Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Marketing Mishaps: Having a Poverty Mindset

Marketing Mishaps: Having a Poverty Mindset

This one is admittedly a bit off our regular topics, particularly for Marketing Mishaps. One might even call it somewhat "woo-woo." Whatever you call it, though, one fact remains clear: The best marketing in the world will NEVER help you succeed in your business if you come from a poverty mindset.

What exactly do we mean by a poverty mindset? A thought process that is based in lack, want, a perception of being 'less than', victimhood, or any other mindset that focuses on what you do not have. Whether you know it or not — and more importantly, whether you believe it or not — your thoughts are incredibly powerful, and they are constantly working to attract to you exactly what they're focused on.

Say your #1 client just pulled their account for a reason completely unrelated to you. Now you're looking at your quarterly projections, starting to feel stressed out and worried about how you'll make up that deficit. This is a completely normal reaction, right? Yes — it's normal, but it's not productive. In fact, it's 100 percent counterproductive to attracting a new client to replace the one you lost. 

So what are you supposed to do when a challenge comes at you unexpectedly? First of all, take a giant, deeeeeeep breath. Then another. And another still. Keep going until you feel the stress dissipating, at least a little. 

Next up, get into a space of gratitude. "Are you out of your mind?" you might be wondering right now. "I've just lost my biggest client and you want me to be thankful?!" Yeppers. Thankful. Hopefully you don't have to think too hard to come up with something for which you are grateful. Write it down. Then, think of another thing, and write that one down, too. Keep going until you have a list that covers the entire sheet of paper.

What's the point? Gratitude refocuses our thoughts, moving them away from what we do NOT have to instead concentrate on what we DO have. In this way, we move out of lack thinking and that poverty mindset into a consciousness where we can more easily embrace and attract the wealth we ultimately seek.

What if you're just starting out, and you only have a few clients? Be fabulously grateful for those few clients! What if you don't have any clients yet? Be grateful for the opportunities awaiting you to meet and connect with new clients. I promise you, as long as you're breathing, you can find something to be grateful for.


How can you turn around the following statements, which are focused on negativity and lack, instead building them into powerful, positive affirmations based in a wealth mindset?
  • I don't know why I even bother networking; I never get any new clients from these events.
  • Oh, great. Another [_____fill in the blank with your industry title_____]. How can I compete when there are so many of us in this business?
  • Susie Smith doesn't even try and she gets business. It's just not fair.
  • I'd have more freedom and flexibility to build my business if I had a wealthy husband to rely on, too.
  • I'm so behind I don't think I'll ever catch up.

Can you see how each of these scenarios is focused on lack or victim thinking? Part of transitioning to prosperity thinking is recognizing the sabotaging language for what it is, and then practicing at reframing those concepts into supportive, grateful, positive language. For example, we could change the first bullet point to say something like, "I look forward to networking because I get to meet so many interesting new people. If I keep showing up, I'm sure I'll make great connections."

Additionally, it may help to have a phrase at the ready to substitute when you catch yourself spouting negativisms. My personal challenge is a tendency to run just a bit late to get to meetings. Sometimes, I'll get behind the slowest driver on the road, just as I'm in the biggest hurry. The phrase I always fall back on is, "Everything is perfect, exactly the way it is." If I just remember to say that a few times, I calm down, no  matter how stressed out I might be.

The most important thing to remember is that you are the biggest factor in your success. Not the economy. Not your business partner. Not the strength of your networking groups. YOU. Develop a prosperity mindset, and watch your marketing campaign ignite!

We invite you to do 2 things next:

  1. Visit our Web site to download your free Website Design Worksheet.
  2. Visit our Facebook page and "Like" it if you like it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beware the Brain-Pickers!

Beware the Brain-Pickers!

I had an experience this morning that I'm sure is familiar to many consultants, coaches, doctors, attorneys ... pretty much anyone who is considered an expert in their business or industry. A friend texted me a few days ago, asking if we could meet soon. She didn't say what about ... but I had a feeling I knew before we got together. My subconscious must really have known, because I forgot to put the meeting on my calendar, and as a result was late to meet her.

We are in similar businesses, but she's very new to this line of work. As I sat down at the restaurant, she explained that she just wanted to "pick my brain" a bit about a couple of things. And then she proceeded to do just that  not without my permission, I must add. I've been here before on perhaps two other occasions with the same friend, so this whole setup was not really a surprise to me.

One sentence in our conversation caught me quite off-guard, however. She was telling me about her challenges billing a new client, because the client has a limited cash flow right now and wants the work to proceed anyway: "I told her, 'Yes, but I have expenses. I have to do research, meet with people (gesturing to  me), and increase my knowledge so I can give you the best service.'" She did not even see the irony ... or notice my hackles going up.

I was unsure how to proceed. My inclination was just to decline the next offer for a "meeting." But as the check came and I found myself paying for my own breakfast, I knew that silence would not suffice. My friend thanked me for my time, which I used as an appropriate moment to tell her perhaps a little harshly that while she was welcome this time, if there was going to be a next time, it would have to be for a fee. A look of utter astonishment washed across her face. I then reminded her that she'd just told me she was charging her client for meeting with me, but seemed to be expecting me to share my expertise with her for free, simply because we're friends.

Those of you who've been there understand how awkward this can be.

The thing is, I bet we've all done it at one time or another, called on a friend for their expert advice. What we may not realize is when we begin to step over the line of "asking a favor" into the area where they normally and reasonably charge for the information we're after. For what it's worth, here are a few tips on this idea of "free advice."

  1. NEVER ask someone if you can "pick their brain" (or worse, tell them you'd like to).
  2. Respect your friends'/colleagues'/associates' expertise and recognize when your favors are traipsing into areas of information for which they would normally charge a consulting fee.
  3. At the VERY least, offer to buy them lunch/dinner for their time. More appropriately, ask if you can schedule an hour of their time (indicating that you will pay for this hour), and let them tell you that you don't need to pay them.
  1. Decide in advance if you're willing to gift certain friends with your time/expert knowledge and where/why you draw the line. Sure you're a nice person and you don't want to make enemies, but you also don't want to be a doormat.
  2. It's your time, and they're your friends you get to decide whom to help, to what degree, and how often.
  3. You might let them know that while you're happy to have one brief conversation, you normally charge a rate of X for a consultation on this topic.
  4. Have a standard answer prepared for those who want to "pick your brain."
  5. Suggest they call your office during business hours to schedule an appointment.
  6. If the "asker" has a product/service you can use, perhaps you might suggest a trade.
  7. Even if it's a difficult conversation, be willing to set boundaries.
Here's the thing both "Askers" and "Askees" should remember. Askees have invested time (perhaps many years) and energy and money and brain power becoming the experts they are. They now charge for that expertise, as they should. Askees must learn to set sensible boundaries; Askers must learn to respect them. 

We invite you to do 2 things next:

  1. Visit our Web site to download your free Website Design Worksheet.
  2. Visit our Facebook page and "Like" it if you like it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Marketing Mishaps: Failing to Reply to Queries from Your "Contact" Page

Marketing Mishaps: Failing to Reply to Queries from Your "Contact" Page

You have a blog or a Web site duh. More than likely you also have a "Contact" page on your blog or Web site. Yeah! Here's a quiz, though:

#1. How easy is your "Contact" page to find?

Why would I ask such a silly question? Have you ever had to DIG and DIG and DIG sometimes 3 or 4 levels down to get to someone's contact page? I have, and not just once. Let me tell you, (a) I'm not the typical Web visitor, and (b) I kept digging because after the second level, I was just curious how far this site owner was really going to make me go before they revealed their precious contact info.

Make your site easy to use.

If your visitors have to click through to even a second level to find your contact info, you've probably lost them.

#2. Do you use a Contact Form or an eMail Link?

Is one really better than the other? Well, according to the Flyte Web Marketing blog, the Contact Form is preferred for a number of reasons:
  • Better contact information capture
  • Better conversion tracking
  • Easier data entry to a contact database
  • Reduced spam
While I cannot argue with this logic, the part of me that says "easier is always better" knows that some people are always going to prefer the e-mail link, so I'd always be inclined to include one somewhere on my site. Would you rather risk getting less data up front so that you can be sure to receive that message from a prospective client, or use a one-size-fits-all approach?

#3. Do you have a "catch all" address so that you can capture misspelled e-mail addresses?

Could this lead to more spam? Sure. But I have to go back to making things easy for the end user. Say they've got Clumsy Finger Syndrome and type LittleMissMuffet@gmail.com as LittleMiddMuffet@gmail.com. Do you still want to hear from them? If the answer's yes, how are you going to hear from them if you don't have your e-mail set to catch all spellings, even the goofy ones? Even the ones addressed to Info@?

#4. Who reads the messages sent via your  Contact Form or contact e-mail address? How skilled are they at prioritizing?

Why is this important? Let's say you've got a summer intern who's quite green. You figure the perfect job for them is doing something that, for the most part, requires rote, standardized answers. What happens, however, if the inquiry that comes in via that contact page is not an order, a question about how to order, or some other easy topic, the answer to which can be found on your FAQ page? What if it's an invitation for you to speak or write an article or guest lecture or be interviewed? What if it's a dissatisfied client who wants options for recourse? What if it's someone who wants to reprint one of your articles or blog posts? What if it's someone looking to create a joint venture with you? None of these is a throwaway question with a standardized answer. But does your intern (or whoever reads this e-mail) know whom to forward the mail to? Are they empowered to follow up? Do you have a system in place for handling ALL queries?

#5. How quickly do you respond to these e-mail queries? 

Perhaps the single biggest challenge for entrepreneurs and small businesses is follow-up - mostly because most entrepreneurs and/or small business owners have no systems in place for following up. Does this require discipline? Of course! But if you can keep a couple things in mind, perhaps you will be motivated to move this to the front burner of your marketing stove. 
  • When was the last time you submitted an e-mail query and received a prompt response?
  • How did you feel when your question was answered right away?
  • How did you feel if your question was left to languish on the vine?
  • How will YOUR end user feel if you don't answer their query in a timely manner?

Here are a few tips to help ensure any e-mail YOU SEND gets read and receives a response:
  1. Use a good SUBJECT line.
  3. Indicate WHAT you want from them (e.g., a refund, an answer, a further contact, etc.)
Let that contact form do what it's made for ... allow new people to contact and engage with you!


We invite you to do 2 things next:

  1. Visit our Web site to download your free Website Design Worksheet.
  2. Visit our Facebook page and "Like" it if you like it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Are you READY to join SpongeBob at the Twitter party?

Are you READY to join SpongeBob at the Twitter party?

Who would have thought a goofy cartoon character named SpongeBob would take the lead in a new but all too obvious use of the machine that is Twitter? According to a Fast Company update:
This week kids' favorite SpongeBob SquarePants will be the center of a new story on a wholly new medium: Twitter. The Ice Race Cometh A Twitter Tale is an original story, from the official SpongeBob writing team, and will consist of multiple tweets and images broadcast throughout each day from July 12th to July 15th. Fun? Sure. Novel? You bet. Silly? Quite a bit.
I absolutely LOVE this idea, and wonder about the fact that other authors have not picked up on it sooner.

Now, knowing what I do of human nature, I can hear the groans and protests already. "No way I'm not going to GIVE AWAY my book for free..."Well, I'm going to fall back on my favorite Cher quote, from Moonstruck: "SNAP OUT OF IT!"

This Twitter series idea is phenomenal for a number of reasons:
  • Twitter is approaching 300 million registered users, and has just surpassed 100 million apps designed specifically for it. So, as a social medium, it's no fad it's here to stay.
  • Get over your fear of "giving your work away." This is the way marketing is done today if you don't want to play the game by the new rules, maybe it's time to find a J-O-B.
  • Releasing this stories in a series of tweets is creating sustained interest in the @SpongeBob Twitter handle. People (who are captivated by this story) are going to follow, follow, follow!
  • Following a Twitter feed is like watching TV you can't watch all of it, ever. Yes, people can go back and read the whole story through the @SpongeBob feed, but they're going to have to wade through all the other intermittent tweets. If I really liked the story, I think I'd be inclined to purchase it, not sift through all the tweets to read it for FREE.
The goal is to attract attention to the story and I have no doubt it's going to work!

As always, I encourage you especially the authors in the crowd to do some brainstorming and visualizing to determine how you can extrapolate from this SpongeBob experiment and use the idea to promote your own book, brand, or service.

We invite you to do 2 things next:
  1. Visit our Web site to download your free Website Design Worksheet.
  2. Visit our Facebook page and "Like" it if you like it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Marketing Mishaps: Just because your WordPress site can have lots of boxes doesn't mean it should!

Marketing Mishaps: Just because your WordPress site can have lots of boxes doesn't mean it should!

There's no arguing that the world we live in today is a lot more complex than it was 30 years ago. Information flies at us from all directions, and is available to us from every corner at every second of the day and night. As a result, we're getting better at processing that seemingly unstoppable flow of data. Sometimes, though, more options are NOT better.

I just had a pretty typical experience of following a tweet to a site that looked promising ... until I got to the site:

It looks pretty, right? But this is the site of a self-proclaimed branding company whose brand says only one thing to me: TOO BUSY to be focused. 

You've no doubt heard about making a good first impression when you meet someone. Well, the exact same thing is true of your Web site or blog. You have literally about 3 seconds before that coveted brand new visitor decides whether to stay and explore, or chooses to hit the back button or the little X that closes your tab forever. If you want them to stay, your site has got to have a natural navigation and symmetry to it.

The problem with the site above is that there are WAY too many options. Where are you supposed to go first? The giant picture? Great. You tab through 5 or 6 images. What then?

When it comes to Web design, we sometimes get caught up in this idea that if we offer sooooo much good stuff in one place, our unique visitors will want to stay and check it all out. Wrong. They're not going to check anything out without a reason and a natural pathway to guide them from section/option to section/option.

Think about the times you've followed a tweet to a blog post. One post, one topic. If you read the first paragraph and liked it, you probably kept reading. If you didn't like it, you left. But you lingered long enough to let the content do the persuading — it wasn't the layout of the site that sent you packing.

Simple isn't boring. Sometimes, it's more useful than we realize.

We invite you to do 2 things next:
  1. Visit our Web site to download your free Website Design Worksheet.
  2. Visit our Facebook page and "Like" it if you like it.