Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Brother Can You Spare a Posting?

A LinkedIn post by Tibor Shanto entitled Brother Can You Spare a Sale made a connection with me regarding all the unsolicited requests I receive to submit articles for this blog.  These complete strangers want me to spare a posting so they can get their  marketing message out.

Really?

People buy from people they know and trust. This is the first sales buying rule my father taught me years ago.

Why would I allow my prime marketing real estate to be given to a complete stranger? 

What is even more ironic is many of these requests are from so called marketing experts.  If you are an expert, then why are you reaching out to me?

The answer is because your website traffic sucks.  You do not have many Twitter followers.  Your LinkedIn connections and followers are also lacking. If I search your name in Google, again dismal results.

Building this blog has been an investment in time, years as a matter of fact.  The real reason for your request, brother can you spare a posting, is to use my blog to expand your marketing presence. Using my blog  is a cheap fix to your bad marketing.

Possibly a better narketing strategy is to build your own community of like minded people who will share your blog on their various social media sites. Of course this takes time as well and time is something it appears you are not willing to invest.

Since I started this blog over 10 years ago, I now receive at least one daily “Brother can you spare a posting?” request.  My response is the same:  “I do not accept unsolicited postings.”

Sometimes depending upon my mood I will add “However, if you wish to pay me $500 I will accept your posting provided it meets my quality standards.”

So please stop with the “Brother can you spare a posting.”  If you want to reach out and touch someone, then make a real connection.  Who know you actually may get an invite to contribute to that person’s well traffic blog.

Click Here to speak with Leanne to discuss how you can build your own community.

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I Have 13,000 LinkedIn Connections Now Justifies Bad Marketing

Bad marketing is rampant on LinkedIn. Yesterday after accepting a second degree connection, I received a message to read his article and get on the pre-order list for his book.  My response was:

So you reached out to me to make a sales pitch? Not the best use of LinkedIn. I will be disconnecting from you. Possibly next time attempt to establish a more personal relationship before the sales pitch.

He then said “The article is free.”  I responded “But the pre-order is not.” His comeback response once again reflected he is clueless about marketing:

Correct. I have over 13,000 connections. I have been forced to compress the “establishment of personal relationships” somewhat. No offense was intended.

Hmm, “forced to compress the establishment of personal relationships, somewhat.”  Double speak and makes sense since he teaches at the college level.

Real world translation is:

“I don’t have time for you to get to know and trust me. Just pre-order my book because I have 13,000 contacts.”

Personally I don’t care if this individual or anyone else has over 13,000 or 50,000 LinkedIn connections.  Plain and simple this type of email marketing is bad marketing.

Unfortunately social media has only worsened the problem of bad marketing.  People fail first to have a sales process and second fail to walk through that sales process without skipping steps. They believe they can send a sales pitch without developing any personal relationship.

The first phase of any sales process is marketing.  Here is where you as the salesperson get to know the sales lead and hopefully the sales lead is qualified.

If you are fortunate you are invited for a face to face meeting or even a phone call.  Now you are entering the second phase of the sales process – selling.

By listening and asking the “right questions,” you further learn the sales lead’s situation and may discover not only wants and needs, but more importantly what this potential ideal customer values.  Then you can connect your solution to his value drivers.

If you wish to increase sales, stop with the bad marketing (sales pitches), stop with justifying bad marketing and look to build real, authentic, personal relationships.

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Are You Missing this “A” in Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing has truly been a blessing for 97.7% of all U.S. businesses with under 20 employees. These SMBs with limited resources (people, time and dollars) can now take advantage of grabbing the attention of their sales leads and beginning to build a relationship.

Content marketing further allows these sales hungry professionals to further educate and differentiate their businesses from their competitors.  Yet, these same forward thinking sales leaders are forgetting this essential “A” in their 21st century social media marketing.

So what is that “A?”

Amplification

The plethora of social media channels allows for one message to be shared (think amplified) and this amplification costs nothing. Unfortunately, the super majority of SMB owners and sales professionals fail to build amplification communities.

Imagine for a moment you have 1,000 twitter followers.  The average number of followers is 707. Then consider the impact of building an amplification community of 10 other liked minded professionals who have at least 1,000 followers. Your message has now been amplified 10 fold.

LinkedIn allows people to follow you and becomes a potentially “de facto” amplification. Here other professionals can share your updates to your LinkedIn articles.  Sometimes you may need to encourage others to share your postings through a direct request on an article or through internal LinkedIn emails.

Facebook and Google Plus also allow for your postings to be shared.  The challenge is how to get others to share your marketing message. The answer is to build your own amplification community.  You may have several different communities depending upon your target audience and your solutions.

There are other tools to help with your amplification such as Hootsuite or Hubspot. These sites provide the opportunity to make multiple postings of the same content marketing message.

Remember, there are thousands of SMBs seeking to grab attention.  By understanding how to amplify your social media marketing messages will increase sales.

 

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Blaming an Auto Responder for a Bad Email Speaks Volumes

President Truman said “The buck stops here.” I guess that does not apply when receiving a bad email.

Yesterday I wrote about how a poorly written email headline may send the wrong message as well as giving my brief analysis about the marketing message. I responded to this email and then received an answer from the person who allegedly sent the email.

“Hi, Leanne, Your first line cracked me up. I like the rapid reply, although this email was automatically generated, not a (insert person’s name) original sadly.”

Well that is a new one.  Blame an auto responder for bad email marketing.

Maybe AI (artificial intelligence) wrote the message and then applied this person’s name? 

My return email was “Then I would rethink my auto message responses. Thanks for the fodder for my blog today.”

Here is my quick response to the first email message I received yesterday.

Your subject line FYI is a 100% turn off unless you are advertising for dates.

Please remove this email from your database.

Regardless if the message was automatically generated, your name is on the message. I could care less how it was generated.  Your name, your role and your contact information is what shows not “auto-responder” or “AI Robot 010.”

So if this was automatically generated, who would I really speak to, you or the AI Robot?

Give me a break.  Blaming the auto responder is beyond sad and lazy and speaks to the lack of integrity within the organization and potentially within the person who allegedly sent it.

Taking responsibility for a bad email shows integrity and personal accountability.  Had this person accepted the responsibility, I might have entertained a telephone call with her or him.

As it stands the response shows this is not a company I want to know to want to trust.  Yes people buy first on emotion justified by logic.  The reverse is also true, people don’t buy on emotion and justified that no buy decision with logic.

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Just Make Sure Your Email Headline Is Marketing to the Right Sales Leads

Today I received this email headline “You’re breaking my heart.”  First thought was “Great, now I am on a porn or foreign dating service distribution site” and my second thought was “Why didn’t my spam program catch this?”

So curiosity had me open the email given it did not have a virus. The email was from a digital firm marketing their social media analytics product. Wow, I never would have thought.

For me the headline after reading the rest of the message turned me off. My analysis follows each sentence.

Hi, Leanne Analysis: At least this person used my first name, but I didn’t know him or her.

I’ve had trouble getting in touch with you, but wanted to reach out one more time to try to connect. Analysis: Hmm we are both on LinkedIn and since you had my email address you could have reached out to me there or even call me as a quick search will give you my phone number.  The reason for your trouble is your email marketing, pardon the expression, sucks.  I wonder how much you paid for this marketing garbage?

If you are not ready to talk about how (insert product) can make you’re life easier, that’s no problem. Analysis:  No stated facts as to how this product claims to do what it does. Inserting some return on investment might have me somewhat interested.

You can always just watch a quick demo (url link) at your own convenience. Analysis: Why would I waste my time watching a video when I don’t have any motivation to watch it.  This email marketing message has not created any urgency on my part to take action.

Are you free later today to connect? Analysis: Most business people schedules are jammed pack.  Marketing and sales research also suggests Thursday is the best day to call sales leads.Since you have not created any urgency, again why would I want to connect with you.

And if there is someone better I should reach out to, please put us in touch. Analysis:  This shows you have not done your ideal customers and sales leads research.  Very bad.

Each day I could share a really bad email headline or email marketing message.  My advice is to just be careful and do not give your sales leads reasons to increase their sales objections before you even verbally connect with them.

 

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Click to Download This List, Cheap, Bad Marketing

If good marketing is to attract attention and to begin to build positive relationships, then bad marketing is just the opposite.  One very common bad marketing strategy is to build a list such as Top Salespeople and then have others click on the list to download.

bad-marketing

Credit www.gratisography.com

Several of my colleagues were recently recognized as being in the top 100 sales people (I did not make that list). Those who downloaded the list were immediately called or received a generic email.

Jeb Blount, founder of Sales Gravy, identified this as a lead generation campaign to get these top salespeople to share this so called recognition and status award with others so this lead generation tactic would capture more sales leads.

“Pure click bait!” Jeb Blount

Many SMB owners, sales professionals and entrepreneurs invest tremendous time in content marketing and building their own lists.  These lists should be guarded and not randomly shared with lazy SMBs that fail to understand the essence of marketing and look instead to the quick fix solution.

And for heavens if you are going to email someone who downloaded your click bait list then at least use that person’s first name.  To send out generic emails only reaffirms you are 100% into bad marketing.

These individuals who did click to download and left their email addresses will be continually bombarded with additional sales pitches even though they may not be the ideal customer. Each day I receive easily an hundred emails to which I never subscribed.

The use of permission based marketing through double opt in feature is rare these days. Those who are marketing appear to believe as long as I have your email address I can email you my sales pitches.

If you want to increase sales, then engage in good marketing.  This may mean you may actually have to pick up the phone and talk to someone directly.

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Why Are You Email Marketing to Me?

When did email marketing transition from permission based to everyone and his or her brother or sister?  How many times must we unsubscribe from people who have bought email lists to adding our email addresses to their email marketing database without our permission?

Recently a “communications coach” and “life coach” sent me an email.  I never signed up for her newsletter. I never asked for my email address to be added to her database. Yet she is emailing me.

After the second email in 24 hours, I suggested she should gleam her list given I am an executive coach with 20 years of experience as an executive coach. Her response included she had coaches as clients.

My thought was “Well good for you so have I and your point is?”

Then she told me I could opt out.  Funny I never opted in, but now I must opt out.

Individuals such as this one and many more should research permission based marketing.  I know through my list builder, AWeber, I am strongly encouraged to do “double opt in” if I add someone to my list instead of that person signing up by herself or himself.  Even then they must confirm in another email they signed up to the email marketing list.

Of course with the influx of social selling (I find that term beyond ridiculous as 99% of all selling is social), these individuals believe they have the “right” to clog up email boxes with their “free gifts or offers.”  They have never engaged in permission based marketing and this only reveals their lack of professionalism and integrity.

It is one thing if a person opts out of your email marketing database when that person originally signed up to receive your information.  However for your as a SMB owner or salesperson to routinely add names to your email database without permission is 100% wrong!

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What Happened to Permission Based Marketing?

Each day in my email inbox, I receive many unsolicited emails from SMBs and organizations that do not interest me. These entities obviously ignore permission based marketing and rely on buying lists from other unethical firms.

When I first started developing my email lists over 10 years ago, I signed up with AWeber.  At that time AWeber recommended the double opt in option so that people would know they had signed up for being on one of my email lists. This option avoided people identifying you as a spammer and reporting your questionable marketing activities.

Even SMB owners and salespeople also appear to engage in adding names without permission. Have you ever attended a B2B networking event and exchanged business cards with another individual?  Then within a few days, did you suddenly receive via email a newsletter or a sales pitch?  I know I have and personally resented such an action.

For me by sending validated permission to add someone to an email list reflects my business ethics, my positive core values.  I am respecting them by respecting their time.

They do not have to unsubscribe from a list they never subscribed. If by chance someone else used another’s email address, the double opt in option ensures that only the physical holder of the email address is actually signing up.

Failure to use permission based marketing suggests these firms are engaged in spraying and praying.  Spray enough emails over cyberspace and pray someone will buy what you are selling.  For me that is not a viable business strategy or marketing strategy.

Now some firms will ask why you unsubscribed?  I wonder what these firms do with the response “I never subscribed to this list?” My sense it is a feel good action for the person unsubscribing and possibly may meet some marketing association or government policies.

Possibly with the expansion of social media, permission based marketing is viewed as archaic.  For me, I will still employ the double opt in and maintain my business ethics because ethics are never archaic.

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Don’t Forget Your Business Cards When You Innovate

Business cards are prime marketing space. Yet how often are they forgotten when it comes to time to innovate.   If innovation is all about change, the question is:

“Does your business card reflects your own innovation?”

Has your tagline changed?

Have your sales prospects changed (think ideal customers)?

Is the marketplace the same today as it was when you first started?

Business cards are inexpensive compared to other forms of paid marketing.  They provide an incredible catalyst for engaged sales conversations.

Where there is the opportunity for greatest innovation is on the back of your business card.  Here is prime marketing real estate.

Now some will say leave it blank to write for others to write notes.  My question is:

How do you know they are writing notes about you and not someone else?

Think of the back of your business card as an opportunity:

  • To tell a story, your story
  • What makes you different, the Red Jacket in a Sea of gray suits?

Your story should focus on what is happening in your marketplace and how you can make a difference to your sales prospects.

As I have recently moved, I am changing, innovating, my business cards.  Beyond having an address change, I have redesigned the back of the card. Gone is the QR Code that was popular in the past and now a new graphic is present – one without a title. I intentionally left off the title because I wanted an opportunity to explain the graphic.  The Formula for Sustainable Results is still present as well as a simple call to action.

(b) › [A+S+K} + (m&m)wG = PBC = IP IR

Business cards reflect you, your professionalism and even your attention to detail.  Heavier card stock, glossy paper, clean and easy to read font give others a sense of who you are.

If you are thinking of innovating, consider starting with changing your business cards.  You just may be surprised as to how much you and your business have really changed.

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What’s So Wrong with this LinkedIn Invitation?

LinkedIn is a great social media site to increase business contacts and when done well will increase sales. Yet there is a correct way to write a LinkedIn invitation to connect and so many wrong ways to write a LinkedIn invite.

LinkedIn-invitationThis morning I received this invite (I have deleted any specifics to ensure the sender’s anonymity):

Please accept my connect request. I will then scan and send you a VIP $200 **** Savings Card. Activate and it comes with 110% lowest cost guarantee on ***** and all other ***** needs as an intro to a new ***** search engine. It can become a huge fund-raiser.

Beyond not having this specific need, I am not into any fund raising activities.  After reading this poorly pitched sales pitch, I thought “what a dolt!”

This LinkedIn invitation lacked being authentic outside of the obvious sales pitch. I wonder what LinkedIn training she had that even suggested this was an appropriate message to send with the invitation?

Personalizing the standard, boring invite of “Hi (insert your name) I’d like to join your LinkedIn network,” makes good relationship building sense. However using that same invite as an obvious sales pitch stinks to high heavens.

People buy from people they know and trust.  I may not know you, but I can check out what shared connections we have as well as your profile.  Sometimes I will accept LinkedIn invitations from people I personally do not know. However, I do have a process to ensure the invitation was authentic and not just an attempt to expand the other person’s database.

When will people recognize that marketing even social marketing is not selling?  Marketing is all about attracting positive attention.  LinkedIn invitations such as the one I just shared do not in any way meet that first desired end result of marketing.

With all the emphasis on social selling, I believe it is time to redirect those efforts to social marketing because unless people buy you and your company, they will never even consider your social selling solution as exemplified by this great example of what not to do with a LinkedIn invitation.

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