Quick Tip – Make Your Brand Look Popular, Even if its Not (Yet).
I was reminded of this age old marketing strategy when I stepped into Bamee Thai Noddle Shop in Chicago’s Lakeview district for a quick bowl of Tom Yum soup. The place was empty at 1:30pm, but looked good. I was immediately seated at the most visible table from the street. Whether or not he realized it, this restaurant owner was using me as a marketing piece, showing passersby that the shop was doing business.
This strategy is often used in all forms of persuasion. Think about the tip jar at your local coffee shop. When it has a few dollars in it, you are more compelled to drop in a buck. If a blog post has three comments, you are more inclined to read it and even comment yourself, then if it had no comments.
So how do we apply this strategy to online marketing?
Create vanity badges for your website. why would a company create something if no one was going to use it, therefore they must be popular. (SEOmoz is a great source for SEO news, and a great example of positive brand popularity building.
For blogs, if you have no comments, then hide the counter. Don’t bring attention to a lack of community involvement.
If you are trying to recruit Twitter followers, create a button that links to your Twitter and below that display the last three Twitter users that followed you.
Work on your SEO strategy to return your site first for your brand name followed by 9 “discussion” type listings in the results. Better yet, get Google to auto complete your brand name after the first word or term.
How have you taken measures to increase your brand’s perceived popularity? Have you ever been “tricked” and realized it after?
The possibilities are endless. The trick is to get creative, be subtle (don’t post fake blog comments), and focus on building brand value in the long term rather than short term.