Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Direct Mail

direct mail marketing speaker direct mail tipsHow to use Direct Mail effectively...

My friend Jose Palomino from recently did some web research and collected these dozen or so smart tips from the two resources linked below on increasing your results from your direct mail campaigns. 

Consider this a direct mail crash course for small business owners, entrepreneurs and indepent professionals. 

A. Write a letter? Cheap and inexpensive, but how?

  • Your letters should sound as if they were written by a human being.
  • One-to-one and conversational is usually best. Forget corporatese, it’s snooze-inducing.
  • Try a live stamp, even better, try two live stamps.
  • Try to find common ground. One of my favorite first lines is “I don’t know how you feel about (whatever), but I …”
  • Test a lot of different approaches and lengths.
  • Offer something they can get only by responding to your letter.
  • Ask for the order and make it easy to reply.

B.  Direct Mail Tips

  • Use only direct response direct mail campaigns – Direct response refers to what the name implies; all mailings should have a ‘call to action’ or request a direct response.  There is nothing that sabotages a direct mail campaign more than to not give the recipient a ‘call to action’.  Tell them what to do next . . . . call, write, pick up the phone, etc.
  • Make Your Mail Peer-To-Peer Personal - Consider sending a personalized direct mail letter "written" by your CEO, CFO, CIO, etc. on his or her corporate stationery to his or her counterpart. Play up the commonalities both people share, the business and professional challenges they face that only someone in their position truly understands. I call it "honcho-to-honcho" marketing and it can be very effective. For example, one organization had success with a simple peer-to-peer letter bearing its CEO's name, personal telephone number and a brief description of what the company offers.
  • Follow a formula when writing copy - there are a number of formulas that you can use to produce effective copy, but the easiest one out there and probably the simplest to use is the tried and true AIDA formula.  AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. If you follow this formula when writing your copy, you will produce better copy.
  • Test your copy always test your mailings with a small number of mailings before sending out “the” campaign.  A simple method to accomplishing a test is the A/B split test.  This is where you have a small sample size of say 200.  You mail 100 hundred of your target market a mailing with one headline; and the other 100 a mailing with a different headline to see which mailing will get a better response.  An important note for you to remember.  If you use the A/B split testing method, you can only change one element of your direct mail piece at a time so that you can determine what factor made one piece more effective than the other.  The three parts of your mailing you may want to test include the headline, the call to action or the P.S.

There you have it - all you need to know to kick some serious ass with direct mail.

Is creating a series of sales letters or direct mail postcards one of your to-do items that you've been putting off for WAY too long?

direct mail - direct mail tips - doitmarketingp.s. Crafting some solid direct mail pieces may be one of several things you might want to get DONE during our next DO IT DAY.

Check it out - it may be exactly the boost of accountability you've been looking for to help you make significant progress in ANY part of your business - all in one super-focused day

Tags: marketing speaker, direct mail tips, marketing coaching, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, marketing consultant, small business marketing, marketing mix, small business marketing speaker, small business marketing coach, direct mail

Marketing Coach: "You Never Know" Will Kill You

This blog post inspired by ideas from my friend, Tom Davidson, who is THE leadership expert for the forestry industry. Tom says he used to be a victim of "You Never Know" ...but NOW he knows. And his business is booming!

marketing coach you never know will kill youWhen it comes to small business marketing, "You Never Know" will kill you...

See if these scenarios ring a bell with you...

  1. "We've been talking with this prospect for YEARS and now they've suddenly expressed interest... You never know!"
  2. "We've been running that expensive ad month after month and sure enough, someone just called... You never know!"
  3. "This guy asked me for a proposal last year and then disappeared on me. Couldn't get a hold of him to save my life. But he just opted into our website... You never know!"
  4. "We wanted to stop offering that program and focus on more profitable services, but just last month, two clients signed up before we could pull it off the website. You never know..." 
  5. "We were in the process of changing our tag line because nobody knew what the heck it meant. But then a new prospect just told me, 'I love your tag line' so we're keeping it. You never know..."
  6. "Although 70% of our business is in this industry - we don't want to exclusively focus on them because we'd be cutting ourselves off from other business. You never know..."
  7. "We love working with small companies, but my sales coach told me that if we're ever going to seriously grow revenue, we have to start selling to much bigger companies. He may be right. You never know..." 

You're breaking my heart... 

And you're killing your business... 


Look at you... Spinning your wheels, chasing all your random maybes.

STOP hedging your bets. 

(Thank you to Peter Sheahan for hammering that point home in a speech.)

You need to focus on a SPECIFIC audience, dedicate yourself to ONE distribution channel, lead with one FLAGSHIP service, promote one CORE program, sell one MAIN product line, PRESENT prospects with a PRIMARY investable opportunity. 

The sound bite I share with my marketing seminar audiences and marketing coaching clients is "Focus on what you want - you can always take what comes."

Big problem: Maybe your business model IS "we take what comes."

5 Signs Your Business is a Victim of "You Never Know"

  1. You feel you're chasing your tail and spending too much time and too much money bouncing from idea to idea or initiative to initiative...
  2. You have no idea where your next lead is coming from...
  3. Your pipeline is full of "maybes" but it's been months since you've closed a deal and cashed a check...
  4. You find yourself succumbing to too many sales pitches for marketing ebooks, get-rich-quick courses, social media services, online sales tools, subscriptions, advertising, directories, web software...
  5. You are relying on hope as a marketing strategy...

Bottom line: The truth is that you may very well never KNOW...

But you sure as hell can DECIDE.

And as my pal Jim Canterucci likes to say, once you DECIDE, your choices are easy. 

That's the key you need to unlock marketing success for your small business so that you get better traction, make faster progress and make more money.

Grab your FREE copy of the Platform Promotion Checklist!

And then leave a comment below with your questions, thoughts, and advice on the ideas above.

Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing concept, niche, small business marketing expert, marketing strategist, marketing consultant, small business marketing, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, doitmarketing, small business marketing coach, business strategy

Which Do YOU Need More - Strategy or Implementation?

small business marketing coach business coaching strategyAs a marketing coach for business owners, entrepreneurs and solo professionals, I'm often asked some variation of the following questions:

  • What's more important - a focused marketing plan or consistent marketing activity?
  • Do I need to change my marketing strategy? 
  • What should I be doing more of - and less of - to get more clients? 
  • How do I know the kind of marketing that will work for what I offer? 
  • How can I stop spinning my wheels and do a FEW simple things consistently to generate leads, prospects and sales?

Here's my answer in very sophisticated and technical marketing lingo:

"Wow, man... I dunno."

Now before you dismiss me as a complete marketing moron, let me put that insightful statement into some context for you.

If you don't know where you are, who you're marketing to, what they want, what they're willing to pay for, and how to position yourself as the "Ah - at last!!" solution they've been looking for, then all these questions will do is: 

  • Confuse you
  • Scare you
  • Piss you off

And the bottom line is that it's tough to be a successful entrepreneur when you're running around confused, scared and pissed off all the time. 

So stop it. 

The first thing you need to decide is - which do YOU need more of? A revised and refocused master plan? Or some healthy ass-kicking to DO what you ALREADY know you need to do?

Follow the Teddy Roosevelt principle of "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." What does that mean?

That means you need to STOP GETTING READY TO GET READY until...

  • You get your next professional certification...
  • You finish writing your book...
  • Your kids are a little older...
  • You build your updated website...
  • You have a few more clients...
  • You start making more money...


Can you SMELL the stinky pile of rotten excuses suffocating you with their disgusting stench?


The short answer is a screaming YES with racing stripes and flames coming out the tailpipes.

Do you need a 60-page marketing/business plan with charts and graphs and financial projections for the next 5 years? No you do not. 

You need some flip charts, markers, paper, plenty of wall space and at least half a day to map out: 

  • Your business and marketing objectives and strategies
  • Your current and future revenue streams
  • Your thought leadership strategies (speaking, publishing, social media)
  • Your business systems and processes
  • Your current and future staffing and outsourcing game plan
  • Simple templates and scripts to operationalize your plan
  • Your pricing structure including new ways to monetize your expertise
  • Your marketing action plan with daily, weekly and monthly tasks 

I do this with my clients all the time - it's called a VIP Coaching Day and the process and the output look something like the flipcharts and action notes you'll see smack in the middle of this page.


The short answer is a screaming YES with racing stripes and flames coming out the tailpipes.

Do you need a 1,000% laser focus with a non-stop implementation mindset? No you do not. That's not realistic and it's never going to happen. 

You need a calendar, just a little bit of focus, some serious accountability for a short period of time, and your to-do list (which probably contains some long-overdue "big ideas" which you've simply never gotten around to doing even though they might be the exact things you need to FINISH so that you get out of your rut, find your groove and grow your business significantly!)

What kinds of to-do items might you tackle on such a focused day of implementation?

  • Rewrite the home page of your website
  • Record a series of videos or audios that showcase your services
  • Do some writing to better articulate your fabulousness
  • Create a few simple tools to help you generate more leads
  • Clean up your office or empty your inbox to streamline your daily work
  • Develop (or refresh) your consulting or service/project offerings
  • Optimize your social media profiles so that more prospects find (and contact!) you
  • Draft the outline for your book, product, or signature program
  • Map out your proactive referral and networking strategy (who, what, where, when)

I do this with my clients all the time too. It's called a DO IT DAY and you can find out more about them here. Sign up for the next one - I'd be honored to do a little ass-kicking with YOU over a single focused day... and cheer you on as you cross the finish line on what YOU need to get done

What do you think? Use the COMMENTS area below to talk about your experiences with strategy vs. implementation for YOUR business...

Tags: consultant marketing, marketing concept, marketing coaching, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, marketing consultant, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker, small business marketing coach

Marketing Coach: Live Out of Your Calendar NOT Your Inbox

marketing speaker marketing coach emailHad a high-output day today after hearing my friend, personal productivity and goal achievement expert Michael Gidlewski present a seminar yesterday.

By the time you're done reading this post, you will get the secrets to create your OWN high-payoff productivity burst any time you wish.

But it takes more than wishing - it takes resolve and action. 

One hint - It is simple but not easy. 

Back to today. What made it so special? Imagine having a day where...

  • You get IMPORTANT stuff done
  • You have more FOCUS 
  • You FEEL better about what you accomplished
  • And you accomplish more of what really matters to you and your business

In fact, it's very possible I accomplished more today (Friday) than in the four prior days this week combined. 

After Michael's executive workshop, I got a better handle on what my key high-payoff activities TRULY were. I then put them on my calendar in specific time slots. And the screen that was under my nose all day was my CALENDAR, not my email INBOX.

Quick tips for you: 

1. Plan your day - what MUST get done and WHEN?

2. Chunk your day down into blocks and assign specific tasks to those blocks - Phone calls, emails, client tasks, whatever it is YOU want to do that will move you closer to your GOALS.

3. Keep that damn calendar under your nose. All day. Make it your default screen. Hide, minimize or (gasp) close your email until "check email" pops up on your calendar.

4. Make note of COMPLETING your high-payoff activities. Check them off your task list or change their color on your calendar so you have a visual roadmap of achievement for your day. 

So what's the big deal? What did I get done? 

  • Coaching call with one of my awesome clients in Canada
  • Answered LinkedIn request for conversation with new prospect **
  • Followed up with FIVE key prospects who were in various stages of follow-up mode by sending high-value article on referrals
  • Wrote this blog post
  • Connected with my 2 co-presenters for the Magnetic Marketing Seminar (if you're near Philadelphia, you're invited - it's FREE.)
  • Followed up with an editor of a financial publication about doing a podcast and speaking at several of their banking conferences over the coming year. 
  • Took care of some financial nonsense which I've been procrastinating on for 2 weeks. (I hate that stuff, thus keeping my bookkeeper and my accountant profitably busy!)
  • Made one important prospecting phone call (the only thing I hate more than financial detail work is using the phone.)
  • Connected with my Vistage Chair to ask him an important favor. 
  • Got a solid No from a prospect on the phone and ended the prospecting/sales process with her on a strong positive note. (Did I mention how much I hate the damn phone? Gotta use it, though...) 

All together, I had EIGHT high-payoff activities on my calendar and knocked all of them out before 3pm. Changed their colors, made follow-up notes, and felt great about the results of the day.  

** NOTE: You may have noticed that my second item was to respond to a LinkedIn request that came in via email. The reason I was able to do that was because of point #5 in this post - I did a "Money Pass" through my email inbox and the new prospect inquiry from LinkedIn QUALIFIED as a high-payoff activity so I proactively added it to my day in real-time. 

The short lesson is: Live Out of Your Calendar and NOT Out of Your Inbox!!

p.s. For a smart support system and specific tools on HOW to do precisely that, check out my pal Marsha Egan's awesome program called INBOX DETOX

marketing speaker marketing coach motivational speaker philadelphia pap.p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized marketing and sales toolkit PLUS an easy-to-implement speaking-driven game plan for 90 days, book your free speaker strategy session here.

Tags: professional services marketing, small business marketing expert, small business coach, small business email, professional speaker marketing, success tips, small business marketing

Marketing Concept: 12 Home Page Must-Haves

Marketing Concept: Your home page is your calling card. 

Question: Are you communicating everything that you need to on that all-important home page to get people engaged with you and your products and services? 

Let's back up one step. Before you can answer that question, a better marketing concept to explore is the key question: 

What IS the main purpose of your home page? 

Multiple choice answers for you to choose from: 

a. To create a cosmetically appealing "cover page" for the rest of your site

b. To concisely summarize all your product and service offerings

c. To showcase your primary offering that you want to highlight (your flagship product, current promotion, etc.)

d. To create an easy-to-navigate roadmap with multiple ways to access the key pages of your site

e. None of the above

And the answer is... 

Wait for it...

Hang on... 

Alright, you win - it's e. None of the above.

Why? Because the main purpose of your home page is to convey two (and only two) key marketing concepts:

1. We know what you (the prospect, reader, website visitor) are going through.

2. We can help.

Here are 12 home page must-haves according to our partners over at Hubspot: 

Marketing Concept Homepage Infographic

What do you think? Please share your insights in the COMMENTS section below and..

Grab your FREE copy of the Platform Promotion Checklist!

Are you a DO IT freak? Welcome to the club!! Please use the social media buttons at the top of this post to share it with your network. YOU are a rock star!

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing concept, thought leadership marketing, web marketing, website design, marketing professional services, trusted advisor marketing, small business marketing expert, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, doitmarketing

Marketing Mix: You’ll Thrive or Starve By These 3 Calendars

marketing speaker marketing calendarAs a small business marketing speaker and small business marketing coach, I know you're probably wearing lots of different hats in your small business, and it's tough to keep all the areas of your business running smoothly all the time.

Think spinning plates or juggling balls. What's worse is that when time is tight, your least favorite tasks (often marketing and sales) get neglected, and your business suffers.

To keep your business running smoothly, don't rely on your memory or your never-ending to-do list.

You'll thrive or starve by three calendars: an Editorial calendar, a Marketing calendar, and a Sales calendar.

If you set up these calendars and then rely on them, your business will hum along, growing and thriving as you regularly accomplish all you need to.

Let's take a look at each of these three calendars to find out how they work their magic.

Editorial Calendar

As you know, content is king when it comes to today's inbound marketing environment. To get noticed and to be recognized as an authority in your industry, you've got to produce timely, quality content, and you've got to do it regularly. Set aside a time on your calendar for each of the following tasks:

Email Newsletter. An email newsletter lets you communicate with customers you've already tapped into. These customers will be your repeat business if you stay fresh on their minds. Quality email newsletters include articles and news that your customers can't get anywhere else like invitations to exclusive events, industry updates, valuable resources, and timely articles that offer real value.

Blog. An updated blog tells your customers that you're an authority in your industry, that you're with-it, and that you are responsive to their needs. One of the greatest benefits of a blog is that you can build a genuine two-way relationship with readers. They can comment and ask questions, and you can show your knowledge and responsiveness as you reply.

Offline Publications. Your internet presence is priceless, but don't discount offline publications. Articles in national trade publications, association magazines, industry journals and major newspapers may reach an entirely different audience than your blog and social media. 

Guest Posts. Writing guest posts for outside blogs is a great way to reach more people and send more traffic back to your own website.

Article Marketing. Once you've written an article or paid a writer to write one for you, use it to your best advantage. Syndicate it so that it appears on many different websites, increasing your web presence and generating more traffic to your business website.

Marketing Calendar

Like your editorial calendar, your marketing calendar will ensure that important tasks are done on a regular basis, including your least favorite tasks. Make sure you have the following items on your marketing calendar:

Email. Nothing kills interest like unresponsiveness. If you don't respond quickly to emails, potential clients and customers will turn to someone who does respond quickly. Checking and responding to email should be on your marketing calendar every day.

Promotions and offers. Regular promotions and special offers keep you top-of-mind. Put your promotions on your marketing calendar, and use your editorial calendar to inform readers and customers about upcoming promotions.

Outreach. Put your business out in the community regularly by setting up booths at targeted trade shows or sponsoring events aimed squarely at your target market. Outreach may show up on your calendar much less frequently than other marketing tasks, and that's fine. But if it's on your calendar, you're much more likely to make the preparations necessary to participate in such events.

Web. Web marketing, whether it's paying for Google ads or finding appropriate blogs to comment on, takes some time, and it's very easy to push this task aside. Assign an hour or so each week to web marketing. Track your web marketing success over several months to see if you need to spend more time on it.

Sales Calendar

Developing and using a sales calendar will help you to stay on top of more personal tasks. Coordinate your sales efforts with your other calendars.

Calls. Set aside some time each day to make and return phone calls. If you work in an office, warn your co-workers that you'll be unavailable during this time.

In-person meetings. Even though phone and video conference work well for catching up, there's nothing like an in-person meeting for solving problems and getting on the same page. Put these meetings on your calendar as frequently as you think you need them.

Follow-ups and Decisions. Schedule a time for following up on leads and for collecting decisions from prospects you've had initial conversations with. By scheduling this time, prospects will meet your deadlines more often, and your sales funnel will operate more reliably.

It may seem intimidating to set these calendars up, but once you do, you'll find that you feel less stressed and more able to meet the demands of your day when you abide by them. With slots for each important task, you may even feel that you have more time for your favorite tasks - like running your business and serving your clients.

marketing coach marketing speaker sos

p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized marketing and sales toolkit PLUS an easy-to-implement small business marketing game plan with 1-on-1 guidance for 90 days, get all the details here.

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing concept, business plan, trusted advisor marketing, small business marketing expert, marketing coach, small business marketing, marketing mix, doit marketing, small business marketing speaker, marketing tips

Trusted Advisor Marketing: Why You're Asking the WRONG Question

Marketing expert marketing speaker og adThe ad above first appeared in Business Week in 1958 – yes that’s right over 50 years ago! The moral of the ad’s story was relevant then and it is even more relevant today: build relationships before you sell.

The bad news is that we live in far more cynical times than the sellers of the 1950’s; the good news is that YOU have so many more tools available to help you address the problem.

If you're investing in "Trusted Advisor Marketing" (it goes by several other names like inbound marketing, thought leadership marketing, and content marketing)... then you've probably asked yourself: 

How (and when) will this generate a sale?

And that is the completely WRONG question to ask.

By the time you're done reading this article/ rant/ manifesto, you'll see exactly why - AND you'll be able to ask (and answer) much better questions for your business right away. 

We interrupt with a brief metaphor... Asking when trusted advisor marketing will lead to a sale is like filling up your car's gas tank and asking, "Why aren't we there yet?" 

Answer: Because filling your car with gas is a NECESSARY but NOT SUFFICIENT step to getting you to your destination (a new customer or client).

Do you have a chance of arriving now that your gas tank is full? You bet.

Did you have a chance of getting there with your tank on empty? No way. 

Let's move on... 

Insight #1 You need to sell the same way that YOU buy.

Look at your email spam or bulk email folder. Yes, you. Yes, right now. I'll wait... 

tap... tap... tap... tap... You're back. Excellent.

Did you see that spam email from the toner cartridge company? Did you catch the pitch from the SEO firm that filled out your website's "contact us" form? Did you respond to that great deal on vacation cruises? NO? 

OK now pop over to your paper mail pile on your desk. Did you check out the latest "triple play" offer from Comcast (or whatever hellacious Cable Satan runs in your neck of the woods)? How about that compelling cell phone offer from Verizon? The Wall Street Journal subscription offer under that postcard? Or how about that postcard - you know, the one from the home heating oil company? NO? 

When's the last time you gave your credit card number over to a cold caller who interrupted your family dinner? NEVER??

I'm shocked...

Because you seem pretty excited about YOUR cold calls - and sending out YOUR spam - YOUR offers - YOUR postcards - YOUR sales messages.

The problem with doing it this way? In four words...

Zero. Value. For. Prospects.

And hello? YOU don't BUY this way. What in the world makes you think your prospects DO?

Look once more at the ad above - and answer one simple question: 

Question #1: What VALUE have I ADDED to my prospect's world in order to EARN the RIGHT to INVITE them to a conversation and OFFER my solutions to their urgent, pervasive, expensive problems?

Insight #2 Referrals are great - but they are neither deaf, dumb, nor blind

The next thing you're going to tell me is that you don't NEED "trusted advisor marketing" because 99% of your business is repeat and referral business and it's always been that way and you don't see how this "newfangled marketing" is going to move the needle in closing more sales.

Do you seriously think that referrals don't check you out online before picking up the phone?

What messages are you sending to your valued referrals with...

a. Your outdated website (articles from 2008 are outdated, friends. And from 2003 even more so. And design aesthetic from 1997 most of all.)

b. Your sporadically updated blog that you leave dormant for 2 (or 4 or 6) months at a clip.

c. Your abandoned Twitter account you set up because someone said "you had to" and that now has 17 followers while your competitors have 3,000 (or a whole lot more.) 

d. Your sketchy, bare bones LinkedIn profile that has 300 connections but only 2 recommendations (From 2005. From people with the same last name as you.)

e. Your "glory days" articles and TV clips and PR placements from 20 (yes I'm serious), 10, or even 5 years ago. Nothing screams "has-been" like old media.  

Make no mistake: Getting repeat and referral business is great. But don't kid yourself that this absolves you from having a top-notch web presence, social media platform, and body of knowledge that is ultra-current, super-relevant, and obviously abundant.

In fact, you are leaving yourself open for EMBARRASSMENT if your advocates hear back from their referrals and find themselves in the awkward position of having to DEFEND you to them because your web presence has fallen behind and now casts your professional expertise into doubt.

Question #2: Does my overall web presence REASSURE and REINFORCE the referrals I earn with the most current, credible and relevant marketing messages, positioning, content, resources, and value that will make my advocates LOOK BETTER - not worse - for referring me? 

Insight #3 Trusted Advisor Marketing is a 4-layer enchilada (aka You don't get to eat the delicious golden-brown cheese without first layering on the meat!!)

trusted advisor marketing DOIT

The first layer - at the core of the matter - is your Reputation. Your work. Your track record. If you stop there, you'll have a VERY hard time attracting NEW leads and prospects to your doorstep. "My work should speak for itself" is what a lot of very smart people say - smart people who have a hard time making their mortgage payments.  

The second layer is Amplification. Ways to make your "signal" stronger. Enter social media marketing, niche PR, article marketing, blogging, keyword research and search engine optimization. This is the key to spreading your ideas and broadcasting your expertise.

The third layer is Leverage. This is where you begin to capitalize on your "trusted advisor" assets such as articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, interviews, white papers, special reports, book excerpts, and other value-first marketing tools. You can now reach out to high-probability prospects both individually (on LinkedIn for example) and collectively (on your blog for example). This is where your job becomes putting the right bait on the right hooks in the right lakes to catch the right fish.  

The fourth layer is Gravity. Just like Jim Collins talks about the "flywheel" concept in Good to Great (it takes a long time to get it spinning but then is very hard to stop because of the power of momentum) - this is where you start to see payoffs. More leads, better prospects, bigger opportunities, more conversations, higher profile alliances, more invitations to speak, publish, guest post, contribute, teach, and (drum roll please...) more invitations to do great work at premium fees for great clients who NOW know you, like you, and trust you enough to hand over 5- and 6-figure checks because their level of confidence in your expertise is pretty damn close to 100%.

Question #3: Do you want to make more sales to strangers? (Good luck with that). Or do you really want more people to recognize, respect, and request YOU by name when they have a need, project, or problem that they instantly see has "your name written all over it"? If that's your goal, then trusted advisor marketing is for you. 

Re-read the McGraw-Hill ad above and let's do a 21st century spin on it together...

  • I don't know who you are.
  • I don't read your blog. 
  • I don't subscribe to your newsletter.
  • I don't see your name in my industry's publications.
  • I don't hear my peers spreading your ideas.
  • I don't come across your content in Google searches.
  • I don't connect your solutions to my problems. 
  • I don't feel the gravity of your credibility or credentials.
  • I don't have any tangible way to gauge your expertise or experience.
  • Now -- what was it you wanted to sell me? 

So here's the ultimate (and most important) question for YOU: 

How can you realistically expect to SELL anything by NOT setting the necessary pre-conditions for ANY sale with Trusted Advisor Marketing?

The answer is as simple as it is obvious: you can't. Just like you can't drive your car from Denver to Sheboygan just by filling up your gas tank. You need to get behind the wheel, plan your route, use your GPS, add more fuel along the way (and probably some beef jerky and Sno-Balls and root beer) AND put in the hours and the miles to get you to your destination.  

Nobody -- and I mean N-O-B-O-D-Y -- hires speakers, consultants or professional services firms sight unseen. You wouldn't. I wouldn't either.

And the facts prove out that today's buyers are just like YOU and ME. 

Trusted Advisor marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. And as any marathoner will tell you - the best (and only) way to run a marathon is one mile at a time. 

What do you think? Please post YOUR COMMENTS below and... 

trusted advisor marketing for speakers, consultants, experts

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing speaker, marketing strategy, thought leadership marketing, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, small business marketing expert, public relations, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, marketing strategist, marketing consultant, small business marketing, thought leadership, small business marketing speaker, content marketing, inbound marketing

Marketing Coach: 13 Marketing Questions for a Brilliant Q2

marketing coach action planThis email just came across my desk from marketing speaker and marketing coach Machen MacDonald...


The first 90 days of 2012 are in the bag. How did you do?  

Are you on track for hitting your annual goals?

Consider using the powerful questions below to help you and your team reflect, re-calibrate and project increasing results.

Reflecting on Q1:

1.  What was your biggest triumph in Q1?
2.  What was the smartest decision you made in Q1?
3.  What one word best sums up and describes your Q1 experience?
4.  What was the greatest lesson you learned in Q1?
5.  What was the most loving service you performed in Q1?
6.  What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in Q1?
7.  What are you most happy about completing in Q1?
8.  Who were the 3 people that had the greatest impact on your life in Q1?
9.  What was the biggest risk you took in Q1?
10. What was the biggest surprise in Q1?
11. What important relationship improved the most in Q1?
12. What compliment would you liked to have received in Q1?
13. What compliment would you liked to have given in Q1?
14. What else do you need to do or say to be complete with Q1?

Re-calibrating and Creating a Compelling Q2:

1. What would you like to be your biggest triumph in Q2?
2. What advice would you like to give yourself in Q2?
3. What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in Q2?
4. What would you be most happy about completing in Q2?
5. What major indulgence are you willing to experience in Q2?
6. What would you most like to change about yourself in Q2?
7. What are you looking forward to learning in Q2?
8. What do you think your biggest risk will be in Q2?
9. What about your work, are you most committed to changing and improving in Q2?
10. What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in Q2?
11. What brings you the most joy & how are you going to do or have more of that in Q2?
12. Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving & serving in Q2?
13. What one word would you like to have as your theme in Q2?

By investing just 15-20 minutes right now and really thinking through these questions you can dramatically impact the next 90 days in your life and in your business. 

Isn't it worth the small fraction of your time? 

To your continued success,

Coach Machen (530) 273-8000

ProBrilliance! Leadership Institute

Tags: consulting firm marketing, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, entrepreneurship, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker, professional speaker marketing, motivational speaker marketing, small business marketing, small business marketing speaker

Marketing Concept: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Naming Your Business

Guest post by Phillip Davismarketing concept naming branding

Naming a business is like laying the cornerstone of a building. Once it's in place, the entire foundation and structure is aligned to that original stone. If it's off, the rest of the building is off, and the misalignment becomes amplified. So if you have that gnawing sense that choosing a name for your new business is vitally important -- you're right. With 18 years in the naming and branding business, I've witnessed the good, the bad, and the really bad. Here's how you can avoid the worst of the mistakes and get off to a good start.

Mistake #1: The Committee (Getting all your clients, employees and family members involved) 

We live in a democratic society and it seems like the right thing to do- involving everyone in an important decision. This approach, however, presents a few problems. The first and most obvious fact is that you will end up choosing only one name -- so you risk alienating the very people you are trying to involve. Second, you often end up with a consensus decision, resulting in a very safe and very vanilla name. A better method is to involve only the key decision makers, the fewer the better, and select only the people you feel have the company's best interests at heart. The need for personal recognition can skew results-- so you are best served by those who can park their egos at the door. Also make sure you have some right brain types in the mix. Too many left brains and the name often ends up too literal and descriptive. 

Mistake #2: The Train Wreck (Taking two words and colliding them head on) 

When forced to come up with a creative name, many aspiring entrepreneurs will simply take part of an adjective and weld it onto a noun. The results are names that have a certain twisted rationale to them, but look and sound awful. Someone starting a high end service franchise then becomes QualiServe. It's a bit like mixing chocolate syrup with ketchup- nothing wrong with either but they just don't go together. Other common truncations include Ameri, Tech, Corp, Tron, etc. The problem with this approach is that it’s simply forced – and it sounds that way. 

Mistake #3: Where's Waldo? (Names so plain they'll never stand out in a crowd) 

The first company in a category can get away with this one. Hence you have General Motors, General Electric, etc. But once you have competition, it requires differentiation. Imagine if Yahoo! had come out as It would be much more descriptive, but hardly memorable. And with the onslaught of new media and advertising channels, it's more important than ever to carve out your niche by displaying your uniqueness. Nothing does that better than a well conceived name. 

Mistake #4: The Atlas Approach (Using a map to name your company) 

In the zeal to start a new company, many businesses choose to use their city, state or region as part of their name. While this may actually help in the beginning, it often becomes a hindrance as a company grows. One client came to me with complaints he was serving more of the market than his name implied. He had aptly called it St. Pete Plumbing since he hailed from St. Petersburg, Florida. But yellow page shoppers assumed that was also his entire service area. With a little creative tinkering we changed the image of St. Pete from a city to the image of St. Pete himself, complete with wings and a plumber's wrench. The new tag line? "We work miracles!" 

Other companies have struggled with the same issue. Minnesota Manufacturing and Mining was growing beyond their industry and their state. To avoid limiting their growth they became 3M, a company now known for innovation. Kentucky Fried Chicken is now KFC, de-emphasizing the regional nature of the original name. Both of these companies made strategic moves to avoid stifling their growth. Learn from them and you can avoid this potential bottleneck. 

Mistake #5: Cliché you say? (A good name is worth a thousand words) 

Once past the literal, descriptive stage, the thought process usually turns to metaphors. These can be great if they are not overly used to the point of trite. Since many companies think of themselves as the top in their industry, the world is full of names like Summit, Apex, Pinnacle, Peak, etc. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these names, they are just overworked. Look for combinations of positive words and metaphors and you will be much better served. A good example is the Fortune 1000 data storage company Iron Mountain, which conveys strength and security without sounding commonplace. 

Mistake #6: Hide the Meaning (Make it so obscure, the customer will never know!) 

It’s great for a name to have a special meaning or significance. It’s sets up a story that can be used to tell the company message. But if the reference is too obscure and too hard to spell and pronounce, you may never have the opportunity to speak to that customer. They will simply pass you by as irrelevant. So resist the urge to name your company after the mythical Greek god of fast service or the Latin phrase for “We’re number one!” If a name has a natural, intuitive sound and a special meaning, it can work. If it’s too complex and puzzling, it will remain a mystery to your customers. This is especially true if you are reaching out to a mass audience. 

I pushed the envelope a little on this one myself, naming my branding firm Tungsten, after the metal that Thomas Edison used to create brilliant light. However, my clientele consists of knowledgeable professionals who appreciate a good metaphor and expect a branding firm to have a story behind its name. It’s also a way to differentiate my services (illuminated, bright, brilliant). So while it works for a branding firm, it would not do well as an ice cream parlor. 

Mistake #7: The Campbell’s Approach (Using alphabet soup to name your firm) 

This is a trend that is thankfully wearing off. Driven by the need for a matching domain name, many companies have resorted to awkwardly constructed or purposefully misspelled names. The results are company names that sound more like prescription drugs than real life businesses. Mistake #2 sometimes gets combined with this one and results in a name like KwaliTronix. (Or worse- mistakes #2 , #4 & #7, resulting in KwalTronixUSA). It’s amazing how good some names begin to sound after searching for available domain names all night. But resist the urge. Avoid using a “K” in place of a “Q” or a “Ph” in place of an “F”. This makes spelling the name, and locating you on the internet, all that much harder. 

It’s not that coined or invented names cannot work, they often do. Take for example, Xerox or Kodak. But keep it mind, names like these have no intrinsic or linguistic meaning, so they rely heavily on advertising – and that gets expensive. Many of the companies that use this approach were either first in category, or had large marketing budgets. Verizon spent millions on their rebranding effort. So did Accenture. So check your pocketbook before you check into these type of names. 

Mistake #8: Sit On It. (When in doubt, make no change at all) 

Many business owners know they have a problem with their name and just hope it will somehow magically resolve itself. The original name for one of my clients was “Portables”, which reminded some people of the outdoor restrooms or the portable class rooms- neither one a good association. This added to the confusion when phone operators tried to explain their new concept of moving and storage. After some careful tweaking, we came up with the name PODS, an acronym for Portable On Demand Storage. The rest is quickly becoming history as they expand both nationally and internationally. Peter Warhust, President and one of the original founders states, “For the record, changing our name to PODS was one of the best moves we ever made”. 

Exercise Experience, a former Florida based company, was frequently confused with a health club. In reality, they sold very high-end fitness equipment. This brings up a very key point -- it’s better to have a name that’s gives no impression than a name that gives a wrong impression. Much of the ad budget we spent on Exercise Experience was used to clarify that they sold fitness equipment. This was valuable airtime that could have been put to better use selling the equipment rather than explaining the business. Ultimately, the company folded. It’s not to say it was solely because of the name, but I believe it was a factor. 

Mike Harper of Huntington Beach, CA, bought a thirty-year old janitorial and building maintenance company named Regency. We both agreed it sounded more like a downtown movie theatre than a progressive facilities management firm. After a thorough naming search, we developed the name Spruce Facilities Management. Spruce not only conveyed the environmentally friendly image of a spruce tree, (something important to the client), it also meant “to clean up”. The new tag line fell right in place – Spruce… “The Everclean Company”. 

It’s only a matter of time before Southwest Airlines and Burlington Coat Factory and others who have successfully outgrown their original markets begin to question their positioning. Much like 3M and KFC, they may need to make a change to keep pace with their growth and image. 

In the fever to start your new business or expand a current one, take time to think through some of these issues. According to the late Henry Ford, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it”. Albert Einstein took it one step further claiming, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. By tapping into your creativity and avoiding these potential pitfalls, you’ll be able to create a name that works both short and long term – one that allows for future growth. Like the original cornerstone of a building, it will support upward expansion as your company reaches new heights. 

Author's URL:
Phil Davis President Tungsten Brilliant Brand Marketing 

Phil’s life goal of “creating environments where people thrive” reflects his desire to assist in personal, professional and business growth. Phil founded and ran a full service ad agency for over 17 years and now works full time as a business naming and branding consultant. Phil resides with wife Michelle and four energetic offspring outside Asheville, North Carolina.

Tags: marketing strategy, marketing success, marketing concept, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, small business marketing expert, branding, marketing coach, marketing consultant, small business marketing speaker, marketing tip, brand strategy

Marketing Coach: When Profits Call, Answer the Damn Phone

marketing speaker, marketing coach

As a marketing coach, I did some work with the owner of a catering firm who wanted to systematize his company’s sales and service operations by writing an easy-to-use, reader-friendly but detailed procedure manual. Not compliance or transaction-related, but just the day-to-day “how we do things around here” kind of manual. A snapshot of the cultural DNA, if you will.

So far, so good.

He saw immediately how this manual could raise the bar on everyone’s performance at his company and make smarter marketing, excellent customer service and savvy selling a consistent, always-on capability, and not a once-in-a-while accident!

When we started talking about the way his employees handled inbound telephone calls, he wanted to label that section, “Answer the Damn Phone” because so many of his people considered phone calls an interruption and they were always complaining about getting their cooking, prep, and delivery tasks done while “the damn phone” was ringing all the time.

Hmmm… can you see where this is leading?

You should worry a lot more about business that falls through your fingers than business that you don’t win.

It’s the missed sales opportunities that cost small businesses more money than the customers they compete for but don't close.

See if you can spot the missed sales opportunities in the following two stories from my colleague Ed Peters of the 4Profit Institute. (Hint: it won’t be difficult!)

Marketing News magazine made 5,000 telephone calls to Yellow Page advertisers requesting price information on a particular product.

Here’s what they discovered:

  • 56% didn’t answer within eight rings
  • 8% put the caller on hold for more than two minutes
  • 11% couldn’t provide the price information requested
  • 34% provided the price and then hung up
  • 78% did not even ask the caller’s name

 Ask yourself:

  • Have you ever studied how your phones are answered?
  • Who is answering?
  • What are they saying, doing, and asking on the initial call?

Here’s a missed sales opportunity up close and personal: A few weeks before Ed moved, he called six banks that were within walking distance of his new office. He told them he’d be moving two business and two personal savings and checking accounts, and two other accounts for his kids. He told them that he did not want marketing brochures but a personalized response to his specific business and personal needs.

RESULT: Only two of the six banks responded! And the two that did sent -- guess what -- their marketing brochures!

He needed a bank fast, so he called the two banks that responded. One promised to call him back but never did and the other one put him in contact with their relocation department (where he should have been referred in the first place). Guess who got Ed’s business?

Questions for you:

  • Do you respond to all qualified requests for information?
  • Do you respond promptly?
  • Do you respond accurately and give a personalized response, or does every request get the same off-the-shelf response?
  • Do you follow-up after every request?

What's been your experience with inbound calls and inquiries? Please use the COMMENTS section below and...

small business marketing coach

Tags: marketing speaker, marketing for coaches, marketing agency, retail, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, small business marketing expert, small business coach, professional speaker marketing, marketing ideas, small business marketing, marketing mix, small business marketing speaker