Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Law of Attraction and Social Media Networking

If any of you business owners are interested in the Law of Attraction or, if any of you Law of Attraction enthusiasts are interested in being entrepreneurs, consider this. Social media networking is a perfect way to allow the universe to bring your positive affirmations to fruition. I don’t want to downplay the role that hard work plays in success but, one must also acknowledge that positive thinking and affirmation are a big part of success also. If any of you are interested in the word of faith movement, just so you know, positive confession is affirmation. In fact, it should be obvious that the individuals who used “The Secret” so well were masters at networking. So then, it should naturally follow that since social media has become the powerful networking force that it is, it only makes sense that one who is trying to take advantage of thought creativity should use the social media networks as an important tool. I guess one could call it spirituality 2.0.

Since we see at the molecular level that all that we come in contact with, all that we own and participate in, where we live and work, what we drive, where we sleep, and all of our recreation including the beautiful scenery we enjoy on vacation is merely vibrating energy. It may behoove us to consider positive thought process in all that we say and do. The “law of attraction” guru’s all tell us that we can create our success in life. They state that we can bring positive vibrations into our energy fields that create reality for us. If this is true, and I believe that there is a lot of truth to it, then, it makes perfect sense to incorporate a social media strategy in all that we do so that it will make it easier for the universe, the source, to create prosperity and success.

Next time you form a connection with some one think about how you can benefit them in creating success and likewise how they can help you to bring about the success you desire. I think that this kind of a “what can I give” attitude will go a long way toward bringing prosperity and success your way. So then, socialize your self all you want….it has a “Secret” purpose.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Practical Marketing Tools for the Small B2B Owner

So much of marketing information and innovation is geared toward the marketing departments of large corporations. Yet, in small businesses across the country, the owner or, marketing vice president is the complete marketing department. This is especially true in difficult economic times. These individuals do not have a lot of time to develop marketing tools because of all of the various demands on their time. They are too busy from all of the necessary work and end up putting in long tiring hours. The fact is however, that small businesses need marketing to thrive just as much if not more than other businesses. Competition is always increasing and in some instances the competition is larger corporations that have marketing departments so, what is the owner, lone marketer to do?

I have run across a resource on the internet that can help these individuals at a very reasonable cost. The name of the company is Demand Metric. They have developed a service that prepares Microsoft Office tools that will save time for the busy marketeer. Their practical tools range from templates in Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to PDF how to guides that are designed to save time with strategy and implementation. One can find a range of tools in eight categories such as management, marketing, e-commerce and, planning etc. One of my favorite tools is the Competitive Website Analysis Tool. It allows you to evaluate your current website on various helpful informative criteria and compare it with your known competition. They have many tools to choose from. You can find job description templates if you are in need of hiring an employee or a consultant.

They also have a program available that will allow you to have a live conversation with an analyst that can give you advice about a project or problem. This makes it possible to have a consultant without paying for one to come to your business. I believe that this company is one that all small businesses should be aware of. They offer this service on a subscription basis so once you have become a member you can access all that they have developed. I believe that there are over 200+ tools not to mention how to guides and consultation from an analyst.

Any small business would do well to have Demand Metric as a part of their marketing tool belt.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cold Calling is Dead; The Myth Part III

Hopefully, I have inspired you to set your fears aside and pick up the phone and dial. An excellent source for your list of potential clients is They list businesses in a local area by type of business so, no matter who you want to target, chances are you will find a list of them on Yelp. Let me remind you right now that you cannot take rejection personally and, hopefully, I will give you the advice that will make rejection less likely.

In an ideal situation, you will use this as one tool in your tool belt and you will use it when there is no pressure on you. Remember the term nurture. Nurturing is what you are trying to do. It doesn’t matter if they buy right now or not; especially if you are using a couple of hours per day. Remember it should be done by you or a trusted employee that genuinely wants to see your business grow. Also, it is important to stick to it. Don’t be sporadic. Set aside a time each day and do it.

When you get a live conversation you don’t want to sound like a sales person and you shouldn’t be thinking like a sales person. Be completely conversational. You can begin by saying that this is Joe from fill in the blank with your business name. It is important to identify yourself right away. You should do your homework before hand and you should ask them a question that will identify a common pain that your product or service can solve. When the conversation is going back and forth you can tell them about your product or service and tell them that you merely want to let them know about you. This is the time when you can say that you would like to send them whatever offer you have for them. It is a good time to get their email or fax so that you can send it to them. Email is preferable. If it is convenient to your type of business, ask if you can stop by some time and meet face to face.

You are not selling; you are building a relationship and nurturing a future customer. Over time this will put a lot of sales on the books for you and you will grow your business at the same time.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Cold Calling is Dead; The Myth: Part II

Since we concluded in Part I of this post that cold calling is not dead and is really a viable option for small businesses, lets examine some of the details of this tool.

Small business companies that provide products or services for other small businesses are prime candidates for benefiting from cold calling. In fact, it may still be the most cost effective way to build awareness of your business offering. This is especially true if it is used to nurture new customers. It is much more difficult to acquire email lists for small businesses than it is for larger corporations so this makes email marketing difficult. One campaign that can easily be used by small business marketers (many times that is the owner or a trusted employee) is to call into target companies for the purpose of finding out what email address is best to reach out to the company with. This allows the small business to email an offer that can generate an interest in the future. The offer should always be something of value to the receiving company.

For example, an IT service company may provide a free tune up of a computer or server. This may be something that the receiving company will file away until a time when it is actually needed. There are many other types of offers that can be used with this kind of campaign. This is a productive activity that can be done for a couple of hours each day. Within a couple of hours it should be easy to make twenty-five calls. One hundred calls a week could end up bringing in four new clients per month. Don’t give up if it doesn’t bring results right away; remember the term nurture.

Whenever cold calling is attempted it is important to realize that it is a numbers game. If you make x number of calls you can be assured that you will end up with x number of conversations. Realize of course, that the number of conversations will be much less than the number of calls dialed but, after you do it for a while, you will find that the statistics ring true day in and day out.

You can then begin to predict what kind of results you can expect. Eventually, you will serendipitously run into someone who has a need for your service at the very moment you call. But, if you work it well, you will find that you are actually building rapport. Many times, especially if you call a small business, the person answering the phone can be very helpful in getting your companies name and service in front of the decision maker, so, if you cannot speak to the owner do not neglect the gatekeeper. You will be surprised by the amount of times that a gatekeeper can actually get you a hearing in the long run.

Finally, there have been some recent studies done that show that you should make more attempts before you write off a particular prospective client business. While it used to be considered practical to give up after three attempts, new studies show that in light of how busy people are today, you should make at least five attempts and if you are trying to reach the owner or a C-level you can make up to seven calls before you reach them.

In Part III we’ll look at what you should say when you get a live conversation.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cold Calling is Dead; The Myth: Part 1

I have recently viewed a recorded webinar entitled “Cold Calling is Dead.” The main point of the webinar was that, in light of the popularity of the social media and the shift in the way people research products, solutions and services that cold calling was completely ineffective and has no place in the tool belt of a sales person. In fact, on a LinkedIn group discussion recently, when a person was asking a legitimate question about cold calling, someone replied somewhat sarcastically, “why are you cold calling in the first place.” This popular idea seems to be gaining ground in many circles.

My take is different. I think that it may be that in this economic turndown that, cold calling may be ill; it may have the proverbial flu if you will allow me the metaphor but, it is not dead and, will be as effective as ever as the economy grows stronger and, buyer confidence returns. In other words, the economic turndown is a convenient situation to capitalize on because; it is definitely true that cold calling is difficult at this point in time. It is much more difficult than it was a year ago and, it is easy to wonder if it will ever get better.

When using the illustration of Tylenol vs. vitamins, it can be seen that a person with a headache will scrape together enough money to buy a bottle of Tylenol because of the extreme pain no matter how tight cash flow is. On the other hand if a person is feeling a little run down, in times of cash flow crunch, they will get along without the vitamins. So, this is true of companies in times of economic turndown. They will still scrape together the money to buy something that will alleviate immediate pain, but they will put off for later something that could make the process run a little smoother, This phenomenon alone is responsible for much of the downturn in cold calling effectiveness.

An experienced cold caller realizes that it is all about the dials and statistics. It is not personal. First, it is difficult to get people to answer the phone and when you do, it is random that the person will have a need at the exact time of the call. In Part II, I’ll discuss some of the benefits of what cold calling can do to jumpstart nurturing and relationship marketing.


Friday, August 14, 2009

SEO and Social Media for Small Businesses

The large corporations are utilizing SEO and social media to drive their marketing efforts. It is true that more and more people become internet shoppers and buyers every day. It is also true that individual consumers like to transfer their shopping and buying habits to their businesses. As a result there has been a shift in the way in which consumers research, shop and buy and the internet is is key in this shift.

Large Corporations have the money and resources to tap these trends and use them to help nurture potential customers and buyers. They increasingly use social media, i.e., blogs, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find and engage potential buyers. In fact, this has become an important if not the most important tool in funnel building. It really lends itself to nurturing relationships and brand awareness with potential buyers.

So then, you say, "what about me"? "I can't afford all of these things and do not have the time to blog and tweet!"

Not so! There are companines available and more forming that will allow small businesses to gain this same benefit through syndication, group registries, and local searches. They can find free lance bloggers that will provide relavant content in a timely manner. When was the last time you consulted the Yellow Pages for anything? Most people will answer never or not often. These new internet methods are less expensive and far more effective than print media, radio and television. With web searches it is easier to target those that have an immediate need for the service or products you provide.

Today, small business owners can find a wealth of resources and tools that will provide them the same kind of expertise and tools that large corporations have. It is certainly worth some in depth consideration. I will endeavor to find those solutions that will help you successfully market your small business.