Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interruption/Permission Synergy

A reply I posted to a comment from Andee Sellman, from One Sherpa, in regard to my article, "5 Reasons Branding Won't Work" on Small Business Branding blog:


Interruption marketing (if I understand your definition correctly) generates awareness and in many cases is the markets first exposure to a brand. Visionary products (ie: Apple) find their way into our consciousness this way. It can set the tone for your brand.

Permission is effective once a basic trust has been established. I think both work in tandem and work nicely to make your brand experience rich.

As you can appreciate, my efforts to advance my brand as a consultant is powered by all my avenues of promotion. I am 100 % aware of my brand every time I put my messages out there - including how I am replying to comments on my posts.

A good example of this synergy between Interruption and permission is public speaking. The audience is attending at their own free will to get some information that I possess. This is permission based. At the end I briefly pitch my services while I still have their undivided attention. Interruption. I also subtly have my brand and services through out the presentation which builds additional trust between my audience and myself.

Post seminar, if they visit my online presence and subscribe to my list, then my brand is again strengthened. As you so aptly put it, "permission marketing goes the journey. "We only have their permission when we also have their trust. Betray that trust and you have nothing but snake oil.

Break the ice with Interruption, take them downtown with permission. What a branding story!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Create Your Own Market!

Increasingly small businesses lament the dwindling of their markets and the narrowing of their opportunities. From my perspective, I'd say the situation is a case of them allowing the economy to affect them instead of them affecting the economy. The answer to that dilemma is to be proactive. Most of the subscribers to my information materials and products receive them because they filled out a form to get something from me. You too, should do what I call "eMail harvesting." Over time, this important group of people grow to form an exclusive market for us to talk to.

My subscribers are all business people who are searching for branding information to grow their companies. They are ALL my target audience. You too should start building your own audience to share information with - expanding your marketplace in a very cost-effective way as opposed to traditional media. Depending on how you organize your audience, you can fine tune the messages you send to them.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Business Books - 75% Filler?

It's just my observation, but I feel that most books on business are essentially 75% filler. What I mean by this is that every author has a great premise and they get their point across in the first few chapters. But once that is achieved, they just repeat the same information over and over - just to fill 300 pages. I always have at least one book on the go, and this always seems to be the case. The only books that seem to break this mold are books by Jeffrey Gitomer, and Dan Kennedy to name two. These two gentlemen, discard the B.S. and just give you the information. Gitomer doesn't feel the need to write a big book of fluff, (his books are even small and a quick read).

I wish more business writers were more concerned with getting the information across and less interested in making sure their book "looks" serious at 300 pages. As a entrepreneur, I am just interested in getting the information. If I capture one nugget of wisdom that helps me to grow my business then that is worth $25. to me. I wish we could go back to the simple books of our childhood - one to twenty pages. Maybe I'll take on that challenge, when I put out the second edition of "The Reluctant Salesperson."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

5 Reasons Why Branding Won't Work.

They're never going to buy you're the expert.

Here's the thing, you really are an expert in your field, but here's the rub - YOU don't believe it. If you don't believe in yourself , don't expect customers to believe in you either. You have plenty of sales-worthy knowledge and a waiting audience. Roll up your sleeves and jump in. Failing isn't the problem, refusing to get back up is.

You've got a wild idea, but nobody's going to buy it.

Isn't it better to try your idea and fail KNOWING they don't like it, rather than presuming to know they don't like it and never really finding out?

The timing isn't right.

That's the same as giving me a dozen reasons why you CAN'T do something rather than reasons why you CAN.

Branding is expensive.

Ignoring your brand is the real money pit. Placing ad after ad saying nothing special or countering a competitor makes you a follower. The competitor is actually defining your brand and you're throwing money at defending yourself rather than leading with a strong positioning strategy, which gives your customer a compelling reason to buy from you.

I tried re-branding: I got me a new logo and tag line and guess what? Nothing changed!

What did you expect to happen? Your brand is your REPUTATION not your logo. All you did was spend some cash putting a new face on an old problem. If somebody tells you that re-branding is changing your logo - RUN as fast as you can - they have no idea what branding is!

As much fun as this post was to write, the honest truth is that all of us have to pay very close attention to our brands, how we sell ourselves and be open to new opportunities. Stop blaming the economy, stop blaming yourself and stop blaming finances. If you try and win - great! If you fail - so what? Keep moving, keep learning. You can't reach your goal by standing still and that I can guarantee you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How To Open Doors To Your Brand.

What are you doing to improve your brand? Are you aware of what people are saying about you? It's not enough to be just using traditional marketing to get your message out.

It's time to take your brand to the next level using online marketing. You will have to ask yourself, "What is it I do that keeps customers coming back for more?" "What do they love about me?" You are looking to develop a compelling message beyond lowest price. Bring this message to the public aggressively using these five methods:

ONE: Blogging
Blogging allows to speak to existing customers and potential new ones. You have the perfect opportunity to build your expert profile and lure publicity your way.

TWO: Public Speaking
Target different professional groups, and use as an educational opportunity. Every engagement typically generates a few leads. Quickly positions you as an authority.

THREE: html Marketing
Relies on your building an opt-in email list, then marketing to this captive market with strategic messages aimed as various segments within the overall group.

FOUR: Social Media
Twitter, Linkedin and facebook are all social media that allows you promote yourself in a more communal level. They are time-consuming but can over time, build a dedicated audience.

FIVE: Resource Website
Change your existing brochure website to a website that provides more information and free tools for your readers and visitors. A great platform to distribute digital products.

Online marketing is continually moving, but with consistent effort and on-brand maneuvering, you can harness the web to open doors beyond your local market.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Webinar Your Way To Closing!

Staying in touch with customers is very important for business development. Adding value to the relationship keeps them interested in your services. One way you can provide value is the use of web-based-seminars or webinars. Lets say that you sell a multitude of products. You can use webinars to introduce a new product or service. What these are essentially is conference calls where your customers are invited to listen in as you introduce the product and walk them through the benefits. This can be accomplished with videos, and power point.

You can also offer incentives to participate with suppliers' swag such as logoed hats, mugs etc. You could even offer a draw. The whole point is to offer a way for customers to learn more from you. You become more valuable to them. Make the webinars into a bi-monthly event. What ever time-line you settle on; the most important part is the question period at the conclusion. It gives sales an opportunity to see just who specifically is interested in further contact and that makes closing so much likely.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Read Any Great Books Lately?

If you're like me, I always have two or three books on the go. I'm always looking to improve myself. One business classic I'm reading is Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Originally written in 1937, Carnegie's book still resonates today. Human nature is timeless. You can see many modern self-help books echoed in this classic.

Zoom ahead to 2009 and two new books I've sunk my teeth into is "Guerrilla Marketing on the Internet" by Jay Conrad Levinson, Mitch Myerson, and Mary Eule Scarborough, and a terrific book on personal branding called "Me 2.0" by Dan Schawbel.

First let's take a look at the latter - Me 2.0. If you are fresh out of university or are soon to be, this book is for you. Schawbel nicely explains personal branding in all its depth and makes it relevant to the young professional. Following his proven processes and competent tips, you will have a keen advantage in your quest for a career, or to simply differentiate yourself in the job market. Of course, Me 2.0 is relevant to any age group, because the principles are timeless. If you are interested in personal branding, Me 2.0 is really the only book you'll need to get started. My favorite line in the book is, "It's not whom you know; it's who knows you." On-line this is key. Me 2.0 is jam-packed with tons of thought provoking techniques to make your personal brand shine.

The second book I highly recommend is Guerrilla Marketing on the Internet. Years ago I bought the original Guerrilla marketing books and LOVED them. Straight forward, down to earth, no BS tips on promoting yourself without breaking the bank. This new book successfully carries on the legacy. From the moment I started thumbing through its pages, I started smiling. If you want to market yourself online, this book will save you weeks of research. The unique experience of the authors, makes this book invaluable. They don't speak above you or try to make eCommerce some new magic pill to riches. The authors are frank and inspirational. You will find yourself nodding as you read every page.

Understanding personal branding with Me 2.0 and marketing the result with Guerrilla Marketing on the Internet is a double-barreled strategy you should embrace.
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