Archive for 'Customers'

Radio Show Preview: Value Definition & ROI

Date: October 25, 2007

Episode Title: Defining Value & ROI

Guest: Michael Nick, Author of “ROI Selling” and “Why Johnny Can’t Sell”

Expressing value in your sales and marketing messages can be a huge challenge for many organizations. More often than not, our own needs and focus working IN the business vs. ON the business overwhelms us to spread messages that are self serving and not customer centric. My guest, Michael Nick, will talk about ways you can express true customer value in your messages in an objective manner to better serve your customers.

During the show, you will learn such things as:

  • Establishing measurable goals
  • Developing “why buy” calls to action
  • The 5 rules for creating effective business issue statements
  • Crafting realistic ROI metrics
  • Discovering true customer needs and attaching a value to those needs


You don’t want to miss this show! Tune in Thursday at 2 PM ET (11 AM PT) for another power packed marketing hour on “The Bauer Pauer Hauer.”

Book Review: Conversation Marketing

Author: Ian Lurie

Approaching prospects and customers as if you’re just having a conversation tailored specifically for their situation is a great way to better connect with them and ultimately get them to buy. That’s the basic premise of the book, and I found it to be a good, albeit short, read.

Since the book IS so short, this is a quick read for anyone looking for ideas on a different approach to marketing their goods or services. It’s to the point and delivers some good food for thought.

Overall, I’d recommend Conversation Marketing although it won’t give you a brand spanking new approach to try. There are a lot of books that touch upon this concept (Seth Godin talks a lot about it in his books) so the odds of you having read other works that deliver the same basic message are pretty good if you’re into this sort of thing.

October Radio Schedule

I’ve gotten the radio show on VoiceAmerica.com setup for the month of October. Below you’ll find the guests along with the topics we’ll discuss. I hope you’ll join me each Thursday @ 2 PM ET to learn from the gurus.

October 4, 2007—Barry Feig, author of “Hot Button Marketing”

Naturally, Barry and I will chat about the “hot buttons” of marketing and how you can push them to attract more customers.

October 11, 2007—Marcia Yudkin, author of “Six Steps to Free Publicity.”

Learn various ways you can gain free publicity that will help attract more customers and increase awareness of your business.

October 18, 2007—Michael Boylan, author of “Accelerants” and “The Power to Get In.”

Learn how to prospect better along with ways to improve your organization’s sales performance and decrease cycle times.

October 25, 2007—Michael Nick, author of “Why Johnny Can’t Sell” and “ROI Selling.”

How can you better express your company’s value proposition and decrease sales resistance? Michael and I will explore a few ways to accomplish this goal and increase revenue.

If you have any questions you’d like to ask one of the guests, please e-mail radio@smbconsultinginc.com. To learn more about VoiceAmerica’s Business Channel, check out http://www.modavox.com/VoiceAmericaBusiness/ or click the link.

SMB Consulting: Change of Focus Imminent

During my solo afternoon bike ride before the rain hit, I was doing some thinking about the core competencies of my firm and what I could boil it down to in the simplest of terms. After some internal back and forth, I came up with “lead generation” is what everything falls back to. Search optimization is beneficial only when it generates more qualified leads. Same with advertising and marketing efforts–quality lead generation is the ultimate goal when a company engages in those activities. So that got me to thinking about some of the services we currently offer that don’t relate to that core of lead generation.

Technology consulting doesn’t really fit into the “new” mission of the business. Neither does strategic planning although there are strategic elements involved when trying to generate leads through marketing or advertising so it’s more of a complimentary aspect than part of the core. Same goes for business planning–it’s not critical to the core of lead generation although marketing planning is so I foresee a shift in approach coming there. Web design/redesign, however, is a precursor to lead generation because the web is a critical tool to utilize when trying to attract potential customers and generate leads so that is something to be more focal for us moving forward.

What all is really involved in lead generation?
Website Design/Re-Design
Copywriting (falls under website design & SEO if you break it down)
SEO
Marketing (SEO falls under marketing if you really break it down)
Advertising
Sales Training/Development

I’m sure I’m leaving some things out, but that’s a pretty good core list of services which doesn’t look all that related to the initial core list of services I envisioned when starting the firm two years ago. For some strange reason, I feel a sense of clarity after mulling through that during my ride today. I feel like the sense of purpose has now been defined and all future activities will have a greater meaning. Straying will be much more difficult, and it will be easier to make decisions about whether to take on a certain client, form a joint venture, partner, or offer another service.

In watching the first couple of DVDs of Mike Filsaime’s The 7 Figure Code, it talks about the “hedgehog concept” that is broached in Jim Collins’ bestselling Good to Great classic. I’ve read Good to Great, but I hadn’t revisited it in, well, two years so I was happy to have that topic come up again. My first “to do” after watching the first couple of DVDs was to figure out what I think this firm can become truly great at doing, and lead generation consulting is what I kept coming back to. Every business transaction starts with some sort of lead, and leads will never go out of “style” so this newly redefined mission could fuel the company for decades.

Moving forward, look for a shift in focus and offerings from our firm along with content that directly relates to the newly found focus.

What do you think of this approach? Good, bad, or indifferent–let me hear from you. I value all of the feedback I receive.

PS–So far, The 7 Figure Code has already stoked my internal coals to rethink everything from a more simplified place so it has proven invaluable after just 2 DVDs (16 total). If the next 14 provide as much thought provoking material, unbelievably great things are going to happen! I’ll post a more complete review of the package once I dig deeper into it–it just arrived yesterday (Thursday, 7/26/07).

Quick Hit SEO to Do List

Many potential Search Engine Optimization (SEO) clients come to me stating they don’t have the financial resources to contract my firm for services yet they’d like to get started with the promotion of their site within the search engine sphere. Below I’ve attempted to outline the first steps I might take if I had a new website to promote from the ground up.

Submit Your Site to Directories

Directory submissions are an integral part of basic SEO, and directory listings help to form a foundation of links pointing to your site that generally won’t go anywhere unless the directory disappears or is shutdown for some reason. Many directories such as DMOZ or the Yahoo Directory feed search engine results and carry a lot of “weight” with major search engines such as Google, MSN/Live, and Yahoo!

There are hundreds of free directories out there, and my recommendation is to subcontract this service out to an inexpensive submission service (do a search for “directory submission service”). For as little as $30, you can have your website submitted to hundreds of directories in little time. Manually doing this could take countless hours, and it’s very tedious work. One note of caution: directories don’t get indexed overnight. It will take some time for your site to get “credit” for being listed in a lot of the online directories.

Write and Submit Articles about Your Business or Industry

Promoting your business via articles about your industry or the business itself are a great way to build awareness without being over the top or in someone’s face. The more articles you write and submit to online e-zines or article directories, the more your name circulates. Think about it, when you read an informative article that helps you solve a problem, perform a task better, or recaps an event, your guard isn’t as high as it is when you come across an all out advertisement is it?

Be sure to include a byline at the end containing a link to your site along with brief information about you and your company. This will not only generate awareness, it will also help your search engine optimization campaign by building “natural” links back to your website as the article circulates the online community.

Engage in a Free PR Campaign

While print media isn’t as popular as it once was, people still read newspapers, trade journals, and magazines. Local newspapers are always looking for interesting stories on local people to write about in order to increase their readership. Magazines are a bit different in that your story needs to be very compelling and unique in some fashion, but your website and business can get a big jolt if you can land a story in a print publication of some sort. One word of caution: don’t go shooting for the New York Times or Inc. Magazine right out of the chute unless you’re truly prepared to handle a huge influx of site visits, e-mails, phone calls, and unrelated requests about your business.

Involve Yourself in the Blogosphere

Blogs are a great way to show a more human side to a company, and their popularity continues to increase. My advice is to start a blog about your company, industry, or niche that is a sub-domain off of your main website. A sub-domain may look like this: subdomain.domain.com to where your blog may utilize a scheme similar to blog.yourdomain.com. This is a great way to build unique content for your domain while also helping your customers or clients get to know the human side of your business. There are several free blog generators out there that will even host your blog for free, and two of the more popular ones can be found at blogger.com or wordpress.com.

If starting your own blog is too tall a task, visit others’ blogs related to your industry and join in the conversation by posting comments and interacting with the blog owner. Many blog comments are indexed by the name you enter in the name field of the comment form so you can build links to your site this way. One note of caution: there is a lot of debate whether no-follow links such as the ones on most blogs provide any search optimization value, and I have found that they do provided the blog itself ranks well and has a large following.

Promote Your Site Everywhere

Offline optimization is just as important as it is online as you’re simply trying to generate interest in your business or website, right? Consider promoting your website offline just as you would your business. Nobody will know about your site unless you tell them, but you don’t want to be a hound about it either so be subtle. The traffic you generate may result in a huge sale that puts your business on the map.

Basic SEO isn’t that difficult if you think about it in a common sense manner. Promoting your site online is very similar to how you’d promote your business offline—it’s all about positive exposure. Being heavily involved online as well as off is a solid strategy to building awareness for your business and its website.

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