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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Learn More About Podcasting

Want to use the latest marketing technique in your plans this year?

Jump on the podcasting bandwagon.

I've read a lot about podcasting over the past few months, but never tried it for myself. After reading an article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, I jumped in with both feet. I'm excited about becoming a 'podcaster' and I'll let you know over the coming months what podcasting does for my business.

Want to hear my podcast? Listen (or download) now, and let me know what you think.


Monday, January 30, 2006

We Just Released A New Site

If you haven't had a chance to check out our newest site, head on over to FolioViewer.com, a site that will make it easy for any small business owner to easily create a multimedia presentation from just a few digital photographs, and help them build up a dynamic online portfolio.

I'm very excited about this tool. As more people are online, finding ways to differentiate yourself is becoming increasingly complex. This is an easy program that will allow you to put a rich media portfolio onto your site in just a matter of minutes.

FolioViewer.com allows you to upload 15 digital images, and create a multimedia sales presentation in just a matter of minutes. Once you make the purchase, the code is emailed to you, and can be copy/pasted into any website.

Want to see how it works? Visit FolioViewer.com to view samples and see how small businesses are using FolioViewer.com to create online portfolios.

TIP** Online portfolios are great for almost any profession. Realtors can showcase individual homes. Meeting planners can showcase each event. Artists can showcase their individual works. Photographers can showcase their clients' presentations. And its great for attracting new clients because they will be able to see your work in a multimedia presentation!


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Get A Life

I started working with a new group last night. At my local chamber, they offer a group in which 12 complimentary businesses meet once a month, and act as each others advisory board. Have you ever had an advisory board?

I am a part of another group in which we also act as an advisory board, and it's wonderful. It's great knowing you can get together and talk about anything, and get honest feedback. Even if the feedback is a little more honest than what you really wanted to hear!

Anyway, I was sitting there last night, listening to everyone as we went around the table. And one thing became apparent very quickly - entrepreneurs are workaholics. All of us. It was almost unanimous that everyone at the table worked on average 50-60 hours per week. And even though we all love what we do, is a 60 hour work week really a good thing?

One other piece of information surfaced - everyone was pretty much a one-person show, and wore every hat in the business. Hmmmm...

So, the more hats you wear, the longer you will work to make sure each job is fulfilled. Isn't the solution to get rid of some of the hats?

I know there's an easy way to pass certain jobs off to other people; I talk about it in my Get Known Marketing manual at www.GetKnownMarketing.com.

Guess that's one piece of advice I'll be sharing in the coming months.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One of the best online marketing methods

How many of you have seen Frontier Airlines' new commercials?

Frontier, as you know, has a different animal on each airplane's tail. In their commercials, the animals carry on conversations with each other. They are some of the best commercials out there. (If you have a child, chances are you know those commercials well. My daughter runs if she hears the ad, and wants me to save them on tape so she can see them later! Now that's building a customer for life.)

Anyway, their newest commercial looks like a 'breaking news bulletin'. The announcement is that Flip, the dolphin, will go on strike unless he gets to fly to Mexico. In fact, you can go to his website to sign his petition and send Flip to Mexico. http://www.fliptomexico.com/

What a great way to capture email addresses from your customers! Of course people want to help Flip - they love him. Their whole marketing campaign is entertaining and very effective. And I guarantee its helping to bring in more customers!

What can you do to create a campaign like this? Want to start your own blog? Check out http://blogitcafe.com/ It's a great way to design your own blog (with no outside advertising) and start communicating with your visitors today!


Friday, January 13, 2006

What Was The Question?

Think back to each of your sales presentations, your phone calls and incoming emails from prospective customers. What questions did they have? Amazingly enough, most people will start a relationship with you by asking similar questions. Questions such as, "How much?" or "Can you do ___?" are very common.
Many times people ask those simple questions because they don't know enough about your business to ask detailed questions. They are looking for a way in to find out more information. And they may not want a 'simple' answer to their original question!

When we were in photography, the most common first question was "How much is an 8x10?" However, price was not usually what they wanted answered. They wanted to know what type of photography we did, what our customer service was like, how we presented our finished products, and what our references were. A long way from "How much is an 8x10?" isn't it!

Dig past the initial questions your prospects are asking you, and discover a wealth of opportunity. When you find what the 'real' questions are, you can immediately switch the tone of your initial meeting, and find a way to develop a relationship. And we all know relationships are the key to success!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Get Busy and Sell!

Have you ever noticed how the beginning of a new year makes you feel energized for creating new business opportunities? Aren't you just a little more excited about taking your business to new heights? I know I am. And that's what I'm concentrating on this month. My goal is to take each of my ideas, and find a way to market it to new groups of potential customers. After all, there really is only two things you should spend the majority of your working hours doing: marketing and selling!
With the many marketing and advertising options available today, it really is a small businesses dream. I remember with one of my businesses back in the mid 1990's I consistently would spend thousands of dollars on several ads in local magazines. Some paid off. Some didn't. But what I learned from that is to test everything you do, and find new ways of getting your name in front of new people.

Having trouble thinking of ways of getting your name out inexpensively? Try these 5 ideas. As you try out each of these, be aware of other opportunities that present themselves to you.

Have you ever placed a several thousand dollar ad in a magazine, and never received as much as a phone call. Ouch. It's hard wasting that kind of money as a small business owner. Instead, try the classified ads. Most trade publications and specialty magazines have classified ads in the back section. For under $100 you can usually place a good-sized ad. And you can change the wording around for every publication.
Find message boards to post on. Message boards are a great resource. They're usually f+ree, and you can put your information in front of thousands of viewers.
When you find a great message board, see if you can advertise on it. Many message boards have banner placements along the sides. They use advertising to keep the message board f+ree, and usually have low cost advertising rates.
Advertise in other ezines that reach the same audience as you. Check out www.DirectoryOfEzines.com to find thousands of ezines.
When you find ezines that target the same audience as you, contact the owner. Other small business owners are also open to new ideas. Can you create a strategic partnership to sell products to both of your clients? Many great products have been created by two companies joining forces for one project.
These 5 ideas should create a wealth of opportunity for you over the next week. Let me know your results - I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, January 09, 2006

What Day Of The Week Is Best?

What happens when you turn on your computer on a Monday morning, and begin loading up your email for the day? AAHHHH! If you're like me, I sit there with the delete key held firmly down. And I must confess, I usually work and check emails over the weekend, so mine aren't half as bad as someone who takes two full days off. And if you actually take a Friday off as well? Even the good stuff starts being shuffled into the trashcan.
Think back to when you email your information out to potential clients. What day do you send out your marketing materials? It can have a profound impact on how much business it will generate. Spending time over the weekend cleaning up your desk, and returning email sounds like a great idea. But if you have hopes of your information getting through to your potential customer, you better re-evaluate.

When people head back to work Monday morning, it's clean up time. They begin stacking things on their desk for completion during the week. And they empty out their email, clearing it up for a new week. Then they get down to work. If you want to reach someone, email him or her after this clean up process takes place. Email has the best chance of being read on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. New studies are also finding that Monday afternoons may also work well. The key is to get in front of the reader when their mind is on business.

One final note on getting your email read. Fill your subject line with the most detailed information possible. It doesn't matter what time of the week your email comes through if all you put in the subject line is "hi". I discuss this with people on a daily basis. And every week I continue to get emails with a simple "hi" in the subject line. People are nervous opening up any type of email that they're unsure of. It's easier to delete than have problems later. Avoid this deleting method, and fill your subject line with the details. Notice how my emails always come in with a subject of "Vision Of Success eZine - Title". Make yourself recognizable.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

cyclical marketing

Are you tired of cyclical marketing? You know, when you have lots of clients, your marketing strategies tend to fall to the wayside. Then when you have tons of free time, you frantically begin marketing to fill the voids?
Marketing is the one part of your business that should be strategized and worked on every week of the year. Marketing continually brings in the clients. When you level off your marketing efforts, you're not promoting your business for the upcoming months.

I have found the easiest way to keep a marketing plan on track all year long is to schedule each piece throughout the year, and put it on your calendar. Create a weekly to-do list. I have several things I do every week, and I create a simple check-off list to make sure each item is accomplished. Things like:

Produce and send ezine.
Post on message boards.
Send out brochures to new contacts.
Submit 2 ads to online targeted sites.
Write an article for one publication.
In our busy lives, I have found that creating a to-do list is the only way I stay on track. Things seem to disappear if I don't have them in front of me, telling me to get it done. Try a to-do list this week, and see if you can get more done on your marketing strategies!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Save More To Buy More

I love Costco. We shop there once or twice a week. I love going through each department, finding all kinds of bargains on the things I use in my home and my business. Likewise, I love Target. I can go there and get inexpensive products to use in my business and throughout my home. Both companies are very successful AND have one thing in common: they both concentrate on the quality of the product they deliver and keep it the costs as low as possible for their clients.
But have you looked around at the people shopping in those stores? Do you see women sporting clothes and accessories from Coach or Prada? Yes! Do these same people drop hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars on vacations to the Caribbean and ski trips to Europe? Yes! People understand value. And they save money in some areas of their lives to splurge in other areas.

Value is your key word. Valuing your customer, and providing them with the service they are seeking is what will make a client for life. Do you tell your customer what to expect with you? Costco does. I know when I walk into Costco, I will get top quality merchandise at the lowest price possible. The other day I was looking for my normal brand of salad mix. When I couldn't find it, I asked an employee who promptly said the salad mix wasn't up to their qualifications that week, so they didn't buy. That makes me feel good about my purchases. I know I'm getting the best quality for my money with any product I buy.

What can you do to improve your message to your customers? Do they know what to expect when they do business with you? Do you deliver exactly what you say you will do?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Marketing Websites - Get to the point!

Your website pops up onto a viewers screen. You have a few seconds to make a great impression with your design and your graphics, or your visitor will click to another site.
You past the first test, and your visitor begins to read. Again, you have a few seconds to capture their attention, or they will click away and look elsewhere for better information.

So, what does your home page say?

Does it entice the reader to want to read forward?
Is it full of useful information that makes the reader ask questions to themselves?
Does it provide answers to questions they may be asking?
Does it have leading sentences that make them click further into your site?
Does it set up the sale?
With online media, people are looking for quick, quality information. They want to know what they can expect from your site, and they want answers fast. You may be passionate about your product or service, and can talk about it on and on. But your customer isn't. She simply wants information, and for you to provide the solution to help her through her current problem.

Get to the point. Lead the way. And make the sale.