I don’t think it can be overstated that the web has brought with it unprecedented power. The power to reach your potential customer and put your marketing message in front of them cheaply and easily. Everyone is on the web no matter what niche you’re in, no matter your target demographic- they are there and with some trial & error, you can reach them.
That’s the good news. Now the bad news.
Almost no one knows how to market on the web successfully. This problem stems from a few key factors. First off- unless you’re a giant corporation, with an unlimited marketing budget, you cannot use traditional marketing methods on the web (sorry advertising agencies and traditional marketing companies). Anything designed for ‘brand awareness’ or ‘top of the mind’ isn’t going to generate the one thing small business owners and entrepreneurs actually need: customers.
Secondly, as the web has evolved over the past few years, more and more advertisers and ads have crowded the web, driving up prices and making it harder to get your potential customers’ attention. There’s even a condition called ‘Banner Blindness’ now where a percentage of people subconsciously ignore banner ads when they are surfing the web. Add to this the ever changing landscape of SEO (search engine optimization- which as of the time I’m writing this, 3/15/16, is dead, IMHO) as a quick traffic strategy and you’ll begin to see why so many people struggle to get any traction with their web marketing efforts.
So what can you do to enjoy success, while others fail? The answer is simple, but not easy.
To start, you’ve got to use the time tested and proven methods of direct response marketing. The web was literally made for this kind of advertising and it’s what every successful marketer and business owner I know uses. I’ve discussed this in previous blog posts.
The next success tip I’ll share with you is more of a mindset than a tangible thing- but it’s the most important part. You have to approach your efforts at web marketing with the mindset of ‘cracking the code’, and in reality it’s more like a 4-5 different codes. The overwhelming majority of people make a few feeble attempts at marketing online and then quit when they don’t see results. I like to tell my clients that they are mining for gold, and the web has a treasure chest of it- but that chest has a series of combination locks on it. In order to be successful online, you’ve got to figure out (dial in) the combination of each of these locks before you’ll get the gold (almost unlimited clients). Most importantly, you’ve got to have the emotional fortitude to go through test after test, trial and error with unwavering determination.
So what are some of these ‘locks’ you’ll need the combination to? Here’s a quick list of my top 6:
Where are my potential customers online? What websites, forums, etc.
What message ‘words’ will they click on?
What ‘image’ will they click on?
Are the clicks you’re getting from “qualified” prospects?
Can we improve on the “best” performing ads? (increase CTR- click through rate)
And lastly, do the clicks we’re getting convert to paying customers?
There are many more than this quick list but this represents a good start. Keep in mind that the lesson here is you’re always testing, working and refining your online marketing. You need to approach this task as an on-going effort, not a one and done type task.
Keep the right mindset, and your success is virtually guaranteed, because your ideal customer is online and with a little perseverance you will find and convert them to your customer, unlocking that chest of gold.
When you’re tired of beating your head against the wall and want proven, time tested methods and strategies that flat out work- bringing an avalanche of red hot customers to your door, then you need to grab a copy of Automated Entrepreneur Method right now. Save yourself countless hours of trial and error and get the shortcut to success right now.
You’ll also want to attend my webinar where I cover this topic and many more in depth. You can register for that here.
Yours in Profit,
A few years ago I learned that the word FOCUS is an acronym meaning: Follow One Course Until Successful.
This may sound easy, but in reality I’ve found it to be very difficult, especially when it comes to building your business.
In any given business, on any given day, there are just too many things to focus on, too many things pulling you in all different directions. Things like accounts receivable (getting paid), accounts payable (paying bills), employee or contractor management, product development, fulfillment, customer relations, brand messaging, payroll, cash flow management and many, many more… And yet none of these activities, all demanding your attention, address what Michael Gerber identified as the most important. None are working ‘on’ your business. They are all working ‘in’ it.
This is where the power of FOCUS comes in. If you want to rapidly scale your business from 6 figures a year to 7, you must focus on the activities that build your business, not just manage it.
What are some of those things?
My favorite, and I believe the most important, is marketing. As I define it, marketing is everything that causes a potential customer to notice you and causes them to want to choose your business over anyone/everyone else.
I’d like to say that until a business has figured out how to attract a constant and predictable flow of high quality customers, ready to do business with you, you shouldn’t be focusing on anything else. Sure paying the bills has to get done, as do many of those other ‘in your business’ activities, but none really matter until you’ve got loads of people waiting to give you their money.
FOCUS on that first, and keep at it until you’ve achieved that goal and I guarantee you’ll have a 7 or even 8 figure business very soon.
If FOCUS is a challenge for you, and you’d like specific, and proven marketing methods, strategies and tactics that deliver top quality customers to your business 24/7, then you’ll want to get your hands on my Automated Entrepreneur program right away. You can learn more proven FOCUS techniques and killer marketing strategies on my webinar, that you can attend for free, just register here.
Yours in Profit,
From start-up to corporate enterprise, the message is clear—grow fast. But, in an economy with unicorns starting to trip over themselves, the decision to accelerate growth has to be made cautiously.
As a business growth authority, I work closely with my clients to investigate when the time is right—or not—to make your small business a bigger business.
Knowing when to expand, and how to do it successfully, is critical to your growth plans, and maybe the survival of your business. First, let’s take a look at some signals that reveal it is not a good time to push fast expansion:
Stop. These are signs of a business out of control, not one ready for growth. So how should you think about growing your business?
Steps for safe business growth
The right growth strategy for you is not the growth strategy that worked for somebody else. Though you may sell the same product, the similarity ends there. Your financial statement, goals, and history are different than the other guy or gal. That means your best move is to work individually with an advisor who knows business—and knows how to ramp up your profits.
Business growth and increasing revenue are not the same things. While you hope one leads to the other, I work with the whole picture when I talk to you about business growth. Depending on your unique goals, and spreadsheets, I might suggest steps that include:
Growth may look good, but not if your small business crumbles under the weight. When you are ready to expand, or looking for how to stabilize your business for growth, I hope you will contact me to talk about your best options for moving up. You can reach me at (585) 633-7563.
Yours in profit,
Earlier this year, a bystander caught a Miami doctor behaving badly on video. The incident involved an Uber driver, and questionable choices made by the doctor. Although the doctor eventually walked away from the incident, she couldn’t walk away from the internet furor left behind.
Since then, the young doctor was placed on leave from employment with the Jackson Health System. She states she didn’t realize the incident would be such a big deal and has hired an attorney, and a public relations firm, to try and salvage her reputation—and her job.
This incident is just the latest in a long string of viral moments captured by not-so-hidden cameras. Cellphone cameras are everywhere, and both photos and video capture the foods people eat, as well as their foibles during the business day.
As a business growth authority, I work with small business clients to help them increase revenue, develop their brand—and take home more money. I talked recently about how to turn the tables on negative internet comments, but now I am going to talk about making sure some of those negative comments never happen.
Best time for reputation management? Before you have a problem
A couple of years ago, singer Dave Carroll sat on a United Airlines airplane as baggage was being loaded onto the plane. To his dismay, he saw his custom guitar being tossed through the air by baggage handlers. On landing, he discovered, as he suspected, that the guitar was broken, costing him about $1,200 in repairs. In the span of a year, United Airlines dodged his calls, and refused to make good.
For closure, or maybe for openers, Mr. Carroll created and posted a YouTube video describing his experience with United Airlines. Within two days of posting, the video had 24,000 hits. Today, over 15 million people have viewed the piece. United Airlines contacted Mr. Carroll and hopefully took care of the claim. And today, the video keeps right on describing the poor service received by Mr. Carroll.
The best advice for handling a claim like this? Don’t let it happen in the first place. Viral videos frequently make headlines. While you can respond to negative comments, you cannot scrub your internet reputation clean—ever.
Consider these points to help avoid brand damaging moments enshrined forever on the internet:
If you encourage employees to post about their workplace on social media, it requires training. Creating positive buzz about your job environment is a plus, if it is done right. Be sure your employees know what is appropriate—and inappropriate—to post. Aim for positive—and if your employees are not happy, find out why and try to remedy it.
Customers are sometimes unhappy, and post negative things on social media. You can handle that. But when you adopt an overall policy of excellent customer and client service—such issues are a lot less likely to happen.
When you need the marketing automation, and business plan, to break through the small business revenue ceiling, I can help. Call me at 585-633-7563 today.
Yours in profit,
In my many years of working with business owners & entrepreneurs, there’s
one thing that I’ve found destroys more dreams, crushes hopes and derails
success more than just about anything else.
What’s that one thing?
This problem is so pervasive and so insidious that the people who suffer from it
almost never fully realize the grasp it has over them.
And the opposite is true as well. The people who are most wildly successful
are the ones who don’t suffer from this alignment.
Let me share a story that I think illustrates this beautifully.
When I was first getting into marketing, I had a mentor and a coach. He was very
successful and had made millions. I was dead broke but ambitious. My mentor
told me I needed to develop a marketing piece that would consistently drive in new
business. He gave me some general guidelines but left the rest up to me to create
the offer, write & design it. Took me a couple of months of hard work but eventually
I had something I thought was pretty good. I sent it to him to critique and he gave
me a few suggestions and told me to let it rip. Excited, I spent money I didn’t have
and mailed out thousands of these pieces only to get virtually no response. I didn’t
realize it at the time but this was a pivotal moment for me. When I called my mentor
and told him of my failure, his response startled me and he said ‘that’s great’. Obviously
I didn’t feel great. I was deeply in debt and now a little deeper. When I asked why it was
‘great’ he said because ‘you found something that didn’t work so now you’re one step closer
to finding one that does.’ Mentally this was a reach for me but thankfully I embraced this
way of thinking and I decided to keep testing and failing until I figured out what worked.
I’d like to say it was the second time, third, fourth or even fifth- truth be told I think it was
about the fifteenth. I say about because I quit counting and I focused all my attention on
cracking the code and finding success. And when I found success it hit like tidal wave. I ended
up creating a marketing piece that to date has sold over 100 million in services- it’s a whopping
But here’s the most important part of this- it was very tempting to say to my mentor,
after my failures, ‘aren’t you a marketing expert- you should know what works and give me the solution!’
this is what people suffering from victim thinking think & say. They fail, then they quit. And on to
the next thing looking for the solution. They blame the failure on someone else. They never put in the
effort to seeing something all the way thru to success. They are only committed as long as it’s easy
As a coach and a mentor now myself I’m keenly aware when someone has adopted this attitude
and is heading toward failure. When you’re fully committed to an outcome, you’ll find it no matter what.
This is why I have clients who become rich following my advice and others that have failed and quit.
In the end, it comes down to their attitude. Successful people realize it’s a process- a journey,
and they will not be denied. Victims blame others and everything else.
Let this be a reminder to never be a victim and embrace the mantra: if it’s to be, it’s up to me.
And get to work. Do that you and you will not be denied.
Yours in Profit,
360 Packetts Landing Fairport, New York 14450 United States (585) 633-7563
Not only is content management driving marketing efforts these days, but CM is big business—providing work for lots of people along the marketing and customer service pipeline.
There are many types of content—but first, what is it? Here are a couple of points to keep in mind:
So, content marketing is pretty much the business of using different types of content to get your message across to your audience, and even, to your competitors.
Content marketing is mostly conducted online—helping you attract targeted leads. Maybe you remember buying bulk mailing or email lists? The days of casting a big net to see what swims into it, are done too. Content marketing means crafting a unique message for just the right kind of customer.
Types of content that could help—and how you use it
If you are an entrepreneur, it is likely you run a pretty small shop. Small- to medium-sized businesses cannot afford a whole team of marketing people on the payroll.
Since marketing is now the bigger part of sales, blending these efforts is essential. Consider outsourcing your marketing needs to a specialist you can use to create a targeted content marketing strategy—and execute on it. Outsourcing is also a super idea for creating content, because an outsourced specialist knows how to write, and create, the content you want.
While you need to deeply engage in developing a marketing strategy that works best for your small business, this does not mean you have to create the content. As I have said many times before, only do the work that only you can do.
Basically, your focus as a small business owner is to create interesting, focused content, make sure it is optimized for the web, and manage social media channels. What you do depends largely on your budget, your goals, and your audience.
Here are some different types of content that could work for you:
There are different kinds of content that could be right for your business. You don’t need to use everything, but you’ll want to mix it up to keep your audience—and customers—interested.
The most intriguing content in the world won’t mean anything if you do not have a strong marketing strategy, the right value proposition, and the message that puts those together in an unbeatable way.
I use experience, software , and know-how to help my clients succeed. I work with small business owners to create the message, and the business climate, to give your business the boost it needs—and the profit you want.
When you want to dig in to more money at the end of each month, give me a call at 585-633-7563.
Yours in profit,
In 2015, the rate of electronic theft, fraud, and cyber invasion rocketed. Hacking is now an established criminal enterprise, and the easier the target—the more likely it is to be hacked. The average cost of a single business hack can run from $30,000 to millions of dollars. Can you afford to ignore this issue?
Entrepreneurs with fewer than 100 employees often think themselves too small to attract the interest of cyber criminals. Unfortunately, small business is a prime hacking target for a number of reasons including:
A recent article in The New York Times notes that a single hacking incident, or a series of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, can take your business down for good.
DDoS attacks occur when a bad actor aims an autobot network at your website—overwhelming and crashing your server. Your web presence and ecommerce, are dead.
Increasingly, hackers are using chaos as a diversion. While you, or a computer security expert, try to get your website back up, the hacker quietly launches malicious code which can be remotely manipulated later, when you think the crisis has passed.
When people talk about a computer virus, spyware, or adware, they are talking about malware, or malicious programs used to damage systems and steal information. Ransomware is a form of malware, and like the name implies, the software locks up your system until you pay for its release.
The problem is, payment of the ransom may—or may not—end with the happy return of your essential business files. Although hackers have a financial interest in returning your files intact, a small mistake can scramble your files, costing you not only the ransom—but your data as well.
On the cloud, or on your own server, cyber crime is a growth industry and your enterprise will eventually be a target.
Five tips to protect your small business from cyber attack
I am a business growth expert who helps clients make smart moves with their marketing—and automated marketing software. A natural computer geek, I know a few things about protecting digital assets.
As much as you may not want to deal with cyber stuff, take a deep breath and take a look at these tips. Being aware of the vulnerability of your small business is half the battle:
Train your workforce about social engineering techniques like phishing. A click on an attachment, or a safe-looking link, in an email can quickly lead to a serious data breach incident. Make cyber security a common conversation with employees, and update their knowledge frequently on best practices.
Be aware that rates for cyberinsurance are rising just as fast as the hacking rates. You may find insurers provide expensive coverage for less than the damage you might suffer.
Plus, some insurers and banks are pushing back on claims—litigating incidents where employee mistakes led to the breach. Another good reason for assessment, protection, and pen-testing is that you could get better rates when you try to apply for cyberinsurance.
The profit you see from your small business depends on secure doors and windows to your data, and your service. Don’t skimp on cyber security.
Just like network safety, earning more profit does not happen by accident. When you are ready to move ahead on a new plan for profit this year—I hope you call me at 585-633-7563.
Yours in profit,
You work hard to run your business, produce a product, or provide a service, and deliver on time. You expect to turn a profit by being paid in a timely way. Unfortunately, small business does not work that way a lot of the time.
According to a recent survey by cash flow tech company Fundbox, about 64 percent of their small business clients are routinely paid late. And it is not necessarily that small businesses are always the culprits too stretched to pay on their bills. It is also big clients, like Walmart and McDonald’s, who routinely pay late. Go figure.
It is hard enough being an entrepreneur without working for nothing. When you make a sale—you need to get paid.
Taking care of business—tips to make sure you see the money
You have your own bills and employees to pay, you cannot spend another week wondering when the check is going to be in the mail from your big client. The longer an invoice goes unpaid, the less likely you are to be paid in full.
Take these tips to heart, and to the bank, when you want to get serious about a cash flow problem caused by late-paying clients:
Some experts counsel against a late fee, saying it is just incorporated into the cost of doing business. Bottom line? You don’t want to be doing business with people that pay late! Small businesses cannot work for those who do not pay—make your message at the outset as you discuss initial delivery and payment terms.
Be sure to stay on a first-name basis with personnel responsible for processing your bids, and contract payments with your bigger clients. You’ll be the first to know about potential payment delays, and more likely to get paid on time.
Set up a merchant account, and take payment by electronic transfer or credit card. Be sure there is a clear understanding of delivery and payment terms to ensure you, and your customer, are free to build and expand a good business relationship—instead of spending frustrated days and weeks trying to get paid.
Best tip? Develop and manage your client list into only premium customers. I have said it before, do not compete on market price. Compete for premium clients who pay the right price—on time. By offering special perks, attention, client care, and high quality service, you are developing the kind of customer who pays on time, every time. You do not want clients looking for a break on every bill. You want the ones who come to you because they know what to expect, and they are willing to pay for it.
From here on out? No more 90-day and up overdue, you just cannot afford it. Put the right structure in place, and start attracting the kind of customer that does not quibble about paying a fair price. When you need to market your services to the clients who pay—I hope you will call me at (585) 633-7563 for help. No small business owner can get rich on an IOU.
Yours in profit,
I am an expert on small business growth. My work with individual clients, and with groups, helps them become millionaires. Think about it—wouldn’t you like to make more money, and do more of what you love? At the same time, you can do less of what you don’t want to do. That could be done by someone—or something—else.
We talked last time about the different types of data and how data helps your business. But how do you manage your data in a meaningful way? That is where CRM comes in.
Learning about CRM is one of the first steps I recommend to my clients. Many small businesses get by initially by using a spreadsheet and an email list. Grow a bit, bring on a sales representative, or start getting some traction in the market, and you’ll find that keeping track of things on paper is not so easy.
Plus—storing dates, details, and customers is not the same thing as nurturing leads, activating your sales funnel, or engaging established customers.
Your CRM: What can it do for you?
In the last decade, the business of marketing has changed. While marketing used to be placing general ads, sending out brochures, and a hit or miss approach, personalization is the name of the game today. The better you capture individual consumer practices and preferences, the better able you are to meet client needs. How?
Your CRM software can handle a great deal of the labor that used to take marketing personnel many hours. From keeping track of important contact and sales information, to creating a dynamic web experience for new visitors to your website, CRM packages capture, store, and infuse your sales strategy with the information you need for leads to become conversions.
Here are some key capabilities of CRM software:
Can you take personalization too far?
Storing and using personal data can help you offer better value on a more personal basis, but be aware of some common errors using personal information:
When you have questions about aligning your marketing data, business processes, and CRM software to boost your revenue, I hope you will call me at 585-633-7563.
Yours in profit,
Sound confusing? Don’t worry. In the next couple of blogs, we’ll talk about what numbers and Big Data mean, and get you on the road to a more profitable 2016.
If we haven’t met, I am an entrepreneur and business growth authority who built several successful businesses. Now I consult and run business groups to help other small business owners learn how to work smarter—not harder.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to take stock of what works—and what does not work—for your business. It is not a good time to throw money at whatever marketing method catches your eye. As I talked about before, shiny object syndrome can cost a lot of money, without offering much in return—especially when you are determined to make a change in your business.
What am I talking about? Let me tell you about the most common ways people lose money trying to find new clients or customers:
You don’t get the customers because you threw your marketing budget at the crowd. There are at least two ways to make money. One is putting the right plan in place to ensure your service or product is continually reaching new potential leads. The other is making smarter use of the money already present, or already being spent to run your business.
We’ll talk about getting new leads first.
How does data get the customers you need?
A lot of entrepreneurs recoil at the word “data.” What is it? It is knowledge. Knowledge of who might buy your product or service, and what they will pay for it. It is knowledge of the economics and geography of where you are trying to do business—whether it is local, or on the web. It is knowledge that gives you the edge as you cultivate a lead into a converted, long-term client. You need data.
Data-driven organizations make more money, because they have the knowledge of where to place their confidence—and their marketing budget—to generate business. There are a couple of different kinds of data, including:
You also need a way to manage and cultivate your data. You can use any of a number of customer relationship management (CRM) systems. I have a lot of success with Infusionsoft.
When you want to put the right plan in place, or develop better marketing and business process—call me at (585) 633-7563, or check out one of my groups. Starting this year, my goal is to make you a millionaire.
Yours in profit,