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

Project a Successful Image: 7 Ways

In my world of marketing my own business, image is everything. It is the packaging to your product. It is the first impression and sometimes only impression someone will have of your business. Projecting a successful one takes some planning. Check out these tips below:

1. Look Good for Any Occasion

Always dress one notch higher than what’s expected. If dress is business casual, put on a suit.

2. Write and Speak Correctly

Improve your grammar, spelling, and especially, your diction. If English is your second language, you’ll need to work harder.

3. Master the Art of Intelligent Conversation

Be up on current events. Be a lifelong learner. Take courses, read books, listen to interesting pod-casts.

4. Be Charitable

Give your time, energy, and wisdom to people around you as well as those in dire need.

5. Be Organized

You are judged on little things like timely response to messages and email. Showing up late disrespects others and makes you look careless or worse, indifferent.

6. Make People Feel Important

When face-to-face, have a firm handshake, make eye contact, and show respect by being present.

7. Spend Time with Successful People

Build a circle of people you respect and admire, and you too will be respected and admired by the people important to you.

via Project a Successful Image: 7 Ways.

At the end of the day, as the song goes: All you need is love. Love for yourself, respect for others and for how you treat them and yourself. My favorite author Robert Holden says “if your definition of success doesn’t have the word love in it, then you need a new definition” and I couldn’t agree more.

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

How Smart Companies Use PR to Get the Word Out

English: WRAL-TV reporter Adam Owens in Chapel...

English: WRAL-TV reporter Adam Owens in Chapel Hill, NC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s pretty common knowledge that PR is the cheapest way for small businesses to market themselves. All it takes is spinning an interesting and timely story to the right media outlet whose audience is interested in your story. Here are some more tips to mesmerize masses of people with your message in the most inexpensive way.

1. No one cares about your story.Media is interested in one thing: the effect of your product. The lives that have been changed or made better by your company and your product.

2. PR masters don’t write stories about themselves. They write stories about their customers.

3. Here’s a powerful PR example. A story about a new website that sells discount airline tickets is not very interesting to many reporters, or their readers. But a story about two long, lost twins who attended a family reunion and finally met again is good reading. And the fact that those twins mention that they were only able to get to the reunion because the then-new website Priceline.com (which I co-founded) made the trip affordable to them is a great sidenote.

via How Smart Companies Use PR to Get the Word Out.

Having a clear vision of your brand voice, your niche and your audiences pain points, you will be armed to charm the headsets off any interviewer and get your story across.

Remember, it’s always about stories. Good ones, bad ones but always those that evoke deep emotion. Get out there and get your own free marketing. I can’t wait to hear your story.

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

Suck At Keeping Your Word? You Could Be Losing Customers

Trekkie as a Borg

Trekkie as a Borg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a Trekkie (although I’m married to one) and yet somehow I’ve coined the phrase “Say-Do Continuum” in observing my fellow humans. The Say-Do Continuum is a phenomenon when a person actually does something as he promises to (Do) and tells you (Say) what he’ll do truthfully at all times. Basically it’s someone who keeps his or her promises.

I looked for this simple quality in my mate, I cherish it in my friends and most of all, I actively seek clients who have the Say-Do Continuum. You can bet that your clients are also judging you by the same yardstick. Here are a few things to look out for:

Can’t keep a promise?

If you’re often cancelling dates (no matter with whom, your mom, bff or potential client), you rarely deliver something when you promise it, you forget promised introductions to your networks or you find it much easier to disappoint and ask for forgiveness rather than to say ‘no’, then– you my friend suck at the Say-Do Continuum.

Get a mirror

My first question to someone who sucks at the Continuum is whether they’re even aware of this problem and its consequences.  Sometimes people need a figurative (and sometimes literal) mirror to see that this is a pattern and a problem. Continue reading

Is Your Personality Attracting Customers?

The Real Slim Shady

The Real Slim Shady (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Chala, Chala, Chala!” my boss shook his head as he sighed in disappointment at my questionable joke during a meeting with one of our suppliers.  The poor man was fond of me and he was also used to me but as he’d disclosed at my recent performance review, he didn’t think I had “corporate maturity”.  That folks was my first ever job exactly 20 years ago.

The Subterfuge

Sad to say, through the years, I had to shed my jokes, my laughter and my sense of fun to climb up the corporate ladder.  I can’t say that I was all too good at the subterfuge because I never quite fit in until I found my last job.   At my last job, I was too old, too experienced and too good at what I did to care much about “corporate maturity”.  I was also surrounded by a warm, caring and appreciative culture.  The honeymoon lasted 7 long years and it prepared me to fly out on my own.

The Entrepreneur Personality

Now as an entrepreneur, my personality is the most critical element of my marketing. My flippant jokes and irreverent style are the key things that set me apart from hundreds of other marketing coaches.   As a small business owner, are you trying to fit an “acceptable” mold or owning who you truly are at your heart?

Your Brand Voice

At the core of your marketing is something called your “Brand Voice”.  Everything from your tag line to your business card to your elevator pitch should come from this consistent “voice”.  This “voice” either attracts people or lets them know that perhaps you are not the person to help them.

Too scared to be me

When you think and talk in a way that you think is “acceptable” to your boss, your clients, your networks or your newsletter audience, you’re actually cheating.  You’re cheating yourself out of living authentically and cheating others by fooling them into thinking that you’re a match for them when in reality, the people you’re too scared to attract probably need you the most.

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up?

As in Eminem song which definitely dates me, will you let the real you please stand up and stop thinking about whether it’s acceptable or not?

The fake allegedly “acceptable” you is uncomfortable, unsustainable and a waste of your true shining self. So shout out the “unacceptable” you and feel the joy of attracting those who love you for your courage and spirit and will pay big bucks for your honesty because you are DIFFERENT than others who are all so very “acceptable”.

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