How To Sell A $97 Strategy Session – This One Is For Larry!

How to sell a $97 dollar strategy sessionThis post is about how to sell a $97 dollar consulting or strategy session.

You are going to see the length and wonder what the heck is so hard about doing this, but this is actually a piece for one of my all time favorite clients who is EXPLODING in his business recently and ready to take the next steps to make more money (and strangely enough, it will not be $97 at a time!)

Not A Money Maker

If you are doing a $97 consultation, even if it is for just an hour, you cannot do or source enough of them to make big bucks. Think about it…40 hours a week, $97 a hour times 52 weeks in the year IS just over $200,000…but…you are probably not a machine that can spit out great information on demand or keep too many stories in your head all at once. You will also have to do marketing and lead generation, administration and business development.

So why do a $97 session? It is basically to weed out the people who are tire-kicking or just fishing and find the diamonds in the rough.

Why So Much Resistance

In our coaching business, we find that many of our “peeps” are super resistant to doing this, and maybe not for the reason you think. Here are some common reasons they give for not being comfortable:

Realtors/Real Estate Investors – Larry works with real estate investors from the US and around the globe. He has an amazing real estate investing website and has recently started writing for a very highly regarded real estate investing magazine. On his site and in his popular newsletter he says constantly that people can call him with any questions, that he is available anytime. Very few people call, and the ones that do are mostly at the very end of sales cycle and are ready to talk money, but it seems to be taking them a long time to get there. One huge factor holding Larry back is that in the real estate industry, Realtors work for free until a deal is closed and he isn’t sure that someone will be willing to pay him for his time and expertise before being ready to close a transaction.

Direct Sales – We have another client who works in the direct sales industry (MLM). She has been a top recruiter for many years on a national level and her expertise is a highly coveted skill. That said, she feels really funny about charging people for her time. Mostly she works just with the people who are in her downline and puts charity time in working with people who belong to her company but are not in her downline. She has seen other people work with MLMers and charge for it, but it is hard to get her head around why someone would pay her money and how that would help grow her direct sales business.

Who Am I To Talk?

So you are on my site reading this so you probably know that I am pretty good at marketing, but what you may not know is that for years all my lead generating was done on a semi-paid model. I would give free talks around town or where ever I happened to be and offer the people in the room a $97 consult. I never did “coffees” or one-on-ones because I can’t help myself, I tell whoever I am with all about what they should do marketing-wise and if I met with 20 people informally I would get paid $0 and have wasted my time.

I say that I wasted my time because I am in business and the goal of being in business is to make money, not to help random strangers. Helping out people with no thought of payment is a non-profit model and I am a for profit business. Additionally, they got the ideas and concepts for free, so they assigned that exact value to them, $0, and didn’t really do anything with them.

Over the years I have talked to close to 1,000 small business owners and learned the back end workings of their businesses. Their motivations, goals and dreams which means that I can now help even more people do even better work in their business. While I no longer do $97 consults, I am super happy that I got all those chances to talk to people, building up my experience and their businesses.

The Real End Result

Enough about me, back to charging money for your time. So let’s look at Larry and his real estate investors. There are probably a few reasons they are not just calling him:

  • They really feel like they are going to be bothering him so they don’t call
  • They feel like if he is willing to talk to them for free, how good can the info be
  • They are so early in the process they would be “wasting his time” reaching out right now

It is funny that 2/3 of those involve people being considerate of Larry and his time. The people who are his best prospects really are happy that he is giving them great information on his site and in his newsletter, they respect his opinion and are just waiting until they are ready to pull the trigger before reaching out to him.

The problem is that some of them will never have enough information to make an investment, they will spend years and years, gathering information and never buy a property. Some other ones will read Larry’s stuff religiously, but not wanting to bother him, will pay someone else so they can have their questions answered and that guy will get the sale because he will have established rapport and been helpful on a personal level.

Strategy Sessions Instead of Consults

Consulting is experiencing a lack of respect and interest right now. People are sick of consultants who swoop in, talk-talk-talk and run out. We like to position our talks as strategy sessions because they are. We are not just throwing out info but making sure to put it together in a cohesive whole.

Another nice thing is that a strategy session feels like it should lead to another. You might want to offer them another session at a later date or even get them into a coaching program.

How To Set Up A $97 Strategy Session

Because I wrote this post for Larry, I know he was polite enough to read all the way through (aren’t you?!?!?) but what he really wanted was the meat, the step by step guide to how to make a $97 strategy session available!

1. Make A Page On Your Website – Write out what you are offering

I always gave them about 7 examples of things that we could talk about, but basically you don’t to have so much there that they rule themselves out because you don’t have their exact problem listed or so little that they don’t see a reason to give you $97.

2. You don’t need to put too much about you!

Probably you are selling your $97 strategy session at a speaking event, on your website or in your newsletter. All places where they already know how cool you are so keep the “about me” to a couple of key highlights.

3. You need a payment processing thingy (that is the technical term)

To start, we recommend using Paypal.com. Here is a BRILLIANT tutorial about how to put a PayPal button on your site. You just needs parts one and two! This functionally allows people to pay you, you will get notifications and they will get a receipt.

4. Thank you page

You want to have a Thank You page that explains what happens next (PayPal will let you designate this when you set up your button). This page should tell them EXACTLY what is going to happen next so they don’t worry that they just wasted their money.

I tend to tell them:

1. How long it will be before someone contacts them to set up their time (within one business day)
2. Who will call them (my gal Shell)
3. My phone number in case they have

here is my actual thank you page

5. A few graphics

If you are going to do this, do it right. Get with Fiverr.com person and have them make two or three graphics that will be on your page. You want a little bit of a variety so that you can share different things on social media and in your newsletter and people won’t get banner blindness (seeing the same thing over and over).

You should also have a call to action button on the sidebar of your website saying that they can “set up a time to call” or some other fun verbiage.

6. A sales sheet

It is important to have an on-site signup form anytime that you are giving a talk. You want to let them know that they can hire you. This one is a very gentle offer, all we are asking for is their name and email address. Oftentimes we would have a credit card signup sheet.

$97 Marketing consult

Wrapup

That is it! It looks like it has a lot of moving parts but is actually pretty straight forward and easy to do. If you would like help to figure out your business or marketing efforts, check out our Marketing Strategy Sessions!

BONUS THOUGHTS

The last thing I want to leave you with is the actual reason that you are doing these strategy sessions. You should have some real things that you are going to sell AFTER the fact. Now, that does not mean that your hour should be dedicated to selling something else. You should spend the whole time talking to your customer and finding out what they need.

After that you might find out that they need a product that you are an affiliate for, you might find out that they are ready for some ongoing training or they may be ready to start investing in real estate, they just needed some one-on-one time to figure that out.

IF they have additional needs and the money to spend on those, it is your responsibility to help them figure that out. You are not “selling, selling, selling”, you are really “helping, helping, helping”.

 

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The Best Business, Sales and Marketing Podcasts

The Best Businesses, Sales and Marketing PodcastsI admit it, I am a bit of a podcast junky! I LOVE listening to the latest and greatest information from people who I would never have had access to “in real life”. Seriously, they say that your income and success will match the 5 people around you that you spend the most time with. I think that spending time with amazing people talking to me in my head counts!

The Best Business, Sales and Marketing Podcasts Overview

Knowing I was going to write this post this week, I decided to look around the interwebs and see what other great lists were out there that listed podcasts that I might be interested in and really was saddened by the quality of the referrals. A whole bunch were just the “usual suspects” that I have some of, but most were about podcasts that had not updated in months or years. With that in mind, I will include the most recent date that I have updated this list and let you know if they stop or just fall out of favor with me (SO feel like the Red Queen…off with their heads!)

updated 5/29/2014

The Picking Criteria

Purely subjective. I have a bunch of time a week to listen to podcasts, but very little patience for misinformation. Not all of these are “professionally” done as that is not my criteria. My criteria is whether I learned something new about business, sales or marketing when listing to the episodes.

A “my life” note. I tend to listen to them all, even if the episode doesn’t seem to apply to me and my business. The reason is two-fold. First, they often go off topic or talk about something that I do like. Second, whenever I think something will be “stupid” it is generally the thing I need most in my business, I am just resisting because I am a putz. Just an observation.

My Criteria

I don’t like tiny little podcasts. I am not all that good at operating my iPhone so having to click and click and click to hear even a half an hour of content doesn’t work for me. That said, I did include one that was such good content I couldn’t resist.

I only have a couple that publish daily. There are very few people I want to hear from daily and mostly podcasters aren’t them. I like to have a great mix of genres and information as that is what sparks my marketing creativity.

Quality. As I said, quality of the sound is not my first priority. Nor is staying on topic if the sidebars are super interesting. Some of these have really structured, concise content and some are off the cuff. I will try to note that when possible.

 

The Best Marketing Podcasts

 

The Marketing and Sales Success Show – Tara Jacobsen and Rebekah Welch

The Marketing and Sales Success Show PodcastA recently launched podcast that talks about “real marketing” including finding your perfect customers, dominating your USP, testing and tracking you efforts and product development. It is a disorganized, rollicking fun time that is full of really practical marketing information. This is one of my favorites!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

disclaimer: this is our podcast…we are super proud of the work that we are doing on our Show!

The Impact Factor – Ken McArthur

The Impact Factor Logo Ken McArthur is a fellow that I met in real life as a speaker at his JV Alert Seminar. The neat thing about Ken is that he is SO nice that amazingly successful people are always around him and he interviews many of them on his podcast. The level of guests is really high and Ken is tremendously knowledgable.

iTunes | Stitcher

For Immediate Release – Chuck Hester

for immediate release podcast While this is a new podcast to me, it seems that they have been around A LONG TIME. The format is very structured and on topic (mostly interview style). There are different focuses of the show (LinkedIn, PR, guests). Chuck gets some really big name interviews and has a super professional style to his shows.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

I Love Marketing – Dean Jackson and Joe Polish

I love marketing logoI know Joe Polish is a big deal and you should listen to him (he knows stuff). That said, I have followed Dean Jackson for about a decade, starting when I was a real estate agent. He is a down-to-earth guy who is a wealth of knowledge about all kinds of marketing. They get some great guests and it is a really great show!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Marketing Podcasts:

Marketing Over Coffee – John J. Wall and Christopher Penn
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Audience Hacker – Jonny Andrews
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Marketing Smarts – Marketing Professors
Website | iTunes

 

The Best Entrepreneur Podcasts

 

Love Your Leap – John Lee Dumas and Tom Paige

Love Your Leap PodcastJohn Lee Dumas has the awesome Entrepreneur On Fire podcast that we have listed below, but that is actually just him interviewing other interesting people. I actually like this one better because I am getting to hear John and Tom talk about entrepreneurship and other topics relevant to their businesses, shows and selling. This is one of my favorites!

Website | iTunes

The Fizzle Show – Corbett Barr, Chase Reeves and Caleb Wojcik

The Fizzle Show Podcast Funny starts and very much “insider funny”, I love these guys. They are very zippy and have a wealth of knowledge. They are great and unorganized, picking a topic and the talking over each other throughout the show. I love this format because you get some real “a ha’s” out of the show! Great real world information.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Entrepreneur On Fire – John Lee Dumas

Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast logoSeems to me that everyone and their brother has known about this guy for a million years. That said, I just found him last month from my mastermind partner. Everyday he does an interview with someone, on a very structured format, in a super excited style. It takes a little bit to get used to, but once you know what is going on, the consistency is comforting and the absolute wealth of knowledge is astounding.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes

School of greatness logoLewis Howes is a really nice man (and not hard to look at!) His show is a little on the healthy side for me, but his integrity and sincereness overcome the fact that most of the times I feel like a total schlub when I listen to all the athletic people talking. He has mainly entrepreneurs and other notable guests in an interview format.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Entrepreneur Podcasts:

The Human Business Way – Chris Brogan
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Self Publishing Podcasts

 

The Self Publishing Podcast – Johnny B Truant, Sean Platt and David Wright

Self Publishing Podcast LogoOH MY GOODNESS, maybe my all time favorite podcast show ever. These guys are very unorganized, the topic is usually never the content and they bicker (my favorite episode is the one where they argue about pricing!) If you are writing books, you need to be following these guys. A lot irreverent, they are a great listen. This is one of my favorites!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

Rocking Self Publishing Podcast – Simon Whistler

Rocking Self Publishing PodcastSimon is a really neat guy who is very “British proper”. No swearing, on topic and a very organized show.

He has great guests and is obviously very genuine on his show. I really enjoy listening to this show and recommend it if you are writing and publishing your own books.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Self Publishing Podcasts:

The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Sell More Books Show – Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen
(they would have rated a blurb and a picture but Jim said he hated my EbookNerds Twitter…:)
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Self Publishing Roundtable – David Wright
Website | iTunes | Webcast

 

The Best Social Media Podcasts

 

Social Pros – Jay Baer and Eric Boggs

Social Pros PodcastJay Baer is a very serious guy who works primarily with corporate clients (I am not as familiar with Eric). I like this one because I get to “big picture, big budget” ideas that we sometimes are able to emulate for our “little guys”. They often have great guests (not all the usual suspects) who I can “meet” and start stalking on the Twitter.

iTunes | Stitcher

Additional Social Media Podcasts:

Social Media Marketing – Michael Stelzner
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Social Media Pubcast – Jon Loomer
(the only tiny one I listen to…it is that good!)
iTunes | Stitcher

Online Marketing Made Easy – Amy Porterfield
iTunes | Stitcher
 

The Best Podcasting Podcasts

 

School of Podcasting – Dave Jackson

School of Podcasting LogoDave Jackson is sometime snotty and sarcastic…I LOVE THAT! Very plain talk about what you should and shouldn’t be doing to make your podcast successful. Technical information, practical advice and occasional guests. I like that he talks the most, I want to hear from the people who have lived the podcasting life and know all the stuff that will mess me up! Lots of great practical resources.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

The Audacity To Podcast – Daniel J. Lewis

The Audacity To PodcastOHHH this guy tells it like it is. He had a huge argument with himself about whether episode numbers matter or not! The thing is, it really made us think about the structure of our podcast and how we wanted to set things up so we wouldn’t have trouble down the road! Pretty techy and as far as I can tell, all Daniel, he brings up some really amazing practical points.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

Additional Podcasting Podcasts:

Podcasters Round Table
Website | iTunes | Stitcher | Webcast

Podcast Answer Man – Cliff Ravenscraft
Website | iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Real Estate Marketing Podcasts

 

Curaytor Watercooler – Chris Smith and Jimmy Macklin

Curaytor LogoThis one is a little weird, you need to get on their mailing list, because figuring out how to find them is kerfuffly. They seem to do a webcast weekly (which is AWESOME, Chris cusses and drinks and asks really amazing questions – of COURSE I like the loud one!) That said, their iTunes doesn’t seem to have the same content and hasn’t been updated lately. I just watch the web shows.

Webcast

Additional Real Estate Marketing Podcasts:

Bare Naked Agent – Pat Hiban
iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Women Only Podcasts

 

Business Women Rock – Katie Krimitsos

Business Women Rock PodcastI know Katie “in real life” and she is just as nice in person as she seems on the show. She launched onto the podcasting scene, taking the community by storm and I couldn’t be happier for the girl! Her interviews are really good and she is attracting some amazing guests, both “big dogs” and regular business owners who work in the real world.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Biz Chix Podcast – Natalie Eckdahl

Biz Chix Podcast LogoEven if she wasn’t interviewing cool women, I would want to “hang out” with Natalie. She seems to be a really strong force for good, being a mother, wife, entrepreneur, and about a million other things. Her perspectives about the challenges of being a great mom and also a great entrepreneur are priceless for women like me who don’t just want to be a great business owner or a great mom, we want it all!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

 

The Best Internet Marketing Podcasts

 

Internet Business Mastery – Jeremy “Sterling” Frandsen and Jason “Jay” Van Orden

Internet business mastery logoI have listened to these guys A LOT over the years. It is funny, when they started they used pseudonyms and changed to their real names somewhere in the middle.

They have a great style and focus on beginning internet marketing. If you are just starting out and not sure how to get going, you can’t do better than to begin with these guys!

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Smart Passive Income – Pat Flynn

Smart Passive Income LogoPat Flynn is an awesome human being. The neat thing about this podcast is that he talks about how to do affiliate marketing, what works and how he has hosed it up. He calls himself the crash test dummy for how to do marketing and is constantly implementing and innovating new ideas. A genuinely nice person, I am glad he is my “friend” on the podcast.

Website | iTunes | Stitcher

Did I Miss Any?

Alright friends! I have listed most of the ones that I have on my phone (I told you I am an addict!) That said, I am sure that there are some amazing podcasts out there that I have missed…:)

If you have one or know of one and let me know in the comments, I will check it out and see if I like it. Please keep to the topic of the best business, sales and marketing podcasts. I monitor all the comments so spamming the crap out of this post with your icky spam links will not do any good!

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Podcast Marketing For Beginners – What To Do When You Are Starting Out

Podcast Marketing For Beginners -What To Do When You Are Starting OutAs you know I am a total marketing freak and I can speak super intelligently about many different types of marketing (public speaking, networking, graphic design, blogging, social media, SEO and about a gagillion more things). That said, I never had a podcast so I don’t feel like an expert at podcast this point by any stretch of the word.

I don’t know everything (yet) about podcast marketing, but what I do know about is the challenges and frustrations of hearing and reading bits from AMAZING podcasters who started years ago who now give totally different suggestions than than what they actually did to be successful. I think this happens in every business so I WILL have an amazing podcast with thousands of downloads someday in the not so distant future, but this is what I am doing just as we start out.

If you would like to hear more about our “journey” through podcasting startup, I will have that below!

1. Don’t just look at iTunes

I am a Apple fanatic, iPhone, MacBook Air, iPad and all. OF COURSE I was going to put our podcast on iTunes, but what do all those android users do to listen? I looked around to some of the blogs of amazing podcasters I liked and they had their shows on iTunes AND Stitcher. The cool thing is once you have that RSS feed thingy done, adding your podcast to other services is a breeze!

Here is our show on iTunes and on Stitcher.

2. Podcast graphics on your websites

Make sure the iTunes podcast and Stitcher podcast graphics are on all your websites, not just your podcast site (more about that later).

Podcasts are not mainstream yet, even though you may be consuming them like a mad person. BUT people who like podcasts REALLY like podcasts and will see your download on iTunes or available on Stitcher graphics in the top right.

Don’t get cute about them, much like the Twitter logo generally leads to a site’s Twitter account, your podcast buttons should lead directly to where they can find your shows to subscribe.

3. Have a separate website

I totally lucked into this one. We were messing around trying to figure out which of our “real” websites to use to host the show on, thinking that it didn’t matter all that much. Come to find out your show feed IS the thing that makes your iTunes and Stitcher bits work. I would not want the hassles of trying to keep my podcast feed separate from the hundreds of other posts that I have on Marketing Artfully..ack.

Additionally, I couldn’t figure out how to make it a great user experience for our listeners. If it was tucked in this site or the MandM Monsters site, they would have to hunt for it instead of it being right out there, front and center! >> check out our AMAZING Marketing Podcast website

4. Don’t forget what you already know!

Putting a keyword targeted link in there made me realize that oftentimes we discover a new technology or start a new project and want to learn all the “secret tricks” about how to do that one thing better. Instead, you should look in your bag of goodies and see what you are already good at (SEO, social media, networking) and make sure to use those skills when you are marketing your podcast!

5. Don’t listen to what they say, do what they did

So my secret crush, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, has a STUPENDOUS “setting up a podcast” post, that made our initial setup so much easier. But he said something in there that made me realize this post needed to be written. Pat makes thousands of dollars and had a gagillion downloads of his podcast. He has worked for years to build it up to what it is and is a raging success. BUT he says things like, “if I had it to do all over again I would..”

We have gotten most of our best ideas from listening and copying successful podcasters. Our intro is a compilation of a bunch of different starts that we like, the format was figured out by listening to a LOT of podcasts and figuring out what we like listening to. We put certain graphics on because we had stalked other podcasters and seen what we liked.

When you are figuring out your podcast, don’t think you have to make ALL the mistakes others have made, emulate the shows that you like and take the best bits from each!

6. Start right away, don’t wait to have 4-5 “in the can”

I feel like all these people who say, “if I had it all to do it all over again I would work less, have more balance, start it perfectly, do it this or that way” are being genuine but misguided. Pat said he would have waited to start until he had a bunch of podcasts done before launching. But that would have changed everything. Maybe he would have gotten one less opportunity or missed being featured on a site or other podcast that made a huge difference.

DON’T listen to them, start when you have your first one. It will be horrible and you will cringe in a year when you hear it, but it will be out there in the world. It will be an opportunity for someone to find you that will not happen if you are waiting for perfect. It will also force you to get all the pieces of your marketing together all at once instead of waiting weeks or months to get them done. There is nothing like being under the gun to make things happen!

7. You need to have more than a podcast on your posts!

Now we are getting into marketing instead of “podcast marketing”. On our first podcast blog post we forgot everything we know about marketing and made a bunch of mistakes. We are going to leave it that way so you can see our problems!

While we do have a video that people can watch and a player for the show episode, there are MANY things missing! (see the “right” way to do it here, on our “perfect” podcast blog post example)

A graphic that people can share on social media. You should have a separate graphic for each of your shows. It should be branded with your podcast but should also be unique enough that you can tell them apart. For these first few ones where it is just Rebekah and I, I used pictures of us with the M&M Monster branding and the iTunes and Stitcher icons so people know it is a podcast.

Content, words, heck anything for Google to index. On the first post I was so excited (overwhelmed) that I just wanted to get ANYTHING out there. That said, you can’t grow a blog without any words on the page for Google to index and we want the chance at least for that blog to rank well in search engines for topics we talk about on our shows.

Resources. There is nothing worse than listening to a podcast or Google hangout and not being able to figure out what the hosts said and how to find the things they are talking about. I am going to try to get WAY better about writing notes so that I don’t have to listen to every show in its entirety.

8. Any format you have!

Some people like video (hangouts), some people like audio (podcasts) and some people like to read (transcripts of the show). Make sure you are offering every format that will make everyone happy. YES, it takes a little longer but it will serve you well in the end.

9. Google Hangouts

We struggled with wanting to do podcasts until we figured out we could just do a hangout and then whizzy-wig the recording into an audio format. The benefit of doing a hangout and then recording it is that you are letting people see you and get to know you in a way that is not possible when just hearing your voice (more about this later).

Our Podcast Story

If you had some amazing a-ha ideas while reading the podcast marketing bits, I don’t mind if you leave now and get to work, but I did want to at least once tell you about our podcasting journey!

For a few years now (don’t let it take you this long!) I have been hearing about podcasts and just never jumped in the pond. Then a few months ago I figured out how to make iTunes work and started listening like a madwoman. There are some great podcasters out there and I got to “know” lots of them through hearing them talk to “me” each week. Now I know that they aren’t actually talking to me personally, but by listening week after week I got to learn about them and their lives, really feeling like they were a friend who told me neat things.

But I still didn’t want to just do a podcast. It seemed like a lot of work and I didn’t have anyone to do it with. Then my biz partner and I went to conference and heard about using Google hangouts to feed a podcast and the lights went on! I have been wanting to do more real videos where you don’t just hear my voice, but you get to see me too. That said, we have tried the “sit down in front of a video camera” or taping our events and neither one of those was right either. It was just too contrived and not something that I could maintain over a course of months or years.

But doing Google Hangouts is easy. It is using the camera on my laptop and then the Google just puts that recording right on my YouTube channel! I am doing it with a friend so I don’t have to look at myself and cringe every time I see a bump or a wrinkle, I just watch her and she just watches me.

We are not worrying about them being heinous and weird. They are not perfect and that is okay, I am sure they will get better and we will make more money and get a better backdrop…but for now good enough is good enough! We are so out in front of the game that we will win.

We give great content in a niche that is not talked about all that much…finding your perfect customer who will buy and buy. We are VERY knowledgable and already know that people like our “stuff”, we are just able to broadcast it the whole world now.

It is supporting our books. We are writing a business book a week for a year and have creeping up success but this should supercharge those sales.

It is free. The wonderful, weird part of this whole thing is that besides the $15 a month fee for hosting the audio files, this is all free to do. We take our time, use Google, iTunes, Stitcher and a number of other sites and bam we are broadcasters. Think of back in the day what the cost would be to do a “TV show” and record CDs to send out. The expense and time required would have put it out of reach for many of the people who are succeeding today.

The dorky ending. I am not a real emoter except with my friends and family. You are not going to find passionate talk about how I help people or what my dreams are (I do things and have them, just I don’t talk about them here). But if there is one thing that I wish for all my entrepreneur marketing peeps it is this…figure out how to make this work for you! Start an accounting podcast or a direct sales hangout or a funeral home show. Yes it will take time, but the rewards that you will get in the long term are something that you can’t even imagine today.

You WILL be the same person in a year, but where you are and what you have accomplished will be different. Make a difference starting today.

If this helped at all and you would like to help back a little bit, please signup for our podcasts on either iTunes or Stitcher. Bonus points if you leave a review!!! Please let me know about it in the comments and I will do something nice for you too!!!

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Entrepreneur Marketing – Keep Moving Forward

Entrepreneur Marketing - Keep Moving ForwardWhoo whoo! This week is an amazing week to be an entrepreneur (she says jumping up and down, clicking her heels and giggling like a school girl)! This week we finally got on track, the gears are all turning and everything is coming together. This is a very good week to be in business.

So how do I know that this is a good week? Because last week was not so great. We were pounding out what to do with some little bits here and little bits there that were not coming together. We hadn’t heard from a client and worried that we were getting dumped, we had opportunities that did not match our vision (we really weren’t sure what our vision was but knew that those were not them!)

If you are an entrepreneur I know that you have had my “last weeks”, but have you ever had a this week? One were you KNEW you were getting somewhere? Cherish that feeling because it is usually followed by a lot of hard work to implement all your gloriousness!!!

Ideas are not strategies

My marketing partner, Rebekah, hates that we call one of our talks 100 Free Marketing Ideas. She loves the talk but hates that we use the term “ideas”. Ideas are for suckers is pretty much her take on it. Entrepreneurs can churn out ideas a dime a dozen. She wishes that we would talk to them about important things like strategies, systems and implementation (all things that I love too by the way). Just having given the talk about a million times so far, I know that free ideas get butts in seats at events and so we stick with ideas.

That said, you SHOULD have ideas, but it is implementing those ideas as strategies that will make your business better. And not half ass implementing of a million things, pick three rock star ideas and then run with them. I say three because entrepreneurs are categorically incapable of having just one idea. That feels too limiting and way less fun than chasing after a bunch of different things all at once, driving yourself nuts, right?!?!

So what are our ideas?

We have a strategy for exposure, for reaching beyond the limits of our current client base, for moving beyond the borders of our state lines and going big, like worldwide sensation big. Okay, that sensation part is not really true, we really want to help way more people, in way less time for a fair price WHILE getting to hang out together in fabulous places like New York, London, Dublin and other cultural and interesting cities.

We have tried many things that are not quite that like:

TINY CHEAP CLASSES. Holding in person classes in the Denver area for a small amount of money and a huge amount of time. We did this mainly so we could get to spend time together talking about marketing and make some money. Problem was that the effort required to put on these classes (securing a room, marketing the heck out of them, attending to teach, splitting the profits) meant that we were making barely above minimum wage for a highly skilled and valuable product. We tried taping them and selling them, but because of the interactive nature, they didn’t come across great on videos.

FREE NETWORKING GROUPS. Rebekah’s background is in promotions and networking so having free networking events is not hard, the mechanics are in place and hey, how much time could they take? Well we are back to the promotions, marketing and wrong clientele of it all.

SPEAKING LOCALLY. We still speak locally to small groups, colleges and the like, but that cannot be our only avenue for exposure. If we want to make it to London, we are going to have to get beyond Centennial CO and be out in the world, spreading the marketing word!

MEMBERSHIP SITE. I made membership site years ago and packed it with tons of great content. It took about 4 months of back breaking labor, but I bought into the whole, “you can get recurring revenue every month”…yeah right. I sold about 20 of them and then was on the hook to keep producing content every month to make them happy…sigh. I do not like things that I have to commit for years for.

COACHING PROGRAMS. So a couple years ago I got caught up in a sales pitch and bought a coaching program from someone who said they could help with speaking. Come to find out it was a coaching program about coaching programs. That was not my passion, but I did think, “well what could it hurt?” Holy buckets am I a bad coach. I am a great accountability person. I am a great masterminder. I am a great ideas gal. I am not great at meeting with someone on a weekly or monthly basis and building them up, holding their hand and telling them everything will be alright. I feel bad about taking someone’s money so they can feel good that they are “doing something” if that something is just hiring me but not changing in any way.

There are lots more, been there, done thats like the “recurring revenue from a newsletter”, affiliate marketing that worked for a while but then they changed our salesperson and we never sold another one, the list goes on and on.

What is your theme?

So why have I told you all the bits of our business that were not working? Hopefully you can write down all of your experience like that in a row, enumerating all your efforts (not failures) to see if there is a theme to them. Here is our theme…

1. We love working with entrepreneurs
2. We love teaching entrepreneurs
3. We love talking about marketing
4. We want to reach more people with less time
5. We want to hang out together
6. We want to make money

Over and over we came up with ideas that accomplished some of those things. We would teach and not make money, or we would make money but not reach as many people or we would….well you get the point. What you should do now is figure out what the main idea of all your great ideas that you implemented poorly was and write them down.

Moving forward

This all sounds horrible. Like we have been flailing around with no direction and have failed over and over. Do not get me wrong, at the time these all made us money but did feel like failures, like we wasted our time and were never going to figure it all out. Then a lightbulb went off this year. We could still do all those things, maybe not in same ways but in some way, so “what to do, what to do?”

As Barbara Corcoran says, “There’s great power in moving forward, whether you’re moving in the right direction or not. At least you’re moving forward.”

So now we have our three things. Three ways we are currently lead generating, helping entrepreneurs and working together. They are all doable, accomplish our goals and will add to the business world in ways that we can be proud of.

Writing a book a week for a year. I didn’t say they were easy! We are writing a business book a week for a whole year. We are about a third of the way there right now and there is nothing that is going to stop us from hitting that goal. We KNOW we are going to make some money on the book sales but that is not the point. The point is that we have already been offered numerous speaking opportunities, a book deal from a real publisher and a great deal of advice from people who say we are stupid and wasting our time. They do not understand that this actually a part of a larger plan. If you have your strategy and know what you are doing ignore the nay-sayers. They are too busy worrying about you to build their business.

Starting an internet show. We put our first internet show in the can this week. It is live on YouTube (we are using Google Hangouts to record it) and will be in the iTunes store as soon as they approve our account. The website is up and running and ready to go. This fulfills our helping entrepreneurs and spending time together. What it also does is allow us to highlight a book a week and sell more book and consulting services.

Selling courses. Remember the giant membership site debacle? Well that soured me for YEARS about making big, giant courses that take eons to make and sell well only if you are devoted to them alone and get hundreds of partners to beat the street in your name. But what about little courses? Based on our books? WHA WHA…the clouds parted and the sun shone through. We are recording the first videos today.

Seriously, this post is just for me. One day that seems to be glorious, where everything is lined up and I can see the future so clearly that I should be wearing sunglasses. My wish for you today is that you stop, look at what you have done, what you are doing now and what could change your life for the better in the future. If you figure it out, please let me know! You can comment, send an email or an owl, whatever it takes, just let me know you have made up here with me!!

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100 Quick Marketing Activities You Can Do TODAY!

100 Quick Marketing Activities You Can Do TODAY!Marketing is all about doing something…writing a book, making a sales page, posting to social media. But honestly, our biggest marketing “wins” coming from forward movement, just doing some kind of Marketing Activity instead of waiting until everything is perfect.

This is list of marketing tactics…each is a little nibble of something you can do if you have 5 minutes between doing important things. Our huge marketing empires are made up of all these little moments.

If you like this, you will love our 100 Free Marketing Ideas sheet which is much more structured and could help more with a plan.

Social Media Marketing Activities

  • Check your profile and business banners, are they looking good or should you order new ones?
  • Order new social media banners on Fiverr.com
  • Share different people’s social media profiles once a day for a month “introducing” them to your lists
  • Give someone you just met Klout, share that to your Twitter to give them love
  • Follow 100 people on Twitter who could buy what you are selling
  • Research your hashtags on hashtagify.me
  • Set up a Twitter ad
  • Make a Twitter list of influential people you can follow and share their stuff
  • Download our Twitter Cheat Sheet and start using special characters in your posts
  • Like 5 business pages on Facebook, you have to comment on one of their posts to get credit
  • Upload a movie to your business page, wait 30 minutes and share it to your profile
  • Check the sidebar ads to see what they are doing
  • Accept your friend requests on Facebook, post something nice to their wall that is not self serving
  • Figure out what your biggest prospect likes and share a post which they would like that has nothing to with your business on your wall, tagging them
  • Pin 5 pins on your favorite Pinterest board from the internet helping someone else
  • Repin 10 pins on Pinterest
  • Check and see if your board pictures are the prettiest one you can pick, if not, fix it
  • Make sure your most import boards on Pinterest are at the top or the bottom (the middle is for “stuff”)
  • Follow 50 people on Google+
  • Sort your Google circles so they have no more than 99 people in each
  • Email a post to a Google circle
  • Use hashtags in your Google+ posts
  • Upload a video directly to Google+
  • Like 10 people’s posts
  • Join a community that you are interested in and circle all the member (you have to participate)
  • Accept all your invites on LinkedIn
  • Join 5 groups who have people like your prospects
  • Like 5 peoples posts
  • Write a recommendation a day for a month

Video Activities

  • Shoot a quick video of something interesting from your cell phone and upload it to YouTube (do that every day for a month!)
  • Start a playlist of something interesting and add 5 videos
  • See if your 5 favorite industry leaders have a channel, subscribe
  • Make it your mission to see if you can one of your videos to 1,000 views
  • Learn to use Jing or Screencast-o-matic.com (yes! it takes about 5 minutes to figure out)
  • Make a channel trailer for your YouTube channel, be real and tell people what you do!
  • Try Google Hangouts and see how easy it is

Posting Pictures

  • Take a picture a day and post it to Instagram
  • Tag your Instagram pictures with hashtags
  • Follow 5 Instagram people you want to do business with
  • Like 5 Instagram pictures
  • Make a quick quote with pictures in PicMonkey.com
  • Make a quick quote with pictures using the Word Swag app on your iPhone
  • Make a post with quotes and pictures on your blog

Brainstorming

  • Write down 25 ideas for blog posts
  • Check who your top 5 competitors are on google and see what they are doing that you could copy
  • Start saving quotes you like in Evernote
  • Check Amazon to see which categories books in your industry sit in
  • Check Google to see how many competing websites there are for a phrase you are trying to hit
  • Do a Google search and see how many Google+ posts come up in the results
  • Save all the best sales pages you see in Evernote
  • Check Google Trends to see which of your keywords is hot right now

The Book Biz

  • Leave a review for your favorite author (hint hint) on Amazon
  • Add some of your favorite authors books to your wish list in Amazon to help them
  • Check your favorite book categories and figure out what is missing in the marketplace (later you can write a book!)
  • Visit Goodreads and start a book list

Local Sites

  • Check in everywhere you go on Foursquare.com
  • Take a picture each time you check in (bonus points if they are selfies or who you are dining with)
  • Check in on Yelp and give your favorite local businesses a review
  • Send a press release about your company to the local papers

 Blogging

  • Check the keywords and description on your blog (are your terms out of date)
  • Check your sidebar, is it showing your visitors exactly what you want them to do…we want you to sign up for our free courses!
  • Use Google analytics to find out which of your posts is the most visited and add a call to action that matches the content
  • Make 5 thoughtful comments on competing sites in your niche
  • Subscribe to the Google Webmasters YouTube Channel to learn the latest SEO tips
  • Add a neat video to the sidebar of your blog
  • Share 5 of your best archived posts

Email

  • Look at your outgoing signature line, snazzy it up a bit
  • Send a really amazing message to everyone, include something that they would really want!
  • Make segregated lists of people who like your industry AND then ones who like dogs, babies, etc.
  • Start asking everyone you talk to for their birthday, start sending out cards
  • Make sure your subject lines are awesome

Offline

  • Look at your business card, is it up-to-date and interesting, does it have a call to action?
  • Start a list of local companies that you can recommend
  • Do a hard copy newsletter, hand it out and mail to key prospects
  • Make a comment card to give to your customers for feedback
  • Pick up some thank you notes to send to people you talk to
  • Order some cool pens, we use the javelin pens and everyone loves them!
  • Order some stickers (we are enthralled with the sticker!) click for a $10 credit!

Customers

  • Call your best customer and thank them for being wonderful, ask them if there is anything else you could offer that they would like to buy
  • Send an email with an interesting link to your favorite customer and just say you were thinking of them
  • Make a sales leads sheet or print out your pipeline…what could you do to add just 5% more leads to your pipeline

Mindset

  • Try something on the list that you have never done before or think is stupid
  • Use Fiverr.com to spark an idea, see what is available for $5 and go for it
  • Start a list like this that is relevant to your industry to post on your blog
  • Vow to spend 5 minutes a day working on your favorite social media channel…every day, no distractions
  • Do something nice every day for someone who can’t help you, share a charity’s post, enter a contest and vote for someone, share a kickstarter, just be nice

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Buy The Book

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New Media Marketing Strategies: Oh The Tangled Web We Weave

There is a lot of information out there about how to set up your social and websites, but very little about how to actually work them to increase your brand reach and sales funnel. This book is an in-depth guide on how to dominate your niche.

Throughout we cover the background for each topic so you know what worked before and what you should avoid now, tips for using the sites including universal best practices and in-depth marketing strategies.

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Are You Going All Justin Timberlake With Your Marketing?

Justin Timerlake MarketingSmall business marketing is a lonely game. You spend hours and hours crafting a great sales page or doing a ton of graphics or writing a blog post…then you send it out into the world and hope someone, somewhere will like it enough to actually read it and come back to you with wallet in hand.

Now, I don’t believe that Justin spends too much time alone pining for attention, but he does do some amazing things in his acting and singing career that I think we can definitely emulate!

When you see this picture of Mr. Timberlake, what comes to mind? Suave, debonaire, you might even be picturing him in his Suit and Tie video. He is a serious artist with a very high profile…and also willing to do whatever it takes given the situation he finds himself in!

Exposure

So JT (Justin Timberlake as we like to call him around the dinner table) appears on the The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and instead of just having the “normal” sit on the couch and tell us your story show, they do the History of Rap, dancing and singing and generally carrying on. Now this is a full on production with singing and dancing, choreographed to the minute and obviously something that was not just thrown togother.

As far as I can tell, they have done five of these shows, featuring different music each time. Now there is a good chance that JT is a big enough draw on his own to appear a few times, but these shows bring down the house, get shared virally on the internet and generally increase awareness for three things, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and the Tonight Show. No wonder he keeps getting invited back!

Play Full Out

Justin Timberlake all out

Look at these and then revisit the super snazzy guy in the picture post. Since we follow (stalk) JT closely, we know that he has been wine, a gingerbread man and many other goofy characters on the shows that he appears on. In every one, he plays full out which is the key.

If you are a fine looking, stylish grown man dressed in a wine bottle and only kinda sorta going through the motions, you are going to look dumb. But when you are living it, doing the best that you can and going for it, it becomes something really spectacular to behold.

No matter what you are doing in your marketing or business, please make sure that you are playing ALL OUT! Making videos, don’t be wimpy, give them some life, show that you care, show some personality. Doing a webinar, don’t hold back your best stuff, throw it out there and you will be surprised about how great a response you will get!

Don’t Be Afraid

Everyone doing anything is at least a little afraid. The most outgoing extroverted human will still get some butterflies before speaking to a stadium full of people. If you are playing hard you will constantly be running up against things that make you a little nervous. Don’t let them derail your momentum or make you stop!

This is not just about speaking or public appearances, it works the same for learning how to use Google Hangouts, or how to make really cool graphics or any other new skill. As humans we have spent millennia making sure that we DON’T risk life and limb just to check out a new tree or eat an unknown mushroom. Mistakes like that could kill you, but marketing rarely will!

So Bland Your Are Invisible

One last thing before we go! It can seem like a brilliant idea to make your “Stuff” appealing to everyone. To “dumb it down” so that no one finds it even a little bit offensive. That is the WORST strategy you can use. If you have to be bland to feel okay, you are going to struggle all throughout your marketing efforts. Bland is boring and great marketing is the opposite of boring.

Would Justin Timberlake be okay with bland marketing? I don’t think so…he would recklessly run at it, jumping off the cliff fearlessly knowing that great things are on the other side!

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Entrepreneur Marketing For Startups – If It Sounds Too Good To Be True

Entrepreneur Marketing - Startup warningEntrepreneur Marketing is one of the most predatory areas of marketing today.

Fleecing “newbies” out of their hard earned money is big business and we are here to tell our entrepreneur friends some hard truths (that might just save them some money and time!)

The 10K A Month Pipe Dream

Internet marketers (the people who are selling the “gold rush” and “get rich quick” systems of success are not stupid. In fact they are some of the smartest people in marketing today. They have spent millions of dollars to find out which exact triggers will cause you to hit buy, hoping that this time they are telling the truth about how much you will make.

One of the best converting triggers is to promise that you will make $10K a month. Studies have shown that this is “the dream”. The six figure income that everyone wants to hit.

While I agree that this is a great goal, the chances that you will make $10,000 a month if you are making very little or nothing right now is slim.

No List, No Site, No Problem

Another biggie in the internet marketing world is to say that you don’t need to have any assets to make money. That you can start with nothing and make millions.

When have you ever heard of this working in real life? When someone sat on the couch, dreaming of owning a franchise and raking in the big bucks. Or an author who has a book in their head and is a best selling author.

If you have no assets, digital or otherwise, it is going to be very hard to build up anyone’s business but the person selling the product. Oftentimes this kind of scheme involves you sharing their content on social or with your few connected friends. This works (for them) because they get hundreds or thousands of people to share their product with a few friends, adding up to a huge campaign for them and little money for you.

People Making The Course

Which brings us to the real reason most internet marketing courses are developed. To make money. That is the only reason. It is not some altruistic need to help “the little guy” or the wanting to “share it”. It is capitalism pure and simple.

They are making something that will make them money.

So are we bashing capitalism, heck no. What we are bashing is the hyperbolic sales messages and the packaging of crap to sell at a profit to people who are desperate and want to believe in miracles.

Circle Jerk

If you belong to any internet marketing lists, you will notice that there is a “launch” every couple of weeks (or days). All of the guys and gals with big lists will send out the latest and greatest amazing course to their list, knowing that their pals will send out their course the next week or next month.

The first thing that annoys me is that they hardly ever even take the time to change the subject line of the emails. This happens for a couple of reasons. Laziness on their part, they just copy and paste to their list and make money. Also, the people launching these products have spent a lot of money to have great copywriters find out what will trigger sales. Oftentimes they leave them intact because they know it will make you open it (and maybe buy).

It Used To Work

One last bit on the downside of many of these programs. Do you really think that someone who is making internet millions is going to “share the secret” with people who will be competing with them and driving up the cost of business?

Say someone knows the secret to getting $.10 clicks on Facebook. If they sell a course to 1,000 people in their niche and those people all start buying ads, the cost per click will go up as competition increases.

Instead they make their money and take all those screen captures of their money making success. Then once that starts to cost more naturally, they package their “system” and sell a course using techniques that used to work, but which are not as effective anymore.

Good Guys

I am sorry to say that being an entrepreneur is hard work. You will have to work hard and the chances of you going from zero to $10K a month in days are non-existant, but building a strong sustainable business is possible.

There are some truly good guys and gals in the marketplace. Here are a few that we know tell the truth and building strong, sustainable businesses helping entrepreneurs succeed.

  • The M&M Monsters are dedicated to working with entrepreneurs to get them started off on the right track. We do marketing strategy sessions that are affordable and effective.
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  • Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income is a great guy who has built up an amazing affiliate business and who shares his tips with his podcast listeners.
  • Self Publishing Podcast – Sean and Johnny are an amazing resource if you are thinking of writing and publishing your own book.
  • Perry Marshall – If you are going to be doing Adwords, you need to start with Perry Marshall. He is the master of adwords marketing and has helped us often over the years.
  • Internet Business Mastery is where to start if you are just getting into affiliate marketing. This is a great post that talks about what we did here!
  • Joel Comm is a super successful internet marketer who is a great person to follow as he shares A LOT of great information.

We have spent years working with entrepreneurs and know that you can make it! You can have the life of your dreams and be hugely successful doing work you love. All it takes is time, patience and hard work. We know that you have it in you and all you need is a little push in the right direction!

Get Some Real Entrepreneur Marketing Help!

Entrepreneur Marketing - Start up strategy session bannerWe have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, helping them to get a real startup marketing plan in place and getting their businesses up and running faster than they ever thought possible! There is no secret to being a great entrepreneur, just having solid plan and executing it effectively every day…see how now!

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Free Marketing Training Courses and Tools

Fre Marketing Training and ToolsAre you looking for amazing free marketing ideas? We have the goods for you right here! Get help with your social media, newsletters, small business marketing, realtor marketing and more.

These are not just thrown together classes or some kind of come on to buy something else, every one of them is chock full of great content that will help you rock your marketing!

These aren’t just basic, beginner information that you can find on any website or YouTube…it is advanced strategies and tactics that we use in our marketing business today.

Who are these classes for?

  • Small business owners
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Realtors
  • Professional services
  • Speakers, coaches and trainers
  • Marketing pros
  • Social media marketing peeps

Free Social Media Marketing Course

Free Social Media Marketing CourseWe have put together a course that will help you to understand HOW social works, WHY it is so important to your business and WHAT you should do to make the most of your time.

Find out how to use strategy to find and target the right connections socially, how and what to post to the different sites sites and how to get them off of social and onto your email list!

>> Get the Free Social Media Marketing Course

 

Amazing Email Newsletters

Free Course Amazing Email Newsletters That Get ResultsWith all the clutter that hits the average inbox daily, you already KNOW that you’ve got to have something glorious that stands out from the crowd! Cutting through the noise and getting your email newsletters not only seen – but also responded to – is not only important, it’s currently one of the best tools you can use today to turn those warm leads into closed sales. Our AMAZING Email Newsletter Course will ensure that your email newsletters get opened – and GET RESULTS!

>> Get the Free Amazing Email Newsletters Course

 

The Best Darn Free Email Marketing Course EVER!

best email marketing course everIf you are using email marketing to promote your business, you need to be sure that you are maximizing your efforts. This course walks you through all the of the aspects of email markeitng including getting started, developing your content, writing a sales page, setting up your campaign, getting the bugs out, free offers to build your list, and finally our top email marketing tips. This is all of our best email marketing strategies in easy bite sized bites!

>> Get the Best Darn Free Email Marketing Course EVER!

 

100 Free Marketing Ideas

This is the fourth annual 100 Free Marketing Ideas sheet, with a twist. When we took a look at what had changed over the last couple of years we realized that we needed to update the ideas from the ground up!

This amazing resource contains everything from internet marketing to social media to offine marketing ideas. Make sure you pick just a few and get going today!

>> Download the 100 Free Marketing Ideas

 

The Twitter Cheat Sheet

Because we use Twitter so often (and effectively), we took a bunch of time to figure out some things about which tweets catch the eye and how to attract more attention to our tweets. Some of them were obvious (have great info) and some more obscure, like that people tend to respond more when using the word “you” because they are alone when they read tweets. We keep this cheat sheet right beside us on our desk when we are tweeting so that we can post the most powerful messages possible.

>> download the Twitter Cheats Sheet

 

The Twitter Tweet Generator

Up until recently I used the TweetAdder tweet generator tool to make a variety of tweets that I could use to marketing on Twitter. With the recent changes, they deleted that function, but luckily I have a geeky husband who made me this AMAZING Tweet Generator!

Please use it responsibly…:)

>> Use the Twitter Tweet Generator to create a list of every combination of tweets based off of user entered text.

We are pleased to present these free marketing training courses and tools to help you with your small biz marketing efforts…
if you got some great ideas, please let us know!

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Social Media Setup Package: Get All Your Social Media Sites Setup or Updated All At Once

Our social media setup package is the best in the business, hands down. We have helped hundreds of small business owners and entrepreneurs get their social media empire up and running and can help you too.

Your customers are looking for you! CAN THEY FIND YOU?

Social Media Setup For Small BusinessThere’s no question that in today’s noisy marketing climate, you simply are not truly in business unless you can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, or even Google+! Creating new profiles and business pages on all the relevant platforms can be confusing and time consuming, and may not even reach the people who want what you have.

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Choosing A Niche – But Do You LOVE It?

Choosing a niche - do you love it?When you are doing entrepreneur marketing, there is nothing more important than to know who your perfect client is and then focus exclusively on that person when developing products or services. One of the ways that we recommend figuring out what you’re selling is to figure out what you like to do best.

As entrepreneurs, there are many things that we COULD do! Sometimes it seems like we are just jumping from one great new idea to another without really planning what we like to do (or at least would like to do for the next 5 years or so!)

This has happened to me a number of times over the years. I started doing real estate in 2007 because I thought it would be fun and I would be good at it. Well I was! I was a GREAT real estate marketer, but a horrible real estate agent. Within two years I had a pretty huge practice and was MISERABLE because in reality because I like marketing not helping people buy and sell homes. I was in and out within a couple of years with a firm understanding that I like marketing.

I have also fallen into other areas that I COULD do. Mostly they are one offs that are not profitable and take up way to much time once I get digging into what is needed. Check out this post to learn more about how these “detours” cost you time AND money…One-offs – How they cost small business owners time and opportunity!

So how DO you go about choosing a niche?

I KNOW, there are myriad people out there talking about how you should find your passion and then monetize that. That is cute, but there has to be a point where you really look at what the numbers are. If you love knitting and are a great knitter but not good on the computer, you are going to have a hard road to open up a local retail store and then finding enough other knitting others locally who will support your store. There are just too many online retailers that can crush you on price or selection.

Choosing a nicheThat said, you also DO NOT want to pick a “popular” niche just because it is profitable. I was cruising the interwebs the other day and came upon this article about wrestling and how the promoters were greedy. Pretty interesting in a marketing way.

I noticed that the site was using other people’s footage and basically just reporting with some of their own commentary thrown in. There were also many marketing pieces there including ads and links that the website owner could make money from….interesting.

Now, if you were trying to choose a niche, this one looks great! But for me, I would be able to write about one article that take me FOREVER to research. I would also have to start subscribing to and following blogs and news that was about sports, sport figures and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good football game as well as the next gal, but that is definitely not a passion of mine.

Won’t choosing a niche limit how much you can make?

The next question I get about choosing a niche is, “but won’t I lose money by having such a narrow focus?” Um, just because you focus on and target a niche, doesn’t mean you won’t get opportunities outside that. You don’t turn them down, you just don’t focus on them with your marketing money or energy!

Again with the entrepreneur thing, but I think it bears repeating…entrepreneurs are smart and capable, they are able to be nimble and pivot easily. That is a blessing and curse. With marketing, time and patience are your friend and if you are always flitting from one new project to the next, you will have a hard time gaining traction to do what you want and live your fabulous life!

Pick a thin slice, focus on it for a good three to six months and then figure out if it is going to work. We tend to get WAY out ahead of ourselves with our ideas and fall in love or hate with something too quickly. Take a little time to plan your biz out and it will reward you in the long run!

I promise I am not bashing local, I LOVE this local shop

So what does a great niche look like? I am stalking a scrapbooking store in England, Art From The Heart (I live in the US and have never even been to England). I get their emails almost every day and watch what they have new in stock (I could never buy because the shipping would be OUTRAGEOUS!)

So how did this British upstart win my heart?

  • One – the owner of the store is a speaker and talks at events around the world (clue: if you are a local store owner, you have to leave it from time to time to generate business!)
  • Two – they have a great email list that sends the latest products AND pictures of finished projects AND news about where the owner will be…I AM stalking her after all!
  • Three – they have a Facebook page where they feature finished projects (not sure if they have a Pinterest, but I KNOW many of Dyan’s designs are pinned on the site!)
  • Four – she sells products in the US at stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
  • Five – she designs products that are good for her, things she is interested in using and because she is scrapbooker she is great at knowing what people like me want.

Now, if you are choosing a niche or getting ready to launch a new company, this sounds insanely out of reach. There are A LOT of moving pieces to her success and it is hard to figure out how you could get all that in a couple of months.

Well you CAN’T! If you are truly working on your passion and know what you want to do for YEARS you just need to start somewhere today. Pick your niche, pick your products or services and start today with ONE THING. Could be to sign up for an association site, setting up a website, sourcing products or basically anything that moves you forward one step. Tomorrow get up and do something else that moves you forward another step. Rinse and repeat.

Picking a great niche (for you) WILL make things easier but at the end of the day, you just need to take the time to build an empire around doing what you love and keep that momentum going every day!

Need help figuring out your niche? Give me a call today to find out more about our Entrepreneur Marketing consultation! You will be glad you did…:) 727-415-9165

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Entrepreneur Marketing…Going General Will Bite You In The Ass

Entrepreneur Marketing Bite You In The AssEntrepreneur marketing is not about throwing up a site, getting some followers on social media and selling your heart out. In today’s day and age, entrepreneur marketing is ALL about figuring out EXACTLY what you are selling and pairing it with what “they” want and giving it to them!

Pick A Niche

One of the things that I notice when I am out in the field speaking is that most small biz owners don’t want to eliminate anyone as a potential client so they go REALLY broad and shallow when describing their business. Realtors will talk about working with buyers and sellers, luxury and condos, functionally if you fog a mirror, they will take you out in the car. Now, don’t go getting all sanctimonious about those realtors, most small biz people that I see standing up in networking talk about ALL of the things that they could do, but not a lot about a really tight target.

The best thing about having a tight target is that people can refer to you. If you are a financial services person and you say basically the same thing that all the other financial services people are saying, there is no way I can thin you out from the crowd. Now, if you say that you work with families who have children in the 9th or 10th grade who did not plan for their children’s college education…that I can get all on board with. I KNOW people with kids that age because my daughter is that age and now I know who to be looking for to help you!

The second best thing about a tight target is that the person you are talking will have their reticular activator turned on and are ready to pick someone that they can refer you to!

Your reticular activator turns on when you are focusing on something actively…say you are thinking about buying a red jeep, all of a sudden there are red jeeps all over the road. Did they just have a sale on red jeeps? Nope, you just started noticing them! This works the same for your referral partners, clients and friends. If they KNOW that you like to work with newlyweds, all of a sudden they notice that there are newlyweds everywhere who they can refer to you!

Stop Selling Everything

You are thinking that this is like a pick a niche but it is not! I can’t tell you how many times I hear something like,

“I moved here from Baton Rouge last year (GREAT OPENING) and own a call center that hooks up small business owners with prospects (SOUNDS GOOD, WHEELS ARE TURNING TO HELP THIS GUY), but today I am here to tell you that I just opened a nail salon and have an amazing nail tech who can….(BLOODY HELL, WHAT IS HE SAYING?)

LOTS of entrepreneurs read my blog. We are truly special people who do have the bandwidth to accomplish more in a day than most people do in a week. BUT, we confuse the hell out of our business partners, friends and family when we are not super clear about what we are selling. We frustrate them when we have diverse interests and try to pursue them all at once. And, like this guy, we shoot ourselves in the foot when we confuse our prospects by not having a clear goal of what we are selling.

Even if you have diverse businesses, don’t talk about them in the same session. Pick the one that will resonate best with the person or people you are speaking to and stick with that one thing.

What’s In It For Them

I KNOW, you are sick of hearing about this one but honestly the whole world has changed and the old ways are dead. If you are trying to tell anyone about your company or your products, you are probably dead in the water before you start.

Instead you should be helping people, sharing your expertise and adding value at every step. The days of standing up in networking and saying, “I am looking for someone who…” are gone. The marketplace is too crowded and people are overwhelmed by THOUSANDS of marketing messages everyday.

So what should you do when you have a chance to talk? Should you just stand there and look silly? NO!

Stand up and HELP, give a tip about your industry, tell something that you found out which could help someone in the room, tell a story that could benefit your listeners, give a shoutout to someone else during your time (especially in leads groups where you KNOW KNOW the people in the room well already).

People are so sick of marketing and advertising being shouted at them that when a message comes through with sincerity and true caring it shines like the sun. Just by caring you can set yourself WAY apart from the crowd and cut through the chatter.

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Entrepreneur Marketing – Marketing Focus…what are your three most important things?

Business Focus - Three ThingsOkay, if you have followed me for any period of time you know that I think that you should only have three main focuses (focusi?) for your business and your entrepreneur marketing. Because most entrepreneurs are a little ADD and jump around, I strongly suggest that my clients pick three things for three months at a time!

For me right now that is Speaking and Authoring a book, client work and…this is a big one for me…affiliate marketing!

So I was sitting around the other day (at my computer “working”, but work without focus is just sitting) trying to figure out what to do next and I thought, “a ha, I will do some client work”. Then I was still sitting and checking my email and social media….more sitting and finally I started writing a blog post, but then someone called and I had to some more client work.

Now client work IS one of the three things I HAVE to do (it puts food on the table for kitty), BUT it is not something that ONLY I can do. Wait, you mean that there are other people who can do tasks better than I can when I don’t love them…um…YES!

So here it is…DO THIS!

Figure out the three things in your business that only YOU can do. In my business these are the three:

  • Write blogs
  • Write email courses
  • Make videos and pictures

These three things get us the most traffic to our websites. Get us the most opportunities to speak. Get us the most referral links to our affiliate programs. So…

End of conversation. These are the three things I have to do BEFORE I do anything else EVERY DAY.

Go ahead and write your three things…I will be here waiting when you get back! (queue the Jeopardy theme song)

Now, get yourself a piece of colored paper like I did and write them big and bold. Put them up where you can see them ALL DAY while you work. When you find yourself straying into other things, ask yourself, “am I done with my three things” and if not, “is there someone else who could do the non-three things”.

HUGE NOTE!

I have to say that if you asked me the three easiest things to do in my business I would cite the same list. I KNOW blogs work because I have been pounding them out for years and like getting the chance to research or write them. I make videos about what I see as things people are missing in their marketing and I am a graphic artist so making pictures is actually fun for me.

BECAUSE they are all easy for me, sometimes it feels like “cheating” to spend my days doing them. There is so much other “stuff” that needs to be done that “just” working on my important things feels like shirking my duties or playing hokey!

YOUR MISSION

Write your three things. Do them first every day for a week. See what happens. Tell me about it (I LOVE hearing how people’s lives change with little tweeks!)

Tweet this out – just click the link and your Twitter will pop up!

  • [AWESOME BLOG POST] What three things can only YOU do for your biz? tweet this
  • Blog post :: figure out your three things & all the rest falls into place! tweet this
  • Marketing Focus…what are your three most important things? tweet this

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Entrepreneur Marketing – For Heavens Sake DO SOMETHING

Entrepreneur Marketing - For Heaven's Sake Just Do SomethingToday’s post is just an observation about what I see going on. I watch A LOT of entrepreneurs who are gung ho about their business, fire in the belly, moving and shaking it until….wah wah wah. I feel like I have to address this right now…entrepreneur marketing, for heaven’s sake DO SOMETHING!

I love the angel in this picture. I bought it from a stock photo place and when this guy (or gal) gets up this morning they are going to be ASTOUNDED that someone actually bought the tatty angel with a wrinkly gown. BUT this is exactly what I am talking about. Instead of second-guessing whether anyone would buy it, they put it out there! Okay…on to the meat!

Learning too much

Splitting your time and attentionI am a learner, listener, tryer. I spend A LOT of money buying training for myself and my staff. I think that one of the reasons I am so successful is that I am constantly figuring out new things and testing them. That said, I see problems, BIG problems.

In my world, occasionally two classes will come out at the same time and I buy both. Being human, I like one more than the other and do it more, BUT still try to watch and implement a little of the other one so as not to have wasted my money. Splitting your time and attention, even with the best of intentions always winds up with two things done poorly instead of just one!

I have also seen many entrepreneurs spend days, months and even YEARS waiting until they know enough to start. QUIT IT. Learn enough to get going and then try. If it was a zero sum game and the world stood still while you were getting ready, that would be fine. But all the stuff that you are learning now probably has a shelf life and if you don’t try now, it may have no value in 6 months or a year.

Go all in

Sorta, kinda trying to have a business is different than throwing your heart and soul into something. Starting out, you HAVE to give it everything you have. You have to take the time and put all your energy into whatever you are doing. I talk to a lot of people who are half-in. They are checking it out until it works or something better comes along. Have you seen a lot of Olympic athletes who are “trying” to be good? Nope! They are spending 6 to 8 hours a day in the pool, busting their asses.

If you are not passionate, I mean REALLY excited about your business, stop and do something else. Get a job, pick something else or figure out what you would love to do but stop torturing yourself. Life is too short to be an entrepreneur who isn’t in love with their business.

Quitting too fast

So you have a dream. You are busting your ass and…nothing. You have been working for two whole months and not seeing any results on your social or your website. Nobody has jumped up to hire you. Well, two months or six months or even a year working at something is normal. I KNOW, you have gotten those emails about how a guy (never someone you know) who had no website, no list and is making $1,000 a day. Those are marketing emails not real life. If you are trying and setting a groundwork, success will come, I promise! Stop going for the quick hit and start a real business.

Quitting too slowly

A good idea executed poorlyNow for the opposite. If you are not selling anything it may mean that there is not an audience for what you are selling. Could be that you need to get more specific or that the marketplace has just rejected whatever you are offering at the price you are charging.

Years ago I was selling an AMAZING service, one that I would have bought without thinking twice. That said, we could never get above 38 subscribers per month no matter how much effort we put in. Shutting it down felt like failing but in hindsight it opened up our time and energy to do something that would actually work.

Today I have learned that I should try something, see if there is interest and then if there is, sky rocket it and reach even more people.

Not planning

Last but not least is planning. My marketing partner (AKA the Media Monster, Rebekah Welch) and I sit down EVERY WEEK for at least 3 hours and talk about what we are doing right now, how it is in line with our business model and deciding what to have done by the following week. Now don’t get me wrong, we have a 5 year plan and a 2 year plan BUT you would be surprised at how random strangeness creeps into your business. Just this week we had to make a hard decision to stop doing in-person classes. Our business has outgrown them (YAY) but they are something that we really enjoyed and felt benefited our peeps. That said, they don’t match what we are doing now.

Now, you might say that if we like it and they like it, what does it hurt. After all, we are just talking about one afternoon a month right? Well there is writing the sales copy, creating the content, promoting the class, losing our planning time for that week, following up and a bunch of other time that goes along with it. PLUS the psychic energy used on something that is not moving us forward is can actually hold us back!

Take a hard look at what you “have” to do for your business. Are there any things that you do because you have always done them or they seemed to make sense a while ago? If so, STOP IT!

BONUS – Stop worrying so much

What makes the dawn come up like thunder? COURAGE!I find that some entrepreneurs are REALLY concerned about what they are putting out. They read and re-read every post. They have an editor look at it and revise it to within an inch of its life. They panic if something goes out wrong and send followup emails apologizing for being such an idiot.

Well…in my world, doing ANYTHING is better than doing nothing. Just this week I put out a quote with picture that I LOVED. It was a cowardly lion quote and epitomizes my feelings about courage. I posted it to the Facebook and watched the views and shares roll in. THEN I noticed that it had a mis-spelling. Instead of stressing about it, taking it down and losing all the social love, I just said, oh well.

I put out enough great content and it was such an amazing picture that no one even noticed (or if they did they didn’t tell me!) PLUS, I did something. Instead of putting out one perfect picture, I have put out 4 pictures this week, all of which have gotten social hits and broadened my reach. Stop worrying and start doing!

Entrepreneur Marketing – The Problems With Entrepreneurs

While I am all about entrepreneur marketing, I also have a strong affinity for entrepreneurs (being one myself!) With that in mind, when I was asked to be a mentor at a Startup Weekend Workshop here in Denver, I jumped on the chance.

Startup Weekend - Entrepreneur MarketingBasically, the Startup Weekend gang gets a whole bunch of entrepreneurs in a room, ask for startup business ideas, vote for the six or seven they are going to develop and then run with them for 72 hours. The mentors are there to provide help and shoot holes in the ideas. Now, this was my first one and I did not know I would be so intrigued so I signed up for just a half a day. In the future I would do an all day gig, just to be able to see the progression and the passion these people had!

The cool thing was that there were developers and programmers there who would be actually building parts of these ideas for the final presentation. Also, the head honcho for that event was a total rockstar who was able to keep the mentors on track, helping the entrepreneurs add value without throwing our opinions about what they should be doing into the mix (too much).

So what about the problems with entrepreneurs?

The most interesting thing about hearing these snapshot business plans was the fact that the same problems kept coming up over and over. Here are the top ones, and as an entrepreneur, I KNOW I have fallen prey to them a time or two myself!

What is the problem that you are solving? or Solutions In Search Of Problems This is a biggie. Building something that is AMAZING which there is not a problem for is a sure recipe for disaster. For example, years ago we launched a program to give Realtors content for their newsletters, emails and phone calls. While we did get a little traction, it was, all-in-all a failure. While the content was great and the concept brilliant, the Realtors didn’t really want to send newsletters and emails out. They were busy doing their business and our solution did not fit into what they were actually doing. Not only were we forcing them to do something that they weren’t excited about, it made more work for them…sigh.

The Customer Is Not You! When you are going about your business and then come up with a brilliant, “I WOULD PAY GOOD MONEY FOR THIS” or “DAMN I WOULD FIND THIS DATA HELPFUL”, you are not checking to see if anyone else (let alone LOTS of anyone elses) are interested. One example of this is to collect data about a subject and then try and sell that data without any filtering or analysis. If you are a data hound, the simple act of getting it is enough to make your heart go pitter patter, but for most people, raw data is a waste of money without some help to interpret it. The data guy was sure people would be able to extrapolate from the data because it would be enough for him!

Who Will Pay Having become a business person in the dot com era, this is a big red flag for me! Many of the groups were talking about how an industry would pay or how a single person would pay a subscription. I see this A LOT in my entrepreneurs…they have heard the siren song of, if I just get 1,000 people to pay me ten bucks a month, I will be RICH! OR they see something else in the marketplace that is not as good as what they are developing and think, of course industry will switch over to a better product! If that was the case, many businesses would be using Apples instead of PCs, but getting them all to change over to your product could be a years long task.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice Or No Pain Point This one is closely related to the customer is not you. There are many things that would be nice to have (pantyhose that do not run and balloons that don’t pop come to mind) but which are not practical for the marketplace or even needed. If there is a solution that makes a situation slightly better, then there will probably not be a huge market for it. One of the examples that came to mind was a website that would aggregate all the recipes from all the websites and categorize them. While this would be nice to have, I wouldn’t pay money for it. I LIKE looking around for recipes, pinning them on Pinterest, sharing my friend’s recipes. There are already sites that have THOUSANDS of recipes all in one place and having something paid to lay overtop of those is one of those “wouldn’t it be nice” things that few people would pay for….which leads us to…

Are There Enough People With That Problem? Building a solution to fix a problem 10 people have means that it is going to cost a pretty penny. Building a solution to a problem 1,000,000 people have is also pretty daunting but a least has the chance to be cost effective. If you are just starting out, I would think that targeting a niche market with a good number of people FIRST would be the way to go. Build something that works for some people first and then move on to other niches that could use your product with some slight modification (or maybe just a little different target marketing!) While it is tempting to build something EVERYONE will need, that often leads to something so watered down that no one wants it.

Overall, I think the mentors were able to help because we had all done or seen the mistakes before. If you are entrepreneurial, you are almost guaranteed to fail from time to time. The key is to dust yourself off and try again when that happens, learning what went wrong so you don’t have to make THAT mistake again!

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Content Creation – ESL Problems (English as a second language)

Content creation is hard, even for prolific writers. We have a number of clients who are fully capable of producing their own content, but who do not put fingers to keyboard consistently enough to make a large or consistent body of work.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Ernest HemingwayWriting everyday or even every few days is hard and the proliferation of content sites out there (like iWriter or Unique Article Wizard) offering blog posts and articles for just a few pennies is a siren song to those of us who need to generate great content day after day.

So what is “Content”?

Content is blog posts, news articles, press releases and website copy. It is the words on the page that people read. There are many aspects of content, but we are going to touch on a few and mostly talk about ESL (English as a second language) troubles.

First off let’s talk about quality of your content. Gone are the days when you could write a mediocre piece and “spin” it a thousand different ways for posting on a gagillion websites. Google got wise to that tactic and now demands original content. Additionally, the amount of information out there is staggering and if your piece is not good or great, there is little chance anyone will be gullible enough to read it.

I also have a theory that the journalists, ousted from traditional media are now playing in non-news spaces and their words are understandably superior to mere mortals like marketing peeps, grinding out great posts day after day…just a theory though!

Secondly, content has to serve a purpose. Most of my posts are not time sensitive in the manner that news is (with the exception of Superbowl Ads). I do not have to scramble to combine the excitement of another marketing post with say the Summer Olympics or a star’s latest debacle. My posts are informative and tell you how to do some aspect of marketing.

Occasionally they are salsey, highlighting a product and then offering that product for sale. I read some blogs that are ALL sales and there are very few that hold my attention for long, so this one is for only occasional use here. You can figure out a nice mix of information and sales relatively easily if you try.

ESL (English as a second language) Problems

So today, my husband and I were taking out fish for dinner and he asked what the name of my catfish was, and I said “Claude”. He was shocked that I would have a friend for dinner so I said that it was actually “Clod” and he asked, why not “clawed”….and this post was born!

Beside the fact that my family is a little weird, that exchange shows how convoluted the english language is! One of them is a proper name, one a noun and one a verb and one a past tense, past participle of the word claw (I had to look that one up!)

Now don’t get me wrong, I play fast and loose with the English language, using anyways incorrectly a lot and making up words like gagillion, but primarily my English is filled with correctly used Americanisms that Google can recognize. Additionally, I grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania, home of colloquialisms like “redd up the bed” or “I seen him do it” which are not grammatically correct, but which are in fact a form of American English.

Now, I have tried to use writing services in the past which use ESL workers (non-American people) who are willing to churn out content at a surprisingly low costs. The problem I have is two fold:

  1. You get what you pay for – most of the articles have MANY gramatical problems and some are downright incomprehensible!
  2. It takes me longer to fix them than to write them from scratch or have an English speaking writer who requires few changes
  3. Google can tell if you are using ESL writers (they are smart that way)

Okay, I know my issues were three-fold not two-fold, but one more came up and I just wanted to see if you are paying attention. Using an overseas service means that you are generally getting product from a writer who learned English as a second language and who in all probability, doesn’t have the breadth of knowledge that someone in America does about American English. Sometimes, in fact, their English is TOO correct and doesn’t sound like American at all!

So…what is this all about? I have people offer to post a guest post on my blog every day (sometimes twice a day). Originally, I thought that it would be a GREAT idea, superb content and I didn’t have to write so much. Two problems, I am ACTUALLY a writer so they generally don’t have the flair for the inane and snarky that I do AND most of them just ordered an article, and sent it to me unread. Sigh. I could do that myself if I was so inclined!!!

Long story short (too late I know!), if you are going to have content on your site, please make sure it was written in American English AND if you are going to submit a guest post article, PLEASE make sure it is FABULOUS!

  • PS – I had a young man submit one yesterday that was GREAT!!! You will see that one in the next few days…:)
  • PSS – There are some AMAZING sites with generally guest post writers (Mashable and Social Media Examiner come to mind), these are the caliber of writers that the world needs more of!
  • PPSS – We use American writers for our clients’ blog posts for this exact reason
  • PPSSS – If you are a frequent reader, you know I am from the rust belt of PA and am unabashedly unashamed of being a proponent of Buy American and supporting US workers (even if it costs a little bit more).

Evergreen Marketing – Why Evergreen Entrepreneurs Are So Cool

Evergreen marketing is such a foreign concept in this time of social media startups and hand waving, chasing your tail small business marketing.

Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better. Samuel Beckett QuotesEvergreen marketing, heck evergreen entrepreneurship in general is a dying art and one I think deserves a little bit of credit, instead of the scorn I feel out in the marketplace for anyone who is building an actual business and a brand that is in it for the long haul!

If you listen to the media (and I do), the only people who matter are the ones who got rich quick, shooting like a rocket from the unknown to formerly unseen heights of glory. Well, hum. I talk to many “overnight successes” and to a man (or woman), they talk about the years and sometimes the decades spent in obscurity, toiling away, trying, failing and then POOF, the world notices them!

So what are some the traits of an Evergreen Entrepreneur?

  • An undying drive to create and see their vision succeed
  • A will to fall down, and then dust themselves off and try again
  • The ability to learn from their mistakes, rather than be brought down through thoughts of failure
  • Supportive spouses and friends who are willing to hear “a great idea” and still get excited even though this is hardly the first

I never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur formally until this company, this time. My first marketing company was nice, launching in 2001 after I was laid off during the tech downfall of the early part of this century. I had a little severance package that bought some really great software and machinery and I stuck up a sign, open for business. I got some work, but didn’t try all that hard and when, in the Mid-2000s we bought ANOTHER house, I thought, hey what about doing real estate (another Entrepreneurial endeavor for sure!) I quickly became successful and DAMN real estate is hard when you have a lot of clients…so I headed back over to happy marketing.

Now don’t get me wrong, owning a marketing company is no walk in the park, BUT it is my first love and I am pleased to be able to offer work to a number of different people who I REALLY enjoy spending time with!

Since then I have tried a number of products and services that had responses from ugh to WOW!, finally settling on offering marketing coaching, social media marketing services and information products.

Are You An Evergreen Entrepreneur?

So, now comes the question for you! Do you have a burning desire to own your own business (and destiny)? Do you have the stick-to-it-iveness to keep trying and failing, and getting up and trying again?

If so, please let me know so I can keep you in the loop for all things entrepreneurial! From marketing to time management and goal setting, the peeps in this group will all be on the cutting edge of what is going on and what they should be watching for going forward!

there is no sales pitch, no opt-in to getting bombarded with offers – I am writing a book and want to keep my entrepreneur friends close!

What Is Evergreen Marketing?

What is Evergreen Marketing | Evergreen Marketing DefinitionSo, I am writing a book about evergreen marketing and thought, huh, need a definition for evergreen marketing, will just pop on the interwebs to grab one. Much to my surprise, this stable, solid marketing concept is not defined ANYWHERE on the internet!

Since we have to do it ourselves, let’s start with what evergreen is… according to Miraim Webster, evergreen is defined as, “retaining freshness or interest : perennial”. That is nice! So if you are doing something in an evergreen way, it will keep coming back again and again each year to help you.

Evergreen marketing is producing a basic marketing idea, plan or concept that will last beyond the next couple of hours, days or even years, perennially providing you with new sources of sales or prospects!

What Are Some Evergreen Marketing Concepts?

Great branding – so some years ago I had a client who had grown up on certain street in New York and had HUGE ties to that area. Thinking she would name her writing business, 38th Avenue or something along those lines seemed to make a whole lot of sense from an emotional standpoint. But what about as an ongoing business model? As small business owners, we do not have time (or huge marketing budgets) to get people to associate street names, personal names, etc. with a product (at least not if you want to come out of the gate running!)

Name your company or product something with the name of what you do in it to increase brand recognition immediately!

Your Logo – we all want to change up our logos after a time. Playing around with colors and fonts and pictures is FUN! But, what about all that time you have spent marketing your brand, colors, etc. All down the drain for the thrill of the new and shiney. UNLESS you logo was designed in Word or by a child, try to stick with it and focus on important things like making money and getting new clients!

Your Keywords – Now that you have what your brand looks and sounds like, you need to have a REALLY firm grasp of what your product offering are. If you are a hair salon, don’t get cute and call it a hair studio, no one is looking for a hair studio, they are looking for hair cuts, or hair color, or hair salons in your town! Back in the day (like 10 years ago), it was popular to try and rank for HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of different keywords. Now, there was SERIOUSLY less competition then and it made sense. Fast forward to today when there are a million social media sites, video, websites and blog sites competing for your prospects attention.

To me this is the biggest one! Don’t listen to the hype that says SEO is dead or that the latest social media craze is going to kill google. PLEASE remember at the end of the day, the internet is a just a big database, indexing sites and properties by using words. Maybe in the future there will be something else, but for the foreseeable future, there is still a huge benefit to knowing the words that people use to search for your product or service.

So, that means that you need to pick 3 keywords and stick to those before branching out (I am talking about talking about nothing but those three words or phrases for 6 months to a year to get a firm foothold!) My three words are small business marketing, entrepreneur marketing and realtor marketing. I have been focusing on those for years and not surprisingly, rank highly for all three!

Your Products – Because I work with Entrepreneurs, I know the allure of shiney objects. Many of my coaching clients have ideas in a number of different industries for a wide range of different products. That does not work! You need to do some serious soul search and pick ONE BUSINESS to focus on, with a suite of 3 types of offerings or lead gen types and stick with that for at least 3-6 months. If you have a business that is rock solid and profitable and THEN want to branch out into a new product or service (ONE, not 17) then you can, doing the same 6-12 months to master that, and so on and so on.

Let me give you a real world example. One of clients owns a retail store selling, say shoes (names and industries are changed to protect the super nice!). So she hires us to market her retail store, BUT unknown to us, her heart is REALLY in gelly gloves, a direct sales product produced by ACME, Inc. Unsurprisingly, her retail store sells more of these gelly gloves than actual stock. Each time a client comes in, she does at least acknowledge that they may be looking for footware, but then starts going to about the benefits of a gelly glove, forgetting that her main goal is to sell shoes.

It is this fracturing of your product and service offerings that can kill a company. To my way of thinking, she should stop selling the gloves in her store OR stop having a store and focus on selling gellys as the two are similar but definitely do not match!

What Evergreen Marketing Is NOT!

Evergreen marketing is not Pinterest or Facebook, having a blog or a website, the latest mailing or postcard, your shopping cart, an email campaign or anything else that is a changeable, uncontrollable aspect of your marketing. I PROMISE you, having 10,000 connections on LinkedIn or a gagillion followers on Twitter, doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have a rock solid product line, solid lead generation tools and a followup system that gets you new customers.

Evergreen marketing is not online or offline. It is not having a yellow page ad or a google local listing. It is a sincere focus on your brand, and how you intend to present that brand, product or service to the world. If you are not TOTALLY SURE about all of your brand…make sure to find a coach or expert (I know a great one!) to help you get that focus and clarity!

The Definition of Evergreen Marketing

So if you made it down here and are doing a term paper or other thing that needs to have actual definition, here is my take…

Evergreen marketing is implementing the marketing concepts and practices that transcend the latest fad and providing long lasting, duplicatable expertise which will work across a variety of marketing platforms and mediums.

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Entrepreneur Marketing – Preaching to the Converted

Entrepreneur marketing is hard enough, but no one will really tell you what you are doing wrong. I KNOW, having spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours talking to, coaching and teaching entrepreneurs.

Now, just so you know, my kind of entrepreneurs are solopreneurs, small companies and direct sales and network marketing people, not those hard charging, 50 employee, 5 million in sales types (although this still applies to you!!!!)

entrepreneur marketing - preaching to the convertredSo what is preaching to the converted and how does it relate to your small business?

First a bit of a back story…I am from Northwestern Pennsylvania and we have A LOT of sayings and colloquialisms. I am not sure why they are so prevalent, but there you have it.

Preaching to the converted or as it sometimes goes, preaching to the choir, means that you already have someone in your house of worship and what you are telling them is something that they are ready, willing and happy to hear. Religion, for the most part, is a volunteer activity and people who are in church (or mosque or temple) have already made at least a small step towards wanting to hear what the preacher is saying.

Compare this to the faithful who go door to door and try to tell random strangers about their faith. The people in these homes MAY be willing to listen, MAY be at a place in their life when they are ready to make a change or MAY just politely say no thank you and close the door.

Compare the effectiveness of these two models, preaching to the choir and randomly accosting people, one by one, hoping that they are going to buy your message.

So how does this work with entrepreneur marketing?

Yesterday I was speaking at a networking event and a really nice perky lady was giving her 30 second speech. She stood up and talked for a couple of seconds about the features of her product, how famous it was and then said, “and a good client for me would be just about anyone! Everyone needs to have “X” to feel better”. She then sat down and I had NO idea who to refer to her. I KNOW, in her perfect world, I would stop my slothful ways, start worrying about my health, quit smoking and embrace her product and company, but there is as much chance of that as there is that I am going to invite door to door religious people in for a cup of tea and 6 hours of discussion.

Imagine instead, she is at a meeting of athletes (or mom’s of athletes) who are focused on providing the best nutrition and help for their bodies. OR a weight loss group who needs to know that while they are losing weight, they also need to make sure that they are not missing nutrients and other important bits for their bodies. THIS is preaching to the converted. THESE people have raised their hands and said they are at least a little interested in a healthier lifestyle that matches her product offering.

Let’s do another one…this is FUN! Another lady at another networking event consistently says she is looking for anyone with skin! Now she gets a chuckle, which you know I like, but I would be surprised if she get many sales leads or referrals. I KNOW, if she says that, she has the opportunity to sell her product to every human walking on the planet, BUT will every human on the planet really be interested in shelling out $69 for some cream that could help them look prettier? Probably not.

Will most men be interested in this? Probably not and she does not have a national audience to target (men and looking younger is an underserved market for anyone out who wants to know, we did A BUNCH of research for a past client and there is a dearth of products made for men, targeted to men in this arena – and NO, men probably won’t buy a product in a pink bottle, no matter how effective it is!)

So now we have narrowed down everyone with skin to female humans, cutting things in half, but wait, there’s more. Some women actually care about their skin (who knew). As you know, I am not all that interested in healthy living and guess what, I am not all that fussy about my skin. I use makeup when I speak, spend LOTS of money on shea butter, hand cream and good smelling lotions, but as for looking younger, not so much for me. I would think that young women, without any visible lines and wrinkles may not be good candidates either.

If I was that lady, I would target women, between the ages of 40 and 70 who wear makeup and lots of jewelry. These are women who are concerned with personal appearance and who probably have some disposable income to spend on creams and potions to make them look younger.

A final, sort of related note about entrepreneur marketing

Okay so we know WHO we are going to sell to, now where are they? When we are starting out, or launching a new product or service, it can seem like a GREAT idea to start nationally, hell, lets go international! Well if you are this far down, you probably know where I am going with this!

A recent client has licenses in both Florida and New York for their services. When we started the planning for their blog and social media services, they wanted to focus on BOTH New York and Florida, but then said that they could actually do it nationwide so that would be even better.

Now trying to rank for just plain “accounting – 543,000,000 competing websites” or “marketing – 2,360,000,000 that’s right 2 BILLION” competing websites makes no sense what-so-ever. We instead decided to focus on a local area with their services and once we get a foothold there, we might move to other areas – OR, they may be so busy servicing their clients that they do not need other locations (remember, we work with entrepreneurs, not people who want to own the next Price Waterhouse Coopers!).

So…has this explained a little better why entrepreneur marketing is all about choosing a niche, dominating that niche and then moving on to the next group, customer demographics or product type? I hope that you try this next time you are out networking or working on a marketing campaign as it can make a HUGE difference in your success!

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Entrepreneur Marketing – Branding and Internet Marketing Verbs (Eponyms)

Entrepreneur marketing is all about getting your branding out there. Recently there have been a whole rash of new internet marketing eponyms that are actually verbs!

Entrepreneur Marketing - Internet marketing EponymsNot to get all grammar-y, but in today’s post we are going to be talking about nouns and verbs. Nouns and verbs (according to Websters Dictionary) are:

Noun: any member of a class of words that typically can be combined with determiners to serve as the subject of a verb, can be interpreted as singular or plural, can be replaced with a pronoun, and refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept

Verb: a word that characteristically is the grammatical center of a predicate and expresses an act, occurrence, or mode of being, that in various languages is inflected for agreement with the subject, for tense, for voice, for mood, or for aspect, and that typically has rather full descriptive meaning and characterizing quality but is sometimes nearly devoid of these especially when used as an auxiliary or linking verb

Doh, those are some meaty definitions! How about this, a noun is something that IS and verbs are something you DO! (on a side note, it is no wonder that it is so hard to learn English as a second language!)

Branding From The Past

Branding in the past was more passive. The TV industrial complex told us what we should buy and like good little consumers we ran out there and got what they told us to. Here are some of the branding words from the past (all nouns!)

  • Kleenex – if you had to blow your nose, you reached for a Kleenex, where you were using an actual Kleenex or a Puffs or some other brand
  • Coke – around the country, coke has been used as a noun for any brown carbonated beverage including when you actually got a Pepsi
  • Walkman – if you are a little older, you probably had a walkman, which was actually any kind of device that you could listen to music or books on
  • Band Aid – this one is HUGE! I am not sure I even knew there were other brands of adhesives to put on cuts
  • Thermos – while there are now hundreds of companies out there making insulated containers, we only call them Thermoses (or would it be Thermi?)

Interesting note, when I was researching this post I found an article from the BrandXpress blog who says these are actually eponyms (a general term used to describe from what or whom something derived its name. Therefore, a proprietary eponym could be considered a brand name which has fallen into general use) – who knew there was a name for this? Also, if you want more lists of brands that are verbs check out Fun With Words – Proprietary Eponyms.

Branding and Internet Marketing Verbs

The thing that I find the most interesting now is that no one person or Madison Avenue marketing company is telling the masses what the branding words are! It is being done by committee, through use rather than by marketers through force of ad dollars.

Here are some of my favorite internet marketing verbs:

  • To Skype someone – making a call over the internet
  • Googling someone – looking them up on a search engine to find their background
  • iChatting – my techy husband says that when they want to talk they iChat each other which is messaging over the internet
  • Facebooking someone – either looking them up on the facebook or connecting with them on that social media
  • Pin-able pictures – this is a huge one! the picture for this post was deliberately made “pinable” for my marketing board – having to be worthwhile to share is going to make a huge difference in blogging and graphic design!
  • It was photoshopped – meaning a picture was manipulated in a graphics program

I am sure that there are a gagillion other new Eponyms verbs for internet marketing, if you know of any I missed, make sure to leave a comment with your favorite!

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Direct Sales Versus Network Marketing (MLM)

Many of our entrepreneur marketing coaching clients are involved in Direct Sales or MLMs. Because I was not sure I actually knew the difference (okay, I admit, I didn’t know there WAS a difference!), I thought I should get some help from an expert in the industry!

Guest post by Direct Sales Expert – Tina Kraft

Entrepreneur Marketing MLM Direct SalesThere are many articles out there about direct sales versus Network Marketing (sometimes called MLM or multi level marketing). I find it interesting how varying the opinions are on this subject. First off, I have been involved in both so this comes from first hand experience. Having said that, each and every company has a different sales model and compensation plan. Every company has a different percentage of commissions.

Network Marketing Companies

Most Network Marketing Companies have an auto ship for both the customers and the distributors, and to receive your royalties as a distributor it is a minimum monthly autoship to receive your products for “wholesale” – every company is different. Network Marketing is based more on signing people up to be either a customer or distributor and have them on autoship. They are normally consumable products. You make less money on your individual sales and about the same on your downline as in direct sales, but again EVERY company is a little different.

Direct Sales Marketing Companies

Direct Sales is more relationship based and face-to-face sales. Most Direct Sales companies use the party plan module. The commission made by the distributor from their personal sales is usually very good so YOU are more in control of your income. You can also build a downline and have residual income from your downline. Most companies have incentives and bonuses for sales and recruiting and also have incentive trips you can earn for FREE! Being more of a relationship based model, you have repeat customers and hosts for your “parties” or events. This is also why it is dominated by women as we are more relationship based in business.

How To Pick A Company

So what type of company do you want to be a part of? First when picking a company you need to figure out what you are passionate about. Are you passionate about health and wellness, decorating, bling, cosmetics, fashion, coffee? The list goes on and on! Also look at the compensation plan structure, do you want to build a team and become a leader in the company? What type of support will you need?

Direct Sales and Network Marketing are great ways to become an entrepreneur. It DOES take hard work, dedication and time to build your business.

Remember that nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy!! But it is very gratifying!! Make sure you are committed to your venture and don’t become discouraged easily.

Tina M Kraft is an Accountability Coach and has built a multi million dollar team in the Direct Sales Industry. She lives in Denver with her husband of 35 years. Visit her site at tinamkraft.com, Friend Tina on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or Connect on LinkedIn!

Entrepreneur Marketing | Direct Sales, Network Marketing, MLM

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20 Percent Of Marketing Works But Which 20 Percent

I have heard that 20 percent of marketing works, but which 20 percent is working is often a really good question! There are no hard and fast rules about how marketing works, but we CAN track the results of that marketing.

20 Percent of Marketing WorksIn the old days, we knew some good numbers about marketing, send out a mailer and get a 2 percent response rate. Follow it up with a phone call and increase that number to 4 percent. Ah, the good old days!

Recently I sat down with a prospect who was throwing numbers around and he asked me point blank, how many percent of the people who will use our service are going to come from Social Media. I told him in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, I do not know. Understandably, he wanted to be able to quantify any investment he would make in marketing, but guessing and throwing around numbers before we knew more about how it would play out is silly to me.

The way I quantify my success in marketing is how many new prospects are created, how many turn into clients, and how well their retention rate is. Lets break those down:

  • How Many New Prospects – Marketing is all about getting new opportunities. I have heard all the mystical stories about how millions are made online without ever having to talk with anyone, but most of my clients are in the service industry or small business owners. I have NEVER sold my services without talking with someone or meeting with them at least once. My prices are not inexpensive for small biz owners and I understand completely that they want to know that there is a real human who knows her stuff at the other end of the line. Those new opportunities that marketing creates are part of the activity of getting new clients. You are just trying to get X number of people to show an interest in your product or services.
  • How Many Turn Into Clients – Even if you have 1,000 leads a day (from my mouth to God’s ear), if you don’t have a followup program to remind them that they are interested, you cannot sell them. To me the beauty of newsletters, twitter and facebook is that you can stay in front of your prospects without SELLING SELLING SELLING. I generally get a new client every time I send an email, BUT those people first got onto my email list through my blog, a speaking event or through social media. Additionally, when you follow up with a phone call from time to time, your conversion rate will climb exponentially.
  • How Well You Retain Them – Keeping your clients happy with your business starts before the sale. If their expectations of what you are going to do for them are not in line with what you actually produce, you will spend a lot time getting new people into the system and spitting them back out. Not good for your bottom line OR reputation!.

Here is a funny Dilbert that shows this PERFECTLY

Tracking marketing results

Marketing does rely on a good product and consistent message, and just being the one talking the loudest will not win! So which 20 percent of marketing works?

To me the marketing that works best is a consistent message, over time (NOT expecting immediate, glorious results), with a clear product offering. I cannot tell you how many small business owners (1) are not sure of what they are selling or (2) change their offerings as often as they change their clothes. Do not get me wrong, I have launched some products that died an ignominious death, BUT I have never changed my target audience or providing the best, most time-relevant offerings possible.

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Are you excited about your business?

One question I always ask people is, are you excited about your business? Do you leap out of bed every morning just thrilled to get going on your day? If you are self employed and you are NOT this excited, then you are doing it wrong!

are you excited about your businessSmall Business Entrepreneurs – A Get Rich Slow Kind Of Scheme

We work with many different types of entrepreneurs and small business owners who are working on a get-rich-quick kind of scheme. They jump from idea to idea, thinking the next one is going to be the BIG one that makes them heaps of money. I have never seen this work out, although I am sure you have gotten tons of emails telling you that it is possible for just $997.

One of my favorite bloggers, Remarkablogger, posted a challenge to other bloggers about revealing their secrets to breaking through to the other side of blogging success. I do not really talk about what makes my life easier or harder as an internet (and REAL) marketer, but in hopes it will help someone else, here are a few of my favorite things.

An Entrepreneurial Upbringing – A BIG ONE – One of the reasons I am successful at marketing and speaking to small business owners is that I grew up with that mindset. When I was young we had the “Whalers Walk” behind our house. This was a little gift store that was open whenever someone was home (as I was too young for a driver license, mostly that was me). I would follow shoppers up with my little cash box and sell to them. The next store my parents had was the DandyLion gift shop (my mom was WAY more creative with her naming conventions than I am!) As a child, I got an early exposure to the thrills of opening and running your own business.

Early Internet Interest
– Around 1999 I got into a job where I did marketing for an internet company. When I started I had NO idea the difference between Linux and Windows servers, what programming languages where good for websites or even a lick of graphic design. Through trial and LOTS of error, I learned enough about that kind of thing to talk reasonably well with clients and overcame any fear that I had of technology. NOW, do not get me wrong, I am not a techy girl BUT I can talk the talk and not get snowed by fancy sounding techno-speak.

Failing A LOT – This one is HUGE – I mess up a lot. I have rolled out products that no one bought. I have spent good money on copywriting that would not make a starving man buy food. I have developed a “no lose” monthly product that I could not get more than 35 people at a time to sign up for. I have learned that you should not put years of time into something until you KNOW that it will make money. Do it good enough to get out there and then refine it AFTER you know it is something that the market wants.

Naming and pricing things – Oftentimes we know what products we have and what we like to do, duh. Most times we keep that a secret from potential clients by not formally naming it and putting a price on it. I used to do more piecemeal items, which I hate. Once I set up monthly marketing services, my business really took off. I LIKE working with committed people who are determined to make their businesses succeed, not just throw up a website or blog and think it will solve all of their problems.

Learning new things – Last but certainly not least is that I know everything is going to change and that I have to stay on the front lines to keep up. If you told me 5 years ago blogging and making blogs would be paying the bills I would have said you are nuts. Three years ago I did not know anything about social media and today I get paid to speak about it. It makes me sad when I see people stuck in what USED to be. They want everything to go back to how it was when they understood it. Well that is not going to happen. Progress moves forward and we have to keep up the pace. This little excerpt from Micheal’s post says it all!

If you look back to the 70s and early 80s, you’ll find something both interesting and very revealing of human nature happened. The robots came. What I mean is, robotics in manufacturing happened. And everyone knew it was going to happen. People who worked in factories knew it was coming. Those workers had a choice: they could learn something/do something new to take advantage (or at least sidestep) the coming change (like go to to school for… oh, I don’t know… robotics), or they could do… nothing.

You know what most people did, right? Weird, huh? Like lambs to the slaughter, etc. Those people were responsible for families, too, who were then harmed by this fatalistic refusal to deal with the changing times. Sad.

Hot Small Business Marketing Help

Hot Small Business Marketing Help is a mix of the latest posts that we just LOVE, selected resources that we think are hot and a mix of our products and affiliate products that we recommend. This is meant to be an overall resource for small business, entrepreneur and realtor marketers.

Small Business Entrepreneur MarketingGeneral Small Business Tools

Small business owners often have a hard time with basic business focus. These products and services will help you to get a better idea of the basics of your business so that you can succeed at marketing.

Blog post – Small Business Marketing Focus – I have to say that this is the ONE thing that most small business owners miss. From the comments on this post, having a focus is worth SO MUCH more to your business than anything else you can do for marketing efforts.

Small Business Online Help

Blog post – Small Business Internet Marketing Tools – Some of our favorite tools – this is a MUST read for anyone who needs some tips and tricks about internet marketing for Small Biz.

Blog post – Writing Evergreen Blog Posts – Writing evergreen blog posts is not sexy BUT it will make a HUGE difference in how well your website will rank for key terms you need to dominate.

Blog Post – How To Have A Custom Facebook Business Page – Facebook Custom Business Pages are becoming a must-have for small businesses.

Recommended Marketing Videos Resources

I sign up for more training in a month than most of you probably do in a year. I think that learning one new thing a day will make a huge difference in your success. That having been said, I know of a number of totally free marketing resources that you can access anytime you like for FREE!

Free Resource – Gary Vaynerchuk Keynotes – Gary is the author of Crush It and has great content in his keynote speeches that is so worth hearing!

Free Resource – Offervault Recorded Webinars – There is SO much great free information on Mark Roth’s website. It has a free member section that contains webinars on all kinds of internet marketing, NOT just affiliate stuff.

Small Business Marketing That I Pay For or Recommend

It can seem like everything you need is on the internet for free and what kind of schmoe would pay for anything anymore? Well I AM frugal but found out a long time ago that it does pay for information that I don’t know OR for things that will save me time and heartache. These are all things that I use in my business which cost money, but that I think are worth it!

Paid Tool – SEMRush – I had been using another keyword research tool which I liked very much. I got all that info and more for half the price using SEMRush. Worth taking a peek.

Our Products – DIY Small Business Videos – Our membership site has small business marketing videos that are updated monthly. On these videos I tell you the new things that I have learned and which I think can help you grow market share. Check out all of our small business marketing products.

Paid ResourceConstant Contact Email – The reason I use Constant Contact instead of AWeber or another service is ease of use PLUS I did not have to have my list re-confirm the first time uploaded them. My list is NOT super sophisticated and has a hard time understanding why they have to re-up.

Design Resources That I Like

Idea Book by Chuck Green is a GREAT design resource. He has templates and all kinds of design resources.

I will be updating this post when I find new great stuff! If you have something to recommend please leave a comment and I will consider adding it!

Technical Resources

WordPress Site Optimizing Expert Shawn is who I call on when I am having trouble with my (or my clients) blogs. All wordpress blogs experience bugs from time to time and I can tell you that learning to fix them takes a rocket scientist! Shawn is quick and has great pricing. If your blog needs a tune-up check out his roadblock removal package!

Web Directories – this is one of the tools that we use to help grow our clients backlinks.

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How To Find Your Small Business Passion

Finding your passion is all the rage today. You are supposed to get out there and start doing what you are put on this earth to do. Problem is, most people do not know what their small business passion is!

Finding your small business passionYesterday I wrote about having a small business and entrepreneur marketing focus and man-o-man was I humbled by the response from my past clients and readers. Hearing that they are making thousands or tens of thousands of dollars more from the advice that I gave them was overwhelming.

So what is the magic that causes this to happen? Is it because I talked to them? Nope. Is it because they magically had the secret to making millions online. Nope. It is because they had a passion for what they wanted to do with their business and then worked really hard to make it happen.

About ten years ago I dubbed myself “Queen of Marketing”. No one bestowed that on me and I have no fancy schmancy college degree in Communication or Marketing. What I do have is a passion for marketing that is all out proportion with how interesting it is to normal human beings. I read about it, watch webinars, teach classes and consult with clients, basically it consumes about 75% of my waking hours. Can you say that about your business?

How To Find Your Small Business Passion Overview

I have read Gary Vanerchuk’s book Crush It and know that you have to have a passion. I have read about half of Joel Comm’s book KaChing and know that you have to have a passion. I have also talked with thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors and know that most do not have a passion. They like their work well enough OR hate their work but like the income OR just are doing something for right now to get them through.

REALLY? You are spending 40 hours a week or more doing something that makes you go meh. Stop it now!

How to find your passion seems to be somewhat vague and most people have no idea how to go about it, and even less about how to fit it into their business model.

Where To Start

Start by figuring out what you like to do. I do not mean knitting, unless you are a rabid knitter and it consumes your every waking thought. Most people have hobbies and those should not be confused with their business life. Keep those fun and figure out what you like to do work wise. Here are some weird things that I know people like to do:

  • Accounting tasks – now I am an accounting dud. I hate balancing my books BUT there are people out there who get a thrill from making all those numbers add up. One is my client Joy (of Lakewood Bookkeeping and Accounting fame) who likes to work with small business owners. She enjoys helping them to regularly manage their accounts and grow their business. Another client likes to get in there and find out all of the problems in small and medium sized businesses, straighten them out and get them on an automated track. Same job, two different versions.
  • Real estate – My pal Cyndee, Clearwater Realtor extraordinaire, is hyper focused on providing great service and information to high end buyers in the Tampa Bay area. She has spent the last two years targeting that group and referring out anything that does not match her high-end criteria. NOW, you may think who does not want to target high end buyers, well many realtors actually would rather work with first time homebuyers OR sellers in distress OR people looking just for waterfront properties. Each person needs to target exactly what their passion is and go after that with gusto.
  • MLM Business – Two of my friends and clients are in multi-level marketing (or direct sales). They sell such diverse things as passion products and green cleaning supplies. While they LIKE their products they LOVE sales and business building respectively. It would not really matter WHAT they were selling, they are focused on the aspects of their businesses that they have a passion for.

So what is your passion?

If you do not know what your passion is, frustration can overwhelm you. Stupid passion talk.

Stop beating yourself up and start noticing when you are having fun. If you are making phone calls, getting leads and making things happen, maybe doing phone support is your passion (and one that can be VERY lucrative). If you ADORE researching new products online and figuring out what is going to be hot next season, maybe that is your passion.

Yesterday I spoke at a networking group and asked an insurance guy if he had THE MOST INTERESTING insurance information. He said no. Why would I want to read, listen or buy from a guy who did not have the passion for his business to make sure that my home and family are secure.

Here is how you do it…close your eyes (oops that doesn’t work for this venue), well keep your eyes open and think about what one thing you would do business-wise if that is all you could do for the rest of your life. Don’t worry about your industry, concentrate on what tasks you like to do within your business life.

There. You are done! That is your passion and now you can go out and make yourself work that matches that passion. It will probably not start or be lucrative today. You may have to keep your J-O-B for now or keep selling to people who do not thrill you today. BUT if you know what you want to do and take one or two steps towards that everyday, you WILL get there.

Fast Track To Passion Success

Most people should stop at the end of the last paragraph. They will find something they like to do, do a bit each day to move towards that and in a couple of years be comfortable financially or personally, whichever is important to them.

If you do not have a burning desire to build something, grow your influence or make a change in the world, that is fine! Finish here and prosper.

Warning Hard Work Ahead!

Okay, now that we have the “nice” people out of the way, here is the hard core, make it happen soon, get me to the finish line version.

If you want to Crush It with your passion, you are going to have to work hard with a single-minded focus for a while. You need to live, breathe and work your business for a while before she is going kick ass and take down names.

Whenever I hear tremendously successful people say that they would have done it differently if they had the chance today, it makes me NUTS. If they had worked less, spent more time smelling the roses and enjoying life, they would not be where they are today.

Great success takes hard work. If you can not work on your passion at your current work, you are going to have to do it some other time. Do it early in the morning, knock out some at lunch, stay up late, work on the weekends. If you have the luxury of working at your passion now, can you honestly say you are giving it your all every day?

The only way to succeed at this is to find someone who will kick your butt. I am NOT talking about a warm and fuzzy accountability partner who will pat you on the head if you make your calls today. I am talking about someone who will help you to set steep but realistic goals for the next week or two and who you would be HUMILIATED to tell you failed. I have been up at 11 o’clock at night (REALLY late for me) finishing things that I said I would get done so that I would not have to tell my person I just did not do it.

These should be YOUR goals and the the things that will make the most impact on your business in the next week or two. Do those things and then set new goals. Do them when you do not feel like it, do them when your car breaks down or your cat tears up your curtains. Do them when you would rather be fishing or getting your nails done. Life will always try and distract you BUT if you really want to succeed you will soldier on through and “just do it”.

Start today.

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Small Business & Entrepreneur Marketing Focus

Having a small business marketing focus is the one thing that will increase your chances for success dramatically! The business owners and entrepreneurs who are clear about their products and services will succeed every time over someone with a great idea but no goals.

Small Business And Entrepreneur Marketing FocusOne of my buddys, Dunedin Realtor Deborah Ward, posted this Brian Tracy quote on Facebook today, “Every great achievement of humankind has been preceded by a long period of hard, concentrated work until the job was done. Your ability to select your most important task, to begin it, and then to concentrate on it single-mindedly until it is complete is the key to high levels of performance and personal productivity.”

Brian Tracy is one of my idols. Whenever I get a bit off track, I make sure to listen to a bit of his no-nonsense, shut up and do it, advice. This advice applies both to day-to-day tasks as well as the overall focus of your business.

What is your product or service?

I cannot believe how many small business owners are not laser focused on what they sell. If they have a shop or storefront, other non-focused items creep in. If they are a services based company, many times they will accept a one off client that will suck the life out of their time and resources.

When I first sit down with a client to do a marketing consult, I ask what their company is selling. Usually I will get a long winded story about what is going on now, what they tried in the past, what failed and some excuses for why they are not more focused right now.

In my business I sell speaking (workshops and paid gigs), information products like my membership site and affiliate products for other people and I also have monthly clients. That is it.

If you cannot state in one sentence EXACTLY what you are selling, stop everything right now and figure that out. You cannot have more than three things because with more, you are not able to focus on anything.

How to implement your marketing focus

Next you need to make sure that you doing something for each of those things every day. Put it in your calendar and check it off when you complete it, every day. Make sure it is either providing a third of your income or a third of your leads.

I KNOW – you are busy working on your work. You do not have time to pay attention to your core goals and income every single day. REALLY? If you are not laser focused on what you should be doing, I can guarantee that at least some of what you are so busy on is not core to your success.

Ignore everything else

If you know exactly what you are selling, you can ignore everything else. When you see a new opportunity, make sure that you ask yourself if it is in line with what you say your business is about. EVEN if it seems like it will just take a couple of minutes away from what you are doing now. EVEN if it seems like it would be a perfect fit for your current customer base. DO NOT DO IT!

Some hard truths

If you feel even a little uncomfortable right now, there is a good chance that you are not as rock solid sure of your company’s goals, products or services. If you think I am stupid and you are never going to read anything I write again, you may like the fun of chasing shiney new things, rather than putting your head down and working towards a goal for at least 6 months at a time.

Even if you never come back here, do me a favor. Write down the three things your business does or sells. Put it up on the bulletin board in front of you and every time you see something new come along, see if it EXACTLY matches on of those three things. If not, just say no!

If you have a small business or entrepreneur marketing focus success story, please share it here with a link to your site!!!

I am having a sale on my $250 marketing consult! For the month of August only, you can get a two hour “meeting” for just $100. I put this out to my newsletter list last month and three small business owners and entrepreneurs are now on track and ready to go! If you would like to find out more, give me a call at 727-415-9165!

Features Versus Benefits Part Deux

My features versus benefits post asking whether you are selling the steak or the sizzle is one that pops up quite a bit on my google analytics. It seems like every small business marketer has struggled at one time or another with trying to figure out what is a feature and what is a benefit.

Features versus benefitsBasically, features are facts about the product or service that you sell. They tend to be VERY important to the person who is the manufacturer or service provider but which are less sexy to someone who is buying it.

Benefits are what it will do for you. How it will affect your life or your profits. Benefits are why late night television infomercials work so well. We get sucked into the idea that by spending a couple of bucks we can learn to sell real estate for millions of dollars or dehydrate all of our groceries so that they will stay fresh for years.

I was sitting around watching TV the other day and a mini infomercial came on for the Mister Steamy, a gizmo that is used in your dryer. As I am always interested in good marketing, I took a peek.

The features were….

  • It is a round ball
  • There are about quarter inch nubs sticking off of it
  • It is yellow
  • It is used in the dryer

At no time did the pitch man mention any of those things. The entire commercial was devoted to selling the benefits of the product. Now I am a pretty savvy consumer but with these types of benefits I was intrigued….

  • All my clothes would look new and pressed
  • My sheets would come out hotel smooth
  • My shirts would be magically ready to wear
  • It softens clothes while you dry with no added expense of a dryer sheet
  • If I needed a shirt in a hurry, I would have it in seconds without an iron

Those are some great benefits for me! Then when they doubled the offer for the same price, I almost bit. NOT because I thought it would work but because I WANTED all those time saving conveniences they said I could have to be true!

Great marketing will not fix a bad product. But if you are a small business owner with a great product or service to sell, please look at your sales sheets or website product page. Do you have features listed that are important to you or have you outlined all of the benefits to your customer?

If necessary, you can have your benefits at the top of the page and the features at the bottom so that once they are “sold” they can check out the details BUT they will never pour over all the specifications for your product until they believe that it can help them in some way!

There are no affiliate links in this post and I am sad to report that while mr steamy has great marketing, a product review site said that the actual functionality is non existant.

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Unintended Marketing Consequences Beware Beware

Unintended marketing consequences pop up at the most inopportune times! If you are not minding your goals, it is easy to run off the track with something new and shiney that does not do what you thought it did.

Unintended Marketing ConsequencesI have to say that I hear about all kinds of new marketing ideas every day from blogs I read, email lists, readers who send me ideas and friends who know I like marketing. Some of them are G-R-E-A-T and some have put a really bad mojo on my marketing efforts. That is why I generally test out anything I am going to recommend on my stuff first. At least if I mess my Marketing Artfully or Tara Jacobsen marketing up I can usually fix it!

Recent unintended consequences…:)

  • MarketingArtfully.com redesign – to all you email readers out there, you may not know that I redid Marketing Artfully’s look and feel. While it is BEAUTIFUL, I have to say that it DID make some time changes necessary. In the past I could knock out a post in about 15 minutes and bang, up it went. Now there is more juggling around with image sizes, categorizing and more. Not a deal breaker but DEFINITELY did not know that would be the result!
  • Adding everyone to Gist – Now I do not know if www.gist.com is going to take off BUT like all things that pop up I joined in case it does do well (here is my take on Social Networking First Responder Advantages). That having been said, uploading everyone all at once to that one was a major ick factor. It wound up creating the same mess that I have now trying to follow all my real friends online stuff.
  • Getting more of the kind of clients you DO NOT WANT! My biggest beef with unintended consequences is when you are very successful but have started down the wrong road. This has happened to me a couple times where I built a successful client base but did not like the work I was doing. Argg. Be very careful to plan who you want to work with BEFORE you get started with what kind of marketing to do

If you have any neat bad marketing mojo stories, please feel free to share them here!!!

PS – The title of this post cracks me up, the Beware Beware part comes from the movie Labyrinth and funny rock people say that in a really spooky voice…I am cracking myself up over here this morning!

The Difference Between Not Working and Failing

The difference between something not working and failing is huge and one that most people are not good at recognizing. This has come up a couple of times this week and so I wanted to get it out there, in writing for the world to see!

Not Working or FailingI was talking with my buddy Cyndee the other day and she said “oh I tried that and it is not working”. She then went on to other things that she is trying now AND talked about things that WERE working. The main point is that she NEVER felt like she failed, just tried and something was not working.

My other buddy Deb and I get together and try stuff all the time. We are ridiculous and naive, never assuming that it will not work, just saying that we are going to try and do it. Some of those things ARE working now and some have fallen flat on their faces BUT instead of focusing on the ones that do not work, we choose to look at the ones that did and then figure out how to do more of those things.

I talk to lots of clients who “tried” a website and it “failed” because no one came. They “tried” an email campaign years ago and it “failed” because there were no sales. They “tried” facebook but “failed” because they got no business from it.

I think this may be the most important post I have written this year. There I said it. If you get nothing else from reading this, STOP THINKING YOU FAILED.

I am not going to throw out that old Thomas Edison lightbulb thing or the gagillion other stories about people who overcame adversity to conquer all. This is just a little post about changing how you think about yourself and what you do.

Start trying things today. If they do not work, try something else and do not waste one second on worrying about it. Learn what you can from it, do not do that part of it again and try something else!

If you have success stories of things you have tried that worked, please feel free to post them here. If you have any failures, go back to the beginning and start reading again because you missed the point!

Small Business Marketing Planning

Small business marketing planning is something most entrepreneurs and small business owners never do, much to their detriment. They spend their time jumping from the latest new thing to the next big thing, never stopping for a breath.

Small Business Marketing PlanningSo what does small business marketing planning entail exactly? Here are some of the steps that we take our marketing clients through that could help you to get your marketing efforts on track:

  • Who are the clients you are trying to attract
  • How have you found them before
  • What products and services do they like
  • What products and services should you offer
  • What channels (online, offline, social media, direct mail, etc) should you use to reach those people with your offer
  • What steps are you going to take this month, this week, today to implement your marketing plan
  • What metrics are you going to use to gauge your success? Added contacts, friends, followers, sales, leads, etc.

One of the first things you should notice about this is that at no time did I say do you want a new logo, blog, email program or any other specific thing that is the flavor of the moment. All of the shiney marketing things like Facebook, WordPress, and Email are just the TOOLS to use and are a HUGE distraction to your plan. Figure out WHAT to do BEFORE you figure out HOW you are going to accomplish it!

These are just a few of the parts of creating a SUCCESSFUL marketing plan. If you implement just a couple you will be MILES ahead of your competition. If you implement them all, you cannot fail!

Small Business Marketing Say EXACTLY What You Are Selling

Small business marketing does not always come naturally and I see a lot of mistakes out there. One of the biggies is assuming your customers know what you sell!

Small Business Marketing Products and ServicesNow if you are a florist, I assume you sell Flowers BUT you may have the neatest gift shop ever in your store too! Mechanics fix your car but maybe you have the best detailer in the world and could make my car beautiful and functional. Here are some examples, check and see if any of them sound like you…

  • I LOVE my accountant, he is grouchy and nags at me and is an old friend of my husbands. When I was going to buy life insurance, I did not use him. Not because I would not have, because I did not know he sold it!
  • I have a great new client, Lisa Keyes who is a health and wellness expert. We are doing her a new marketing plan including a blog so we were talking the other day and she said one of her customers went to a MD instead of using natural stuff to help with allergies. I HAVE ALLERGIES and did not know that Lisa could help with them!
  • One of my favorite Tampa Bay Realtors, Gary Ubaldini, tells the story of how his dentist sold his house without him years ago. Gary had never told the dentist that he was a realtor!

Sooo…do your clients know what you do? Are you sure?

PS – We were hiding our light under a bushel also…:) If you would like to find out more about the small business marketing products we offer, check out our creatively named products and services tabs above…:)

Is Small Business Marketing EVER Done

I talk with small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors on a daily basis and what I hear most often…is my small business marketing EVER done.

Small Business Marketing QuestionsThis usually follows them telling me that they had a website built a couple of years ago and now people are telling them they need a blog. OR they are doing postcard mailing and everyone is telling them that is dead. OR they want to know if they REALLY need an email contact program because they kinda, sorta use their yahoo account for that now. Social media, social networking, article marketing….argggg.

Well I have good news and I have bad news….

The Good Small Business Marketing News!

If you are willing to be flexible and move forward with a light heart knowing that everything marketing will never stay the same again, you will probably kick the tail of all of your competitors who are out there moaning about how it used to be.

More good news…it doesn’t cost a fortune anymore to do small business marketing. Facebook and Twitter are free. There are apps and skins and gizmos that plug right into what you are doing now which make things easy peasy. You do not have to rely on direct mail costs anymore to reach everyone, you can email or blog or write articles (I am a HUGE proponent of direct mail BUT do not want that to be my only option!)

The Bad Small Business Marketing News!

Everything is changing. Once you get MySpace down and have a good following the gang moves over to Facebook Groups. Then they tell you that Facebook groups do not count anymore and you have to go to Fan Pages. Your website is outdated before it is done being built. You have to get new business cards with your Twitter name on them or you are a giant loser, oh wait twitter is gone and gazoombas is the next big thing (I made that last one up BUT I guarantee that there WILL be a next big thing!)

How the heck are you supposed to keep up with all of this?!?!?!

To my way of thinking there are two types of small business owners, those that like marketing and those that think it is a necessary evil. For those of you who like marketing, come back often and check out the super duper new stuff!

For those of you who do not, we are considering offering a monthly marketing manager model to keep you on the cutting edge of both the internet and offline marketing. I would REALLY appreciate it if you would take my 3 question survey about your small business marketing needs. It will take 2 minutes and is totally confidential! Click here to take survey

Affiliate Marketing Where Is Your Passion

Affiliate marketing is a topic that comes up A LOT in my world. Bloggers are often affiliate marketers and I have just one word of warning for them. Make sure to follow your passion!

Affiliate Marketing PassionMany of the small business blogs that we develop are for affiliates. Oftentimes they have picked a topic that is “hot” by doing research on trends and search volume. I have done that in the past. Sigh.

Every time I have made the decision to do affiliate marketing with no passion behind it, I have petered out early. Now do not get me wrong, passion comes in many forms and it is easy to find a way to monazite your passion but pick your topic wisely!

The benefit of doing an affiliate blog with a hot topic is that you have the opportunity to get fast money. There are serious downfalls also:

  • AFFILIATE MARKTING COMPETITION – this is a biggie. If you are not serious about spending some major adwords coin on keywords, you are probably not going to see a huge amount of traffic right off the bat. Make money online is a great niche but the cost per click is about 3 bucks. Not cheap.
  • AFFILIATE BURNOUT – I can tell you unilaterally, if you are not at least somewhat interested in your category you will come to hate it more than life itself. I keep reading about fishing, lures, tackle, etc. So when Christmas rolled around I figured it would be a great idea to have a list of presents for fishermen. Argg. I HATE fishing. It took me 10 times as long to research fishing presents as it did for me to research crafting presents (I like crafting) since I had no background other than having fished 30 plus years ago with my grandfather.
  • ORGANIC KEYWORD COMPETITION – Now I am HUGE proponent of picking big keywords and having a long term plan for ranking well for them. That having been said, if this is just a little affiliate blog without tons of content, you will struggle to beat the established players in your niche market. If your category is not your passion, coming up with content or even content ideas will be a struggle.

So how do you make your passion pay? If you are a passionate green living nut, find a product or service to sell that goes along with your lifestyle, DO NOT pick something because it is hot. Today on clickbank the top selling product seems to be SatelliteDirect – Highest Converting Tv To PC Product. That is SO not a green item and would not be a good fit.

I was “watching” Seth Godin’s ebook the other day over at Vook and he talked about the farmers market Zeitgeist. Now the farmers had no way of knowing that eating well would be coming back into vogue BUT they had the products and systems in place to serve foodies when it did! Pick a topic that is trending but not super hot and then build a destination for people to come to.

Cathy over at Copy Cat Copywriting had a great post the other day about online marketing and picking a buying niche. It is SO worth a read!

Small Business Marketing Where Do You Find The Time

Small business marketing takes time. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but… Now you can farm some of it out to take a little less time, but that is only after you have spent a while understanding it first.

Recently I have read and listened to a couple of neat talks on finding time to do small business marketing that I thought would be fun to share with you! One of the things that has become pretty obvious to me is that time spent watching TV could be better used growing my business. Huh.

Now I am not imune to the television, I like a nice home show as much as the next gal. I DO know that my TV watching has taken a pretty precipitous decline over the last few years. My husband and I have even flirted with canceling cable and watching movies, internet shows and the like.

According to Clay’s keynote below, as a country we spend 100 Million Hours a weekend watching television ads. Argg.

As a marketer I bet you are wondering why I am anti-ad, that seems REALLY off base. Well I am not anti-ad, I am anti unrelated advertising that does not improve my life. Seeing ads for franken-foods that will knock me off of my semi-veggie plan do not help. Seeing ads for baby products do not help. Cars that I do not want and can not afford to drive (I am curb-knocking driver) are silly.

I DO like the internet ads that I see. They are generally related to something I am already interested in. When one of my favorite blogger suggests a product, generally it has something to with a topic I am enthused about. Think about that when you are developing products or “wasting time” blogging. Your audience WILL be interested in what you want to talk about and they may be interested in something you want to sell.

I know that entrepreneurs and small business marketers are interested in my Do-It-Yourself small business marketing product that I launched this month because they clicked on google ads. Soooo if I spend my time writing about small business marketing, there is a good chance I will find more people who are interested in that and will sell more more of them.

That hunt to be specific and get more business is WAY more interesting to me than watching the final season of Lost or morning talk shows. Sorry TV, I am too busy growing my business to pay attention to you!


Clay Shirky idea of cognitive surplus is REALLY interesting. He talks about how many extra hours we have when we do not spend so much time watching TV.Gary Vaynerchuk is the first one that I heard talking about how people would choose the internet over having TV. This is just one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote speeches that I listen to when I need a kick in the ass!

Entrepreneur Marketing Focus and Motivation

Successful entrepreneur marketing is all about focus and motivation! If you are an entrepreneur you better hope your boss is focused and a real task master or you will find yourself veering off track on an almost daily basis.

Entrepreneur Marketing Focus MotivationThat is right, I said that entrepreneurs have a boss. Granted it is you, but you are still master of your own destiny and you better hope that there is a grand plan for success or you are doomed to failure!

I HATE when other people are right and I am wrong. There I said it, I was wrong. Sigh. When I was a Realtor, the gang over at Keller Williams was always saying that you should be working on the twenty percent of your business that is vital to growing and generates income. Gotta say that made me wicked mad as I could not figure out who was going to do that other eighty percent. Well here is my take on the VITAL 20 percent and the not so important other 80 percent!

Step One – Figuring out your ONLY important tasks

If you are an Entrepreneur you better make sure you are the rainmaker for your business. There is no one else who is going to be watching over your sales funnel to keep it stocked or hand you leads. With that in mind, I have to say that my most important function for Marketing Artfully is to make the rain. For me that means speaking, writing blog posts and networking with other humans online and in person. I have benchmarks that I am required to hit each day and week. For example I have to write one blog post a weekday. No excuses.

There are many other ways to generate leads like prospecting phone calls, leads groups, direct mail and email. It does not matter what type of marketing and prospecting you choose, make sure you have a quota and that you are accountable to yourself or someone else to hit that. BELIEVE ME, I know how easy it is to let these things slide, especially when you are busy and successful BUT you have to have a system in place and one that is unbreakable. If you say you are going to make 30 phone calls a day, do that, everyday. If you are going to do email, do not TRY to send out something every week, just do it. Like Yoda says, do or do not there is no try.

Step Two – Do what ever else MUST be done

So in my business I also have clients. They have paid me and I need to do things for them. This is another part of my eighty percent work. NOW, I do not have to physically do everything. There are parts that need my expertise and there are parts that need my supervision. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are the only one who can perform all the tasks for your business or you will not be able to grow.

I will give you a great example! There are about 6 pages of line items needed to set up a blog. However, there are only a couple of vital things like doing keyword research and SEOing blog posts so that they show up right on internet. These are tasks that I never give to anyone else. The other 5 pages of line items are MUCH better done by someone who is meticulous and checks off every box.

Look at your business and see what can be handled by someone else (who might even be better at it than you)! The things that do not need to be in your hands are 80 percent things that you can offload.

Step Three – Get rid of the rest

I have to say that there are lots of things that I think I SHOULD do or maybe things that I COULD do in a perfect world. These include tasks that are left over from past processes that are done now (we used to enter everyone into this convoluted CRM system that did not get used fully) or things you like to do (I have seen small business owners require that they review EVERYTHING an employee does – if you are that guy, stop it! Either get a better employee or chill out a bit).

Once you realize that everything on your to-do list will never get done, life gets better. One of the things I do to make myself more focused is to write my to-do list every day. Not just new things but all the old things too. Let me tell you, when you have moved something over for more than 5 days, it is really not all that important or should be outsourced to someone who will actually DO it instead of just thinking about it!

Another thing that helps with focus is to have three things a day that HAVE to be done. You get to pick them BUT nothing else matters until those three things are accomplished today. They say that after 21 days doing something becomes a habit. When I started my one blog post a day rule, writing a blog post was on my three things list. Now that I have been doing it for a while it is a habit and new things have replaced it. Doing this makes that increased effort your new “normal”. If you had told me at the start of my blogging efforts that I had to write a post a day, rain or shine, I would have been overwhelmed. Over the years I have increased the number of posts a week a couple of times until now writing 5 posts a week is normal and easy!

So that is it. Easy-peasy to get your business on track…:)

Entrepreneur Marketing The iPad Is Coming

The fact that the iPad is coming is HUGE for entrepreneur and small business marketing! If you think this is not going to change everything then you have not been paying attention to the popularity of the iPhone, the Android and other smart phones.

Gary Vaynerchuk iPadGary Vaynerchuk of Crush It fame, talked today about how every company should use their advertising to drive people online and how video blogs will get even more popular as a marketing channel.

The iPad and Advertising

How cool will it be when you can pay to advertise in a magazine and instead of having to drive people to the web, they are already there! They can click a link or a picture or video and go right to your information or sales page.

For a while now I have hesitated to pay for marketing offline unless there was a truly targeted audience. Many times they tell me how they can drive people to their website and my readership is higher than theirs!

Now don’t get me wrong, your local offline papers and advertising venues will probably not be able to mimic the capabilities of new snazzy marketing outlets like what the New York Times will, but it will be fun to see the new opportunities.

Email Marketing and the iPad

There are lots of times that I do not click through links when I am reading my email on my smart phone (I use the iPhone). That is because the websites are teeny and I am getting old and can not see as well as I used to. Having a normal-ish sized screen should make that process a little better and encourage me to send more emails with links (perhaps to YouTube videos or back to my site to see videos).

This will make sending those pretty HTML emails more important than ever! If you are not using a service like Constant Contact or Aweber for small business or Brokers Helper or My Red Tools for realtors, start now and get ahead of the learning curve and beat your competition.

iPad and Reach

If nothing else today, I want you (my loyal readers) to start thinking more about the new possibilities that the iPad is going to bring to small business and entrepreneur marketing! We have a couple of months to get our marketing houses in order before the WiFi iPads come out and we should be taking that time to figure out how to capitalize on it before our competitors do! The wiki about the iPhone says that there have been over 21 MILLION iPhones sold and that does not count all the other smart phone sales.

So what to do?

  1. Learn to make videos – Use either jingproject.com or camtasia.com for screen capture and buy a flip camera or use your phone. Do a video today and post it on You Tube. Even if it is dumb. Even if you don’t know what to say. Just doing it over and over will make you better at it AND do not worry that it is not perfect, we do not want perfect anymore, we want REAL!
  2. Get an email list database that has HTML capabilities – I recommend Constant Contact for almost all of my non-internet marketing only clients. Learn to embed videos or pictures that link to your videos in your emails.
  3. Stop being overwhelmed or confused – This is the big one! I see many of my clients who are stuck, just standing still watching the world go by as technology streams past. If you can do it, learn it today. If you can not, call me and I will recommend GREAT companies that can do it for you. It will not be free BUT it will be better than watching your business fade into obscurity!

There are affiliate links in this post that will pay me a little bit of money if you click on them. If you would like to avoid my getting a little bit of money, please type in the emails manually.

Duplicate Content for Small Business Owners and MLMs

As some of you may know, I do internet and offline marketing for small business owners BUT I also do A LOT of research into hard core internet marketing since many of the techniques I learn from those guys translate into something that my small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors can use!

Sorting out duplicate contentThe other day I was reading about duplicate content on adwords websites and how that effects the rankings and the amount those advertisers get paid. That made me think long and hard about my small business owners who work for companies that offer “websites” and “shopping carts” for them to use to market their business.

If you have a Tupperware website (or candle or jewelry or weight loss) site that your company provides, there is a good chance that it has duplicate content on it! While it is great that your company provides an ecommerce or marketing solution for you, the chances of you ranking for that search term when there are thousands of the same sites out there is incredibly slim.

So what can you do? If you have some money to invest in your business you can have a blog like the one we did for Rae Ann over at Green Cleaning Products. She isn’t competing with all of the other people who represent her company anymore, instead she is representing herself and green cleaning products, with Wow Green simply as a product. Additionally, she DOES rank on the first page for Green Cleaning Products Denver which is one of search terms we targeted for her!

So what if you are just getting started? You could use free websites or blogs to set yourself apart from the crowd! Each time you leave a breadcrumb around the internet that is different from your company website, you increase the chance of someone finding you and possibly following that back to buy!

If you would like to learn about using free websites to market and are in the Denver area next week, consider coming to our Free Website Marketing Workshop (the sites are free the workshop isn’t…:)

Small Business and Entrepreneur Marketing Do what the fast kids do

Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs can feel like it is hard to get wind in their sales for their marketing efforts in today’s economy! Well I heard the magic words yesterday for how to get those efforts going again…:)

Small Business and Entrepreneur Marketing

Skittles the Sailor

My friend (Dunedin Realtor, Deb Ward) sends her child out in what looks to me like a bathtub onto the gulf of mexico, into freight line sailing channels and generally assumes that the training he gets will assure that he comes back. Well yesterday I attended my first sailing class to show solidarity for Skittles the Sailor. While most of the class sounded to me like the teacher on Charlie Brown, wah, wah, wah, the coach speaking said something that really hit home for me.

If you are having trouble getting your boat to go, just copy what the fast kids are doing.

Holy cow! That is great advice for kids and also for small business and entrepreneur marketers!!! We all know someone in our town or industry who seems to really be doing great things. For me it is Gary Vaynerchuk who has a best selling book, gets paid gagillions for keynote speeches and who loves what he does every minute of the day. For you it may be the Doctor who isn’t sitting there whining about how bad the economy is, he is out there with billboards and print and a great website – taking over market share that he will never lose once the economy starts getting more on track.

Now I am not a proponent of plagiarizing anyone, BUT you can definitely keep an eye on the competition to see what they are doing. OR do a search on the Google and find out what the successful florist in the next town over is doing that you could copy and generate more sales for your business. OR copy the fancy New York City business that is paying the super big bucks to Madison Avenue advertising agencies to get great ideas.

Whatever you do, sitting there with no wind in your sales is not an option if you want to keep your doors open. Get out there TODAY and copy what the fast kids are doing!!!

Real Small Business Marketing

Real small business marketing is NOT a lot of things. It is not social networking like facebook or twitter. It is not throwing up a blog and hoping someone will come. It is not signing up for the latest online directory or craigs list or usfreeads.

Real Small Business MarketingWhat real small business marketing is is hard work. It is old fashioned identifying your target market, then figuring out the best way to reach them, then crafting a great offer that you know will make them interested. Then the really hard work starts! It is contacting prospects, following up until they are ready to buy and even some wine and dining from time to time.

Just because there is more opportunity available on the internet does not mean that we can abandon our old business ways. Getting belly to belly with a highly targeted prospect will still result in a sale. Calling your suspect list and making sure that they know you are still in dialogue is huge. Sending personal note instead of emails really does work.

We live in fabulous times that allow us access to millions of new customers instead of the 200 or so that we know personally. Make sure that you transfer some of your old marketing tricks to these new marketing media!

PS – Speaking of old time marketing ideas…have you called your past customers lately to see if they need to buy something else?

Small Business Marketing There is no set it and forget it!

This post about small business marketing is a follow up to “There is no one marketing thing that works“. In that post I gave small business marketers the bad news that there is one marketing thing that works like the old yellow page ads used to. Well get ready for more bad news! If you would rather that the world go back to the way it used to be, then this may not be the post for you.

Loudspeaker SalesmanI LOVE the infomercial pitchmen! They are brilliant at separating you from your money with catchy taglines and REALLY strong call to actions. The best tagline I ever heard was “set it and forget it”. This was for a product that cooked an entire meal for you using one appliance and the salesman had the audience chant that over and over during the commercial.

Neato kitchen appliance notwithstanding, there is no set it and forget it for your small business marketing. Buying a website and blog, then ignoring it for a year will not get you top google rankings. Just setting up a business Fan Page will not grow your sales by thousands. BUT worse than that even, learning to use Facebook or Twitter will not carry you over then next 10 years of marketing.

If you had asked about the biggest social networking site a couple of years ago you would have been talking about MySpace, which has now fallen off the face of the earth marketing-wise in favor of Facebook and Twitter. If you built a state-of-the-art website 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find that an affordable blog may be the best way to drive traffic to your sales page.

Nothing stays still and if you are thinking that you can just “set and forget” your small business marketing, you may find yourself losing ground fast!

Incoming search terms:

  • salesman tag line

Small Business Keyword Marketing

In my post yesterday about entrepreneur internet marketing I talked a little bit about keyword selection but I feel like I did not explain how fun small business keyword marketing can be! Here is a little bit about what prompted my keyword obsession this week…

So I am always working on great keyword selection for my clients but sometimes I get lazy with my own keyword focus. This blog ranks well for realtor marketing and entrepreneur marketing but I wanted a little extra zing for my new Small Business Internet Express product so I was looking at some google adwords data.

While setting up my campaign I noticed that the keyword “entrepreneur internet marketing” cost $3.00 a click and only had about 91 searches a month. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Google wants me to pay three dollars for a keyword that might get seen by about one hundred people a month? Not this marketer I tell you!

Small Business Keyword Marketing So I set out to rank on the first page for that keyword organically and today, one day after posting that article on my blog I rank on page one – yay! Now it is a great win because I am on page one, not so great because (as we know) that search term only gets about a hundred searches a month even though there are six million google listings that come up when you search for that term…:)

Small Business Keyword Focus

So how do you rank well for keywords that really matter? Pick three that are going to be a main focus for your site and then pound the crap out of them! You can get really great ideas of other niche keywords by doing a google search and seeing what google adds to your search as a suggestion. Today they suggested that I might also be searching for “entrepreneur marketing plan” or “social entrepreneur marketing”.

So if I was trying to get a listing for entrepreneur marketing today I would make sure that that search term was in the title tags for my overall blog AND in the titles of lots posts with additional sub keywords added. Age of your domain DOES matter but so does great content so aim really high for you 3 main keywords and you will do well over time!

Entrepreneur Internet Marketing Tips

When I think of my entrepreneur internet marketing efforts, I have to say that I have some huge wins and some blistering defeats. In all cases I started with a great idea and then either implemented it well or became distracted and moved on to something new. Entrepreneurs are a strange breed, we enjoy the thrill of the chase and are always willing to try something new, even if it means neglecting something we loved just moments before!

entrepreneur internet marketingKeyword Selection for Entrepreneurs

Keyword selection and focus is the one thing I see entrepreneurs struggle with the most because they can find something to love in many different types of businesses. They start a blog focused on home health care and two years later have spent more time talking about internet marketing than healthcare. They are in business doing real estate but their real love is boating and they wind up with a crazy mix of the two.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am all about blogging about what you love and having a business based on your passion. I just don’t think that you can have both on the same blog! Google and other search engines do not reward entrepreneurs for their audacity, they punish us for sending a mixed message!

My best suggestion to you is to pick one of your passions and then have a blog focused entirely on that for at least six months before adding anything to it or starting a new one with another topic. Over the course of six months, posting twice a week with targeted keywords, you will wind up with 100 posts that are laser focused on your topic.

Oh, and no more than 3 keywords – I KNOW it is hard to pick just three but it will make a huge difference to your success!

Blogging for Entrepreneurs

Okay, I talked a little about keywords but now let’s get serious now about how entrepreneurs can succeed with their blog! Yes keywords are important, but so is quality content. Fortunately for non-writers, today’s content can include pictures, videos or the written word.

So what you should you write? Start with “evergreen” blog posts that relate to your business and will not grow stale over time. These are the posts that will serve you long after your daily content has fallen off the front page of the search engines.

This post is an evergreen post for my blog. My keyword is Entrepreneur Internet Marketing and that is something that I want to rank well for so I am writing a GREAT blog post that will be of value to my readers as well as have lots of content and focused keywords.

After your evergreen posts, make sure you have a nice mix of posts that are fun to read and ones that are informative but still related to your three main keywords. These additional keywords will be “long-tail” keywords that can get you on page 1 for a specific search term.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing for Entrepreneurs

Another thing your keyword focus can help is with Pay Per Click marketing. It is VERY easy to spend a lot of money using PPC marketing. If you pick too broad a selection, you wind up paying for keywords that are not going to convert well for your product or service. If you pick too narrow a selection or too few regions to advertise in you will save money but not get much exposure either.

While I do do PPC marketing for my site, I do not consider myself expert enough for teaching you, my loyal readers. I use the tools and training in PPC Bully. It is great for researching keywords and where you can place your ads as well as how to write ads that should convert well. If you are considering getting started with pay-per-click I heartily recommend you check out PPC Bully.

That IS an affiliate link and I am happy to recommend them – I love messing around in there doing research on keywords and figuring out how to write better ads to succeed!

Information Products for Entrepreneurs

Information products are things like ebooks, membership sites and video training. I have done all three and some have sold like hot cakes while some died a horrible death. My social networking videos have done REALLY well in conjunction with in-person networking and hands-on workshops while my ebooks have really only been great for adding to email marketing lists, not selling outright.

The best things about info products is the low cost to produce them and the ability to get immediate feedback about what people like and are willing to pay for. The main thing to do is fail early and often, then modify your information product to sell better.

For example, my first social networking videos were okay and provided great content but they were slow to download and didn’t have a lot of professional touches that the new ones have. That having been said, it would have been a horrible waste of time to produce professional level videos which no one wanted to buy!

Free ebooks are a great way to see if anyone is interested in what you are considering producing! If you can’t “sell” a free ebook for the cost of someone signing up for your email list, there is little chance that someone will pay you big bucks for a full blown information product on the same topic.

Hopefully this information will help you with your entrepreneur internet marketing efforts! If you have a great success (or failure) story, feel free to share in the comments with the other entrepreneur marketers!

Do you love your small business

People who meet me or attend one of my training sessions are always blown away by how much I love marketing. Sometimes I get up at 4am because I can not sleep anymore thinking about all of the really neat marketing stuff I get to do that day. Do you love YOUR small business that much? If you do, great, move along with what you were doing before. If not, here are a couple of suggestions about what you can do to get motivated!

falling in love with your small businessGet Small Business Systems In Place

Sometimes I find myself wondering what I am going to do if I get more customers. It is a REALLY high quality problem to have, but if I can’t service them well, what is the point of having them. If you are concerned that you might get too many customers, here are a couple of ways to handle them…

  • Make sure you (and your employees) know what to do from start to finish on each project or sale. I KNOW that taking time to define and write down your systems takes time initially but it will serve your business for years in the future.
  • Know that you are going to be busy for a little bit, but then you can get more help. There is always an awkward stage when you go from the volume of leads and customers you are used to having to having A LOT more. Just know that eventually you can take all that extra money you are making and hire more help!
  • Make sure you are asking your helpers to do what they are good at! If your assistant is good at marketing, don’t ask him to call your accounts payables – those are different skill sets. Find a qualified person to do what they excel at and both of you will be happier!
  • Raise your prices! If you are in a service business and have WAY too much work, raise your prices OR vow to only work with clients you LOVE at the same price you are charging now..:) If you get too many leads or they are not the kind of clients you want to work with, refer them out.

Get more prospects and follow up

  • There is nothing that helps a small business succeed like lots of leads. If a business is struggling, in almost every case I can guess that it is because they do not have enough people to sell to. Marketing fixes this, networking fixes this, cold calling fixes this. Any plan you make that involves doing a specific lead generating task ALL the time (not just when you are slow) will assure that you have lots of prospects to sell to.
  • Brian Tracy says that the most important things to do is prospect, present and FOLLOW UP! Most small business owners have no system for following up with their prospects after the initial contact. This is one area that will make a tremendous difference in your business and which is WAY too involved to cover in a bullet point…:) Get a plan to follow up!!!!

Stop listening to the news and your peers

  • If you are constantly being bombarded with doom and gloom it is easy to think that all business is down. That is NOT so! I don’t watch the scary news but I do read a bunch of blogs by business owners who are excited about their business. They are growing, expanding their lines, hiring more people and basically thriving which helps reinforce to that little voice in my head that it IS possible.
  • I help with a lot of realtor marketing plans and if I could tell you the number of agents I know who think that the market is FABULOUS you would fall off your chair. The good ones are thriving in this market because there is less competition and skill matters more than ever. If they can be optimistic, surely you can!
  • The news says small shops are closing left and right…true but there are also prime locations that were unaffordable before that good store owners can snatch up now!

Really people, if you own your own business and are not thrilled to get up, stop it. Either figure out how to light the fire in your belly again or shut it down. If you are not enthusiastic about what you are selling, how is anyone else going to get fired up to buy from you?

Make 2010 the year to get happy about your business!

There is no one marketing thing that works

I have been talking about this with humans A LOT lately so I am just going to get it off my chest here. There is NO ONE marketing thing that works! Facebook is not going to change your life, getting a blog or a website will not get you 1000 prospects tomorrow, new business cards – nope, print advertising – nitch, direct mail – nil, video – nada. Small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors need to get a grip on the fact that anyone selling them THE ONE THING that will take care of all their marketing needs is lying (and not just a little bit, a big fat lie!)

small business entrepreneur and realtor marketingThere are a bunch of small business owners who are sad. They do not like doing marketing much and prospecting (calling) is out of the question for them. They are pining for the good old days when they could just place their yellow page ad once a year and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Realtors are looking for a time when sitting in the office meant that you got the next live buyer or seller that walked in the door for floor time. Pine away, those days are gone and yearning for them just means your small business is slower to get going in the new, more competitive marketplace.

Think about what has come and gone even in just the last decade…

  • I started 2000 arguing with business owners that having a flash movie between their website and the search engines was harmful (and expensive)
  • HTML built websites were hard to build, expensive to change and gave way to…database and frame websites that were hard for search engines to find!
  • No one even knew about google
  • Direct mail fell off the map in the latter part of the decade (smart marketers know that now is the time to get in when competition is low)
  • Advertising in newspapers stopped being the other easy way to market
  • Snazzy marketing materials and design became affordable at Vistaprint.com
  • Blogs showed up as a great way to get found by search engines and were easy to use
  • Social networking like myspace came and went and new ones like twitter and facebook took their place
  • AND people started using the internet to find small businesses instead of using..wait for it…the yellow pages!!!

Now-a-days small business owners have to be more marketing savvy. They do not have to learn HOW to do the actual technical parts but they DO need to know what works the best for their business AND get involved. I can guarantee that no one will love your business like you do so handing over your marketing to a snake oil saleman could be death of it!

I am putting this out there loyal readers – before you spend more than $1,000 on any type of marketing please post a link to what you are thinking about here. If I think it is great I will publish it and give  your marketer some great publicity and you the thumbs up. If I think it less than great I will message you behind the scenes and let you know my thoughts. I have talked to too many small business owners lately who are spending a FORTUNE on snake oil…:(

There is an affiliate link for vistaprint in this post, if you click that and then sign up I will get a little bit of money, if you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money type it in manually.

Outsourcing is the new black!

So you are considering outsourcing some of your tasks – YAY YOU! Now that the rah-rah is out of the way, what kinds of tasks can you honestly get off of your plate and onto someone elses? One last thing, outsourcing does not always mean sending your work out of the country, just remember that because the standard of living is lower elsewhere, sometimes it just makes sense for certain tasks!

So what do I outsource?


Outsourcing Administrative Help – For any of you that read my blog regularly, you know I use THE Shell Marketing Manager for email database updating work and managing my schedule and clients. Michelle is in the US and very selective about the clients she will take so I am assured that my clients will be handled with the utmost care. She also does phone calling for me – after having had a bad experience previously, I am VERY careful about who I give my database list to call on my behalf!

Outsourcing general admin help that can be done not on site, I generally check first at oDesk . They offer all kinds of support and manage the workers so that you can be sure that you are getting work for the time you paid for! They are good for non-client contact work like submitting my websites to places, posting content to my niche blogs, basic admin tasks AND most don’t need to be hand held through the process because oDesk tests them first…:)

Outsourcing setting up my speaking events – I let Amber from Your Marketing Voice (online and offline networking) handle advertising my Denver area monthly internet marketing training events. She handles setting up events in Facebook, finding a place, answering attendee questions and so much more. Great speakers are not necessarily good admin people – don’t let people fall through the cracks just because you don’t follow up!!!

Outsourcing Blog Writing – I NEVER let anyone write for me for Marketing Artfully as this is my main blog, that having been said, I do hire writers to write articles, blog posts and free website content for some of my other web 2.0 properties. For cheap writing I use http://www.need-an-article.com/ and have been VERY happy with the results. I have to tweek it some to make it great but it is SO much easier to edit than to have to come up ideas from a blank screen. For content that I can just plop in there without having to worry I use a couple of different US based copywriters who I like very much!

There are people I outsource my technical problems, my accounting and also people I outsource my cooking too (LOVE that Colorado Home Chef..:) ANYTHING you do not like, have time for or do not know how to do is fair game! Find someone to help and get going working on what you ARE good at AND if the first one doesn’t work out, do not give up – try again!!!

There are affiliate links in this post that if clicked will result in me getting a little bit of money. If you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money, type in the URLs manually…:)

Internet Marketing – Making the most of your marketing efforts

internet marketing successWhen you start internet marketing, or real life marketing for that matter, you are all fired up. You are going to tweet, and facebook and get a blog and free websites and and and…. Then one of two things happens A) nothing works because you did one thing on each of those mediums or 2) you get lots of business so you stop doing what worked!

The other thing I hear is that small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors don’t have the time to do this kind of marketing. They are too busy running their businesses to do lead generating to get more sales. Sigh. Their ONLY business is getting more customers and prospects! If they have no customers they have no business! So what is a smart marketer to do?

First – Determine what you like to do!

If you like to sit in front of the computer, make sure you are spending your time wisely…

  • Watch TV and follow more people on twitter
  • Take the time to write thoughtful blog posts instead of watching HGTV or Spike
  • Set up multiple twitter accounts in the niches you would like to target
  • Set up multiple blogs in the niches you would like to target
  • Answer your emails
  • Stop removing yourself from lists
  • Set up google alerts to get the latest information and inspiration on what to talk about
  • Get a database like aweber or constant contact and learn how to set it up

If you hate sitting in front of the computer, take 15 minutes a day and do these things

  • Answer your emails from the night before (if it will take more than 1 minute to answer them then put them on your list of things to do and move on)
  • Follow 50 people on twitter using twellow.com
  • Go into Facebook and accept your friend requests then post your status and “talk” to a couple of people on your live feed
  • Add a link from google alerts about something interesting to your fan page

(membership site gang – watch out for a really neat video later this week that shows how to pick your best marketing opps!!!)

Second – Stop Whining

This one is going to be a little bit mean so if you are having a bad day skip it…:) I do SO many things on the internet. I do everything I have suggested and more. I have client work to do, I have articles and blog posts to write, for goodness sake I have over 20 blogs, 5 twitter accounts, 4 Facebook pages, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and think that there is too much to do – then I look at the time I am actually spending working. I mean nose down, no phone, no emails, no nothing, just work. It is about 8 hours a day.

Can you say that you are actually working 10, 12, 14 hours a day. Really? When you are honest with yourself, couldn’t you carve out an extra hour (or even 15 minutes) a day to schedule dedicated time to growing your business?

Third – Get help!

Okay, back to being nice..:) When I say help I mean whatever help YOU need. I don’t need much help with setting things up because I am good at it. I have been doing it A LONG time and some things that may seem overwhelming to you are not hard for me. That having been said, balancing my checkbook is too much for me. All those numbers, ick. So – here are some ways you can get help!

  • Hire an assistant (virtual or real) to do some stuff for you. An assistant is only as good as what you need though. I need someone who can make sure I am doing my client work in a timely manner, enter all the people I meet in my database and add people to my membership site. I cannot expect an assistant to fix my blogs when they break (I hire a programmer for that), I cannot expect my assistant to be an accounting wiz (I hire my CPA and bookkeeper for that). DO NOT give your assistant more than they can do technically and DO NOT try to farm out your internet empire to them. If you do not know what to do hire a marketing person to SET UP the systems for your assistant to manage.
  • Learn to use tools – All those twitter accounts I have, most of them update themselves automatically when I post on any of my blogs via twitterfeed.com. Updating all those Facebook pages is super easy with hootsuite.com. I use writers to help with the heavy lifting of content for my niche blogs. I use my database to talk with people all at once. I automatically follow people using socialoomph.com. All these things make it easy to manage multiple accounts BUT I had to set them up first. Get your online empire built the right way and managing it is easy for you or your assistant!
  • Schedule time – Do you see a theme here? If you do not put time in your calendar to do these tasks you will never get them done. Take the first 15 minutes or hour of your day, shut off your phone and do your online marketing (or if you are having an assistant doing it, stop bothering them with “real work” while they are doing it..:)

Anyways – if you are down here, you are probably interested in REALLY starting to do some internet marketing. Congratulations! Your business will thank you and your bottom line will thank you.

Email Marketing – Hiding your list

Super secret email newslettersI like email marketing as much as the next gal! I have numerous lists of people who have subscribed to receive my message and I email them twice a month with great marketing information in my newsletter. Do you know something funny I noticed recently? You can’t subscribe to my “real” email newsletter! HA!

Over time I have noticed that people who signed up online to receive my newsletter unsubscribed faster than everyone else. They sent me nasty emails and said “take me off your list” – just so you know, I send out about 1,200 emails and get only one or two unsubscribers per mailing so it is not a common occurrence to me. And it makes me sad. I spend a A LOT of time writing my newsletters and make sure to only send out great information so when someone sends me a mean email it really does hurt my feelings.

So how do I get new people on my list you ask? I meet them! I go to networking and ask them very politely if they mind if I send them out a marketing newsletter twice a month. BRILLIANT! I also teach them. I teach classes on marketing and ask THOSE people if they would like to hear from me too!!!

Sometimes I “meet” fun people online who I don’t really know but it feels like I do – I ask and add them too!

So how do you get on my super cool, very informative small business marketing email list? Wouldn’t you like to know!

PS – I have been working really hard on my membership site and may be a little punch drunk BUT I had SO much fun writing this I don’t care!!!! Happy New Year…:)

Making a Membership Site

Making A Membership Site is HARD! If you are planning one or even considering making one I have some tips and tricks that I have discovered while making my Small Business, Entrepreneur and Realtor Marketing Membership site.

Step One – Figure out what you are going to sell on your membership site

I have A TON of marketing information all around the internet, some free and some paid. It is on different blogs, on different pages and some is even hidden from the world right now (I am a great marketer, NOT a great organizer). So a membership site allowed me to get it all in one place at one time. It also allowed me to get up and running with content quickly. If you do not have “stuff” made already, you are going to have to build that into the timeline or cost of setting up your membership site. Here are some things I am going to be adding to my site:

  • Videos
  • Recorded webinars
  • Recorded teleseminars
  • Ebooks
  • Posts for members only
  • Photos of how I do my internet marketing
  • PDFs and Word Doc of forms I have set up for doing each part of my business

Step Two – Figure out what software to use to make your membership site

I have checked out a number of membership site options online including WildApricot.com, iGroops.com and a WordPress pluging called Wishlist for WordPress. While wishlist seemed like it would take more time (and money) to set up initially, since I planned on going for the long haul it just made sense. Here are some of the things I liked about Wishlist:

  • It allowed me to pay one time ($99) instead of a monthly fee like some of the others had
  • It allowed me to set up different levels (I have realtors and entrepreneurs who are interested in different things so I HAVE to be able to separate them)
  • It allowed me put everything in one place
  • I can add people on the back end without having to have them come through my shopping cart (this was SUPER important to me since I have people who have already purchased services and who I don’t want to have to charge again)
  • I could set up one time charges for a lifetime membership instead of having to bill monthly (I am anti-subscription because I CAN NOT HAVE one more thing that I pay for monthly AND I don’t want to have to keep up with monthly billing hassles….:)
  • It integrated with PayPal and 1ShoppingCart so while I am using PayPal right now for ease of setup, I can switch to 1ShoppingCart down the line if I get all fired up to do affiliate programs

Lastly you have to Figure out how to get people to sign up for your membership site!

I am fortunate to have a vast network of people and internet properties where I can market my membership site. If you do not have that you need to figure out a way to get people interested in your topic or information. Here are some of the ways that I plan to market my membership site:

  • On my blog(s)
  • In my newsletter
  • When I speak for free
  • When I speak paid
  • Tweet it
  • Facebook page it
  • Direct mail
  • Ask for referrals
  • Have my project manager call my database
  • Give away free memberships to get people interested and using the site (my “free” memberships cost a dollar because I can’t figure out how to make them free-free…:)
  • PPC – Pay per click

Final thoughts! DO NOT let anything stop you if you want to make a membership site. It was scary and frustrating getting it set up for the first time. I am not sure it works exactly right (I think some levels can see things they shouldn’t be able to and the navigation bar is a little wonky) BUT it is up and ready to roll. If you think you are going to be able to roll something out on this scale without a few hiccups you might as well stop right now and read The Dip by Seth Godin! In every endevour there is a dip where you think it will never work right and if you start not knowing that you will get through it then you have failed before you began!

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Right now this post is the only way to access the site, since I wanted to give my marketing artfully readers the first crack at banging around in there. I will keep you up with how it goes over on the membership site AND if you have gotten this far and would like to access the site for half price lifetime memberships – please call me and I will send you a payment link and get you set up personally (this will come off as soon as I know that the site is working properly and will not be repeated)

Big Changes Coming!

Hi All – Just wanted to let you know that are some BIG (exciting) changes coming soon to Marketing Artfully in the Small Business Internet Marketing, Realtor Marketing and General Marketing Info Arenas!!!

Here are just a few of the things we are going to be doing:

Creating a membership site where we can keep all of the great information that we produce like videos, teleseminars and content all in one place. YAY! OF COURSE, some will be FREE and some will be paid but all will be the same high quality info that we always give!!!! Just a note, if you were thinking about getting the social networking videos DO IT NOW! The price is just $24.97 for lifetime access and that will be the very first thing that gets updated in the new membership site SOOO you can get your social networking videos now before the price jumps to $47 on January 1st!!!

Changing around how Marketing Artfully is set up! I think that I will have to go back to the old layout so people can see the membership login area. I don’t know if you noticed but I added a search the site feature so you can find exactly what you are looking for easily from the hundreds of posts.

Telling you guys more and more specific information about internet marketing, keyword research and blogs. Some of you have been with me a LONG time and I know that you are not newbies anymore. For the new year I am going to be breaking out some tougher marketing concepts and pairing those with webinars and teleseminars!

Anyways – hope you all have a great Christmas (or similar fun holiday) and I will see you next week!

PS – If you have any burning requests for information, specialized seminars or how you like to buy stuff (one time fees or subscriptions), speak now or forever hold your peace!!!

Realtor and Small Business Marketing Tip – Google Voice!

Google Voice - Realtor and Small Business MarketingSo you know I like make sure my realtors and small business owners know the latest and greatest marketing information so that you can take over and dominate your market! Well today’s topic is Google Voice!

I signed up for Google Voice a few weeks ago and got the notification the other day that I was in…YAY! The thing that I like the best about this is that they provide you with a local number to use on your marketing materials BUT you can also forward your messages from your cell phone to google voice, they transcribe it and record it and then text or email you with the message. You can also text right from the comfort of your desk chair.

The setup is super easy and only took me about 5 minutes to get up and running. The best part for me is that I was paying for this service with another company and now get it for FREE!

Hope that helps with realtor and small business marketing!

Social Networking Workshop! October 19-20th Westminster CO

Small Business Owners, Social Networking is Not A Gimmick, Hype Or A Fad … It’s Just A Smarter Way Of Generating REAL LEADS!

Marketing Expert Tara Jacobsen can show you how to make the most of your time using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Every Small Business Owner knows that social networking SHOULD be part of their marketing toolbox, but who has the time to spend weeks (or months) getting it set up? What if I told you that you could have your entire social networking empire set up in just four hours, with no stress?
Workshop info:

Where – ASK Training Conference Room 18 Garden Center, Suite 102, Broomfield, CO 80020
Dates & Times – October 19th, 8AM – 10AM October 20th NOON – 2PM
Class Sponsored By Your Marketing Voice!

Cost: ONLY $100

Seating is limited to the first 12 people to respond – don’ t miss out

Social Networking Hands-On Workshops

Here are just a few of the things we will cover….

How social networking works – there is a lot of confusion out there about how to get actual business from social networking
· Why it matters to google
· How it can increase your website traffic

Twitter – simple secrets to automate Twitter entirely while still getting results!
· How to set up your account the right way!
· How to find followers (even in your town)
· Tools to increase your followers
· Hook up your blog

Facebook – pages, groups, profiles, what really works to get more customers!
· Facebook overview
· How to set up facebook the right way
· How to set up your facebook business page
· Adding events
· How to get friends

Linkedin – how to make the most of the opportunity to connect with past friends, clients and customers!
· How to set you your account
· How to get connections the right way
· Linked in groups

How To Track Your Social Networking Progress
· Numbers of followers, friends and connections
· Number of incoming hits
· Setting up a plan for social networking success

On Purpose Networking:
· Goal setting and tracking
· What to write about (hands on idea generating) So how exactly do you get all this great hands-on help?

Small Business Marketing – Success Is HARD!

When you think about small business marketing success, there is no magic bullet! I am sorry to be the one to tell you that, but I sick of hearing about “get rich quick” schemes.

I work in the trenches everyday with small business owners and they are busting their humps to succeed. They are learning new skills, networking online and in person, attending tradeshows and training events. They try and fail AND try and succeed!

Some people who make me proud:

  1. Deborah Ward – My real estate buddy who does stuff that I tell her do and never asks why. We are in the process of taking over the St. Petersburg Real Estate and Florida Foreclosures market.
  2. Cyndee Haydon - Cyndee is a Clearwater Realtor who has been working like a demon for 4+ years and now is reaping the rewards.
  3. Mary Dado - Mary and I work together to make blogs for small business owners but her company writes all kinds of business writing. She is working her tail off networking and following up. I am awed by her strength!
  4. Tara Becker – Tara has a great Denver Area Networking group. She is great at talking to people face to face and has grown an 8 meeting a month group. She is NOT a whiz at online marketing but she is learning and slogging through it.
  5. Kirsten McKay Smith – Kirsten of Passion Parties is running hard and has set goals that she is working towards. She is one of the few people I know who have as many things on her plate at one time as I do and I am so glad she is in my High D mastermind!!!
  6. Lori CrawfordTrinity Realtor, Lori Crawford is a great marketer. She is the only person I know who gets a lead EVERY time she sends her newsletter. Into every life some sanity must fall and Lori shows me what professionalism looks like.

I am sure that there are MANY MANY people who I missed but those are the ones that came to mind today. WHATEVER you marketing style is, take a page from one of these gals and JUST DO IT! Start a big audacious goal today, knowing that it will be hard but DO IT ANYWAYS!

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One-offs – How they cost small business owners time and opportunity!

According to Miriam Webster “one-offs” are limited to a single time, occasion or instance. I see MANY small business owners making the mistake of looking at customers as a one-off and also looking at one-off projects as real opportunities rather than the tremendous problems they really are!

One-offing Your Customers

I know, that sounds kind of bad AND it is! When we are in the trenches selling out products or services it can get really easy to become laser focused and lose the big picture. Your product or service may not be the answer to every problem and it is disingenuous to try and make it fit. Also, getting money from a customer one time (even a lot) but burning the relationship is SO not worth it!

The first goes along with the old saying, “when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. I worked for a GREAT company a while ago who operated like this. They were SO passionate about their product that they answered every question with “well you should use our product for that…and that…and that”. They also NEVER talked about any solutions other than their product, even if their solution was not in the best interest of the client. Humans recognize quickly that someone is doing this and then apply a filter to the information, always looking for the “gotcha” rather than listening to benefits.

The other half of this is sucking a customer dry with EVERYTHING you can take, burning them out for any future sales and losing your credibility at the same time. I know, a bird in the hand and all that BUT the lifetime value of a customer, their referrals and their goodwill is worth SO much more than taking everything you can get and leaving a bad taste in their mouth. Be honest with yourself about your motivation and make sure that you are doing what you can to serve your clients fairly and they will stay with you, bringing in way more than you could have made on one single transaction.

One-offing Your Projects

This one is SUPER easy for small business owners to do! It is always tempting to bring additional revenue to your company by taking on a project that is SORT OF like what you are doing now. A great example is our blogging product – we sell self-hosted wordpress blogs on Godaddy hosting. We have a 5 page, single spaced process to how to set it up and make it web ready ON GODADDY.

There are about a million other hosting companies and sometimes we have potential clients who would like to use their own preferred host. That is great for them, bad for us. Figuring out how to build blogs effectively on two different hosts would be inefficient, three would be terrible and ten would be absurd!

Make sure that you know EXACTLY what your company does and doesn’t do. Have referral partners that you can send people who don’t fit to. I KNOW – as entrepreneurs we think we can do anything! Just remember that learning to do something special for one customer may never transfer into revenue from anyone else and takes away time from your core business!

How To Pick New Small Business Opportunities

This month’s second small business marketing newsletter was about having multiple streams of income, which got me thinking about how we should choose those streams for ourselves. I have a confession to make…I am a huge proponent of multiple streams of income and I have an entrepreneurial spirit so I spend lots of time considering new things I COULD do to increase my business opportunities. This post is about what I (and you) SHOULD do to maximize my time and effort and minimize pain!

John Jonas gave the best description I ever heard about how to pick what to do. He said you should never get more than one step away from what you do now or more than one step away from the kind of customer you serve now when deciding new things to try.

Here is my one step approach for Marketing Artfully. The three main things I do for my business are blogs, information products and speaking. Because information products often have affiliate programs, starting my own or joining someone else’s is a good fit for me and makes sense to add to my resource page. Also, doing internet masterminds involves speaking (which is one of my things) so it is okay also.

ma_blocksSome other things for me that would be a good fit are things that provide services to entrepreneurs and small business owners, social networking items and other business related items.

Now here comes the brilliant part – when I get a great idea of something to do that is NOT one step away, I can drop it quickly. Instead of spending time and energy on researching something (or more likely diving into something) that will not help my business, I can easily determine if it is a good fit and, if not, move on!

This system works for ANY business! My buddy Deb Ward of Deborah Ward and Associates is a realtor in the Tampa Bay area. You can see from her blocks that there are some things that match well with her business model and some that don’t. She does coaching, sells real estate and owns a team of realtors. Getting referrals and owning shares in a title company are great for her, she could also add speaking to realtors easily because of her coaching focus. BUT, adding non-real estate related items would dilute her message and efforts.

dwa_blocksSo, to all you entrepreneurs out there considering new ventures…make sure that you are checking your blocks and keeping on track for success!!

Twitter Day – How to use twitter for your small business!

So I am determined to get some value out of twitter and social networking for my business! With that in mind I have set out on a mission to figure out how to make twitter work for me and my tribe…:)

These are my twitter numbers right now (I did follow a bunch of people this morning so that number is a little skewed!) 963 Followers, 1060 Following

Now I have to say to start, if you are just getting into twitter this will be a little harder for you. I have been on twitter for a while and so have updates that people can see and decide to follow me. If you are new make sure you (1) set up a twitter account, (2) post some updates relevant to your business and (3) follow some other people (they will probably follow you back!).

Here are some of the things I have done to get more followers and actually make twitter work for me!

  1. Followed a bunch of people directly from Twitter – FREE
  2. Signed up for Xavier Media’s get more followers program – FREE
  3. Signed up for Tweet Later which sends a message out automatically for me to ask people to be my Facebook friend also (if you would like to learn more about this, I wrote about it on my marketing artfully facebook page, while you are there, make sure to become a fan!) – FREE
  4. Signed up for some groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that allow you to post your twitter link (it looks like this http://www.twitter.com/taradactyl) – FREE

If I do anything else I will make sure to post it here but for now I am all tweeted out!

Social Networking Will Replace Google?

So why do I think social networking will replace google and how does that make this post a followup to telling the truth? (I wrote a post a couple of days ago about why I think that telling the truth is the best way to conduct business!)

Firstly, I attended a Jeffery Gitomer training session and he said that “truth” is going to be the new standard for business and he cited the Enron bunch as people who scammed the system and got caught, much to the detriment of their businesses. Well that training was BEFORE the huge financial meltdown that has occurred because of what is perceived as Wall Street defrauding the public.

Secondly, I then attended a training session (I get A LOT of training!) where a tech guy said that google will be irrelevant in 5 years. GOOGLE and IRRELEVANT in the same sentence? How can that be?!?!?! Well it just so happens I agree with him to a point. I DO think people will still “Google” you to see if you are who you say you are, BUT I also think that social networking will become so large that if you need a referral you will just ask someone you know – online!

Many of my online “friends” I have never met in person but I trust them and their judgement. If I needed a plumber here in Colorado (I am new), I would NOT go to the yellow pages OR google, I would ask my online realtor friends if they had a good referral! If I needed a dentist, doctor, printer, good travel agent, ANYTHING, I would ask my “friends” first. And as more and more people join these networks it will become more apparent that goole will be less attractive and referrals more-so.

So have you googled yourself lately in relation to your business? Does it show you? Check out “Tara Jacobsen Marketing” and you will see LOTS of entries that show that I am who I say I am on google – that is a very good thing!

How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur – Always tell the truth!

Successful entrepreneurs come in all styles! Donald Trump is RUTHLESS, Martha Stewart is OBSESSED and my all time favorite Seth Godin ALWAYS tells the truth. Even when it is inconvenient! I read a recent post he had that talked about how what you say, what you do and who you are should all be the same thing. I AGREE!

In the new world of the interweb, it is easier than ever to find out if someone is trying to “SELL” you something.

I overheard a funny conversation the other day at networking where two women were talking about the difference between a seasoned insurance salesman who takes the time to find out what you need and the rookie who jumps on you and says you need what he has to sell!

As many of you know, I recently moved from Florida and down there Brighthouse Cable and DSL has ads all over the airwaves with the tagline, “It’s All About You” which segue right into the same old marketing. Someone must have told their advertising agency that this is the new important thing, without telling them to fix their customer service department. Here is Broadband Reports, a stand alone website that allows users to review Brighthouse. Overall the service gets an OK but everyone had trouble with Tech Support. So Marketing gets more and more customers who leave out the back door because of poor service.

As a successful entrepreneur, I will tell you that the most valuable thing I have in my business is my reputation for always telling the truth! I never recommend a service or group that I do not believe will benefit either an individual or my online social networks. I never spam. I never try to make a quick buck just because I have a list of people I can email to.

You shouldn’t either. You shouldn’t sell something to someone that you know is not a good fit. Your prospect can tell in a heartbeat if you are talking with “commission breath” and will run from you and never look back. Instead, what if you tell the truth, say it won’t work for them AND THEN get 3 referrals for people it might work for?!?!

Marketing in Colorado! How to get started

So I have finally arrived in my new home and will be up and running on Monday. I thought that some of you might like to know what it is like to do (another) start-up on an existing company. 

First off I am going to make contact with humans!

  • Visit local real estate offices and offer to teach classes (I love teaching and miss it A LOT)
  • Check Meetup.com for local meetings I can attend – I will be focusing on small business related meetups. It is always a little scary to go to something new BUT it is SO much easier now that you know you will be welcome…:)
  • I am starting an internet marketing mastermind in conjunction with www.twbaonline.com here in Colorado (probably somewhere between Denver and Boulder to start). I will be working with Chris (www.CommanderBlue.com) to get this going over the next few weeks!

 So what could you do this week to meet more new people? It is fun and could lead to more business!!!

Marketing Planning for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are strange creatures! We hop from great idea to great idea, often not stopping to dig into how to actually DO the last great thing. Well I have the secret to stop the entrepreneurial madness – do the first thing first!

I know, that is not glamorous. There are no shiny pieces or exciting opportunities. All that will happen is that you will get something done! 

Here are some first steps for different marketing opportunities I know entrepreneurs are interested in (I talk to lots of them EVERY day):

Starting a Blog for Entrepreneurs

Starting a blog is NOT hard, there are tons of free platforms for people to use like www.wordpress.org and www.blogger.com. These are GREAT for business owners if all you want to do is have a brochure site and interact with people. The thing that it will not let you do (easily) is generate leads. It is very hard to integrate forms to feed your database.

You guys know I am all about feeding your database, right? SO if you are going to use your blog for business, I would recommend a self hosted wordpress blog! The cost of having someone set one up for you is about $500 including 5 blog posts and all your normal pages written for you (About us, contact us, etc.). There are also hosting and domain costs, I like godaddy.com for this – they cost about $75 for both for a year. So for under $600 you can have a fully functional blog up in a couple of weeks. If you would like to learn more…visit www.businesswritingink.com and talk with my friend Mary Dado about how to get started! That is your first step!

Social Networking for Entrepreneurs

Everyone keeps hearing how using social media will grow your business but how do you get started? Sign up for an account at Facebook or Linked In or any other site and start making friends! I have included links to ones that I am a part of and, since I am a friendly girl, will ALWAYS accept your request to connect if you are a business person!

So how do you get people to join your networks? Here are some ways that I use!

I will be talking about these more in the coming weeks, BUT if you like what you see here, make sure you sign up for my Marketing Newsletter for Entrepreneurs – my readers got this info days ago and got about 5X as much of it!!