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niche and target marketing equals higher advertising results.   Here’s why you do not send the same message to every customer. During the heyday of direct mail that was a common occurrence.  Getting less than one-percent response rate for a mailing was also a common occurrence. Using the same marketing message sent to everyone is not good advertising. Especially you, the #SmallBiz.   If you want your marketing to work 24/7, or at minimum having your message read, you need to change your approach to advertising. Advertising is a tactic of direct marketing. Add a direct marketing strategy with a strong focus on customer needs is key.   I’d recommend using both niche and target marketing as a learning tool.   Some people use the words interchangeably. As the promotional noise gets louder and more frequent, it’s wise to look at each one separately. The following two definitions work well for a small business that is beginning, or already using, a customer-centric marketing strategy.   A  niche market  is the separation of the total market on which a specific product is focused. Every product is defined by its market niche and usually a small grouping. Therefore, your niche market must be specialized, and built to survive among the competition from numerous companies. For example, the I-Phone has a niche market for smart phones. People who enjoy a dark craft beer such as a stout or a porter, is another niche market.   A  target market  is a group of customers which adhere to a specific common denominator that a company can label as a specific  group or segment . Some of the more common segments are geographic locations, demographic, such as age or income, behavioral and psychographic, such as values and lifestyles.   For example, if you are selling an electric car, you should target by income and even geographically. If the price is comparable to an introductory auto, that’s another story   Not every contact is the same.   Not every contact in your marketing list is the same. If your firm is already  customer-centric , you already know that. However, in 2017, is the time to dig deeper into your data. As your marketing team spends some time studying your customers buying behaviors, they must find a few unique ways to segment your niche market contacts and target market segments.   In a recent article by Tom Ryan,  “Seven Marketing Automation Predictions and Best-Practices for 2017”  published on January 5, 2017, in Marketing Profs he writes;   “2017 is going to be a huge year for customer retention as companies fight for attention in an increasingly crowded market. Users and prospects are going to have a lot of choice, and they know it. Companies will need to improve their customer service and tailor their marketing efforts so that they offer personalized experiences. And companies will realize that marketing automation is a fundamental part of their broader marketing strategies.” *   Plan to use more and better data management.   Every contact management system will allow your team to build a profile of each niche market and segment the contacts on how they use your products and services. This procedure lends itself to an easier analysis for determining the best way to segment all contacts.   If you are new to niche and target marketing, the goal at this point is to come up with a few workable segments. Your future attention and time will allow you to make each segment you build a profitable one and add another as needed. And update the older ones. Maybe even uncover a new niche market.   Set goals for the segment process.   As with anything good that comes from great marketing campaigns, it takes time to nurture a contact. The nurturing process may require added relevancy message for some contacts than others.   Using a specific segmenting process for your company helps your message break through the promotional noise, and for each contact, to become better acquainted with your #SmallBiz.   Do you use niche and target marketing?   Summary   More information is contained in the following links – Customer-centric marketing strategy      Looking for a lead generating program that lives up to admirable expectations?  How to catch more customers…     * Copyright © 2000-2017 MarketingProfs.com   https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/31350 /seven-marketing-automation-predictions-and-best-p ...   Learning and Coaching – It’s what I do.   Want to learn more about direct and customer-centric marketing strategies and how it can add customers to your QuickBooks?   Check out are marketing evaluation program specifically designed for a small business. We’ll examine your present marketing, learn your goals and aspirations, and prepare a marketing plan for your company based on your information. As a reader of this post, we'll deduct $50 dollars off the regular price.   Thanks for reading. 800-251-3608 Email: answerme.dmcm.net   Mike Deuerling, aka: MarketingDoc Marketing Communications Group, Inc.   Don’t procrastinate, eValuate. At times, some of the smallest changes in your small biz marketing, have the greatest impact.   Need more information on direct and customer-centric marketing? Sign up today for our monthly email, All Marketing Is Direct .   Our data policy: Short meaning. Any data shared with us, stays with us. Complete Privacy Statement   © 2017 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.
CONSTANT CONTACT EMAIL LIST BUILDING   Quick and Easy Email List Building Strategies by Mark Mikelat , president of Building Aspirations You need a list. Email marketing is a powerful tool, but you need a list of people to send your messages to. No worries. For nearly two decades I have been helping businesses with email marketing strategies that bring real, measurable, and cost-effective results. Allow me to share with you some quick tips on how to effectively build your email list. Enjoy this short article – Quick and Easy Email List Building Strategies.     Focus on Quality, not Quantity     First of all, realize that email list building is about quality, and not quantity. It is far better to email to 10 people who know and love you, then 10,000 people who do not know who you are. Start with your connections, your clients, and your vendors. The people who know and trust you and are familiar with your great products and services are the foundation of a great list. Business happens only after successful rapport building and this is accomplished through a quality connection. This leads us to the next point.     Build your list, do not buy it     It is far better to build a list, than buy one. I have been doing email marketing for nearly 20 years. Some of my clients have been Microsoft, MasterCard, Victoria’s Secret, and hundreds of other globally recognized companies. I have never experienced a significant success story from people who have purchased a list. Consumers want a connection. They want to trust you, your product and your service, and this starts with simply knowing who you are. You cannot buy this relationship. It needs to be developed.     Spam is for breakfast, not email     Secondly, do not put yourself in a precarious situation by becoming a spammer. Spam is great, or perhaps, more accurately, delicious when fried, especially over an open camp fire. Spam is a horrible email marketing practice. Please do not be a spammer. I could quote the specifics of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, but I will summarize with some advice that your mother might provide – “Be nice to people.” You do not like receiving spam, so please do not spam other people.     Train your staff     Train your staff to collect contact information in their client and customer interactions. Please do not be sneaky. Make it obvious that people are subscribing to your newsletter or your updates. Perhaps this might be done in person at the point-of-sales terminal, on the guest receipt, or in the purchase documentation, depending on your type of business. A browser in your shop today might become a frequent shopper next month if they are intrigued and enticed with some good email marketing.           Add an opt-in form to your website     Also, I encourage you to include an email opt-in box on your website. You know your business, but a visitor might not understand. They need more information, and subscribing to your email newsletter is a low-risk way that they can get the information that they are seeking. That additional information can come in the form of a regular, value-packed email marketing newsletter. The potential customer can educate themselves on your business at their pace without pressure by simply reading your email newsletters. Make sure to put the registration form in multiple prominent places on your website.   Ask people to subscribe As general rule, simply ask the person. Saying “Would you like to subscribe to our email newsletter?” is a quick, easy and non-confrontational way to get new, permission-based, and opted-in subscribers. Statistically, 57% of people will say “yes” when asked. The answer is “no” 100% of the time if you do not ask. Always ask.     Integrate the Ask   You can also integrate the ask into all of your marketing. If you have magazine advertisements, flyers, or brochures, you could add a line that asks for the email subscription. You can also add a subscription link on your blog, Facebook page, or business card. Wherever and whenever you interface with your potential customers, you can integrate the ask.     Learn More     Finally, I could never hope to answer all of your questions about list building in a short post. So, I created a powerful tool to help you. The List Building Mastery Course is a comprehensive, online tool to provide you the expert guidance you need to build a powerful list. And, because you are a blog reader, you can enter the promo code of VIPBLOG to get this already inexpensive course for an incredible 50% discount . Click here now to get started .                 Please join our email list. We welcome new subscribers to the Building Aspirations newsletter with the Email Marketing Video Success Kit, 10 videos on how to ramp up your email marketing. Click here to subscribe .  
Contractor Email Success Kit
Email marketing isn't perfect. However, when it is used correctly it is a powerful marketing tool. This is true in many industries, but it is especially true for services which offer annual service checks. Whether it is an automobile repair shop, dentist office or heating and air conditioning company, email is a cost-effective way to drive repeat business and a reoccurring revenue stream.       I have been working with HVAC contractors for almost 30 years so my example below is based on that type of business, but it can easily be applied to any service.     At the beginning of each season, successful contractors dive into their customer list sending direct mail and making phone calls to encourage former clients to schedule preventative maintenance. These strategies are tedious, time-consuming and expensive. Email marketing can be an effective addition to the program. It won't eliminate the need for phone calls or direct mail, but it will reduce dependence on those tools.    Here's how an effective service contractor email marketing program can work: With email marketing, a service contractor can send one email to thousands of consumers at once, or stagger the campaign over a series of weeks to manage the call volume. Once the email has been designed, it can be used every year with little or no modification.    Segment your List   Another benefit of sending an email to promote the service before starting a phone or direct mail campaigns is it provides an opportunity to segment the list.   Group #1 - Loyal Fans    While this will probably be a relatively small group, they are very valuable. They will read the email, click the link and schedule an appointment. Your scheduler may have to follow up, but if your web contact form allows them to give you two or three choices of convenient times, you can often schedule the call without ever talking to the customer. For busy, hard to reach customers this is a huge time saving for everyone.   These customers are also ideal prospects for annual maintenance agreements because they clearly understand the value of the service call. Add them to another list to follow up with a supplemental email after the service call.    Group #2 - Interested Prospects   These are people who read the email and click the link but don't schedule an appointment. Often it is because the form didn't load quickly or they were on their phone and it was hard to fill out the form, or maybe they just got distracted. Whatever the reason, these should be the first people you call because they were already in consideration mode.   A quick conversation may be all that is needed to complete the sale. Those you can't reach by phone should receive a shorter, reminder email.    Group #3 - Hard Sell   These are people who opened the email, but then didn't do anything else. This group was not motivated by your message. They may need a more informative communication which explains the value of the semi-annual maintenance visit.     Group #4 - Missed You   These are people who didn't open the email at all. Before you do anything else, resend the same email about one week later. Typically you will get another 10 - 15% of your audience to open the exact same email. When they do, segment them into the three groups above and follow up with a phone call or even direct mail.    Now you have a much smaller list to attack with phone calls and direct mail. But you won't need to go after these people until you exhaust your efforts on the first three groups.   Group #5 - Bounces   People move or they change email addresses so every time you send an email campaign, you should look at your bounces. Delete emails which have been suspended, check non-existent addresses. A typo when you entered an email into the system is often at fault.     Email marketing won't eliminate the need for phone calls or some direct mail, but the more consistent you are with your campaigns the less you will have to rely on expensive and time-consuming methods.   
   Approximately half of the marketers who used video in email campaigns saw increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, and increased sharing and forwarding. ( Source: eMarketer ).    Subscribers find them more interesting and active in comparison to plain text. Therefore, a video email is likely to make more impact on viewers.         2. It’s the easiest way to disseminate a lot of information in a short space of time.     3.  To get you even more excited, 76% of businesses  say that video provides good return on investment. Besides, online video editing tools are constantly improving and becoming more affordable.     
Tough time reading this on a mobile device? See it on our mobile-friendly blog .   As we get closer to Halloween, our need to get creeped-out grows. Haunted houses, scary stories, paranormal television shows... the list goes on.   Speaking of lists, check out our list of Nearly 600 Creepy, Awful, and Unnerving Wikipedia Articles , if you dare.   We decided to do things a bit differently by combining one of our favorite topics, email marketing, with scared reaction GIFs that are only slightly exaggerated versions of our ACTUAL reactions when we come across these mistakes in our own inbox. Prepare yourselves for our list of...   Reactions to 10 of the Scariest Email Marketing Mistakes     1. The email is just one. giant. image.     85% of email clients block images by default, and upward of 60% of users choose to have them disabled. Hoping recipients will see it? You'd have better luck venturing into the dark room where you just heard that weird sound.   2. OVERUSE OF CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!!!     Why, oh why? We'd rather be made to watch The Blair Witch Project again than come across one of these in our inbox. Calm it down - you look spammy.   3. Launching without testing deliverability and readability...     across different email clients and devices. What do you mean you just typed it up and sent it? Have you no decency?!   4. Sending it at a horrible time of day (10pm-9am) Source     Alright, we've had enough. Please, no more.   5. Not segmenting your email list.     Your vendors, clients, prospects, and business partners all receive the same version of the message? AHHHHHHHHH!   6. There's no call to action.     Should we call, click, order, or read more? Please, just tell us what you want us to do! We'll do anything! Make it stopppp.   7. You aren't A/B testing.     Open rates can change drastically when an alternative subject line is introduced. A/B testing really is easy, and it's not at all scary.   8. It's just too darn long.     Messages should only take a few moments to understand and act upon. Anything else is just torturous and cruel.   9. There are merge field or personalization issues.     People understand that messages are automated and a lot of personalization is generated, but that's no excuse for Dear *%*FULLNAME*%* . It looks sloppy, and it's downright frightful.   10. You don't have permission to email.     Rookie mistake. Don't buy email lists, and always let your customers know that by providing you with their email address they're signing up for messages, offers, news, updates, etc.       Phew! We made it to the end. Anything else that tops your list of horrific email mistakes? Which email marketing faux pas has you frozen in fear? Leave a comment for us.   Happy Halloween!
which will open many new o pportunities for success!        How many soliciting calls do you get in a single day? If you have a good phone screener, probably not a lot. As I talk with other business owners I hear similar responses. Someone mentioned they all turned to email. Another said she found a lot of selling on Twitter. Another told me there are way too many ads popping up on his computer screen.      Maybe I am seeing an opportunity for all of us. The opportunity I am talking about is using time to build better relationships with your customers. Or even better, solidify some less than better relationships with your customers.        If you recently deployed some exciting and relevant direct marketing programs, now is a good time to follow up and share.   Why to consider better follow-up.      Whether you follow up in person, email or on the phone, our human nature and our curiosity pushes us to want to know that our prospects received the communication we deployed , that they reviewed and read it .    So, naturally the first question that often comes to mind and the first one that comes out of our mouth is, “What do you think? What do you like?”        It’s a good question. However, it’s a wide-open question. It’s so wide that it opens the door to hearing things you may not want to hear. “I don’t think it’s legal.” “I don’t have time?” “Who are you? Oh, you need to speak with Tom. Click” “I know all about that. It’s a pyramid scheme that began down in Nigeria. They take your money and you never hear from them again.” Okay, that last one was a stretch.        However, by asking the question, you’re asking your prospects to analyze and critique your offering. This is something you may not want to do. Your prospect’s may not be qualified to give you a truly educated answer.   You’re asking your prospect to enter a conversation or discussion about a product or service they know nothing about. Even worse, a “what-do-you-think?” answer can take you off on a tangent that is totally irrelevant to your product, your sales message, and your opportunity to increase relationships.        Instead, try asking your follow up questions this way: “What do you like best? What do you like best about the new program? What do you like best about what you’ve read, about the product, the offer, the service or the idea.” When you ask in this way, your prospects come right out and tell you their “hot buttons.” Now you are building a better way to a budding relationship. “I liked the color choices.” “I liked that free return and my money back with no questions asked within the first 45 days after my purchase!” “I liked that five-year warranty.”      Then, just as the Apple Store opened their doors for the brand-new I-Phone, an opportunity opens for you to sell those positive factors that your prospects find so appealing. You reinforced their “like” instead of handling objections.   Summary        Give it a try. Then let us know what you like best about using this strategy. By the way, do tell us about how many new relationships occurred using this strategy.   Learning and Coaching – It’s what I do.        Want to learn more about direct and customer-centric marketing strategies and how it can add customers to your QuickBooks?        Check out are marketing evaluation program specifically designed for a small business. We’ll examine your present marketing, learn your goals and aspirations, and prepare a marketing plan for your company based on your information. As a reader of this post, we'll deduct $50 dollarsoff the regular price.   Thanks for reading. 800-251-3608 Email: answerme.dmcm.net Mike Deuerling, aka: MarketingDoc Marketing Communications Group , Inc.            Don’t procrastinate, eValuate . At times, some of the smallest changes in your small biz marketing, have the greatest impact.   Need more information on direct and customer-centric marketing? Sign up today for our monthly email, All Marketing Is Direct.   Our data policy: Short meaning. Any data shared with us, stays with us. Complete Privacy Statement © 2017 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.
  I have found Constant Contact is the right fit for 90% of the thousands of small business owners and nonprofit marketers I speak to each year. And email marketing is the number one digital marketing strategy you should be implementing in your business   In case you are unaware, Constant Contact is an email solution provider. What does that mean? It allows organizations to send one-to-many emails to that organization's permission-based list. It has long been the industry leader, especially for small business. I have been a user since 2003 and the product just keeps getting better.   I’m often asked why I love and recommend Constant Contact.   First of all, I believe Constant Contact knows its market is the small business and as such has kept the platform easy to use and cost effective for small organizations. Plans start at just $20/mo! And you can always start with a 60-day fully-featured trial .   They also have award-winning, patient, US-based customer support . If you spend more than 5 minutes on a question or problem within Constant Contact, contact Customer Support. They are amazing.   Lastly, Constant Contact has made an investment in the local community by establishing local education teams who present best practices on email marketing throughout your area. Local marketing professionals like me. You can find my webinars and Washington, DC-area events at www.laurabcreative.com/calendar . Many of my events are free, thanks to the support of Constant Contact.   11 New Constant Contact Features So there are all the reasons I love Constant Contact as a company. Let's dive into some of the amazing new features. Some of these are brand new, others have rolled out across accounts over the last 6-12 months. All of these features are in the new Drag and Drop Editor, officially called the Third Generation Editor. This interface is so easy to use. You can create a mobile-responsive email in minutes with tons of cool features like: Background Patterns . There are currently 8 different background patterns you can choose along with the ability to color them to match your branding. I've heard the ability to upload your own background images is coming soon. Import PDF to Email . This is amazing especially if you deal with another stakeholder who provides a PDF promotion like an event flyer. You can now import this PDF into Constant Contact and the system will create an image in the email that is automatically linked to the PDF download as well as a download button below the image. I encourage you to include descriptive text and details in the text of the email as well for those users who have images turned off. Specialty Blocks . These make it easy to add specific types of content above and beyond the general blocks that include text, images, videos, and social media links. Read More. Pull all the info from a blog post including image, title, first few lines, along with a link to the rest of the post. Poll. Ask readers a question and track their responses. RSVP. I have been loving this simple, one-click way for readers to RSVP for an event. That's just creating an email. There's also a ton of magic happening after you send your email. Segmenting with Tags . You can segment your lists based on who has a certain tag or who does not have a tag. This means you can segment by customers or location easily. Social Share . The new social share allows you to share your email on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). I like to use this with clients to enhance their social media editorial calendar. New Email Archive . Simply place a piece of code on your website and then select which email campaigns show up in your archive right in the Constant Contact dashboard. I love the control and simplicity of this feature. We also want to serve our subscribers and manage our email lists. Send Welcome Email by List . I have waited for this feature for so long. Now you can send tailored welcome emails with specific content for each of your lists. Read 3 Autoresponders to Use in Your Business Right Now for tips on creating your welcome email including a downloadable checklist. Do not overlook this important first contact that typically sees an open rate of 60-80%. Resubscribe Contacts . You can now send an email directly to a subscriber with instructions on how they can resubscribe. This is handy when a business associate or colleague has accidently unsubscribed. This is a great feature but should only be used for contacts that you've spoken to about resubscribing. Now you can make sure your emails are more effective with these great new reporting features. Mobile vs. Desktop Opens by Campaign . Now you can see how many of your emails are opened on mobile versus desktop devices across the last 50 campaigns in your account as well as in each campaign. Search and Compare Campaigns . Within the reporting section, you can search and compare results from campaigns. The compare feature will give you a graph showing key metrics. With this in mind, remember to name your campaigns so you can identify the subject and content of the email in the reporting section. Click Through Heat Map . Now you can see which links were clicked in your email campaigns by viewing the heat map of actual clicks. This is helpful if you have the same link, say to an event registration, used in a headline, button, and image. I know there are lots of options for email marketing but give Constant Contact a try. And if you are a past customer, I invite you to start a new free 60-day trial to check out all the cool new features.
You can create Facebook lists and use them for added privacy when posting sensitive content.   By categorizing your Facebook friends in lists you control who sees your family pictures and status rants and/or your party pictures and business notifications; yet remember it's good practice to think of all posted information as public.   Below are instructions on how to create a list within Facebook and use it to adjust your privacy settings.   Creating a Facebook List   After you have logged into Facebook, click the "Home" button at the upper right corner of your screen. Within the left column you will see a category called "Friends" - hover directly to the right of "Friends" and the word "More" will pop up, click it.   If you haven't created any Facebook Friend Lists so far, you will see a few lists that are automatically generated by Facebook.  One of them will be "Close Friends", click on it.   Click on "Manage List" at the top right.  You can add and delete people on the list by clicking "Edit List".  You can also change the name of the list from this option.  (Unfortunately, you are not able to change the name of Facebook's automatically generated lists - but, you will be able to modify lists that you have created.)   The "Manage List" button is also where you can choose which updates are shown on the list's news feed which you see in the middle of the current page.   Click on "Notifications" to turn list notifications on or off.  Please note that if you choose "On" you will get a notification every time someone on this list updates their profile, uploads a photo and/or any other activity that you have choose to show on the list's news feed.   Ok, now you know the basics, follow directions in paragraph one and click on "Create List", name your list and add a few of your friends, then click "Create".  (Don't worry your friends won't know they have been added to a list and all your lists are private.)   Go to your profile by clicking on your name at the upper right of your screen. Click on "What's on your mind?" below your profile picture. Click on the button directly to the left of the blue "Post" button.  This button will be labeled according to your current privacy settings. Click "Custom".   "Make this visible to" section : From the drop down menu choose "Specific People or Lists".  In the box below "Specific People or Lists" start typing your new list's name.  Once you hit "Save" and "Post" this specific status update will only show to your new list.   Type your list's name in the box.  Once you hit "Save" and "Post" your status update will be hidden from your new list.  The status update will be visible to the people you selected in the "Make this visible to" section.   Other Privacy Settings   Do the same process for photo albums, privacy settings (i.e. How you Connect, Timeline & Tagging), about me section, relationship status, etc.
Have you ever seen a speaker run out of time because he or she spent too much time answering very basic or very advanced questions that were irrelevant to most of the audience?   For example, a few years ago, I attended a presentation on using LinkedIn.  The program description promised an overview plus a few specific steps to improve success using LinkedIn.  The speaker got about ten minutes into her presentation to an audience of more than one hundred, when she was interrupted by a few people who asked very specific questions.   She answered each question thoroughly, but the problem was that most of the questions were either irrelevant to the rest of the audience (for example, "what do I do when I get this error when I try to log into my account?") or too advanced ("can you walk us through the specific steps to create and moderate groups?") or took up too much time.    With less than ten minutes to go before the end of her time limit, she had only made it through one third of her presentation and handouts. I spoke with many people afterwards who were frustrated and disappointed by how she had let the presentation get out of control without delivering on what she had promised.    While questions usually signal that the questioner is interested in what you have to say, you also have an obligation to cover the material that the audience expected, based on the description of your presentation or how it was advertised.  And especially with a large audience, not all questions are relevant enough to everyone else to make it worthwhile for you to spend time away from your planned presentation.   Here are five strategies to ensure that those very specific or largely irrelevant questions don't take up all of your presentation time:   1.  In the description about your presentation, set the expectations as to the level that you will focus on – beginner, intermediate, advanced – and then stick to it.  Remember that you are in control of the presentation and timing and it usually can't get out of control without your involvement.   2.  At the start of the presentation, let the audience know if, how and when you will handle questions.   3.  If the situation allows, ask people to write their questions on index cards or sticky notes during your presentation, then collect and review them and choose some that are most relevant to answer.   4.  When someone asks a question, request that they save it to ask again near the end of your presentation, if you haven't answered it in the course of your regular material.   5.  Don't be afraid to NOT answer the question – explain that your answer might be too specific or not applicable to enough other people in the audience and request that the person take the question "off-line," by asking you one-on-one during a break or after your presentation.    While it's good to be responsive to questions, you also have to avoid letting them derail you from covering your message within the time limit.
Mark Mikelat of Building Aspirations Social Media Marketing Excuses.jpg
  7 Social Media Marketing Excuses Obliterated by Mark Mikelat , president of Building Aspirations Click here to subscribe to our newsletter Time and time again in my social media marketing workshops I hear excuses why business owners have not leveraged social media to market their businesses. Here are seven of the most common excuses. Enjoy the short article: 7 Social Media Marketing Excuses Obliterated.   1) Social media marketing does not work.   Years ago, I would share statistics, and try to convince people that it does work, but I do not do that anymore. Social media is a marketing tool, and every tool can be effective or ineffective depending on how it is used. Social media marketing can work for you, with the proper strategy. If you start any project with the assumption that it will not work, it probably won’t.   2) I do not have the time for social media.   I cannot tell you how many clients I have worked with who have had this sentiment. They were adamant that they did not have the time until, of course, the social media campaigns started driving traffic and conversions. Then, magically the laws of time and space miraculous changed and ‘created’ time for them to work on social media marketing. You have time for what works.   3) I find social media silly. I do not care what people had for breakfast.   Sometimes I wonder if the marketing staff at Starbucks are in a conference room somewhere doing back flips and giving each other high-fives. There are thousands of people sharing their experiences and even bragging about their Frappuccino® purchases on social media. This drink has its own Twitter account with 132,000 followers. For the Starbucks brand manager supporting this drink, this is far from silly. Understandably, you may not have the brand power of Starbucks, but what if you had 132 followers making ‘silly’ comments about your product every day?   4) I do not have a huge number of followers.   Do not be swayed by the numbers. Quality is more important that quantity. It is far better to connect with 10 people who know, love, trust, and respect you then 10,000 who do not know you. Trust is an integral part of successful business, and a trusted relationship takes time to develop. Instant success only comes, after long, hard work. You should think big, but start small.   5) Who cares what I have to say?   You are an expert in what you do and there are countless people in your market who want and even need to hear what you have to say. Let us suppose that you are a mortgage broker. There might be millions of people who do not understand what a mortgage is. They might understand that they need it to purchase a house, but are ignorant in the decisions that need to be made. A simple blog post, YouTube video, or email marketing message entitled “How to Find the Best Mortgage for You” might be simple for you, but a godsend to somebody who is confused, stressed, and anxious in the home buying process.   6) I am too old. Social media is for young people.   Two months ago I was giving a workshop on video marketing strategy. There was a gentleman in the audience who was there trying to get new ideas for promoting his business. He was 84 years old and he was looking for new ideas to market this farming-focused ecommerce site because his Google Adwords™ strategy was no longer working. Social media marketing is for any business that can benefit from it. Youthful staff members are not a guarantee of success.   7) I am waiting to give this to my college intern / teenage son / teenage daughter.   Earlier this year I was speaking at a business conference about social media marketing. I had the opportunity to speak to two young professionals, both of whom commented that their bosses sent them because they were the youngest employees in the company. Both of them confessed to me that they were totally clueless about marketing. There is stereotypical assumption that youth=good at social media marketing. Perhaps a Millennial may be more knowledgeable about YouTube and Instagram, but do they have the skills needed for segmentation, or lead generation, or targeted marketing? Your social media marketing should be implemented by those with skills in social media and skills in marketing. Please make your staffing decisions by competency and not age.   Do you need help with your social media marketing? Do you get the point, but just need some expert help? Building Aspirations can help. Contact us today .
which one adds more to the bottom line?”   In a small business environment, the answer is simply— they both do. But that may change.   Let’s start at #SmallBiz marketing.   First, the purpose of all marketing is to motivate a prospect, client, or customer to act: to call, order, buy, request information, visit your store, or whatever — to take the next step.   In this fast-paced, highly-competitive world of ours, making this happen isn’t always as easy as it looks. The reason is that it takes a tremendous amount of planning and implementation expertise to make a great response occur.   Your mission as a business owner or if you manage the company marketing, is to coordinate all the elements that lead to a successful campaign: data, lists, copywriting, visual impact, testing, timing, frequency, offers, personalization, postal rates, website, landing pages, marketing automation, automation compatibility, social media, and on and on. Regardless of how much you market or how often you maintain communication with your customers, you’ll always want to seek professional guidance. Why? Look again at the list.   The list can easily cover additional tactics which would make the list even more daunting. It’s a good idea to have a direct marketing check list for each advertisement and marketing project you deploy. A  “check list”  can help you to achieve the greatest possible response to your direct marketing campaign, and achieve the best return on investment.   Sales and marketing.   Today, the future success of an organization’s marketing and sales planning is based on its business  growth and development strategy . The strategy is a blend of marketing and sales that has evolved over the years providing results to keep the business growing. But somewhere down the line, business growth became stagnant. Now, when the company finds a new customer, an existing customer somehow disappears. It becomes more difficult to meet business growth goals.   Already, in this first quarter of 2017, a variety of webinars and content offers appeared telling us about the new  “sales approach.”  Yes, the business world is always changing, and so is marketing and sales. That was and is expected for the immediate future.   The best prepared companies are the ones who place a high value on a customer-centric strategy. There is more interaction with their customers and prospects. Change happens in their marketing and sales efforts, while not missing a beat.   #SmallBiz sales.   A first-class business growth and development strategy for a small business sales team is built on four basic business building blocks. These are: The business must have a complete understanding of their customers and prospects  needs and wants , and sells them the products and services to meet them. A successful sales growth strategy requires  a focus  on the basic skills of prospecting, lead generation, and selling. A business must define “what is a  sales lead ” and what are the steps to take to nurture the  lead  into a customer. Provides a customer  service strategy  that encourages more and repeat business. As noted above, some small businesses do not excel at  both  sales and marketing. A frequently used tactic is changing their sales approach in the short-term to increase cash flow. Though, it may work in the short term, problems are never solved relying on this tactic.   The correct answer for an increased bottom line is ---    The answer for the business owner lies somewhere in the “ blending of sales and marketing .” To succeed, a business must envision marketing as a business development technique— a broad brush approach to build a business through a variety of marketing channels,  including the sales team .   Summary Sales and marketing in the business world always had a tough time working together for the good of the company – for example, revenue! I’ve worked in both for a very long time. It’s easy for me to see how they should coexist.   Learning more about your customers and upgrading their profiles accordingly will give you a much-needed boost in sales for 2017.   Learning and Coaching – It’s what I do.   Want to learn more about  direct and customer-centric marketing strategies  and how it can add customers to your QuickBooks?   Check out are marketing evaluation program specifically designed for a small business. We’ll examine your present marketing, learn your goals and aspirations, and prepare a marketing plan for your company based on your information. Check it out today!   Thanks for reading.                 800-251-3608  Email: answerme.dmcm.net Mike Deuerling, aka: MarketingDoc Marketing Communications Group, Inc.   Don’t procrastinate, eValuate. At times, some of the smallest changes in your small biz marketing, have the greatest impact.   Need more information on direct and customer-centric marketing?  Sign up today for our monthly email, All Marketing Is Direct.   Our data policy: Short meaning. Any data shared with us, stays with us.  Complete Privacy Statement © 2017 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.    
Keeping Your WordPress Website Secure from Pat Altvater on Vimeo .
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Filler words include "um," "ah," and words such as "like," "so," and "ok," which are used as a verbal bridge to the next word.    These words just fill in space while you remember or think of something to say next. Rather than being effective bridges, they are roadblocks, distracting the audience and interrupting the flow of your message. These filler words weaken your presentation and give the impression that you don't know what you're talking about. Starting every other sentence with fillers (for example, "you know" or "like I said") can also be interpreted as verbal expressions of your anxiety or lack of confidence.   The good news is that you can learn to eliminate filler words.  And like with so many bad habits, the first step towards change is to become aware that you're using them.   How can you become conscious of the filler words you use?  Listen to yourself as you speak, record yourself or ask someone in the audience. Or attend a Toastmasters meeting (an international organization dedicated to helping people improve their public speaking www.toastmasters.org ) , where there is an official Um and Ah Counter. He or she tallies up all the filler words used by the speakers and then reports on it at the end of the meeting. The point is to hear yourself using them so you can cut them out.   Once you have become aware of when you use fillers, here's how to eliminate them: Stop speaking when you hear yourself use a filler word. SILENTLY pause instead of filling the space with words. Breathe. Move on to your next word. Here's an exercise that you can use to practice this at home: Speak for 1-2 minutes about something you know, like your job or what you did today. Every time you hear yourself using a filler word, STOP, breathe and repeat that sentence – eventually, with more practice, you will get through the entire 2 minutes without using any filler words! Cutting out your filler words will help you convey your message to the audience without any distractions getting in the way. And you'll sound more polished and professional.  Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their presentation and communication skills so they can be more successful. Sign up to receive more public speaking and networking strategies from Gilda's e-newsletter: http://www.gildabonanno.com/Pages/newsletter.aspx
Let’s talk about lead funnels.  What the heck is a lead funnel? What is a lead magnet? What is a sale cycle? Truth be told these are all just marketing jargon that we toss around that may sound a little funny to the average business person. However, let me tell you the magic is in the funnel and in this blog post I plan to break it all down for you and show you exactly the path that a person will take from prospect to lead and converted into your next customers. And not just any customer but a raving fans tell their friends about it and post on Yelp customer.   So let's start with the basics. First and foremost a lead funnel is basically just a path that someone takes from prospect to sold.  I have included here my lead funnel road map to break it down in a more visual way.    Lead path worksheet from Stellar Media Marketing     So what is a lead magnet? This is a question that I see a lot. Basically a lead magnet is something that you give for free in exchange for your prospect’s contact information, thereby turning a prospect into a lead. Lead magnets are incredibly effective when utilized correctly and when targeting the right type of prospect.   A lead magnet helps you to better segment your email marketing lists so that you can personalize your email messages, thereby increasing your open rates, your click-through rates and of course your conversions. As far as I'm concerned your email list is pure gold. But only if you build it right! So let's break down a couple of ideas when it comes to lead magnets AKA free offers.   Before you even start to build your lead magnet you need to make sure that you are building the right lead magnet. But how do you know? Well, you start with asking yourself who is your ideal client? What do they need help with?   The easiest way to find out what your ideal client needs and how you can help serve them in that need is to simply ask. Jump on to Facebook or shoot out an email and ask them “what are you struggling with in your business right now”  This will open the doors for your current customers, prospects, current subscribers, and social media followers to give you the information you need to build the right lead magnet to meet their needs.   Another fantastic way to figure out what type of lead magnet you should build is to jump into some Facebook groups where your ideal client hangs out. You're not in those groups to pitch or sell. No no! you are there to listen.  Go in and scan the feed to see what people are struggling with. What are they asking about? Is there some kind of theme that seems to keep popping up. If you see something that you know the answer to pop up time and time again than that my friend is the next topic for your next lead magnet.   Once you have the idea for your lead magnet or offer, it's time to figure out what format fits best for delivering your message. Below are just some of the examples of what you can create and turn into lead magnets:   Checklist Guide books Resource guide Email Course Series Video Course Series Live Webinars and Recorded Trainings Case Studies White Papers Templates Blueprints Step by Step Instructions Audio Books   Samples Coupons Free Services   I have found that a lot of the time I already have the content created in my content library that is perfect for repurposing into a lead magnet. For example I have a ton of webinars I've done over the years. I also have a ton of live broadcast that I have done, as well as video trainings. It would be very easy for me to create a video lead magnet or mini-course that addresses the needs of my ideal client using this content. So the first place to look for your next lead magnet is with the content you already have. Do you have something in your content Arsenal right now that addresses the questions that are being asked in the Facebook groups or being answered by your question you posed? There you go! However, if you don't have a current library of content at least you have a jumping off point and you know what you need in order to address the concerns of your ideal client.   Here is just a word to the wise, keep it simple. Or in the famous words of many a marketing professor back in my college days KISS Keep It Simple Stupid. In other words don't, overthink this. The checklist and one page guides tend to do far better than the white papers. Of course this is very much dependent on your ideal client.   Once you have a lead magnet created, the next step is creating a landing page. Otherwise known as a one-page website. This is where you will capture your lead’s contact information and this is also where you will showcase your lead magnet and the benefits it will bring to the people who sign up.   Once you have obtained your lead’s contact information they should then go into your email marketing service account where they will be segmented into a specific list having to do with the topic that you are presenting. You want to make sure that you're always segmenting your contacts and leads so that in the future, when you are sharing information, you can share it to the right people, at the right time and your conversion rate will be much higher because of the personalization that you're going to give in your content delivery.   Once your lead gets into your email system you'll immediately send them your lead magnet that they signed up for. This is typically where most marketers stop, but not you. No, you are going to take it a couple steps further and that is going to be the difference in your success. A couple of days after the initial email you should have a follow-up email to request that your lead connect with you in other ways and see what questions they may have about the lead magnet they download.   About a week after that send one more email asking them if they wouldn't mind filling out a very short survey so that you can learn more about them and make sure that you deliver customized and timely content that benefits them the most. This is a great way of learning more about the people on your email marketing list. Following that, you can throw them into your regular correspondence and continue to nurture your lead with value-added content that is customized and personalized to them. At the end of the day they will learn how to know, like and trust you, thereby making it a cakewalk to sell to them and  increase in your conversion rate. Cha-ching!   If all this sounds a little confusing, or if you want to learn how to build this exact system and then some I want to invite you to come and join me for my free 5 day email marketing bootcamp where I will teach you how to create this very process. This very strategy. This very lead funnel.  over the course of the five days you will be given a daily assignment and access to a daily live  webinar (which will also be recorded so you can access it at your convenience).   As far as I'm concerned your success is my success so I will be available to not only help you with in my private Facebook group but I will also have several opportunities the following week after the boot camp to join live Q&A sessions and pop on with me so that we can walk through any concerns or questions that you have after the boot camp. No marketer left behind! Click here to sign up for the free boot camp which starts February 20th but feel free to join us anytime during the boot camp.
Many small business owners hear about Twitter, maybe even have signed up for an account, but still question its value for their business. While Twitter may not be the top social networking tool for every business, it may still generate valuable leads and establish relationships that are advantageous for your business. Above all else, Twitter is a great place to connect and share information with customers, prospects and leaders in your industry.    So, if you’re wondering how Twitter can be useful for your business, take a look at the five areas below. Chances are your business could benefit from using Twitter to reach out in one or more of these ways.   Marketing/Sales: What to Tweet: Current or upcoming sales and promotions, new products or services, upcoming events Tips: Track everything you can. Use coupon codes for your sales or promotions. Use a link-shortener like bit.ly to track click-throughs to your new products or services on your website. Encourage your followers to RT or @mention you to their followers for a special offer.   Public Relations/Company Info: What to Tweet:  Company news, press releases, blog posts, press or media spotlights, behind the scenes or meet the staff, customer/client news or success stories Tips: Mention people in your posts. If you tweet about how you helped a client or customer, @mention them in your post. Also if there are any news articles or stories about or featuring your company, @mention the newspaper or TV station where the story appeared, or the journalist who wrote the article.   Customer Service: What to Tweet:  Customer support, customer satisfaction and feedback, how-to’s, Q & A’s, product tips, FAQ’s, blog posts, helpful tips and tricks Tips:   If a customer support issue becomes a back and forth conversation or requires specific customer information, make it private using the DM feature. This is also a great area to use content you already have. For example, share those FAQ or Product Tips on your website or the blog posts you wrote about how-to do something. It doesn’t have to be specifically about your products either. Expanding into general industry information will help you become a go-to place for support.   General Info: What to Tweet:  Industry news/articles, RT posts from industry experts, ask questions, request help/suggestions, personal info Tips: Your tweets should reflect your company’s personality. Don’t be afraid to use your own voice. Sharing personal information or asking questions for help/suggestions can be a great way to engage with followers, but remember to use discretion.   Market/Competitor Research: What to Tweet:  Responses to any comments or tweets about your company, links to polls and surveys Tips: Monitor conversation about your company, any competitor’s and your industry. Search for your brand/company name or product name using Twitter’s advanced search feature. (search.twitter.com/advanced) You can set specific keywords, location/radius and language preferences to get more specific results.   The goal is to tweet interesting, relevant information that will engage your followers and expand your reach. When you post photos, videos, quotes or Q&As, you’re more likely to be retweeted or to start a conversation. And once you start networking and building relationships using Twitter, you’ll see how it can easily bring value to your business.   BONUS: Tips on how to get more followers and find others to follow!   Get More Followers:  - Post awesome tweets and get retweeted by posting sharable content – photos, videos, links, Q&As, and quotes.  - Add your Twitter URL and links to your page everywhere: on and off-line, in your emails and newsletters, put a tweet button on your blog posts, and add a Twitter button to your website.  - Engage with your followers:  respond to @mentions and reply’s, promote among current clients/customers, and have conversations with others.   Follow Others: Strategic following – who you should follow:  - Customers/clients, staff members, colleagues in the field, vendors, distributors, relevant journalists, social influencers, keynotes/thought-leaders, and even your competitors.   How to find users to follow – Twitter tools:  - View suggestions – based on who you follow and who follows you  - Browse interests – categories segmented by interest  - Find friends – search your contacts for friends already on Twitter.     The Collin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Plano, Texas offers no cost, customized business consulting and training to help entrepreneurs grow successful businesses. Through the collaboration of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of Texas and Collin College, the Collin SBDC promotes business success by providing management education. We assist small businesses in creating jobs and economic growth by utilizing the elements of quality counseling and training, community involvement and the leveraging of resources.    
Why WordPress from Pat Altvater on Vimeo .
You’ve designed a great looking email. It’s mobile responsive, complements your website perfectly, has a strong call-to-action, and incorporates all the standard best practices for email marketing. If you say so yourself, your email looks very nice! That’s a great start, but are you getting the results you want? Hopefully the answer is a resounding YES, but if not, keep reading for an overview of how a few of our clients met or exceeded their goals with GREAT email marketing campaigns.     EMAIL MARKETING ENGAGEMENT   Overview A traditional organization has expanded into online ecommerce and has the need to promote their new online shopping experience. They have a two-fold approach, engage directly with the customer and encourage their staff to promote the experience.   Approach Our approach was simple. Design a fun, uplifting, interactive experience for their team members. By including contests to win prizes for the most referrals, special promotion offers and helpful tips to use along the way, their team is fully onboard with promoting their new online shopping experience.   Testimonial “ Our CEO was so excited with the results. She just loved that the email was so interactive and fun !”       LEAD GENERATION   Overview A consulting firm who provides face-to-face and on-line training has developed an award-winning eLearning training series for employees of large organizations. Their goal is to utilize email marketing to generate leads for sales of the program.   Approach We worked with our client to create a single question ‘poll’ to identify the pains of their audience relative to the training series being promoted. The process was simple. Answer one question and receive a free interactive demo of the actual product. The demo contained enough content to demonstrate how easily their teams would benefit from the training. This was a two-step approach. The first campaign focused fully on the poll, the second touch was included as part of the monthly newsletter.   Using the survey function to create the ‘poll’ enabled us to ask readers to enter their contact information to receive their free demo. We then provided the client with the list of individuals who requested the demo. By following up with these quality leads in a timely fashion, the client was able to move these subscribers right into their sales funnel, all the while receiving valuable input on their clients’ needs.   Results The end result was that 5.1% of those who opened the email requested a free demo and thus entered the sales funnel. The organization was very pleased with the percentage of leads and with the ability to quickly identify and act upon the leads.       THOUGHT LEADER   Overview We have the opportunity to work with an individual who is truly a thought leader in his industry. The goal is to use email marketing to build the relationship and trust of an engaged community to support future sales of a book.   Approach This approach is unique, but very fitting for this thought leader. All content, every single word, is 100% his perspective and is provided with no strings attached. Every month an article with a unique perspective on life is shared with his audience. When the time comes to promote the book, his audience will know exactly what to expect. They will receive quality, thought-provoking content that will have an impact on how they view life. This client understands the value of first building the relationship with his audience and the value of the soft sell.   Results The testimonial is in the numbers! With a consistent open rate of 43% (73% above industry average) and a click rate (41%) that is five times (500%) the industry average of 8.2%, this client will very likely achieve his goals with the sale of his upcoming book.     These are just a few examples of the many ways to achieve true engagement with your audience. We will share additional client scenarios focused on increased sales, community awareness and branding in an upcoming blog. In the meantime, we’d love to hear what email marketing strategies have worked best with your clients.     Be creative. Be bold. Engage with your Audience!
In a way that will bring you some amazing results.    There are a variety of practical steps for you to take for better marketing and advertising your company’s products and services.    Let me run through a few ideas and tell me what you think.   Building your marketing and advertising is like building a home. There are many pieces, some equal in use and some are unique. The result is a very practical home meeting the needs of many people.   This post is a walk-through of what you can consider and use to build better marketing and advertising tactics for your #smallbiz. Using digital marketing. Social media. Email. Websites. Just about anything you can think of to get a message to your customer. You want it to create a reaction, such as a purchase, using an offer that is hard to refuse.   Keep in mind: There are no magic bullets, wands or séances in the #smallbiz marketing and advertising I recommend. When you try to sell anything, you are dealing with another person. For example, why does an email, when sent to your customers for a second time, have different results? You’re not a mind reader, but using a few ideas presented today, can give you a few ideas why.   Hopefully you agree there is a marketing  strategy on how you plan to sell your products and services to. You’ll need more than one strategy to reach as many people as possible. Unless of course, you are a mind reader.   First, I recommend using a  direct marketing strategy . Direct marketing means just that – sending a relevant message directly to a prospect or customer who more than likely will make a purchase.   A customer-centric marketing strategy, will help you prepare marketing segments and profiles, to increase response.  For example, look at your product and service features. How many customers align with a marketing segment? Now you can start selling the benefits and not the features.   Based on what people purchased and how, start building customer profiles.   Don’t overthink when it comes to customer profiles. Start with simple goals. Capture a little customer data, analyze, test and record. Keep in mind – the value of a customer-centric marketing strategy is – “Taking the time to listen to, talk to and understand your customers. In time, it can greatly increase your marketing results, customer acquisition and customer retention.”   Our definition is – Customer-Centric Marketing means to fulfill all the needs and wants each customer expects, with a passion to succeed, provide an extra step of service and do it all with a smile, and a strong value proposition to keep customers coming back.   Summary   Data Management is critical when using both direct and customer-centric marketing strategies. Without data management, everything else you built in marketing, is wasted.   Secondly, if you don’t record your data correctly, you’ll never meet your goals. Today’s marketing automation tools and CRM’s are easier to use. You no longer have any excuse not to use one daily.   Thanks for reading. I’m available to answer your questions and share with you the right path for success.    Teaching and Coaching – It’s what I do.   Need more information on direct and customer-centric marketing? Sign up today for our monthly email, All Marketing Is Direct.   Don't procrastinate, evaluate! At times, some of the smallest changes in your small biz marketing, have the greatest impact.   New year, new lower mcg-eVal rates.             Mike Deuerling, aka, MarketingDoc                             Marketing Communications Group, Inc. 800-251-3608 answerme@dmcm.net   © 2017 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.      
If you aren’t going to do anything with the numbers, don’t bother taking the time to measure web performance. As a number geek, it is hard for me to even write that sentence, but I mean it. Looking at numbers for the sake of bragging rights – look how much web traffic or how many fans on Facebook  – is a waste of time.      The numbers only have value if you dive in to understand what they mean, and use them to take action.   What type of action?   The answer to that question will vary based on your business objectives, but at the very least when you measure web performance you should treat the data like clues in a treasure hunt. Take time to follow the information like I did back in 2009 when I noticed an unusual spike in traffic to one obscure blog post.: SHOUT OUT TO VINCENT HIGH SCHOOL   In that example, I tracked back and found a connection between a referral source and a particular piece of content. Since the spike was caused by a group of students who are not necessarily my target market, I wrote a nice blog post, but didn’t have any intention of going any further.   But the process of looking for unusual spikes is one I repeat often. Doing so on a regular basis has helped us discover areas of interest among our readers, and communities we should be connecting to. That is what happened when Peter wrote an article about  SumoMe.com.    I t was a good blog post but a few days after it was published, the traffic blew up. It turns out that there is a user group for this software product on Facebook and one of the members shared the article. As web developers, we actually joined the group and got involved in the conversation.    Where do they go?   It is good to know where your visitors come from, but you also want to look at where they go next. Do they look at your contact form, your service page or simply leave? How do I know where they go next? I simply use the Behavior Flow tool, one of my favorite tools in the Google Analytics page. Using Behavior Flow, you can see how people move through your site.   We used the tool to study one of our most popular blog posts. Every day people come looking for information about Dropbox. Unfortunately, that is all they are interested in. The vast majority weren’t hanging around. They didn’t look at our other information, sign up for newsletters or seminars or fill out a contact form.    rom the data we came to two conclusions: Although the blog post was popular, we probably weren’t going to do more on the same or related topics because the people reading that post, much like the students in the first post I mentioned, weren’t in our target audience. We needed to at least try to capture some of that traffic. So we began experimenting with different links to other information in the blog post. While the vast majority of the traffic still drifts away at the bottom of the page, we have seen a slight increase in people looking around a little more. The bottom line? Take a little time to go on a treasure hunt of your own. Who knows what you will find, buried in the data if your take the time to really measure your web performance.    
It does depend on the type of business that you run as to how you are going to market during a time of natural disaster. My own marketing business was not top of mind for people who lost their homes. Here are some of my observations after our recent disaster.    People did not have access to phones - People have access to Facebook   Facebook was the communication tool people turned to during and immediately after the storms and flooding.  One of the major phone carriers had a station go out and most people were without access to phone calls.  Social media and email are how people learned what had happened, who had flooded and how badly.    Here are my top three tips for marketing after a local disaster (I hope you never have to use them.)   Let people know you care .  Ask how your clients and staff are on social media and request a comment or reply. Sending out an email to let your list know how you are and,more importantly, asking them to let you know how they are, shows that you care about them on a personal level.  Let people know your business  status !  Are you affected?  Are you open? What are your hours? Are you stocked with supplies people are needing?  (Many businesses here could open but did not have the staff to open regular hours.  The Sheriff instituted a curfew so restaurants had to close early enough that their employees would not break the curfew.)  Share good information/links to resources you are seeing on social media or get in your own inbox.  I shared information on applying to SBA and FEMA that I got from social media and in emails.  Not every person sees every post, so don't assume that it is old news. The more you can share the links to good resources, the better the chance it will be seen.  It also puts you in your community's mind as a good resource of information.     In the midst of the disaster and in the first days of cleanup, it is hard to see that there will be an end in sight.  If you regularly post and can't, then tell people your situation and let them know when you think you will be able to "re-open" and start back to your regular routine.     As with any marketing, it is about communicating your message.  Keep people informed as best you can.     As a side note: We found if we looked for the unexpected joys, it helped us to take a step to recovery.  You might get to spend time with your family that you are not able to otherwise. People found lost items like wedding rings. Seeing pictures of the "Cajun Navy" reminded us that we are kind to each other no matter skin color or religion.     I hope you NEVER have to use any of these tips, but Weather Happens!  
  and how your customer “ connections ” are unique and their needs are different.   If it took you three seconds to read the headline and the subhead above, there are only five seconds left to convince to buy. Then before you know it, they move on to the next company.   But wait -  customers have the answer you’ll need to connect with others.   Imagine an auditorium full of people waiting for a concert to start. There is a lot of noise.  Thousands of conversations are occurring simultaneously while waiting for the show to begin.   The only conversations that “connect” are usually between people, who know each other, standing very close to each other and they are still shouting at the top of their lungs.   The marketing game of attention.   What a company must do today is to create the attention and within a few nanoseconds. In other words, learn to eliminate any purchasing barriers. Then at the same time, to increase the ability to connect with the customer.   “Advances” or customer benefits will cause a hesitation. An answer for a potential customer is “what’s in it for them?” Product features are usually the glamor of owning your product, but the “advance” always add to the bottom line.   Start looking at your potential “customer profiles.”   Certainly,  you have  or  have not  updated or defined a variety of customer profiles. If you answered no, you have not, but now’s a great time to start. In case you haven’t noticed, this is already 2017 and accordingly, 2017 is going to run many bytes faster!   When you work with customer profiles, at the start, keep it simple. Put customers, anyone who has purchased into one group and the other prospective group who may still purchase, now and again, calling them prospects.   Getting back to the “advances,” they make a wonderful segment on your customer profiles. Simply, why did they buy?   Next, you need to put customers into like segments. It can be something as simple as male or female, geography, age, occupation, but use whatever simple characteristics that stand out across all contacts.   You may ask, “Why do I need to do this?”   The key word in this post was “ connect .” You need to connect with customers and potential customers with a message relevant to their needs.   What are the buying traits of your customers?  Here’s four to start your thinking process.   The best buyers purchase at specific intervals and are usually found in the top twenty percent of purchasers. Occasional buyers who are familiar with your product. Prospect/Past Customer. This is a tough one. Build a list of ideas to test that may lead to a re-connection Someday/Maybe prospects. Hopefully, the smallest list of four. Look carefully into each contact and try to determine how the original connection occurred?  What channel did you or they use to connect? Was it email, social media, direct mail, web site or face-to-face?   Summary.   Go back to the auditorium. People who know each other, will talk to each other.  They increase their volume  to deliver the message no matter how loud the other conversations may be. If you thought of multi-channel communication for future marketing campaigns, you are on the right track.   Learning more about your customers and upgrading their profiles accordingly will give you a much-needed boost in sales for 2017.   Learning and Coaching – It’s what I do. Want to learn more about  direct and customer-centric marketing strategies  and how it can add customers to your QuickBooks? answerme@dmcm.net   Check out are marketing evaluation program specifically designed for a small business. We’ll examine your present marketing, learn your goals and aspirations, and prepare a marketing plan for your company based on your information.  Check it out today! Thanks for reading.           Mike Deuerling, aka: MarketingDoc 800-251-3608   Don’t procrastinate, eValuate. At times, some of the smallest changes in your small biz marketing, have the greatest impact.   Need more information on direct and customer-centric marketing?  Sign up today for our monthly email, All Marketing Is Direct.   Our data policy: Short meaning. Any data shared with us, stays with us.  Complete Privacy Statement © 2017 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.
  Are you starting a startup or thinking of starting one? If so, you may want to strongly consider the cloud. Why consider the cloud? Well, for the typical reasons: time and money. And while you are considering the cloud, you might as well consider one of the top clouds in the world: Microsoft's Office 365. Microsoft was recognized by Gartner as a leader in cloud in the Magic Quadrant since 2014 (latest blog here: http://blogs.gartner.com/merv-adrian/2016/01/31/mi crosoft-in-40-gartner-magic-quadrants-january-2016 ... ) and Microsoft's cloud, Office 365, can save you both time and money.   You Don't Have All the Time in the World You are starting a business and time has become an even more precious commodity than it already was. There are only 24 hours in a day after time to eat, sleep, rest, and take care of yourself and loved one, the time in a day is short.   Consider the time it takes to start up an business. Time with paperwork as well as possible office space planning and setup and hiring people can be a big investment of time. Setting up the company IT infrastructure can also be a time huge investment but you can get some of that time back. Imagine getting the tools on an infrastructure that you don't have to setup, only have to subscribe to. Office 365 (Not to be confused with Office. Learn the difference here ) contains all of these things that most startups (as well as established organizations) need: Exchange – Keep everyone in sync with professional, enterprise-grade email and shared calendars they can access at their desk or on the go. Get business-class email, shared calendars, 50 GB of storage space per user , and the ability to use your own domain name. Also, archiving and legal hold capabilities, plus unlimited storage on the E3 plan. Ask Yourself : Are you thinking of using Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or the like for your organization? Doesn’t look too professional, right? You may be getting some business at first but there are a lot of people who will not take you seriously if you are using a consumer email address. How much does standalone email cost? Can you afford to give all of your staff email? What about the other tools you need? Skype for Business  (Formally Lync. Not to be confused with Skype. Learn the difference here .)– Connect immediately or set up and host online meetings for up to 250 people with multi-party HD video conferencing, real-time note taking, and screen sharing. Connect to Skype user and hold meetings with people who don’t have Lync, Skype, or Skype for Business. Ask Yourself : Are you thinking about paying for WebEx, GoToMeeting, or the like? If so, how much will it cost you? Are you having to share accounts? Did you know that you can get two E3 and one E1 subscription of Office 365 for the same price as one WebEx account? SharePoint – Collaborate with teammates, partners, and customers with documents that are always up to date and accessible from almost anywhere. Have the ability to create separate sites for different purposes. Share documents and so much more like project management, dashboards, online forms, and automated workflow in a 1 TB shared space that can be as large as 25 TB. And it is permission based so you can invite those who need to be. Ask Yourself : Have you wanted wanted/needed to share documents and make sure everyone can get to the latest and greatest? Planning to you use a fileserver but concerned about how it is hard can be to navigate and know which is the latest and greatest files? How about automating paper forms and slow workflow processes? Considering a product like Basecamp? How much does that cost? OneDrive for Business (Not to be confused with OneDrive. Learn the difference here .) –  1TB of personal storage they can access from anywhere and that syncs with their PC, Mac, and mobile devices. Easily share files internally and externally and control who sees and edits them. You can also use co-authoring so that you and your team can work on a document at the same time. Ask Yourself : Is your data backed up? What if my computer goes down tomorrow? If you are considering DropBox or the like, how much will it costing you? Microsoft Office Professional or Professional Plus desktop applications (depending on subscription level) - Subscription to Office Pro or Pro Plus for up to 5 PCs/Macs and 5 mobile devices per user. Office Professional Plus includes Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, and InfoPath. Ask yourself : How much of a capital expense is it for you to upgrade? Wouldn't it be great to have everyone on the same version of Office. Site mailboxes – Store and share email and documents in project-specific folders, allowing for easier team   collaboration. Office Mobile – Don’t have a Windows phone? No worries. Access, edit, and view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on iPhones, iPads, and Android. Depends on subscription. Office Web Apps – Create, store, edit, and share Office docs online for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Website – Market your business with a website that’s easy to set up and update via Wix or GoDaddy and get 50% off the first year. Worry-free, continuous data backup to geo-redundant servers  Access securely from anywhere on any web connected device Much more! Speaking of security, it is secure and compliant, all without you having to lift a finger. If you go to http://trustoffice365.com , you can read all about Microsoft's compliance, security, privacy and transparency measures. Namely, the following: Built-in security Service-level security through defense-in-depth Customer controls within the service Security hardening and operational best practices Privacy by design Your data is not used for advertising You have extensive privacy controls You can take your data with you when you want Continuous compliance Proactive processes to meet your compliance needs Customer controls for organizational compliance Independently verified to meet evolving standards Transparent operations You know where your data resides and who has access Visibility into availability and changes to the service Financially backed guarantee of 99.9% uptime   Leveraging the cloud as your company's infrastructure can minimize some of the time you would spend setting it all up from scratch. And speaking of time…   Time is Money Time is money so saving time is equal to saving money. The less time you spend setting those parts up the more time you can devote to other things and the less money you have to devote at your payrate or at your IT person's payrate to do something that is already done. Why recreate the wheel? Check out this blog and this whitepaper for a more in-depth look at the return on investment (ROI) that Office 365 offers.     Images from: https://sadasystems.com/blog/microsoft-solutions/o ffice-365/blogmicrosoft-solutionsoffice-365the-fiv ...   Money is Money So how much does it cost? Check this out!     Full Enterprise plans pricing chart with features: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/compare -more-office-365-for-business-plans       Full Business plans pricing chart here: https://products.office.com/en-us/business/compare -office-365-for-business-plans   When you take those costs and compare them to how much it would cost to buy the server, the Office software, tools that enable mobility and backup recovery, tools for collaboration for each of your employees, you can easily see the cost savings. So get Microsoft's cloud, Office 365, and watch your ROI grow!   Need help calculating the ROI, the TCO (total cost of ownership), and/or a demo or Office 365? Need to talk this through more? We understand and are here to help. Reach out to us at service@cartermcgowanservices.com and we will happily answer your questions. We can also work with you to bring Microsoft Office 365, Azure, and SharePoint as well as this and other solutions to your organization. To learn more about how we help, please see our website at www.cartermcgowanservices.com .
with the right marketing questions.   The small business market can be a challenge for many suppliers of products and services. Some people prefer to go after the bigger fish. Their reasoning usually centers on, “small business is such a waste of time. There’s more money to make working with larger companies.”  Yada, yada, and more yada. Plus, you'll need the extra money for aspirin.   For some business people, it’s their personal satisfaction. In simple terms, any small business providing a beneficial product or service to the marketplace, may need outside expertise to build a better business. If it was easy to operate and grow a small business, everyone would have one.   Most rely on an accountant to keep the books sparkling clean. An attorney to guide them through the legal system. Many small business need marketing and advertising to grow their business. Usually when they are churning of customers daily and losing repeat orders from existing customers.   Every business, at some point, needs your expertise.   Attracting new customers is usually rather high on the to-do list of any small business. But advertising in the wrong place is not a solution. Or have a hard time finding a niche market and waste a lot of money going after a niche market the wrong way.   If you provide a product or service for a small business always strive for a “working relationship.” Take some time to learn more about their small business. You may provide a spark for a new idea. And then, they may need more of what you are selling.   If a small business has a good product and/or service to sell, that is a leading indicator for success. More than likely, the small business owner probably has a desire to grow the business even more.   A customer-centric marketing strategy helps you sell.    I post regularly on the value of a customer-centric marketing strategy . For a small business today it's a smart move. A quick definition is - "to understand why the customer buys, how a customer uses the product or service, and what other need(s) the product or service can resolve." Sounds simple enough. Being a provider to small businesses, it can serve you extremely well.   Another way to look at this strategy is thru your “customer service.” Ask yourself, do you really provide great customer service or are a few pieces missing?   When you talk with another small business owner simply ask, “What else can I do to serve you better?” Together, you and the small business team have the winning remedy to keep you and them, grow healthy for as long as you both like.   Thanks for reading. I’m available to answer your questions and share with you the right path for success.   Learning and Coaching - It's what I do.   Check out are marketing evaluation program specifically designed for a small business. We’ll analyze your present marketing, learn your goals and aspirations, and prepare a marketing report for your company based on your information.  Check it out today!   Mike Deuerling. aka: MarketingDoc 800-251-3608     A click-free-zone. Our data policy: Short meaning. Any data shared with us, stays with us. Complete Privacy Statement available . © 2017 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.
  First off, you have probably known Skype for years. Heck, you were probably using it! Then, all of the sudden… out of the clear blue… there was this thing called Skype for Business. If you were saying "Now, what the heck is this thing?", you are not alone. Believe or not , S4B (Skype for Business) didn't come out of the blue although it may seem like it. S4B was born out of the cloud and, in particular, out of a thing called Lync. What's up with the re-name? Honestly, I don't know except that it was a rebranding effort. Why rebrand Lync to the brand Skype that people already know then added "for Business" on the end? Again, don't know (haven't been able to get a straight answer) BUT let me tell you what I do know which is the differences between Skype and Skype for Business.   HIGH LEVEL Skype is the consumer product that has been around since August 2003. Skype for Business is the product for the business side per the "for Business" postfix on the product name. Skype for Business was born out of Microsoft's cloud, Office 365. It start off as Lync then morphed into Skype for Business in April of 2015. Skype for the most part is free with some "for pay" premium features and S4B is "for pay" all the way.   They have similar symbols but the color is differently. S4B (Skype for Business) is white with a blue border and blue "S" in the middle. Skype is blue with no border and white "S" in the middle. Note the coloring when I search for Skype.     Confused a little? Yep.   I touched on the differences but they are more than skin deep when we get down into the weeds. So, let's go there, shall we?   IN THE WEEDS The Interface (Just a little more skin) Skype looks like this when you open it to login:     S4B looks like this:   When logged in Skype, it looks like this:   While S4B looks like this:   The Features Here is a chart pointing out the features of each. Note they are mostly the same until you get into the "business" features. Skype ( http://www.skype.com/en/features/ ) Skype for Business ( https://products.office.com/en-us/skype-for-busine ss/compare-plans ) Calling Skype to Skype calls Call mobiles and landlines worldwide at low rates. Get a group of people together on one call Your friends call a number and you pick up on Skype wherever you are in the world. Forward calls Caller ID Call international numbers from any phone at low calling rates. Skype Click to Call   Same here depending on subscription Video One-to-one video calls Group video calls Same here Messaging Mojis and emoticons Video messaging Instant messaging Send texts (SMS) Voice messages GroupMe All except SMS and GroupMe (although you can instant message and audio call a group) Sharing Send files, photos and videos of any size over Skype. Screen sharing Group screen sharing Share a contact, number and Skype Name easily. Same here Other features Get online at over two million public hotspots worldwide. One tool to create accounts, allocate credit and assign features. Make Skype calls through your existing SIP-enabled PBX.. Go from chat to video in just one click, right from your inbox. Add a button to your website or blog and with one click anyone can call or IM you. Share button Skype Translator Get fast access to Skype features like sharing from your browser. All except the hotspots but can also include enterprise features such as: Advanced meeting options including Polls and Q&A Schedule meetings in Outlook See your contacts' online statuses, schedule meetings in Outlook, and start conversations from apps like Word and PowerPoint. Conversations are protected by strong authentication and encryption, and you manage employee accounts and features. Broadcast Skype for Business meetings on the Internet for to up to 10,000 people Skype for Business Room Systems and Surface Hub         The Intended Audience As I eluded to earlier, Skype is intended for consumer users while S4B is geared towards the business user. This is not to say that Skype can't be used by businesses and vice versa. On the contrary, I personally know of companies who use Skype to interview potential employees and of consumers users getting Office 365 which comes with S4B and using it to talk to their friends and family. The latter is not as often as the former but you get the idea.   So basically…. If you want to talk to your friends or a small group of people (25 and under), you can use Skype. If you need to meet with larger groups (up to 250) or to broadcast your meeting (up to 10,000), use S4B. If security and permissions is not a big concern and AES encryption is enough, use Skype. If you need stronger authentication and/or more control over the Skype accounts, use S4B. If you would like to integrate Office apps into your experience (controls what people see on your screen) instead of just sharing your screen, use S4B. If not, use Skype. If you need a conference room setup, use S4B. If not, use Skype.   What it boils down to is personal/small scale vs. business/large scale. Which works for you? BTW, if you have Office 365 then chances are you already have S4B.   Hopefully this has helped to clear up confusion but, if you still need more help, we understand and are here to help. Reach out to us and we will happily answer your questions. We can also work with you to bring other solutions like company portals, business intelligence, workflow automation, social media, and email marketing to your organization.   Other references: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2920337/skype-vs-sk ype-for-business-who-can-stick-with-the-free-app-w ... http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/buyersguide/ article.php/3816716/The-Pros-and-Cons-of-Skype-for ... http://www.business2community.com/brandviews/getap p/skype-vs-skype-for-business-whats-the-difference ...
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  Social Media Marketing - Be The Solution to the Noise Pollution   by Mark Mikelat , president of Building Aspirations   Click here to subscribe to our newsletter   Help me! I am overwhelmed by social media. It is crazy, is it not? Just, wait ten minutes, it will get crazier. There is a cacophony of noise. It is not conversation, it is not communication, it is just noise. Noise is just value-less sound. Please do not add to the problem. Follow these tips and you can be the solution to the social media noise pollution.   Noise Pollution is bad   Please do not confuse a noise and a sound. Perhaps a scientist with expertise in acoustics might correct me, but please allow me to share my opinion. A sound has some redeeming value, while a noise does not. A bird chirping is a pleasant sound, but a hundred birds squawking is noise. I recall an apartment with thin walls I once had next to a couple prone to loud arguments. Frustratingly, they argued in Arabic, and hence I could not understand. Since I did not understand the source of the argument, there was no entertainment value for me. That was noise. Social media is overloaded with noise, and it continues to get worse. But, with your help, we can be the solution to the pollution.   Silence is better than noise   Often times it is better to remain silent. Sometimes silence is good. I remember one of the best managers I ever had. He very seldom said anything in meetings, and when he did, it was invariably the most important thing said. He only spoke when he had something to say. Please adopt that attitude. Do not remain silent forever. Simple, wait until you have something important to say. The exact amount of wait time will certainly depend upon you, your business and your social media channel. While not posting on Facebook for three months might be problematic, posting ten times a day grows our noise pollution problem. Simply break your silence when your have something of value to share.   When you say something, really say something   What you share does not need to be earth-shattering, or brilliant. It just needs to be of value to your target market. If the market wants you to share, post, or communicate very often, then this is certainly not noise, because there is value. Remember, however, that you do not determine the value, your target market does. If you are creating engagement with your posts, then you have confirmation that you are not noisy. You really are adding to their online experience.   Do not speak about which you do not know   Even if you have supportive social media fans, your relationship with them can quickly sour if you do not stay in your lane. Because you have the ear of your fans, in one area, it does not mean that you are loved in everything. Stay in your lane by sharing and conversing in your area of expertise. Pontificating about new and random topics will quickly alienate your fans. My mom would have called this being a busy-body. I would call it being a Cliff Clavin. If you are under 30, please Google that reference, and then come back. Talk about that which you know, otherwise you are just being noisy.   Be the pollution solution   So, now that we have a clear understanding of the problem, let us offer a solution. Know when enough is enough. This strategy will be very specific to your circumstances, but you can determine the proper threshold by monitoring and managing your social media marketing presence. The market's reactions in the form of their engagement, or lack thereof will help you determine where your message crosses the line into being noise. Just like you management your web traffic, you too must manage your social media influence. Noise can quickly change your social media influence to market nuisance.   Treat others like you would like to be treated   Along with the analytic strategy just described, there is a more general, but more powerful edict to follow. Simply treat other people as you would like to be treated. You do not like it when people overwhelm you with stupid messages, aggressive sales pitches, or a stream of Facebook invites to the new ridiculous game of the week. You consider this noise. So, please do not be noisy back. Show respect to people by sharing messages that are loaded with redeeming value. Share messages that are educational, inspirational, motivational, funny, intriguing, or otherwise of worth to your social media fans.   Please be the solution, to the social media noise pollution   Do you need help implementing the pollution solution? Building Aspirations can help put this success plan into action for you. Connect with us today. We are experts with social media marketing. You know your business. Building Aspirations knows social media.
Yes, IT CAN lead to more customers!   This post is about cans. We’re not talking about trash cans, empty tin cans, cans of soda, or a can or two of beans. We’re writing about the problem with the word “can” when it is preceded with the wrong word.   For example, people often say “you can” when they really mean to say “it can.” If you’re not yet a master website builder, for example, you know what happens when you enter a discussion group for using and building WordPress websites. People in the discussion group are quick on the draw, with the latest WordPress release “you” can do with this  amazing latest upgrade .   So, you finally decide to take a chance. What “can it” hurt. You purchase a website subscription service from a company rep in the discussion group you frequent, providing  all the bells and whistles you’ll ever need  in a WordPress website. As  you  begin to unbundle the files,  you  begin to wonder what “can” I really do. You can’t do it – why you can’t get it to do all the amazing things as promised.   If the company rep promised all “it can” do, your level of expectation might not have been so high and your disappointment, so considerable.   So, because “you can” is used so often in real life, and you really can’t, instead of celebrating new web technology, you are frustrated, angry, and feel more than a little taken.   Frustration begins to set in.   Even if “it can” can leave you feeling that you’ve been taken advantage of. You’re still left holding the bag.   What the rep probably should have said was “we can.” That is, “We can help you build the website. We can help you learn it. We can help you gain its maximum value.”   The same holds true in direct marketing. The more you facilitate your company’s customers’ full and complete utilization of your product, the more favored you can become to them as a valued provider of products and services.   Sure, people often seem to have more questions than you can answer. And not all companies are equipped to handle the volume of questions and inquiries. Think about the  little  ways “you can” begin to implement the “we can” strategy. Perhaps it’s simple online support, simple instructions, simple webinars, simple advice, or more use of social media. The key is to keep it simple and understandable from the customers’  point of view .   There is no better way to strengthen your customers’ reliance on you and solidify your relationship than when you say, “We can!”   So, what “can we” do for you?   There is another post we wrote earlier this year about word selection.  Here’s the link to  “one word not used correctly can sink a direct marketing message.”   Thanks for reading and please tell others, except your competition.   Learning and Coaching – It’s what I do.   Want to learn more about  direct and customer-centric marketing strategies  and how it can add customers to your QuickBooks?                             Don’t procrastinate, eValuate.   At times, some of the smallest changes in your #smallbiz marketing, have the greatest impact.   Need more information on direct and customer-centric marketing? Sign up today for our monthly email, All Marketing Is Direct.   Our data policy: Any data shared with us, stays with us. Period.   Mike Deuerling             Marketing Communications Group, Inc. 800-251-3608      © 2016 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.
Building a quality email marketing list should be a goal for every business and non-profit. Yet many are reluctant to event try email marketing because “they don’t have a list.” If you have existing customers, donors, vendors, and volunteers – you have very powerful list that you need to leverage. Your primary goal should be to reach out to your list at least once-per-month with a focused email marketing campaign. But what could you do to augment that once-per-month frequency without being seen as sending too much or over saturating your audience? It’s time to think about segmentation. This means you need to drill down and understand not only your customers, prospects, fans, and super fans but you must also understand what your business provides and how those offerings are perceived by the various people on your master list. You may want to segment based on location. If you have customers and audience across the country or around the world, you may want to consider segmenting based on time zone.  Timing is important in any marketing activity. You need to reach them when they are available. Los Angeles is having breakfast, while New York is thinking about lunch and Hawaii is sound asleep.  Sending your email when they are most likely to view it is crucial. Your email marketing reports can help you determine how to segment. For example, say you sent an email to your entire list. It offered information on shoes. Specifically, you had a quick paragraph about red shoes and a quick paragraph about blue shoes. Each had a link to a more in depth article or perhaps a cart item on your web site. After you send the email, your Constant Contact report will show you who clicked on which link – red shoes or blue shoes. Those recorded actions could then be saved as separate lists, so now you could reach out to the red shoe lovers or the blue shoe lovers when you have a special promotion on that item.  Their behavior (clicking on the directed link) can be used as a segmentation strategy. You could also promote separate sign up links based on interests. This allows your audience to start segmenting for you. Constant Contact allows for multiple sign up forms, which can be used as posts to social media, forms on your web site, text to join, special promotions and so on.  Giving people options can result in valuable segmented lists. Segmentation is a powerful strategy. It helps you to better understand your audience and deliver relevant information to them.  It’s up to you to divide and conquer!
    First impressions matter It only takes a few seconds for people to form preliminary opinions of a person, product or company. Taking the time to design effective and attractive emails will help create a positive, lasting impression. With easy to use tools,  you can create email campaigns in a matter of minutes. And, if you incorporate these simple design strategies you can improve your results by creating easy to read, attractive emails.  Start with your branding When customers and prospects open your email it should feel familiar, creating a visually smooth transition to your website or social media profiles. You can create this familiar feeling by using your logo, brand colors and standard brand images in your header, footer and throughout the email.   Design email campaigns to be read on mobile devices   Today, a significant portion of readers view campaigns from mobile devices. Make sure you’re using a mobile friendly design.   Use a single column format.  Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use headlines and dividers. Use buttons instead of links.  Select easy-to-read fonts   The font you choose can support or distract from your message. Here a few things to keep in mind as you select font for   your email.   Select fo nts which look like your brand If possible. Serif fonts are easier to read on screens.  Use serifs for titles only. Use all caps for b uttons.    Select the right colors When applying color to your design, you should consider color choices that work well together, compliment your brand and project the kind of feeling you are trying to convey. Some things to keep in mind:    Start with your brand colors.  Avoid extremely bright color combinations or large areas of intense color. Use bright colors sparingly to attract attention to key points, Limit the primary color pallet to 3, too many make the design “busy” and hard to look at. If you are going to put text on a colored background, the font will need to be slightly larger and in a strong contrasting color.     Use images to create attractive emails   People respond to images. One study found 82% of people pay more attention to emails that have images so we know they add value if done well. Here are a few simple things to remember when using images:  Don’t rely on images to convey critical information. Use image descriptions. Keep images relevant. Less is more. Limit the total number of images and calls to action. Want to put these tips into action? C heck out our workbook on this topic. 
As we come to the end of the year and reflect back on 2016, one of the highlights was the Summer Olympics in Rio.    I was mesmerized watching the Olympics.   Having made 2 trips to Rio to facilitate training for a global company with large operations in South America, I was delighted to see the spotlight on Brazil’s beautiful beaches and warm, friendly people.  I love watching the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremonies and was wowed by so many spectacular performances, including Usain Bolt and the U.S. women’s basketball team.    I noticed that every Olympic athlete, including all-time greats Michael Phelps and Simone Biles, has a coach.  And no one thinks that their having a coach means they are weak or any less than high achievers.    But somehow, that “elite performers have coaches” mindset hasn’t translated completely to business, where many people still view coaching as remedial instead of a means to achieve the next level of performance excellence.  In fact, some of my executive presentation skills coaching clients want to meet with me away from their offices, so no one knows they are working with a coach.     Here are 7 reasons why you should follow the example of Olympic athletes and work with a coach to optimize your presentation skills and executive presence.  Remember, while your presentation may not be telecast to millions of viewers across the world or come down to one one-hundredth of a second, it does make a difference to your brand, success, career and impact.     A coach can accelerate your performance. Using a wealth of experience gained from their own background and working with other clients, he or she can show you how to move from good to great and take your presentation from okay to outstanding. A coach takes the guesswork out of success. You’ll learn exactly what to do to deliver a successful presentation and connect with your audience, instead of taking random steps and hoping your presentation works.  A coach saves you wasted time working on the wrong things. For example, if you spend hours memorizing your presentation and then panic when you can’t remember it in front of a live audience, a coach can suggest an alternate way to prepare and practice that is more effective than rote memorization.  A coach provides unbiased, specific feedback. Unlike your colleagues who may just say, “good job” after a presentation, a coach knows what to look for and will tell you specifically what you did well and what you have to improve.  A coach provides custom guidance. He or she focuses on your individual needs and specific situation rather than a cookie cutter or a “one size fits all” approach that wastes time on irrelevant elements.  A coach provides practical and hands-on tools and techniques. This means that you know exactly what and how to practice, rather just being given theory that you have to figure out on your own how to implement. A coach provides external motivation when your energy and enthusiasm are flagging. In fact, I have a client who says, “I work better on creating content for my strategic presentation when you are in the room with me to help me focus and stay on track.”   So when you want to take your presentation or executive presence to the next level, don’t go it alone.  Be like Simone Biles and every other high-performing athlete and get a coach.     (And I’d welcome the opportunity to be your coach -  contact me  to find out how we can work together to help you achieve Olympic-worthy presentations.)   Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their presentation and communication skills so they can be more successful. Sign up to receive more public speaking and networking strategies from Gilda's e-newsletter: http://www.gildabonanno.com/Pages/newsletter.aspx    
Here’s why.   The task of locating and recruiting new customers is an essential activity for every business.   So, it stands to reason that you spend a great deal of your time attempting to attract the attention of viable prospects and make an initial sale.   Sometimes, however, there’s a tendency to concentrate so heavily on seeking new customers that we often overlook the ones we already have.   That’s why it’s so vitally important to make sure you divide your direct marketing dollars appropriately between the two activities.   Go for the long  tail .   Go for the “long tail in direct marketing” with as much energy as you go for the initial sale. That is, go for developing strategies to build repeat business over the long haul with the same energy.   For example, by providing a greater variety of inventory (extending the long tail), businesses hope to reach more customers and generate more total sales. If you sell printers you have an inventory of paper, toner, color cartridges, service contracts, and so on.   You may not think your company does not have a tail, but take a closer look. Could you build in and offer a service or maintenance contract? Could you devise annual reviews or client updates? Could you create innovations in your products or services that encourage customers to repurchase more frequently? Longer life of cartridges? Toner?   Summary.   Many businesses have tails they don’t even know they have. By looking closer at your existing customers, are there different ways they may consume use your product?   If you have weak or non-existent customer profiles in your company data, now is always a good time to start building them. Just make sure, you keep “going for the tail” as the end goal that brings in another revenue stream from existing customers.   No, you will not find a whale in a stream. But you may find a whale of a tale from a local fisherman!   Thanks for reading. Please tell me what you think.   Don’t procrastinate, eValuate.   At times, some of the smallest changes in your #smallbiz marketing, have the greatest impact.   Need more information on direct and customer-centric marketing? Sign up today for our monthly email, All Marketing Is Direct.   Our data policy: Any data shared with us, stays with us. Period.   Mike Deuerling           Marketing Communications Group, Inc.     © 2016 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash or John Deuerling.