Archive for January, 2010

Jan
27

Why You MUST Invest in Social Media Marketing

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Fabulous Video! Great music, great motivation – you absolutely MUST get involved with Social Media Marketing if you want to build your business.

Want to know how to get started? Take a look at http://twitterandmarketing.com for some great information on Twitter… and stay tuned for more details on using other specific social marketing tools.


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Jan
25

The future of the Web and Our World

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world wide web
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29487767@N02/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

It is amazing that the internet has only really been around in our daily lives for a little over 10 years. Yes, some people were on sooner, and the first web page went live approximate 20 years ago (according to Mashable.com), but the impact on our every day world has been increasing as each day goes by. There is no question that it will continue to change our world, and probably at an even faster pace in the upcoming years.

Mashable did a great article (you can read it here – and I totally recommend you do – it’s great) on where things are headed. I agree with everything they said and am so excited about many of the changes – everything from voice recognition becoming common place and replacing keyboards and touch interfaces becoming the norm (say goodbye to your mouse) to world wide wireless web access.

It is important to follow these trends and understand how they will continue to change business, marketing and sales over time. I have businesses today because of the web, the prevalence of internet access and the ease of internet marketing. What about you? Where would your business be today without them? Maybe your business wouldn’t exist either.

If you can watch the trends that are developing and figure out how to play along (like figuring out how to use or build an app for the iphone that can support and market your business), you can get in on changes early and take advantage of the low levels of competition. Imagine if you had started email marketing in the days when people like me were checking email 10 times a day only to find there was just 1 email every 3rd time I looked?

What can you see on the horizon that can give your business an advantage? Who can you get to help you act on that now, instead of later, when others have already begun to fill the gaps?

Keep in mind that 101 marketing strategies – the real basics – will always drive the underlying technology, interactions and relationships. Knowing the essentials and learning how to create customized marketing solutions for your business, using the trends as they grow and develop, will be absolutely key.


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Jan
24

No Options = Lost Sales

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coffee Waves
http://www.flickr.com/photos/omarmk/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A few days ago I was on my way to what turned out to be a FABULOUS seminar on money and my relationship to it (for more information on that, visit the exquisite Lora Sasiela’s website at http://financiallysmitten.com – amazing woman, fabulous work – absolutely recommend her and her programs/products. To read more about my experience at the seminar click here). As it was early on a Saturday morning, I stopped to get a special ‘coffee treat’. I don’t drink coffee too often, but occasionally enjoy a decaf, and particularly like to have a mocha, or something like it, everyone once in a blue moon. So, I was walking past a specialty shop – a ‘chocolate’ restaurant just south of Union Square (I don’t want to name names at this point…) and figured I would get one of their amazing hot chocolates. Once inside I asked if they did mochas because I wanted something a little less-sweet. The answer was, ‘Yes,” and I was excited. (Yes, sometimes it’s the little things that get me excited.)

Now, I knew I was going to a 2+ hour seminar, and I wanted something that would last a little while at the beginning, so asked for a medium size. The reply?

“Sorry, we only have one size.”

“Excuse me?” I said, totally flabbergasted.

“Only one size,” the guy said again, holding up a very small cup.

I glanced up at the board, it was $4.95 for that tiny little cup, and just one price listed, because there was only one size available. Now, under normal circumstances, I don’t care about price when I’ve made a decision to have a treat, and would have easily spent up to $6 for what I wanted; A MEDIUM sized decaf mocha.

“That’s it, only a small size?” I asked again, incredulously.

Now, the place was open, but didn’t have many customers. There were 5-6 staff members standing right near by, listening to the exchange.  When the guy, now a little irritated with me, replied, “Yes,” again, to my query, I said, “No thanks, I wanted something bigger,” and walked out. I wondered how many of them heard, and if they would do anything to suggest a change to management. I thought, “Huh. How odd. In this day and age, where everyone gives choices and people expect ‘customizable’ options, to only have one size.”

So, I went to the big cafe next door and got a MEDIUM sized decaf Americano (espresso with hot water added to ‘thin’ it out – like a regular coffee, with a more intense flavor), saved $2 (it was only $2.95) and didn’t have all the sugar. In the end, I was happy, the ‘chocolate specialty’ shop lost a sale, and the store next door benefited from the ‘specialty’ shop’s lack of options.

As a marketer, I thought about it a bit. Tried to come up with the ‘up side’ of that choice on the part of the ‘specialty’ shop. I could come up with only one – they don’t have to carry stock in a different sized cups. Not much of a benefit, and certainly NOT a benefit for the consumer. That company recently had to shut down their first location here in NYC, and, if I had to guess, the second location will also close sometime soon. As consumers, we want options, we want customizable choices and we’re gotten used to it. The market is, right now, most certainly, a ‘consumer market,’ meaning, consumers are in charge.

Imagine, as a business, that shop could have made a different choice and charged $1-2 more for a larger size, it takes no longer for the person to make it and would only use pennies more of the same product they already have on hand. Yes, they’d have to carry the cups, spend more on storage and carrying stock of one or two more sizes, but customers like me wouldn’t walk out dissatisfied. What is that worth? And, what’s wrong with making 20% more profit (or more) on the same sale?

Are you doing anything in your business that is ‘You’ centered instead of ‘Client’ centered? How can you change it? If you asked your clients today, what would they tell you to change? Is there a reason you haven’t asked?

It is not always true that no or limited options will mean fewer sales, but in this type of instance, where the consumer is used to having choices, it definitely will.


Jan
18

What’s Up With Twitter?

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What's Up With Twitter?

Some people are beginning to postulate that Twitter is Dead.

I have to heartily disagree.

While it is true that most internet platforms like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and such peak and then loose their appeal when something more effective comes along, there is nothing, as yet, to fill the void that ‘Twitter’s Death’ would create. Even while several online services like Complete and Quantcast are showing a leveling off of Twitter’s popularity (see Mashable’s article from 1/13/10), other companies like Dentyne and Pepsi are digging in to make the most of the Twitter social media and marketing platform. Like Dentyne gum? Send a twitpic of your empty cup holder to @DentyneGum with the hashtag #emptycupholder and you could win a free, limited edition bottle of Dentyne gum.

Start thinking about how you can use social media to talk with your prospects and fans. While it will never completely replace old forms of media and marketing, social media is, quite clearly, the wave of the future. It’s a fast and furious ride, so it’s important to keep up with the latest information, but take things like pronouncements that huge networks like Twitter are dead. There are many reasons it may look that way (I rarely, if ever, go directly to twitter, but tweet all day long using an tool that connects to twitter, so I wouldn’t be registered as a visitor – how many hundreds of thousands are there that fit that category?), test the waters for yourself, get more information, and most importantly, get involved.

Social media is just that, social. Build real relationships and you will find that even small networks that have many less users can be perfect for your company.

And, if you are interested in learning more about using Twitter to build relationships, connect with prospects and make sales for your business, visit my new site: http://www.twitterandmarketing.com


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Jan
15

Where do you find your target market?

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where do you find your target market

Sometimes there are places to find your target market that might not be all that obvious… (and why do I have a picture of a bride and groom…it will become obvious in a moment…)

Have you ever spent some time thinking about where your prospects and clients are before they become your clients? Perhaps even a long time before? I had lunch with a friend the other day who is a relationship therapist. She was talking about how she wants to build her practice in the area of working with couples who are coming out of the ‘honeymoon’ phase of their marriage, which apparently happens between 6 months and 12 months after the wedding. The gloss is wearing off and some couples seem to realize it’s not going to be that easy and perhaps they are in too deep – basically they need some help.

So, she asked me how I thought she should reach them. I suggested doing free weekly teleseminars for brides-to-be about how to stay sane during the wedding and planning process, how to improve communication with the groom etc. By offering something that many brides would be very interested in receiving and making it low-risk to get involved (free is pretty low risk) she could start to attract people who are open to learning communication techniques and help them tremendously. She would begin to build that ‘trust’ relationship that is so key to successful marketing and sales. Once they signed up for her call, she would be able to stay in touch with them using an auto-responder series, offering tips and guidance for each of the steps along their path at the beginning of their marriage (it can be triggered based on a wedding date, as many brides will happily enter that information early on). After 6 months or so, she can begin to discuss the signs and symptoms of marital issues, talk about how important it is to get help early and what an incredible difference it can make in creating a long and happy marriage, and start to offer her other teleseminars, live seminars and programs on keeping the passion in the relationship, creating more love and joy and much more.

It would take a little while, but a process like this could build a very hungry list that knows you, likes you and trusts you, and you would be the person that came to mind when the need arose, which is the exact place most companies are trying to be.

How could you use a technique like this to help build your business? If you found a supportive and helpful way to reach your prospects before they were your prospects, where would your business be in 6 months or a year? Where would it be in 2 years? This is an often overlooked technique… and if you can’t think of ways to do this for your business, take a look at my customized marketing solutions coaching. A few sessions could open your mind to seeing a lot of possibilities.