Why You Shouldn’t Be a One-Wo/Man Show

If you are, as I suspect, a “solopreneur,” meaning you handle everything from opening your business in the morning to signing checks and taking out the trash, I have a wakeup call for you. You could be doing a whole lot better. By being the only person in your business, you’re likely missing the bigger picture (it’s hard to plan strategy when you’re putting price tags on inventory).

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I’ve talked before about delegating, but here I want to talk about working with mentors and consultants. I am a marketing consultant, and I fill that role of someone for business owners to bounce ideas off of. I falsely assumed because I consult that I don’t need my own consultant. (Don’t you hate those “oh duh” realizations?) I’ve worked with a few business coaches who have helped me see my business in a different light, and who have given me ideas based on their own experience that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.

Resistance is Futile: Why you Shouldn’t Wait to Implement Social Media into your Marketing

Many businesses are afraid to step into the wonderful world of technology and marketing.

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This is a shame, because their competitors are indeed moving into this technolosphere. Ironically, it seems that consumers or end users are more embracing of social media and technology when used in marketing than businesses are. Here are some reasons I believe businesses are afraid to adopt new technology in their marketing efforts.

1. Businesses think starting a blog or podcast is harder than it really is. Without real understanding, no decision maker ever wants to take on integration or implementation of a new technology.

2. Executives don’t have time to learn the technology. If they don’t understand it, they won’t advocate it.

Entrepreneur Inspiration

I’d like to deviate from my usual discussion on marketing to discuss being an entrepreneur.

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What excites and inspires you most about growing your business, and why?

I love Egg Marketing & Public Relations. It’s really blossomed over the past year. And now I’m ready to help it grow. It’s as if it took me a year to truly believe that my business was going to thrive, and now I’m ready to take the next step forward.

When Sex Shouldn’t Sell: Taking Corporate Responsibility in Marketing

You may have heard about (or seen) Hardee’s commercials featuring a strip-teasing teacher, Paris Hilton washing a car, or a woman putting her fist in her mouth and wondered exactly what the burger chain was selling. The company has been getting a lot of flack for its “sex sells” campaigns, and I have to agree with the critics. While, yes, as a marketer, I understand that sex is used all the time to sell products, I have to draw the line at the innuendo that a teacher being ogled by her students presents. Sure, it was a spoof. I could almost laugh at it. But for the fact that degrades women (essentially comparing them to a slab of beef) and gives young men and women a skewed idea of what marketing should be.

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And come on, who really believes Paris washes her own car or eats greasy burgers?

Advertising That Works: Show Us the Funny

We all hate commercials, unless they make us laugh. Then we tell everyone we know, effectively making those commercials work through word of mouth. Here are a few I think are noteworthy: * Domino’s Dessert Pizza. It’s plain silly, but…

Why Your Business Should Blog

I realized that even though we had the week-long Blogging & Your Business event, I’ve never actually taken the time to explain why I believe your business needs a blog. I frequently pitch blogs to my Egg Marketing customers, so it’s apropo that I post my reasons.

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I talk a lot about how times, they are a changin’. It’s inevitable that we will not be able to reach customers in the ways we did in the past. To successfully grow any business, you have to be open to change. Customers adapt faster than businesses, and that’s the downfall of many companies. It’s a tiresome race, always trying to find the new way to market before the consumer discovers it, but it’s a necessary evil.

Blogs are the future. Now, if your idea of blogs is someone’s journal about what they ate that day, that may have been true in 2000, but it’s not true now. But you know that because you’re reading this. Blogs are meant to inform. Rather than buy a set of encyclopedias from a door-to-door salesman, you can have any type of information you seek with a few clicks of a button, and much of it is on blogs. Consumers like free information. Provide that to them, and their sales will follow.

Marketing That Works: The Follow Up

While at first glance, customer service may not appear to be part of marketing, it is. Everything your company does to promote itself falls under marketing. Following up is one of the key pieces in good customer service. Whether it's after a sale, after meeting for the first time, or even after a complaint has been filed, followup is important, and yet often overlooked. Here are a few companies that have impressed me with their followup.

If John Gerard Can Do It, Why Can’t You?

Last week I wrote about viral marketing. It’s everywhere. Then I read an article on Problogger about John Gerard, a man who is determined to become famous in 31 days. His ultimate goal is to get on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He’s trekking across the country, from New York to L.A., telling everyone he meets about his mission. It’s a little a la “My Date with Drew.” That, I thought, is viral marketing at its finest. So I had to interview him to get his take on his viral campaign.

EM: How are you marketing yourself on this project?
JG: Every way possible. The web. E-mail blasts. Business Cards. Promotional T-shirts. Car Advertising. Word of mouth. Media.

EM: Did you create a marketing plan or are you winging it?
JG: Winging it. Just like my itinerary.

EM: You’ve gotten a lot of media coverage already. Is that something you put effort into, or is it more the effect of viral marketing?
JG: Yes! Both! I’m putting enormous effort in to this! And viral is amazing too! You can’t do without it!

EM: Viral marketing interests me in the fact that the public decides what is worthy of attention (who gets to be famous). What do you think about the probability of a normal guy with a crazy idea becoming a celebrity?

Press Releases in a Technology-Driven World

I’ve always been a big proponent of press releases. They’re short, simple, and to the point. But lately I’ve been asking myself if they’re relevant in a world where journalists are bombarded with releases and there are thousands of releases online at any given point online.

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I decided, yes, they are relevant. Here’s why.
1. Press releases boost SEO. Anything that helps move your business up that legendary search engine list is worth doing (short of paid placement). News is fleeting, but press releases will help move and stay up in rankings, especially if you put them out regularly.

2. Press releases make it seem like you’re important. There’s no real secret to writing and distributing press releases (look for my upcoming ebook on how to do it yourself), but people seem mystified by the process. So if your business has releases out, it seems like you’re moving and shaking. Even if you’re not.

Marketing That Works: Customer Experience

A recent trip to my grocery store got me thinking about customer experience as part of marketing. I was at Albertson’s, who a few years ago, jumped on the member-card bandwagon with everyone else. I didn’t really mind carrying my card, although I recognized the absurdity of creating a club for saving money just so the store could get some demographics.

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But last week, I saw signs everywhere telling me I no longer needed a card to save money. At first it left me feeling stripped. How would the system know how much I bought when there was a product campaign (like the one where I got a cheap pot for spending $500 in several months)?? But then I realized Albertson’s was taking customer experience into consideration. No doubt many people forgot their cards and grew frustrated. So now everyone can save money without the hassle.

A positive customer experience keeps people coming again and again.

Email Marketing Is Dead, Long Live Email Marketing

So I keep hearing email is dead. That spam killed it. And while, despite trying to run by opening new email accounts, spam keeps finding me and hunting me down while it breeds like bacteria, I don’t believe that email is dead. I just read an article in Revenue Magazine called “Old Dog, New Tricks,” about how email is in fact alive and kicking. It says that Web 2.0 is breathing new life into email campaigns.

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The article says that according to Datran Media’s December 2006 annual email study, 83.2% of those surveyed chose email marketing as their primary marketing strategy for 2007. That says a lot. It says that business people are getting sales out of email campaigns, so how could email be dead?

A Mature Medium Undergoing Change

Email has definitely evolved in the 10 years it’s been around. Now the focus is on user generated content (UGC). Rather than pummeling subscribers with sales messages, more businesses are offering content from customers, which creates a better tie between company and subscriber. Businesses are also using email to promote their blogs, RSS feeds and videos. The less like advertising it looks, the better received it is. And if readers enjoy the emails, they’ll always come back and become customers.

How to Make the Most of it

I think email is a great tool, if used right. I put out a newsletter for Egg Marketing once a month that has some of my better articles from this blog as well as news about what’s going on with the company. If I or the company has been involved in something noteworthy (i.e. my becoming an SOB on Liz Strauss’ blog!) I’ll put that in there too. I’ll include a coupon at the bottom for my services, but overall the newsletter isn’t blatantly screaming “buy from me!” I am actually considering putting out more emails, because it seems the consensus has changed about how frequently to send out messages.

Viral Marketing, Get the bug

I’ve been thinking a lot about viral marketing lately. Primarily since I spoke with Kevin Eikenberry . Today, his goal is to unseat Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the #1 Bestseller on Amazon.com, just for a day, with his book, Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time. He’s got a network of folks (including me) ready and willing to help him achieve this goal through emails, blogs and newsletters.

I find this a highly creative campaign (that has inspired me to dream up my own viral marketing idea) and I am eager to see Kevin succeed. And I do think he can succeed. Here’s why.

Viral marketing, while it may sound helter skelter, is actually incredibly organized. Or at least successful campaigns are. Kevin has his plan mapped out to a T and has to do nothing more than send a link to the instruction page for this campaign to get people signed up and ready to go.