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The 8 Touchstones of Marketing

Regardless of your definition of marketing, there is a process associated with marketing your business, products, and services. This process or plan should be framed as one or more goals (I prefer SMART goals), underlied by one or more strategies (a defining statement of action or policy). These strategies are then accomplished by using a series of tactics, or action steps.

Quick Marketing Definition
Before we get to the 8 Touchstones of Marketing, let me prop yet another definition of marketing up in front of you:

Marketing is a two-way interaction with the public, prospects, and peers to present them with the best face of a business. You do this to inform and persuade them of the benefits of purchasing from that business.

The 8 Touchstones
I see a lot of small businesses whose marketing plan is merely to open their doors – physical or digital – and hope for people to storm in. As has been said elsewhere, “Hope is not a strategy.”

The next step up is to open the doors, and then find a way to shout, “I’m here!” That’s a little better, but what do you do when people actually show up?

Your marketing plan should include tactics for informing people about the benefits of doing business with your company. But once contact is made, you need to move them along a path to keep them informed and happy, and lead them to a place where they’ll purchase from you.

Your marketing plan should have these touchstones, in this order:

  1. Find leads (“A lead is anything with a heartbeat”) by communicating with the public
  2. Turn these raw leads into prospects (people who have an interest in your product or service) by starting an informative relationship with them
  3. Help persuade prospects to make a purchase
  4. Help new customers find joy in their purchase (minimize buyer’s remorse)
  5. Persuade existing customers to purchase more/more often
  6. Help people move from being customers (purchasers of services products) to fans of the business
  7. Help fans find more prospects (become unpaid marketing/sales reps for the business)
  8. Start the cycle all over again

Line vs Spiral
Essentially, your marketing plan is about helping – or guiding – people through steps from being a lead, to a prospect, to a first-time buyer, to a happy repeat customer, to fan, to unpaid marketing & sales representative.

Many entrepreneurs think of moving through this marketing process as a line. Probably not a straight line, but they see it as following the steps – first A, then B, on to C, etc. However, this process is actually a cycle; it starts in one place, and then moves around until it arrives at that starting point once again.

Sure, when you arrive at the starting point, you can pick up more people to insert into your marketing process. But one of the objectives of moving people along this process is to raise them higher than they were. For instance, one cycle can be explained as taking a person from being a lead, to a prospect, to getting them to make their first purchase. Now they’re back at Point A, and this is where a lot of marketers drop the ball. They leave the new customer on the same level as people who’ve never bought from the company! The idea here is to raise these new customers up a level, and help them become comfortable enough to make more purchases from the business. While the strategy is the same (“Help them feel happy enough to make a purchase”), the tactics are different on this level (for example: instead of a price discount on a single item, you give them a larger discount based on volume purchases). On this cycle, you want to move them from first-time purchaser, to happy repeat customer, to fan of the business.

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How To Carve Your Lucrative Niche

Is it possible to find a lucrative niche in the marketplace in the middle of one of the biggest pandemics in world history?

Can it be done when people are holding onto their money like a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic ocean? When food bank lines go back miles in every town and city? When millions of people are out of work, not knowing when or if they’ll ever go back.?

My answer is yes. Yes, you can find a lucrative niche in the marketplace. In fact, this is one of the best times to find a lucrative marketplace. Why? Because so many people are in need of solutions to problems. When you have that scenario, money opportunities abound. If you take certain actions, which I’ll reveal to you.

The Advantage of Knowing This in an Economic Downturn

For example did you know more millionaires were created during the Great Depression than any other time in history. The same could be said from each recession, and economic downturn since then. So, stop and let that sink in for a few seconds before continuing. A wealth transfer has already started.

The one’s who ride it will follow the tips in this article in one way or another, those who won’t could be the ones who end up in food lines, with overdue bills or left wondering if they can find work. Which will you be?

Here’s why. Economic downturns are the best times to buy low, take advantage of bargains and help people who are too scared or cautious to take risks. Plus, there’s a ton of people desperate to unload whatever they have for deep discounts or even free.

Those who are prepared with either cash, sales skills, negotiation savvy or financial knowledge can benefit enormously in economic downturns.

How To Find Your Lucrative Niche In Economic Downturn

The best way to find your niche is to first inventory your skills, experience and passions. This is often an area many people don’t examine as thoroughly as they should.

When counseling people who fall into this category, the default response is “I don’t have any skills, experience or passion that important”. My answer is always WRONG! Everyone does if your over the age of 12.

After filling out my questionnaire, most people are shocked at how much they know, how much experience they have at doing specific things and most people discover a hidden passion they never realized they had.

List Your Skills, Experience and Passions

It’s extremely important to know your skills, experience and passion as step 1 before searching for a lucrative niche. Because they determine what type of niche market you’re looking for and will tip the scales in your favor.

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How to Have Clients Who Are Your Ardent Champions

Tales from the Online Marketing Crypt – Vol. 7

Showing Gratitude to The Uncle Toms of the Marketing World
I’m certain every family has at least one of them in them. The rebel. The black sheep, the wild one.

We have Uncle Tom.

Mind you, he didn’t hold a candle to the Uncle Buck character John Candy played, but nonetheless, he has a certain flair to him that makes him stand out from the rest of the family.

One summer, he piled several of us into his old Gremlin-one of history’s dorkiest cars, apparently-and headed to the Abbotsford Airshow. This was before seat belts were mandatory and I’m pretty sure there were seven or eight of us crammed into that little car.

Being the youngest, I was delegated to the back hatch.

I remember the time quite well as it was the year a Canadian Forces CF-101 Voodoo exploded in the sky, literally moments after we all poured out of his car. We wondered if that was a part of the show, but it wasn’t. Thankfully there were no injuries.

Uncle Tom was a storyteller too. He told this Airshow story many times to anyone who would listen, each time adding a new embellished detail for entertainment’s sake.

You couldn’t help but smile, because his energy was infectious-especially when he talked about that beloved Gremlin!

Come to think of it, we all have clients like Uncle Tom.

You know the kind. The ones that call you up with some wild idea or new adventure they were just on, wanting to tell you all about it.

They’re the ones that make us smile.

They’re the ones that remind us of all the good things we get to enjoy when working directly with clients.

They’re the ones who don’t fit into any marketing guru’s mold-you won’t win over these unique clients with a 10-step guaranteed checkpoint plan.

But you know what? They are the ones who will be your ardent champion and will happily send new clients your way whenever the opportunity arises.

Am I right?

So throw away the guru handbook and do this one thing to keep these rebels in your life: show them gratitude.

Tell them how much you appreciate them. Express how grateful you are when they send someone your way.

And if they’re also in business, be sure to share how much you appreciate them to everyone so others can have the pleasure of having them in their life.

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It Is About Time to Start Marketing

There are many manufacturing businesses that get most of their businesses through word-of-mouth, loyal customers as well as partnership agreements. For this reason, it is crucial to consider expanding their reach, and have a look at online marketing.

Manufacturers that leverage content to promote their brand/business online succeed at drawing new potential buyers, retaining the current ones and – at the end of the day – obtaining more sales.

Ways for a manufacturing company to come into play:

Build thought leadership

A manufacturing company must be recognized by visitors as an authority in the industry, in order to have an effective marketing campaign. They should deliver innovative ideas and trusted expertise that will be beneficial to them.

To achieve a reputation as a an industry leader and visionary, the business needs to engage its audience by hosting/sponsoring a webinar, creating and maintaining a blog, publishing knowledge/product training and participating in various industry events.

Use SEO and Pay-per-Click Ads

A highly developed marketing strategy that includes keywords, PPC ads and SEO will make the business website easy to find online by their target market.

There is a tendency for manufacturers to benefit from targeting customers in particular regions where they have locations and distributors. They can take advantage of this opportunity through the use of landing pages specific to a region then driving traffic to them with the help of SEO keywords and paid ads. In this way, every time customers search for their type of manufacturers in their area, their company will pop-out.

Have content published constantly

Valuable content is paramount to online marketing and lead generation. When a website has a steady stream of quality content this assures them of a high rank in search engine results plus improves the company’s position as an industry leader.

In writing content for the manufacturing company, they should consider showing that the customers’ needs are completely understood, provide beneficial solutions, and deliver authoritative and well-timed information to stand out.

Humanize the brand

One of the most effective ways to get ahead of your competition is to humanize the brand. Consumers are fed of the cold, corporate marketing of manufacturers’ websites. Most of them want something else – they want more value and engagement.

That said, manufacturers should connect with their customers more by displaying their human side. This can be achieved by various ways, for example a campaign titled “Meet the Team”, where you can display photos of the company’s officers, together with stories about their passion for manufacturing.

Market products/services with virtual tours and videos

These are fresh, new ways to engage with potential customers and showcase their products/services.

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Hair Cutting Tools – Get the Branded Ones

There are different tools which are in use by the hairstylist and hair cutting experts. These tools are exactly making the hair cutting task look easier and more perfect. If you are working as a barber, then you shouldn’t compromise with the quality of hair that you use to achieve for your customers on a regular basis. But to take your expertise level to a new height you will must require quality hair cutting tools that are now available in the market.

Cutting hair with imperfect tools can really lessen up your skill set and it can even make your reputation below standard in the market. Always look for the hair cutting tools that have been announced by quality brands. While looking for the best tools, scissors will come at the top slot. When you are using a scissor for haircut, you need to determine that both the blades are balanced properly. These blades should comprise smooth and sharp edges. Among other tools, you need to have section clips, combs, thinning scissors and razors at your tool kit. These tools will allow you to make the hair cutting better and you can complete the job in less time.

Haircutting Tools For Perfect Haircut

The hair cutting scissors are accessible in various types & designs and choice of scissors generally depends on different factors such as person’s hair type, and shape of scissors’ blades, blade lengths, handle types, and many more. Mostly two types of blades can be found, convex that gives clean-cut with the greater precision & are simpler to handle & classic bevel edged that are durable however strains fingers when cutting. Handles will have the opposite grips that are suitable for the professionals cutting with the middle finger & thumb, and offset grips for the people making use of thumb & ring finger as well as crane grip for the industry professionals.

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Who Can You Trust When Investing?

Fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic have spread through the world. On top of those problems, the issue of police brutality of black men has been brought to the attention of the world once again. The tragic killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and police killings of other black people have flooded the news. The demonstrations, peaceful protests, and sometimes riots and violence have captured the interest of the United States and other parts of the world.

The world is in turmoil, and investing may not be on people’s minds. But with the pandemic, many people have suffered financially so money is an issue. They may be looking for a way to earn some much needed money.

There are still a lot of gurus out there who want you to trust them by signing up for their stock investing newsletters. They promise big returns and make big claims. Their testimonials sound almost too good to be true. Perhaps they are.

The so-called investment gurus are touting their programs even as the unprecedented times caused by the coronavirus have affected everyone. They are saying that there are exciting investment opportunities in oil, banking, crypto, medical companies, and more even during these troubling times. They have common names like Jon, Tom, Ken, Alex, Mark, and Jeff plus some more uncommon names such as Jordan, Derek, and Kyle. Who can you trust? It is hard to know.

Sometimes they promise 100% returns on your investment or they may be bold enough to promise $2,000% in a year. They say that you will most likely get your return on investment with your first trade. If they promise big returns, it is best to make sure they have a money back guarantee if they do not produce as claimed.

If those promises would come true, it would be a great opportunity and blessing. However, too often they are false promises which do not come to fruition. If you can find a program which pays as claimed, you can consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

It’s pretty pathetic when not losing is considered winning, but that is the case in so many investments. We may be happy to just not lose our shirts although the gurus told us we would win 100% or more with their recommendations. When going with the recommendations made by the gurus, it is important to cut your losses before you do lose your shirt so to speak. Winning is the goal, of course.

Fake claims and dead ends can bring a lot of stress. Minor setbacks can be overcome without major losses. It is tempting to listen to investment gurus to follow in their footsteps to get winning trades. However, you can’t trust many or most of them. It is best to research and learn so that you can trust in yourself to make the best decisions.

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Very Bad Things About Marketing Yourself in Real Estate

You have an owner that wants to sell their home. However, there are few things that the owner needs to do to spruce up the place to get it ready to sell. There are carpets to clean, walls to be painted, and lawn care to enhance the home’s curb appeal. Then, you have to get really good photos from all the right angles to essentially make potential homeowners drool when they see the photos.

So do you want the good news first or the bad news?

Let’s start with the bad news. If you are trying to sell yourself in real estate, you need to engage in a similar process. Regarding the first bad news, have you spruced yourself up to help market yourself? The second piece of very bad news: do you have really good photos of yourself so that potential homeowners look at your photos and want to work with you? So why do you understand these basic marketing principles for selling a property but neglect these very same principles when trying to sell yourself?

So, now for the good news. The first good thing is that you already know the formula to sell. Spruce up and put your best foot forward in your photos and marketing materials. The second good thing is that although you may not know the wall paint color that will lead to a sale, you can find out the colors to wear to spruce up while marketing yourself in real estate.

According to research of the top female real estate agents in the U.S., the colors most commonly worn in their professional photos are black, ivory, blue, red, and a combination of black and ivory. While color alone cannot guarantee your success in marketing yourself in real estate, it is a very important step in sprucing up your professional presence to have homeowners clamoring.

You may be thinking that marketing yourself does not matter and that you will just let your brains and hard work speak for itself. Well, first, you have to be able to attract the prospective clients to even be able to show your brains and exhibit your hard work. And to use the metaphor of selling a home again, all being equal (the square footage, the neighborhood, the number of bathrooms, etc.) will the homeowner choose the one with the better curb appeal? Using that same logic, brains and hard work being equal, will a homeowner choose you or the realtor down the street with the better “curb appeal?”

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Why Real Estate Agent Should Handle Real Estate Sales

Selling or buying property is one of the things that most of us will find ourselves engaged in at some point in our life. When the opportunity to sell property comes, there are high hopes of making some good profits by property owners. At times the urge to “maximize on the profit” becomes so high that property owners decide to get buyers by themselves. In the process they overlook and bypass legitimate and qualified professionals who have a vast knowledge of the property market and trends that could benefit the property owner.

Some property owners end up selling their homes without involving real estate professionals. However many people believe you are better off selling your home with the help of an agent than doing it alone. Below are some valid and strong reasons why property owners stand higher and better chances of succeeding in selling their homes with the help of professional agents.

Reason #1: Agents increase your chances of selling your home faster and at a better price

real estate price

Professional real estate agents can help you price your house correctly. They have access to the latest price trends on the market. If your property is not priced well from the beginning, it is most likely going to take longer to sell. You will need to adjust the price downwards in order to meet the current market level. Without the latest market prices, you can end up underpricing your property. In fact, statistics show that an average agent sells a home at an extra $40,000 compared to what a home owner could have done if they sold their home without real estate agent.

Reason #2: Real estate agent can make value adding suggestions

Most likely, many agents have seen and sold properties like yours. They can give you free and valuable suggestions that can improve appearance of your home and thus increase its sale value.

Reason #3 Real estate agent will help with your busy schedule

Home owners do not have all the time to go looking for prospects and keep taking them to the site for viewing. Real estate agent can take care of it because it is their job and they can show your property to serious prospects. Moreover, they can respond to all the necessary inquiries that potential buyers raise while you are busy. This saves you time and increases the chances of selling property faster because a serious prospect may settle for another property if they didn’t get to view yours on time. Also potential buyers feel freer trying to “fit into” their prospective homes when the homeowner is absent. Real estate agent assures them of that freedom during the viewing process.

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Real Estate Marketing As an Art Form

While there are a lot of practical skills involved in the processes required to complete a transaction related to any type of property, there is also a certain amount of creativity that needs to go into the marketing process if you are looking to ensure that your agency stands out from the crowd.

In many ways, real estate marketing can be considered something of an art form. Get it right and you will find you have no trouble attracting offers for the properties you’re working with. Get it wrong, however, and you may find yourself with a lot of angry customers who can’t understand why their properties aren’t attracting the attention they believe they deserve.

You will need a number of creative skills to successfully market a property, so we will look at the three most important ones here.

Photography

More than 90% of house hunters use the web to start their search, which means that the first impression they get of any property is going to be an online listing. If they don’t like what they see, it only takes a click of the mouse to move on to the next one.

That’s why it is important to get the photography right when marketing a property. Nobody wants to buy a house that looks dark and dingy, so understand the importance of proper lighting and framing in all of the shots you take. Every photo should show the house in the best possible light, so anything less than that should be discarded.

Written Copy

So let’s assume that your photos are brilliant and the potential buyer has been enticed into finding out a little bit more about the property. This is where you will need to exhibit a number of written skills to make sure you keep their attention and convince them to communicate with you with a view to actually looking at the property.

Aside from the basics, such as proper spelling and grammar, your listing needs to make the house sound remarkable without being too salesy. Always stay honest, but be sure to accentuate the positives and downplay the negatives. If the house has a feature that is going to prove attractive, make sure it is front and centre in the written copy so that it attracts attention.

Presentation

Now that the advert itself is working its magic, your final step is ensuring that the property itself looks the part before anybody comes to view it. Proper staging of the rooms and exterior can make all of the difference between attracting a serious buyer and having somebody want to walk out as soon as they set foot in the door.

Make sure that the house looks presentable on a practical level, meaning fresh licks of paint and tidying up where needed, before focusing on staging the rooms. Make sure that each room is displayed to highlight all of its positives. This means proper use of lighting and furniture arrangements that display how much space is available and the potential that the room offers to a potential buyer.

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Easy Lead Generation Plan For Mortgage Originators

Some loan officers build their business based on social media, others develop relationships, and still others advertise using such tools as: direct mail and email marketing. Whatever approach or combination of approaches are used to generate leads, successful loan officers create and follow a plan on how they will generate their business. As with anything in life, what works for you today may not work tomorrow, so your business and the way you generate activity should be constantly changing and adapting to the market. With every new improvement, enhancement, and/or technological advancement your lead generation plan has to be able to grow and develop. The mortgage business or any sales field in general will take time and effort to build. If you stay focused, you will be able to create a system that consistently produces leads and future income. The following is a list of lead generation ideas that can be used by loan officers to increase the amount of leads and business they receive.

• Relationship Building – The number one source of leads in the mortgage business is from licensed real estate agents. Other relationship sources include, but are not limited to: accountants, insurance agents, and attorneys. Creating a system where you contact and grow your relationships with individuals in these occupations is a foundation to long-term success.

• Past Customers – Great customer service is the first step in earning repeat business. Although, constant contact through phone calls, emails, mailings, and other sources of communication will increase the likelihood of your past customers using you again for their next mortgage as well as referring their family and friends.

• Social Media – In today’s environment, social media is the least expensive and easiest way to stay in contact with your sphere of influence, as well as new customers that may be looking for information before they purchase a house.

• Find Your Niche – Many successful mortgage originators specialize in and become proficient in a particular loan type. Whether, it is jumbo loans, FHA rehabilitation, USDA, or other mortgage types, it is to your advantage to find a niche that you are deemed as the expert.

• Create a Team – Co-market with real estate agents, title companies, nonprofits, or other entities that help individuals purchase homes. The more you help others become successful, the more successful you will become yourself. The bigger the team, the more people you will have advertising on your behalf.

Remember, your lead generation plan should continually change and adapt to the current environment. Watch your competition and see how they generate business. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just use what works. Often the best way to increase and improve your business is to adopt successful proven techniques that prosperous loan officers are already using. Also, the best way to keep track of your marketing successes and failures is to have a daily, weekly, and monthly plan that keeps you focused on results. Use your marketing plan to track the number of leads and loans you receive from each activity.