How To Create Killer Buzz Around Your Biz
Inc.|October 2019
Nudging your customers to sing your praises is the best advertising you never bought. But be careful: There’s an art to this ask.
Coeli Carr

When the recession decimated the corporate-gift- market accounts of the Goulet Pen Company, founder Brian Goulet sought out new ideas—and customers—at a foun- tain pen show near his Richmond, Virginia, home. “It was a revela- tion, seeing all these fanatical people in fishing vests with pockets stuffed with fountain pens,” says​ Goulet, who quickly realized that pen fans represented a community that he’d missed. He wrote a new business plan, going from pen maker to online fountain-pen retailer. He began to participate in online message boards and forums, and also created a large social media presence, a newsletter, a blog, and more than 1,800 how-to videos, along with interactive, live-stream ones, generating hun- dreds of comments daily. With revenue in the low eight figures after growing 25 percent in 2018— his wife, Rachel, is co-owner and COO—Goulet has simple advice for companies eager to generate posi- tive consumer comments: “Go where the conversation is happen- ing, solve problems, and add value.”

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