Everyday Marketing, No Money Needed – Show #4

I split my time between operating a traditional business along with multiple web sites and internet businesses so I’m usually in the middle of several projects at a time and hate taking time out of my schedule to get my hair cut – unfortunately, in a civilized society having an unkempt mess on top of my head is frowned upon.  I had a coupon for $5 off at one of the little chains that promises no appointment necessary and fast service so I decided to make the stop.  The stylist on duty entered my name in the computer and said it would be 10 minutes or so.  I walked next door to buy a greeting card and came back several minutes later to find 3 more people waiting and reading their magazines but no stylist in sight – although we could hear 3 or 4 voices cackling and laughing away in the back room.   Five, ten, fifteen minutes with an employee coming out from time to time to assure us that someone would be available shortly.  Thirty minutes later (40 minutes from the time I first arrived) someone finally escorted me to a chair to begin the cutting process.

Did I feel valued as a customer?  Not really…  Did the insensitivity given to the value of my time negate thousands of dollars this corporation spends advertising in this marketplace?  Most definitely!

Everything you or your employees do and almost every decision you or your employees make is ‘marketing’.

  • Employees leave the phone ring 6 or 7 times beforrre picking up because two of them are having a spat about which one has to work the hardest and is waiting for the other to pick up the incoming call.
  • Your customer rushes to your office to beat the Friday at 5pm closing time – arrives at 4:56 to find the doors locked because your employees wanted to get a head start on the weekend.
  • Delivery truck w/your business name in bold letters cuts someone off in traffic.
  • A devaluing corporate culture has you or your employees viewing a customer contact as a distraction to their work instead of an opportunity to create another ‘WOW experience’, sell them additional services and creating a customer for life.

By contrast, my wife and I ate at a mid-level priced chain restaurant last night – the table cloths were actually paper and I noticed 2 crayons lying in the center which I thought was a little odd…  until the waitress came to take our drink order.  Before she left she wrote her name in big letters on the table – the kicker was that she wrote it upside down so that we could easily read it.  The ease at which she did it had us all intrigued so we were all practicing writing our names upside down on the table.  I didn’t even notice the significance until she returned with our drinks and called us by name – she was reading our names from the ‘upside down’ practice writing we were doing.  Pure genius from a marketing perspective!   They came up w/a hook that was entertaining for the customer and allowed the waitress to call us by name – feeling special.

Do you want to destroy everyone else in your marketplace?  Develop processes and procedures that value your clients time and energy.  Change everything that makes it more difficult for your customer to do business with you.  Come up with creative ideas that create WOW experiences for your customers.

We’d love to hear from you – what are some ways you are creating ‘WOW experiences’ for your customers and creating raving fans of your business?  There is no better marketing than a raving fan of your business telling all their friends to also do business with you.

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Stop Reinventing The Wheel! – Show #3

One of my favorite people to watch is Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame.  I spent an hour or so this morning looking around the internet for any interviews that I could find.  I love the way he is quite humble about his success – even though he is obviously quite intelligent and has taken more than a few business risks to get where he is in life.  One quote I saw from him is “Dirty Jobs and I are simply respectfully riding the coat tails of hard work”

I see so many business people trying hard to be a lone ranger – paying for high dollar marketing instead of partnering with someone else, carving out a brand new path instead of asking colleagues for advice or stubbornly following a path to bankruptcy just because they were ashamed to ask for help or change a strategy they had already committed to.

Yes, there are times that it pays to innovate and be the first guy to the top of the mountain, but let me challenge you to not always try to reinvent the wheel.  Use other successful people and businesses to partner with either in product design or marketing.

Let me give you an example in the online world.

I have several hundred customers in my web hosting business – the average site pulls in about 300 unique visitors a month so that will be our baseline.  I had the chance to catch up with an acquaintance yesterday and found out he has a web site that is less than a year old and is attracting 4 Million unique visitors every month.  Can you imagine the income potential of 4 million new people visiting your site each month?  Rotating a couple affiliate ads for insurance or mortgage leads could easily pull in 5-10 thousand dollars a month – not a bad passive income.

He used the power of two huge online players – youtube and facebook.  Created a couple of funny videos using animoto, funny enough that people told their friends about them – all of them linking back to his site and he came up with a catchy name for a fan page on facebook and in two months attracted over a million fans.

How can you leverage someone else’s success?

  • Partner with a popular restaurant to collect business cards and the attached email addresses, then once a month pick a winner and use the restaurant to cater an office party for them.
  • If you’re an electrician, partner with a plumber, excavator, landscaper and remodeling contractor and give each others contact information to everyone you work for.
  • Have an online product and can’t afford advertising?  Find someone with a huge mailing list and offer them a percentage of every sale they make when they tell their list about your product.

I guarantee there are several ways you haven’t used yet to leverage other people’s success.

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Lessons From The Colonel – Show#2

What can you learn from KFC?  We share what is probably an urban legend but the lessons are still there.

Everyone says they are customer focussed but are you truly?  It’s not an easy thing to filter all your decisions through what is best for your customer.  It’s too easy for us to have blinders in place whether it’s just your particular world view that you see things through or just because you’ve always done things a certain way and are unable to step back and see any other creative options.

What is your unique selling proposition…  The one thing (or several) that makes you truly better and unique in your marketplace?  If you don’t have something or can’t think of anything you need to develop it.  Think of ways you can inject your personality or some added value item that others are not willing or able to do.

Some ideas:

  1. Monthly snail mail newsletter
  2. Weekly email tips and tricks to save your customer money or time.
  3. Free group cooking lessons for your restaurant or food service patrons.
  4. Fashion tips and color match tips for your clothing store clientele.
  5. Book reviews and book-of-the-week pics for your bookstore.
  6. Free safety training for your insurance business customers.
  7. Be creative – inject something with your personality into added value for your customers.

Have fun!

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The Money Value of Time – Show#1

You’ve no doubt heard of the time value of money, I think this one is just as (if not more) important – the money value of time. Money can be replaced, time is irreplaceable.

Learn from the ultra-successful in both their decision making and delegating. Enjoy the audiocast either listen live or you can also subscribe to You’ve Got Five Minutes in iTunes.

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No Time To Figure Out How To Improve Profits…

“I’m so busy, I hardly have time to breath…” the frazzled business owner told me “… Much less figure out how to improve my business”.  If she could have heard the words coming out of her mouth I’m pretty sure she would have phrased it differently.

Blaming a lousy economy, increasing costs, poorly performing employees and just about everything else, this poor business owner was struggling to stay afloat.  Like a non-swimmer falling out of a boat into shallow water, she was flailing about just trying to keep her head above water and didn’t realize that is she stopped to calm herself she may realize that her feet could actually touch bottom.

Whether you run an existing online or offline (brick & morter) business or are just getting started it’s important to take the time to reflect on what’s happening around you, focus on those actions that improve your profitability and remove the time wasting activities and unprofitable product lines that are losing money.

Creative Commons License

You’ve Got Five Minutes Audiocast by Dean Martin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

My Podcast Alley feed! {pca-8c3462d488e8c1793be55924947e52b7}

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