How fitting to give the writer who also happens to live on a cattle ranch the topic of Purple Cows to blog about, right? Absolutely! As I sit here in my cozy chair with my laptop resting comfortably on my lap, I chuckle and applaud myself for choosing a second degree in business…my good-lookin’ rancher is knee deep in ‘I-know-what’ waiting on the veterinarian to show up for an emergency c-section on one of the cows, with more than likely an unexpected set of twins. Let me paint a picture :: it’s after 11:00 pm, 29 degrees and foggy, and the vet is aging. No doubt I will get to bed before he does this evening!

Ok, but what about Purple Cows? The violet bovine reference comes from best-selling author and marketing extraordinaire, Seth Godin, and is the title of a book that has been around for some time — but has a timeless message that you as a business owner need to hear again and today’s social media world needs to realize.

The quirky and savvy marketing guru offers some oldschool advice to small business owners that can be applied immediately for immediate results. Sound a little rushed, you say? Think about it — if you are reading this blog then you are more than likely taking an active part in the social media supernova that has taken over this world and is showing no sign of leaving; the burst is quick and captivating and the interstellar phenomenon is sure to travel through space for a long, long time. That’s exactly what he’s talking about and can be applied to your business and social media right now.

1. Do The Unexpected – Surprise, Don’t Shock
It’s one thing to run over your customers with a car to leave a lasting impression but it’s another to pleasantly surprise with a simple gesture they weren’t expecting in this hustled world. Why, a personalized thank you note and Facebook post from Mr. Car Salesman? How thoughtful!
2. ‘Going The Extra Mile’ = Business As Usual
98% of businesses have a coffee pot. And 99% of the time it’s out of coffee. And if you are the new kid on the block with a Keurig, I know of highly intelligent men who don’t realize the flashing blue light and screen message that reads, ‘Add more water’, actually means to add more water. They don’t know where to add more water. Instead of a generic ‘help yourself and good luck’ cup of joe, go the extra mile and offer and pour a cup for someone!
3. Be Bold Not Boring
This one has the most potential for creativity and can be applied 1,125,464,127,856,648,132 ways. Ever heard of Pinterest?? Take a couple minutes, think of a way to grab customers attention in your industry and let the creativity flow…just don’t spend three hours on the addicting website, off topic.
4. Work Doesn’t Have To Be Just About Work
One of the greatest perks about small businesses is that you have greatest opportunity to get to know your customers on a more personal level. I’m not suggesting you show up for their kids’ dance recitals and doctor visits but find more about them and common interests you may have.
5. Reward Loyalty With REAL Rewards
Anymore, reward programs are getting confusing. In fact, I have all but given up. I don’t have time to log in to check points and no, I don’t have my little card on my keyring because I brought the spare set today so I don’t get the 25 qty for $9.99 Kleenex boxes? Crap. Instead of ridiculous reward programs that don’t really reward, offer something that does. Team up with another local business and offer a gift card or use a local shop for catering homemade cupcakes on Fridays. Who doesn’t love cupcakes on Fridays?!

Now, time to rope it all in! Social media is here to stay. Your customers are not going to tv and phone book for information about products and services but rather to the internet and are getting results…immediately! Friends, neighbors, co-workers, parents, siblings and strangers galore are tweeting, buzzing, posting, blogging, and getting the word out a whole lot quicker than you ever could with a 30 second radio slot on the afternoon show. By taking part — and thinking out of the barn– in just a few random customer service acts of kindness, you are going to push your business ahead of the competition by being the exception to the black cow rule! You will be the Purple Cow everyone is talking about and standing in line to check out!

Author Amanda Hall

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