Small Business Marketing Strategies

Up Sell Magic: How to increase initial customer value the right way

The most famous phrase in fast food, "Would you like fries with that" is nothing more than a simple, elegant up sell. Today on the Small Business Marketing Show I talk with Ryan Chapman, up sell expert, and author of "Would You Like to Go Big? How to Increase Initial Customer Value Without Sacrificing Lifetime Value." Ryan shares answers to like:

  • Why are up sells such a big deal?
  • Where do people mess up with up sells?
  • What are the keys to successful up sells online? ...and Offline?
  • And a whole lot more...

Adding a relevant up sell offer is one of the best ways to both serve your clients better AND give a big boost to your profits.

[powerpress]

To get a free copy of Ryan's book Would You Like To Go Big? (Ryan's even offered to pay the shipping!) Click here.

 

How to develop your marketing strategy

There's a secret formula for developing a winning marketing strategy. I'm going to share it with you today. But you should be warned…just a handful of your fellow readers will ever take this secret and put it into action.

STEP 1: Study your market and write down the common practices of in the industry in three categories--Marketing, Advertising and Sales Process.

STEP 2: Do the opposite.

STEP 3: There is no Step 3.

I'll give you a few examples…

First, my own marketing:

Common practice - email a fancy, graphics heavy email newsletter with bland content once a month.

Opposite - email short, plain looking, opinionated emails every weekday.

Competitive advantage - most won't do it because they believe it won't work (I've got *DATA* to prove otherwise) and they perceive it to be too much effort.

Next from a client:

Common practice - find prospects through personal networking and cold calling

Opposite - Use direct mail (this in and of itself flies in the face of the conventional "wisdom") lead generation offers to get real prospects to respond and self-identify.

Competitive advantage - less manual labor, it's scaleable and my client is better positioned when the prospects seek her out.

And finally,

Common practice - keep information about your processes and business model under your hat (after all your competitors might steal a good idea!).

Opposite - share information about what and how you do what you do to position your business as the leader.

Competitive advantage - transparency builds trust and relationship with prospects…relationship trumps all other factors.

How can you buck the norm and make your business stand out?

marketing consultant steve gordon

Are You a Hunter or a Herder?

One of my clients is a sales professional. He's been in his business for close to four decades. Recently, he's taken a young colleague under his wings.

His younger compadre is great at cold calling. (Maybe one of the best I've seen.)

He can walk into an office, befriend the gatekeeper and end up talking to the owner of the business…with relative ease (most would never get out of the car).

He's a hunter. If he doesn't knock on enough doors today AND isn't skilled enough to make a sale in those tough conditions…he won't eat tonight.

My client, by contrast, never cold calls.

He doesn't go to see prospects, they come to him.

He diligently built his client and prospect list (one person at a time) over the many years…it now numbers around 5000.

He's got a herd.

He consistently feeds his herd with great and valuable information.

He knows his herd by name.

…And they know him.

He built it without technology, before the Internet.

His herd kept him fed every day for nearly forty years.

And will feed him for many years to come.

If you're hunting to eat, don't stop (yet)…but start today building your herd. One name at a time. Before you know it, you'll become a hurder…instead of a hunter.

And if you want to move faster, I can help you...click here.

marketing consultant steve gordon

The best decision you'll ever make

Matt writes in from England: "What are your thoughts for generating traffic for the top of the [marketing] funnel?"

My reply…

"It depends…"

(That's the best consultant answer ever!) But seriously…it depends on WHO you want in the top of your marketing funnel (or system as I like to call it).

But nobody wants to decide "WHO" they want to sell to, because deciding who, require that you decide "who not" to market to.

And we all have the delusional notion at some point in our business life (usually when we're starving at the beginning…but some never shake it) that we'd really like to sell to anyone with a heartbeat and a wallet.

(That's a slightly more qualified prospect than "anyone who can fog a mirror"…the wallet presumes they might have money. ;-)

Here's the deal…

YOU get to decide WHO your business will serve. You can serve people who want the lowest price, like WalMart, or not.

You can decide to serve the wealthiest people on the planet, like Trump, or not.

Or anyone in between, big, small, smart, dumb, rich, poor, black, white, red, yellow or pink…you get to decide.

But until you DECIDE, you'll have a hard time finding anyone to sell to…because you can't recognize them. You haven't decided what they look like!

And that's the great irony of marketing. You have to get narrow to go big.

This is the #1 problem I help people solve, and I just might be able to help you.

Click here to start >>

Steve

Why you're not getting more referrals

Yesterday I on-boarded a new client and at the end of the meeting he turned and said "Now I need to ask you for some referrals." As he uttered those words you could feel the dynamic in the room change…in an instant.

It's not that I don't want to give him referrals…I do and I will. It's how he asked.

When you ask like that, it's more about you than me.

And when it's about you, not me…you're not communicating in the language I prefer. The "let's talk about me language."

Now…don't judge me a narcissist just yet, because you KNOW you think that way too…and so do your clients.

Asking in the way my client did was a one way transfer of value. He got it all, and I got nothing. And, most importantly, he didn't offer my contacts any particular value upon introduction.

Sure he's good at what he does…yes, when I refer him he'll do a good job…but that alone isn't enough to earn an introduction.

I'll bet you're asking your clients in this same way…it's common.

And you're probably not getting as many quality referrals as you'd like.

The fix for this pesky little referral problem is to orchestrate the referral. Have a "ceremony", a process, something special and valuable for both your client and the person they introduce you to.

For this new client, we'll create a "referral kit" with some really valuable information in it…information that can only be had if you're introduced by a friend (like being one of the cool kids).

Then, he won't have to beg for something…he'll be giving something valuable.

Big difference.

Not getting the referrals you should? I can fix that.

Take the first step here (it's free) >>

The Art of Growing Clients

Last week I got a newsletter in the mail from colleague Jason Leister (you'll hear more from him in a special interview on Wednesday…stay tuned). One of the articles talked about the idea of "growing clients." Something I've been thinking about for several months…

We underestimate the importance of the growing process for our clients…we expect that we'll just show up and "harvest" them.

Doesn't work like that (and you know it). And my last three new clients are poster children for the need to "grow."

One has been on my email list for almost three years. A year ago he bought a low-priced training course from me. Now he's ready for 1-on-1 help.

The second, I've known in the business community for close to two years…said he'd been "thinking about it for a while" and was now ready.

The third, I've met with a number of times over the last few years, he's flirted with getting my help, but never committed until now.

They've all been "with me" for YEARS. They all knew they had a problem or challenge that I might be able to help with…but they just weren't ready yet.

And that's OK.

I take the long view with my prospects (and you should too).

By the time each one approached me about working together, I had no competition. I worked for years to slowly build trust with them…one email or webinar or newsletter at a time.

I was patient and persistent.

And you know in your heart and in your head that patience and persistence pays off.

But you're not doing it.

You don't have a system to do it. (Hey, without a system I'd have never worked with these three clients.)

But you can get a system…a system like mine (and like the one these three clients will have soon).

All you have to do is take the first step here

marketing consultant steve gordon
marketing consultant steve gordon

How to Set Prices

I was on the phone with a client yesterday talking about a proposal she's preparing to submit. She said…"I've never been really comfortable setting prices for my service. I just try to figure out what I think they'll be willing to pay."

Understood…been there.

But BEWARE that whole "figure out what they'll pay" thing is a HUGE trap!

'Cause you will almost always figure too low.

My client was shooting way below market for the value she brings.

The better approach:

Ask…"Why is your product/service important to your prospect?"

Answer…"Because they need their widgets cleaned."

Then ask…"Why are clean widgets important? Couldn't they do it themselves?"

Answer…"They could do it themselves, but they don't want to."

Then again…"Why?"

Rinse and repeat until you get to the bottom of exactly how what you're selling solves a problem or delivers something they want…and why it's important to make the change.

Get there and you'll (almost) always find the true monetary value of your solution. Then, setting prices is easy (and you'll generally make more money).

Ever struggled to set your prices?

Want some help?

marketing consultant steve gordon
marketing consultant steve gordon

Click here for the next step...

How Lance Armstrong Killed Your Sales

Have you been watching this Lance Armstrong train wreck? I don't watch the news much (gave up brainwashing long ago)…but I understand the world's highest bike rider is ready to confess what we already knew…

That's he'd been cheating all along AND lying about it.

So what does this have to do with YOUR sales?

More than you think…

Your buyers have seen this story. A bunch of them liked him and looked up to him before 'ol Lance's world came crashing down.

They "trusted" him…

And now they've been burned.

Again.

Right now, they're thinking "Who's gonna get caught lying next?"

You??

Hey, I know you're cool, but your buyers find it harder and harder to trust anyone. Can't blame 'em really.

But you've got to deal with the absence of trust.

That's one BIG reason traditional advertising doesn't work as well as it used to…it's based on the buyer's trusting relationship with the brand…but we've been burned by BIG NAME BRANDS.

- Enron - Countrywide - Exxon (remember the Valdez that soiled my home state of Alaska?)

And there are many more..and that's the point.

So how do you build trust?

Simple…you make more deposits of value on your prospects than withdrawals. You tie before you sell…you educate…you show up in your prospects lives and businesses like no one else…you speak plainly (like a human not a "brand").

As you watch Lance confess his lies to Oprah listen carefully…you'll hear the trust leaving the world. Leaving your buyers.

What's your plan to build it up in your part of the world again?

http://stevegordonmarketing.com/strategysession

Steve Gordon

How to know if your marketing works

OK…seems like a simple answer: "We'll have more customers." Not so simple.

I was on the phone yesterday with a good sized company, doing a lot of different types of marketing…

  • Direct mail
  • Events
  • Sponsorships
  • Telemarketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Print
  • Blogging
  • Social media

That's a lot (and it's expensive)…

And the smart question they posed was this:

"How do I know which of these moves the needle?"

What if a prospect sees 5 of the 9 types of marketing you're doing…which one worked?

The problem isn't knowing which one is working (although that is vital). The problem is in the approach.

This is a "fire in the direction of the enemy and hope we hit something" strategy. It's almost impossible to track with any precision.

It also points to a deep problem for the business…

A lack of clear understanding about exactly who you're marketing to and what problems you solve for them…that THEY care about.

So instead of working to gain clarity, you simple load up the advertising gun and fire away. If you have enough ammo, it works. You will hit something.

But it gets expensive…and in challenging economies it is hard to sustain.

There's a better, more effective approach that's highly targeted, trackable and accountable for results…

I teach it to my clients. You can start here >>>

Steve Gordon

How to increase sales

Trying to increase sales? You're probably going about it the hard way.

Most of the sales improvement efforts I see focus on making radical improvements in one area…often hard to do.

For example…trying to increase lead generation by 50%…or boost closing rate by 30%…big jumps that will be expensive and difficult.

Companies that take this approach usually don't have a well defined sales PROCESS (key word).

Increasing profits is easy when you've got a defined, repeatable , consistent sales process. Here's why it's easy…

Let's say our sales process has 7 steps:

  1. Generate a leads
  2. Convert leads to a sales appointment
  3. Submit a proposal
  4. Close the sale
  5. Get a repeat sale
  6. Get a referral

Instead of trying to radically improve lead generation or closing rate…it's simpler to make smaller improvements at each stage.

Like a little 2% increase at each stage results in a 21% increase in sales…and the increase is almost 100% profit.

But you've got to have a defined marketing and sales process. My clients have one…you should too.

Learn how to get started here

Steve

What Really Happened On New Year's Day

On New Year's Day the race started again… Every business in the world began the year with zero revenue, no new clients and nothing but possibility ahead.

What will make the difference between the winners and the economic losers this year doesn't have much to do with the fiscal cliff…

Or the economy, the markets or the debt in Greece.

No, this year, like all the rest, the difference will be in the actions you take or don't take.

Not big, bold actions…you may take some. But the difference is almost always much smaller (and easier to overlook).

The difference between having everything you envision and settling for less lies in your habits.

For me, the most important growth and security habit I ever discovered is this…

Prime the pump every day.

Do one thing each and every day to fill your pipeline. It might be something simple, like sending an email…it might be something grand like launching into a new campaign or a new market.

Doesn't matter…

I know that if I do at least one thing every day to prime the pump that business will continue to flow my direction.

So, what are you doing today to prime your pump? And what will you do every day…for the next 362?

Steve

P.S. I've always found "priming the pump" hard to do without clarity about who you're marketing to, what problem you solve for them and why it matters. Get clear here.

You're asking the wrong marketing questions

The answers are easy… It's getting the questions right that is hard.

I've talked to four business owners over the last few days about the challenges with their marketing.

And each of those conversations started with this question:

"So how do you think I should be advertising…social media, TV, radio, direct mail?"

It's the wrong question.

See, the media you use is irrelevant unless and until you have a clear (and I mean CRYSTAL CLEAR) understanding of WHO your ideal client is (and who your ideal client is not).

But that's not enough.

You also need to know, with all the certainty of the sunrise in the east, what big hairy problem their having today that you can solve for them.

So the questions to ask are…

Who is ideally suited to the solution I offer? Why?

What value do they derive from my solution? Why is it valuable to them? (The reasons are not usually obvious.)

How valuable is it to them? Worth sacrificing to get, or just nice to have?

How do THEY talk about their problem? All of you experts reading this are especially afflicted (I've been there too) because you talk in gibberish only you understand.

Why should they buy from you and not the guy or gal down the street?

Why don't they buy from you? (Many sales to be made with the answer to this question.)

Answer these and THEN you can ask…

Where can I find them? Using what media?

Any earlier and the answers are irrelevant.

Steve

P.S. Sometimes it's nearly impossible to answer these questions on your own. You're just too close to see them. I may be able to help >>> click here now.

The salesman who couldn't speak

The year was 2002 and I was about to make the worst investment of my business career.

I was running a growing business and we were looking to make ourselves a household name within the land development industry. So on a Thursday morning I'm sitting in the lobby of an ad agency in Ft. Lauderdale.

Within 90 minutes I will have heard the "pitch" that would cost me $50,000.

And I bought it hook, line and "stinker"!

Our ad agency had convinced me to run 13 full page ads in the biggest business magazine in Florida.

The ads were a thing of beauty. Seriously. They looked good.

They used an impressive picture of Florida from space, our brand spanking new logo looked smashing in the lower right corner.

And you could't miss our tag line. Right there front and center.

Our phone number proceeded by the most frequently used words in advertising--"Call us"--near the bottom.

It really was something to behold…the culmination of our corporate transformation from a small time "mom & pop" shop to an industry leader.

So the first ad ran and we waited for the phone to ring.

…and waited

…and waited

And after the 13th ad came and went, we still waited.

I had just hired a $50,000 salesman who couldn't speak.

That's exactly what an ad, a website, a brochure without copy is…a salesman who can't speak.

I learned one of the most profitable lessons of my career in the 90 minutes I spent in that ad agency "pitch"…

Pictures don't sell. WORDS DO!

The irony is that I sat through a 90-minute pitch that was nothing but words and facts designed to get me to act. Funny, the ad agency used thousands of words to sell an ad that contained less than 20 words TOTAL.

Do you have any salesmen who can't talk?

I can help you fix that problem.

Steve Gordon

P.S. You have the opportunity to benefit from all the high tuition I've paid to the "School of Hard Knocks" but you have to apply.

What I Learned About Lead Generation At Opryland

Last week I spent 3 days with some of the top minds in marketing in Nashville (the Gaylord Opryland Resort…nice place…there's a river in the middle of the hotel-indoors!). As I listened to business owner after business owner stand up and share what's working I found lots of commonalities.

Here they are:

- Offline marketing is working better and more predictably than ever. (I've been saying this for a while…this is confirmation across a large number of industries).

- Offline driving prospects to the web leverages the best qualities of each media.

- Every one of the business owners I met with was using advertising to generate leads…not make sales. They rely on long-term follow-up to convert leads to sales and are getting many times more conversions than before using this approach.

- Direct mail and direct response radio are two of the most cost effective places to do lead generation. Especially as cost-per-click in many niches is exceeding $10 (some much higher).

- Automation of the follow-up process is adding value both to prospects and customers…increasing the "happiness" of both groups…and driving lifetime customer value through the roof.

Honestly…this really isn't new information. I've been sharing this with my private clients for three years. But for many businesses these ideas are new.

If they're new to you and you'd like to know how they might work for you we should talk:

http://stevegordonmarketing.com/strategysession

Be Well,

Steve

P.S. Think this won't work in your business? At this meeting there were insurance professionals, restaurants, fitness businesses, weight loss, medical/dental, attorneys, consultants of every stripe, industrial, non-profit, real estate, construction, home improvement, security…even a scuba instructor. Same methods, different industries…it works for them all because it's human marketing.

http://stevegordonmarketing.com/strategysession

How Inbound Marketing Can Revolutionize Your Local Business - Interview With Marcus Sheridan

small business marketing show

On this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show I talk with inbound marketing expert Marcus Sheridan...a/k/a The Sales Lion!

[powerpress]

Listen as Marcus describes how he used inbound marketing to grow his local pool construction company during a down economy.

  • Discover the Law of Compound Information
  • What it takes to be successful with content marketing
  • The simple "They ask, You answer" formula for creating great content
  • How the content marketing "CSI" affects your success

If you want to attract your ideal clients online you need to listen to this interview with Marcus!

Go here to learn more about Marcus Sheridan.

Episode Transcript

Steve: Welcome to the Small Business Marketing Show. This is Steve Gordon of Steve Gordon Marketing Systems. Today, I want to welcome you to a really special show. We’ve got a great guest today. I’m really pleased to introduce you all to Marcus Sheridan.

Marcus is going to tell us his story in a minute. I love the story he’s going to tell, because he comes from what I call the real world of business. He doesn’t come from a business that was built on internet marketing or built solely to marketing on the internet. He comes from what I consider real-world business and has done some amazing things. I think it will be a very informative call for everybody today. I want to thank you for being here.

Marcus, thank you for being here. I’m excited to talk to you. If you would, please give everybody a quick little background. I’d love for you to tell the story of how you got into internet marketing, because you’ve done some really neat things.

Marcus: Steve, thanks for the intro. Hello everyone out there in the podcast world. It’s a pleasure for me to be here, because I love talking about actionable stuff that works for businesses, especially having gone through this myself. You asked for a brief overview of my story, right? I’ll try to be as brief as I can.

In 2001, I opened a swimming pool company in Virginia. We started to grow that company. We installed inground pools. It’s called River Pools and Spas, by the way. Things were going okay until about November 2008 when the market crashed. The housing bubble burst. All of a sudden, people left and right were withdrawing the deposits they had put on inground pool installations. We were in big trouble, man. We were in big trouble. Our company had to install about 70 inground pools a year to meet our overhead and be successful, based on the amount of employees and such.

When the crash occurred, our big problem was that we didn’t have any money for marketing and advertising, as we had always done. We had to increase our reach, because there were so few people now that could actually afford to buy a pool, because so many people were in the water with their home values.

It was during this time that I started researching. I stumbled across the site HubSpot. For those that aren’t familiar with them, they’re the ones that have really become champions of the phrase “inbound marketing.” I started reading about inbound marketing—the process of becoming attractive to consumers because of the information that we have on our website. For me, as somebody with a degree in teaching, it made total sense to me.

So our approach was, okay, we see where the trend is going. People are doing all their research online. We don’t want to be left behind. We can’t afford all this shotgun marketing that we’ve always done: yellow pages, radio, tv, all that junk. We spend a couple hundred thousand dollars a year on advertising.

What we did, Steve, was a really simple strategy. I sat and I brainstormed every single question that I had ever received from a client, a prospect, a consumer. I wrote all those questions out. Then each question, I turned into a title of what would become a blog post. Then I answered it, just like I would answer it if I was talking to a homeowner sitting at their kitchen table, right?

So really, our golden rule for our marketing approach became they ask—the consumer asked—we answer. So they ask, we answer with our compass of what we should write about. I didn’t use any keyword tools, didn’t use Google, didn’t use any of that stuff. If somebody asked me a question, I think, “Okay Marcus, have you answered that yet on the website?” If I hadn’t, I would go and I would turn that question into a title of a blog post. I’d write out the answer.

A couple of things happened, man. First thing that happened was, Google quickly fell in love with our stuff, because there was somebody that was finally thinking like a consumer, talking like a consumer, acting like a consumer, and willing to address their questions. I was number one.

Number two. Consumers, pool shoppers, they fell in love with us too and started spending an incredible amount of time on the website, which changed our sales process, which changed of course traffic leads and sales, our brand.

Today, to make a long story really short, we have the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world. We are very successful. All of our advertising or marketing is essentially the internet. It’s really, really amazing. It’s changed my life.

Now, I talk about that experience on The Sales Lion, which is my marketing company and blog. I still have the swimming pool company, but I talk about all those experiences that I have with River Pools and the techniques that I used, and now the techniques that I’ve implemented with other companies. That’s found at www.thesaleslion.com. That’s our story, man. That’s it.

Steve: It’s a great story, because you’ve taken something that a lot of people talk about. You mentioned a term, inbound marketing. Some people call it content marketing. Can you kind of describe the process and how it works?
A lot of the folks who listen to this are probably getting hit up by the yellow pages rep and the tv rep and the newspaper rep who are coming around trying to sell them ads on a regular basis. For a lot of businesses, that’s the framework that they have for marketing.

This idea of publishing content I think scares a lot of people, because it sounds like an awful lot of work. You’re talking about writing blog posts and you’ve got to get a blog set up, and all these seemingly complicated things. Can you kind of just break it down a little bit in terms of what you did?

Marcus: Absolutely. Just so you know, when it comes to vernacular, we’re crazy about this, because we say the word inbound marketing, content marketing. To me really, I look to them as essentially, close to the same thing.
The bottom line is this. If we want to be great in the information age—which is the age we’re now in, in a digital world—we’ve got to be great communicators and great teachers. That just starts with great listening.

If you listen well, you hear what consumers are saying, you hear their problems, their concerns, their issues. When you hear that, you do something about it. So you teach them through producing content in the text or video format on your website or other website in a digital form, right? And you communicate that in a way that they can understand it.
In other words, the goal isn’t to sound intelligent. The goal of all marketing that we do—certainly content, inbound, digital, social—the goal is the person that reads it says, “Ha! I got it. I understand now. I know what I need to do. That answers my question.”

That’s the goal. The goal isn’t that we use our industry speak—if you will—and confuse people, because that’s what happens too often. You see all these crazy definitions of content marketing and blogging. Let’s just throw all that out for a minute.

Our goal is to listen well. If we listen well, we teach well. By teaching well, we’ve got to communicate well. If we communicate well, we’re going to get the reward. The reward goes back to those two parties I mentioned earlier: the search engines like Google and real consumers. When they read your stuff, they say, “Man, this guy, this gal thinks like me. He cares about my needs. He’s willing to answer and address my question.”

I think we make it way, way too difficult. I’ll tell you what, man. Those whole outbound marketing techniques, they’re so short-lived. In 2007, to achieve about $4 million in sales, I had to spend $250,000 on advertising. In 2012, to achieve almost $5 million in sales, we spent a little bit under $20,000 in advertising.

We’ve grown our business yet decreased advertising. We’ve grown in a time when most pool companies are still—to this day—down somewhere between 40% to 70% of what they were four years ago. Do you know what I mean? That’s all because we’ve decided to become the best teachers in the world at what we do.

When a company changes its mentality to that of teachers, everything changes. They see the world from the eyes of the student. Most never do that, man. They’re always like, I love using this phrase, “It’s called a blog, not a brag,” right? Because companies want to just talk about how awesome they are on their website. Well the fact is, nobody cares how awesome you are until you’ve taught them something they didn’t know, until you’ve addressed a problem that they have.

90% of my website is a teaching mechanism, where I’m teaching and teaching and teaching; helping them understand stuff. 10% is, “Hey, I’m awesome. Give us a call.”

Steve: As I work with a business, one of the things I try to get them to understand is that paid media can be good. It has its place. But you’ve got to understand that when you stop paying for it, they stop delivering leads.

What you’re really talking about is, over time, building up an asset that if you do it well, if you do it right… and I don’t think it’s all that hard to do it right, as long as you’re thinking about your customer. But now, you’ve got an asset that is likely to be shown in the search engines because they’ve got interest in connecting searchers with good content. If you produce good content that is customer focused, you’ve got it.

Now you’ve got that asset. You don’t have to pay for it over and over and over again, like you do if you’re running a tv commercial or a pay-per-click ad. I would imagine your investment will actually decrease over time. Initially, I’m sure you had a huge time investment. There are certainly costs to that, not necessarily hard cash out the door. There are costs to that. But that investment, I would imagine, even decreases over time.

Marcus: I look at it like this, Steve. Content--when done right--is a gift that keeps on giving. I always like to use the phrase “compound information,” because most people understand the law of compound interest. The law of compound interest is what allows us to be rich by the time we’re age 60. It’s really contingent upon two things: when we start investing and how often we make the investment.

The law of compound information is the exact same thing. If you want to be great, if you want to be rich as a company—I wouldn’t say rich; I’m just talking about being financially stable, generating leads continuously now and long-term—you’ve got to start producing content now. You can’t make up for time.

The person who starts investing at 30 versus the one at 20, even if they’re investing twice as much at age 30 to their account, they’re not going to be as wealthy by the time they’re age 60. It’s the same thing when it comes to the law of compound information. We’ve got to start investing now, not later. It’ll kill us if we wait five years. By that point, so many have jumped onboard this train.

The second component is how often we make the investment. If you have a blog—in other words, if you’re producing content—are you producing content and teaching people on your site once a week, once a month, once a year?

When I started this—like you said—I didn’t have a lot of hard cost. It was just me spending time. When people say to me, “Marcus, I don’t have the time.” I didn’t have the time either. I was working 55 to 65 hours a week like most other entrepreneurs. I would get home late at night—11:30 PM—and write blog posts on my kitchen table with a little lamp on, and nobody else in my house was awake. That’s what I did. I have produced content in crazy places. I’ve written blog articles in parking lots, in between appointments. You pretty much name it, I’ve done it. That’s what I had to do, because I was going to lose my business, Steve. I had no choice.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is, most people will not do this until they’re faced with financial hardship and they’re on the brink. It just doesn’t make sense.

There’s one single article I’ve talked so much about. I’ve briefly described this they ask, we answer mentality or they ask, you answer—which by the way, is going to be the title of my first book on hard back. I’m really excited about this whole principle of they ask, you answer.

For years, I had people ask, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” That’s always the first question a pool guy gets. How much does a concrete pool cost? In business, people always bring up cost within the first 5 to 10 minutes. I don’t care if it’s service, product, B2B, B2C, local, national. It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same. We all want to know about money.

Three and a half years ago—when I started this principle of following the golden rule—nobody, no website in the world, Steve, had addressed the singular question, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” No pool guy had done this, which is preposterous considering it’s always the first consumer question. We all know the reason why: they’re afraid of competition, they’re afraid to scare people, blah blah blah.

The fact is, in this day and age… let’s say you’re looking for how much something costs, Steve. When you go on a website and you can’t find it quickly, you bounce. You’re gone. Every single person listening to this podcast right now is the same way. We’ve all grown incredibly impatient online. We want answers fast and furious. We want them quick. If we can’t find them, we’re going to bounce and go to the next website. But if we do find the information jackpot—the site that’s willing to think like us and talk like us and answer our questions—man, now we’re more loyal than ever. We’ll stay there for a long, long time. That’s just the facts. It’s like that in every single industry.

So I wrote that article—how much a fiberglass will cost—because I was following the golden rule of they ask, you answer. Immediately, Google said, “My goodness, somebody finally answered this question.” It was the first page for almost every fiberglass pool cost-related keyword phrase you could type in.
Right now, if anybody types in “fiberglass pool cost” or, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” or, “What’s the average cost of a fiberglass pool?” or, “How much does an inground pool cost?” we’re going to be on the first page of Google, usually ranked number one every single time.

Because we can track the people that have come to our site from that article based on the analytics that we use—we use HubSpot—and if they fill out a form which says, “Hey, contact me,” I’m able to see how that particular lead came into the system.

In other words, what the keyword that they typed in was and what article they landed on. Eventually, I’m able to say, well, because these leads became customers and because these customers typed in these particular phrases and landed on these particular blog articles, I can give an actual return on investment (ROI) to a specific article. This is available to any company.

To make a long story short, Steve, that one article, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” has led so far to—at a minimum, what I can track—$1.2 million in sales. That is a huge amount for me as a pool guy. That’s a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot. These are phrases that, had I not shown up in the search, they never would have found me, man. They just wouldn’t have found me.
The principle applies to everything. Literally, there are no exceptions. In some markets, I’ve been hearing that there are certain problems with fiberglass pools. So be honest, what are the problems with fiberglass pools? Again, that’s a question. That means I’ve got to answer it. I have an article titled “Top 5 Fiberglass Pool Problems and Solutions” on our website. It’s gets about 30,000 to 40,000 reads a year. So far, it’s made somewhere around $500,000 in sales.

The number one lead generating phrase that people type in to become a lead—other than River Pool and Spas, which is a direct one that doesn’t count—is fiberglass pool problems. Think about that. I’m actually talking about the problems of my own product. I am honest in that article. We say, “There are certain drawbacks to fiberglass pools. Here’s what they are.” So you see, that’s the beauty of being willing to answer.

I call it the antithesis of ostrich marketing. Most companies are like ostriches, possibly one of the dumbest animals on Earth. When they see a problem, they bury their head in the sand. They think it’ll go away and that by the time they come back out, it’ll be gone. It doesn’t work that way for the ostrich, and it certainly doesn’t work that way for businesses.

If somebody asked you a question like, “How much does your product cost?” you shouldn’t ignore the question and say, “Well, I’ll just wait until they get to the store,” or, “I’ll wait until I talk to them.” It doesn’t mean that you have to specifically give a cost. But you have to be able to address it. There is a big difference between addressing and answering questions.

For example, you can go read the, “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” article. Never once did I say, “Your pool will cost you this much.” I said, “It’s like buying a car. It can range. It varies. Tons of options here, folks. But you might be anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000 on average. It could be higher than that depending on what you get.” But I did at least address the question.
Google views that as an answer. Consumers are satisfied that somebody’s taken the time to think like them and address their question. Now they’re in my house, a.k.a. my website. They’re going to start to read more content. The more content they read, every single article induces more trust. With more trust comes the fact that they’re closer and closer to filling out forms for or calling the source, “Hey Marcus,” or, “Hey River Pools, help me with this.”

Again, people think that what I’m talking about, their industry is the exception to this principle, Steve. It’s not the case. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C, this golden rule applies. If you’re a great listener, you’ll never run out of blog content, content for your website. Search engines will love you and people will love you. You’ve just got to figure out how to apply it to your industry, because the principle of communication and listening is the same.

Steve: You mentioned a really important word there—trust. I think a lot of people and a lot of businesses want to walk away from the price question. It’s important to answer the price question because most of the time when people ask it, they just want a frame of reference. They’re not necessarily using it to price shop.

If you’re buying something that’s totally commoditized—something you could buy on amazon.com—yeah, maybe they’re doing that. But for most of us in business, we’re selling stuff that’s a little more complicated than that.

Really, the trust piece is more important than the price, as long as the price is somewhere within reason. They just want a frame of reference. By putting it out there while everyone else is hiding it, you’re building trust. You’re showing that, “Hey, we’re transparent. We’re going to give you an honest answer.”

I think it goes a long way especially in making a complicated sale, like a lot of the people listening to this deal with every day. Having that transparency, talking about the problems is important, because every product and every service has its weaknesses. People actually appreciate it when you let them know, “Hey, here are the pros and cons. Here are the pros and cons of maybe a competing thing. You figure out which one is best for you, but I’m going to lay it all out.” If you’re the one that lays it all out for them, who are they going to trust?

Marcus: That’s exactly right. It goes back to… you have a choice. You can be the ostrich or not. Also, every second somebody is on your website, they’re closer to buying your stuff.

When we talk about price, people raise their hand and say, “No, this won’t work. It’s a service-based business.” Again, that’s a bunch of hooey, because if somebody called up a service-based business and said, “Roughly, how much can I expect to spend?” eventually, they’re going to get some type of answer. It might not be a direct number, but like you said, you’re at least giving a range. Your answer might be, “It’s impossible, because our customers spend between $0 and $1 million, and here are the factors that dictate it.” But at least, hey, you addressed the question.

You can simplify this even further. What we’re talking about here is how the mind of today’s consumer has changed. Ten years ago, Steve, if you find a car that looks really cool on a car lot and you call in and say, “Hey, I saw you have this car. How much is it?” what’s the guy going to say back then? He’s going to say, “Oh Steve, yeah. That’s a good car. Why don’t you come on in? We’ll show it to you. Come on in. Have a look.” You didn’t ever answer the question.

Often times, people would still go to the lot and look. Today, we don’t have the patience for that and we don’t put up with it. Today, if you called the car guy and you said, “How much is this?” and he didn’t answer your question, what would you do? Everybody else, the same thing. We would get mad. We would maybe hang up. If we didn’t hang up, when we got off the phone, we’d never talk to that company again, because we’re in a different era.

This is the era of transparent marketing. It doesn’t mean that we show every single price in the world. But it means we’re willing to address every single question you ask.

Steve: If folks who are listening to this are saying, “Okay, this is great. I want to start blogging,” so they go to their web person and they get a blog set up. They start brainstorming all the questions that their prospects and customers ask and write the answers to that and put some posts up, that will get them moving forward.

But as I was reading your e-book—it’s over on thesaleslion.com—the thing that just jumped out at me was that you said you didn’t start networking quickly enough. I found this to be true as well. Why is networking with other folks that are also publishing online in your industry important?

Marcus: Networking is the answer to what I call CSI, which is the content saturation index of an industry. The higher the CSI or the more content is out there, the more you’re going to need to network in order to help your content get noticed and to develop followers, fans, readers—whatever you want to call it.

With River Pools, because the CSI was so low—in other words, people weren’t producing content in the pool industry, and they’re still not for the most part—I didn’t have to network at all, man. It was easy. I just had to answers questions. Because there were no answers out there, Google fell in love quick and so did the consumers.

When I got to the marketing realm and started teaching about marketing from The Sales Lion, immediately I was like, “Doggone, man. I’m not getting traction here.” That’s because every single marketing company, agency, consultant or whatever, had a blog. I had to network, and I had to get my name and my voice out there. They’re two different strategies.

Networking is important. It’s not as critical in certain industries, because if you’ve got nobody to network with—and sometimes it’s the case, believe it or not—well then, you just be your own little content renegade like I was in the pool industry. Produce the content and answer the question, you’re going to be successful. But if you’re writing about a niche like sales, marketing, personal development, politics or religion, there are a lot of content out there, there might be a lot to cover, and you might need to build your network. You might need to use social media.

For River Pools, I didn’t use social media. I didn’t use Facebook and Twitter to build that huge audience, because I didn’t need to. All I needed to do—because the CSI was so low—was answer the questions. Well again, I had to use social with The Sales Lion, because I was in the marketing, sales and business realm, where there were lots and lots of content.

Keep this in mind, Steve. You mentioned something that I don’t want to forget at this point. People get confused about this. A blog is simply a way of formatting information on your website. So your blog should not be a separate component of your website. It’s just more pages. Every blog article is a new page of your website. It shows differently though than your average page.

Sometimes people say, “Well, I have a blog and I have a website.” I’m like, that’s messed up. If somebody is reading your blog, they should feel like they’re on your website. They shouldn’t feel like they’ve gone somewhere else, to a different home. They should feel like they’re still there. Your blog articles—in fact, links to your blog articles—are sprinkled throughout your website. That’s very, very important. It’s amazing to me how many businesses screw that up.

Steve: That’s a good point. I guess I kind of take for granted that in this day and age, that most websites are being built on what I would call blogging platforms like WordPress and so many others that are out there. But I came across a client that hired a web designer. What they proposed originally was a static website. I said, “No, no, no. We can’t do that. There’s no way to grow that for the future.” So thank you for pointing that out, because I think that is an important distinction.

Marcus: Like I said, it’s critical. Most of the clients I had—especially when you get closer to mid-sized businesses—they’ve got custom junk that the website was built on. So at that point, they had to figure out a way to integrate a blog platform like WordPress.

We just can’t predict that, because to this day, there’s this misnomer about what blogging is. I think the definition has actually changed. Like I said, at present, a blog is a format of information on your website. That’s what a blog is.

Until people fully understand that, they’re still going to misconstrue, really, what we’re talking about. I don’t even like to call it blogging. I like to call it, in a sense, education-based marketing. We’re answering questions. Each question gets its own specific page on the website. It happens to be considered a blog article.

Steve: I think that’s real helpful. As folks get started on blogging… you’ve been through this, I’ve been through it. You get going, you’re writing articles left and right, you start out, and you’ve got all this energy that you’re just going to overtake the world with this blog.

Then maybe you make it a month into it, maybe you make it two months into it. You’re looking at your statistics, your analytics, and it doesn’t seem like you’re getting quite the traffic that you had expected. The world hasn’t rushed in.

I think all of us have kind of experienced this dip that you go through, where it gets a little bit tough to keep the momentum going. How long does it take and what was your experience with the dip, in getting through that? How did you kind of maintain momentum?

Marcus: That’s all industry-based, Steve. It’s all CSI based, depending on the content saturation index. When you start to have success is really going to be based on a couple of factors.

The number one factor is CSI. The number two factor is the way you title your blog posts, the pages of your website. People jack that up all the time. It is the number one screw up for new content marketers and bloggers. Number three is, how often you’re producing the content. You’ve got to be consistent. For the majority of businesses, produce at least two new pieces of content a week. Everybody wants to know how much. Well, at least two.

I’ve sat down with companies. We’ve brainstormed consumer questions. When we spent any bit of time on it, I’ve never come up with less than 100 in a brainstorming session with any company. Usually—if it’s say 5 to 10 employees—we can come up with 50 unique consumer questions within the first 5 to 10 minutes of brainstorming. In 30 minutes, we can come up with at least 100. That’s just the way it is.

Unfortunately, most don’t do that. They’re so attached to the numbers, but they’re not attached to doing it the right way. Doing it the right way is okay. So here is let’s say 100 blog posts. If you’ve got 100 blog posts, and if you do two blogs a week, that’s a year’s worth of content, right? You just need to write those questions out.

Now you have the titles. You know when you’re going to put them out there. It’s your editorial calendar. Then you just go. You just do. You don’t question. You don’t go, “Well, what if we don’t reach this number? What if that…” You just do it, because it’s who you are. It’s the culture. The culture is we’re teachers and we’re going to do this.

The other factor is, you have to implement that content into your sales process. So you shouldn’t write a blog article and die out. You should constantly be referring your customers, your clients, your prospects, to the content that you’ve written. If somebody comes to you and had a particular problem and you’ve written about it a couple of times on your blog, the next time you send them an e-mail, you should have links to those two blog articles. It’s amazing to me how many e-mails we send out that do not include content. It’s a huge mistake.

Can there be a dip? Yes, absolutely. But usually the dip comes with the fact that the person doesn’t truly see themselves as a teacher, has not disconnected as much with the sheer numbers as they are with, “This is who we are. This is what we do.” It’s like, “We do paychecks on Fridays. We blog Mondays and Wednesdays, because that’s what we do.” That’s the approach. That’s the mentality.

I’ve written at least two blog articles a week on The Sales Lion for three years. With River Pools—I don’t have to write as much now, but I still do—usually at least one a week. But for the first year, I did three a week. I’ve never hit a dip. The only reason why I’ve slowed down with River Pools is because I have so much traffic and I get so many leads, my company is not built to even build the number of pools that could be sold from the marketing that we do, which is a good problem to have.

I think people go through dips when they have unrealistic expectations, when they don’t understand the whole purpose of their content. For example, let’s say I never got another new visitor to my site because of my content. I would still produce content, because I use that content as part of my sales process.

Just like if somebody comes to me and says, “I want a pool,” they have to read the e-book that came from the blog articles that we wrote on River Pools. See? We’re refurbishing that content. We’re using that as part of our sales process. When they read that, they’re so much better as a lead—as a customer—than they ever would have been otherwise.

If somebody comes to me at The Sales Lion and says, “Hey Marcus, I want you to help us with our content marketing,” I’m going to say, “Have you read my e-book?” If they haven’t, I’m going to make sure they read the e-book first, because that is going to establish the relationship of expertise. They’re going to know how I roll. They’re going to know how I think. They’re going to know my essential content marketing doctrine, if you will. That’s very, very important. So now when we have a deep conversation, they’re more advanced. The foundation has already been laid out.

When people get caught up solely on more traffic, more traffic, more traffic, they’re missing the mark of really what content marketing is all about. Yes, that’s a huge deal. But the other deal thing is, are we using the content to push that person down the sales funnel so they pop out as a great client? If we’re not, we need to start doing it.

Steve: I think that’s absolutely great advice. Now, a couple of things I want to make sure we get to before we wrap up. One is HubSpot. You mentioned that. I know you have a lot of good things to say about HubSpot. I don’t know if you want to share anything now about that.

Marcus: I like HubSpot. I was their first customer that actually became a value-added reseller. With a lot of marketing clients, they use HubSpot.

The thing about it is this. HubSpot is a great all-in-one tool. It’s an e-mail marketing tool and it’s an SEO tool. It’s also a lead tracking tool. That’s a huge deal. In other words, let’s say Steve, you come to my website right now at River Pools. You fill out a form. I looked at your information. But now I can look and say, “Okay, Steve. Before you filled out the form, you looked at this page, this page, and this page. This is the time of day that you came onto this site.” I can see exactly what content that you have read, any content that you have read after you filled out the form.

I can essentially track you, right? That is a huge deal. If I’m going on a sales appointment and I know that you’ve gone and read 30 pages and I know what those 30 pages are, I know your hot buttons. I’m inside your head. The sales appointment is going to be way more productive.

At the same time, I know that if a lead comes into the system that has barely read any portion of my site. I use this on The Sales Lion as well. People come to me all the time and say, “I’ve been reading your site.” They fill out a form. They tell me how they’ve read the site, but they’re just pitching something. I can look and see how they went to one page and then went to my contact page. They’re lying to me, and I just trash it.

Or if somebody tells me, “I’ve been all over your site, Marcus. I’m really interested,” I can see if they’re being sincere or not. I can see that sincere person that really just dove into the content and sucked it all up, and is really trying hard. I can see that they’re going to be a great client.

That’s what HubSpot does. It does lead tracking. They’ll promote things too. I don’t find it very expensive it all. For most people, it’s a few hundred dollars a month. For mid-sized companies, it might be $1,000 a month or so.

It’s not for everybody, because unless you’re producing content regularly, unless you’re looking at your analytics, unless you’re trying to be great online, it’s going to be a waste of time. It’s just a tool. It’s only as good as the person that’s using the tool. That’s why there are a lot of folks I say not to use HubSpot, because they would just be wasting their money.

Steve: I think that’s wise advice there at the end. Tell us a little bit about The Sales Lion. I want to make sure we direct folks over to your e-book there, because if they’ve listened to this and they’re thinking about getting into content marketing or they’re doing it already, you’ve got to go get the e-book that Marcus has written. It’s outstanding. How do they get that?

Marcus: I appreciate that, Steve. The site is The Sales Lion, like the animal. So thesaleslion.com. You’ll see right away that there’s a free e-book there. It’s a couple of hundred pages. It’s called “Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy.” It’s literally been downloaded thousands of times all over the world. It’s changed businesses and lives all over the world. It is something that I’m incredibly proud of. It’s free. It’s my gift to everybody.

Content marketing, inbound marketing, changed my life so much. I was on the brink of financial ruin. It brought me out of that. I have so much passion to talk about it. That’s exactly why I give that e-book away for free.

Hopefully, your listeners will go there. If they read it and they apply it, they’re going to be on the top 1% of those that are in their particular niche and field. I’m telling you, they’ll be elite level and they’ll be there quickly. So thesaleslion.com.

Steve: It’s a phenomenal resource. I can’t believe you’re giving it away. Most people would get something that’s got that much meat in it and think, “God, this has got to be sold for a couple of hundred bucks.” But you’re giving it away. So everybody ought to go get it. It really is valuable.

Marcus, thanks so much for being with us today on the Small Business Marketing Show. This has been really informative. It’s been a lot of fun. I wish you luck.

Marcus: My pleasure, sir. Thanks everyone for listening today. Good luck to you and your business.

Where to Find Clients

Ahhh…a question for the ages!

Where to find clients?

Should I look online? Facebook? Forums? LinkedIn?

Are they at BNI or the Chamber of Commerce meeting?

Maybe that trade show next month…

You may find clients in all of these places, but the best place to find them is at 2 am in their bedroom as they stare at the ceiling worried sick about this or that.

Figure out what "this" or "that" is and how you solve "this" or "that" problem and you've found yourself a client.

Or, more correctly…they'll find you.

But it all starts with CLEAR understanding of WHO your ideal client is (and who it is not)…AND,

WHAT, precisely, keeps them up at night and why.

Get clarity on these things…

Then, figuring out where to find clients is easy.

Learn how to find clients.

Steve Gordon

What Do You Believe?

Today in my country we're making an important choice about what we believe.

Have you thought about what you believe...about your business?

Have you communicated it to your clients and prospects?

Leaders stand for something...your clients want you to lead them.

What do you believe?

Here are 7 beliefs that are the foundation of my business.

Please hit share your beliefs in the comments.

#1 Clients not Customers

Customers are transactional...clients seek your wisdom and happily pay for it.

#2 The Fortune is in The Follow-up

The biggest opportunity you have is capturing all the money from all the clients you've already attracted.

#3 Money is Attracted to Speed

The marketing piece you launch today, however imperfect, is infinitely more valuable than the marketing piece that's still in your head.

#4 Consistency Over Creativity

Creativity is "neat"...consistency builds trust. Money does not change hands without trust.

#5 Focus on The Very Next Step

Acquiring a client is a process not an event. Ask yourself, what's the next logical step that moves that person closer to becoming a client.

#6 Branding is a By-Product

Nobody cares about your "brand." Make 'em an offer to solve a problem TODAY...rinse and repeat. Succeed at that and they'll remember your brand.

#7 Automation will set you FREE

Systems and automation are the only way to achieve the freedom you want in your business. Automation is not about software...it is a way of thinking about your business.

Happy Election Day!

Steve Gordon

http://stevegordonmarketing.com/strategysession

Inbound vs Outbound MarketingWho wins in a knife fight?

Lots of talk these days about inbound vs outbound marketing.

If you're part of the inbound marketing crowd, you peer over your latte with disdain for outbound marketers with their plaid jackets and offers of goods for sale.

If you're in the outbound tribe, you think…

"Those fools!"

"Relying on the all powerful Google to send you leads. Just wait until the next Purple Petunia update…your site will go from Page 1 to Page 342."

Here's the problem with this debate…

At the center is the word "OR."

This inbound vs. outbound choice is a false one.

The best inbound marketers are blogging and doing social media and generally getting themselves found.

Then they're using outbound emails and offline marketing to drive sales.

The top outbound marketers are driving web traffic and social media engagement using offline media--direct mail, TV, radio and print.

They work better together.

If I'm designing the ideal strategy for a company it's outbound marketing (probably direct mail or paid search) for quick results…

Combined with a strategically planned blog to begin building an inbound stream of leads (this takes time).

Studies show that inbound leads generally cost less to acquire.

That's great.

But you NEVER want to be reliant on one or just a few sources of leads.

ANY lead acquired at break even or at a profit is a good lead.

Happy hunting!

Steve Gordon

P.S. Looking for a clear path to generate leads consistently? Let's talk.

Why you don't have all the clients you need

For the last 18 years I've been running, owning, growing businesses…and for the last three years I've worked 1-on-1 with a few dozen business owners helping them do the same.

Here's what I learned…

There are only three reasons you don't have all the business you want.

And, only one of them has to do with your marketing.

For most business owners the first barrier is simple…FEAR.

Fear of success.

Fear of failure.

Fear of being uncomfortable.

Fear, fear, fear!

Hey, I understand…I've faced it myself. Everyone who's ever tried to create a business faces it. Truth is, we face it, and succumb to it more days then we'd care to admit.

Fear keeps us from sticking our neck out.

It keeps you "safe." And it keeps YOU from putting yourself and your business "out there" and connecting with your market.

Ah…but the people you're meant to serve…who need what you offer…are attracted to the businesses that are "out there." That show leadership and courage in the face of fear.

If fear doesn't get you, time will (at least your use of it).

Usually in the first meeting or two with a new client we'll have the "time" talk.

Where, I ask how you spend their time, then we look at the goals you say you want to achieve.

And within .28765 nano-seconds it's clear to both of us why you aren't getting any closer to the goals.

You want more clients? You gotta spend more time on gettin' clients.

Simple!

If you're creating a business, understand, the business only exists to serve a group of people who either want something or have a problem the business is designed to solve.

That's it.

And if that's it…the job of the CEO/President/Owner/Entrepreneur is...

Round up the people you serve.

So why are you worried about AP/AR/HR…anything other than rounding up the people you serve by MARKETING to them.

Look, I'm not foolish enough to think that you'll completely ignore those other things, but delegate them or, at least, do them AFTER you've done something to attract clients EVERYDAY.

Finally, the third barrier…the one that trips up the business owner who's conquered #1 and #2…

You don't know what to do.

This is bigger problem now than when I started.

At the beginning of my business career, the Internet was not a commercial platform. Heck we didn't have email for the first year of my career.

The choices were fewer, and simpler.

Last week I got an urgent email from a company that I bought keyword research software from, alerting me to changes Google is making to search algorithms.

This about the 5th major change to search in the last couple of years. And it's put some companies out of business who built their business on search alone.

Facebook changed their business pages earlier this year and is continually altering their ad platform.

And Pintrest has become all the rage online as the place for marketers to find new traffic.

If you're feeling a bit confused by all of the changes in marketing…I understand.

There's help here:

http://stevegordonmarketing.com/strategysession

Best,

Steve Gordon

The Rush Limbaugh Secret School of Marketing

rush limbaugh marketing secrets image

Ok, Ok…Rush Limbaugh…you either love him or hate him.

I don't really care either way, this isn't about politics.

It is about the RUSH LIMBAUGH MARKETING MACHINE…

See Rush is far more concerned with selling then politics. Politics simply provides the context…the bait for ATTRACTING a particular audience.

And, once the audience is corralled, Rush systematically performs daily cashectomies from audience to advertiser. For that reason, it's worth studying.

Here are the keys to Rush's machine:

1. Stand for something! Get this point and get it good. You, your business, your service, your product (dare I say your "brand")…must STAND FOR SOMETHING. What you stand for is not nearly as important as standing for something.

Stop trying to be everything to everyone and, as my friend John Kraft says be everything for the demanding [and profitable] few.

Having an opinion turns your business into a high-powered magnet, strongly ATTRACTING IDEAL CLIENTS and repelling poor prospects with equal strength.

2. Talk to your audience frequently (daily is preferred). There's a reason talk radio is a fabulous platform for sales…the hosts of these show, Rush included, build intimate relationships in the minds of their audience. You can't build a relationship deep relationship with another human being if you only speak with them 2-3 times a year.

3. Offer value for free…and offer something for money regularly (again, daily preferred). Biggest business mistake I've made in the last year, is stopping my daily email bulletins. Give value in your communications and don't be afraid to make an offer.

Honestly, if you're communicating with someone that has a problem you can solve, you're doing them a disservice by not offering your solution.

4. Have a long-term game plan. Look, I'll be shot at the next marketing consultant's union meeting, but in most cases marketing won't turn sales around overnight. But in about 99.999999% of the cases it will turn things around in 6-12 months.

Don't fall into the "I sent a direct mail piece once two years ago and it didn't work so I gave up" group. It takes some work, but not as much as you think.

5. Understand your audience. OK…this is the big one! Do all the others right and screw this one up and it's game over. Lack of clarity about who you're selling to and what big hairy problem they have is the #1 business killer in the world. Bar none.

But I have a solution…

Each month, I give away 4 or 5 "Marketing Intensive" strategy sessions geared to helping you get clear on where you want to be, where you are today, what's standing in your way…and most importantly, what NEXT STEP you should take to get closer to your goal.

Apply at:

http://stevegordonmarketing.com/strategysession

Steve Gordon