-up of the usual suspects; e-mail magazine, easy to look at web page, etc., but they need something different. They need that extra "Umph!" to push them over the edge. They need something that sets them apart from the competition. While all the other online beverage retail sites say basically the same thing, my friend's site needs to take it one level higher.

As Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap fame would say, "These go to eleven."

Yep. Go to eleven. With all the millions of sites on the Internet doing something near or similar to what you are doing, how do you go to eleven?

I'll tell you; give away great content.

Many companies start up their own business blogs or order their staff to write Twitter pushing company product. These never go well... For one, the people asked to do the blogging or the tweets are not the kind of people who should be, or are good at, blogging... Or they might even think, "This sucks. I hate doing this Twitter, but my boss makes me do it." Resentful staff do not make good bloggers...

Think about that for a minute. If the person that you've ordered to blog is not very motivated to do a good job, do you think they will be able to write great material? And everyone knows, in this day and age, if the material on the Internet is not great, then it doesn't cut it.

If the person writing the Twitter or blogs doesn't like it, then why in the world would the "outside" people want to read it? I don't think they would. In fact, if the blog or Twitter is poor, or is not gaining traction or popularity, I'd suggest stopping it until you do find a formula that "works."

Here's a tip: Instead of forcing one of your staff members to do the blogging or Twittering, why don't you have a brainstorming session at the office (maybe after work with a few drinks?) and come up with a virtual person? An online persona? How about a sort of "Internet Milli-Vanilli" to represent your company (for you younger people in the crowd who do not know who Milli Vanilli is, please ask your parents....) Make the character fun. This way, you create a fun atmosphere around this person and it also allows the online persona to have more personality and state more likes and dislikes online.

Make your own Colonel Sanders; or, even better, make your own Bart Simpson as your sales rep. Why not? Who wouldn't want Bart Simpson to be their sales rep? Sometimes he says it like it is. What great promotion!

Everyone loves a character who is sassy, talks back, has an opinion, and not kissing ass and telling us how wonderful the world is all the time.

Volkswagen did this and the results were fantastic. They created an online persona whose name was Helga. The staff of Volkswagen got together and created Helga. Who she is; how old she is; her hobbies; likes; dislikes, even where she was born. She was an immediate Internet hit... And she doesn't even really exist.

(1) Helga on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/misshelga
Her catch copy says, "Don't be sucking." 
 Hilarious! I love it! 

Now, don't think that this sort of thing is so easy to do. If you realize that a character like, say, Homer Simpson was a creation that has a consistent personality, then you'd realize that this same "creation of a persona" process took place in the birth of Homer. The staff of the Simpson's got together and worked on the characters for a long time before they came to fruition. Homer is funny because he is who he is...

This didn't happen on a whim. It was planned; the creators of Homer Simpson, or Helga, or even Betty Crocker got together and decided everything about this persona... Everything! Every conceivable detail about who they are and what they like...Probably even up to who their parents  were.

This sort of persona creation can be fun and it should allow your company employees to have fun with the tweets and blogs for the virtual character.  It also takes the extreme pressure off that one staff member (who could be slightly resentful) who is supposed to write the blogs and Twits.

You can ask the staff to blog or tweet when they have a good idea... (Like I said, if your staff hates blogging, then you have the wrong people doing it)... If your own staff just won't budge, then there are hundreds of thousands of good people all around who'd love the opportunity to work and write for you as "piece-work." Or, heck, like I said, if the character is fun, you might even find that you like doing the blogging. It's always fun to write behind a mask, if you are so inclined to writing.

Or why not even hold an online contest on your web page or forum whereby your e-mail magazine members (new and old) can join a contest where they can win some great prizes by either writing some great text for you or even creating your character? There are a million and one ways of doing this and the ceiling is your imagination.

So don't forget, the point of the Internet and the blogs and Twitter: Do Not Take! Do not do "in-your-face" sales! Give great content free and create a buzz...

When you create a buzz, they will come... Even if your buzz creator doesn't really exist.

(1) Helga from The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott.  Page 179


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Keywords: Helga, David Meerman Scott, New Rules of Marketing & PR, Twitter, Internet, blogs, free content, buzz, Internet Milli Vanilli, Mike Rogers, Marketing Japan, Mike in Tokyo Rogers, Betty Crocker

Sunday, May 16, 2010

USA Bankrupt by 2015

Read this!

...the national debt in the US (on a gross basis) will climb to above 100pc of GDP by 2015 – a far steeper increase than almost any other country!


http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/edmundconway/100005702/us-faces-one-of-biggest-budget-crunches-in-western-world-imf/

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where to Buy Physical Gold in Tokyo



Today I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off but I wanted to reply to a friend who asked, "Where is the best place in Tokyo to buy physical gold?"


Well, I don't usually do this sort of thing (because someone is sure to say, "I know someplace better!"), but let me tell you the best place I've found (I mean, price and service-wise).


The place is called, Tokyo Kikinzoku Jiganenten. It is 30 seconds walk from the South Exit of Okachimachi Station.


Tokyo Kikinzoku Jiganenten KK
5-21-7 Ueno, Taito-Ku,
Tokyo, Japan 110-0005




株式会社東京貴金属地金店
〒110-0005
東京都台東区上野5丁目21番7号
TEL 03-3836-0050
FAX 03-3836-0214
テレフォンサービス03-3836-2200




URL: http://www.tohki.net/


Another good thing about this place is that if you buy over the "legal limit" that must be reported to the tax office, they will allow you to buy without giving your name and address.


Thanks to those businesses who still support the free market! I mean, we buy the gold so that we don't have to pay extra taxes, right?