ALL Business is social: Follow-up

Is it true?  Is ALL business really social?

What’s so social about calling an 800 number at midnight to order the latest version of fake jewelry while watching an infomercial?  Where is the social component there?

Let’s start by asking how that infomercial got on the air in the first place?  Was the deal brokered on a golf course or some swanky uptown bistro?  Most “deals” are not brokered in office.  They happen in social environments.

You could ask the same question about how the new fake jewelry even came to production.  Was the process void of social influence?

Finally, what about our late night buyer? Why are they buying the fake jewelry to start with?  How do they plan to show it off?  What outfit will they wear it with?  Who will be impressed by how un-fake it looks?

ALL business is social.  Believe me now?

Social Media: ALL business is social

The question doesn’t seem to be dying:  Is social media really a beneficial mechanism for marketing?

Some laugh at the question as if it’s not even worth asking.  Some have serious doubts about whether this social media thing is really going to stick.  (yes, they still doubt)

If there is one thing we do know about social media it’s this:
Social media is not some new way of doing business.  It’s a new machine that can help us do business the old fashioned way.  The way that works.

The old fashioned way:  Social!!!

ALL business is social.  Somewhere at the top of the chain, there’s a person who makes a decision.

The single most important criteria to determine who that person will do business with – is a sense of trust for the other party.  Trust, perceived or real, is a social component.

Whether you choose to leverage social media or not, to be successful you must do business the old fashioned way… socially.

Marketing Your Business for Success (Chrysler Super Bowl Commercial)

Scene from Chrysler Super Bowl Commercial with Eminem

There are two pieces to the game of marketing your business that business owners don’t often connect.

1.  What you tell the world about your business

2.  What your customers tell you (about your business)

Don’t stop reading…

Many people would stop reading because they see those two bullet points and think, “I’ve heard it before.  Don’t make that mistake!

What most people believe about marketing is that it’s all about what you tell the world about your business.  Your logo, your tag-line, your value proposition, your image, your domain name, your website, your blah, blah, blah.

What you tell the world about your business is critical to your success.  It must be done with boldness and a great deal of thought and energy.  You need to spend money on it.  You need to work hard to craft every word that represents you and your brand.  You need to research your target to make sure you hit it with your message.  All of this is critical and no business will be successful without it.

So what’s the issue?

The issue is that most well meaning business owners don’t think that piece #2 is part of the marketing puzzle.  We have trained ourselves to believe that one is marketing and the other is customer service.


Like millions of others, I watched the Super Bowl last night.  Also, like millions I like to watch the commercials.

What I witnessed in the advertising was a solid degree of boldness.  I especially enjoyed the well written and stunning imagery of the Chrysler ad featuring Eminem.   The commercial was bold and creative with a powerful message of the hard working people of Detroit and how they know how to build luxury.

But then I hated it…

I hated it because it contradicted my knowledge and experience of Chrysler vehicles and Chrysler as a company.  Set aside that without two government bailouts over 3 decades, it’s unlikely that Chrysler would exist at all – my problem with Chrysler is it’s cars.

My experience with Chrysler vehicles (with few exceptions) is that they build in a great deal of comfort, which allows for the “luxury” label, but they consistently under perform in reliability compared to nearly all of their competitors.

The bottom line on Chrysler is that a car you can’t depend on cannot be considered luxury, not matter how many cup holders it has or how cushy the leather.  There’s simply nothing luxurious about constantly taking your car to the shop.

My love/hate relationship with Chrysler’s well made Super Bowl ad comes from my appreciation for good ad marketing and my subsequent disbelief that the car will be as good as they say it is in the ad.  Like most Chrysler vehicles, the build up is likely to be much more exciting than the cars.

I sincerely hope that I’m wrong… but history is not on Chrysler’s side.

Truly great marketing is when your customers feel the same about your product or service as your marketing message claims.

Producing a dependable and well delivered product is just as vital to your companies marketing as producing a bold and compelling message to the world.

Sharpen Your Internal Marketing

So you’ve heard (correctly) that marketing is everything and everything is marketing?

There is an aspect of business ownership that many entrepreneurs brush over when it comes to their marketing strategy:  The Team!

I’m not merely talking about employees.  I’m referring to employees, subcontractors, key joint venture partners and even some service providers.  In other words… the good people who make your business work.

Since everything is marketing… we need to recognize that these folks can add tremendous value to your business’ overall marketing success.  If they have a sense of purpose and togetherness when it comes to your business and if they believe in the vision or mission of your company they will be outrageous assets to your marketing.

What’s the best way to insure that your team is helping and not hurting your marketing?

First off:  Pick the right people!  Give them a sense of ownership and a stake in the success of the company – but the simplest way is to Be Grateful.

  • Be grateful for their efforts.
  • Be grateful for their talents.
  • Be grateful for their sacrifice.
  • Be grateful for their intelligence.
  • Be grateful for their contributions.
  • Be grateful for their dedication.
  • Be grateful for their energy.
  • Be grateful for their attitudes.

Most of all, be grateful for THEM and let them know that you are grateful.

A simple, hand written card expressing your gratitude will fill their tanks with an energy that comes from being appreciated.

Do this consistently and genuinely and you will greatly enhance your marketing.

~ Happy Thanksgiving

Networking Groups: 3 Tips to Double Your Results

1)  Bring something to hand out – other than a business card

Bring a flier.  Not a full size flier but at least a half sheet flier.  They are easy to create, easy to print (even in color) and easy to cut down to size.  If you don’t want to print in color then print it on an odd colored paper that stands out.

Everyone… absolutely everyone will be handing out business cards.  You should have your business cards too but having a flier has three huge advantages for networking group marketing.

–>  One – it makes you different
–>  Two – it gives you a reason to connect with everyone in the room without feeling like you have to drum up small talk for 30 people
–>  Three – it allows you to promote a specific aspect of your business each week.

2)  Make a strong call to action with benefits

Your flier should have a strong call to action. For example:   Go to to get your copy of a FREE report called “How to Get the Lowest Interest Rate.. Guaranteed!”

Any advertising vehicle that does not have a call to action is missing the mark when it comes to actually generating leads for your business.  People almost never do what you DON’T ask them to do.  They will often do what you tell them to do.  It’s just human nature.

3)  Give a time line for response

Don’t leave your offer and call to action open ended.  Each flier should have a deadline to get what you are offering them in your call to action.  The deadline can be time sensitive or availability sensitive.  For example:  Only 50 copies will be printed so don’t wait.  Go and get this report before it’s gone.  Another good one is:  Offer available until Midnight on October 31st, 2010.

This is called “scarcity” and it’s a powerful marketing force
Creative Commons License photo credit: Nick.Fisher

By adding these three simple tips to your network group marketing strategy, you should double your leads generated by your networking group or groups over a 6 month period.  You may even see immediate results.

*NOTE:  If you leave a genuine comment on a post, I’ll supply a quality backlink to your site.

Are You A Commodity? (Sell what everyone else is selling: Only Better)

Clip to Evernote

So how do you compete in an industry where consumers believe that everyone offers the same service and the only difference is price?

What if you can’t claim that you are the lowest price? Should you just quit?

This video talks about “The Out Strategy” designed to help you outsell your competition when you’re selling the same basic thing.

I’ve created an entire video on this strategy as well.

Watch the video and let me know your thoughts:

Please leave your comments:

5 Great Reasons You Should Have a Blog and 1 Giant Reason to Ignore the 5 Great Reasons

2010 - August - 10 - NodeXL - Twitter BlogHer FR layout
Creative Commons License photo credit: Marc_Smith

As a marketing consultant in Minnesota, I talk to sales professionals and business owners nearly every day and although they have heard over and over that blogging is very important to their ability to generate new business from the internet, they just can’t get on board.

This post is all about why you must have a blog to promote yourself or your business online. Blogging is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity for both online and offline businesses.

So, I have 5 reasons why you should be blogging and 1 very big reason to ignore the other five.

Here are the 5 reasons to blog:

1) Blogs are the best way to demonstrate that you are a real leader in your industry. Because blogs are all about giving quality information to your visitors, they will come to see you as a true authority in your field – if you are delivering good and helpful content of course.

2) Blogs give visitors reasons to connect with you over and over again. Traditional websites are mainly static. Once a visitor has been there, there’s usually little reason to return. Blog’s are updated regularly so visitors are more apt to return – for more good content.

3) Blogs allow for interaction. Visitors can make comments and ask questions on your blog and you can reply back. That makes them feel good about you and your company. Helping prospects to feel good about you and what you do is like marketing gold. It makes closing the sale a near after-thought.

4) Search engines love blogs. Because they always have fresh content, many blogs are taking over long held search positions of traditional websites. This means you have a much better chance of showing up on a high position for targeted keywords.This makes quality traffic to your site much easier task- not easy, but easier!

5) Blogs are super simple to set up, customize, add video, audio, photos and articles and you don’t need any real technical knowledge. Psssst… don’t tell your web designer I told you. You can use a bogging service such as, or or you can install WordPress on your own server and host your blog yourself – which I recommend.

Now let me give you 1 giant reason

1) A blog takes some commitment. It’s not a set it and forget tool. You need to post at least once per week or more for it to be effective.Most would suggest 2-4 times per week and sometimes more depending on the type of blog you choose to manage.The biggest stumbling block to using a blog is coming up with quality content to regularly post.

In my next post I will give some great tips on how to get content ideas to come to you rather than having to brainstorm them on your own. This will be a great post if you are currently blogging or plan to in the future.

Although these tricks make content creation much easier, it’s still requires some energy. Basically, if you can’t make the commitment to posting regularly… don’t do it. An inactive blog is worse than not having one at all.

Look for the next post to make content creation much easier.

I would love your comments or questions on this post

Facebook Marketing Tip #2

Just in case you missed Facebook Marketing Tip #1… click here

Have a Purpose

There is a definite issue that comes with social media marketing of any kind:  Facebook in particular carries a potential pitfall of being a serious distraction to a business owner or marketer.

The only real way to avoid this pitfall is to set a few rules of engagement and most of all, have a clear purpose.

Here are some goals that should help you focus your efforts:

Goal #1:  Expand your reach

Marketing with Facebook should almost always involve the goal of reaching key people that you don’t already have good connection with.  This is also one of the most powerful elements of marketing with social media in general.

If you are a loan officer, you may target real estate agents.  If you are an advertising sales professional, you may want to target the heads of marketing for medium to large size companies with proven ad budgets.

Expanding your reach when it comes to Facebook is about finding the key people and requesting that they be your friend.  My personal experience is that about 60-75% of all friend requests that I make are accepted, so don’t worry about whether they will or they won’t accept you.  This is still business – they know it and you know it.

One last comment about “reach” – Having a large group of friends on Facebook is impressive to your visitor.  It’s a form of “social proof” that is invaluable to the conversion of a prospect into a client or customer.  If so many people are your friends, you must be worth knowing… get it?


At this point I need to make a distinction between using Facebook Fan Pages as compared to using your Facebook Profile for marketing purposes.  The answer is much about preference but it likely involves the type of business that you have.  I find that local service based businesses such as mortgage, real estate and insurance professionals get good traction by using profiles but higher advertising based businesses get good traction with fan pages.  Here’s the short answer to the question:  Use BOTH – Facebook is emerging as the next Google and too many folks jumped on Google too late.  Don’t make that mistake.  Market with both profile and fan pages;  there are good reasons to do both.

For the purpose of this post, I’m discussing Facebook Profile Marketing as a solid social media strategy.


When requesting friendship of key prospects in your target marketing, keep in mind that Facebook is social.  Stay away from pitch based interaction completely and build that relationship through engagement.

Goal #2:  Provide value

Providing value is key to winning the hearts and minds of your target market.  Be free with information that will help your friends on Facebook to better their success in life or business.

The internet is filled with good (not all) content that you can quickly mine out and distribute to your friends or fans on Facebook.  Make sure it’s quality and it applies.  There’s no reason to just throw information out.  Quality is better than quantity in this case.  The better the value of the content, the more likely it is to actually engage with your connections.  Mediocre content allows your connections to eventually assume that what you post is not worth their time.  Don’t let that happen or you’ve blown a good opportunity.

Goal #3:  Be interactive

You should spend a few minutes each day joining conversations, liking and commenting on other people updates.

The value here is multifold and worthy of an entire blog post but the short of it is:  viral exposure to other networks, visual exposure to the one you are commenting on relational exposure by showing interest as a human being.

Goal #4:  Bring the conversation offline

Again, this post is focused on local (sales professional based) business marketing.  This type of business is mostly handled on a face to face, handshake basis.  To bring the conversation to the next level, hold an event and invite your fans or friends to attend.  The event should now start to move the conversation toward business.  The event should be a big value gift to your target market.

This is not a new strategy in marketing.  With that said, event based marketing is still one of the single most powerful marketing strategies around and too many sales professionals or business owners take a pass on it’s power.  Converting even 5-10 new Facebook friends to a seminar, webinar, round table or worthy charity event is like an engagement ring in a hopeful relationship.  It’s not a closed deal but you can almost put a date on the sale.

The reality of our times is that marketing with Facebook is no longer an optional endeavor.  These goals will help you to be focused and productive in your efforts.

I’m very interested in your comments and I’d love to connect via Facebook and Twitter.

Photo credit given to

3 Less Sexy but Powerful Methods for Online Video to Grow Your Business

It seems like using video for SEO and traffic is all the rage today. Search the terms “video” and “SEO” and be prepared for special reports, whitepapers, blog posts and tech chatter falling like a heavy rain from thedigital sky.

Here are three ways to use video that do not necessarily involve SEO but can add massive benefit to your business by selling on your behalf, increasing your fan base and nabbing sales that you thought you had lost.

Method #1. Product Demos – ThinkShamWow

Despite the ridicule of famed (and defamed) pitchman VinceShlomi, ShamWow has sold about $1 Billion (with a “B”) in towels to date; all on the back of a single commercial produced in a trade show demonstration style.

If you ask most folks they will tell you that Vince made ShamWow work but my contention is that the demonstration is far more powerful than Vince’s pitch. Imagine converting the ShamWow video into an audio only presentation. Listen to it in your mind and tell me if it has near the power of the actual commercial.

The real power behind the ShamWow (1 Billion with a “B”) success story is the demonstration of the product itself, captured on video for millions of people to see – over and over again.

Product (or even service) demos are extremely powerful marketing and sales tools and video is a perfect distribution platform to get them to a focused market quickly.

It’s likely that your business could benefit in big ways from this method of using online video.

Method #2. Post Sale Customer Service (sales)

One missing link in the marketing of many products is the ability for companies to follow up and make sure that the customer is enjoying their product. This too, is marketing. Here’s an example of how online video can (and should) be used to create raving fans:

Introducing:The Zizzbee (Fictional Product)

The Zizzbee Frisbee -A new Frisbee disc with special adjustable vents that make it fly up to 200 yards in one correct toss. With the slight change in one of the adjustable vent louvers it can fly in boomerang fashion or even fly straight up in the air in a swooping fashion with proper technique.

You can learn special tricks, play special sporting games or even join a Zizzbee activity club in your area. Let’s examine the stages that a Zizzbee buyer may go through after purchase.

  1. Buyer purchases Zizzbee in a local big box store
  2. Buyer opens the package at home and tries to throw the Zizzbee like a conventional Frisbee disc.
  3. Buyer does not get the results he expects so he checks the instructional insert for help
  4. Insert gives techniques on basic Zizzbee tosses so buyer attempts the techniques with moderate results
  5. Buyer uses Zizzbee as a novelty item at a backyard BBQ with friends and it generates some positive interaction
  6. Buyer wants to know more of what Zizzbee can do but has lost the insert that came in the original package
  7. Buyer searches the internet to find out more about Zizzbee stuff,Etc.

This is a reasonable stage scenario for a fictitious product.The Zizzbee Corporation could include an instructional DVD with the product which would increase the cost of production and packaging and likely raise the price of the Zizzbee unit or reduce the overall margin per unit or…

The Zizzbee Corporation could include a flyer inside the package with an online registration that would give their new Zizzbee buyer exclusive access to a video library or a series of videos delivered by email that would address their new Zizzbee lover’s needs at each of the stages that I’ve outlined above.

Now get this…Zizzbee Corporation creatively uses the videos to also promote other Zizzbee products that they KNOW their Zizzbee buyer will be interested in. Zizzbee Flyer Wrist Guards, Zizzbee T-shirts and hats or even one month of free access to the Zizzbee Super Stars Club where they can learn Zizzbee techniques that only the best Zizzbee players in the world know and teach. Of course the customer will be billed $9.97 per month for every month they choose to remain in the Zizzbee Super Stars Club.

*End of Fictional ProductDesciption*

Whether you’re selling legal services, insurance, auto repair or Frisbee discs, your business has a post sales customer usage cycle; every business does. If you can anticipate the stages of that cycle, you can use video to help your customers enjoy your product and enjoy buying more stuff from you in the process.

Method #3. Overcome objections in segments

In today’s world of limited face to face sales, the salesperson does not always have the opportunity to handle all objections to the purchase of a product or service.

Using web video and email together can create sales for customers who initially would not take the time to listen. Short videos that overcome objections can be sent to the prospect over a designated period to lower the defenses for a follow up phone call from the sales department.

The best part of this practice is that you create the videos one time and they work behind the scenes while you’re closing the easier sale. Using video in this manner also forces a follow up system that is automated through email or other means, requiring very little ongoing effort or cost to the company. Hey… if you land 1 out of 20, you still got a sale that you would never have gotten without it.

Use one, or all of these web based video methods, and you’ll be glad you did. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post.

Getting a New Website to Rank in Google

More than a few times during marketing consultations, clients have told me that they spent outrageous (relative term) amounts of money on building a website but no one can find them on the internet.

What gives???

Creating a web site is no different than building or choosing a new physical location for your business.  The old saying still stands strong:  Location, location, location!

If you’re new office is off the beaten path, you need to take extra steps to tell the world where they can find you.  You can build the fanciest, coolest, grooviest (outdated I know) office in your city, but if no one knows you’re there – you’ll be the only one impressed by its wonder.

Spending money on a web site is fine but simply having a site on the web does not guarantee, or even slightly mean, that your prospects will find you when they search in Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine.

So what’s the answer?

It’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it’s complicated and controversial to say the least.  20-30% of SEO involves what you do on your site; called onsite optimization.  70-80% of SEO is what you do on the internet to get noticed by the search engines; called offsite optimization.

Onsite optimization can be learned but I recommend you outsource it to a reputable SEO company.  It’s rather quick to do so it should not cost you more than a few hundred dollars.  In addition, you should be active on your site with fresh new content which is why I recommend a blogging platform as the base for your website.  I use WordPress but there are others such as Blogger, HubPages, Tumblr, Typepad and the list goes on.

I like WordPress because it has a hosted option along with a self hosted option and because it’s open source with a massive number of contributors.  There are plugins that let you virtually do anything with your site or make anything easier.  I guess you can tell I like WordPress.  I also recommend that you self host which can help with SEO in general.

Offsite optimization can also be learned but it involves an ongoing level of activity that now involves social media integration, creating backlinks from reputable sites and overall net activity targeting the correct keywords for your business and webiste.

How long in this process?

Let me put it this way:  Longer than you want it to be, but not as long if you do it right.

Getting your new website to show up in search will depend on the keywords you use when searching but it can take months or even years to get any meaningful traffic from search engines depending on how competitive your business niche is.  That’s too long… I know.

Getting search engine and traffic results faster:

The fastest way to show up in the search engines when you have a new website is to NOT focus on getting your actual site ranked.  The focus should be to rank content instead.

By ranking content, I mean you should submit content to sites that search engines already rank highly and already have a mass amount of traffic.  If you can’t bring the eyes of the world to your site, bring your site to the eyes of the world.

Articles, videos, podcasts and press releases are great ways to get content on the web that points people back to your website.  Submitting articles to article directories has long been a powerful strategy and has the added benefit of building backlinks to your site as well.  Submitting video to various video sharing sites such as Youtube, Google Video, Yahoo Video and others is one of the more powerful and speedy ways to get content to rank and traffic to your site.

By focusing on ranking content vs. ranking your website you will get traffic to your site more quickly and start creating some buzz about your business online.  The ongoing task of ranking your website should continue at the same time that you are constantly adding fresh and relevant content that points readers, listeners and viewers back to your website and assists in backlink creation for site SEO.

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