Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Building Your Client Base

A Great Marketing Lesson from Chanel

chanel_experience.jpg

Last week, I was close to running out of foundation and knew there was no way I’d be able to get to Nordstrom’s before it was gone.  As an avid online shopper, I have no idea why I insist on going to a department store to buy my makeup, but it’s just something I’ve always done. I Googled the exact color and name of my foundation (which is made by Chanel) to see which online stores might be offering the best deals. After a 30-second turbo search I gave up trying to read through all the fine print and just placed an order on Chanel’s main website. At checkout, a surprise gift was offered — what a nice touch! “Which of our samples would you like to try?”  I placed the order and then promptly forgot all about my purchase. That is, until two days later when a chic-looking white box appeared at my doorstep bearing the iconic Chanel logo. They had upgraded my ground shipping at no extra charge. Things just got better from there. Inside the white box was another box — the kind that might contain a $1500 pair of sunglasses or a  $10,000 watch. For an instant I thought someone had sent me a gift — surely Chanel wouldn’t go to this much trouble for a $60 foundation? Oh yes, they would. Inside the box, my foundation was beautifully gift-wrapped. A black silk-like drawstring purse held my three complimentary samples (they certainly weren’t tossed into the box as an afterthought). And my receipt was neatly and tastefully tucked inside a black cardstock envelope, carefully placed underneath the gift box. Chanel had indeed succeeded at creating an extraordinary experience for me, the client. Even for something as insignificant as a purchase of foundation. And that’s what makes them Chanel — one of the most premier and highly sought-after luxury brands in the world. Do you consider your business a “luxury” experience? If you want to command higher prices and attract the most affluent patients in your business, then creating an extraordinary experience for your clients is critical. While I see many business owners who have worked hard to deliver their clients a wonderful experience (eg the Porsche dealership who picks up your car for service and drops it back afterwards) nowadays you have to go the extra mile. It's expected. Just what constitutes the extra mile? Every year the bar gets raised higher as consumers demand more (if you want a great resource on this read the Middle Class Millionaire - it is excellent.) For example we used to be impressed with cars that had GPS's in them. Now that's all but standard. How about the grocery store who offers to have your groceries carried out, or even delivered, (eyes roll). So yesterday.

The point is this. If like Chanel, you can deliver an extraordinary experience at all price points in your business (and not just the premium ones), your clients will never go anywhere else. It';s time to get thinking about what would make an extraordinary experience in your business!  

 

The Disaster Beauty Spa Experience – 3 Things To NEVER Do In Your Business

bad fashion disaster retro cartoon bubble nightmare black and white

bad fashion disaster retro cartoon bubble nightmare black and white

One chilly October evening, I headed out of town for a bit of pampering (or so I thought). A client had generously sent me a gift certificate to the spa of my choice and after doing a bit of online homework, I settled on a “top medical spa” that was a 30 mile drive from my house and boasted anti-aging treatments with a “celebrity following.” I was skeptical, but the before and after pictures on their website were the best on the web (note the power of proof) and with all the late nights I’ve been working, I could do with a miracle fix for my skin. The problems with this place started even before I hopped in my car. There were a couple of not too favorable reviews which I had not paid that much attention to (I was hooked by their photos) and when I called to book my appointment I was advised by the curt receptionist that all appointments require a mandatory initial consult of $200.

Huh? Nothing on their website mentioned anything about having to first book a consult before a treatment. “The fee is halved if you book your treatment immediately after - the owner is the best skin guru in the state” she reassured me.

Ok, fair enough, but then make sure your website carries a consistent message. Not feeling warm and fuzzy about this place so far, I still went ahead and booked the appointment.

When I arrived, the spa was in a surprising location – not quite the high end location they made out to be on their website. The spa itself felt cramped and over cluttered to me. Another red flag.

I was ushered into a shoebox sized room surrounded by glaring lights and mirrors (make no mistake you could see every mark, line and blemish on my skin.)

In less than 10 seconds (a record for me), one of the hardest and most manipulative upsells I’ve ever witnessed began.

It went something like this:

“Gosh, you have some lines in your forehead, you should really be getting Botox there.”

Huh? I’d never noticed them before but I sure did now.

She then proceeded to put my skin under an even harsher lamp and a magnifier pointing out, inch my inch, everywhere I had issues. The list was so long that by the time the ordeal was over I felt like the only proper thing to do was wear a paper bag over my head anytime I’m in public.

Then, she came in for the kill.

They could custom tailor a specific program to address my clearing lacking skin for a series of weekly treatments that would cost me a mere $10,000.

I excused myself and couldn’t get out of the place fast enough. I don’t care if they are miracle workers, the way they conduct their business is entirely unethical in my view.

As an advertising copywriter, I am well aware of the power that lies in marketing and how the right words can compel someone to take action, or not. Understanding these psychological triggers and what compels people to buy is how I make my living. It’s also the reason why I refuse to accept a private client whose products and services I don’t 100% believe in and know people would be much better off by having. I have said no to casinos, tobacco companies and financial advisors who didn’t dare invest their own money in the funds they bought for their clients.

I choose to use my marketing powers for good.

This company chose to use its powers for bad: by employing sales techniques that were blatantly manipulative and highly pressured.

While outwardly this company seems to be successful, it’s only a matter of time before this will catch up with them, regardless of how good the before and after photos on their website are.

Here is the key point from this experience to apply to any business or practice:

Be consistent: Build a Relationship First My entire experience with this medical spa was reminiscent of the early 2000’s -when hard sales pitches were still tolerated. I guess no one had told them that the rules of marketing have changed. It’s about building a relationship FIRST, which this business was colossally terrible at. Now, granted not many businesses really understand how to do this properly, but if you know nothing, the one thing there is no excuse for is to not care. In this economy, the company who can build the strongest relationship with their clients or patients, is the business that wins. They have the most loyal following, the fullest practices, and can charge the highest prices and enjoy the best reputation among their peers.

In your business or practice, don’t ever lose sight of the fact that the real equity in your business is your relationship with the people you serve – which is most effectively built through the marketing you use, and the experience you deliver.

Marketing to Create Raving Fans Out of Your Customers

Here’s an insightful poem about advertising called Why Is It? (author unknown): A man wakes up after sleeping under an advertised blanket, on an advertised mattress, pulls off advertised pajamas, bathes in an advertised shower, shaves with an advertised razor, brushes his teeth with advertised toothpaste, washes with advertised soap, puts on advertised clothes, drinks a cup of advertised coffee, drives to work in an advertised car, and then, refuses to advertise, believing it doesn’t pay. Later when business is poor, he advertises it for sale. Why is it?

The need to advertise your business is clearly a no-brainer. But what kind of advertising, and how on earth do you break through the noise and clutter of everyone else and actually get noticed by the people who matter the most?

While a great multi-media, multi-step ad campaign will do it for you, or a cleverly written viral video – or any other form of meticulously crafted advertising – one of the most powerful ways to achieve this can be summarized in 5 simple words:

Create an extraordinary customer experience.

The good news is that this isn’t nearly as difficult as it sounds – mainly because the bar is set so low by your competitors. People have been let down so many times, they’ve come to expect it.  So when one enlightened business goes out of their way to really get the customer experience right – word travels like wildfire.

Here are a couple of great examples of businesses who have hit it out of the park:

CEO, Chris Hurn and his young family were holidaying at the Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island in Florida.  His son’s beloved stuffed giraffe “Joshie” accidentally didn’t make it into their suitcase for the trip home and got left behind. The young boy was completely distraught and Hurn, attempting to reassure him, told him that Joshie was just taking an “extra long vacation.”

When the Ritz-Carlton called him later to let them know that they’d found Joshie, Hurn asked if they could possibly take a photo of the stuffed giraffe on a lounge chair by the pool to substantiate the story.

The hotel complied – and then some.

Joshie-the-Giraffe

Joshie-the-Giraffe

Not only did they return Joshie along with the photo requested, they sent along a photo album complete with photos of Joshie getting a massage at the spa, taking a ride in the golf cart and making friends with other fellow stuffed animals at the resort. They even made him an honorary staff member and issued Joshie his own Ritz-Carlton staff ID badge!

Next, one of my private clients owns a small wealth management firm in Chicago. In reviewing some of their client demographics we noticed that a significant number of their clients were widows in their 60s and 70s. Each of these ladies now receive a large bunch of flowers every valentine’s day from the firm and a small but thoughtful birthday gift. You would think that some of them had just won the lottery! Such a simple gesture can mean so much.

The bottom line is that any business can make someone’s day better by doing something extraordinary. Extraordinary doesn’t have to mean big (although it can if you’re a go-getter and you’re ready to have your entire customer experience re-choreographed from start to finish.) Small acts of unexpected kindness can amount to the extraordinary.

It's all about making your patients, customers and clients feel important.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Little Hinges Open Big Doors

Once upon a time (in 1960) there were two brothers who desperately wanted to go to college.  Their parents were broke, so the boys figured that the only way they were going to be able to swing it – was by working a couple of jobs. The boys wound up working for a struggling pizza company, which despite its prized location close to a college campus, still couldn’t turn a profit.  The boys offered to buy out the stressed out owner – the deal secured by a $75 down payment and the remaining $500 they scrimped and scrounged as a loan from family and friends.  Eight months later the more studious of the two brothers decided he wanted to spend more time hitting the books and less time flipping pizza dough.

Client Stampede Volkswagon
Client Stampede Volkswagon

Meantime the other brother loved the pizza business and wanted little to do with his studies – so they traded: full ownership of the pizza business to brother Tom in return for his cherry red Volkswagen beetle.  Like most business owners, Tom was working crazy hours – struggling as the previous business owner was, to run the business profitably.  There was a lot of competition on campus for food, and more pizza stores than you could shake a stick at. Times were tough.

Wracking his brain to come up with a marketing message that would draw people in was no easy task.

He certainly didn’t have the best tasting pizza.  It was good, but not exactly what you’d classify as a taste bud symphony.

He couldn’t claim that his sauce recipe was Mama’s own secret – direct from their tiny village in Sicily and fiercely guarded by his family for 5 generations.

After many sleepless nights he finally had it.  Excited beyond words he rushed to work the next day to test it out.

The results were astounding.  Response rates to his ads quadrupled almost immediately.  Media requests started pouring in.  Their phone system blew up and more help had to be hired immediately in all positions.

Here is his marketing message that changed everything and resulted in the world’s largest pizza chain – 10,000 franchised stores in more than 70 countries.  The company of course is Dominos Pizza:

Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.

That’s it.  How could a marketing message so simple be such a game changer in an overcrowded market?

For that exact reason.  It’s overcrowded.  As very few businesses have a really great, extremely clear marketing message – the ones that do really stand out.

Why is having the right marketing message so important for your business?

Well, because everything, and I mean everything – hinges off of it:

- Whether someone decides to stay or leave your website in that first 3 seconds - The way the media perceives your business - The way you perceive your business and the value you bring to your customers - The process your prospects go through in their mind to decide whether they want to pull out their checkbooks or not.

Whenever I accept a new private client, one of the first projects I work on is nailing down their marketing message – identifying a gap in their market and then crafting the right wording that will help drive a truck right through it.  Once this exercise is complete it’s not unusual for campaign response rates to double or even triple, for site traffic to spike, or to attract media attention (instead of having to chase it).

Little hinges open big doors.

The uncomfortable truth is that unless you have the right marketing message – any marketing you’re doing is going to yield a small fraction of the results that it would otherwise do.

Take a look at this photo I took at the bottom of my yard.   Does your marketing message make your business the red poppy in your industry, or are you really just another green leaf?

Client Stampede Garden
Client Stampede Garden

Are You Really An Entrepreneur Or Just A Business Owner?

“The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It” – Peter Drucker When I started my first business way back when I was 17 I had no idea what an entrepreneur was. In fact I doubt I’d even heard of the term. When I graduated from college with a marketing and business degree I still had no idea what one was. All I knew is that from the time I was about 8 years old I had a burning desire to own my own business.

As I later discovered owning a business and being an entrepreneur are two very different things.

Here’s the best explanation I’ve found: business owners create jobs for themselves. Entrepreneurs create systems to replace themselves and are continually looking to expand and leverage their business in a multitude of different ways.

Let me better explain the difference by taking a step into the world of Fine Art.

Back in the 17th Century an artist called Peter Paul Rubens became widely known as Europe’s most famous painter. He developed a distinct and highly influential style depicting “robust” women with perfect complexions and apple red cheeks. And he used the power of story to add drama to his paintings by carefully arranging his figures with telling gestures and expressions.

Most artists – back then and today – stop there. They develop “a thing” that they become known for, they become very good at it – they might do some private commissions, a few gallery exhibitions, and in today’s world have sweatshirts or notecards with their images on it. They might have assistants or staff to help them run their business. But that’s where it stops. They’re business owners.

Not Rubens. He was all entrepreneur. He took very active steps to stay in demand – marketing himself to the European Elite – royalty, church leaders, nobles and rich merchants, all the while building demand for his services. Then to meet that demand he established a large studio with apprentices. He also had engravers copy his more important works to spread his reputation even further. Rubens was certainly a man before his time because he clearly realized that he was really in the marketing business. But as an entrepreneur he didn’t stop there. He started to involve himself in architecture and designing tapestries. For some clients he created suites of paintings, notable portraits and altar pieces. European Rulers then started seeking his advice for their art collections and sometimes even used him in political negotiations!

In my private copywriting and consulting business I work with entrepreneurs – not business owners. Businesses are expanded not just vertically, but horizontally and often times into separate but related industries. When working with new clients it’s not uncommon for them to emerge from our initial consulting session, blinking in the bright light and giddy with the realization that the business they’re really in is not the one they thought, and that the new opportunities before them are enormous beyond belief.

Being a true entrepreneur all begins with having the right mind set. As Donald Trump once said “As long as you’re going to be thinking, you may as well be thinking big!”

21 Utterly Ingenious Ways to Get More Leads

Rightey ho, here goes: 21 of my best ideas to get you more customers:

  1. Tag clients on Facebook and give them appreciation.  Then reach out to their local friends who “like” or comment and invite them to a free special event you’re holding, a webinar, class, fundraiser, open house or other special event.
    1. Run “entry level” workshops on your chosen area of expertise.  Advertise these extensively on the radio, in your local papers, and on Facebook.
    2. Write a book.  Seriously.  Or at least pay for placement in a book by a prominent business author who knows how to market the book, will make it an Amazon best seller, and give you unlimited rights to use it in your marketing (like we do). Nothing will establish your credibility faster in your marketplace.
    3. Completely redesign your customer experience and turn it on its head.  Set out to create the most extraordinary customer experience that will spread like wildfire.  Throw out all the sacred cows. A great example of this is the dentist who sends a limo to pick up his clients and treats them to a hand and foot massage while they wait for their “treatment,” or the plastic surgeon who themes his office like a sexy French boudoir.  Then set about on a PR blitz and get word to spread.
    4. Make a list of everyone you’ve ever done business with but haven’t worked with in the last 12 months.  Send them a “We want you back” lost customer direct mail campaign.  Make it multi-step for best results.
    5. Create a real “snail mail, paper and ink newsletter” for your clients.  Kind of like this one.  Make it fun and interesting and jam pack it full of useful content that demonstrates your expertise.  If it’s even remotely good, your newsletter will stand head and shoulders above anything else in the mailbox and your clients will look forward to receiving it.  Dollar for dollar, pound for pound it’s still an über-powerful lead generation and client retention tool.
    6. Get some SEO CPR done on your website (Geek speak for saying “Get expert work done on your website so it ranks for the top key words your target market is searching for on Google.”).
    7. Set up lead conversion webinars and market these webinars to your email list.
    8. Craft and distribute Search Engine Optimized (i.e.: Google friendly) press releases that tie your business in with human interest stories or news.
    9. Over deliver on results, service, recognition and appreciation.
    10. Host really fun, themed, client appreciation events and invite past clients, prospects and other business owners to attend.  Make it an annual or bi-annual event.  Have fun, network and get referrals.
    11. Make giving referrals a condition of doing business with you.
    12. Craft phone and email scripts that convert for use when you get phone and email inquiries.  These scripts become systems your business operates on as well as saving you time and increasing sales.  Phone and email scripts also help project a more consistent image – a great tool for building trust.
    13. Deliver killer content to your house list on a regular and very consistent basis – articles, market updates, case studies etc., so that your list will get to know, like and TRUST you.
    14. Buy traffic from Google (using AdWords) and point people to your landing page or website (hint: before you go spend thousands on your AdWords campaign, make sure you’ve done enough testing to ensure the pages convert well).
    15. Create 4-6 minute “how-to” videos and post them on YouTube with a list of your keywords and a link to your landing page in the description.
    16. Network with other local business owners or those who might not be your geographic market but who also service your target prospects.  Create a strategic alliance and promote each other’s businesses.  I’ve written extensively about this over the years and call it “piggy back marketing.”  It’s one of the best and fastest ways to generate high quality leads for your business.
    17. Buy ad space in a magazine read prolifically by your target market.  Run an “advertorial” (which is an ad that looks, smells and reads exactly like an article, except that it’s your dream article written about your company).  Order plenty of additional copies and send them to your high value prospects as part of a multi-media ad campaign.
    18. Buy ads on Facebook that will send people to a fan page with an awesome offer (free book, class, video series, white paper), in exchange for their email address.
    19. Create a sales and promotion video about your business and write to your best clients asking if you can feature them in it (of course they will say “yes” and you’ll be able to get glowing testimonials from them).  Then, hand them a done-for-them campaign they can use to make the video go viral by sending to their own clients, friends, and centers of influence.  The viral campaign to their peeps makes them look terrific.
    20. Send a direct mail campaign to targeted homes or businesses that fit your ideal client profile.  Make it a multi-step campaign (to improve your response rate). Make a low barrier, irresistible offer with a deadline to respond.

Are you using all of these strategies to generate leads for your business?  If not, which ones do you think you should be getting onto, pronto…?

Christmas Craziness and 8 Marketing Secrets to Attracting a Never Ending Supply of Dream Clients

Santa
Santa

As I walk past pictures of angelic looking families gathered around a perfectly decorated Christmas tree, I laugh at how my Christmas experience at that exact minute is polar opposite. My arms are breaking from my shopping bags.

I’ve got an oversized dog bed hanging off of one arm (what was I thinking). My phone is ringing, it’s my printer on the line trying to get final signoff for an Everest sized project for one of my private clients. I’m carrying my toddler’s hat, gloves, coat on one spare finger, and she’s at my side yanking at my coat, too tired to walk because her new shoes she wanted to show Santa are hurting and is about to let the good folks shopping in this over crowded mall know just how much noise can come out a two year old’s lungs.

Ahhh, the holidays.

And a brand new year is peeking just around the corner.

If Santa asked you what you wanted for Christmas this year, would you tell him you wanted a bigger, more successful business? Would you say “hey Santa, can you bring me a boatload of new customers – and not those pesky, high maintenance kind who are always trying to drill me on price – but the kind who are funny, intelligent and fun to work with? And have the ability to pay me? You know, dream clients? Oh, and Santa, would you mind delivering me these dream clients every single week, to my front doorstep like clockwork so I never have to worry about prospecting for new business again and can really build my client base?”

Then the old man with the apple red cheeks and shiny black shoes would chuckle softly and say “well, it’s about time you asked…”

So here it is.

Straight from Santa’s sack.

The 8 Marketing Secrets To Attracting A Never Ending Supply Of Dream Clients For Your Business

  1. Know who your dream client actually is. Sounds obvious but few people have this part thought out. Most folk define their dream client by default as being – well, anyone who wants to pay me. Na-uh. Get clear.
  2. Make a list of 20 -100 companies or people who would be your dream clients. When I first started my copywriting business I set my eyes on working for the really big guys – the Fortune 100 Companies like Walt Disney, Coca Cola and Mercedes Benz. I made my list of 100 companies and looked at it every day, thinking of all the different ways I could “break in” to be able to work with them. I didn’t get to work with all 100. Actually I only got to work with 3 before I changed my focus, but those 3 big clients gave me more work than I could handle. Thing is I would have never have been able to work with them if I didn’t know from the start who I wanted to work with!
  3. Brainstorm how you could create the dream experience for those dream clients. Put yourself in their shoes. If it was you writing them the check, instead of the other way around, what would be the absolute ultimate, rave worthy experience if anything was possible? Now you have your new gold standard.
  4. Hold a focus group of your current dream clients. Take them out to dinner and ask them what you could better. You will be amazed at what they tell you and how much they appreciate you asking their opinion.  Work with your current client base.
  5. Truly there really is no marketing secret if you become a marketing nut. Marketing is the life blood of your business. Period. Remember that it’s not the best company who wins, it’s the best marketing. Make it your business to learn everything you can about real world marketing that has been tried, tested and proven in the battlegrounds of real life. Not crummy marketing theory that should work in principal but is unproven.
  6. Create a monthly, and weekly marketing plan for your business. Then implement it. Separate your marketing into 3 sections:
  • your lead generation
  • what you do to convert a prospect into a paying customer
  • what you do to keep a customer so they buy from you again and again.

7.  Make marketing your daily fix. Just like ordering your cup of Joe or having a lunch break. Spend a little time every single day working on your marketing. Don’t make your marketing a series of sporadic, haphazard events that happen in reaction to cash flow issues or “when you get the time.” Without marketing, you don’t have a business. So put it at the top of your list.

8.  Be remarkable at what you do. Give more than your clients expect. Follow up with them. Care about their success.

Photo Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

The Ultimate Marketing Secret To Attracting More Clients

I once heard a great story about a little commercial fisherman who fishes off a well-known peninsula in New York. This man has become legendary in fishing circles and I even heard it rumored that he was the guy who captured the Great White shark that inspired the movie Jaws. Every morning, Captain Jack heads out bright and early to go fishing. But that’s pretty much where the similarity between him and every other commercial fisherman ends. Instead of hiring a big crew to help get his catch, Captain Jack has one lone deck hand.

And they don’t use nets to catch their fish. Call him old school, but he still prefers to use just fishing poles and lines.

But here’s the thing.

Every day for the past 20 years, without exception, Captain Jack catches not hundreds of fish, but thousands of fish. In fact, he out fishes every single commercial fishing operation in the area, usually by multiple times.

It doesn’t matter what the tides are doing, what time of year it is, or even if the fish are “running.” Captain Jack seems to have the “Midas touch.”

Over the years, he has been interviewed multiple times. Each time, the journalist tries to pry out of him the secret to his success. And every time, this is what he says (what’s most interesting is that it applies just as much to marketing as it does to fishing):

“I make it my business to know everything I can about my fish. I think like the fish, not the fisherman.”

That one little statement right there is the single biggest reason why his methods work while most methods fail.

It was made by an entrepreneur (it could have also been written by a marketer), who is thinking like his prospects, not like other entrepreneurs.

There is no one who knows more about fish in those waters than Captain Jack. For the last 20 years he’s documented the water currents, studied the fish migratory patterns, examined water temperature and, of course, knows his fish food sources.

A fisherman knows it’s all about putting the right bait on a hook to catch the right fish. If you’re looking to catch Cod and you bait your line with an old sock, you’re going to be very hungry come dinner time. On the other hand, if you use Peeler crab at a time when the Cod are looking for it, your chances of success multiply exponentially.

So why then do so many people make the mistake in their marketing of offering the wrong bait to their market? They offer things they themselves think their prospects should be interested in – but don’t actually know for sure what their prospects are looking for.

You are never your prospect. Even if you think you are. Assumptions are the most dangerous (and most expensive) things to make in marketing.

To catch a prospect, you have to think, act and talk like a prospect. Not like a marketer.

When I create advertising campaigns for my private clients, at least half of my time is spent studying the target market. I don’t even dare pick up a pen until I have a very firm grasp of whom I’m writing for and how they think. Copy is written very differently for business owners than for employees. You speak to a 30 year-old man very differently than you’d speak to a 40 year-old man; married women very differently than single women. Moms very differently from “empty nesters." Knowing and understanding these nuances makes all the difference to your marketing - it's the only way to attract more clients.

Think like the fish, not the fisherman and you'll experience your own Client Stampede!

9 Slam Dunk Ways To Attract New Clients to Your Business

Forget magic closing tricks, gimmicky marketing, or having to chase prospects and beg for business. It is easier than ever to attract new clients to your business without having to sully your good name or resort to sneaky tricks to get people to do business with you. Whoa, back up the bus a minute Nelly. Yes, I did just say that prospecting for new clients is getting easier (if you know what you’re doing, that is), and here’s why.

  • Because most businesses are terrible at marketing (and getting worse, not better)
  • Because most businesses drop their customers like a lead balloon once they’ve got your money (you never hear from them again, or their service is plain awful)
  • Because most clients are hugely frustrated/disappointed with the companies they do business with. They’re looking for that one little nudge, that one reason, to switch allegiances and buy from you.

Right? So how do you attract those clients jumping ship to you?

It’s simple. Here are 9 Easy Ways to Attract New Clients:

  • Quadruple check that your product/service solves some pressing problem, terrible pain, or difficult issue. If you don’t think it does, then you need to go back to the drawing board and reposition your service. Moving away from pain is a far more powerful motivator than moving towards pleasure.
  • Make being one of your customers mean something. Do they get a special gift? Some kind of recognition? A membership in a rewards programs that’s actually useful? If not, get your thinking cap on. This is huge.
  • Offer exceptional customer service. Everywhere you go, you can’t help running into companies who treat their customers like dirt. These businesses won’t last (no matter how big they are – mark my words). Show your customers how much you care about them and you’ll be amazed at how much more they’ll want to buy from you.
  • Show that you've helped people just like them (make liberal use of testimonials).
  • Be of service first. Create a powerful, free, opt-in magnet for people. It could be a free white paper, audio series or video. But don’t give free stuff without a plan. That’s just throwing your money away. Your opt-in magnet should help guide people along your sales funnel.
  • Write a great sales letter. Still the most powerful form of marketing on the planet.
  • Implement an referral program with incentives.
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up. Before the sale. During the sale. After the sale. Get a follow up system in place that gets triggered at each of these 3 points.
  • Give your website a “direct response marketing” makeover. No I’m not talking about having to use flash and fancy graphics. I mean rewriting and redesigning your website so that it accurately conveys the value you provide, your expert positioning in the marketplace and magnetically attracts the right kinds of prospects, while at the same time repelling the wrong kinds.

That’s it! Go get em’ tiger. Pretty soon you'll see you've attracted so many clients you'll have your own Client Stampede!

How To Attract Clients By Leveraging Your Most Powerful Marketing Asset – YOU!

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia As a small business owner, the temptation for many of us is to pretend that we’re bigger than we really are.  We live in a world where bigger is better – bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger bank accounts… so of course it makes sense for us to assume that people only want to do business with bigger companies – not the one person consulting firm, the solo freelance web designer or home-based business coach.  This is simply not true.  There is incredible power in being “an army of one,” and I’m going to encourage you to celebrate your business size, not hide it.

Here are two pieces of very valuable client attraction advice for you:

1)    Resist the urge to make yourself look bigger than you really are.  Bigger is NOT always better (in fact, nowadays in business, bigger is rarely better – the service gets worse, it gets harder and harder to speak to a real person at the end of the line, and we lose all sense of connection with the company we’re working with). At the end of the day people want to do business with people – REAL people, not some big faceless, impersonal company who makes them feel like just another number or another sales statistic.

2)    Don’t lose your own voice in your marketing.  Marketing is nothing more than a way of connecting with people.  Your voice, your authenticity, what YOU bring to the table to help your customers solve their problems isthemostvaluableassetyouhave.  Don’t be tempted to neuter the language down to sound like it’s being written from a larger business, from no person in particular, or from someone who’s not really you.

No one else does exactly what you do – the way that you do it.  Your own special uniqueness is what helps set you apart from everyone else out there.  Don’t hide this.  Bring it forth and shine a giant spotlight on it.  Shout it from the rooftops so that you will attract clients who mirror those same qualities and values as you and who will be an honor to work with.

This kind of marketing is what I call Personality Infused Marketing™  and it forms the basis of The Ultimate Marketing Homestudy Toolkit - Personality Infused Marketing™ is an immensely powerful way to connect with your audience, a more meaningful and authentic way to attract and serve your clients, and a happier, more stress free way to run your business.

Once you give yourself permission to be authentic with your marketing, you will be amazed at the difference it makes to your life and to the lives of the people you serve.

Marketing: How to Beat the Pricing Bugaboo

Pricing is a very sticky topic among just about every solo business owner I know. That’s because when we started our businesses, we had no idea what to charge, but we were told that there are market “norms” – amounts that people will, and won’t, pay for things.

So we take a peek at what our competition is charging – we charge the same, or most commonly, we charge less than the competition, to make our prices look competitive.

There are a couple of major flaws with this strategy…

First, if we let the market dictate the prices we charge and how we charge them – then we’re effectively letting other people set our income.

I once did some consulting work for a printing company that told me they couldn’t change their prices because there were industry guidelines that “set” their prices!  Huh?!

You’re the entrepreneur!

You’re the captain of your own ship!

One of the GREATEST things about working for ourselves is that we don’t have to play by anyone else’s rules.  There’s no boss breathing down our necks watching how long our lunch hour is, or deciding if we deserve a pay raise.

Now we get to make the rules including what we think the value of our services are. Lesson 1: don’t let anyone else tell you how you should “price” your services and determine your income.

Here’s the second problem. Most people only know one way to market their business – based on price.  Being the cheapest in your marketplace is a very dangerous, a very stressful and very unstable position for your business to be in.  Here’s why:

1)    Because someone more desperate and more hungry than you can ALWAYS undercut your prices.  Having a value proposition that you’re the cheapest has never worked long term for any business (perhaps with the exception of Wal-Mart, who has become the1000 pound gorilla of “cheapness”).  Cheapness is a recipe for disaster.

If you’ve marketed your business as being the lowest cost and suddenly your competitor gets behind on their mortgage payment, gets desperate and offers even lower prices – you’re in big trouble.  You’ve either got to keep undercutting your prices – working more for less – to maintain the integrity of your value proposition.  Or you have to find a better, different way of marketing your business fast!

2)    Secondly, people who shop at the bottom end of the market are the worst kinds of clients to have anyway.  They’re typically high maintenance, high drama, folk who don’t appreciate you or your value.  And they’re always trying to beat you down on price.  Let other people serve those clients – not you!

I was at Tractor Supply the other day and saw a landscaping truck with this slogan on the side – “We won’t be undersold.  We guarantee to beat anyone’s price.”

It was obvious to me that this guy had seen some big company (probably Wal-Mart) use this kind of marketing strategy.  And he probably thought it made great sense for him to do the same, without realizing the horrible trap he was falling into.  It’s not his fault – no one likely showed him how to market his business any better way.

Now here’s a really big secret.

Not everyone buys on price.

In fact not even the majority of people buy on price.

That’s why you can drive through the ghetto and see some of the biggest TVs you’ve ever laid eyes on.  It’s also why we have so many stores that aren’t the $2 store.

But here’s the rub.

In order to not get caught serving the bottom end of the market, you have to provide compelling reasons why your customers should never buy on price, and why your services are so much better. 

Because if you don’t do this, people will always default to deciding on price.   You need to convince them to do otherwise. We’re all hard wired that way.

This is not easy to do, which is why so many business owners struggle with their marketing.  And it’s why I spent almost a third of my Ultimate Marketing Toolkit on explaining how to create real value for your customers and get them to happily pay you more money, even at prices much higher than your competition.

Your success boils down to these two simple things: Having great marketing and creating real value for your customers.  When you have both these things working for you seamlessly in your business, then truly, the sky is the limit!

The Worst Marketing Mistake You Can Make In Your Business

When I made the switch from escaping my corporate job to becoming a freelance copywriter, one of the things I was most excited about was building my brand. I’d had come up with a snappy name for my business (Blazing Copy), created a cool tagline and I’d hired someone to create a logo.  Actually I agonized over the logo because I wanted it to be just perfect... it was after all going to be my brand which was what was going to attract clients to me.

Right?

Maybe you’ve thought the same thing in your business.  All you need to do to get more clients is to get your brand “out there” more.  Build a stronger, better brand than your competition so that way, anytime anyone thinks of needing what you sell – they think of you.

Sounds perfect in theory.  This is, after all, what big businesses all do to get big.  They advertise and build their brand.

Unfortunately as a marketing strategy for Solopreneurs, this brand-driven marketing strategy is fatally flawed, and is responsible for more business failures than any other one thing.

I’m about to shave about 10 years off your marketing learning curve and teach you something that I never learned getting a degree in marketing….

Using brand advertising or “position type” advertising is the single worst way for Solopreneurs to market their business.  It's ridiculously costly, inefficient and most importantly – IT DOESN’T WORK.

Why? Many reasons actually.  Here are the main ones:

1)    Building brand recognition is a marketing strategy used by big BIG companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on their advertising.  It's taken companies like Apple, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton billions of dollars to build brand recognition and 30 - 100 years to get any kind of brand recognition.  You don’t have the luxury of having either millions of dollars or 30 years to start making real sales.

2)    Brand advertising is an extremely inefficient way to market a business which doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales.  It doesn’t even work for a lot of the BIG companies who do it (Ford was spending more than 20 million advertising on American Idol, meantime it was hemorrhaging red ink; Circuit City had a recognizable brand, so did Borders and Linens n’ Things).

3)    Brand advertising is NOT trackable.  If you’re putting brand ads out there, you have NO idea if they’re actually driving people to your business.  If they are working you don’t know, so how can you replicate the ads and get more out there?  And if they’re not working, then you’ve no idea either.  You might as well be flushing your hard earned marketing dollars down the toilet.  (Side note: this is why ad agencies are such BIG fans of brand advertising – as it's not trackable they can’t be held accountable for results either!  They’ll take the credit if sales go up (even though this is may very well be caused by something else, and they’ll point the finger elsewhere when their brand campaigns bomb).

4)    Brand advertising puts you at the mercy of your target market.  THEY get to decide when they’ll buy from you, which might be a month from now.  It might be a year from now.  This doesn’t help you any – you’ve got bills to pay, a family to feed and a business to run now.  You need sales NOW.  Today.

So let’s recap why doing brand based marketing for your business is a really bad idea.

Using your brand to try and market you business is a bad idea because it takes millions of dollars to make any impact in your market, it’s an extremely slow way to build a business (brand building takes decades), it's like playing blind archery with your marketing money because you’ve no idea if those ads are even working, and it doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales.  It also gives all the power to your target market, they get to decide when they’ll buy from you, instead of you being able to call the shots and compel them to take action, immediately.

So how then should you market your business?

Simply with one objective: to market in a way that enables you to make sales TODAY.  Right now.  Use marketing that is trackable so you can immediately measure ROI and know if it's a smart use of your marketing budget, AND market in such a way that compels your prospects to take immediate action.

This is what’s known as Direct Response Marketing.  It’s the ugly sister of advertising because it’s ridiculously effective, 100% trackable and it's only measure of effectiveness is how much money it brings in. Not how pretty, cool or creative the ad was.

Imagine that.  Marketing that really works to attract new clients and gets them to take action when you want them to act (and not when they feel like it).

Next week I’ll share with you inside secrets as to how you can quickly and easily start transforming all your marketing into Direct Response marketing.

Stay tuned!

A Dose Of Thursday Inspiration And A Life Changing Strategy For Your Marketing

We’re already nearly half way through January, so here’s a little inspiration if your New Year’s resolutions are wearing thin, or you’re struggling with a big problem in your business right now (like not getting enough clients)… When JK Rowling (Harry Potter inventor) wrote her first book, she was so poor she couldn’t even afford to have photocopies made of the transcript.  So she typed out 3 entire copies of the manuscript to mail to potential agents.

Good ol’ blue eyes, Frank Sinatra was dumped TWICE by a record label.  Lady Gaga was told she wasn’t talented enough by her first record company. They fired her, too.

Whether you are fans of these three artists or not, just imagine what they would have deprived the world of if they’d quit.  If they’d said, “This business is too hard, I’m gonna go drive taxis instead…"

Now back to you and what all this has to do with your business.

I’m assuming that what you do in your business really DOES help others.  You’re only selling a product or service you truly believe in…right?

Ok, good.

And just one more thing I need to check with you: people NEED what you’re selling too, right?

Alright, phew.  I just wanted to check you weren’t scrambling around trying to find a market to “sell your thing to” – there’s already a hungry market out there.

Well in that case, GET OUT THERE AND MARKET YOUR BUSINESS.  You don’t owe it to yourself – you owe it to the hundreds, possibly thousands of future raving fans who are desperate to find someone like you to do business with. They’ve been searching for you for a LONG time.

Many of my private copywriting clients say exactly that.  “We’re SO glad we found you!”  That’s because I remove a huge stress from their shoulders, I take the guess work out of their advertising, I do exactly what I say I’ll do, and I get them real, measurable results.

Just think about it for a second.

That one realization that you OWE IT TO OTHERS TO TELL THEM ABOUT HOW GREAT YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE IS - changes EVERYTHING about the way you approach your business.

If your future customers don’t know about you, their lives are going to be a lot harder.  They NEED you.  They’re looking for you.  And they’re looking to you for ways to make their lives easier.

It also means that you’re now approaching your marketing from a giving mentality instead of a taking mentality… and that’s one of the BIG secrets to attracting more customers.

So now I’ve helped you change the way you think about marketing and selling your business.  You’re not doing it from the perspective that it’s an activity you have to do in order to make a bunch of money (although that’s exactly the happy by-product of what we do).  It’s about looking for ways to help others, and telling enough people about the great work you do.

One of my mentors Zig Ziglar once said “you will get everything in life if you will only help enough others get what they want in life.”

So true.

Now get out there and tell others about how you can help them!

Looking For Value In All The Wrong Places ...

If I was to conduct a straw poll of 100 different businesses and asked them just this one simple question: “What’s the one thing you have that’s of MOST value in your business?, what do you think the responses would likely be? Here’s what I think they’d be:

“Well, DUH – its in our super-fandangled-whiz-bang new product we’ve just released”

“It’s in our amazing customer service – our customers love us and refer us like crazy”

“it’s our incredible service”

“Our single biggest assest is that we have THE best storefront location in the city”

“My staff is my single biggest asset”

“Its our amazing technology”

The list goes on and on…you get the idea.

But here’s the thing. ALL of them would be wrong.

Unless, of course they made this one simple statement: ”It’s in our customer list – we’ve got full customer information for ALL our customers – name, address, mailing address, physical address, phone numbers, buying history, referral history …”

Most business owners mistakenly place high value on the physical or service aspects of their business – their location, factory, equipment, products or services. But all that is just “stuff”. Its easily replaced and easily duplicated.

The real value in your business is with your customers.

If you have a great customer list, then you, quite literally have at your fingertips the ability to create your own income on demand. Releasing a new product? Zaap! Send an email to your list with a great offer before you go to bed at night and cha-ching – you’re got money in your account when you wake up. Found a great product that your customers could really benefit from? Send an offer to your list and earn a commission off the sales.

If you’re not zealously collecting the names and contact details of not just your customers, but all your prospects too (especially your prospects) – you’re letting a HUGE amount of money slip through your fingers.

Stop the hemorrhaging and make this your number one priority starting today…

PS if you haven’t ordered yourself a FREE copy of my audio CD: 10 Secret strategies to get more clients, make more money, turn customers into raving fans and give more back in the new economy – you’re nuts. It’s a $97 value, yours FREE! Just visit my website at www.TheClientStampede.com and use promo code GetYerSpursOn at checkout.

16 examples of irresistible offers to light your prospects pants on fire

The strength of a great sales letter really boils down to how irresistible your offer is.  Matching the right offer with your target market is often the one little hinge that can open BIG doors.  In my Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Home Study Tool Kit I provide my exact magic formulas for how to craft an irresistible offer - here's 16  irresistible offers  out of my list of 47 in my Ultimate Marketing Toolkit you can easily "swipe and deploy" for use in your own business:

  1. Free information report, starter kit, demo, sample etc
  2. FREE with absolutely no strings attached
  3. Free trial converts to monthly billing or payment of product after X days – (Pay nothing now)
  4. Free Shipping
  5. Hold your check
  6. Time deadline
  7. Limited number of units available
  8. Bonus overload – stacked bonuses
  9. Early bird bonus tied to a specific response date
  10. Silly premium – mousepad, cartoon, t-shirt, coffee mug
  11. Mystery gift
  12. Basic/deluxe or good/better/best
  13. Accept payment on multiple credit cards
  14. Easy pay options (monthly payments)
  15. The more you buy the more you save – tiered discount based on amount purchased
  16. Different pricing based on customers promise of action (e.g. for testimonial or referral)

Got QR Code Fever Or Wondering How You Can Use QR Codes In Your Marketing?

QR Codes have lovers and haters.  The haters say its just another fad.  The lovers are using QR codes and laughing all the way to the bank. You be the judge.

Here's my view - it's new technology, it's a fast-growing technology, and if your target market has smart phones and are somewhat tech savvy then I think its great to find another media to connect with them that's low or no cost. Plus QR codes are a great customer involvement device and provide another call to action you can use in your marketing to get prospects to buy.

Here’s my favorite QR Code creator (some elements are free, others cost a bit): http://www.QRStuff.com

Here's a list of QR Code readers / decoders / scanning apps for iPhones, Androids and more: http://www.qrstuff.com/qr_phone_software.html

And most importantly, here are some examples of how you can use QR codes in your marketing to make more sales

  1. Business Cards Put a code on your business card containing all of your contact information and give them an irresistible offer
  2. Put a QR code On A T-Shirt Send them to a great landing page with a free introductory offer or low cost offer with big savings
  3. Use a QR Code as a "get more info" option If you have a physical store, put a QR code on products which when they scan it gives them additional info.  If you don't then you can use QR codes in your service menu or product menu to keep it uncluttered.  List just the main points of each product and service offering in your menu and then give them a QR code they can scan to get more info
  4. Put It On Your Website's "Contact Us Page" People take a picture of your page on the screen, put you in their contact list
  5. Put It On Your Instruction Sheet People scan it to get step-by-step instructions on how to use a product or service, or get directed to a video where you give them step by step instructions
  6. Use QR codes In Print Ads People scan to be taken to a specific landing page on your website
  7. Put It On A Campaign Sign, or a Poster Take people directly to your website - preferably a squeeze page so you can incentivize them to "opt in" and give you their info
  8. Put It On A For-Sale Sign Take them to a website with video and information about the item being sold - for example a house, a car, a boat.  You could even post this on a bulletin board.
  9. Use a QR code to Put It On Your Luggage Ok so it won't get you customers but it'll save you a lot of grief if your luggage ever gets lost…
  10. Send a Tweet Scanning it sends out a tweet
  11. Do A Location Login Put on every table and the walls of your restaurant, does a foursquare login or a Facebook location login
  12. Add To Your LinkedIn Page Passes your contact information or website
  13. Call Us To Place Your Order Scan dials their phone
  14. Send a Teaser Postcard Send a QR code to a potential client, which takes them to your website
  15. Put It On Your Conference NameTag Contact information or website
  16. Put A Backsell On Your Invoice Taking them to a landing page making a special offer to upsell them
  17. Paypal Buy Link Scanning takes them to Paypal to buy your item
  18. Promote An Event Scanning the QR code puts it on their calendar
  19. Announce Your Free Wifi Scanning logs them into your wifi account
  20. Put It In Your Powerpoint Presentation Build your list by sending them to a special bonus offer if they sign up!

What other ideas do you have for using QR codes?  Share them by posting a comment...

Why Artists Are Starving

This last weekend I was at the Ann Arbor art fair, which is a pretty big deal in this part of the country. Hundreds of artists from all over the country sell their wares over a 4-day event downtown. The streets are closed to traffic and visitors flock to the event in the thousands. Unfortunately, the art fair ended up being held during the hottest week in recent history. Every artist I spoke to told me that this art fair was the worst one ever – many having attended for the last 10, 15, even 20 years. Weather aside, I made some very interesting marketing observations as to why these artists were REALLY experiencing slow sales, and none of it had anything to do with the weather.

  1. Very, very few of the artists greeted me when I came to look at their art. Most were sitting off at the back of the tent, fanning themselves with a newspaper or junk magazine, looking decidedly bored and frustrated. They didn’t get that people want to buy things from people. People want to hear stories; to understand how or why something is made. This is a HUGE mistake that, almost without exception, every artist I saw made.
  2. Very, very few people had any marketing collateral to give away – a few did have postcards, but there was nothing on them enticing to me to follow up with them. No irresistible offer - just pretty pictures; which doesn’t exactly get people rushing to the phone to place an order.
  3. I bought a couple of things including a pair of sterling silver earrings from a local metalsmith. NO ONE asked me for my contact information – not even for an email address. This is a giant mistake and shows that these artists have the mistaken idea that you get a customer to make a sale, instead of making a sale to get a customer. No matter how bad the weather, how poor the crowds, if any of these artists had been collecting contact details of past customers, they could have held a special pre-event show with special incentives next year for those VIP customers. After the art fair they could do a follow up “thank you” direct mail campaign to sell even more of their wares.

Instead the artists were 100% reliant on generating enough foot traffic and interest over the event not just to break even, but to actually turn a profit. I’m told that renting one of these booths cost in the thousands of dollars. Many artists schlepped their art, display cases and panels from as far away as California. No wonder they’re starving.

The Sloppy Sales Guys In My Neighborhood

Over the last 6 weeks I’ve had 3 separate tradespeople come to my door trying to sell me construction upgrades, lawn fertilizer and a new roof.  Over the summer so far, that’s brought the total amount to probably 10 cold calls. Unlike most people I LOVE standing at the front door and hearing their sales pitch.  I like watching their body language, I eagerly outstretch my hand for their sales collateral, and I listen intently to their “close”.

Unfortunately though I’m always left very disappointed.  Their sales pitches are usually rambling and sound over rehearsed.  I’ve yet to hear one that contains an irresistible offer or a reason to make me want to whip out my check book right then. None have referred to a guarantee, and frankly their sales collateral (if they even have any) is just awful.  And follow up direct mail?  None.

All 3 of these companies are great examples of organizations still trying to use the old economy rules in the new economy.  Sloppy salesmanship was acceptable in the past because back then it was more about being in the right place at the right time.  The heedy spending days of the property boom meant cash was flowing and you only needed to offer a service scarcely adequate to make a good living.

Not any more.

As consumers we hold all the purchasing power again and we know it.  Companies who want to separate us from our hard earned cash MUST woo us, persuade us and give us an incredible offer to make us take action. While the 3 different companies who dispatched sales people to my house had invested in uniforms, name tags and their staff actually taking the time to do cold calling – they choked on the stuff that really matters.  The actual sales presentation, the sales collateral and the direct mail correspondence afterwards.

At bare minimum the sales collateral they left me with should have radiated with benefits and contained a limited time, irresistible offer that also contained a risk free, full satisfaction guarantee.  And if I still failed to call to take them up on that offer, I should have been mailed 2 follow up pieces containing a second offer.  And then I should have been added to their mailing list so that when I am ready to “grow a lawn as rich and thick as nature’s own shag carpet”, I’ll know exactly who to call.

How to get the WHO right

You might have heard me say this before.  The WHO of who you're marketing to is actually far more important than the WHAT or the HOW. By WHO I mean who exactly is your target market?

Great marketing hinges on the successful marriage of three things - your market (the Who). Your message (the What).  And your media (the How).

By far the most important of the 3 is WHO you choose to sell to. Why? Because the tighter you can define your target your market, the better you can tailor your message, and the more effective it will be.

For example the way that you sell to men and women is very different.  Men are fact and experience driven.  Women are story driven.

Equally a baby boomer age 50-60 is a very different market from a mature baby boomer-approaching senior age 60-70.  Very different markets, and therefore very different messages are needed to reach them in order to sell to them.

Let me use an example of a company you'll be familiar with to illustrate the .  Home Depot.  Many people would say their target market is anyone looking for home improvement products and services.

That's far too wide.  Here would be a much better definition:

"Do-It-Yourself Homeowners - typically married couples between the ages of 25-55 who live within a geographic radius of 10 miles of a Home Depot store, with a combined household income of between $50,000-$200,000/year."

By using this definition instead, the Home depot now exactly who they're going after, what messages to use and what forms of media will best reach them.  Eg their messages are going to be about creating the ultimate happy, harmonious family life  which having a beautiful home is part of.

If you're not sure who your target market is, then here are 2 strategies I can suggest:

1)    Review your existing customer list - look for patterns as to gender, age, geographic location, earnings, buying habits etc. to help you better understand WHO your market really is, or

2)    Build a profile of your IDEAL customer, and go after them.  This is where the REAL hidden gold is sitting in your business!

Why Social Media is BS

I’m a little tired of the hype around social media because its use seems so widely misunderstood.  Not surprisingly, the number one question I am asked when people hear I grow businesses for a living is, “How can we make money from our social media?” I’m also worried that other marketing professionals and small business owners are getting caught up in the hype and plowing precious marketing dollars into social media thinking it is the magic silver bullet that will fix their problems.  It isn’t.

Using social media won’t make your customers happier. Great customer service will.

Social media won’t fix your lead generation problem. A well-written, multi-media marketing campaign will.

Social media won’t fix your sales conversion rate. Choreographing your entire sales process will.

Social media won’t make you retain customers. Product innovation and consistent customer communications will.

And hiring an intern to manage your social media? Well, that won’t transform your company either.

There is a lot of hype, and too little realism around social media.  Social media is not a marketing strategy or technique, it’s a technology, a tool.  Social media can be ONE powerful tool among many in your marketing toolbox, but for many small businesses it’s an extremely costly and time-consuming tool that can be very slow to deliver returns.

Yes, there are ways to monetize social media.  But for the majority of businesses, using this tool as a reliable method of lead generation will grow their company at snail’s pace.  It simply doesn’t make sense for all businesses.  And it requires a ton of resources to upkeep. Instead there are far better ways to get quicker, and larger bangs for your marketing buck that involve a mix of cleverly executed online and offline advertising.  This is where you really should be focusing your attention.