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’s all the Fuss About EzineArticles.com and Content Anyway?

Having a blog should be a key part of your strategy to drive traffic to your website.  Search engines love blogs because they are so timely and are constantly adding things to keep folks informed and up-to-date.

Yet, here’s the deal: if your content isn’t any good, all the search engine results in the world will not help you.  You really have to develop your valuable content first. High quality content is crucial to fuel your business and increase traffic to your website.  Content alone can entice the reader to check out your website and return for more.

Therefore the content you deliver must be valuable, giving helpful tips and tricks, ideas on ways to improve___,  you know all those simple easy things to make your life a bit easier and your business that much more successful. Hopefully you already have great content on your website. But how do you get organic traffic to view this amazing information?

Here’s one simple way that I have used very successfully and recommend for you:

Yours truly and Chris Knight!

Write articles and post them on the different article websites like ezinearticles.com. (In fact I just met Chris Knight, CEO of EzineArticles.com at an event I just managed for Alex Mandossian and T. Harve Eker called Ultimate Internet Boot Camp 2.0 in Las Vegas. He’s such a nice guy and filled with amazing ideas and just really a genuine soul.)

Yes, there are many, many sites to post articles.  Some are general and have many categories of articles.  Many others are very niche oriented and you can probably find one or two good ones for your particular niche through a quick Google search.

The thing I love about EzineArticles.com, not just that Chris is a terrific guy, but that he has millions of articles and he gets loads of traffic to his site daily!  AND you can go to his site, find articles and refer to them on your blog, or EVEN post them on your blog as long as you give the author a byline.

So something to keep in mind about articles is they don’t have to be a book. We’re talking about 400 words or so where the content is what is important and about teaching and adding value.

Remember: Your goal here is not to tell the reader everything you know about the topic or to educate them completely.  Your only goal is to show the reader you have knowledge on the topic, give them some tips and some value, as well as entice them to go to your blog in order to learn more.

You are the expert about your business so write that way. You have valuable information to share – that is your content. And at the end always include your name and website address, a sure fire way to bring traffic to your business.

Here’s a bonus, I’d encourage you to check out EzineArticles.com and look into being a premium member, it’s not a whole lot of money and you get huge benefits.  One cool thing is when you get to the point of having a ton of articles on there you can acquire diamond level status as an author like Alex Mandossian has among others, something to aspire to.

You created a blog… Now What?

The beauty of blogs is that you don’t need to invest in software to maintain it.

Blogs are maintained online and so you can access them anywhere and at any time, as long as you have an Internet connection. You just sign in to your blog account and you can create a post, edit post, change blog template, customize your blog and change blog settings easily.

It is also very easy to add a lot of cool tools to your blog like an opt-in or subscription form so if you don’t already have a list it is a great way to start.  If you already have a list it’s also a great way to continue to build your list.

Ideas of things to put on your blog besides articles:

  • Video is really easy to publish on your blog and is another great way to get noticed by the search engines. Google loves video.
  • Go to blinkx.com and find a video on a topic that’s in your niche that you like and insert the video with a commentary on your blog. You can also go to YouTube.com and do the same thing.
  • Have a guest blogger write an article one week for you.
  • Review a product or service.
  • Do a frequently asked questions.
  • Search ehow.com or ezinearticles.com for some ideas.

Another cool thing about blogs is each post you create is assigned with different URL address which means they each will have their own and separate web page. This is just one reason blogs are great for getting noticed by the search engines.

Position yourself as an expert! Plus not only does a blog help you get attention and traffic.  Your blog positions you as an expert and builds your credibility.  Plus a little human touch goes a long way to building trust.  See my previous posts about Oprah to learn why that is important.

Let me know when you have your blog up and running.  Post a link to it in response to this post and share it with everyone here.  I would love to see it.

Where’s the Hidden Money Buried in Your Business?

Hidden MoneyThe first week of January and the beginning of the New Year is always fascinating to me.  For one, I’m totally in awe of how the previous year seemed to speed by in the blink of an eye. I’m constantly amazed as I get older how the years really do seem to be going much faster. I wonder if that’s just aging or the fact that I’m now paying a lot more attention and just noticing it.  I’m choosing the latter!

One thing I’ve noticed that has helped me tremendously is I ALWAYS create my annual plan at the beginning of every year . In fact, I just took a day this week to do just that.  I know if you’re running your own business or going to a job every day it can be hard to find the time to do this exercise, yet it TOTALLY pays to have a plan. If you don’t have one, trust me – you will be constantly putting out fires and have others leading you by the nose instead of the other way around.

Consistently EVERY year I’ve run my own business (and it’s been 5 years now) I always write down my plan in the first week of January.  Spending the time to do this has always ensured that I had a tremendously successful year.  It’s not complicated to do this. All you really need is a pen, a piece of paper and to allow yourself some time to create and put it together.

I start out with taking stock of the year before.   I looked back on 2010 and created a short timeline of things that happened, events, accomplishments and I write them all down.  Often times I can really see where the hidden money is or was in my business and how I can change that moving forward.  And I really like to take notice of what I’ve achieved because I love to take time to celebrate my wins. (I find most people don’t ever do this – it’s REALLY important to do this!)  I also like to take note of any failures or disappointments so I can let them go and also view them as lessons learned so I don’t repeat them again.

Next I do two things – I focus on my goals for the year in these five categories:

  1. Business – Map out my marketing goals, content for the year, my travel schedule , etc.
  2. Financial – Map out my monthly income goals and my annual goals and how I will achieve them
  3. Relationships – Map out vacation goals, weekly time together, etc.
  4. Spiritual – Map out my mental and spiritual health goals and how I’ll take care of myself
  5. Health – Map out my exercise goals and how I will stay healthy, etc.

Then I create my short plan for each.

Now after you do the first and the second exercise, focusing on your business and financials, you will get a glimpse of where the hidden money is your business.  This is incredibly valuable, to find hidden money in your business. So how do you do it?  Well, the best thing to do is when you’re taking stock of your business, you can usually find some patterns and see some areas that if you strengthened and fixed, or created a new program, or enhanced another program, or product or service you could generate more income.

It’s really that simple.  This article is already too long, so let me give you a gift — If you want to find out more on how to find the hidden money in your business, I’ve written an article specifically on how you can do just that, PLUS it also talks about how to recession-proof your business. Click here to access this article with my compliments .  In this article, I’m also going to share with you a resource that will tell you  how I’ve helped hundreds of people create their own plans to find the hidden money buried in their business and how I can help you.  So here’s to an amazingly prosperous New Year!!

Nothing happens in marketing until something moves…

business-schoolIt’s the beginning of 2009, and all best laid plans are being drawn out now for a fantastic 2009.  For some people they’re fearful, worrisome and pessimistic.  For others, they’re enthusiastic, energized and know as long as they’ve mapped out their plan,  and stick to it, they will achieve all their goals for the year.  Which camp are you in?

I’m in the enthusiastic, can’t wait, this is going to be an awesome year camp!  I know things look bleak in the economy.  Yet,  I can’t focus all my energy on gloom and doom, it won’t help me, my business or the economy.  I need to stay fast, true and focused on growing my business.  I need to stay positive, have a plan, stick to it and have faith- then amazing things will happen.  I know if I don’t take any action, nothing is going to move…media_monkeys

Now more than ever is the time you need to shut off the TV, don’t read the paper and focus on positive, enlightening things that will help you grow your business. One of my favorite quotes is “when you hang around 9 broke people, guess who will be the 10th? YOU!” Surround yourself with happy, positive, successful and focused people. Success breads success.

This leads me back to my plan, you see nothing will happen in your marketing of your business until something moves- meaning you take some action.  And it’s usually harder to take action when you don’t have a plan.  I would suggest mapping out some time for yourself- schedule it- and put your game-plan for the year down on paper. It doesn’t have to be anything sophisticated or look good, it’s really a road map for you for the year. I call it my road map to success.

Here’s how I recommend you start-

1-Write down everything you want from this year- break it down into 4 categories- financial, personal, physical and mental

2- Write your goals in a positive format

3- Ensure they are measurable, attainable and within your control

biz_bizplanHere’s some ideas-

Financial goals- Will focus around how much money you want to make on a monthly or even annual basis.  Just ensure you are specific and these goals are measurable.

Personal goals- These are things you want to attain in your relationships, family, focusing on hobbies or learning new things, going to a conference,  etc.

Physical goals– Revolve around your physical health, wellness, exercise, eating, etc.

Mental goals- Are things that will improve your psyche like meditating, reading new books, going to a yoga workshop, or attending mental health and wellness workshops at Kripalu, Esalen or  The Omega Institute.

The best thing you can do for yourself this year is make some time to write up your plan and to focus your energy on what you want to achieve in pay-attention2009.  Those who have plans, and goals achieve them. Those who don’t have plans, aren’t focused and are all over the map, have difficulty in achieving what they want and even struggle because they don’t have this clarity and focus.

I would urge you to discover more, take time to write up your plans, goals and even dreams for this year and maybe even the next five years!  It will be totally worth it, I promise.  If you’re struggling, find a coach, find a mentor, or find a friend or someone who can help you.  There’s also something that I do every year, in fact I’m going this year for my birthday to do my Vision Day.  This is where I work with my two executive coaches and figure out my plan for the year.  Whatever works for you, just take the time and don’t wait- take action now. Nothing’s going to move in your marketing, your life or your business until you take some action- now get to it!

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! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/Are_you_singing_the_recession_blues]