Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Donna Messer, Canada's Own Networking Guru- Gives Words of Advice on Marketing

When you reach Donna Messer, Canada’s “Networking Guru”, on the phone, her cheery voice answers as if she has known you for life time. Two minutes into our conversation she drops her first bit of “social capital”. She is sorry she is a bit late as she just got back from lunch with a Senior Vice President from Petro Canada, one of Canada’s largest petro chemical companies. To Donna, “social capital” is the byproduct of networking and the term she uses extensively to cultivate value for her network.

“The key to understanding “social capital” says Donna “is to learn as much as you can about the person you talking to so that you can develop and understand what you can offer and later on potentially receive”, one of her golden rules of networking. “Social capital” she says also means to: “never ask for money, never sell and always find out what others want to buy, then have something that you can offer that fits the bill.”. You can now see why Donna Messer is called Canada’s “Networking Guru”.

Donna was born a networker. Starting out working for the Director of Agriculture for the State of Illinois, one of Donna’s first jobs was to help build business with the State’s biggest trading partner Canada and Canadian companies wanting to do business in the State. She became a major corporate match maker finding out what companies had for sale and providing buying opportunities for everything from the famous “No Name Brand” brand of products, dairy and other agricultural products including working with the one of the first exporters of shitake mushrooms.

From there she formed her own company called “Connect Us” which was a bit of play on words for her business and soon she had a thriving database of high level contacts from which she has built an impressive array of business by linking individuals from her network with other individuals or with outsiders wanting in.

Her business is also an extension of her own personal ethical business philosophy. She gives much more than she gets and has a significant amount of business referred to her directly based on her own “social capital” and the relationships she has formed and gifts of gold that she has given to others. One of her strengths and one of the things she says that that others should consider when building their network “is to develop a database of contacts, to cultivate a contacts “social capital” and to keep intensive records on your computer so that when you recognize an opportunity for someone in your network and then you can pass it along right away.” Donna has over 10,000 people in her own personal database.

Donna has also built a network of clients and fans through getting out there and talking with others through ongoing paid public speaking engagements, training others on networking and using the media, by writing articles on networking and by launching a women’s magazine called “Business Women Canada”. She has also written a
Canadian bestseller called “Effective Networking Strategies” which is available at Amazon.com or can be downloaded for free from her website.

Constantly on the road speaking to groups, organizations and companies, she recently finished a stint coaching public service employees for the Ontario Government on how to network amongst other government departments in order to make contacts to get major projects completed.

Besides using the term “social capital”, Donna also preachers and uses a term which she developed called RISE™ which has become the firm’s personal strategy for successful networking. RISE ™ stands for: Rapport, Information, Solutions, Ethically. It’s a simple process and one worth noting for any personal networker which includes working inside a culture of integrity. Donna’s company now works world wide developing rapport, gathering information, coming up with solutions and doing it in an ethical manner. Her RISE™ system is used extensively for networking throughout international markets in helping to build business for companies throughout Canada, the U.S. and internationally.

While she agrees with the smaller structured networking groups and clubs like BNI and Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs for small businesses or individuals just starting out, she believes that everyone needs to be open to understanding what another company or person needs and doing their best to try and help others; which is the true point behind effective networking. Donna’s company has also worked with all kinds of groups including individuals with special needs, seniors, not for profits, for profit, government organizations and major corporations. A lot of people call themselves a “Networking Gurus” however Donna Messer is truly someone that walks the walk and talks the talk

Thanking Donna, I am just about to hang up the phone and she stops me saying “I need to know about you and your “social capital” Kensel and what is it you do and what is it that I can help you with”. I promptly say “well nothing really”. Within minutes, Donna has me talking about marketing and my marketing coaching company, The Corporate Coachworkz Inc. and then gives me two people which I should contact to help me build my business following up with an email after our interview to remind me; the sign of a true networker and a true “Networking Guru”.

To reach Donna Messer to get more information on how Donna can help you personally or your organization, see Donna’s Website at www.connectuscanada.com.

Kensel Tracy the Marketing Coach is a Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. a coaching company that specializes in marketing, coaching and executive coaching and helps small, medium and large sized businesses grow and prosper.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

U.K. Networking at its Best, Comes to North America

When you talk the founder of Business Over Breakfast Clubs International, Geoff Cox, over the phone from Birmingham England, you immediately get energized and you know you have met someone that has a passion for networking. Geoff sounds really excited about bringing his Business Over Breakfast Clubs (or as they are commonly called in the U.K, Bob Clubs), to Canada with the first ones expected to open in Ottawa and Toronto in early 2009.

Started by the former IT sales professional while he was still selling to blue chip, hospitality and international companies in 2004, there are now 25 Business over Breakfast clubs all over the U.K. and with dozens more forming throughout other parts of England, India, South Africa, and Australia and now in Canada and the U.S.

BoB Clubs operate like other breakfast networking clubs, such as Business Networking International (BNI) where only one member of a business category is allowed to join, but with BoB Clubs, there is a major difference.
If you join a BoB Club you only need to go to a meeting once every two weeks.

Geoff’s groups originally met every week. However after polling the club’s members it was realised that most preferred meeting every two weeks. Members also quickly noticed that the amount of referrals did not reduce and that the real networking took place more heavily between meetings. BoB Clubs were also attracting members from other clubs that met weekly as these new members felt they could no longer make the time commitment or the pressure some organizations put on members to attend a meeting every single week as most already had plenty of other weekly family or business commitments.

Another difference in meeting every two weeks is the added benefit of reducing the cost of meetings by over 50% through reduced breakfast costs and also a reduction of a member’s carbon footprint as well by over 50% through a saving of fuel and travel costs. Meeting every two weeks also reduces the stress on members to attend a weekly meeting and therefore BoB Clubs have a extremely high retention rate and this also makes it easier to ensure that more visitors can also attend every week.

Geoff says that BoB Club members now see the meetings as more of a classroom to allow members to connect and learn more about each other businesses through one minute infomercials and presentations. Members are then able to take two weeks to develop qualified business referrals or find other ways to promote each others business through activities between each meeting. Members are also encouraged to network outside of the club environment as a way to increase more business options which in turn helps to grow the overall Bob Club network.

There is also no ‘hard sell’ for visitors to join, if they like it they can join with no pressure providing their business category open. Statistics show that over 60% of all visitors join a club. BoB Clubs also provide a cost effective, structured and enjoyable meeting platform which provides measurable results by generating quality referrals, a high percentage of which turn into long term profitable business opportunities for all members. BoB Clubs also do not open a new club until they have officially signed up 15 members. This ensures that each club operates with a solid base of members before it opens its doors allowing for maximum interaction and solid business referrals right away

Unlike BNI which focuses on pushing members to give referrals, BoB clubs do not pressure members to give referrals every week as this tends to generate bits of paper instead of good solid business opportunities. Instead BoB Clubs focus on providing innovative online tools to train members in other aspects of selling and promoting club services and stressing why business building and why quality permission based referrals are important to the growth of the club. The club uses a referral slip that also better pre-qualifies the referral by asking more direct business questions and making sure there are more details for members to consider.

The Clubs also provide members access to powerful online tools, including online referral programs, a high quality membership pack and additional benefits and value added business services at no additional charge. BoB Clubs also utilizes online technology as much as possible to ensure that running and marketing the clubs is as automated as much as possible and therefore removes much of the manual effort required by the leadership team and the members.

Club members also have access to a powerful online Business-2-Business website called www.network2connect.com where they can network with many tens of thousands of other business people locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally. This allows a club member to look for opportunities for each other as it is available to any business, not just BoB club members.

In January 2009 BoB Clubs be launching two new clubs in Mumbai, India and then expanding throughout India, at the same time BoB Clubs will open the first clubs in South Africa and has hopes to have the Canadian clubs open in Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario later in the year. At the present time Geoff has interest from other 8 other Canadian Cities and provinces such as, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Vancouver, B.C. Oakville, Toronto, Mississauga, in Ontario and U.S. markets like New York, Lexington and San Francisco. In Canada it’s expected that club memberships will include a participation fee of around $480.00 to join along with a one-time registration fee of $120.00 plus GST with a similar fee range for the U.S. market to be competitive with other clubs.

BoB Clubs are not only a good networking group to help build one’s own business and can also be a great small business networking opportunity as a Bob Club coordinator can build a network of members and a small business opportunity at the same time.

This is done by coordinating a club, setting up the venue and encouraging members to join and earning 50% of all club membership revenues. The role of Regional Membership Coordinator will allow these individuals the opportunity to licence the club management system in a protected territory and own their own clubs. In this case 15% of all membership fees are remitted to BoB Clubs and the owner manager retains the rest of the membership fees and has a option to open up a number of clubs in his or her area. This is all done through an online payment and marketing system. Although BoB Clubs does not sell franchises, as Geoff says this tends to attract to wrong type of people that don’t want help build a networking system, but by selling regional club management software licences it gives those individuals sincerely interested in building a business and a business networking group in a protected area by owning a protected area or city a real opportunity to have a business that helps others and has residual income at the same time.

For more information on BoB Clubs in Canada contact Kensel Tracy at kenselt@sympatico.ca or Geoff Cox at BoB Clubs International at bobclub2003@aol.com.
Kensel Tracy is a business coach and Senior Partner in the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Chelsea, Quebec.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Online Networking, Continues to Grow with the Introduction of TmyBC in Canada

As the world of social networking online continues to expand, a new company from Canada is planning on becoming the next “Face book “for business. TMyBC (Take My Business Card) is a social business networking site that connects businesses and customers globally through its new website www.tmybc.com. Founded in September 2007, by Mr. Kabir Datoo, from London, Ontario, TMyBC is expected to fill a void in the market by developing a new social network for business.

How does it work? By registering as a member of TMyBC, businesses can locate both businesses and customers by using the site, anywhere in the world. In order to improve your company’s marketing and networking the site allows the member to build a unique business profile. Members can promote their business by uploading images and videos of their products and services as well as company brochures helping them to build a unique marketing profile called a BCard. The format is simple enough. Once you and your company are registered, you have the option to design your own profile through a "BCard".

The TMyBC network made up of two networking options. For example, you can network around the site itself looking for potential partners by sending a BCard or just post your business card and attract business to you. By using some of the sites’ additional features, TMyBC enables everyone, everywhere to improve their marketing image and helps them to build their own unique business network.

A business can also send instant messages across the TMyBC network to connect with other businesses instantly providing a very unique marketing format. Anybody can join TMyBC as all that is needed is a valid business or occupation. At the present time, there is no charge and Mr. Datoo mentioned that he hopes to secure advertisers and sponsors to help offset the cost of running the site.

Social networking is on the rise and business sites are no different. At the end of the day, it’s all about making contacts and creating more opportunities for your business and Mr. Datoo’s site is no exception. In the modern era it is possible to get a critical mass of contacts within a very short-time and who knows this site could go on to become a major business networking site. At the present time, check it out and see it has some potential for you. The more contacts and networks you have the better chance you have of growing your business.

To contact TMyBC go to www.tmybc.com
Kensel Tracy is a professional business and personal coach, is Senior Partner in the Corporate Coachworkz Inc., and helps business to grow and prosper. If you have a topic of interest originating in Canada, he can be reached as ktracy@sympatico.ca.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zone 5 – Ottawa – Networking in High Technology in the Nation’s Capital

Have you ever wanted to meet the key marketing industry players in your business category and were unable to find the right group? Well here is one the key happenings that is taking place in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

ZONE 5 a high technology networking group and has been actively helping technology marketing people build their networks and relationships for the past 8 years. Originally formed by the Ottawa Carleton Research Institute (OCRI) in 1999 to capitalize on the high technology boom in Ottawa, which was then classified as Silicon Valley North, the event has grown and managed to keep its members and adding new member each and every year.

ZONE 5 was originally setup as a one off networking event, which brought suppliers, consultants, knowledge based companies and government organizations together to meet and exchange information in an informal and relaxed atmosphere. As the group grew the networking part of the meeting was combined with knowledge based seminars and public speakers who now present at each meeting. The event has developed a professional reputation for presenting some of the regions best speakers and highly recognized local experts in the technology field.

Zone 5 brings together a cross section of the Ottawa’s 126,000 members of the technology community. By joining OCRI and paying a membership fee, approximately 1819 members of the community are entitled to come to ZONE 5 events. Guests can come and pay a guest fee while members are entitled to come a monthly ZONE 5 event the second Thursday of the month held over the lunch hour.

The agenda allows 45 minutes to meet, great and eat, in a tightly controlled area, which allows participants to be in close proximity, a drink in one hand and a sandwich in the other with your eyes focused on the name tag of the person in front of you. The rules are simple; get to meet as many people as you can within the 45 minute networking session.

Upon the call to order, participants are then led into a small theatre where information sessions are presented by some of Ottawa’s top success stories, which can include new marketing campaigns, products, and events, which are delivered in a format of sight and sound. Usually professionally produced video, power point and music highlight each presentation. At the end of the presentation, back to that tiny little area once again for 30 minutes more networking, coffee and desert. Everything is wrapped up by 2:00 pm.

ZONE 5 has had a loyal following and its growing. It proves that if you provide enough good information, a highly targeted audience and a way to network and interact, that good networking is still a part of every business category.

Kensel Tracy is Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. and is the Marketing Business and Personal Coach helping advertising, sales and marketing people grow and prosper and can be reached at kenselt@sympatico.ca . Check out his website at www.corporatecoachwork.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Marketing Coach Speaks About the Ipod "The Next Great Invention"

Its been a while since I wrote on my blog as the summer started and well it was hard to sit inside and write about marketing and life. Its quite interesting as this summer brought about a lot of changes in how I view marketing.

For example my wife gave me an an Ipod for my 17th wedding anniversary and I started using "Itunes" for the first time. While doing that I saw two major record store chains in Canada go out of business.

I thought about when I bought Apple stock when it first came out at $18.00 and selling it at $33.00 and laughing when it went down to $12.00. Now its well over $100. I thought about bands that released their CD's to the market and offered customers to decide what they should pay for their CD online averaging around $8.00 a download. I was amazed that customers paid for perceived value on the honour system.

I myself loaded my Ipod and proceeded at 56 years of age to have a blast cutting my grass using my riding lawnmower while listening to Bob Dyland's sons new CD.

I downloaded podcasts on business coaching and while sitting on my dock sipping a cool one and learned about the best way to grow my marketing coaching business. There was peace and harmony in our living room as I listened to electronica and read the newspaper ( as apposed to the web) while my wife sat in the same room and smiled as I listened to my favourite tunes. She was listening to the Three Tenors on hers.

Yes things have changed. The world is a different place and the Ipod and Apple have developed an amazing product. The most important thing is that this product has been promoted by its users. It is so appealing that all you need to do is use it once and you are hooked. If I was a marketeer I would want that with all products. So why is it the record companies,the retail stores, the artists and the recording industry only started to view this product as part of their future.

All the while I was downloading the lastest Coldplay CD at $9.95 Canadian, just $5.00 less than the retail cost, I started looking at the margins being made on the product with little or no overhead. Yes, Apple has developed an amazing product and the Ipod is now part of our culture and part of the future and part of me.

Funny thing is. I had as much fun loading my Ipod as I used to have getting a new record. I got a chance to trial some music and got a chance to have 650 days of music is the palm of my hand. Any product that does that should be a success.

As summer comes to a close I look forward to many a winter night listening to Electronica on my Ipod and reading the newspaper. Now isn't that a culture clash.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Building a Brand for Your Business

I received and interesting newsletter from SelfGrowth.com and it contained this article. I thought that it is a really good article that lays out why branding is so important. Eileen is a graphic designer and as such has a complete understanding of how important it is to develop your business with a focus on branding. Most of the companies I have worked with over the years wanted to spend limited amounts of marketing dollars on the most important part of their business, the look and feel or the brand. A company's image is really what people buy. The product is supported by the image the company creates and consumer confidence is created by a solid image. The following article tells it like it is. I hope you enjoy Eileen's article as much as I did.

How to Create a Brand that Sticks – By Eileen Turtle Parzek **

Most people, when they hear the word branding, think logos - but in fact, branding is really much more than that. A brand involves blending the image, purpose, and focus of your business, with your core marketing message, and coming up with something which will stick in the minds of people who encounter it. As a business or an independent professional, it is who you are and what you do, packaged neatly, clearly, and memorably. A logo is only a tangible representation that works to reinforce a brand.

So - what kind of personality does your business have? Is it conservative and solid? Outgoing and fun? Or robust and strong? And, what is your business focused on doing? Whom do you want to work with? How does your business differ from the competition? And what makes it so special, after all? Do not try to name every special quality or unique selling point - you can actually build a brand on just one unique quality! Once you can answer these questions, you can begin to create your brand. The question is what you want YOUR brand to leave behind in people's heads.

Practically any business or professional can benefit from a strong brand. But branding is even more important for micro businesses and independent professionals because they face tighter competition. A well executed brand and identity can help them compete on a larger playing field, appear more professional, and stand out from the hordes of competitors.

Once you determine how you want to be remembered, your image and your message will need to communicate that. The image can simply be a consistent look used in all your correspondence, a logo that marks everything that comes from your business, and the identity you use on your web site and brochure. The message can be a tag line, your 30 second "elevator speech," and woven through the content on your web site.

A logo is only one manifestation of brand identity, used to create a memorable impression, but it is useless if you have not clearly defined your audience and the focus of your business. There are plenty of clearly branded businesses using only consistent fonts or colors in their marketing collateral. But whatever you decide chose one image to stick with through all your business communication, and make sure that image is professional. In other words, if you do not have the resources or finances right now to have a professional image developed for you, work with less, rather than using badly formatted clipart or a layout that makes you look amateurish or cheap. That approach can only hurt your business and your brand, so find the level that Works for you without a negative effect.

Once you determine what brand you want to create, and have developed an identity to accompany it, the work has just begun. You will need to vigilantly reinforce your brand every moment you are in business. Your brand needs to affect everything your business does, everything you and your employees say, and every bit of information that comes out of your office. Letterhead, invoices, proposals… these should all consistently promote your brand. In your voice mail, in your email sig, and every time someone says, "What do you do?" your brand should come out to shine. Domain names and web site content should, again, reinforce your brand. Everywhere you use your brand with consistency, you are communicating with the voice of your company.

Be aware, though, that this does not happen overnight - your brand will need to build over time. Develop a strong brand, and use it consistently, and more and more often, your brand will pop into people's minds when they have a need that you can provide.

About the Author:

Eileen 'Turtle' Parzek is a veteran web designer and an online marketing & communications consultant who has been working from home and virtually since 1995. You can subscribe to her free monthly newsletter called Increase Your Reach: Infuse Your Marketing with Technology at http://www.soho-it-goes.com

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Learn the Art of Brainstorming from a Guy Named Fred

Many people in companies have a tough time relaxing enough to learn the art of brainstorming. I came across this article on brainstorming by Frederick Buggie. With a name like that he must know a thing or two about brainstorming. Here is his article.

By Frederick D. Buggie

There are six changes you can readily make to the common practice of "brainstorming," for any business purpose, that will make all the difference in the world, with respect to the creative output.

1. Number of participants: Seven, plus or minus two. More than nine — it changes the character of the group. Some polite individuals won't have an opportunity to say their piece ... or will have forgot what they were going to say ... or the particular subject is no longer on the table, when they do get airtime. It's noisy. Fewer than five participants — You're below critical mass of brainpower. It's quiet.

2. Managing the exercise: It's a 2-person job. It takes a leader to drive the Session, and the leader needs a facilitator, on the other side of the table, who is equally aware of the objective, and can serve as a "stalking horse," to demonstrate contributing the sort of input desired.

3. Attributes of participants: It is deep, diverse, relevant knowledge you need — coming at the topic from different directions. They need not be particularly creative by nature — the creativity is infused into the group by the "Creative Techniques" utilized by the leader. There are numerous, proven, classic Creative Techniques available for various specific purposes; they are listed and categorized in bibliographies, such as that included in the book, NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES (AMACOM: New York). As Casey Stengle used to say, "You could look it up!"

4. Preparation: ADVANCE assignment of the topic and some starting points to begin the thought processes is absolutely mandatory ... classic Creative Techniques should be incorporated in the advance briefing ... and there is no need for accuracy or completeness or seriousness; in fact, it is better to loosen up a bit, and leave some open ends to play with, and blank spaces which invite proposed possibilities.

5. Starting the Session: You'll want to begin the Session, in the morning, with a "Key Triggering" Creative Technique (look it up), focused on some distinct aspect of the topic, partly to get the individuals in a rapid-fire mode of thinking, partly to meld them into a cohesive working group (as opposed to a collection of separate persons in different positions), and partly to generate some lodes to mine.

6. Conducting the Session: The leader stands, commands attention, visibly records nuggets, responds to any questions with "I don't know, what did you have in mind?" maintains the "electricity" and excitement, and compliments good shots ... for 3&1/2 hours. In our experience, the human brain can only operate at high intensity for that length of time, maximum. The group goes quiet. It's over. •

© 2006 Frederick D. Buggie

About the Author
A Certified New Product Development Professional, Frederick Buggie is Founder and President of Strategic Innovations International Inc., headquartered in Lake Wylie, SC in the US, with operations in the UK and Europe.

Thanks to Frederick for this article.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Marketing Secrets from Anita Campbell and Friends

I recently read a good post from Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends Magazine, where she asked some prominent online marketing people to post their best marketing secret. Here is a sample -- hope this helps in your quest and thanks Anita.

◊ Seth Godin, SethGodin.com – “Make promises and keep them. So obvious, it’s become a secret.”

◊ Jackie Huba, Church of the Customer – “Attracting is the new selling. It is theleast-visible, and least-examined principle behind most companies today that are growing quickly through word of mouth.”

◊ Jonathan Fields, Awake at the Wheel – “Decide whether you want to feed your ego or your family. Sexy, expensive image-building campaigns might win your ad-firm a Clio, but, with rare exceptions they don’t put money in your bank or food on your table …at least at the level small businesses can afford. So, drive your branding efforts with free PR in the early days and spend your money on measurable direct-response marketing that delivers X dollars of revenue for every dollar spent on marketing.”

◊ Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing – “Forget what your mama or your preacher taught you. The Golden Rule does NOT work for developing marketing strategy. Your customers do not want to be treated “as you would like to be treated.” In understanding your customers you might discover that their values, needs and expectations differ from yours. New Golden Rule For Marketers: Do Unto Your Customers As THEY Would Like To Be Treated.”

◊ Scott Shane, Author of “Illusions of Entrepreneurship” – “The data show that most entrepreneurs compete on price, but doing this leads companies to perform worse. New companies are better off competing on service, quality or some other dimension.”

◊ Tim Berry, Planning Startups Stories – “One of the most expensive myths in marketing is that lower price produces higher volume. That might be true for coal or gasoline, but not for most businesses. Lower price means, well, ask yourself: do you always eat at the lowest price restaurant? Buy the lowest price clothes? Do you drive the lowest priced car? Pricing is your best statement of value.”

◊ Andy Birol, Author of “The 5 Catalysts to 7 Figure Growth” – “In striving to please their customers, too many marketers believe they must exceed expectations. Better yet, marketers should just ask and listen, for what they will learn and hear is often a different, more modest need, which when fulfilled, will profitably delight the customer.”

◊ Drew McClellan, Drew’s Marketing Minute – “Do Less. One of the most tempting aspects of marketing is the veritable smorgasbord of different marketing tactics that you can toss into a marketing plan. It’s almost overwhelming.
Many marketing professionals make the very understandable mistake of believing that more is better. But they’re wrong.You will be vastly more successful if you do less, but do them better. Pick 3-4 marketing tactics that you think are really going to be valued by your audience and drive the behavior/action you’re looking for. Then, figure out how you can do them in an extraordinary way


◊ Scott Ginsberg, That Guy with the Name Tag – “Don’t have a business card. Have a philosophy card. In order to do so, ask yourself the question, ‘If everybody did exactly what I said, what would the world look like?’ Come up with 5-10 answers, then print them on a nice, thick, laminated card. Include your contact info, picture, branding, etc. Give it to EVERYBODY. It will be the only card they will not throw away. This marketing tool has made me well over $50,000 in new business.”

◊ Brian Moran, Publisher, Small Business Edge – “LESS IS MORE: In today’s cluttered world, your customers are being bombarded with thousands of messages every day. In order to rise above the noise level, you need to capture their attention immediately and then hold it while giving them your pitch. You must be able to deliver your message, if necessary, in 25 words or less. Include your main feature and the main benefit in the message. If you hook the potential customer, they will gladly ask you for more information.”

◊ Yvonne DiVita, WME Books – “The best, very best marketing secret I have is: Show enthusiasm. I blog, I attend networking events offline, I speak, I personally answer 95% of the email I get … and in all of that I present a focused, happy, enthusiastic face to whomever I’m speaking to. I do not have to feign enthusiasm because I am truly excited about people. What they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and why they’re doing it. And I take more business cards than I give - the better to connect with a personal note later on. I’m fascinated and eager hear about new businesses or products.

This doesn’t bring me business, and it isn’t intended to. It’s intended to validate the listener’s idea - and sometimes offer a tidbit of advice. Because of this, people remember me. And they send me referrals. Most of my business is achieved via referrals. I do not have to spend a lot of cash on marketing - because my best marketing tool is my own enthusiasm for the people I meet. It’s memorable - and it creates word of mouth better than anything else I do.”

◊ David Powers, GotVMail Communications – “People don’t like to be sold. If they did, they would spend all their free time in car dealerships. Instead, people want to be informed, they want to be educated. You’ll find your best customers are those you educate about your product or service and who then decide to purchase it because it is a good fit for them.

Prospects who buy your product/service but are not educated about your offering will be disappointed. They will not be return customers. Worse, they will tell others how they got ’sold’ by you. In the Internet age, this can quickly be very destructive to your business.”

◊ Michael Port, Author of “Book Yourself Solid” – “All sales start with a simple conversation. It may be a conversation between you and a potential client or customer, between one of your clients and a potential referral, or between one of your colleagues and a potential referral. An effective sales cycle is based on turning these simple conversations into relationships of trust with your potential clients over time. We know that people buy from those they like and trust. But as Sir Winston Churchill once said, ‘It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.’”

◊ John Battelle, Searchblog – “The best kept secret in marketing is to invest your time in eliciting and responding to your customer’s feedback, even if it’s negative. It’s the secret to building a network of evangelists who keep on giving back to your business ….”


◊ John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing – “Become a journalist - no, I’m not really suggesting that you join the staff of some publication, but the acceptance of new media tools like blogs and podcasts has turned the marketing tables - so take advantage of the allure of a reporter and start a blog and podcast and request interviews with industry leaders, community leaders, authors and maybe even your biggest prospects. Instead of asking for a meeting to demonstrate your product, ask to feature your prospect in your next blog or podcast episode. You will automatically change your status in their eyes, increase your role as an expert and create great content for your marketing materials.”

◊ Yaro Starak, Entrepreneurs Journey – “There’s something I do that very few other bloggers do - build an email list. My secret tip isn’t to build a list though — that’s pretty obvious to anyone who markets online. It’s how you use your list and your blog together that is my secret.

Here’s one simple example. I write product reviews to my blog now and then. I write a solid review, with my honest opinion and what I think is good and bad about the product after using it. I post the article to my blog and usually make a few affiliate sales as a result.

I then write a short email to my list designed to bring people to the review and add the email to my autoresponder sequence. From that point forward at some point everyone who joins my list eventually receives the email and visits the review. This ensures I have a steady stream of traffic to that review, even long after it is hidden in my blog archives AND I continue to make affiliate sales.

This is a formula for passive income from just writing one blog article and one email, though of course you want to do it again and again with new products to multiply your earnings. Good luck!”

◊ Matt McGee, Small Business SEM – “SEO is just like traditional marketing. In the “real world,” you want to create a great product and get people talking about it. Online, you want to create great content and get people linking to it. Same theory, and often the same techniques. Develop relationships with journalists offline; do the same with bloggers online. Engage with customers offline; engage in social communities online. Give people something to talk about (and link to), join the conversation, and you’re on the road to SEO success.”

◊ Liz Strauss, Successful Blog – “The best promotion is to promote other people. Promote your customers, their friends, and yours. Always be looking for what other folks do well and be the first to talk about it. Be the first to point people in their direction. There’s no better way to show that you’re a generous team player, a great judge of skill and character, and completely confident about the work that you do.”

◊ Maki, Editor, Dosh Dosh – “Timeliness is my marketing secret. A lot of marketers talk about networking with influencers and successfully building trust with their audience in order to evoke widespread brand adoption. While the developing of trust indicators are important, I think some of the most successful online marketing is done as a response towards current affairs, events and news. The best marketing advice I have is to be timely, to react to socio-cultural feedback and then capitalize on it by co-opting the incident/subculture’s language or frame.

Newspapers are publicity manufacturers. Monitor them closely because what your customer or audience reads influences their opinions. Observe their feedback. Market your business by riffing off and building upon the natural flow of news. Timeliness is an opportunistic and powerful way to not only build relevance but demonstrate that your business is in tune with the concerns of the community.”

◊ Mack Collier, The Viral Garden – “Success in blogging is dependent upon having a built-in direct benefit to others. For example, many companies want to approach blogging as a way to sell products to customers. But blogs don’t work well as a direct-selling channel. The key is to first provide a benefit to readers by creating content and community that offers them value. By giving readers a direct benefit, the company then benefits indirectly by seeing sales increase as a result of their blogging efforts. But if the company instead tries to directly promote themselves, readers will see no value in this, and the blog will die.”

◊ Guy Kawasaki, Truemors -– “Do the opposite of what bloggers think you should do.”


◊ Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot – “The power of second-order Internet Marketing: Small businesses should consider the positive marketing impact of “second order” effects in Internet marketing. A second-order effect is when you do not promote yourself directly, but help promote others who have mentioned you, linked to you or referenced an idea or concept that you agree with. The simplest example is when a blogger mentions your business in an article they write (even if you are mentioned only incidentally). If you like the article, you should help promote the article in the social media sites (Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.). This is better than trying to promote yourself and can often create significant traffic, PR and marketing good-will.”

◊ Brent Leary, Host of Technology for Business $ake Radio – “Promote your book, blog, podcast series or business by using LinkedIn Answers. No, I’m not talking about spamming LinkedIn. Here’s what you do: Ask for opinions on a particular topic and link back to your blog, etc. in LinkedIn Answers. Some people will also be intrigued enough to visit your blog, investigate your book, subscribe to your podcast — they will check out whatever your question is in connection with.

Beyond that, if you quote some of the answers you receive (on your blog or use them in a radio interview or in an article you write for publication) then you could get an additional viral effect. Because those who are quoted may pass around the link that refers to them, to their friends, colleagues and family.

I did this when I interviewed Don Tapscott about his book Wikinomics. On LinkedIn Answers, in advance of the show, I asked if anyone had a question they wanted me to ask Don. I got a number of comments and used one of the reader-suggested questions in my radio show, linking to it from the show page. That reader later sent me an email saying he had passed the show link to others and also wrote his own blog entry linking to the show. And show listeners got the benefit of hearing a question that they themselves might have wanted to ask a famous author.”

◊ Jennifer Laycock, Editor, Search Engine Guide — “One of the least utilized social media sites for subtle marketing is Flickr.com.

I think people picture Flickr as just another place to store their images. In reality, Flickr is filled with vibrant communities of highly engaged users. There’s a discussion and photo sharing group for nearly any topic you can think of. Now it’s easy to write that off and say “there are discussion groups everywhere” but that would be a mistake. You see the discussion groups at Flickr are made up of people who not only talk about these topics, but care enough about them to take pictures and upload those pictures as well. That means the members of a Flickr group tend to be more fanatical about their topic than your average discussion board member.

There are several great ways to leverage Flickr.

1.) You can join a group and post in the discussion threads to establish yourself as an expert. This will lead people back to your profile where you can easily promote your web site, blog, etc.

2.) You can geotag your images. Flickr is owned by Yahoo!, so in my opinion, it’s only a matter of time until Flickr’s geotagged images get meshed with Yahoo Travel. Anyone who owns a tourist destination would be crazy not to be uploading geotagged photos of their hotels, grounds, nearby hiking trails or any other scenic spot.

3.) You can add descriptions, tags and even in-picture captions to your photos. You can also add links. This creates new links from a valued site and drives direct traffic to your site. The key here is to make sure you aren’t adding links to more than 10 or 15% of your photos. As with any social community, you HAVE to add more value than you pull.

4.) You can build relationships with other passionate bloggers in your niche. I’ve found Flickr can really fast track your attempts to network. When you’re talking to people via Flickr with an avatar and a photo it’s much easier to stand out.

The key here is that Flickr is only going to work for companies who have a visual component. Landscapers, gardeners, custom car detailers, chefs, salons, tourist spots ….”

And, of course, your humble author’s own tip:

◊ Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends – “This is a tip for those of you who run blogs and online publications: Treat PR people with respect.

(1) PR people bring news your community will value and save you the time of finding it on your own. I’m not suggesting you regurgitate press releases word for word. Instead, use the release only as a starting point. Gather additional facts. Then write it YOUR way.

(2) PR reps will bring you scoops and exclusives. PR reps who come to trust you will send you news early, under “embargo.” They’ll also make company executives available for interviews.

(3) PR reps will circulate your article about their client on email distribution lists and on company intranets. Sometimes you’ll get linked back from the Press section of the client’s site. This can drive considerable traffic. (Never pander to get links. Write objectively and only about subjects of value to your audience — you’ll still get links AND preserve your self-respect.)

(4) Don’t lose your temper in public on your blog at some inexperienced PR rep who sent an awkward email pitch. Just hit ‘delete.’ There’s no upside to making public enemies of PR firms.”

◊ Ivana Taylor, Strategy Stew – “Target those markets and customers that you love that love you back. In other words don’t work with jerks or people you don’t like. There are enough customers out there for everyone and the ones that love you value what you do and see so much value that working with you is literally priceless. The first step in doing this is knowing your strengths and special gifts that make you irresistible to your target audience. The next step is to love them enough to know what they want and then just give it to them lovingly and from the heart.”

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Top Ten Opportunities in 2008 for Personal Businesses

Excellent list of business concepts to consider for success in 2008 and beyond.

read more | digg story

The Ten Commitments to A Better Life Can Change Your Life

Have you ever wanted to communicate directly with the universe. Well I did and ended up writing a book in one weekend. Read more about how committing to something can help you...

read more | digg story

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Make 2008 Your Best Marketing Year Yet

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a large business networking group on how to make 2008 the best marketing year ever. I had a long speech prepared along with reams of information on how to market, developing a new marketing strategy, cultivating existing clients along with all the usual marketing techniques. I decided at the last minute that being a coach, I should take a different approach and look at how the individual business owner or CFO could make their own personal business life that much better. Leadership starts from within.

I have been coaching small, medium and large business organizations for the better part of 20 years and as a coach I am qualified to discuss personal approaches to helping individuals perfect their personal lives. So here are a few tips from that presentation. I call them " Tips from Your Very Own Personal Owners Manual".

(1) Reflect on all your past experiences from 2007, learn from everything that happened both good and bad. The good should be repeated, the bad should be analysed and changes made and then move on. Don't dwell on the past. Its a new year. As long as your feet hit the ground every morning you have the ability to change for the future.

(2) Know what you want. In this area get clear about what success means to you. It is not always about making money. Success can be defined in a number of ways, so get clear on what you want.

(3) Choose 2 or 3 simple themes for 2008. Use these themes as your guide to goal setting. Keep them simple. My theme for 2008 is " consistent abundance".

(4) Set up for yourself monthly and quarterly goals. Make sure you cover the key areas of your life which include: spiritual, family, health, professional and intellectual.

(5) Keep your to do list in prospective, after all its only a list and not a map. Don't confuse fundamental direction with a mere list of tasks.

(6) Write a gratitude journal. It will transform how you think and behave. Review your journal every week and act upon the lessons that you learn.

(7) Avoid negative thinkers. They won't help make your 2008 great. They keep putting obstacles in the way of thinking. You need to be surrounded by positive thinkers. Don't confuse realism for negativity however. Being realistic is not negative.

(8) Work smarter, not harder, break your work into small chunks, stop multi-taking; it may feel heroic but its grossly inefficient.

(9) House clean, your email box, your desk, your office and make a point of dropping 5 commitments that you find are not helping you in achieving your corporate goals.
This can be really simple. Stop joining committees.

(10) Make a point of knowing who it is that is giving you your business and why? Find out where all your referrals are coming from. Avoid MBWA ( marketing by walking around). If its time to build more relationships with real customers other than potential customers, then that's where the business is coming from.

I hope that these ten small tips will help you in your quest to make 2008 a much better year. As a business owner, CEO, or CFO, its time to get your personal life in order. Once you are clear on what you want personally, you can better understand your staff, your company, your customer base or where it is you want your business to go. Sometimes, we forget that we are the one who is the role or leadership model.

Remember to continue to listen closely to people who think and act positively, give generously, stay flexible and program your mind to stay persistent.

All the best for your best year ever in 2008.

Kensel Tracy is The Marketing Coach and a Senior partner in the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. He is an author of " The Ten Commitments to a Better Life" and helps small, medium and large businesses to grow and prosper.