16 Jun 2003
Buzz from ActiveWords emailed me a few weeks ago offering me a free copy of ActiveWords if I tried it out and blogged about it. This is a clever marketing tactic. It doesn’t cost him anything, but my write-up might win him a few customers. This is a different use of weblogs in business. Find people with an audience that matches your target demographic and get them to try your product. Offer them an incentive, like a free or reduced cost version of the product, and ask them to write about it. But before you run out and do this, plan your approach carefully.
Buzz got my attention because he didn’t just send a blatent promotional message. He could have sent a long email explaining the benefits of the product and asked me to write a review. But instead he sent me a comment on something I had written on my blog and followed it up with…
Try our stuff, blog about it and I would be honored to give you a copy.
It’s a simple, to the point message that gave me a few links to get more information. No pressure to reply, publish a review, or even say anything favorable about the product. Buzz had confidence in his software and knew that once I tried ActiveWords, there was no way I was going to say anything bad about it. Simply put, ActiveWords is amazing.
The basic premise is that ActiveWords watches what you type, in any application, and performs actions based on what you’ve typed. The most obvious use is for simple text replacement. Type name followed by F8 and you get your name. Type eml and ActiveWords will insert your email address. That’s an interesting idea, but ActiveWords does a lot more. An ActiveWord can launch a program, or a URL. If I type edit followed by the trigger key, EditPlus opens up. The ActiveWord analog opens my stats page in my browser.
An ActiveWord action can be triggered by pressing a confirmation key after typing the word or by simply typing something and hitting the space bar. I’m not likely to ever type the wordiexplore so I’ve set that to open Internet Explorer for me. No more navigating through menus so I can launch IE for testing.
Activation without the confirmation key can also help you automatically correct your spelling. I often type hte instead of the. Now when I do that in any application, ActiveWords corrects it for me. You can even download a dictionary of 1800 common English autocorrections.
The more I use the product, the more useful it gets. And I haven’t even started to play with it’s scripting abilities yet.
So here’s what Buzz did right. He sent a low-key message offering me a copy of his product. The message didn’t feel like spam because he started with a comment on something I had already said and laid off the promotional text. His product is useful and well-built, so he knew that once I tried it, I’d probably like it. By reading my blog, he could tell that my readers would be the type of people who were likely to try his product out.
If you are a Windows user, you need to try ActiveWords. If you are a marketer, you need to try marketing by blog like Buzz does.
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