Email Marketing for Small Business

Do you have a track to run on?

Virtually all businesses start in belly-to-belly sales mode. There's almost no way around it...if YOU can't sell what you've got, sitting across the table from a good prospect, how in the world will you get a sales letter or a website to do it for you?

Most businesses that survive the first phase of growth--zero to $750k--do so on the back of the entrepreneur's ability to hustle and make sales.

That's where things start to fall apart. The business starts to get more complex, and needs more management attention. At the same time, the entrepreneur needs to hustle faster and faster to keep the growth going.

Somewhere between $750k and $1.5-million there's an invisible brick wall. And hitting it hurts!

The only way around is to figure out how to scale up the acquisition of clients...

To get double the clients with half the effort.

But how, exactly, is that done?

There are 43,562 ways to get a client...which one will work for you?

And there's the don't know. You try the first 73 and can't seem to make progress.

Really what you need is one (maybe two or three) that you can master.

You need a track to run on...with lanes that keep you focused. Where all you have to do is, here's the one step I need to take to get closer to the finish line.

marketing consultant steve gordon

P.S. I'm often asked what's the fastest way to get clients. If you know more than two people on the planet, the answer is referrals. If you need a FAST track to run on right now, I've built one just for you here.

Is this the death of the autoresponder?

Yesterday I shared my discovery that marketing funnels are broken. And that email autoresponders don't work for high-dollar, high-trust sales.

So does that mean the autoresponder is dead?


They have their place, but turning a brand new prospect into a client paying 5 figures or more might just require a bit more trust than can be created in a handful of automated messages.

Converting high-end clients is a long-play. Time is an essential ingredient to trust building.

And I've only seen a small handful of people successfully pre-build a 2, 3 or 4 year sequence of messages.

I've written them for clients...they work, but they can be very tough to create.

So here's what happens...

You stop your funnel after 30 or 60 or (if you're really good) 90 days.

And if the prospect doesn't convert in 90 days...they're dead to you! Just cruft on your list.

Ah, but if you have an endless orbit of easy to create, consistent, useful follow-up, you don't waste leads. You simply harvest them when THEY are ready.

marketing consultant steve gordon
marketing consultant steve gordon

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 Automate Your Marketing With Infusionsoft and Basecamp (How I Save 4 Hours A Week)

I've been teaching business owners how to automate their marketing for three years. Now, when I get introduced I'm the "guy who can get you lots more clients...on autopilot."

But sometimes I get a puzzled look on the face of business owners when they hear all of that.

So I thought, maybe, it's time to SHOW you what marketing automation looks like inside my business.

I put together a quick video (about 25 minutes) that shows you an actual marketing and follow-up campaign and how it has reduced what used to be a 4-hour a week task down to just 90 minutes.

Would you like and extra 2 and a half hours this week?

How would you use it?

Before you click play, take out a pen and paper. As you watch the video, you're going to get ideas about what YOU could automate in your business...write them down.

If you want to talk 1-on-1 about how you can get this kind of automation (and this just scratches the surface) in your business click here.

Underground New Zealand Web Expert Answers the Question "How to Promote My Website to Generate Leads?"

Late Sunday night I held a secret call with an underground web expert from New Zealand. On the call I got him to answer the question many of you have asked..."How to promote my website to generate leads?"

You can hear the complete interview on this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show.


My guest is D. Bnonn Tennant. Bnonn is a clever copywriter and marketer...infact he brings together three essential skills (and few possess all three)...

  1. He's an expert web designer (and understands how to design a website to SELL).
  2. He's a skilled copywriter (I've got a few of his pieces in my own swipe file).
  3. He understands direct response marketing...that special form of marketing that designed to make you money (not just get your name out there).

On the call he shares his five part framework for analyzing the effectiveness of your website.

Your website wants you to listen to this interview!

Or, better yet...subscribe on iTunes.

Links mentioned on the call:

Bnonn's Free Course:

The Shirtsleeve Marketing Communique':


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.


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:

Steve Gordon

How to Get More Clients Using Simple Emails - an Interview With Ian Brodie

In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show, I interview Ian Brodie on how to sell high priced services using email marketing...and I have to tell you Ian's a gem! The information he shares in this episode will increase your sales if you use it.


In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show...

  • How to use email to build relationships that support high dollar sales.
  • How to build your email list - 7 Key places to grab opt-ins.
  • Email frequency - you're not emailing enough and your sales show it.

What do you think?

  • How often are you emailing your clients and prospects now?
  • How many ways are you using to build your email list?

Leave your answers in the comments below.

Links Mentioned on The Show

Ian Brodie's Email Marketing Power Tips (free email course mentioned on the show) - Warning! Affiliate Link...if you buy something from Ian, he'll buy me a Guinness!

Transcript of How to Get More Clients Using Simple Emails - an Interview With Ian Brodie



Automate Your Marketing...Dominate Your Market

Here's a special treat...I recently attended a day-long workshop with marketing guru Dan Kennedy. My friend, client and superstar sales pro, John Curry joined me. On the trip home we decided to turn on the recorder and recap the entire day, including our key takeaways from the day.

I hope you enjoy this special edition of the Small Business Marketing Clinic...I know you'll get valuable ideas.

Listen Online:


Post a comment below with the idea that you think will have the most impact in your business...

How to Get More Clients on A Low Budget

Well, the response to my email asking you to send in your marketing questions was huge...I'll be sifting through the emails for a few more days. One thing is clear...a whole lot of you out there in Internetland want to know how to get more clients with little or no marketing moola.

That's a tough know the old adage "it takes money to make money."

Thankfully, I've got just the plan for you!

It will take SOME money...but you can start with as little as $100 bucks (that's less than the price of a baked potato at Ruth's Chris).

The answer to this vexing marketing problem is direct response, lead generation marketing.

It works like this...

- You have important information to share with a potential client. Information that will help them make a buying decision.

- You package your knowledge in an e-book, CD, DVD, report...

- You use inexpensive ads to get interested prospects to call you (remember you're the expert who's publishing important information).

- Prospects ask for your informational "bait" (Cool...we just generated a lead)

- You keep in touch until they're ready to buy

Here's what you need to make it happen...

1. A free information piece that answers your prospects' most asked questions.

2. A direct response ad (in print, on radio, TV, PPC, direct mail, email, social media...) to get your prospects to request #1.

3. A follow-up marketing system to educate (entertain) and convert leads into clients.

Put all three together and you've got a dirt cheap, client getting autopilot.


Want one for yourself?

I'll be releasing the next issue of Clients on Autopilot on the 1st of the month...and this one's all about building direct response, lead generation systems.

To test drive the current issue and get on-board click here.

Top 10 Ways to Never, Ever Be A "Commodity Business" - Letterman Style

No one should ever have to suffer inside a commodity business..."it just ain't no fun!" Here are the top 10 ways to get out, get happy and get profitable:

#10. Get better marketing. Use direct response, lead generation strategies to get prospects to call YOU for free information...then follow-up forever. (Only 10% of prospects ever get more than 3 follow-ups...there's not much competition after that.)

#9. Be a conduit to important connections/resources/information. Make doing business with you the golden ticket to access all the extra goodness.

#8. Get more referrals. According to best selling author Tom Hopkins referred prospects are 500% more likely to close than cold prospects. And you can bet low price isn't their #1 buying criteria.

#7. Stop selling commodity units and start creating unique packages. Package what you sell with other related products and services that enhance your main product. Bundle them together to force an "apples to oranges" comparison.

#6. Come up with a better guarantee. Strong, creative, comprehensive guarantees are proven to increase sales. And it's often a great (and free) way to stand apart from your competition.

#5. Stop selling to everyone and focus on one specific type of client (at a time). Be the ____________ (what you do) for ____________ (specific type of client).

#4. Raise your prices...and create added value to justify the bump. Sometimes higher prices will drive higher volume. Test to see what combination of price/volume delivers more PROFIT. You don't deposit volume in the do deposit net profit.

#3. Look at what the competition is doing and do the opposite. Listen to the wisdom of Earl Nightengale in his 1956 recording "The Strangest Secret"...“Look at what the majority of people are doing, and do the exact opposite, and you’ll probably never go wrong for as long as you live.”

#2. Anoint yourself as the expert in your market. Write, speak, blog, email to claim and hold the position of expert and leader. “We all like to buy something from an expert--somebody we like, respect and trust.” - Joe Sugarman (creator and marketer of Blue Blocker sunglasses and countless other successful products.)

And the #1 Way to Never, Ever be a Commodity.........

1. Decide not to.

Yes folks it's just that simple (not necessarily easy...but simple). Make the decision, then do what's necessary to get out of the commodity trap. You deserve better!

Steve Gordon

P.S. Sick of being a commodity? Why haven't you called me? I specialize in getting business owners out of commodity hell.

Call me today to schedule a 49-point Marketing Audit.

In honor of the new, improved E-Letter (click here to subscribe), I'm knocking the price in get a complete marketing checkup and at least 3 actionable ideas to attract more clients for just $123.50. But only until October 5th.

Call me (1-877-316-4448) or go here to get yours.

P.P.S. If you're not thrilled with the ideas and insight you get I'll refund your money, no questions asked. You've got nothing to lose.

Your Email Marketing Myths Busted

Without a doubt strongemail marketing/strong is the most effective and economical ways that small businesses can communicate with customers and clients. But there are a lot of myths among business owners, usually based on their perception, not tests or real numbers, that prevent them from using email the right way. Here are the top 7 myths… h2Myth 1. You can send too frequently./h2 If I have another meeting with an entrepreneur who thinks that email marketing is having a Constant Contact account and sending out an email once a quarter I’m going to scream!

The truth is you can send an email to your list, daily, three times a week, weekly, bi-weekly…you pick one…and it’s likely to be very effective if you do two things: ol liSet the expectation up front with the people on your list so they know what they’re signing up for./li liSend relevant information in each message./li /ol That’s it. Will more people unsubscribe? Maybe. Is that important? Probably not. (see Myth #2) h2Myth 2. Unsubscribes are bad./h2 I have seen some serious ringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over a few unsubscribes here and a few there. It’s not a big deal. Truth be told, you want some unsubscribes every time you send a message.

The people getting off your list are saying “this isn’t for me.” As a marketer you should be thanking them for excusing themselves. Now you can focus on the real prospects…the ones who value what you send and who want a relationship with you.

One salesman in my hometown voluntarily got on my list, but didn’t like the number of messages he got (just a few). He emailed me to give me his candid email marketing advice and I promptly and politely removed him from the list. When I see him around town he refers to me as the “man who sends the messages” and repeats his opinion of my marketing.

I have two choices. Listen to this one person (who by the way isn’t a client) and change what I’m doing. Or, stay the course. My bottom line favors the latter. h2Myth 3. You need a big list to make money./h2 It’s not the size that matters…

It’s your relationship with your list that’s important. You build relationship in email marketing just like you do in real life. ul liShow up consistently and often./li liBe of service./li liHave conversations./li liMake introductions./li liShare yourself./li /ul You’d never expect to build a strong friendship with someone in real life if you only spoke to them once a quarter. h2Myth 4. You have to write all of the email content yourself./h2 It’s great if you can write and you have time to do it consistently, but you don’t have to.

You can act as a collector and curator of information for your prospects and customers. There’s a good chance that if you find something interesting, your subscribers will too.

Make a list of the five most interesting articles you read this week and send it out. Even if they have nothing to do with your industry.

As a bonus…insert your opinion on some of the topics where appropriate.

If you’re sharing great resources your list will appreciate you and see you as a leader. h2Myth 5. You can’t sell in email./h2 If this were true, what would be the point of email marketing? According to the Direct Marketing Association email marketing returns $43 for every $1 you spend (on average) so somebody’s selling something.

The challenge is doing it right. I teach my clients that email marketing is a a href= sales machine/a. You wrap your sales message inside a great piece of valuable information.

No one likes to be sold but you know what they say: “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down…” Integrating your pitch with your content not only makes it easier to swallow, it makes your buying your stuff seem like the next logical step for those who found your content useful. h2Myth 6. It’s got to be pretty to work./h2 “Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.”

Some of the most effective emails I’ve ever sent were ugly, plain text things with no images, no logo, no color…nothing but the words.

Right now, the only email I send that has any design to it at all is my weekly email magazine, the “Marketing Entrepreneur’s E-Letter”: All of the follow-up emails I send are plain text…by design.

Why does plain text work better?

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of our email recipients for a moment. If you’re scanning through your inbox looking for the important messages. The ones that you need to read right now and you see a big logo or image at the top you instantly know “this is a mass email…it’s not actionable…I can read it later.”

On the other hand, if you get what looks like a plain old email (like real, everyday people send) you’re probably going to at least scan it to see if you need to respond.

Don’t worry about having the perfect design…or any design at all. Just get your message out. Today! h2Myth 7. My clients will hate me if I make a mistake./h2 You will make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process and you want to make mistakes. I’ve made my fair share over the last two years since I got serious about email marketing.

I’ve sent emails that didn’t get opened…emails that aggravated a few…emails with typos…changed branding three times…sent emails with boring subject lines…you name it.

But by far the biggest mistake I made was not emailing consistently or often enough in the beginning.

But I keep showing up and talking to the people who have asked to hear from me.

And they have rewarded me with their attention and business.

Email Marketing: 6 Things to do when your list doesn't love you anymore

Best Email Marketing StrategiesThe steps you need to take to build a quality email marketing campaign are well documented all over the web. Today, I'd like to focus on how to tell when you've crossed the line and become SPAMMY and what to do to recover from it. The truth is that even well intentioned email marketers can cross the line. You need to know how to recognize it when it happens and you need to know that it's not fatal...if you take the right actions to get back on course.

How do you know you've become a SPAMMER

In my experience there are only two things that I need to examine to determine if a business is being SPAMMY.

1. Email Content: You're only sending sales or promotional emails. You can get away with this IF you promised at the outset that you'd only be sending emails like this...and it's a fit for your business. It works if you're a retailer or restaurant and everyone on your list signed up to get the weekly deals. If that's not you, good luck, this approach will blow up in your face eventually.

2. Email Results: You get more unsubscribes and SPAM complaints then clicks. Seems obvious, but it's worth saying. Watch your unsubscribes. I usually don't worry too much about them unless the numbers are high (if more than 1% of your list jumps ship on a single email start paying attention). It's the SPAM complaints that are the real red flag. Why? Your subscriber usually has to take an extra step to report a SPAM complaint when they unsubscribe. If they're doing more work to complain, you've gone the extra mile to aggravate them.

Again, if it's just one or two complaints from your list of 1000, I wouldn't be too worried. But if it spikes, it's an indication you've broken a promise with your list.

Be really concerned when the number of unsubscribes and SPAM complaints is higher than the number of clicks you're getting. This is an especially bad sign that your relationship with your list is experiencing a disconnect. Like all relationships you need to fix it with humility, service, honesty and gratitude.

How to get your email list to love you again

1. Stop thinking of "it" as an email list! Start thinking of "them." The individual people who are subscribed to your list. If you're a small business owner you probably know these people. They've been in your business or you know them from the community. Think about Bob your off and on customer. Think about Elizabeth from your Chamber of Commerce. Understand that your email marketing (and really all of your marketing) is about these people. Not your "list."

2. Be humble. I don't mean be meek...there's a difference. But approach your email list from an perspective of humility. These people have opened their inbox to you...for most that's a pretty intimate place (I often joke during speeches that it's the only way anyone other than my wife can get in my pants...where I carry my iPhone).

When you approach your email marketing from a perspective of humility it will come through in your writing. It's difficult to humbly hard sell someone. Don't get me wrong, hard sells do work in email. But they are a short term strategy. Over time they will wear out your list. If you're in business for the long haul then you need a strong, but subtle approach.

3. Take an attitude of service. Once you start thinking of your list as the individuals on it, it becomes much easier to understand how you can serve your list. I am a firm believer in the philosophy of givers gain. Be of service to the people on your list. Make your email marketing worth their time by giving them something that only you can uniquely offer...your expertise and perspective.

4. Be honest. If you step in pooh as you walk into a cocktail party, you might as well point it out...everyone can smell the stink anyway. Come clean with your list. Apologize for stepping out of bounds and show the way forward. Pointing out your own flaws shows strength. And in the end the people on your list are there to be lead. Show them that you have a plan to lead them forward and tell them why the journey is important.

Your true fans will rally around you. And you'll build anticipation for the good stuff to come.

5. Show gratitude to the people who pointed out your error. Figure out a way to personally contact (by telephone if you can) the people who complained. Apologize, then thank them for alerting you to a weakness in your email marketing approach. Explain what you're doing to correct it and tell them they are welcome back if and when they are ready. For many email marketers this isn't possible. Often you've only got their email address and you can't send them anything because of the complaint. In that case, say it publicly. You may not reach everyone who complained, but you'll show your future subscribers that you're transparent and you listen.

6. Make and keep two promises.

  1. Tell your subscribers what type of content you'll be sending, including offers.
  2. Make them a promise on the frequency of your emails going forward.

And keep both promises!

You may get more unsubscribes when you make these promises. That's OK. You're setting new rules and some people won't want to continue. Get them off your list now.

Once you commit you need to stay consistent.

Fully 9 out of 10 of my clients fear high email frequency when we are designing their email marketing plan. But frequency is not what generates SPAM complaints. Broken promises and inconsistency generate SPAM complaints.

As an example, I get a great daily newsletter called Early to Rise. It's not one of these joke a day or word of the day emails that are just a few sentences long. It's usually a 2000-4000 word article each day. But I read it for three reasons:

  1. I signed up knowing it would come every day.
  2. The content they send is exactly as they promised.
  3. The content is highly relevant to me.

The publishers honor the promises they made to me (and that I willingly accepted).

The real truth is that high frequency, relevant emails sent with permission will generate fewer complaints then low frequency (like quarterly) blasts. The simple reason is familiarity. If you're only touching the people on your list once a quarter they'll forget that they wanted to hear from you in the first place.

If you've created a SPAM problem, don't worry too much. If you catch it early, you can correct the problem and emerge with a stronger relationship with the people on your list.

Was this article helpful? I'd really appreciate it if you'd share the article on Facebook, Twitter or wherever the kids are hanging out these days...

Photo courtesy Kevin Dooley.

Compound Marketing: The Only Marketing Strategy You'll Ever Need

Do you know the story of the Magic Penny? If not, let me introduce you to the only small business marketing strategy you'll ever need. It goes like this… If given the choice of taking a penny that doubled every day for 30 days or taking $10,000 today, which would you choose? I’d take the penny every time! Why? Through the miracle of compounding that penny would double every day for the full 30 days…accumulating an astonishing $5.37 million (here’s an example of the math from USAToday).

Marketing works in much the same way (in fact many large things in life are accomplished by adding small things together, over and over). Most small businesses ignore the immense benefits of...

SBMS 03 | How To Qualify Prospects Automatically


In this episode of The Small Business Marketing Show I share how you can build a customer alert system in your business to track each and every customer interaction...and profit from it.

Download the MP3

In this episode of The Small Business Marketing Show...

  • Why you're leaving big money on the table if you don't have this system in your business
  • The best tool for building a customer alert system and putting it on autopilot.

Take Action

  • List 5 critical steps in your customer interaction/sales process.
  • Brainstorm 3 ideas for free informational products that you can develop to attract and qualify new prospects.

What Do You Think?

  • How do you follow-up with customers and prospects now?
  • How can you implement trip-wire marketing in your business?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Use Trip Wire Marketing to Automatically Qualify Your Prospects

As a kid, my friends and I used to play in the woods at the end of the block. We’d set up a fort and put out trip wire’s tied to tin cans to alert us when anyone came along the trail to the fort. Today, I use “trip wire marketing” to alert me when prospects take action so I can move them closer to the sale. In this article I explain how you can improve your sales by installing some “trip wire marketing” in your small business.

A Quick, Easy Small Business Marketing Plan For 2010

The New Year is just around the corner and if you're not already thinking about it, you should be outlining your marketing plan for 2010. If you're like a lot of small businesses, you're coming off of a rough 2009 without a lot of free cash to dump into new marketing. I hear you loud and here's a plan to boost your marketing and go easy on your wallet.

Marketing Secret # 3 – The One Marketing Tool You Must Have

If you could do just one thing to market your business what would it be? My choice is simple…a monthly newsletter. Why? Marketing Guru Dan Kennedy believes (and I agree) that you lose 10% of your influence with a customer or prospect each month you don’t communicate with them. If you go for a year without any communication, you’ve lost all influence. It’s like starting the relationship all over again. The easiest way to keep your influence is to use a monthly newsletter. Most businesses don’t send a newsletter for one of two reasons:

  1. The business owner wants to but never gets around to it.
  2. The business owner is intimidated by the pressure of writing something good EVERY MONTH.

Neither reason is sufficient. Owner #1 claims he’s too busy, but the truth is a monthly newsletter allows him to leverage his time by writing a single message and sending it out to all of his clients. He could never personally deliver that message by phone or face-to-face…but in the newsletter it’s possible.

Owner #2 doesn’t feel comfortable writing. Tack on the pressure she feels to produce great content each month and it becomes overwhelming and doesn’t get done.

Really there should be no pressure. There’s content all around you. Everytime you read the newspaper, a magazine or a book, you discover content for your newsletter. Comment on an article, an event or a recent trend. It doesn’t need to be long. One page (about 500 words) is plenty to get started. I clip articles and put them in a file. Then review the file when I sit down to write our newsletter. It couldn’t be easier.

To trim the cost, consider using an email newsletter. Services such as, or allow you to upload a list of clients, create a message and send it within minutes of signing up.

There are also services such as Jim Palmer’s Success Advantage that will provide you with content or even take care of the entire newsletter production. You just give them the mailing list. So really there’s no excuse for not having one. It’s the simplest and cheapest way to stay in front of your clients and prospects.

Marketing Secret #1 – Divide & Conquer

black-belt-secret-bugDo you know what sets successful marketers apart from the vast majority of businesses? Truth is, there are lots of things that highly successful marketers do…that most businesses do not (and you thought I was going to tell you the ONE secret to marketing).

But underlying all of the many things that the most successful marketers do is one important principal. The principal of “divide and conquer”. This time tested method for segmenting your market into smaller and smaller “sub-markets” is the key foundational idea behind all successful marketing.

Most businesses market too big.

When asked who their target customer is they’ll tell you “everybody who needs XYZ”. This is never true. In fact the words “everybody”, “anybody” or “all” are red flags when I ask someone who they want to sell to. It’s obvious they haven’t done their homework.

So what do I mean by “divide and conquer”? It’s really simple, but requires some thought…not a lot, but some. Let’s take by way of example an engineering firm that sells design services. They can design any type of commercial building—offices, retails stores, restaurants, fast-food joints, strip malls, schools and fire stations. All of these building sites require essentially the same design services, done by the same people in the firm.

Logically, the firm creates a brochure, business cards and a website that talks about the design work they do, the qualifications of their engineers and the places they work. And, somewhere on each marketing piece (I often find it on the back cover of brochures) they list, in bullet form, the various types of building sites that they can design.

First Divide

All the money the firm spends on it’s pretty brochures, cards and website will be wasted because in trying to speak to ALL of the possible types of customers they want, they’re not speaking to any of them. Prospects are people. People who have a plate full of problems in their own world. If you’re not talking to them in their world, individually, you will be ignored.

So in the case of our engineering firm, they need to divide their prospects into categories like:

  • Office building owners/developers
  • Retail store owners
  • Restaurant (not fast food) owners
  • Fast food franchisees
  • Strip Mall Developers
  • School Districts
  • County & City Fire Departments

When you separate it out like this and think about each type of client and what problems they face every day, it’s pretty clear that you need to communicate with the office folks differently than the restaurant people and differently still from the school district’s facilities planner.

Then Conquer

Now that we’ve divided the firm’s universe of potential clients into logical groupings, we can devise a plan to conquer each sub-market. Instead of one brochure and website, I’d create 7, one to two page brochures and 7 sub-market focused websites. I’d even look for web addresses like or for each sub-market. With each marketing piece, we’re now able to focus the message on the specific individuals in each sub-market. We can speak their language and talk about the challenges they face without alienating prospects in the other groups.

So set aside an hour to think about who you’re marketing too. Divide them into groups and conquer each one.