PR Equals Free Publicity

There are three key areas of public relations you can use to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.

The key to public relations lies in:

  • Public relations or publicity
  • Merchandising
  • Promotions

With a solid plan in place that encompasses all these areas, you’ll have a great approach to use public relations in the best way possible.

Public relations include all that is the media. Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, ezines and more are all equally powerful. Online marketing is just as, if not more, important as conventional media.

Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:

  1. Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.
  2. Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting to make sure the media person you are sending it to is interested in reading it.
  3. Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases, you need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.
  4. Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forget to include relevant blogs, ezines, press release submission sites and industry professionals.

More important than a perfect press release is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market in the products/services you offer and made that clear in the press release. If you are providing people a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem and an opportunity to enhance their life the media and public will be interested.

If you have a connection (or the ability to get a connection) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention. Make sure you are offered newsworthy information and then follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.

“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.” Jay Abraham

Our FREE test drive can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pros do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.

How to Spend Time on What Really Matters

 

I find a recurring theme as I work with business owners is their lack of time to focus on strategic plans and have a reasonable balance with other interests. These executives are often overloaded with tasks that are meant for lower level employees and in an endless cycle of tactical follow-up.

There are three simple steps that any business owner like you can take to begin changing their business and their life.

 

A simple time analysis of your weekly activities. The first step is developing and implementing a simple time analysis of your weekly activities.  Spend a few moments throughout the day listing what you do and how much time these activities occupy.  Next, write down very specific goals to change your behavior over a specific time period and start delegating those tasks better suited for others. Part of this plan could include writing specific procedures on how to perform the tasks to be delegated to others, hiring additional staff members to perform the delegated tasks, or training existing staff to perform the delegated tasks. The key is a clearly written delegation plan that you can both execute and measure. It is also important to have an accountability partner in the form of a coach, mentor or trusted staff member who can help track your progress.

 

Develop an apprentice plan.  The next step is to develop an apprenticeship plan or a plan to train others to execute those tasks you determined more suitable for others. A business that scores high in this category will actively coach team members to execute responsibilities with increasing competence, has a system is in place to develop team members and a culture of apprenticeship in place. A business with a low score will have leaders working in isolation from their direct reports with no culture to develop employees. There are really two reasons most leaders never escape the time drain of lower-level tasks: 1) They believe only they can properly execute the tasks and 2) they have tried to empower others but did it improperly, making the situation worse. Your goal should be to identify tasks that do not contribute to your business growth or that you do not enjoy and create a plan to delegate those tasks after an appropriate amount of training is complete. Your apprentice plan should be tracked and documented with an accountability partner until completion to ensure progress.

 

Design a leadership development plan. The third step is to design a leadership development plan.  Specifically, this is a plan to develop your high-potential leaders and incentivize their long-term commitment to your business. An example of a highly developed leadership plan will be one that identifies and develops your high-potential talent and managers and includes a succession plan.

 

Two other plans that should be designed concurrently with your apprentice plan are your organizational plan and a comprehensive exit strategy

 

Finally, there are some great tools to help develop your leaders.  One of my personal favorites is the Flippen Profile developed by the Flippen Group which can identify leadership constraints such as over-confidence, an inability to nurture, and low self-control. This developmental roadmap should be combined with a performance incentive plan that compensates key leaders in areas such as sales growth and gross profit margins.

 

Another great resource is John C. Maxwell’s “Developing the Leader in You – 5 Levels of Leadership” This approach fits nicely with the Flippen Profile and can be used to develop a top-tier leadership team to free your time and help you focus on activities that ultimately generate revenue.

 

To conclude, effective time management for a business owner is a function of delegating, developing and incentivizing. Often the busy entrepreneur has worked hard to develop a successful firm and now should focus on a plan to free time for either growing the business, creating a passive income stream or selling their firm to free them to enjoy the next stage in life.

How Well Do You Know Your Vendors?

It’s extremely important to build relationships with your vendors and those around you that can bring in new customers/clients increasing awareness of your company branding.

The people you work directly with on your products and services are really the ones with the most to gain when you find success. By taking the time to get to know them, you’ll find a whole host of opportunities you didn’t realize were there.

Look for great ways to offer your vendors rewards for helping grow your business and everyone wins. One of ways you can do this is by offering performance-based incentives that are much larger than their normal charges.

Here’s the step-by-step process of putting together a partnership with a vendor:

  1. Approach all the vendors you work with and offer an incentive based on performance.
  2. Put the generous incentive plan together from their perspective, even take suggestions.
  3. Develop a clear, concise and easy to track incentive plan, this will increase competition between vendors and therefore higher performance levels.
  4. Encourage subsequent sales instead of focusing only on the initial sale. By doing this you can give away more of the profit from the initial sale to your vendors and make higher profits off the back end products. Encourage:
  • Future sales
  • Upsell better and more profitable products/services
  • Cross-sell to additional products

5. Create an incentive plan that’s irresistible to your vendors by offering generous, exclusive compensation.

Think of all the vendors you work with and the creative ways you can put together an incentive plan that entices them to be part of your business. Use their talents, capabilities and connections and you’ll both be winners.

Putting together an incentive plan doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Use our FREE test drive to come up with some great ideas and put your incentive plan together for maximum results.

Telemarketing is NOT the Anti-Christ

Today you’ll learn how to use direct mail marketing and, yes, telemarketing to your full advantage. I know, the word “telemarketing” might as well be four letters, but there is a way to help customers feel like they are getting personal attention and keep them from blocking your number!

With the success direct mail marketing has had and the availability of computers, these can be used as a powerful marketing tool for your success. Telemarketing is best for high priced, high margin products/services.

Here are the key steps to putting together a highly effective direct mail marketing program:

  1. List all benefits customers will get from the purchase of your products and services.
  2. Pick the single most powerful benefit out of that list.
  3. Build an attention-getting headline around that benefit. Remember to use emotion-fulfill the desire to be young, wealthy, desired, popular or successful.
  4. Develop a sales letter using the headline you created to grab attention, provide information and motivate customers to act.
  5. Put together supplementary items, such as a brochure, order form, reply envelope or note that encourages them to read the letter.
  6. Rent or purchase a mailing list.
  7. Compare the cost of mailing vs. cost per order.
  8. Continue to test and refine your direct mail marketing plan.

You can see how direct mail marketing can help you find a local or even country-wide target market to send letters or postcards to and draw in new clientele and customers. Fine-tuning your marketing campaign will bring better results and therefore lower the overall cost of the campaign.

To be successful in telemarketing you need to:

  • Put together a plan, so you know exactly what you want to accomplish during the call.
  • Develop a list of topics to discuss and the questions you want to present around these topics.
  • Input verbiage checking to see if you are calling at a good time.
  • Include enough questions to keep the conversation interesting, but not too many to sound like you are interrogating.
  • Start with broad questions and narrow your focus as the conversation continues.
  • Offer feedback to show them you are paying attention and appreciate their time.
  • Don’t insult their intelligence or manipulate them.
  • Listen first, talk second.
  • Be relaxed and conversational.

Telemarketing doesn’t have to be the trauma it’s made out to be. You can put together an honest, personal and effective telemarketing campaign that is endearing, informative and gets the job done. Think of how you would want to be treated on a marketing call. Ask your friends and family what they hate most about the telemarketing calls they get and work hard to craft your plan in a better way.

When selling by telephone, you have approximately thirty seconds to convince the customer to listen to you. You need an opening statement that captures their attention, conveys who you are, what you want and why the prospect should listen.” Jay Abraham

It’s easy to see how direct mail marketing and telemarketing can positively affect your business by bringing in new customers and increasing the level of awareness about your products, services and company branding. Our FREE test drive offers the resources and tools you need to work through these processes and put together the best marketing plan you can.

Turn Prospects into Customers Overnight!

Today I’d like to talk about how to turn prospects into customers and retain them for future marketing to. While your marketing is doing its job, you need to be working on turning those prospects into customers. There are a few key ways to draw them in and seal the deal. You need to be:

· Inviting

· Informative

· Enjoyable

The biggest fear of most new customers is the dread buyer’s remorse. You want to avoid this at all costs and this should be mitigated if you’ve provided a quality product/service that delivers on the marketing claims you’ve made.

However, this can still occur. There are two ways to deal with this:

· Offer to refund money-no questions asked

· Offer a bonus they can keep even if they return the product

These offers alone will also mitigate buyer’s remorse because the customer will trust you more, just for offering these things.

There are a number of other ways to turn a prospect into a customer:

1. Offer a special price as an opportunity for you to test the market.

2. Offer a lower price for the reason of pushing inventory to pay a tax bill, for your kid’s’ braces, or another tangible reason. Customers love that this makes you feel so much more human.

3. Offer a referral incentive.

4. Offer a smaller, more inexpensive product first to build trust.

5. Offer package deals.

6. Offer to charge less for their first purchase if they become a repeat customer.

7. Offer extra incentives-longer warranties, free bonuses if ordered by a set date.

8. Offer financing options, if applicable.

9. Offer a bonus if they pay in full.

10. Offer special packaging or delivery.

11. Offer “name your own price” incentives.

12. Offer comparative data or other comparison tools.

13. Offer a trade-up or upgrade to something they already have.

14. Offer additional, educational information to help them make the decision.

The options really are as limitless as you make it. You can use these or other ideas to find what works the best for your business, products/service and target market. Remember this…

“By making it inviting, easy, informative, non-threatening, educational, inspiring and fun to do business with you, you’ll loft your company above the competition.” Jay Abraham

Need help with figuring out the best strategy for converting prospects into customers? Our FREE test drive gives you exclusive access to the mountain of resources and tools, along with information from some of the greatest marketing minds on Earth.

 

 

Make it Pop!

There are 5 major components to good advertising copy: (The order of these is essential to success)

· Command Attention

· Showcase Benefits of Products/Services

· Prove the Benefits

· Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits

· Call to Action

Advertising is sales in print. So, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize results, not features.

Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these components:

1. Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-getter that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement.

2. Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a problem. They need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual and clear information to show precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to help the customer.

3. Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance.

4. Persuade: You need to add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard sell approach and create scarcity. This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads to the last component.

5. Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your

products, contact you about services…something. Offer a freebie-a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited time price…the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.

Good advertisements include all of these components and are not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place them together for the most effectiveness. We can help you with this too. Try our FREE test drive to learn how to put together great advertisements from some of the best in the business.

Direct Response or Bust!

Direct response marketing is a marketing that demands a direct response from your potential customers. This type of marketing is used to answer questions, present your branding, products and the reason you do what you do. Customers love this, as they are offered the opportunity to respond, whether that be in the way of signing up for a newsletter, posting a comment on your site or blog, or purchasing a product from you.

So, what does direct response marketing look like? Well, it comes in many forms, including:

  • Direct mail
  • Print Ads
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Coupons or other incentives
  • Telemarketing

Some of the advantages of direct marketing are:

  • A great way to use free time during lulls in business
  • Productive way to communicate and empower you to create more relationships
  • Great way to up- and cross-sell to current customers
  • Low-cost way to rustle up new business
  • Used as leverage to turn small sales into large sales
  • Supplement your current marketing program
  • Cost-effective way to reach target markets
  • Offers measurable results
  • Reach outside your local area for new business
  • Increase the effectiveness of your sales force

These are all great things that can come from just taking a few simple steps to putting together a direct response marketing plan and executing it.

“I honestly don’t think you’ll ever find a safer, lower-risk, higher-profit method of increasing your business or profession than direct-response marketing.” Jay Abraham

Direct response marketing is one of the best ways to launch your business on a large scale and reach out to everyone in your target market whether they are in your local area or not. Our FREE test drive can help you put together a great direct response marketing plan and get you on your way to heightened success.

Creating Your Market Dominating Sales Process

When creating your sales process, you should actually begin with the end in mind. Start with your target market and distribution channels and work your way to marketing tactics. Too often business owners start with random tactics and wonder why they are not working or why they are not getting a return on their marketing investment.

Begin by identifying the characteristics of every person that could want your products or services and then identify the needs of these various segments in your market. These needs help define a niche that you are passionate about serving and that will sustain your business through the startup phase. In essence, your niche is why you get up every morning to serve your customers. When this niche is determined and its needs are established, you can move on to defining the characteristics of your target market. You can also determine your unique selling proposition to set your business apart from the myriad of competitors.

Armed with this information, you can then select your appropriate sales channels and map your sales activities back to appropriate marketing strategies which could include advertising, joint ventures and several others. These strategies can then be mapped to specific tactics such as banner ads, public speaking or e-books to name a few and can be branded and marked with unique selling propositions created for specific target markets. The goal is to not on only attract leads, but instantly qualify those leads prior to any sales meeting.

From here, the business owner can create sales scripts and training to optimize sales rep efforts and convert leads to actual business. More importantly, with everything documented, you can continually review various parts of the process to improve them, resulting in increased revenue year over year and truly serve the niche market you are so passionate about.

Coaching a High Performance Team

In 25 years of leading and managing teams globally the most important attribute one can have is that of a coach. In particular with new generations looking for autonomy and consistent feedback the role of a coach will become more important as the workforce changes. Interestingly, whether I was coaching a colleague from France, Turkey or Japan there were consistent themes that made everyone more successful:

  • Trust between the coach and the player
  • Match the needs of the person with the needs of the team and business
  • Ensure both parties are clear on outcomes
  • Create a roadmap to ensure both parties are successful
  • Consistent follow up and frequent feedback

These are the key concepts I have found useful regardless of culture, ethnicity or the generation of the person I have coached successfully. I also find these concepts to apply in corporations, the U.S. government and not for profit organizations at all levels from executive to entry level employee. And yes, managing one’s boss and reverse coaching do apply.

You must have a mutual level of trust 

     The first level of a successful coaching engagement is mutual trust between the person conducting the coaching and the person receiving coaching. One should not assume this is the case even for a relationship that has existed for years. Building trust is the foundation of effective teamwork and improvement. This is accomplished in several ways. Honestly listening to the other person, responding appropriately to requests and concerns, giving credit for work completed, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and understanding the other person in depth. Obviously this requires work over time and the field must be cultivated on a continuous basis. When these basics are accomplished the coaching relationship will be much easier and the return on your personal investment much higher.

Match the needs of the person with the needs of the business

     To the extent possible make the needs of all parties intersect. There are three parties in each coaching interaction; The coach, the player and the team to include the company. When a person on your team is focused on projects that satisfy a desire, they will contribute more discretionary effort than not. Work content that inspires them will receive the attention necessary to ensure the entire team is successful. And coaching points will be more salient as they will have an intrinsic reason to improve. Naturally if you and your team member have a shared need than the results will typically be extraordinary. While this will not always be possible, it should be possible to match 50 to 80% of work content assuming you recruited the correct person for the role in the beginning. Most of your employees can live with content they do not enjoy if they are inspired by a majority of the content they do enjoy. And the trust you established from the beginning of the relationship will ensure an open and honest conversation when discussing priorities. I will assume the needs of the company will be met and no hidden agendas are part of your relationship.

Ensure both parties are clear on outcomes

     The next critical step is to agree on the end state for projects and responsibilities. Make certain SMART (Specific, measurable, actionable, repeatable and time bound) goals are established and they are easy to track. During coaching sessions revisit goals and objectives to ensure the business hasn’t changed priorities and the team is making progress. The establishment of tollgates or check points will increase the feeling of accomplishment and increase the potential for success. If there are key stakeholders or dotted line managers created by a matrixed organization either include those people in the review or obtain feedback prior to the review. It is important that adjoining partners and customers are part of the goal setting process. If for any reason your team member is not making progress review the plan and make sure this team is not either late or if a key step was not accomplished. Not only will this empower the employee to make the necessary changes it will also help both of you understand why goals are not on track.

Create a roadmap to ensure both parties are successful

      As mentioned in the previous step, having a clear roadmap and steps will ensure accountability. If a team mate understands the objectives and creates a real plan they will be ahead of 90% of other people in the company. This document need not be overly complicated and is typically a companion of a clear project charter. This can be a simple who/what/when document or a more detailed GANT chart. At the very least the plan should include accountable parties, steps to ensure progress and key assumptions. This can be reviewed weekly or monthly to ensure the assumed drivers have not changed and if they do change, the implications for the project goals. It will also be useful when conducting quarterly reviews with more senior leaders in your business to discuss progress, changes and any revision to the final project outcome. The details and complexity of any project plan will be driven by the size of the project. For an ERP implementation, a GANT chart will be more appropriate. If your team member is working on a project that will deliver incremental change in the next month a simple punch card of actions will suffice. The key for both parties is a reasonably detailed plan with clear steps and a clear objective.

Consistent follow up and feedback

     A key task of any leader is to supervise ongoing work and make necessary corrections. The manager should ensure reasonable reviews are scheduled to provide coaching on progress and to account for business changes. Once again, the size of the project and the impact of the change will dictate frequency. One should also consider the longevity of the team member and that person’s business experience. Often a stretch assignment will dictate more frequent follow up initially until the person is more comfortable. Frequent follow up should not be confused with micromanaging a project. The intent of these reviews is to review progress to committed goals, give advice on next steps and ensure the accountability is assigned. Other considerations will be frequency of reviews with senior leaders and content to be reviewed. Formal and informal feedback should be shared and documented as appropriate. Areas to consider will be whether or not the project is on time, on budget and development opportunities based on project status. The intent is to ensure both parties are aligned and no surprises occur as the project nears completion. It is also a part of the development program for the team and can be used to determine follow on assignments and professional development opportunities.

Coaching your team is both a critical part of your job as a leader and also requires preparation to be effective. Follow these simple guidelines and keep the channels of communication open. Not only will your team be more successful, but you will also learn from the experience.

5 Actions that Make a Great CEO

The number one place for the CEO or company founder (hereafter “CEO” or CEOs”) to spend their time is with customers and strategy formulation. This should be their focus 80% of their time. Unfortunately the opposite is usually the case. More often CEOs are fighting fires, dealing with a poor hire, or trying to scale a business where processes have not been properly developed. Most often this is work that should have been completed before the company realizes its first $1mm in revenue, but now probably ensures that the leader is working 80+ hours every week on the wrong things.

Following are 5 top things that will ensure this will be remedied:

-Develop a capable staff and a second in command
-Prioritize key process indicators and assign owners
-Ensure a growth strategy is in place and operating rhythms are developed
-Create a process to listen to customers for feedback
-Create a process to review and implement new strategies

Develop a Capable Staff and a Second in Command

The first order of business for a CEO is to hire and develop key company leaders well before its 11th employee or early in the start -up phase. This involves psychometric profiling (what personality traits will make the candidate excel), developing a network of hiring partners outside the firm and creating a robust hiring process. With this hiring process in place, a CEO can onboard capable executives to grow the business and run day-to-day operations well before the business starts to scale.

Prioritize Key Process Indicators and Assign Owners

From there, it is important to ensure that prioritized key process indicators (KPI) are in place to drive correct company behavior and initiatives. It is equally important to have a clear owner for each KPI. And of course, with a great hiring system already implemented, you will have great team of business leaders already in place to make stellar progress: a great sales manager in place to own lead generation, a marketing person to drive conversion strategies, and a manufacturing guru to reduce cycle times to drive cash generation.

Growth Strategies and Operating Rhythms

These leaders will consequently own your company’s operating rhythms to ensure progress is made on a daily and weekly basis. A quick daily or weekly review between the CEO and KPI owners will quickly resolve issues and drive cross-functional accountability. While it will take time to conduct these reviews, countless hours will be saved by reducing emails, ad hoc meetings, and countless voicemails looking for information. These operating meetings should have clear agendas and follow-up lists generated to drive accountability for actions.

Customer Feedback

Freed from day-to-day details, CEOs can create a customer feedback process with sales, marketing and customer service with focus either on key customers or on net promoter score data to gather valuable product or service feedback. This feedback process will show your customers you value their input and you will use it to continuously improve. These efforts will drive customer affinity and loyalty.

Implement and Review Strategies

Finally, CEOs should reserve the balance of their time for strategy creation and execution with weekly, quarterly and yearly mechanisms in place to review progress with various levels of company leadership depending on the size and complexity of the organization. At least weekly, CEOs should have early breakfast meetings with other company leaders to discuss strategy in a more informal manner. On a weekly or monthly basis, CEOs can review departmental key strategic initiatives to ensure progress and accountability. These weekly or monthly meetings can then be combined with quarterly and yearly reviews with a larger portion of their organization to leverage ideas and drive clarity deeper in the organization.

The leader of any organization regardless of size must ensure that the correct people and processes are in place and that tools exist to free the leader from the day-to-day grind of business operations. Their role is to work directly with customers and direct strategies to grow their business including revenues and gross margins. This infrastructure should be developed early in the life cycle of the company and most certainly before the organization has 50 employees or $1MM in revenues. With this in place the organization can scale and realize double digit growth year over year.