get more clients

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.

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

How To Build A Consistent Flow of Customers (FREE Webinar)

The #1 problem for most businesses is creating a CONSISTENT flow of customers/clients/patients.

In fact, creating a consistent flow of customers relieves the biggest stress business owners face...

(There's nothing like an empty pipeline to wake you up in a cold sweat at 2am!)

So, I've teamed up with my friend and advisor Dov Gordon (no we're not related...but he's a smart chap anyway) to host a free webinar on this important topic.

The webinar is on Tuesday, October 30th at 1:00pm Eastern Daylight Time.

It's totally free, there's nothing for sale on the call just good information. If this is even a small problem for you, I suggest you join us.

Click here to register >>

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

Offline Marketing is Dead

Yes, you heard it here first. Offline marketing is dead, gone, sayonara! If you don't have 4372 Facebook fans by noon tomorrow...you're toast.

In fact, you might as well just fold up shop right now.

At least that's what the "image ad agencies" and "social media marketing" guru's want you to believe.

They're running about town telling you that the "old media" doesn't work...and the new media is the only place you'll ever find success again.

The problem...

It's hard to find a real small business that's making more than 50% of it's money from social media and online marketing.

They are out there...and I'll bet you a Benjamin that the social media "gurus" that read this will be sending me all the examples post-haste!

That's what makes it so confusing...a small minority of companies are doing OK with the new media.

But if you look at the biggest, baddest online, e-commerce companies, they're all doing offline marketing. And they're doing MORE than ever.

Amazon, the company that practically invented e-commerce, uses boring ol' direct mail..and lots of it!

GoDaddy, the web-hosting/domain selling jack of all Internet trades bought (more than one) Super Bowl commercial...you know on that thing in the living room...a TV.

Yet, I've seen more small business owners get stressed out and lose sleep because they just don't know what to do with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, FourSquare, Angie's List, Craig's List, Ebay, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, banner ad networks, local directories...the list goes on.

The sad truth is that some offline media (like direct mail) is working as well, if not better than ever, because so many businesses have abandoned it.

The inbox is full of competition, but the mailbox is empty.

Well targeted, multi-step, direct response campaigns are working better than ever...for the intelligent few who are willing to go with what works instead of the "guru's" fad of the day.

P.S. If you're tired of trying to figure out all this new media marketing stuff check out the Clients on Autopilot Monthly Briefing.

Each month you get specific plans you can implement to attract clients...on autopilot. Click here for a free trial issue.

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...

Have You Ever Experienced "The Dip" In Your Small Business?

Have you ever experienced a “dip” in your business? In my work as a small business marketing consultant I see businesses in every stage of growth (and decline). Most come to me when they need to improve sales and get more clients in the door. Often they are going through what author Seth Godin calls “The Dip.” In his book of the same title Godin describes the decision of perseverance vs. strategic quitting. From my own experience it is one of the most difficult decisions that you and I as business leaders ever make.

It presents itself as an obstacle (or series of obstacles). You as the leader must decide if you can and should...

How To Use Video Marketing To Get More Clients

Online video marketing is the most effective tool to attract more of your ideal clients on the Internet. But it’s overlooked by too many small businesses when they think about social media marketing. Video marketing is cheap, easy to do and it’s great for search engine rankings AND for getting more clients. Here’s why…YouTube is the 3rd largest website in the world behind Facebook and Google (yes, Google’s now #2) in terms of number of visits per day. YouTube is also the #2 search engine behind Google. So there are a lot of eyeballs on YouTube that you’re missing if you focus all of your social media effort on Facebook and Twitter.

Video marketing is about attracting your IDEAL clients with relevant, high-value content that targets prospects early in the buying process, while they are still looking for information and options to solve their problem.

Video marketing is not a replacement for traditional commercials. No one watches them on TV, why would they choose to watch them online. Here are seven strategies to help you get the most from video marketing in your small business.

  1. Be authentic. Be yourself…don’t try to act or be anything you’re not. Seems obvious, but I see a lot of businesses create videos that clearly don’t represent them. If you’re small, own your smallness. Don’t try to fake being big. If you’re filming a customer testimonial, tape the ACTUAL customer in their words. Don’t script it. Just be authentic. Simple.
  2. Use video to answer common questions. We all get the same questions over and over from potential clients. There’s nothing wrong with that, and those questions make great content for your videos. Put them on a page on your website and send prospects to it to get questions answered. You’ll leverage your time and you’ll serve your prospects by giving them the answers they want.
  3. Educate, educate, educate! Video is the best way to attract your prospects at the very beginning of the buying cycle…when they’re looking for information. That’s the ideal time to attract them and capture them as a lead in your system. (Mainly because your competitors won’t do the work to grab them and follow-up this early in the process.) Once you’ve got them, you can send them emails with links to more educational videos. Each one builds relationship with the prospect AND allows you to set the buying criteria in their minds before there’s much competition.
  4. Pick your keywords to get ranked quickly. Video is absolutely amazing for getting you ranked on the first page of Google’s search results. I’ve seen it happen for clients in as little as 18 minutes. Typically within a week or two they are showing up in more than one spot on the first page…that’s what we call domination. Critical to getting results like that are the keywords you use to help the search engines find your video. If you pick a keyword with 1 or 2 million competing web pages you’ll have a tough time getting ranked. But if you pick a keyword with few competitors it might not have any traffic. Choosing keywords is an art…be patient it takes time to develop the skill.
  5. Distribute to YouTube and beyond. YouTube is great and your videos should go there first. But don’t stop there. You’ve invested time and money to create a video. Leverage your investment by putting it on the 10-15 top video sharing sites on the web. The search engines LOVE these video sites and will often find your video there and rank it high. Maximize your chances of being found.
  6. Use video as a shortcut to creating other forms of content. Every video I create is transcribed and turned into an article. For each 2.5 minutes of video you’ll get about 500 words typed. The article can be posted to your blog or to article marketing sites around the web for even more search engine juice. I also strip the audio portion out of every video and post it as a podcast to the top 4 podcast directories on the web. Again, 2.5 minutes of work is going to be sent to up to 30 places on the web…all pointing back to my website.
  7. Use video to get more clients to your other social media channels. Facebook is a fan of video too. Every video you create can be posted to your Facebook page and shared with your followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. Those three sites in particular are great distribution points to get your message out beyond your followers.

In the end, it’s your authentic message that gets clients. Your videos are the perfect place to communicate your message and give value to your prospects.

Your Homework

Step 1 is to understand how video marketing fits with your strategy to get more clients. From there you need to spend some time thinking through what types of information will attract your ideal clients and help them navigate the buying process. This can be very simple if you’re selling gifts for example…or very complex if you’re selling enterprise computer software.

Step 2 is to identify and acquire the tools you’ll need and build a system to make it easy to create, edit and distribute your videos. At a minimum you’ll need a camera, a lapel mic, editing software and distribution software (this saves hundreds of hours vs. uploading each video to every video sharing site). For a little more money you can get an inexpensive lighting kit and green screen to create your own studio.

Step 3 is to do the work. You’ll need to invest time and thought into the content you’ll deliver in your videos. You’ll also need to invest some time in shooting, editing and distributing the videos. Choose your keywords by asking “if I were a prospect how would I search for my solution?”. Think in terms of the problem you solve, not the product or service you offer.

If you’re antsy to get more clients online and build an authentic relationship with them, you’ll want to find out more about the “Local Domination Video Marketing System”, a system we created to give you the tools you need to launch your video marketing program and be successful. It guides you through the process of developing compelling content for your videos, teaches you how to shoot them and then takes care of the often complex editing, keyword selection and distribution tasks for you. To learn more about the system send an email to info@stevegordonmarketing.com to schedule a “Get Acquainted” telephone session.