Why marketing to prospects who need you is a bad strategy

and filed in Marketing 101
girl-holding-nose

It sounds logical: if you’ve got a product or service that meets a need, then your next step is to find people or companies that need it really, really badly, because they’re the ones who are most likely to buy it. Right?

Um, no. Not if some recent research into consumer behavior has anything to say about it. In fact, the people who need you the worst may be the least likely to buy your product or service.

Why? It has to do with cat pee, cigarette smoke, and a weird quirk of human nature.

[click to continue…]

How to get referrals from the Mafia

and filed in Content Marketing
Mafia Boss Cartoon

Ever joined one of those “business referral groups”?  You know the ones I’m talking about: they meet for coffee at 7:00 a.m. once a week, everybody gives an “elevator speech,” then everybody else promises to keep their eyes peeled for prospective customers for that person during the coming week.

For some members, this works great.  The real estate agents, armed with a hot prospect, call the insurance agents, who then call the home inspectors, and so on.

Same with the wedding planners.  (Everybody wants to be on their list, because nobody spends money like Bridezilla.)  Photographers, caterers, graphic designers (somebody’s got to design those custom cocktail napkins, darling) — they all pass business around to each other, and everybody’s happy, happy, happy.

The group I was in even had a name for it: mafias.  As in, the real estate mafia for the real estate agents and the insurance people, the wedding mafia for the wedding planners and photographers, etc.  The goal was to get everybody hooked into their own mafia so they could pass prospects around.

And that worked great — for those in transactional businesses.  For others, though, the whole scheme fell a little flat.  In fact, one of the persistent criticisms I heard when I was a member of a networking group is that this whole mafia thing doesn’t work for business consultants and life coaches and their ilk.  To those folks, it hardly seemed worth getting up before the crack of dawn for the meetings.  Our membership churn rate reeked of disillusionment.

But what were we to do?

[click to continue…]

Why your marketing plan needs an editorial calendar

and filed in Content Marketing, Marketing 101
Pen on calendar

When you think about marketing your business, you probably think in terms of numbers – how many prospects you’ll contact, how much revenue each campaign should generate, how many people you have in your referral network.

But smart marketers look beyond the numbers to the content – and the timing – of their marketing communications. They use an editorial calendar. [click to continue…]

What eating a sandwich in front of your dog can teach you about marketing

and filed in Content Marketing
exponential_cuteness

Ever sat at your kitchen table, about to take a bite out of a yummy sandwich worthy of Dagwood, only to look over and see those eyes?

You know the ones I’m talking about.  They’re big.  Dark.  A little watery.  And they don’t blink.

They’re the dog’s.

And you know what he’s thinking (assuming he does it in actual words): “Wow. Look at that. You’re gonna share some of that … right?”

(As uncomfortable as this scenario might be for you, though, think about how the dog feels.)

So, what does this have to do with marketing?

A lot, actually. Click here to find out what … and why –>

Why your marketing materials make people go “Huh?”

and filed in Marketing 101
does_not_work

A friend of mine who does a bit of on-the-side light editing for friends posed this question to me over coffee this morning:

Why do so many people’s marketing materials make me cringe?

She was quite honestly baffled.  Perfectly intelligent people, most of whom managed to get through college with at least a “C” average, would write up descriptions of their products and/or services in a way that made her look at them and go, “Huh?”

She hasn’t really studied writing per se, but she knows enough intuitively to understand that a grammatically-correct sentence isn’t necessarily a well-written one.

“All I do,” she said, puzzled, “is change the passive voice to the active voice and cut out all the extra words, and they react as if I’ve performed some sort of miracle.”

“And then,” she continued,” they come back the next time with the exact same mistakes. Why?”

The answer: They’re using The Official Style.

Are you using “The Official Style” too? Click here to find out –>