The Internet Is Not Going To Save Your Business

funny-superheroes-3There are so many of us out there, so called marketing experts. I dare you to ask any one of us WHY we’re doing something and if they say ‘it’s expected in this industry’ or ‘it’s the latest and greatest technology’, then I say they can’t help you. However, if they have a great, customer driven reason for every single thing they are doing to help your business, then you should save that person’s card.

Here are some of the things that I see my clients expecting to save their business:

The Internet Is Not Your Saviour

I once had a client who built a whole marketing plan by doing great market research and refused to implement it because it was too hard to go to targeted networking events, and too hard to get speaking engagements at targeted venues and associations. She then upped and unbeknownst to me, hired an SEO specialist without even giving him the benefit of our target market, our research around keywords or any of the work we’d done to date. Half a year later, she’s still waiting for clients to come begging from her website to throw money at her to help them.

The internet isn’t going to save your business. Garbage in, garbage out. If you don’t know your strategy or do the research around keywords, you might as well not bother hiring an expert for anything online.

Social Media Isn’t The Next Best Thing To Sliced Bread

When I meet businesses spending a fortune on social media without doing the strategic work first to figure out who they should be connected to, what topics they need to blog about and how to actually drive sales from their social media streams, I get frustrated. After spending more than a few bucks on these ventures, so do these businesses. Social media is only one small piece of the puzzle. Unless you’ve got a solid direction for your business and a good idea of who exactly is your ideal golden target client, you will continue to waste time and money on this newfangled marketing tool.

Advertising Online or Off Won’t Flood You With Clients

Similar to clients who spend their brains out on SEO and social media and their website design, I see clients who dump all their funds into ads. The refrain I often hear is ‘I have no time to do face to face marketing so this does send a few people my way’. When you do the math, you are investing in a losing proposition. The reason most business owners don’t have or make the time for marketing is because they sorely need plans, systems and processes in place to get them to spend their hours more productively. Advertising rarely if ever is able to make up for those things that are missing in a business.

So please please please heed my advice and don’t skip actually investing in your strategy with someone who actually knows why you’re doing every piece of your plan and why you spend each dime to grow your business. “Just because” simply isn’t good enough anymore.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Love What People Criticize You Most For

self love dogAfter years of going to the I Can Do It! conference, I walked away from this year’s with this amazing insight. Ready for it?

Think about what people most often criticize you for. Most likely it’s what you beat yourself up the most for. Maybe it’s perfectionism, maybe it’s being too passive, maybe it’s giving too much, or talking too much. I learned at this weekend’s conference that that’s the exact thing that you’re supposed to embrace and love about yourself the most.

Here’s why…

Dying To Discover The Truth

I’ve been a fan of Anita Moorjani of the dying from cancer and coming back and writing a book fame. In her talk at the conference, she talked about the lessons that she learned while she was floating out there. The main thing that she learned was that we are exactly the way we’re supposed to be. No more, no less. It’s our reason for being here. Otherwise everyone would be the same. She said that people are miserable, living someone else’s expectations. And finally she said that we have to love that very trait that people criticize the most because it is the essence of who we are.

Why Do It

When Anita talked about how her lemon sized tumors along her lymphatic system spontaneously healed after her near death experience, she did it by simply loving who she was and recognizing the beauty in her own person. She said that nobody else’s opinion, expertise or thoughts about her or even her health mattered. Doctors doubted her healing so they kept dripping poisonous chemo into her even though the tumors had shrunk 70% within days. Didn’t matter what the doctors said or did to her, she knew she’d be ok. She just knew it.

Not loving who you are at your core robs you of the ability to heal, to cope and ultimately it inhibits your life. It even stops you from being able to fully love and accept others. Think about a world where you start to praise your spouse’s faults. How would your life change? How would theirs?

How To Do It

In the 2 years since I’ve had my coaching practice, I’ve often been accused of being too aggressive, too direct and too forward. I had come to terms with most of this but hearing Anita’s message really clinched it for me. I have been telling everyone I meet, all my clients and the audiences I speak to about this “new” thing. I catch myself slipping into self-criticism and I replace it with loving thoughts about why it’s so cool to be those very things that I used to hate about myself. I feel so relived. I can’t even describe the freedom. Even if I do change those so-called undesirable traits about myself, I’ll be changed because of loving my imperfections. As another amazing speaker Robert Holden put it, criticism doesn’t help. Love helps.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Why I Hate Advertising

hateadsAs a former marketing manager for major consumer brands who, 2 years ago became a solopreneur  consultant, I can safely and honestly say I hate advertising. For small fish like me, it just doesn’t work and I’m happy to tell you why. If you don’t fit the service based small business description, you can stop reading here but if you’re just like me and my clients, then you can thank your lucky stars for this article. I am going to save you lots and lots of money right now.

Why Ads Don’t Work

Of course I’m not talking about all ads and I’m not talking about for every business model. If they didn’t ever work, they wouldn’t exist. Ads don’t work for small service based businesses who depend on selling an expertise which garners a deep level of trust.  For example, when biz owner sisters Jenny and Janice came to me after having spent $5K on a local community paper with 0 returns, they were literally in despair. They were at the end of their marketing budget for the WHOLE year and hadn’t a single client to show for having blown their entire wad on this one vehicle. If you sell your brain power in any way, think twice about spending money on a mass machine that isn’t laser niched, that doesn’t give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise or personality.

When Does It Make Sense

I’m a huge proponent of getting in front of your ideal clients as a mass audience to intercept them to get leads. I would rather you spend your money at targeted trade shows, speaking in front of your target leads and networking with them frequently instead of spending ad dollars. However, the only time advertising for small businesses makes sense to me is if there are 3 critical elements present:

1. Close to 100% of the consumers of the ad are your ideal client targets. If the readers are not your ideal target clients, you might as well just put the money you’re spending down the garbage disposal grinder.

2. You talk about your clients’ pain and use stats about why it’s such a huge problem for everyone and how you can help

3. You tell your ‘why’, a story that is deeply personal and meaningful about why you do what you do.

Adding a compelling visual of human emotion and a catchy title doesn’t hurt either.

So now that you’re on board with why you need to be positioning yourself as an expert by blogging, speaking and meeting other humans one handshake at a time, you no longer ever need to spend a single dime hoping a mere ad will do the heavy lifting for you.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

How a Multi Level Marketer Sold Me in 1 Minute

greatsaleswomanAdmit it, most people (who don’t sell multilevel marketing-MLM products themselves) shudder in dread when they meet an MLM peddler. Even though I have had clients who WERE multilevel marketers, I have to admit to being one of the shudderers.

Until I met Janet from Arbonne. Then everything changed. During her 2 minute networking self-introduction, Janet started talking about her bout with breast cancer a few years ago. She talked about how she linked it to a cream she was herself marketing as a pharma rep and the chemicals that were in it. Then she talked about how she found another cream under the Arbonne brand and how she credited it with saving her life.

A room full of mostly men and I, the world’s most jaded marketer were riveted to Janet and her story. Janet then went on to talk about what made her an expert in all matters chemical and skin and that’s when she SOLD me. My darling 4 year old’s hands looked like dishwasher hands because of the cold. Every cream I tried was burning him so I thought, who better to have the solution to my pain that a skin care ‘expert’ with a product line of pure and natural creams at her arsenal?

This is what I learned from Janet and I hope you will use it in your own marketing.

You Are Selling Your ‘Why’

When Janet talked about why she sold Arbonne and how she came to know the brand, it was completely compelling and believable. Why do you do what you do? Talk about it all day and everyday. Everywhere.

Stories Capture Better Than Facts

Janet’s deeply personal and agonizing story was immediately more captivating than any facts or figures she could’ve thrown at me. It was very compelling and left a big impression. What stories should you be telling?

Focus On One Area

The biggest downfall of most MLM reps is that they are literally trying to sell the entire line of products, from weight loss to anti aging to athletic performance to baby skin. Janet was focused on skin. That’s all she talked about and that’s the product that she showed us. Are you focused or are you a generalist like EVERYONE else?

Position Yourself As An Expert

Janet’s story made me believe that her background and experience in the pharma world made her something of an expert in that topic. So I ran upto her and asked for her advice. What are you an expert in that people run upto you to consult with?

When I’ve resisted buying a product for years from hundreds of people I have known who sold it and a person I don’t know from Adam is able to sell it to me in 1 minute, I know that she’s got something special going on. Get your groove on, follow this game plan and get out there. I’m going to do the same!

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk

Is This Going To Be A Waste Of My Time?

wasteoftimeNo, I wasn’t thinking this before a date or anything.

However, it is THE question that I ask myself every time I think about signing up for an event, a networking group or a seminar to grow my business. As a marketing coach for small business development, it’s also a question I hear from a lot of my clients.

So here are some signs that YES, it will be a waste of time to invest yourself in an event:

Every attendee has a free email address

I once called the organizer of a networking group and asked what kind of businesses were going to be present. He couldn’t really even tell me because much to his frustration, most of the emails on his list were Gmail’s. I hung up promptly after thanking him because in my experience, a business that still uses a free email address isn’t really professional or big enough to be my target. No matter what your target, I might argue the same for you.

The group is being run by a person who doesn’t fit your target client profile

When a networking group is being run by an individual or if an event is being put on by an organizer, I always check out who that person is. An example is a recent group I looked into where I saw that the founder and organizer of the group was a big player in the industry of real estate. When I looked further into the list of other members, I saw that mostly mortgage brokers and insurance agents were present. This didn’t fit my target client who is a 6 figure service based consultant or coach so I moved on.

The venue wouldn’t normally be frequented by your target client

In my Public Speaking seminar, I talk about the hilarious story of how I presented management skills to a group of mostly retired members of a management association at a pub. It turned out that that particular chapter of the association had morphed into a social club. I learned from then on that the kind of venues that my target client goes to is more in the vein of expensive boardrooms, private members clubs and high end meeting rooms. Not a pub or a bar or a restaurant. That’s what MY target client does. What about yours?

The fee for the event isn’t typical of what your target client would expect to pay

Since my target client is an established business owner, I am very leery of events that are free or almost free. I now find that my potential clients frequent high priced ticket events such as industry awards, galas or annual general meetings of their association. Conversely if your business targets are startups or a lower economic bracket of the population, you would WANT to frequent the free or almost free events.

So if you don’t have an answer to this question of ‘is this going to be a waste of my time?’ first make sure that you’re crystal clear on who your ideal target client its, then consider the above factors in making your decision. The last thing I want you to be doing is wasting your precious small business marketing resources.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch me on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk