Posts Tagged ‘marketing message’

Automated Marketing Creates An Automated Response

Yesterday I received an automated marketing message via Twitter and it read as follows:

“We think it’s wicked awesome that you’re following us and hope you’re getting value from our perspective on leadership. If we can help you with your self, professional, or team leadership we would love to lend a hand. Not sure what leadership and management skills to improve? This download with 27 areas will help you decide (link removed).”

People in business receive daily automated marketing messages via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and email. For most their automated response is:

“Ignore” or “Delete.”

If the purpose of marketing is to attraction attention, hopefully positive attention, the action of ignore or delete is not the desired result.

Of course SMB people have limited resources including time and money. The solution of an automated marketing appears to be doable.

This leads to the question of “How do I reach my ideal customers with these limitations and still use the benefit of today’s Internet automated marketing technology?”

Possibly instead of making a sales pitch, maybe a better response would be to ask to verbally talk with the individual. The use of a calendar scheduling technology provides an opportunity for the other person to verbally connect with you.

LinkedIn provides a canned automated marketing invite, but you can personalize it (at least from the desktop). The personalization should indicate why you extended the LinkedIn invitation.

When you accept an invitation, send a personalized message asking what prompted the outreach.  If the individual appears to be a potential sales lead to a center of influence, ask if a phone meeting is possible and provide some dates.


People buy from people they know and trust.  Just because people followed you or your SMB via a social media channel does not mean they know and trust you. Knowing and trusting takes time.  The last action you want a sales lead to take is to ignore or delete your marketing message.

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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.


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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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?”


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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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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Sales Prospecting in the 21st century – Part 3

If people buy from people they know and trust, then it seems reasonable all sales prospecting should build upon that fundamental buying rule.  Yet, salespeople in their hurry and up sales pitch behaviors send duplicate messages that fail to acknowledge any previous conversations.

sales-prospectingIn yesterday’s mail I received a direct mail piece from a realtor with whom I had an extended conversation. His latest direct mail marketing message which was a duplication of the first direct mail piece totally ignored that sales conversation. Now I am wondering if somewhere down the road I will receive a triplicate marketing message.

His marketing and selling behaviors are why customer relationship management programs exist.  Had he inputted our conversation into his CRM he would have realized that we had already communicated.

Now my initial somewhat favorable reaction to him has turned south because his sales prospecting behavior shows me he is disorganized and possibly even desperate for sales.  The good news is his mistake became another blog on sales and ultimately leadership.

How can I even consider buying into the solutions he had to offer when his sales behaviors are sloppy? He could have sent me the duplicate and add a handwritten P.S. to show he acknowledged our previous conversation.

Whether it is real estate agents to financial services providers to marketing firms, sales prospecting is a skill set that many in sales or SMBs that requires drastic improvement. For example, how many LinkedIn invitations (electronic direct mail) have been customized instead of the basic template?  I really love it when a marketing person sends me the template invitation.  This behavior does not build within me any knowledge or trust for that individual.

Sales prospecting is comprised of strategies and tactics.  Your behaviors are the tactics or execution of those strategies. When salespeople send duplicate marketing messages and fail to acknowledge past sales conversations with sales leads, this reveals both poor strategies and even worse execution of tactics.

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Do Realtors Really Want to Sell Homes?

Having been in the process of selling our home, I have come to realize the majority of realtors do not want to really sell a home. No they want to list and then promise how their marketing is different.  This fact is supported by current real estate sales research that suggests nearly 90% of all homes are not sold by the current listing real estate agent.

realtorsListing a home is a guaranteed income if the house sells and is for the most part all the same by all the real estate agents.  I listened to numerous “real estate marketing presentations” and they were basically all the same.

From the marketing reports I received from our realtor, the super majority of interest over 75% was from Zillow.  Percentage wise very little came from or the local real estate association or even the broker’s national multi-listing website. National real estate sales research confirmed that at least 90% of all potential home buyers find their homes on the Internet.

This realization was verified after I called five of the realtors from the direct mail marketing I .  Once I told them our decision to walk the path of For Sale By Owner, 100% of these so called “hungry sales people” indicated they wanted to list the house and were not interested in just “selling the house.”  They maintained this position even after I said we were willing to pay a commission if they sold the home.

One realtor did not realize his conversation was insulting because he presumed we were not working with a qualified real estate attorney.  He said “most of our clients will not work with for sale by owner because of the legal ramifications.”  That may be true, but my sense is his focus creates his reality.

Coming from a true sales background, I always thought selling a home was actually finding a buyer to buy the home and thus make a sale.  Yes finding listings (homes for sale) is just one aspect of real estate sales.  However selling a home from the seller’s perspective is actually finding a buyer for the home.

My advice is to realtors is be careful in your marketing message. More and more buyers recognize there is a difference between listing a home and selling a home.

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Maybe It’s Your Sales Conversation Requiring a Change

Many times I hear from SMB owners to sales persons their sales message or marketing message does not seem to be effective.  Possibly the real problem is the sales conversation.  Ineffective marketing or sales messages are in many instances a symptom and not the real problem.

sales-conversationSometimes with all the noise about sales and what it takes to be great at sales, the human element is lost.  People buy from people they know and trust.  The question then to be asked is this one:

How do I communicate knowledge and trust to potential ideal customers or sales leads without making what may appear to be a sales pitch?

This question is from what I call “See Level” or the big picture.  What I have heard is the marketing message gets lost in the weeds and leaves the intended ideal customer confused.

Recently in coaching a client I asked him to consider the following question:

Can you retain your sales message while changing your sales conversation?

His sales or marketing message was results focused.  He demonstrated strong knowledge about his subject. Yet, he still was not securing the desired results.

He shared a recent sales conversation where he made a big communications mistake.  Having been an executive leadership sales coaching client for six months, he had far greater awareness about the nuances in any communication and recognized immediately he had potentially offended the sales lead. He apologized immediately.

We then did some role play to ensure this mistake would not happen again.  The end result is now he has changed his conversation without changing his sales or marketing message.

Communication, effective communication, is not easy.  This behavior requires active listening while demonstrating knowledge and trust.  Today’s sales lesson is think about how your communicate when you are with sales leads or prospects.  Maybe what you perceive as an ineffective marketing or sales message is just a symptom and not the real problem?

CLICK HERE to schedule your time to speak with Leanne

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The Marketing Magic of Pictures

Is your marketing working?  Do you feel you may need the help of a wizard who conjures up some marketing magic? Believe it or not, you are already that wizard.

marketing-magicConsider employing graphics into your social media postings, your electronic newsletters and your direct mail pieces. This is a true fact.

People hear words, but they think in pictures.

Pictures, graphics are the connections to your written or verbal marketing message.

Think about the people or animated characters that have crossed the television screens to the printed publications or even packaging.  What happens when you think or hear about Kentucky Friend Chicken?  Colonel Sanders, the original one may come to mind. Then there is Tony the Tiger with his Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

Human beings are visual creatures.  When we use pictures to reinforce our message, marketing magic happens.  This is why so much is invested in finding that right logo that brands each businesses or why so many on LinkedIn have their picture on their profiles.

This past January Hubspot posted an article showcasing 17 statistics about visual content marketing. These statistics included:

  • Tweets with images received 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites (likes) and 150% more retweets
  • Adding a photo or URL to your Tweet can boost retweets by 35%
  • Posts with photos on Facebook saw the most engagement

My own research on LinkedIn Pulse revealed those postings with at least 5 images to no more than 8 images received the most reads.  The most important picture was the one behind the headline or what some call the profile picture for the article.

marketing-magicAnd sometimes a cornfield works as well.  This particular article, has given me four clients since its release.

Entrepreneurship and Leadership Growing in an Indiana Cornfield

Pictures or graphics including info-graphics are your marketing magic.  The only caveat is to make sure your picture reinforces your words and if possibly creates an emotional connection.  This is why pictures of people usually rank higher than clip art graphics.

If you want to have more effective results from your messaging efforts, then use consider bringing in great visuals into your marketing. You just may be surprised as to the power of this simple marketing magic.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Writing Is 20% of Content Article Marketing

With so many small businesses with under 20 employees (97.7% of all U.S.businesses), content article marketing through blogs or distribution sites has become the a popular marketing tactic.  For example,write an article on LinkedIn Pulse and you will attract attention and maybe even get a new sales lead.



The problem with content writing is the writing should comprise around 20% of your time.  The other 80% should be promoting that article. That is where the word marketing comes into play.

Did you know over a million articles have been published on LinkedIn Pulse since its inception in early 2014.  Currently this marketing channel is experiencing over 50,000 articles per week.

Standing out in this crowded market place is difficult.  Believing a one time push of your article will attract any attention is foolhardy. Remember, marketing is all about attracting positive attention.

Build a Community

The more people you have sharing your content article marketing the greater likelihood you will attract attention and gain a sales lead.  I belong to several communities that share not only this blog posting, but other content writing such as LinkedIn Pulse as well as other online publications.

As you build your community, make sure others provided quality writing and share the same values. For example, excessive self promotion is not a good value.  Some self promotion is necessary. However post after post about buy this book or attend this conference where I am speaking does not attract positive attention.

Make It Easy to Share

After you establish or join a community, make sure your content writing is easy to share. Create several tweets around 100-120 characters.  Include in those tweets any hashtags that may make finding your tweet easier.

Also do not forget creating quick postings for LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook.  These can exceed 140 characters. By creating the posts allows you to direct the marketing message and make it far easier for your community to share your content article marketing.

Schedule Different Times

Not everyone has his or her eyeballs on your blog or article when you post it.  Through the use of automation tools such as HootSuite, you can schedule your posting to be viewed at different times. Also you can then repeat the posting a couple of weeks later. Effective content article marketing truly happens over a period of several weeks if not several months.

Marketing Is a Two Way Street

Remember content article marketing is a two-way street. If someone shares your written content, make sure you acknowledge that sharing.  Consider sharing that person’s content if he or she is not a member of your community.

Possibly log into your LinkedIn account several times a day and see who has published what.  If the article sounds interesting to you, read it, like it, comment on it and share it with others through the social media buttons.  Your activity will be noted to your connections and this may encourage others to read a particular posting.

Content article marketing is an investment of time and does require some strategy specific to keywords, your ideal customer profile as well as scheduling.  When you execute these marketing strategies with efficiency and effectiveness, your efforts will eventually give you a return on your investment in a new sales lead or better yet a new client.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 CST. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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How Effective is Gimmick Marketing?

One of my colleagues, Greg, shared what he believed to be a gimmick marketing message from a local real estate firm who wanted to meet with him just to ask two questions.  The handwritten note did not say anything about selling him anything and yet the message to me was:


“A real estate group that wants me to sell their stuff.”

Over the years I have witnessed a variety of what is now called “gimmick marketing.”  From poorly worded marketing messages to unusual inclusions, there is a lot of ineffective marketing happening in the workplace.

The inherent problem of gimmick marketing is that it starts the development of distrust.  Why must someone use a gimmick to attract attention?  Would it not be better to have a handwritten note without the gimmick or better yet a personal phone call?

If you thought “He or she will not take my phone call.” then possibly you have not developed the relationship enough for taking your phone call to have value?

For those within professional service industries, gimmicks appear to have less value than those industries that cater to retail or commercial sales. My sense is the gimmick lessens the value of the person providing the marketing message.

The end result of marketing is to make a friend and be asked back for that first essential face to face meeting.  As my colleague Greg noted, this gimmick marketing stunt failed to make a friend.

What I have found to be effective marketing is personal one on one conversations along with content marketing (article writing) through LinkedIn pulse to this blog along with article directories. Gimmicks have never worked for me in developing professional relationships. Sometimes all gimmicks are is a quick fix solution by a desperate salesperson.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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