The many moving parts of marketing

I suppose the world was confounded when Sears mailed its first mail order catalog in 1888.

Sears catalogWant to buy a watch or some jewelry? No problem. Thumb through the catalog. Find what you like. Fill out an order form. Put a check or money order in the envelope. (Don’t send cash.) Mail it to Sears and wait… and wait… and wait. Heaven forbid you wanted or needed to exchange an item!

It was a slow process with very few moving parts.

The world of marketing, advertising, and promotion has changed to TOO MANY moving parts. Not only must we advertise and promote our products and services, but we must also advertise and promote in order to drive people to where those sales messages reside –– mostly online.

We drive people (hopefully viable prospects with cash in their pockets) with search engine optimization, search engine marketing, or pay-per-click. We drive people to our messages with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus+, and a dozen other social media channels.

Feel worn out just thinking about it? I do.

It would be simple if getting them there were the only challenge. But now we also have to inspire them to buy. That conundrum is what inspired me to look for ways to apply the principles I outline in How to Close More Business in Less Time to websites. (See www.StrategicMarketingTeam.com) Continue reading

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Here’s what happens when an author studies his own book

old typewriterWhen I wrote How to Close More Business in Less Time, I was focused entirely on eyeball-to-eyeball, face-to-face transactions.

The majority of the examples I used and stories I told had to do with one-on-one interactions between a sales person and a prospect in close proximity to one another. I used these stories to dramatize exactly how a sales process could be orchestrated to live up to the title of the book: closing more business and often better business in less time.

I did, however, share one story about a business that exists entirely online –– no storefront! I talked about how they constructed a website, supported it with technology, educated they team members, and created an exceptional experience. That story, of course, had to do with Crutchfield.com, an online audio, TV and video, and electronics company.

Shifting Gears just a little: I never know what kinds of marketing projects are coming in the door until the phone rings or a client refers me to someone they know.

That’s exactly what happened one day last year. I found myself talking to a business that had a tremendous amount of traffic to their website, but failed to convert that traffic into a next step. In other words, their website simply wasn’t motivating prospects to pick up the phone, send an email request, or take any action to connect.

Essentially, I went back to my own book –– this time, to read between the lines. I wanted to see how I could create a new, improved sales process for a website that would qualify and educate prospects and motivate them to take the next step. (This is the conversion I talked about in last week’s post.)

It worked. And I shared the link with you when the website came online in December: Silver Fin Capital.

Since then, I’ve been working diligently with my marketing team to formalize how we can successfully support any business that’s investing heavily in search engine optimization,  spending a significant amount for Google Adwords or pay per click, or simply not getting the conversions they need. I’m happy to say we worked it out.

I am pleased to introduce a new team within ProfitAbility Institute. Meet The Strategic Marketing Team, dedicated to building websites and constructing marketing that consistently and efficiently converts more traffic in less time!

tsmt home page1

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Traffic versus traffic

I remember getting into my car in Riverdale, New York, plugging a Long Island address into my GPS, and seeing 24 minutes pop up as my estimated travel time. An hour and a half later I’d still be sitting in traffic.

Traffic on highwayToo often I can’t move faster than five miles per hour here in Tampa on the Veterans Expressway trying to get to an early morning meeting.

Most people don’t like traffic –– unless, of course, that traffic has something to do with web traffic.

Then, it’s an entirely different story.

In fact, they’ll do anything they can to generate more traffic. They invest large sums of money in Search Engine Optimization or Google Adwords or both. They watch Google Analytics more closely than the stock market for hits per day, week, or month. It’s all about numbers –– how many people they can drive to their website.

But generating web traffic is only half the battle.

The other half of the battle is getting those people –– called prospects –– to do something. That something is to take a next step. Continue reading

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I’m sorry

On a recent trip, my wife and I stopped at a name-brand hotel in Virginia – our hotel of choice on most road trips simply because things are always just right. In other words, they’re consistent from location to location.Irate Customer

As we were checking out the following morning, I mentioned to the desk clerk that, among several minor problems with the room, our hair dryer had a broken plug. I could see inside the plug and it appeared there could be a short. Understanding I rarely need a hair dryer, I felt mentioning this would be a service to the next guest. I expected it would also be a prime safety concern for the hotel and a means to avoid a lawsuit.

The desk clerk responded to my four concerns with, “I’ll let them know.” There was no apology, no “I’m sorry,” no attempt to offer me a discount or a free Hawaiian vacation – not that I was actually expecting that.

I used to hear “I’m sorry” all the time when a business transaction, service, or purchase didn’t work out well or when I returned something to the store because of a technical problem or manufacturer’s defect. Continue reading

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Blind to taking follow-through seriously

For years in my talks, writings, and books I’ve preached the absolute imperative for businesses to focus on developing and maintaining lifetime relationships with their customers and clients.

Call it a hobby, but I’m always on the lookout for good examples and bad examples of blinds 3businesses that nurture lifetime relationships.

I’m a skeptic. And I’m always testing. So it’s not unusual for me to place a smaller order with a company, to see how well they perform. If they do well, they get the big order. If they do poorly, I move on.

That’s exactly what happened recently when I placed my first order with a local franchise of a national blinds company.

A competent salesman came to the home. We chatted, talked about various projects I wanted to tackle. We talked about pricing and delivery. In keeping with my testing approach, I ordered two blinds – one for the bedroom and the other for my home office.

As predicted, in about three weeks I received a call telling me they were ready. We set a date for the installation.

As good as the salesman was, the installer was just the opposite. Continue reading

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Watch the lowest common denominator

I’m old enough to remember when we had only black and white television. There was no cable. We could watch three stations if the rabbit ears (the antenna) that sat on top of the TV were positioned just right.

I also remember the transition from black-and-white to color. I was working at a Philco TV 1960s bwcommercial television station in Cincinnati. Our control room was suddenly filled with state-of-the-art color monitors feed by state-of-the-art color cameras that were about the size of a Mini Cooper. (Whoever could have imagined each of us with a smart phone could carry a television camera in our pocket let alone have the capability to broadcast it.)

Now this transition from black-and-white to color occurred when only five to ten percent of the population had television sets that could receive color. So while those of us in the studio were watching in color, people at home were fiddling with rabbit ears desperately trying to watch the Cincinnati Reds win a baseball game.  Continue reading

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My new hobby

I recently had the pleasure of helping Andrew Weinberg and Rich Pisnoy, co-founders of Silver Fin Capital, a top-rated mortgage company located in Great Neck, New York and serving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Florida, sharpen thSFC-logo-horizontal-cmykeir marketing, rebrand their image, and develop a new website.

My primary role was to serve as marketing strategist and project coordinator. That began by spending time with Andrew and Rich to thoroughly understand their business, sales process, and value propositions, and to conduct an in-depth SWOT analysis (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats).

My activities also included locating and directing a copywriter to turn the SWOT and value propositions into words, a designer to provide an exceptional new look from logo to finished website (and I found a truly great web designer in Len Williams of Design Strategies), and a plan for driving traffic to the Silver Fin Capital website. That plan includes both Adwords and SEO.

While I always enjoy being actively involved and hands-on in the creative process, working as project manager and with other highly competent creative people was a real hoot. I not only had a great time but the result speaks for itself. So I’ve found my new hobby: working with and directing a highly creative and talented team to bring about a truly exceptional outcome. CLICK HERE to see the new Silver Fin Capital website.

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Watching winter on television

I just realized how long it’s been since I posted a blog — almost three months.

Well, there’s good reason. Or, at least, there’s a reason.Moving van I moved. After seven years in New York City, it was time to return to the land of sunshine — Florida. That move happened for me officially on October 1st.

People ask why I’m moved. At the top of the list is the weather. Some like it hot and I’m one of those guys. Winter and I just don’t get along and the last two winters in New York left me with two options: Hibernate or move back to the Tampa area.

The other reason is that I’m now back among family and friends, sunny skies, sandy beaches, and no snow.

So if you’re looking for me, you can find me in a Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs, chasing alligators down U.S. Highway 19, taking the grandkids for ice cream, or at my desk. (This isn’t retirement. Life in Florida only sounds like retirement.)

Continue reading

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Reinvention

The dictionary defines reinvent as “to make major changes or improvements to (something), to present (something) in a different or new way.”

People reinvent themselves all the time, often without consciously being aware they’re rethinkdoing so. Something stirs them and they decide to adopt the latest fashion trend, join a new club, try a new activity, or take a few courses – just for the fun of it.

Businesses need to be a whole lot more conscious and deliberate about reinvention. In fact, I believe it’s essential for business owners to continually reinvent their businesses.

Reinvention means introducing new products or services and their accompanying new features and benefits, seeking out new markets, rethinking deliverables, reevaluating pricing strategies, refreshing their branding, and updating value propositions so they better address the needs of their customer base for today and tomorrow. Continue reading

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Connecting the dots between marketing and the sales process

INTERVIEW Bruce Hurwitz, host of Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s The Voice of Manhattan Business conducted an insightful interview with me on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. He was looking to connect the dots between marketing and the sales process. Great questions. Solid answers. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mcofc/2014/08/27/an-interview-with-the-author-of-how-to-close-more-business-in-less-time

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