Blog Archives

Focus.com 2012 Technology Marketers Handbook

There are always great discussions going on at Focus.com. They’ve just released their 2012 Technology Marketers Handbook. Aside from the fact that I’m one of the contributors to the report, it’s a good read. Check it out.

If Client Trust Isn’t Your #1 Priority, You May Want to Turn in Your Salesman’s Badge

Part One of A Two-Part Rant On Integrity

If you think that your well rehearsed sales techniques, good looks, charm, firm handshake, thousands of Twitter followers,  a flash intro on your website, a full color ad, or the magnetic sign on the side of your vehicle will close a sale for you – think again.

It’s all about building relationships with clients.  Whether it’s a personal relationship or a business relationship, there are three elements to building and maintaining something strong and enduring.

  • Trust
  • Trust
  • Trust

Earning trust starts from day one. It can be as simple as actually thinking about what you say – which is all too rare these days. When  someone first asks if your product or service can help them, the most common answer is something like,  “Absolutely.  You’ve already missed the mark.

The answer, of course, should be in your own words but the message absolutely must be   Read the rest of this entry

One Small Step Backwards For Online Retailing

I just got the following email from the Amazon Affiliate program. No need to say more.

Hello,
For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of Connecticut residents. Unfortunately, the budget signed by Governor Malloy contains a sales tax provision that compels us to terminate this program Read the rest of this entry

Direct Your QR Traffic With A Gateway Page

When small businesses board the QR train the first stop is typically a link to their homepage or a vCard. Once they realize that it can go further, the challenge becomes deciding which URL to send their Q-Audience to.

There are so many choices of how best to use QR for your business. Where you want to send people may change from time to time – in fact it is very likely that it will change as you business grows.

I have some tightly targeted QR codes but I also have one that I call my QR Gateway. I actually have this code on a car magnet. Read the rest of this entry

I Don’t Have Time To Get Organized

I made this sign a while back and I have it hanging on the wall right above my monitor.  It is front of me – eye level – whenever I am working in my office.  I stare it while I am working.  I’m staring at it right now.  Since I am aware that in my business model, these are the core things I have to do in order to keep growing my business, how come this is the first post I’ve written on this blog in a little over two weeks?

How come I’ve  only had one cup of Starbucks’ Green tea in the last 10 days?  How come that other than a flurry of Tweets over the last few days, have I pretty much been invisible on Twitter for some time?

Oh I have a good answer – one that allows me not to feel guilty.  I have too much to do!  Between working on actual paying projects, working intensely on some long-term marketing stuff and a plethora of family things to get done, I simply haven’t had time to work on my sphere of influence communication.

If a coaching client told me those were his reasons for ignoring these basic yet vital activities, I suspect he’d see my dark side. I’d tell him that there are only two solutions, based on the truth of his excuses. The first is acknowledging that Read the rest of this entry

QR – Not a Drive-By Technology

There have been many new technologies come up over the last decade and a half. People tend to jump on the bandwagon often without knowing why and what they hope to gain. After allowing the new technology to fester on its own for a while, it is declared a failure. This is usually followed by a smug “I knew this stuff wouldn’t work.”

There are also those folks who don’t even try to use the new technology because they are afraid they’ll be in over their heads, or they don’t have the long-term vision to realize the potential

Sometime later (often years) eyes begin to open wide. People are dancing. Poets are writing sonnets. Hosts of angels begin to sing. The masses begin to realize what the early adopters grasped at the outset: Read the rest of this entry

Who’s Afraid Of The QR Code? Tra La La La La!

Although the  2D Quick Response code technology has been around for about 15 years,  it seems that with advent of smart phones, QR is starting to hit its stride.

One of the coolest things about QR codes is that they really provide businesses of all sizes equal opportunity.  This very powerful marketing tool has virtually no cost.  I know – the same thing can be said about Facebook, Twitter and a host of other Social Media applications.  The difference is Read the rest of this entry

You’ve Tried the Rest, Now Try the Best!

How many times have you seen that slogan on a take-out pizza box?  Does it somehow validate your decision to choose that particular restaurant?   If you see it on a pizza box at someone else’s home does it somehow persuade you to switch your own pizza preference?

How about the plethora of  auto insurance companies that each claim they will save you hundreds of dollars if you switch from your current carrier, or the bank claiming they have the best loan rate?

Do any of these statements have any meaning for you? Of course  they don’t. They can’t all be Read the rest of this entry

Marketing Is Worthless If You Don’t Convert Leads

There are many different types of marketing, each having a specific goal. At a high level though all marketing has the same goal – To generate interest in your product. It is about getting people to raise their hands and acknowledge that they are aware of what you sell, and there is a possibility that they are interested in making a purchase.

There a soft value to putting your name in front of as many people as you can. Brand awareness can be critical to a company’s success. While it’s not a bad thing to increase awareness of your product or service the question becomes that in terms of ROI, marketing programs are often measured using circumstantial evidence.

The bottom line goal of every company is to increase profit.  That’s why profit is on “the bottom line” of a financial analysis.  There are only two ways to improve profitability – increase revenue or decrease expenses.  The prime revenue source for a company is sales.

Take a look at this sales results graph from a hypothetical company that launched a new marketing campaign in January and ended it in May.  “Sales Results” is typically defined as orders that are delivered and invoiced.

With complete certainty we can state that the marketing program was PROBABLY a driving factor in the sales increase that began in February, continued to rise until about 30 days after the program ended. We deem the marketing program a success.Are there other factors that could be the root cause of the increase in sales?  Of course there are.  Better inventory management, improved shipping measures, better invoicing procedures – just to name a few.

So how do you actually measure the success of a marketing plan if not on sales results. It depends on the objective of the  program.  The most common type of program for small and medium businesses generally has the objective of increasing the number of “Leads”, “Inquiries” or “Requests for information.”

So at the end of the day if the number of leads received during the run of a program went up, the program can be declared a success regardless of the sales results.   Sort of like a surgery that is deemed successful regardless of whether the patient lives or dies.

What exactly is the value of a lead?  I would submit that if you don’t do anything with the lead, it has absolutely no value.  Another way of putting it is this: “A Lead and $2.25 will get buy you a ride on the subway.”

Soooooo – acquiring the lead is important, but selling to the prospect is equally important.  If you don’t have a specific plan to follow-up and close as many of the leads as possible, the money you spend on marketing could be wasted.

As Jerry Seinfeld might say “You know how to GET the lead, you just don’t know how to SELL to the lead.”

Like an ocean cruise except there’s no boat, no water and you don’t actually go anywhere

One of my pet peeves is when sales or marketing type people fall into a syndrome that I call “Why use one word when you can use ten?”

It seems to be a pretty rampant tendency to ignore the fact that a prospect is not likely to evaluate a product based on the cleverness of the slogan or sales verbiage.  In fact, a long, cutesy explanation of something can often miss the target because it doesn’t simply let your audience know what it is your product does.  It can even appear somewhat deceptive.

The best example of this that I’ve ever seen is a scene from one of favorite movies of all time – The Muppets Take Manhattan. As they say on the  talk shows “let me set up the clip Read the rest of this entry

“Bolt-On” Social Media

I was having coffee the other day with my friends, Heather Flournoy and Chris Roberts. To be more accurate I was actually drinking bottled water which, although she is far too nice to say anything, I suspect was noticed by Heather. Heather is the founder and driving force behind KATONAH GREEN, a very well-known sustainable living community organization and  blog.  Anyway – I digress.

Somewhere in the conversation we got to talking about how some mature businesses have, in the last year or so, tiptoed into the Social Media waters.

The thing is that more than a few of these organizations have added FB biz pages and Twitter accounts primarily because everyone says it’s the new,  Read the rest of this entry

LEAD MANAGEMENT PROJECT: Step #1 – Gather

I wrote earlier that you should have ZERO TOLERANCE for not having a documented “next step” for EACH AND EVERY name in your database.

This is the first in a series of posts on how to get there and what to do next.  When you’ve completed all the actions in this series you should have a crystal clear picture of how to begin using the vast amount of information you already have to increase your sales.  Read the rest of this entry

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