An Online Business That Makes You Money… Now What? — SELL IT, You Say?

imagesCASX4NZ7“The question has often been asked of me, “What do the owners of extraordinary businesses know that the rest don’t.”

Contrary to popular belief my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.

The problem with most failing businesses I’ve encountered is not that their owners don’t know enough about finance, marketing, management, and operations – they don’t, but those things are easy enough to learn – but that they spend their time and energy defending what they think they know. The greatest businesspeople I’ve met are determined to get it right no matter what the cost.imagesCAW7Q6UD

And by getting it right, I’m not just talking about the business.

I mean that there is something uplifting, some vision, some higher end in sight that “getting it right” would serve.

An ethical certainty, a moral principle, a universal truth.

imagesCATHZ0PQWhich is not to say that those I’m inclined to think of as extraordinary would necessarily communicate it that way. Many can’t. Even if they had the inclination they simply don’t have the words for it. But it’s still there all the same. You can see it in their eyes, feel it radiating from their bodies, hear it in the timbre of their voices.

imagesCA96MEHQOn the other hand, notwithstanding the search for “something higher,” the best of the best I have known are extraordinarily grounded people; they are compulsive about detail, pragmatic, down-to-earth, in touch with the seamy reality of ordinary life. They know that a business doesn’t miss the mark by failing to achieve greatness in some lofty, principled way, but in the stuff that goes on in every nook and cranny of the business – on the telephone, between the customer and a salesperson, on the shipping dock, at the cash register.

And so the great ones I have known seem to possess an intuitive understanding that the only way to reach something higher is to focus their attention on the multitude of seemingly insignificant, unimportant and boring things that make up every business. (And that make up every life, for that matter!)

imagesCA62OAY3Those mundane and tedious little things that, when done exactly right, with the right kind of attention and intention, form in their aggregate a distinctive essence an evanescent quality that distinguishes every great business you’ve ever done business with from its more mediocre counterparts whose owners are satisfied to simply get through the day.

Yes, the simple truth about the greatest businesspeople I have known is that they have a genuine fascination for the truly astonishing impact little things done exactly right can have on the world.

It is to that fascination that this book is dedicated.

This book is a guide for those who see the development of an extraordinary business as a never-ending inquiry, an ongoing investigation, an active engagement with a world of forces, within us and without, that continually amaze and confound the true seekers amount us with awesome variety, unending surprises and untold complexity.

While it may seem obvious, this fascination with the development of an extraordinary business is not the same as a fascination with success.

imagesCAEC44F2Certainly not the success we normally think of. Some end point which, having reached it, enables one to say, “I did it!” Because my experience has taught me only too well that end points in the development of an extraordinary business are instantly replaced by beginning points.

imagesCAH6PV2CSo, this book is not about ending, but about beginnings, about the never-ending game, the delightful and exhilarating process, the continuous evolution of our senses of our consciousness – of our humanness – which only comes from being present in the moment, from being attentive to what’s going on.

I believe that our business can provide us with a mirror to see ourselves as we are, to see what we truly know and what we don’t know, to see ourselves honestly, directly, and immediately.

I believe that our business can become an exciting metaphor for

“The Way.”

A wise person once said, “Know thyself.” To that honorable dictum I can only add for the businessperson on the path of discovery, good traveling and good luck.

imagesCAAEUR30I might also add a few instructive words from another wise man, Anthony Greenbank, who said in The Book of Survival,

To live through an impossible situation, you don’t need the reflexes of a Grand Prix driver, the muscles of a Hercules, the mind of an Einstein. You simply need to know what to do.”

4000478-515030-decorative-elements-border-and-page-rules

This excerpt comes from The E-Myth RevisitedMichael Gerber’s, The E-Myth Revisited.

1And, I cannot stress enough how much this book spoke to me. I picked it up, not *super* enthused about it… I had put it on “hold” at the library and when I finally got it, I’ll admit that it didn’t look too promising.

This is where the old adage, “never judge a book by it’s cover” totally comes into play.

From the moment I read the first paragraph, I KNEW that this is the book I have been waiting for. I can only say that it *perfectly* put into words all the thoughts and feelings I had swirling around in my brain for MONTHS.

Today’s post is just a Part 1; Part 2 will go into more detail about what I learned. Not to worry, this won’t hash out into a five-part series like last time, but I will say that it’s going to be very interesting. I love learning new things about business!

So, this is the quick gist:

It’s all about this:

Creating a system that will make your business replicable.

imagesMB12XCOWWhat that means is, enabling your business to be repeatable by someone else. In other words, taking yourself out of your business and allowing others to do it. It’s creating a residual income where you are not the one performing the work.

Sound’s interesting, doesn’t it?

In essence it’s learning to create a franchise that you sell for a profit.imagesS8UF0JL8 Stay tuned…


The Ultimate Marketing Strategy Checklist Your Small Business Needs To Make Money

This is the last post from my marketing series. I’ve summarized all the points I made across the board. Enjoy!

Guerrilla Marketing, 4th editionTake heart that every change can represent money in your life if you learn about it and do something about it.” – Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerilla Marketing

 

1appGiven the right circumstances, fire has a voracious appetite. It will eat up just about anything you put in front of it – if it’s hot enough. However, the point isn’t about the temperature, it’s the way it devours. At times, its power can be nearly unstoppable.

 

2firHave you ever felt that way? Not necessarily unstoppable, but a feeling of never giving up? You press on – you never give up, there’s always this hunger. Sometimes that feeling is strong, sometimes that feeling grows dull, but it’s an ever-present reality in your life – your online business life. It’s comparable to a fire that consistently burns – sometimes it rages, sometimes it’s mere embers, but it’s always “alit”.

 

3cashPersonally, I’ve always had that burn. It’s like a particular drive. To get where? That elusive place called, success? What is success? It seems to me that the definition for that term is different for everybody. For you that’s reading this, the chances I would imagine are creating for yourself an online business that provides you with a constant inflow of residual income, am I right?

 

4sqGoing back to square one, that’s what this blog is all about. It’s about creating an online business that does exactly that. What this blog isn’t about is dreaming up what exact business you are looking to grow. For example: computer programing, accounting, software/app creating, makeup tips, music videos, acting/modeling, the list goes on and on and on. You are the one that knows yourself best, you know what it is that makes you happy, what your passion is, what your “product” is.

 

5goalMy goal is to move you onwards and upwards once you are in that place of knowing what it is you are going to do. In my mind, the directives are somewhat generic across the board. Have a website? Check. Twitter account? Check, check. Facebook? Done.

 

So, if you are an FPI business owner, this blog caters to the next step. What do you do after you have all your social media in place.

 

6searNow that we’ve got that established, I first have to mention this; even today, for the most part, after all my years of Internet experience, I still see a constant search, a constant hunger for *instant cash*. People (myself included, I won’t lie) have this dream that they will stumble onto a platform that will turn their laptop into a virtual ATM. How do I know? The two biggest keywords on Internet search engines is…. Guess what?

 

MAKE

 

MONEY

 

1dreamFor most of us, we have a dream. Our ultimate goal and desire is to wake up to a cash machine sitting at our dining room table, or wherever our laptop might be sitting. There are those who believe that it can happen, and there are those who don’t believe it can happen. For those who do believe and actually know how it can be done, will charge you for this knowledge. For those who don’t believe that it can happen just aren’t open minded enough (or at the very least, haven’t found the right avenue).

 

Can it happen? Will it happen? My answer is why couldn’t it happen?

 

Why not?

 

1keyThis is what I think: it can happen. Here’s what you probably don’t want to hear: but it does take work. And how hard and how fast is up to you. But, here’s the KEY: if you have the right tools, it can be faster rather than slower.

 

So, what kind of work, you ask?

 

1sellI don’t know. Keystrokes? Phone calls? You have a product, right? The goal is to sell that product. You will NOT get money any other way. People have to buy something from you in order for you to get paid. Do you know of any business in this world that does not operate in this way? Whether it’s:

 

  • your time (viewing ads, assisting others, reading articles, etc.),
  • your information (what you know, what you’ve experienced, what you’ve done, etc.), or
  • your product (clothing, makeup, tools, accessories, specialty/novelty product, etc.)

 

2loveYou won’t make money any other way. Period. Craft your online business based on what you love to do. Sell a product you love. And whatever you do, don’t stop. It’s not hard to stoke the fires of perseverance and motivation, a term I’ve lovingly coined, “moti-verance” (if you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably seen me mention it). You stay at it, you search out and devour all the information you can and you study the people that have gone on before you in your field.

 

2checkJust don’t do all of that on the Internet alone. Go to your local library. Please, please, please trust me on this one. And then when you’re done with that, print this out and check off each one – one by one and see if this doesn’t completely jump-start your online career.

 

From Part 1:

The sole purpose of this blog is to equip you with the knowledge and give you the tools you will need to grow your business. This post is about one of the many facets out there working to propel your ideas and products out into the social world. It’s called, marketing.” – Joy @ Glowbees

 

  • Pin down 5 professionals heroes in your field through magazines, books and blogs.

___________________________________________

___________________________________________

___________________________________________

___________________________________________

___________________________________________

 

  • Stimulating the juices that water the super-fruit of your creative imagination.

Your top three methods:

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

Coloring a picture in a quiet place – don’t knock this one! It works!

 

  • Utilize these two points above to create something addictive about your online business that has the potential to go viral.

What is it?____________________________________________________

 

∇      Carve time out of your week to spend at least two hours at your local library reading quietly off in a corner somewhere.

 

∇      You have a notepad you’ve purchased that you now carry with you everywhere.

 

∇      Promoted three of your professional heroes via an email message using a sample message I’ve shared.

 

 

From Part 2:

1st

 

Success in the new era of business is driven by your ability to stand out and be truly remarkable. That requires an ability to tap into creativity, break the mold, introduce disruptive change, and dislodge the status quo.” – Josh Linkner, Disciplined Dreaming

 

  • Establishing what it means to be an FPI businessperson. Making sure you are fully integrated on each of the following:

 

o   Your own interactive web site                                                                                   ∇

o   Your business blog                                                                                                          ∇

o   A business page on Facebook                                                                                       ∇

o   Profile completed on LinkedIn                                                                                    ∇

o   Profile on Pinterest                                                                                                         ∇

o   Profile on Google+                                                                                                          ∇

o   A Twitter account                                                                                                            ∇

o   Accounts on the following news sites:

  • Tumblr                                                                                                                       ∇
  • Reddit                                                                                                                        ∇
  • StumbleUpon                                                                                                           ∇
  • Disqus                                                                                                                        ∇
  • Digg                                                                                                                            ∇

 

∇      Created a digital-free zone somewhere in your office.

 

∇      Knowing the combined top 3 creative methods your professional heroes share. Be brief, but not enough to lose specificity!

o   ___________________________________________________

o   ___________________________________________________

o   ___________________________________________________

 

∇      A controversial and opposing viewpoint to your business’ mission statement. As an example, I sell women’s clothing. My angle is modesty, which can in itself be a controversial subject.

 

o   ___________________________________________________

 

Two ways you will use this to your advantage:

o   ___________________________________________________

o   ___________________________________________________

 

1talk

 

People won’t talk about you if you don’t give them something to say. Anything that catches attention is a topic. Anything that catches attention and then gets talked about is a fantastic topic.” Andy Sernovitz’s book, Word of Mouth Marketing

 

∇    Completed a brief email interview with one of your professional heroes and then wrote a blog article about it bring exposure to them and to your business.

 

∇    Outsourced through an online hiring platform to promote your blog or business (this is an excellent time-freeing objective – it brings exposure to your business while you sleep, or play, or go out to eat).

 

∇    Created a colorful chart/diagram concerning your business containing everything that you know that others would find useful. The link to your web site is listed at the bottom for exposure. You have shared this on all your social platforms (for online viewing: an example can be found HERE).

 

∇    You have a give-away item that your clients eagerly anticipate receiving. Your logo and web site information is on this product (remember the Microsoft MVP program!).

 

∇    You are currently co-partnered with a charity that is dear to your heart.

 

From a word of mouth perspective, charities are especially powerful because they come with their own built-in network of talkers. When you connect with any nonprofit, from a national organization to a single, small youth group, everyone in that group has a reason to talk about you. They are organized, involved, and have ready-to-go communication channels.” Andy Sernovitz’s book, Word of Mouth Marketing

∇    Three words: YOUTUBE VIDEO CONTEST.

 

 

From Part 3:

 

untitled

Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks)

[This] …is not about broadcasting your message and getting the largest reach and frequency – it’s about tapping into the conversation, listening, engaging, and empowering. The loudest, biggest spenders don’t win anymore. The smartest, most flexible listeners do.” Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media

 

 

∇    Three methods from Part 3 you are currently incorporating one a week to get more “Likes” on your Facebook business page:

 

o   ___________________________________________________

o   ___________________________________________________

o   ___________________________________________________

 

 

♣    TWITTER – Check when completed

 

∇    Your business hosted a live chat (and continues to on a regular basis)

∇    Holds a monthly (or less) contest

∇    Incorporates a semi-annual (or more often) giveaway

∇    Post brain games, riddles and funny jokes at least 3 times (or more) a week

 

 

∇    Established a private, closed group on LinkedIn with professionals in your field for the sole purpose of gaining knowledge, learning methods of promotion (for them), asking questions, creating a dialogue and gaining recommendations (this group is not to gain clients – I repeat, not to gain clients! It is to NETWORK).

 

∇    Established an open group of people you know in real life on Facebook for the purpose of support, encouragement, and ideas. These people are positive, upbeat and share similar business goals.

 

∇    You are incorporating at least two methods from Part 3 that enable you to be more likeable, transparent and personable within your business. These two methods are:

 

o   ___________________________________________________

o   ___________________________________________________

 

∇    You are continually in the process of writing small, brief, yet concise reports on trending heroes in your field at least once every two weeks using the methods listed in Part 3. You are learning:

 

o   How your goals and paths are similar

o   What you wish to emulate in their business life

o   What value you can bring to their table

 

 

From Part 4:

 

1mar

 

My goal with this whole series is to put marketing tools in your arsenal from every possible angle by acquiring the latest and greatest, yet critical information which will in turn, procure a wealth of tips & tricks every small business owner should have that leads to relationships, fans, sales, profits and success! – Joy @ Glowbees

 

Part 4 was about utilizing all the tools that I’ve written about in your off-line business life (no social media). You should have in place the following:

 

∇    An ultra-sleek, curiosity-inspiring bumper decal on the back of your car that includes your web address or logo.

 

∇    Brochures and 3×5 cards that you distribute everywhere you go that have a pretty person on them, are in color, give the people who see them complete simplicity in being more involved with your business (via TXT is a plus) (don’t forget that there are approx. 30 ideas for places to place them at in the post).

 

∇    You are set up on an online platform that allows you to receive texts through a “shortcode”. You are incorporating this into every possible marketing strategy that you use in order to make it easier for your viewing audience to:

o   receive something from you, i.e., newsletters, products, giveaways

o   ‘Like’ you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter/Pinterest, or

o   view your site, blog, & profiles.

 

∇    You are working on an ad project that you will place in a regional edition of an upscale magazine. The ad will be for your business or an eBook (see below) that you have written by doing the following:

o   creating the design and layout of the ad

o   considering the possibility of partnering with another business to cut costs (called fusion marketing)

o   ordering reprints of the ad for mere cents that you will:

o  place in mailers,

o  create a poster for,

o  have framed,

o  all with the words: “As seen in…”

∇    You have or are creating an eBook full of free information that you will give to anyone who wishes to download it complete with your web address listed in the footer of every page. Ways to get content are listed in the post.

 

∇    You currently have in place a reminder system for follow-up with clients after every sale (30 days, 90 days and one year).

 

∇    Every week you mail out at least 2 personal notes using the highest quality materials to potential clients or those on your mailing list that have not purchased from you yet. This note is to introduce yourself and give them an opportunity to receive something from you for free (through contest, promotion, giveaways deal, or eBook).

 

____________________________

 

I really had a great time blogging about all of the methods that have worked for me in my business. I truly hope that as you incorporate them in your own marketing strategies that they will kick-start your online business career selling whatever you are passionate about. And one day, your laptop will be your virtual ATM. Who’s to say that one day you won’t see this:

 

3payrecd

 

2groI’ve created something I wish I would have had five years ago. I believe that this is a pretty good break-down list of everything you should be working towards for your business, so print this out and keep it handy by your desk. For me, I use Excel in the form of this list. In one column I have all my ideas. Then, in approx. 1 to 2 weeks, I check back in and place in the column next to it what happened to that idea. I post updates, if you will in the next cell over. That way, I can see laterally what is working, what’s on hold, what’s not working, what I’m waiting on, etc. etc. And every 1 to 2 weeks I have a new column and I just keep following it over. At the bottom of my most current column I place new ideas, so it’s basically always growing, but never to the point that I can’t see what I’ve already done. It’s a nice system for me and it works.

 

Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my posts. And, if you have any questions or responses to these strategies and methods, I’d love to hear them!

 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Joy

Unbelievably New & Easy Marketing Tips & Tricks – Without Using Social Media – Say What?! Part 4 of 4

Let’s Pretend Social Media Doesn’t Exist… Just For A Bit. How Would That Impact How You Do Business? Time To Pluck That Creative Super-Fruit!

4

1clockWow! We are at Part 4, already? Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. And, I hope you had fun! It’s unfortunate that right now, I’m just realizing that this marketing series has throwing a crap-ton of information at you… And, it’s just now that I’ve decided that after this post I’m going to break everything down in a “summary post” for you with an easy to do list complete with a timeline of where you should be and where you should be going.

 

2overBefore we start, I first want to throw out there that my intention isn’t to overwhelm anybody. And, now that this marketing series is almost over I realize that I’ve pretty much thrown just about every marketing tactic there is, out there, at you, a little willy nilly. Kinda cool… kinda not cool. But, don’t think that you’ve wasted your time here with each post- NO! Although the break-down summary post coming after this one is going to be brief– it still won’t contain the necessary information that I’ve previously posted; so trust me, it was worth your while to read each post in this series. The purpose of a Part 5, if you will, is to just give you an ‘at-a-glance’ list to make sure you’re on track. It will be something you can print out and check off as you go and if you need to refer back to the post in detail- that will be just fine!

 

3moneyMy goal with this whole series is to put marketing tools in your arsenal from every possible angle by acquiring the latest and greatest, yet critical information which will in turn, procure a wealth of tips & tricks every small business owner should have that leads to relationships, fans, sales, profits and success!

 

4billySo, since we’ve covered a lot of ground digital wise, I’m going to go the route of old-school- by getting off social media for a bit. To do that, let’s pretend we live in the 1800’s and there’s no such thing as the Internet. Think of like this by repeating the next sentence: this is ground zero, here people (say that with a Western-Cowboy accent and the transformation will be complete!) and we are going to lay the ground-work for the basics… BUT not just any old basics- we are going totally to the NEXT LEVEL on this.

 

5futureThis will be the absolute latest and newest methods on the market to date. It’s nearly April, 2014 and I have yet to see this some of this information across the net (some of it, but not all). How do I know? Because I’ve been researching it myself and have come up empty handed (and I don’t know if that’s good or bad yet)! I’ve decided that I’m simply going to tackle it myself and become the ultimate, virtual pioneer in non-Internet marketing. This is going to include, A) what needs to be on your brochures, post cards, mailers, etc. (tactics not really done in small time business YET), B) making it EASY for your client to see you and then tap in, C) using the newest (FREE) technology for broadcasting your company, D) using amazing audio combined with flashy packaging to “wow” your potentials, and so much more! So, hold on to your cowboy hats!

4000478-515030-decorative-elements-border-and-page-rules

11suitDid you know you’ve been on a journey? Someone has snuck into your house and packed your bag whether you liked it or not- well… actually, you really want to go, you just didn’t know how badly until now.

 


How did this all begin? To be 100% completely, bald-faced honest, it started out by me doing a search on the mathematical formula for business success. Like the movie Moneyball, I figured that that there has to be some type of formula for success.

 

Again, to be honest, I’m still trying to find it. To the right is the book the movie is based off of —–>>>>>>

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
by Michael Lewis

 

11recordDon’t you get tired of reading the same things over and over and over, feeling like a record spinning into nowhere, just going around and around and around? Don’t you want to move up to the next level by doing something totally revolutionary when it comes to social media and even doing something revolutionary that doesn’t include the Internet?

 

Listen, your business ventures will never be like every Disney movie ever made that incorporates some type of magic to get the story across. But, you’ll have to incorporate something like it;

 

…the magic of your creativity

(once again)

 

Only this time, you’ll use your creativity combined with my creativity (and the fruit of my research and ‘know-how’).
Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition

As you better know by now, making consistent money on the Web means excelling in three areas: building your online mailing list, converting prospects into customers and customers into repeat customers, and automating the process through sequential autoresponders and online payment systems to free up your time for other activities.”
– Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerilla Marketing

 

So, without further ado, here’s THE LIST; your comprehensive, numbered, all-in-one place for marketing your business off-line. Let’s get to it!

 

11bump1. THE WHAT: Bumper decals for your car- not stickers via Cafepress in YOUR design that A) you will use yourself, and B) give away to customers who just bought from you, friends and family. And, not like this, by the way:

<<<<<<<——————

 

11carTHE WHY: If you are like most people, you drive A LOT. As an example, I put nearly 200 miles on my car yesterday alone. How many pairs of eyes do you think were on me the entire time I was driving? Probably lots- if not hundreds. The goal is to get “brand visibility”. Your brand is what you are aiming at establishing. It needs to be seen, it needs to be recognized, it needs to become part of a movement. Think that’s too big of a thought or dream? Then, you need to broaden your horizons! Why? Because ANYTHING is possible! Plus, it has an additional two-fold perk: gives you incentive to keep your car clean and keeps you cognizant of being a better driver!

 

11duckTHE HOW: Design it in a graphics program like Inkscape (you can download this fantastic program for FREE – I love it and use it nearly every day). It should be done in white. It should be simple. Above all- should BE COOL! It must be “shareable” and people should want to share it (by putting it on their car). Think about that white duck head sticker people put on their cars, you know the one I’m talking about. You’ll want to use some words though, possible your web address, or business name at least. Possibly a slogan? Invitation to join your exclusive club?

 

THE BENNIES: Great local visibility for your business garnering potential traffic to your site leading to sales, and also aids in establishing your brand.

 

Here’s an example from my own decal:

 BUMPER

 

If you would like me to design one for you, I can, for FREE. Well, not entirely free, but almost. All I ask is that you refer whoever asks about your decal to my blog, that’s it!

BUMPER2

 

 

22shutter2. THE WHAT: Brochures & 3×5 Cards – that you design via Shutterfly. They must include the image of a person (pretty girls get more attention – sorry, but true), be colorful, great typeset, AND the information you put on them must make it easy for your customer to get to you. See the *** below. 

22shareTHE WHY: If done right, you’ll get lots of eyes. If they’re shareable, they’ll get passed on. If you include the right information on them, they’ll stick around awhile. There is very little cost to this one, but the return can be high.

22matTHE HOW: You will physically place these in various areas and/or mail to your potentials and/or already established customers. Ideas for where to place: subways, schools, senior centers, college dorms, fraternities, churches, local community club centers, apartments, grocery stores, malls, car washes, condo party centers, hotels, military cafeterias, counters of public places, meeting convention centers, libraries, chambers of commerce, medical offices, roller rinks, waiting rooms at auto centers, party stores, company bulletin boards, tourist information centers, rest stops, banks, factories, beauty salons, bookstores, laundry mats. Can you think of more places?

22txtTHE CUTTING EDGE: Have you ever seen this, “TXT the word LOVE to 12345 and receive a free X”?? When a person texts something to a 5 or 6-digit number, those digits are called, “shortcodes”.

To get a “shortcode” to use as a marketing method, you have to buy one and it can cost you hundreds if not a thousand dollars a month (don’t believe me, just Google search it).

Here’s the catch that I discovered for small businesses: You can have one FOR FREE; totally legit, totally legal, no strings.

But, the way that I aim to use it is for people to text ME in order for them to get discounts, coupons, gifts, etc with my company. It doesn’t cost me to do that and it doesn’t cost my customer *depending* on their service carrier.

00easyYour goal is to create a system that makes it EASY for your clients, fans, potentials and other businesses to notice you and get something from you. Think about it, how many people do you know that dang-near live 100% of their lives on their phones? Mobile tech is NOW. If you don’t have a web site that can be read on an iPhone… well, you’re behind the times, my friend!

People will do something if A) it’s easy, and B) if something is in it for them. You’re going to do that with your brochures, flyers and 3×5 mailing cards.

00logoThe site that I use is at TextLocal (and no, I’m not being paid by them, really) and you can get a code that your clients and fans can use to simply txt whatever message you want to the 5-digit code they give you.

For example: You are having a promotional sale on your products. So, you create a flyer and distribute it around town. On that flyer you type:

Text the words, “SIGN ME UP!” to 54445 and receive a 20% off coupon on your next shopping trip with us!

 

01buildThe result is you can have your fan base text you to do ANYTHING YOU WANT THEM TO DO. What I’ve typed here is just a simple foundation. It is up to you to build on that foundation by using your own creativity- I know you can do it! Just put some thought into it and then think about this: by having them txt you, you can then move them to go various places.

 

Here are some simple and easy ideas for what they can get when they text you:

            • Signing them up for your newsletter
            • Giving them coupons for a purchase
            • Sending them a free gift
            • Ask them to visit your web site to be entered into a contest
            • Direct them to ‘Like’ you on Facebook for exclusive deals
            • Send them a link to follow you on Twitter
            • And, more! The possibilities are endless!

 

 

02save3. THE WHAT: Magazine Ads – By advertising your free eBook OR simply advertising your business. But, in order for people to respond to your ad, there has to be something they can get. Can you craft it around saving money, or making money? Maybe joining an exclusive club? That is what motivates people usually- money, deals and exclusivity. 

02bookFor an e-Book:

People, however, will always treasure and pass on information that is relevant and helps them with some aspect of their life.” – Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerilla Marketing

02book2Do a book report by checking out books from the library, magazine articles from the web (cite all articles you use), public domain, hire writers for very low cost. Be sure to write out a mission statement about your company and place your web address on every footer in small print. Make a snazzy cover page. The goal is to bring people to your site. Make it relevant, informative, free and useful. Take a month to do this, follow this timeline:

        • Week 1: Write your mission statement that includes what your mission is, what your company is about and what problems you solve. Utilize Dreamstime and Fotolia (they are the most cost effective stock agencies that I’ve found) to come up with ideas for a cover page. Find the best illustration that you can buy. Add your own personal text to the image.
        • Week 2: Get your content by checking out three books. Write 5 loaded paragraphs using information from the books. Incorporate stock images from Dreamstime as they high quality and FREE (people LOVE graphics!).
        • Week 3: Create more content via the web. Find three great web articles and PRINT THEM OUT to read at home. Get off the internet and concentrate on the articles themselves. Grab the best and most informative lines regarding your subject. Add your own ideas.
        • Week 4: Either hire out freelance writers for a few dollars (ask me how HERE if you have any troubles) or scour the public domain for information you can use. At this point, you should have plenty of good content.

 

downloadOnce you have that, save it all together with your website address in the footer as a .PDF file that people can download. You can then send it manually by email upon request or set up an automatic file downloading app on your web site. Instructions on how to do that can be found HERE.

 

To advertise your business:

Guerrilla Marketing, 4th editionA properly produced magazine ad, preferably of the full-page variety, gives a small business more credibility than any other mass-marketing medium.” – Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerrilla Marketing

Your best bet according to Jay, is to buy remnant space for a lower price in a regional edition of an upscale magazine (an example would be TIME Magazine), or partner with another business to split the cost. To find regional editions and prices for advertising click HERE. You’ll need to get familiar with the Standard Rate and Data Service, Inc. which is published monthly for ad rates.

01asinOnce you have an ad run, you can buy reprints available at a fraction of a cent each. Here’s why this is a phenomenal method for your business:

You will not necessarily gain consumer confidence from a single exposure to your magazine ad. But if you run the ad once, you can use the reprints of that ad forever.  One highly successful company ran a single regional ad in a single issue of Time magazine, then used reprints of the ad in its window and on its counter for nearly thirty-five years afterward. Reprints were also sent in direct mailings. His mailing in 2006 could even run a reporting that stated, “As seen in Time magazine.” – heavy duty name dropping from an ad run once in 1973. That’s getting mileage out of magazine advertising! – Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerrilla Marketing

 

 

00loyalty4. THE WHAT: Earnings for sharing – In some places you will see this frowned upon because people believe that you are “buying” your customer’s loyalty, but I disagree. This is how I see it: If you like the brand, like the goods, are already a fan and you’re going to share about your excellent experience anyhow (because people will ask you), why not get perks in the process that’s already going to happen?

00coffeeTHE HOW: By sharing with their friend and family base what they got from you is the goal. How this goal is achieved is by giving them incentive to do so. Now how you do that is up to you; it can be through gift certificates, entries into a contest, a free gift… actually the possibilities are endless! You can choose what you want to give in order for them to share what they’ve received from you. For example, have them take a picture of themselves with your product to share with their friends (including a hashtag of your company name) and how ever many “shares” they get are entries into a contest for a $10 gift certificate to their favorite coffee joint!

00benniesTHE BENNIES: If you are creative enough with this one, the rate of exponential growth could happen. One friend shares, then three of them share, on and on it goes. It’s more visibility for a small cost.

00guft5. THE WHAT: Your free gift included with every sale – Could be a:

          • mini-catalog (that you will ask for them to be passed on and shared. You’ll want to include somewhere that most of your customers pass them on to save on recycling, etc. (this is a persuasion tactic that is widely known in which if “most other people are doing it” they will be influenced to do it also). Check out this article, “Mini Catalogs Catching On as Economy and Culture Change” as soon as you have the chance.
          • Coupons in the form of a snazzy envelope complete with ribbon.
          • Free gift that your customer can actually use that includes your business logo on it.

00rememberTHE WHY: Once you have included some type of gift with your sale, the most crucial point to remember is: follow up afterwards – most business owners are unaware of how crucial follow-up is after the sale and that at 30 days, 90 days and at one year contact must be made. So, HOW do you remember this? At the point of sale, you create a calendar appointment on your Outlook (or other date setting platform) with reminders at those date points. On top of those reminders are WHAT you will send: email, mailer, small gift, fancy envelope celebrating your one year anniversary (with a coupon). Make it easy for them to recommend three friends to you based on your awesome ‘keeping in touch’ strategy.

THE HOW: You can create a catalog pretty much through any online publishing platform. The key is to make sure you have *awesome* graphics either through a stock agency (you can get images for FREE through the ones I mentioned above) and that it’s clean, easy to read, and fun. Create it in Adobe or graphics program like Inkscape (super-spectacular program that you can download HERE for free. I use this program nearly every day!)

00couponCoupons can be made on stationary that you choose, or visit your favorite craft store and browse the Scrapbooking aisle. Free gifts are up to you. Just put yourself in the shoes of your customer, what would you like to receive as a gift from a company you purchase from?

00env6. THE WHAT: Cold-call mailers – These are actual mailings that you will send to as many people as you can- friends, family, clients, potential clients, anyone that has shown interest in your company (or not), etc. But, these just aren’t any old mailers, these are reeeeeal personal. You will do something reeeeallllly different. So different, yet so old school. You will actually write in your own handwriting (the best that you can do) the addresses. To be completely real, it’s so RARE nowadays that people will actually be intrigued. The goal is to invite them to your site or blog.

THE WHY: Think about it, besides your grandma, when was the last time you received an actual envelope in the mail that was written by hand?

00paperTHE HOW: You’re going to need extra-special envelopes. I was even toying with the idea of possible small boxes, but I realize that that may be too difficult and get too costly. Some type of foil-type paper for the envelope would be creative, better yet, grab some decorative paper (they run a few cents per sheet) from your local craft store to make envelopes.

THE BENNIES: This may seem like a stretch, and possibly too time consuming to do. But, don’t chuck this one out the window. Why? You *need* to be more personable with your fan base. That’s a big reason why people even do business with a company. It’s the relatability, the personal touches, it’s “knowing” a person, a face, anything. It’s making someone feel special! And, what makes someone feel special more than a handwritten note?

00qualityThis task doesn’t have to be in the hundreds; it’s not about quantity, but quality. Pick 5 people you can send something to and make it a goal to do so in the next two weeks. Think about what you can send them that you know they will respond to.

4000478-515030-decorative-elements-border-and-page-rules

I hope that you have enjoyed the latest post in this series. I realize that it is a lot to take in… But it’s all possible to do. It’s easy, but does take time. I hope that you will at least implement three of them.

In closing, like I mentioned above, I’m going to summarize this all in a final Part5, so stay tuned!

Till next time!

Pushy, Sleazy Used-Car Salesman = Entrepreneur? Marketing Part 3 of 4

To start, we’ll recap Part 1 and Part 2 of this series in the briefest way possible.

Part 1 was learning about the need for ultra-wisdom and distinctive creativity. Part 2 was about how to utilize the heroes in your field to get that wisdom and instructions on how to cultivate that creativity.

2But, as great as those posts were… I have some bad news. It is with great sadness that I must tell everyone something. Here it is:

I am not all-knowing when it comes to being able to directly guide every single one of my reader’s businesses.

There. I said it.

Sad, huh?

The good news on what I can do is draw skeletons. Yes- I can draw skeletons. For you.

3Isn’t that great? I bet you were about to throw yourself off the roof of wherever you’re at, weren’t ya? Well, come on down and let’s talk a bit- back to skeletons. Yes, I can draw a one of those for you. When it comes to your particular business, I can lay out the bare bones of ‘how to’ or provide general outlines; however, to generate the muscles (wisdom) and cartilage (creativity) on that skeleton, you have to be the creator for that (and you are the single-most best person!).

4For example, just like a generic book on job interviews won’t tell you exactly what you need to say to become the next president of Ford Motor Company; it is simply a guide to give you a broad set of ideas/suggestions. It is you that has to draw relevant information (your own personal experience that nobody else has) into the best of those. You have to be the one to “knit together” the specifics and customize it to tailor-fit to your situation. Does that make sense? You design your own answers to fit your goals for whatever field you are in.

6Now, there may be a book about how to become president of one of the largest automobile industries in the free world, but I think you get my meaning because… you guys are all smarty-pantses in your own right. After all, you’re here, right?

In all my posts, after I have given you the skeleton, you must become the grand designer. You must utilize the tools of wise advice and pluck the creative super-fruit – I know you can do it and I’m going to show you how.

~~~~~~~

You know your audience. That’s your job – as a marketer.” Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social MediaLikeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks)

This post will be about focusing on your customers, or in other words, your audience, or in other words, who’s looking at you, or in other words who’s talking about you, or in other words is there even a “who” out there for you on social media.

This post will re-direct from you, your brand, and your business to the ones, “out there”. (Part 4 will be along the same lines, but about how to implement various methods through your blog, web site, and non-Internet media.)

[This] …is not about broadcasting your message and getting the largest reach and frequency – it’s about tapping into the conversation, listening, engaging, and empowering. The loudest, biggest spenders don’t win anymore. The smartest, most flexible listeners do.” Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media

This is what we’re bringin’ at ya today! I’m super stoked to talk about the following three projects:

  1. Getting the recommendation – knowing why this is central to growing your business and learning how to implement the indispensable tools to make it happen.
  2. Transparency – Tips and tricks to exposing more of your personality so that others are more inclined to “watch you”. It’s about getting up close and personal, and giving your audience what they really want (and they’ll tell their friends, too!).
  3. Networking – Bringing necessary value and essential promotion to the heroes in your field in order for you to gain critical feedback (this is essential for you, and not meant to grow a client base).

8I’m bringing a new angle of information in this post and I’m confident this will absolutely benefit you and your growing business. It may seem like a lot to take in at first, but trust me, if you carefully integrate these techniques into your marketing plan, the payoff will be priceless. Why? Because, in essence you can only go as far as the people who, 1) support your business by buying whatever it is you are selling, and 2) people who have marched on to greatness before you; those who can guide and steer you on the path to success. And, that is what the four posts I am publishing really revolve around- establishing, growing and satisfying your client base and helping, promoting and serving your professional heroes. I’m going to help you in these two areas by providing a wealth of key methods that are tried and true.

9And to know what that is, I continually ask this question: what do I need to do next to grow my business? Once I find out what that is through watching, reading, studying and asking others, then I work at how I should do it. Once I know how, then I adapt it, perfect it, hone it, and become an expert at it. It is only until all that is complete that I can share it with you.

 

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Section 1 – Getting The Recommendation

9aTo start, I want to ask a simple question: how many of you have ever encountered a slick-haired, plaid-suited, cheesy smile, used-car salesman? To be honest, every car salesman I’ve ever met was dressed well enough, but haven’t you ever had this mental picture when that particular occupation comes up? It’s easy to visualize how they chase you around the car lot, and they just won’t leave you alone; they’re pushy, brazen and they play on the fact that you just don’t have the nerve to tell them to buzz off.

9bHave you ever felt that way as an entrepreneur over social media? I know I have. I’m constantly pushing my products around on Pinterest, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. And, it’s like you know that in order to be a good salesman, you’re going to have to bear with the “no’s” before you can get the “yes!”, so you just keep pushing plugging along.

9cNo one really wants to think of himself/herself as that guy. And, I get that at times it pays to be assertive. However in this day and age of technology when a person doesn’t want to deal with you, they simply turn you off, delete your message, unfollow you, or at worst- block you.

With that in mind, today we’re going to talk about the latest and greatest ways for growing your audience, increasing your social presence, and generating a better influence across the three biggest social media platforms – through the means of engaging others and how to best do that (basically by being the opposite of this ——->>>>>> 9e

The central focus will be putting yourself in your audiences shoes. Not to worry, it’s going to be easy- it will be through: transparency, what you say and how you say it, capitalizing on the power of the “like”, and working through groups (public ones and private ones) all on the three biggest social platforms you use on a daily basis (or should be using every day).

The skeleton, if you will, is the body of your audience. How will you make it dance?

#1) FACEBOOK – GET ‘LIKED’

9fThe best and most effective way to engage your audience/prospective clients is through your Facebook business page.

Why this is important: Companies and professionals who are worthy of people clicking their [business page’s] Like button will, in the short term, build trust and, in the long term, win the new Web in their respective categories.” – Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media.

The more your page is ‘Liked’, commented on, and shared the more it pushes your page up the in the new feed algorithm. This means that it will stay at the top longer in your friend’s news feeds getting more exposure/views- this is the goal. To read more on Facebook’s edgeranking, click HERE.

The benefits to that is whoever ‘Likes’ your page will be kept updated with your posts, links, pictures, updates, contests, promotions, giveaways for as long as that page is ‘Liked’, which means indefinitely.  As long as you don’t pull out the cheesy salesman card and tick your friends off, they’ll keep your page ‘Liked’ forever- w00t! There are a whole smackle of perks to being ‘Liked’, just check this page out HERE.

9gHow to do it: this is where the old adage rings true about thinking before you speak. This is crucial because the language you use can determine your edgeranking. It is uber-important that you know how to do this just right.


Dave Kerpen, in his book, likeable social media, gives a great example of how to ask engaging questions in a very particular way so that people are best inclined to “Like” your page. It goes like this, and I’ll summarize briefly- Company A posts an ad on their business page with a photo of their new product and a comment to go with it along the lines of, “Check out our new running shoes on our website and buy them now!” Company A is using old-hat, nearly obsolete traditional marketing to get this message out to their fans.

Now listen to the way Company B phrases the same type of method: “Click ‘Like’ if you’re excited about the weekend! Anybody going running?”

9iKind of getting you thinking, doesn’t it? Which one are you most likely to resonate with? I mean, who doesn’t like the weekend? The best part is that with enough ‘Likes’, your post will stay near or at the top of the news feed, get the most views, and on top that, possible “shares” from your friends (here’s that frisky little asset called the rate of exponential growth!). So, think about the language you will use in how you share your posts. Phrase your post with questions that can always be answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

I. More ways to get the ‘Like’:

Since were are looking through the lens of best serving your audience, and you’re putting yourself in their shoes, think about what it is that you would want to see on social media. Obviously, in most cases, there’s a “payoff”. What do you get when you ‘Like’ someone else’s page? Think about it. If it’s a particular brand of clothing, you ‘Like’ the page so that you will know about discounts, coupons, new items or general company news. You get something.

You need to do the same!

Along with implementing portion A (just above) by asking questions others will want to answer, or ‘Like’, think about posting a link, a picture, or video with valuable content that links to:

  • a special promotion you are doing, or
  • a contest you are running,
  • giveaways (“freebies”),
  • fun facts (meme’s are so popular right now) and trivia,
  • recipes, or “how to” educational tidbits (nothing lengthy)

Just put out there things you would, ‘Like’ and use your super-creativity to ask the right question that makes it easy for people to say ‘Yes!’ to. Or, in other words, phrase the question in a way that makes it ABSURD for people to say ‘no’ to.

II.) Make it easy-peasy

1)      Did you know that you can ‘Like’ pages through your phone? Read, “HOW TO: Like A Facebook Page Via Text Message

2)      Put a ‘Like’ button on all your web site pages and blog.

3)      Invite all of your friends at once to like your page with one click of the button.

4)      At the end of it all, have a giveaway for the 1,000th person! For ideas click HERE.

III. Using the self-serve ad platform FOR FREE!

Here is a Facebook “page” that breaks it all down. Just a great “go-to” place: Click HERE.

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#2) Using Twitter

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#3) Your LinkedIn Account

9jWhy this is important – LinkedIn is only as effective as your contact list is. Your effort to reach out to as many appropriate people as possible to grow your connections is the path to success in growing your own profile and your own business. The key word, however, is “appropriate”. …this means constantly growing your network in a targeted way.”  – Eric Butow & Kathleen Taylor, How to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn

A)     Personally inviting a contact – click HERE for the best way,

B)      Requesting recommendations – click HERE also,

C)     Creating a group (1st step is creating a logo – ask me for help, I’ll create it for free) (2nd step is to not allow your contacts to display the logo), click HERE for a great tutorial.

Gaining their recommendation takes you further than any traditional marketing method out there in this day and age ever could.

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SECTION 2 – TRANSPARENCY

Now that we’ve canvassed the “big three” social platforms, let’s talk about being transparent.

9kNowadays, transparency is the “it” thing on social media (should have always been, but you know that there are always dishonest people out there, unfortunately. But, that’s not YOU!). You just have to be… you; and, likeable at that (remember cardinal rule #1, don’t be a jerk?).

Facebook and social networks are ushering in a new era marked by increased transparency and the most empowered consumer of all time. There is no doubt that this shift creates massive opportunities for the organizations that are most able to adapt their thinking and strategies to successfully implement plans via social media.” Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media

9lDon’t you want to know more about companies you support? Isn’t it nice to actually see the owner’s face? Aren’t celebrities who open up about their lives more “watched” (Ashton Kutcher)?  For the longest time, as a business owner, I was always given the impression that it was better to appear more “corporate” and that as an owner, standing behind that façade would make you appear more as a “magnate” therefore attracting customers. Once again, this is old-hat, obsolete traditional marketing tactics.

9mThis is how it is now- the more social media seems to unveil about a person the more it makes them seem… approachable? Relatable? I’m learning that that is what people really want. Even with people who are virtually untouchable- as long as they engage their fans and relate to them on a personal level, their following goes up. It is truly what people want and I’ll keep saying that.

9nOpening up and getting personal might be a little painful. But, think of it as a band aid- just rip it off and deal with the pain. This is not to say that I don’t realize exposing more of your personal life might make some uncomfortable, but don’t not do it. Remember, you can let more people know “you” without selling the whole kit-n-kaboodle; as the level of revealing is entirely up to you- you can use discretion (no hard and fast rules). Just don’t forget that as a company, people actually “buy” you first, they have to almost “know you” before they do business with you (not always, but generally).

Here are some ideas:

9o1. Share an embarrassing story –And, just to get the party started, I’ll go first. One day, in fifth grade, during the Pledge of Allegiance I decided to stand next to the teacher’s desk while we did. For some unknown reason (that I still to this day cannot figure out), I thought it would be a brilliant and hilarious idea to pull back my teacher’s chair while he stood up unbeknownst to him (my teacher was a big, burly man who weighed close to three-hundred pounds and he had a mustache). When the pledge was over, he went to sit down in a chair… that wasn’t there. He came crashing down so fast and so hard I swear the ground shook. For a split second imagine pure homicidal rage combined with manly embarrassment. It got REAL. He stood up, face redder than anything I’d ever seen and screamed out, “WHO DID THAT?!” Funny he would ask considering I was standing right next to him. Within a split second, every finger in the room was pointing at me. I was promptly asked to leave in the loudest voice I’ve ever heard. It went like this:

GET. OUT!!!!!!

Yup. The most humiliating story of my life… that is, up until the time me and my best friend were driving along one night when I decided to turn into a gas station. Like I said, it was at night, visibility was low, and I’m pretty sure there were other things going on that I won’t mention here, when I inadvertently drove over a big mountain of a hill next to the entryway. It was a landscaped sort of hill, but pretty big, and we might have even jumped it. Both our heads hit the roof. After the impact, we simply drove up to the pump like nothing happened, much to the amazement of other gas pumpers.

2. Steal jokes.

9pEverybody has a particular taste when it comes to humor. Don’t be ashamed of your taste! Look up jokes, find ones that are good… share away!

Taglines, clever sayings, and euphemisms are good, too. Google search is your friend.

3. Post a “what not to do” story.

9qThis one may take a bit of time. You’ll have to pay attention and be keen to what’s going around you. Not everyone can remember on the spot the last time they tried something and failed. I don’t know, maybe you failed at something yesterday, but it wasn’t very impactful. Keep track of what’s going on news-wise, television-wise and trending-wise that you might like to implement in your own life. If it doesn’t work, share it! As an example, on Pinterest there are some great ‘what not to do’ stories, or how they’re dubbed as ‘Pinterest FAILS’. Some are funny, some raise awareness, you get the gist. When it happens to you, keep track of it in your trusty notepad so that you can remember to share.

3. Share one of your dreams/goals.

9rRemember that guy from Pretty Woman who at the very beginning yelled out, “What’s your dream? Everybody’s got a dream!” I guess we don’t know if he was homeless or not, but don’t be like that guy. Don’t wander around screaming, k?

9sBut do think about sharing your dreams and your goals in ways that people can relate to. Ask whether or not someone from your audience has the same goal. If they do, help them out. Band together. Solve problems. Forge a friendship. Bring value. Above all things and most of all- do something to work on that goal.

9tEnd result: make your dream/goal a reality no matter how big, no matter how crazy, just do something to work towards it!

~~~~~~~~~~

SECTION 3 – NETWORKING

9uCreating groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are probably going to be the best ways for you to plug-in to the “wisdom” channel broadcast by your favorite heroes. This portion of the series will take you a little time, but that is OK- this is about quality, not quantity.

9vThese are the places where you can “test drive” your ideas, see what works and what doesn’t, and generally get some much cherished business advice, accountability, motivation and inspiration. These groups should be invaluable to you, as they can and will be a well-spring of knowledge, and a fountain of “keeping you honest”- this includes accountability, precious feedback, and constructive criticism which are imperative to your business growth.

9wWhen I did my own study on the subject of networking, everything I found was strictly limited to growing your client list in order to make sales. I found this information to be flawed and a tad insulting. Yes, you are to build relationships with your audience/fans/potential customers, but you “network” with other professionals for guidance, for encouragement, for educational purposes. Why? Because no one was born into this world with a full knowledge-base of how to run a business; everyone should have a group of mentors, go-to people, and guides for help. And since we will never truly “know it all” (even after a top college education), it’s foolish to suggest that we can ever stop learning at some point. I realize that sounds negative… But, it shouldn’t. Think of it this way: there’s joy to be found in the journey of learning and growing. I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy expanding my brain pan. Don’t you like to learn? Here’s another tad of truth: there is joy in the journey of learning. Hey, that almost rhymes! And, often times you learn best from those who have walked before you. 9x

So again, keep in mind that your groups are not to find clients- they are to network with other professionals who can bring value to your life and/or your business and vice versa. When you help promote them, they can help promote you. The end result of networking is to gain wisdom on what it takes to create a following, what it takes to foster relational growth with clients, what it takes to keep your clients, etc. etc.

For Facebook:

9yWhen you create a group on Facebook (how to do that is HERE), your goal is to create an open group with people you actually know in real life, or if not in real life, at the very least, have had substantial online contact with via email, Skype, telephone, text, etc.

Create the group as an “open” group, but keep it small. You will want to have it “open” in order for it to be able to be viewed publicly- the idea being that others can see and possibly glean some information even though the group will be exclusive. If, in the future, anyone asks to join they should meet the criteria, i.e., personal relationship.

  1. Start by asking five real people in your life and incorporate the willing ones (maybe even the unwilling ones) into your group.
  2. Try your very best to use discretion when it comes to whom you allow in. Your “inner circle” should have the following similar traits/goals that you do:

9zi.      Like-minded goals when it comes to business growth, marketing, online presence, customer service, etc.

ii.      Are positive, supportive, encouraging, motivated, ambitious, and creative.

iii.      Are helpful, knowledgeable, offer some value (no matter how small), and WILL engage in the group.

Once you have that established…

Wonder on over to LinkedIn and create a “private” group (how to do that is HERE).

The difference here is that it is OK to create a group of people you may not actually know in real life. BUT, you should have at least some contact. You will want to find some top professionals in your field and that can be done like this:

9aaAssign yourself little “book” reports using one of each of these mediums:

I.            Magazine

II.            Book

III.            Blog article

Write a brief summary of at least five people in your field, that have already trod the path you are on.  These people resonate with you. Ask and answer these three questions:

  1. How are our goals and paths similar in life?
  2. What has happened in their business life that I wish would happen in mine?
  3. What value do I bring to the table?

9bbThis little number should challenge you and cause you to really dig deep. Upon completion, you will use what you wrote to personally invite the people you have studied to join your private group. Remember this: there has to be value in it for them. Think about what that will be and use your creative super-power to accomplish it.

The goal is to remember is that each group should profit all involved (not monetarily, but educationally, economically, and promotionally)!

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In closing:

Guerrilla Marketing, 4th editionTake heart that every change can represent money in your life if you learn about it and do something about it.” – Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerrilla Marketing

Let’s continue to learn, grow, expand and help others! Hope you found this post helpful!

Till next time,

Joy

The Mouth That Paints A Thousand Words – Marketing Series, Part 2 of 4

1Before we begin Part 2, I thought it would be prudent to clarify some things. I need to know, are you an FPI? Are you a business owner socially plugged-in fully across the board? FPI’s have the following:

          • A completed website
          • A business blog

You are fully plugged-in on:

          • Facebook – you have a business page and even created your own business group
          • LinkedIn – same here

You have a following (no matter how small) here:

  • Pinterest – you’re an admin of your own community “group”
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google+
  • Disqus
  • Digg

2I’m making the dangerous assumption that all of my readers have these things in place. As much as I like to live dangerously (it’s my middle name), making assumptions usually don’t work out to the good.

If you aren’t FPI’d, get there! All of these sites are free to join, take minutes to complete and they are crucial in this day and age of social media. Did you know that 93% of marketers use social media for business? [fastcompany.com – 10 surprising social media statistics]

NINETY-THREE PERCENT!

Remember the part about truth that I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series? Mmmm, yeah. I just read something pretty cool that backs up most of what I was trying to get at throughout that post. It looks like this:

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I’m totally serious when I say that I just read this tonight in an amazing book I’ll talk about –see below about “stealing like an artist” (not the dreaming book) — and considering how I posted Part 1 yesterday, I think it’s all pretty neat!

4As a quick recap to my last post we went over the importance of superior wisdom and distinctively-awesome creativity and how you need both. Wisdom from other been-there done-that professionals in your field, and the cultivation, planting and growing of some “creativity super-fruit”.

The reason I wanted to lay the groundwork for these two qualities first is because you won’t go anywhere without them. Why?

Because——>>>>>> how will you ever market your business without above-average wisdom or without being distinctively creative?

Success in the new era of business is driven by your ability to stand out and be truly remarkable. That requires an ability to tap into creativity, break the mold, introduce disruptive change, and dislodge the status quo.”
– Josh Linkner, Disciplined Dreaming

You have to do this.

You CAN do this.

5So to continue our recap of Part 1, find your inner nerd! Step 1: go to your library (you won’t regret it, other professionals heroes say the same), step 2: keep a notebook on you at all times, and step 3: do something boring that frees your mind. For example, keep your notepad handy while you do dishes, stare into space, make mind movies, or like I said before, drive your car in silence (don’t crash while jotting down notes!).

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Now back to pic above about the library and the notebook- That pic above contains a page from a neat little book that I came across by  Austin Kleon called, “Steal Like An Artist”.

Steal Like an ArtistAnd, when I say “little” I mean little, like… 6” x 6” x 1.5”! But don’t let the size fool you, I found it to be pretty comprehensive and creatively constructed. The tagline is: “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative”.

From Part 1, I wrote tips for creativity. I’ll quickly list them here-

    • Curiosity – ask ridiculous business growth questions about your field
    • Brainstorming – Business exposure, humorous pitches, your “hook”
    • Make something awesome – make a business logo using markers as an example?
    • Free time – Busyness murders creativity

I was a little stunned (and delighted) to see that the ideas I wrote about nicely complimented part of the “10 things” Mr. Kleon included in his book (remember that little thing called, truth?) as he also talks about those things.

However the one thing that I didn’t have that he introduces in the book is about writing not what you know, but what you like. I’ll share a pic that I saw months and months ago, but has stayed with me because it resonated so deeply. Edited to add that I couldn’t find the pic [INSERT BIG UNHAPPY FACE HERE].

6It was about creating your perfect life scenario within your mind before falling asleep. Seriously though, who hasn’t done this? It’s writing the story of your business life in a way that others want to read or you want to read.

Whenever you’re at a loss for what move to make next, just ask yourself, “What would make a better story?”

“The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.” – Austin Kleon

How do you do this?

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Number one: getting off your laptop for a bit.

Number two: create a “digital free” zone in your office (tip from the book).

7Make the space you need to actually utilize pencils, markers, paper, and other office supplies to CREATE. If a commercial was going to be run on TV featuring your business, how would it look? What about a print ad in one of those over-sized magazines like the Detroit Hour? I would like to see one of my readers physically draw something out and send it to me!

I’ll give you an example from my own personal life: I often have trouble nurturing creativity when it comes to my commercial photography portfolios. I’ve traveled down the Internet road of “inspiration” (looking at other examples of commercial stock) and I always come away empty.

I have to ask myself,

‘What is the story that I would like to read about my life as a photographer?’

What can I do to get that ball rolling?

Remember this pic? 8

I become so overwhelmed and discouraged because it’s simply too much. So, I created a scrapbook. I put in that scrapbook idea’s for images I want to see. Or, when I write, I put those ideas down for what I would actually use for my own articles. Keeping these idea’s in a folder on my hard drive just-doesn’t-work. I’m “physically” writing the story that I want to see in my portfolios.

8On a related side-note, this makes me think of a good photographer friend of mine who, a long time ago was sad at the fact that film is becoming obsolete. She said that there was just “something” about being able to touch and feel the photographs (of course, I was chiding her a bit because I was super-duper excited to enter the digital age of photography where there were no more developed pictures of closed eyelids, messed up hair, wrong expression, out-of-focus faces and so much more. No more time or money wasted! Woo-hoo!).

9But,

…now that it’s been some time and I’ve grown in my study of the creative process, I understand what she was saying. I realize now that she was… well… a real artist. She’s an amazing photographer and I’m often jealous because she’s just a hands-on type person. I realize that in order for us to foster that type of growth, we have to simply step back from the computer and get our hands dirty.

9aWhen we do this, things happen, seeds get planted. After that, they get watered. Then, what grows from that can turn into a beautiful plant that produces choice fruit. It simply can’t be done any other way. It’s unfortunately that it took so long for this to sink in with me so please learn from my failure!

So back to my photography “scrapbook”- once I had the story that has been produced by my own desires and my own creativity, I now interact with the hero-photographers in my field. With this, I go even deeper (superior wisdom from others part) by:

  • Learning from them (not necessarily about their work but learning about them),
  • Gaining an understanding of how they think,
  • Studying their creative methods by receiving access,
  • It becomes an invaluable development of a small inner circle of heroes who assist you not only by inspiration, but portfolio growth based on your own creativity.

Are you getting the picture here?  And, this doesn’t just have to be about photography; it can be about the business of fashion & clothing (which I love, so I’m using that as an example), it can be about construction, accounting, baking, sail boats, auto parts, whatever business you are running.

9bThis is about YOUR business.

This is about marketing that business.

This is what you need FIRST before you get on that road.

Once you know the story of your business and what you want to see, hear, read and live regarding it, and once you have an inner circle of other hero-professionals (how to get them was in Part 1), you are now equipped to head on out and begin the process of spreading your ideas/products to the ends of the earth.

With a full understanding of having wisdom and creativity, we need to put that to use with all of the marketing methods out there. Which are these:

  • email newsletters,
  • direct mailing of promotional cards,
  • advertising online or yellow pages,
  • referrals,
  • hired salespeople, and
  • word of mouth

Throughout the next few posts, I’ll touch on the top five methods listed above, but for now I’m going to start with the last one on the list. I suppose because it peeks my interest in this technological age.

9cI’ve been doing the “Internet thing” for so long, I feel like I’ve lost touch with actual people! And, to be honest I didn’t know a whole lot about word of mouth (WOM) marketing up until recently.

untitled3When you think of “word of mouth” don’t you think of people actually talking to one another? I know I do. But, that’s not necessarily what it means anymore. It used to, but now with technology, everyone talks through the digitally written word now soaring through cyberspace. Our words come from our keystrokes and powerful keystrokes at that.

Andy Sernovitz’s book, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking was the reason I wrote Part 1 of this series. Basically, in order to even have something out there that others will be inclined to share is going to require wisdom and creativity. You have to learn what works and what doesn’t. For the former, you need to do that creatively. Then, you can move on to studying and implementing the WOM techniques.

WOM marketing is dead in its tracks if it’s not share-worthy or buzzworthy. People have got to want to talk about it for it to work. People talk about things they are crazy about (think rabid Apple fans), they tell their friends, their family, their co-workers. Well, maybe not entirely “crazy” over things; but maybe information that challenges them, information that’s controversial, debatable even.

9dBottom line: opinions. Everyone has one (you know the saying which I won’t repeat). And, one of my passions is modest, yet stylish clothing. I have many girls in my family and I will tell you that it’s extremely difficult nowadays to buy clothing that isn’t low-cut, tight-fitting or revealing. I don’t want them dressing like nuns either, but when all the shorts you can see for sale at the local mall are so short your butt cheeks hang out, there’s something wrong there. And frankly, I’m quite sick of seeing it. It only perpetuates this idea that girls are only valuable and accepted by their peer groups, society and the culture at large by revealing their bodies. This is what they’re worth?! This is how they see their own worth?

9eC’mon. The girls in my life must know (because I tell them frequently) their worth is not in how they dress, or undress their bodies. How they appear on the outside is not “who they are” on the inside. When you cultivate and nurture a girl’s heart and she knows that true beauty lies there and not on the outside, she will respect herself and will respect others. That’s the truth.

imagesLQGDALXSYou may not know it, but that paragraph I just wrote containing my opinion (declared as truth) would be considered “controversial” in certain circles. There’s ALWAYS an angle to everything under the sun that has an opposite viewpoint (or opinion). There will always be an opposing view, no matter what.

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This is an example of what you will use to your advantage.

People won’t talk about you if you don’t give them something to say. Anything that catches attention is a topic. Anything that catches attention and then gets talked about is a fantastic topic.” –Andy Sernovitz

9fThis is one of the lenses you will look through regarding WOM marketing. A little caution flag first- you can’t be a jerk about things… EVER. Cardinal rule number one when it comes to business is this: you must be likeable. You ARE a business person after all, right? People are your business. Businesses rely on people. Your reputation is such that people should want to do business with you. They must want to share to others what you’re all about. These people who will share and talk about you are the ones who will help propel that little statement we mentioned earlier, “spreading your ideas and products to the ends of the earth”.

9gCardinal rule #2 is making sure you are surrounded by enthusiastic, life-loving people. Network with others who are POSTIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE. Encouragers, motivators, you know the people. Think right now about five people you know personally in real life who are in your life that exude these traits. And, that’s not to say you want people that are so “sunny” they’re oblivious to the need of constructive criticism when it’s needed, either.

Let’s recap:

  • Don’t’ be jerk (offer superior customer service no matter what and no matter to who), and
  • Find your five supporting people in your real life RIGHT NOW. Start an online group with them and only them (since you talk to them in real life, you’ll be able to sustain your online life together easier, i.e., the virtual relationship won’t fizzle out).

Sit tight, I’ll explain more regarding the second rule below… But first,

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Gaining Wisdom

Step #1: Find three professionals heroes in your field. Get their email addresses.

Step #2: In your email you are:

  • First going to explain to them how much their expertise has helped you in the area of _____________  (be specific). Then,
  • you will state that you are going to promote their work through all of your social media platforms (which you will),
  • by a very short interview through email simply asking three questions that you will also blog about thus giving them more exposure:

(if you would like to have a basic outline email I will share it with you for free, just contact me privately through the contact page and I’ll help you out)

    •  You need to find out what they’ve learned specifically about word of mouth marketing and how it worked for them,
    • how it affects their business and/or online presence
    • What advice they would give on how to grow your business based on this marketing method.

untitledStep #3: Broadcast through your blog the interview and how you will implement into your business what has worked for them. This step has a two-fold benefit: promoting your heroes, and at the same time keeping track of your own marketing growth through your blog (it would be like a digital notebook, logging your progress). Be sure to email your heroes upon completion so they will know about it.

9hStep #4: Hire a freelancer through oDesk.com or eLance.com to promote your blog and bring more exposure. Post a simple job posting that you are hiring for a “forum poster”. This virtual assistant can help you in efficiency like this: by outsourcing the work of promotion, you then have the ability and time to hone your craft of WOM marketing for your business. The beauty of it is, your VA will work faster and often times better at promoting your work by receiving much needed traffic than you can! (For a free step-by-step walk-through on how to do this, just hit me up through my contact page, I ❤ my VA’s! I am now better equipped and educated on how to delegate tasks through outsourcing thanks to in Tim Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) – If you missed my blog post on that, click HERE.)

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Being Distinctively Creative:

What you’ve learned from your heroes will now need to be put into practice.

789d75ca297492a3708f54aa10a32314Option #1: You can then make a diagram of the techniques you have learned. These are easy to read and if done well, are a big hit on Pinterest. By attaching a link to your website or blog through the picture of the diagram, viewers can find you. If it’s done well, is distinctive, eye-catching and easy to follow, it will get shared. Why is this important? Remember how we talked about the rate of exponential growth? It all starts with one pin, 2-3 other pinners pin it, then 2-3 of their friends re-pin it, on and on it goes.

For example, I created a chart (you can find it HERE) based on my inexperience and fear when it comes to horses. I knew I wasn’t alone when it came to this based on reading comment after comment on forums, Facebook and people I knew in real life. So, I charted out four of the simplest things I had done around horses that helped alleviate my fear around them give me confidence. I knew and believed that if it helped me, it could help others.

horseThrough that project, an idea was born to incorporate the steps I outlined into a method that can be transferred into a possible eBook or video directed at children somewhere down the road. I know so many girls and boys that love horses, but because of their size, are often afraid of them. By walking out the methods I charted, they can overcome that fear. I’m excited to get working on that project.

I then posted that chart on Pinterest and on Facebook (which included information about my web site) and I got some positive responses! I then looked at other charts and diagrams done by others regarding business, graphic design, navigating certain web sites, charts on how to write, how to plan weddings, anything I could find. Some were really creative and fun to look at. Some had been pinned many times over, equaling lots of viewers (if you have a moment, be sure to check out my, “Small Business Board” by clicking HERE – lots of great tips!).

Don’t forget to ask! Be sure to place in the description of the pin, “Please re-pin. Thank you!”

Goal: More exposure for your company, more talkers, more shares.

imagesW9MTE9INOption #2:  Designing and giving away some sort of device that has your logo on it. You can give this to potential customers or your current customers. Think some type of keychain device, a handheld gaming device small enough to fit in your pocket, a tote bag, one of those mugs with a teabag holder designed right into the side of the mug, something a person can USE…

But, this option has the potential to go way beyond what it sounds like. I know you can “creatively” think of something (you may have something in mind right now) that you know your audience would want. Think about the following questions/suggestions:

  • What would you like to receive from a company that would be cool enough to show your friends and colleagues?
  • How can you work to develop this gift into something people would eagerly anticipate receiving (look up the Microsoft MVP program!)?
  • Ask your real life friends on Facebook and LinkedIn about it (this is where your inner five real life circle of friends come in that we talked about earlier). Make a simple poll asking what it is they would want to get as a giveaway.
  • Go a step further: put all of their names in a drawing and then after two weeks, mail the best idea to the winner.
  • Don’t let this fade, find out every few months what works, keep it fresh and let it grow naturally.

Still stumped? Google search it. Search under, “most popular gadget” or “coolest giveaway product”. Get inspired. The trick is to be in a constant mode of positivity. Don’t ever say to yourself, ‘I can’t do this’, or ‘this will never work’…

Or, maybe you have an idea, but don’t know how to get it developed. There’s a solution to that to. Check out two of these sites:

ThomasNet.com

Shapeways

MAKE IT WORK!

Goal: More exposure for your company, more talkers, more shares.

Option #3: Co-partnering with a charity. This is my favorite and near to my heart. I have two that I’m passionate about, actually.

From a word of mouth perspective, charities are especially powerful because they come with their own built-in network of talkers. When you connect with any nonprofit, from a national organization to a single, small youth group, everyone in that group has a reason to talk about you. They are organized, involved, and have ready-to-go communication channels.” –Andy Sernovitz

For me, it’s the only way I can help the orphan and the persecuted and I love it! I love being a part of it.

vom

ivoHolding an online charity auction through eBay where 100% of the proceeds go to them is on my agenda in the coming months. It’s something I enjoy even though it will cost me something. But, that’s okay! You have to think about the things you WILL give away, it’s the natural by-product of good business. Just give something. Again, don’t limit yourself- give information, give products, give your time. It will require a little integration on your part, but trust me in the process of give-and-take, reaping and sowing, it does come back to you. Sometimes in ways you don’t expect, but it always does.

Two-fold goal: Helping others, exposure for your company, more talkers, more shares.

untitledOption #4 (at this point, why not do them all): Hold a video contest. YouTube is so accessible and there are some people out there that will do just about anything to be discovered (disclaimer: DO NOT INCORPORATE, ENGAGE, OR PROMOTE ANYTHING DANGEROUS). Hold it locally. Tell your friends, post about it on some local message boards, create a flyer at the library, tell Facebook.

untitled2Think about something (utilize your creativity here) regarding your field that people could do that was super crazy and worth talking about held in the form of a contest. Have those people submit their videos to you, create a mash up of it all into one whole video and then launch that video with a winner at the end (winner gets recognition, or a gift, your choice).

Some ideas could be a contest for a company mascot, best impersonation contest, best practical joke, a short comedic play about brain surgery/accounting, re-enacting your most embarrassing moment, eating contest, the ideas are endless. Just get thinking!

This one will need something original, so don’t be a copycat.

4000478-515030-decorative-elements-border-and-page-rulesWell, that’s it for today everyone. I think there’s a lot here to keep you on track for now. Till next time… Stay tuned for Part 3 coming soon!

–Joy

Check One-Two, Check One-Two – How To Turn On The Marketing Amplifier, Part 1 of 4

1I live in Michigan and it happens to be very cold right now. One day, while I was driving down the snow covered road, I imagined myself in Alaska- my fur lined hood even adding some authenticity to my imagination. On occasion my dad bewails the fact that he’s not “one for the cold” as do many other people in my life, including my friends on Facebook who also post about their daily winter woes. But, as I drove down the road that day imagining myself in Alaska, the thought struck me that I really don’t mind the cold. Was it because I just happened to be cozy warm in my fur-lined hooded jacket?  Well, that was part of it. The other part is that I seldom go out unprepared for the cold. I’m not cold when I’m outside because I dress in appropriate clothing for sub-zero weather. This includes snow pants, sub-zero insulated winter boots, knee-length coat (from the 1970’s, but it’s the warmest jacket I’ve ever owned), hat, scarf and gloves. Now, here are the inevitable questions2:

Do I look like a freak? Heck, yeah! But, I’m WARM (even walking through Walmart).

Should I care what others think? Other people’s opinions on my attire are irrelevant (especially in Walmart), who cares! I’m prepared.

Can I fail somehow and get cold? I doubt it. I’m equipped to succeed and I’ve overcome the elements.

The point? Preparation applies to things other than just life; it applies to many areas of business too!

The sole purpose of this blog is to equip you with the knowledge and give you the tools you will need to grow your business. This post is about one of the many facets out there working to propel your ideas and products out into the social world. It’s called, marketing.

4All right, I just heard that groan all way through my computer screen.

Please don’t die a little on the inside. I know, I know there are topics and articles, and blog posts, and books written about the subject of marketing ad-nauseum. But, don’t shake me off yet; let me revive you from the marketing death you are dying right now.5

I’m going to start by saying that I hate to use the term, “revolutionary” because it’s been ridden harder than the 30 year old pony at my friend’s farm, but it is appropriate for this post. We’re talking about being the ones who are “cutting the edge”. When it comes to “cutting edge”, have you ever cut the edge? I believe it is integral in our pursuit to capture the power of influence and the amplification of our ideas and products.imagesCAK05ULF

In this post, you’re going to learn the two integral ingredients that are needed to formulate any business marketing plan. Actually, they are the foundation of that plan, clear and simple. Nothing can really be built upon that base layer unless you have these two important concepts weaved throughout to hold it up.

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How To Amplify Your Business

7You and I may groan at the thought of reading one.more.thing about the subject of marketing, but that doesn’t discount its importance. Obviously, it’s important or there wouldn’t be so much data on it. And, you’re still reading because you believe I have a different angle on it, and I do. I want to reiterate the fact that I’m here to help others succeed- that’s the truth! This post isn’t merely to “discuss” various business issues; it’s to solve real problems, accomplish goals and put NEW tools in your arsenal. You will benefit from the information I’m providing to you because I am passionate about building others up and building their brands. I think you believe that too, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

Let’s begin with a simple statement on the concept of marketing, being:

The communication of your ideas, information and/or products to the ends of the earth.untitled

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it’s converting that concept into a formulated implementation of steps that is not so simplistic (or, “the how”). You can read guide books, perform step-by-step online or offline tuts, create a company profile on every social site, write blog post after blog post, network at group after group, etc. etc. You can do all these things, but unfortunately it will only get you so far. You’re going to need two vital ingredients as your base foundation to get further that many sources of information neglect to tell you. And, they are these:

#1: Acquiring the right wisdom. And, that’s not just a term meaning, “knowledge”. It goes beyond that. I’m talking about, the thinking of thoughts that are above everybody else. It’s having the right wisdom and proper guidance that leads to outsmarting everyone else. This is something you can learn from others.

#2: Utilizing the right creative methods. You have to be creatively unique and distinct in your business. You MUST stand apart. This is something you cannot learn from others.

Reading guide books, articles and taking courses on how to market your business down to the most infinitesimal detail (i.e., communicating your ideas/products to the ends of the earth) through:

  • email newsletters,
  • direct mailing of promotional cards,
  • advertising online or yellow pages,
  • referrals,
  • hired salespeople, and
  • word of mouth

…can absolutely be profitable (and we will get to the latest and greatest methods of these later). But, what they aren’t going to tell you is how to outsmart everyone else, or how to remove the rock that stifles the waters of creativity or order to let those juices flow freely.

But I will.

imagesCAEXY5ILIt’s a bold statement, I know. On a side note, it makes me think about this movie I watched a couple days ago. You’ve probably seen it, it’s called, “The Social Network” (I’m a little behind in the movie scene, forgive me). You know the one about the guy that created Facebook? Well, we all know it wasn’t just ONE guy that did it, it was a collective work, but that’s beside the point. What I realized was that the small group of guys that launched this business, originally dubbed, “TheFacebook.com” had #1 and #2 qualities listed above: #1) they had superior wisdom (Harvard education, anyone?), and #2) they utilized the right creative methods (which ones? It’s debatable, but again, not the point).

imagesCABVLHIIWhat they created by using wisdom and creativity was something addictive. They weren’t the FIRST social networking platform, just like Candy Crush isn’t the first gaming app ever created, but it works. There is massive marketing power going on there, from ads, to word of mouth, that leads to everyone and I mean, EVERYONE being a part of it.6

For those who want to actually succeed in business online or not, wisdom and creativity is crucial. You have to be able to cultivate this wisdom and creativity so that people (your consumers, potential or otherwise) want need to be a part of your business.  How do you CREATE something people are addicted to? How do you “create” anything when the internet is FLOODED with noise, when it’s flooded with people, when it’s flooded with information, or when it’s just plain flooded? When things are flooded there are those who aren’t prepared to survive the elements, let alone prosper and grow by obtaining superior wisdom and distinctive creativity.

3So, who are you? Are you prepared for the elements? And, if not, are you ready to be?

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Obtaining wisdom

imagesCAAO3D0QThis is the area where you can’t work alone.  Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to tackle all of the steps I want to regarding this in a single post, but I know one thing: you can’t obtain a full dose of superior wisdom alone. A part of all that is involved with this is a close, small army of professionals in your field willing to help you and you willing to help them. Of course you can gain wisdom from other inanimate objects such as books, articles, and posts; but, nothing beats flesh-n-blood people who have done battle and lived to tell about it. They will tell you what it takes and you need that information.

imagesCAPBXTSFIn a basic sense, a lot of business networking is simply a dance- it takes two to tango. It’s co-partnering. And, it usually starts out by you initiating contact with them asking if you can help them. This is a string out of that base, foundational thread you are weaving: you really do have to give to get and it shouldn’t be anything less.

See, marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all blueprint. You wouldn’t ask a fashion industry expert how to market the latest iPhone app for accounting, would you? Different products, different audiences, different practices, different nuances, etc. means you have to know how to find professionals in your field and you have to know how to help promote them. Because of the wonderful gift of technology that social media is in itself, this is relatively easy.

imagesCAS0D8EWThe first step is going to seem like a stretch, but it’s absolutely essential. You’re going to need to get off the internet for approximately a day or two each week and go to the library. Listen, I know you can get everything you need as far as information martini’s go from a few keystrokes at the local bar called, Google search. But, this is important. In fact, I’m going to implement some goals on this post and I’d like to see some responses. I think, in order to be great, and from reading success story after success story, people rarely get great on their own. I think the “revolutionary” thing to do in my own life, is to simply have a small group of like-minded individuals gather together every so often and literally PUSH EACH OTHER onward. You know, set goals, meet them, grow, things like that. And, not just *any* type of goals- really, big goals. Big, big goals.

Did I mention, big goals?

At the library, you need to start looking at some magazines in your niche field. Trust me, it’s going to feel good to sit down and realize bringing an Uzi to work isn’t the answer relax. Just decompress and read some interesting articles. Take notes about who wrote the article, who it’s about, think about all the things you might want to know about them and how they came to be what they are.

imagesCANGWZ04Answer the following questions in your note pad (because every good business person has a note pad and a long yellow stick called a pencil!):

        • How can I help this person promote their brand? (For example, what person in my circle of influence would benefit from the knowledge this person gives, would my own following as a whole be interested in this information- how so?)
        • How can I find out what this particular person may be working on now that is new to them?
        • What is important to them?
        • Would this person be interested in an interview over email? What questions would you ask them?
        • How does what they do impact your business?

The goal is to gather some names of people in your field that can possibly answer the above questions and people that you might like to promote first and then network with later. Gather the same with some books written by people in your field. Check these books out and take them home with you. Then jot down the author’s website or blog and again, go over questions listed above.

8You have to think. Personally, I can’t think much when I’m in front of the computer. There’s TOO MUCH INFORMATION AND NOISE being slammed into my eyeballs! This is why I carry a notepad everywhere I go. It’s not big, it fits in my purse and it goes where I go because I never know when a really great thought is going to take shape in my brain. For me, they seem to come when I’m just about to fall asleep (which I still get up and write down) or when I’m in the car (not having the radio on is *great* for the formulation of ideas). And, if I don’t jot it down it’s lost forever, plain and simple.

Many people, sad to say, will probably not do what I’m saying here, which is go the library, gather info on other professionals in your field (the internet DOES NOT COUNT) and keep a note pad for when thoughts and questions arise. It won’t work any other way!

We need other people.

Don’t believe me? Well, you will… eventually. The truth is funny that way.

I’ll post more on wisdom in Parts 2, 3 and 4. There’s so much to say, that time isn’t permitting me right now.

(…and, if you’re wondering how gaining wisdom from other professionals has to do with marketing, hang in there!)

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What happens when you don’t shake things up?

9I’m not a hundred percent sure in every situation- but I do know this: when you don’t shake the ketchup bottle before you squeeze some out, this clear, runny juice dribbles all over your food. Yuck!

In order for creativity to take place, we need to shake things up a bit. I think that really good creative thoughts transformed into actions “shake things up” on the business scene. Remember “The Social Network” movie reference above? Those guys were definitely squeezing ketchup, no clear juice there!

To create something people want to be a part of, there has to be certain details floating within that are inescapable, like;a

  • Not your grandmother’s “cool”, but way cool
  • It’s unique, distinctive, and offers something so fresh, it’s still green
  • It’s stunningly addictive

Have you ever asked yourself what needs to happen in order for your online business to go viral? Would you agree that there has to be at least the three things listed above going on? If so, you’re in category A.

imagesCAGGY90UOr, would you say that it’s not necessarily those three, but these three?:

          • An already established following of over 1,000 fans and followers (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram)
          • Hundreds (not necessarily thousands) of visitors to your business blog on a daily (not weekly) basis?
          • An interactive web site that allows visitors to stay and play

You are in category B, if you think it’s the bottom three.

imagesCAL8HPCNIn my humble opinion, I think it’s the top three (I’m in category A). When things ignite, they IGNITE! It doesn’t take long for the rate of exponential growth to take place (if you don’t know what “the rate of exponential growth” is, check it out by Google searching whether or not you should choose to be paid via a penny that doubles every day for 30 days or a flat 1 million dollars. Think about this scenario first, make what you feel is the best choice, then search) and before you know it, you’ve gone viral.

The difference in the two categories is whether or not you have an established base of fans with a so-so social presence or an outstandingly cool, unique, and terrifyingly addictive “product” in its infancy with little following (keyword being infancy, since anything with those qualities doesn’t have a small following for long).

After some thought, why not both categories? Why not have category A morph into category B? In all sincerity, that’s all I really want, don’t you? I suppose I could aim high and set the goal to become the next Mark Zuckerberg… but I saw the movie, remember? Yeah, yeah, I know that movies aren’t always true to life, but WOW! They painted him on a character canvas made of…  [……] Well, you can fill in the blank.

imagesCAU3OVJRIn any event, you’re going to have to get creative in ways that can’t be taught. You are going to have to develop something that makes people talk. You need to ask yourself this: what can you DO that’s buzzworthy? imagesCAPTOE5I(Don’t do this >>>>>>>>>>>>

Here are things to keep in mind about creativity (keywords underlined):

          • Curiosity isn’t just for children. Start asking the most ridiculously business growth type questions possible. Seek to find the answers and don’t let fear stop you.
          • Nor is brainstorming just for children or dreamlining (see more about this particular skill HERE). Get a sheet of paper and go for it. You remember how to do this from school, right?imagesCAHR8N9R
            • Concentrate on exposure (think about the approximate number of viewers one television ad might receive and what could that mean for your business if you had that exposure)
            • What’s funny or witty – for example: there is a billboard advertisement on the side of an expressway by my house picturing a half-naked, overweight man next to two simple lines…

Half-off Bob = Bad

Half-off carpet = Good

**If you can make me smile, there’s a really good chance you’ll get my business.

          • Short and sweet with a hook – What you promote has to be clever and easy for others to remember. More than that, it has to be “shareable” and worth it.
          • Knowing the difference between doing something that someone else taught you to do with flair and doing something with flair that is devastatingly awesome YOU made up.
          • Cultivating free time (remember the library scenario above?). If busyness isn’t the number 1 stifler of creativity, then I don’t know what is.

imagesCA8NN2NTI believe every one of us can be creative in our own way. After all, God gave us imaginations for a reason. He gave us dreams, he gave us the ability to think up positive outcomes that we would desire for our lives. What do you desire to have happen for your business, your company?

bBottom line: you can read every book on the planet, but they aren’t going to think it all up for you- some of that’s your job. And, this is where I need to bring up the notebook. It’s for your brain, not the Alzheimer’s inflicted lovebirds out there (no disrespect to you Nicolas Spark).

You need this for the golden nuggets of superior wisdom you are acquiring from professionals that will help you out-think 95% of the population along with capturing the creatively juicy ideas flowing out of your brain.

imagesCAMJZ08AAs far as juice goes, just make sure it’s not the clear kind.