Win Friends and Influence People, Version 2.0

Dale Carnegie’s principles translate to the digital world

Over the last several months the question I get asked more than any other is how to leverage the Web to make a business stand out. The frequency of the question, along with the intensity in which it is asked, tells me that people understand the Web is going to be just as important to them as the radio, telephone, and television is today.

Before the Internet, when business was literally done with a handshake, small business types relied solely on local customers. This meant they had to spend a lot of face time with the people they wanted to do business with. And many used the principles espoused in Dale Carnegie’s landmark book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Although the book was originally written in 1937, it’s as popular and relevant today as it was back then. Let’s look at how a few of Carnegie’s original concepts are being applied today to help make inroads on the Web.

Be a Good Listener. Encourage Others To Talk About Themselves. A great example of this is what Anita Campbell did over at SmallBizTrends.com. Anita wanted to get more people to share comments on her blog. So she invited a group of “A-list” marketers to share their best kept marketing secrets. Afterwards she posted a blog entry with all of these great marketing secrets, and then invited readers of her blog to use the comments section to offer up one of their own marketing secrets. As of the time of this writing more than 120 comments have been posted to that one entry. Not only did her readers enjoy reading the marketing tips from the experts, but also sharing their secrets and participating in the conversation.

Make The Other Person Feel Important and Do It Sincerely. I was recently featured in a short post on The Wall Street Journal’s blog where I talked about a few ways to raise your “Google Quotient.” It was nice to have my opinions featured like that, but the real pleasure for me was provided by Julia Schopick. I had never met, e-mailed, or spoken with Julia, but that didn’t stop her from thanking the WSJ folks for writing about me. Apparently after reading that post she Googled my name, found my blog, and learned of a service I wrote about that helped her provide better service to her clients. She didn’t have to do that as I am a complete stranger to her, but her doing so really made me feel great. And I let her know so by leaving a comment on her blog.

Dramatize Your Ideas. About three weeks ago I received e-mails from five different people about a YouTube video I HAD to see. That video was the Barack Obama “Yes We Can” video. Not only did I look forward to seeing this video because five people whose opinions I value highly said I should, but it was the way each described how they felt when they watched it. And regardless of your political

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