Commit to Your Plan to Create Success

I was recently listening to a panel discussion made up of several well known marketing experts and one of the panelists said something that really jumped
out at me.

The panelist was Jay Conrad Levinson who is known as “The Father of Guerilla Marketing.”  He said that he believed “…a mediocre marketing program with commitment will always prove more profitable than a brilliant marketing program without commitment. Commitment makes it happen.”

As soon as I heard that I knew he was right… but I was not really sure why.  So I thought about it for a while and came to a conclusion.

Commitment is when you—

Create a marketing program – good or bad – and then commit to it.

Include the message in all your communication.

Know everyone in your organization follows the program.

Give your customers the same marketing message from you over and over for a long period of time.

Send regular emails, or a newsletter, or have a blog.

Then something happens…You create consistency. This consistency then creates a feeling of trust for you in your customers.

A few weeks ago in my post The “Oprah Factor” and how you can create your own “ X Factor” I talked about the trust that Oprah’s fans feel with her and how this led to very strong and deep emotions they felt about her and this in turn led to the tremendous influence her opinions have on her audience.

Let’s face it.  There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now.  Your customers are craving consistency and dependability.  They are looking for people to do business with they can rely on.

What you need to do is to develop a strategic marketing plan and commit to it.

If you haven’t created one, or I you’re not sure where to start with developing a marketing plan, I always suggest of course surveying your customers.  Even a very short questionnaire with one or two questions about what they are worried about, what keeps them awake at night, or struggling with right now in their business, will give you a great starting place to build your marketing plan.  Here’s where you can get more info and examples about surveying your customers.  www.createamazingsurveys.com/replay.html

And if you need more help, this is what I do with my clients— create marketing roadmaps/plans for them so they can have a more successful business.  Click here for more info. www.marketingimplementer.com/uploads/Find_Hidden_Money_Article_App.pdf

Whose Shoes Are You Walking In?

Your customers, (this includes those that have not bought anything from you but who have read your blog and subscribed to your newsletter or visited your website) look to you for help, motivation, advice, entertainment, and valuable information.

To really do this effectively you have to walk in your customers shoes.

Everyday I encounter businesses that really miss the mark on this.

One way to really get this is to BE your customer.  Go to your website, cruise it like a potential customer, sign up for your optins. Even better, get your friends, colleagues, and those that work for you to do the same.  Have them document what they see and how they feel during the experience.  There’s a lot to be said about doing this. In fact there’s a huge business that focuses just on that and it’s called “mystery shoppers,” having someone pose as a potential customer and they document their experience. This works well in bricks and mortar places like dentist offices or doctor’s offices.  By doing this, you will be very surprised by the results.  In fact, you could take it one step further and create a short survey for anyone to answer who you ask to go to your website, your newsletter, etc., and get them to document their experience on your survey. For more information about surveys and how to use them to make more money in your business— www.CreateAmazingSurveys.com

What I would recommend is that you start paying closer attention to your own everyday encounters with other businesses, colleagues, bosses, or clients that are either less than satisfactory or extremely pleasant. Really be aware of your own thoughts and reactions when you are annoyed or frustrated or if you find yourself very impressed.

Anytime you encounter something that starts to make the little hairs on the back of your head stand-up, stop and think about why.  What is causing your reaction?  It could be something that seems to be very small but is in actuality significant.

Maybe you are trying to download a free report and you are being asked to fill out a lengthy form to get it.

Or you sent and email to someone and they only responded back with one or two words because they are on their mobile device.

Or you get asked for your zip code at a particular store every time you buy something, even a pack of gum.

Or you visit a website for the first time and immediately get a popup asking you to rate your experience before you even have a chance to look at the site.

Now think about what the other party could have done to make the encounter better for you and really make you eager to return or do business with them again.

Could they have given you just a bit more information that would have been helpful?  Could they have answered your question themselves rather than just pointing you to a document
or FAQ?

Could they have listened to you more carefully to better understand your situation?  Could they use less jargon on their web page to make it easier to understand?

Now go back to your own business and look at every place you interact with your customers, colleagues, bosses, employees, and others.  Really pay attention to how you present
yourself, your information, and advice.  Are you really providing the best possible experience?  Are you really avoiding the mistakes and behavior that annoy you when you are the customer?

Don’t make yourself difficult to do business with.

Let’s face it.  Standards seem to be dropping everywhere you go.  The real key to creating a successful business is paying close attention to what your customer’s experience is with your business…  This is a real opportunity for you to shine and create an amazing experience for your customers.  That is the best way to stand out from your competition and create a much more successful business.

What is a blog, really?

I’ve had this blog for 4 years now, which is totally hard to believe… and it’s been a terrific tool for me and my business.  So I thought it would be helpful to give you some tips about what a blog is and how to best take advantage of it in your business..

Blogs have gained a lot of notoriety in this techno world we live in because in an instant you have access to information on almost any subject or question you might have. And I know you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet but it’s all about adding value and giving terrific content.

What is a blog? Blog by definition is a shortened form of weblog (“web” as in Internet and “log” as in journal). So basically it is a diary of sorts of words, pictures, audios, and videos for public viewing.

Why blog? Businesses use blogs to share ideas, concepts, expertise, knowledge, experience, help, support and ultimately to help promote their business on the World Wide Web.

But as you might guess, not all blogs are successful. You have to have good content that people will actually want to read about. But this content above all can’t be boring or be to over promotional or too salesy. You need to add a splash of humor, show your personality, and use real life personal stories to capture your audience’s attention, as well as even entertain them.

So your blog posts are about your business, tips and tricks, techniques and good advice sort of things that are specific to your niche. In doing this you need to carefully choose keywords to describe these posts so they will rank high with the search engines.

Here’s a free tip for you.  One of the most frustrating things about blogs I find is figuring out what to write from week to week. Ideally you want to have at least 1 post a  week and at most 2 to 3 posts in a week.  So figuring out what to write can be cumbersome and you could wind up with the blank page syndrome.

Here’s a terrific idea that will totally help you — Get your readers to write your blog for you.  You can do what my friend and client Jeff Walker did when he was creating his blog. He used a survey to find out exactly what his customers wanted to read about. He got so many ideas I’m sure he won’t have blank page syndrome for a long time! How did he get so many responses on his survey? He had a contest. If you helped him name his blog and give him some ideas, the winner would get an iPad. This is a terrific tip that everyone ought to be using in their business— ASK your prospects and your clients what they want to learn more about, ask them what their biggest challenges are, start the conversation with them by doing a survey.

And blogs that are more recent and updated regularly are the favorites of the search engines.

Does your business have a blog? If you do, terrific, then why not get your list to help you figure out what to write. If you don’t have one, then check out Blogger.com (blog.com) or WordPress.com and start a free blog with them. This is also an awesome way that you can drive more traffic to your website by having a blog.

Keep in mind your posts don’t have to be long, just 200 – 400 words.

Here’s to happy blogging!

Selling Out Your Events By ASKING Your Prospects What They Want

It’s almost May and I’ve already attended 7 events in 2011 and all of these events had a healthy number of people in attendance. One thing surprised me though— none of these events used this one  strategy that can totally capitalize on filling your event AND also help you plan your event, speakers, activities, etc.

This strategy is so simple, it’s basically creating a survey and sending it out to everyone who’s registered for the event.  I just did this for Alex Mandossian and we found out some terrific insightful information that we wouldn’t have known without asking these pertinent questions. Plus the answers we received will go a long way to planning a stellar event that our attendees asked for.  In other words, we can use this fact in our marketing saying something like— “You asked for it, we’re delivering the content and giving you what you wanted to create an incredibly successful business at our event….”

The real key in creating a survey before the event to send out to those who’ve registered is have a goal of what you want to accomplish for the survey. Maybe you want to get content ideas, speakers, or want to find out what to upsell them at the event, or you want to find out price points, or get their feedback on extra outside activities.

After you know your goal, then you can start creating your questions.  My rule of thumb is to have about 10 -15 questions.  Start off with simple, easy questions, then move into the more complex questions. I also do a variety of multiple choice, ranking and open ended questions.

Here’s some terrific examples of questions you can use in your survey:

What is your most pressing challenge in your work/business right now?  You can make up multiple choice answers for them to check off, or you can simple ask them to write down their comments.

We are looking at the kind of training we’re offering and want to provide you with the most helpful format(s) and resources to help you solve the biggest challenge you’re facing right now. Please select the options MOST desirable for you. (Choose all that apply)

Live Audio Training (teleseminars, webcasts)
Listening to Audios (on your computer, MP3 player or Ipad)
Watching Online Video (webinars, blogs, YouTube, etc.)
Reading Printed Material (books, print outs)
Reading Online (ebooks, blogs, articles)
Live Events (classes, seminars, workshops)
Online Learning (e-courses)
Coaching (one on one or in groups)

Would you be interested in participating in a live 20 minute business “hot seat” during the event?

Yes
No

If Yes, please tell me a little bit about your business, and what some of the challenges your facing, and how you think a hot seat could help you.

What’s the single most important thing you hope to get out of our event

Another advanced strategy is sending out a survey to EVERYONE on your list before you even launch your event to ask them pre-event questions.  This is a terrific strategy because you’re basically “seeding” your event beforehand. By asking them to help you answer your survey, you’re also looking to get their buy in before you launch the event to raise their hand and sign up. I’ve seen Bill Glazer use this strategy very successfully to fill Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle Super Conference event.

Whatever you decide to send out a survey to pre-launch your event, or to simply get feedback after they’ve registered, creating a survey and sending it out is a fantastic way to ramp up your event, help fill it, and make it more profitable for you and your company.

If you want to discover more about how to use surveys in your business, check out this webinar I did with my good friend Stephen Beck. I give you some fantastic ideas on how to use surveys to create a much more successful business.

Are you singing the recession blues?

Well I sure hope not, because as an entrepreneur and business person, you need to be focused on how to increase your business. You need to get your head out of the sand and not use the excuse that the economy is in a recession and that’s why your business isn’t doing well.

I just went and saw the most motivating and inspiring marketing mind ever. His name is Dan Kennedy. He’s so many light years ahead of businesses because of how he thinks, it’s a little bit scary. He’s the one that’s said many times, if you’re smart and you know how to market and who to market to, you can make money in any economy and you know what- I agree with him and I am doing it!

I had the pleasure of being able to see Dan Kennedy live, last week in New York- for FREE. This was a rare appearance and I have to say if you have the opportunity to see him speak, go see him, he’s so refreshing and has such a fascinating outlook on business. He was speaking at an event and promoting his new book, No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent: The No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners Guide to Getting Really Rich. He focused his talk around if you’re not doing well right now, it’s not because of the recession, it’s because you’re not getting people excited enough about buying and doing business with you. He also said it could be because you’re not as agile to change your business with the times. I’ve said this numerous times before- in a recession, you need to shift who you’re selling to- focus on the people who are least affected by the recession and that would be the mass affluent. I also had the pleasure of speaking with him at the break and it was a real treat for me and inspired me to make some much needed changes in my own business.

In this crazy world of business you need to be agile and ready to able to move with the world, however it turns- tragedy vs. opportunity. He also said a number of other fascinating things that I want to share with you-

  • The number of competitors in a market place doesn’t matter. You simply need to craft a business with over laden with value and marketing services. Create a unique market place and niche- promote your key benefits to your niche.
  • Done for you is best- gone are the days of teaching people to fish- give them the fish- now!
  • Price is controlled by value of the product to the buyer. A good example is if you’re selling one of a kind jewelry pieces- ensure you’re going after the customer who values and appreciates this unique factor.
  • Business isn’t bad- it’s just that follow-up really sucks.

Lastly, before I go- I had to share these with you- Here are the 6 secrets to increasing your profits in today’s recession-

  1. Always have good, better and best categories- give your prospects 3 tiers to buy from. They will always buy according to emotion, not logic.
  2. Raise your prices now- we all are not ever charging enough for our products and services. Plus in a recession you can make up for the loss of volume by increasing your prices.
  3. Target better customers- go after the mass affluent- sell to people who rarely make their decision based on price.
  4. Never do what everyone else is doing- 99% of businesses do things a certain way and it’s always usually wrong. Be part of the 1% to break out and do things differently.
  5. Have immediate up sells when you get a customer- e.g.- sell them a tie when they buy a suite, etc.
  6. Multiply your customers with post sale follow-up – send a thank you letter, or send a thank you and up sell later. Always, always follow-up with your clients and customers.

So take these 6 things all the way to the bank. Put away the newspaper, in fact, stop reading or watching the news altogether. Focus on the positive aspects of your business and your life and work towards being incredibly successful and happy!