A Cook is to Meals as a Salesperson is to Marketing

When those in marketing create new campaigns, sales personnel are often excluded. The logic behind this silo-ed process is that sales is perceived as not understanding marketing and therefore it is prohibiitve to include the sales department. From my experience, marketing doesn’t often understand sales.

If you are a small business owner, you should keep in mind that marketing efforts are not independent of your on-the-floor operations. Your marketing spend will go further with these important premises in mind:

  • your marketing consultant/agency must understand your business mission and store culture.
  • you must understand the marketing plans presented
  • your staff must understand the execution and strategy behind the marketing plan
  • you must provide easy to use results tracking tools for your staff
  • your staff must report results and customer feedback

I’ve heard the argument – “A good marketing plan doesn’t need sales involvement.”

That is the kind of bullshit rationale that comes from owners/managers who don’t respect their salespeople. (And then wonder why turnover is so high.)

Why must sales be involved in marketing?

Let’s use an analogy. Just as a meal is based on a cook’s skills, marketing success is based on a salesperson’s skills. For example, if you bring food to a cook without information on the desired meal, the cook is forced to focus on logistics rather than skills. S/he has to prioritize a) what the resulting meal is to be, and b) how to go about preparing it. Even then, the resulting meal may not be what was desired.

But, if you were to provide the cook with not only the food, but also the cooking tools, recipe, and clear instructions as to the desired result, not only will the cook prepare exactly what is desired, but will then be better able to focus on adding his/her unique cooking skills to the process for optimal results.

And so it goes with sales…

Using the analogy above, you can see how trying to implement a new marketing campaign with an uninformed, unequipped, and unprepared salesperson will sabotage your marketing goals.

As a small business owner, you have the advantage over large chains. Their corporate offices are distanced from actual business sites and must rely on strict guidelines to achieve minimal success. In a small business environment, one has far more ability to be hands on, communicate deeply to staff, and oversee execution. If you aren’t properly communicating your marketing plans with your sales staff, you cannot reap the benefits you truly seek.

Success vs Failure

Let’s look at two scenarios to illustrate how communication and cooperation between sales and marketing can enhance or sabotage results.

Scenario 1 – Undesirable

A consumer walks into a store anxious to buy your advertised item. but the salesperson approached knows nothing about it. The search for information presents, and the consumer becomes annoyed at the delay and confusion. There is so much effort in the process of determining the sale item and pricing that any opportunity to establish a consumer relathionship is lost on the clarification process. Add-on or ad driven sales strategies and opportunities are lost. There is little room for conversation as to why the consumer wanted the item and a lost chance to determine whether the item truly fit their need. This situation increases the likelihood of a return, and for a lost chance for conversion or multiple sales per transaction since the anxiety around the confusion dominates. It is only a highly experienced salesperson who can segue such confusion into a new start with a consumer in this situation.

Scenario 2 – Desirable

A consumer walks into a store anxious to buy your advertised item. The salesperson has full knowledge of the campaign because s/he has attended a meeting (or was otherwise fully informed) as to the marketing campaign strategy for increased sales and customer relationship building from said campaign. The salesperson confidently guides the relaxed consumer to the product area while procuring information to help cement the sale, present an opportunity for a more appropriate item, or even launch an upsell. A relationship is created with the consumer enhancing repeat/referral business potential. Results are documented for future marketing efforts to build upon. Palpable information is procured for an understanding as to whether the marketing campaign was a strategic win or simply incidental.

How will you execute your next marketing campaign?

How to Acquire Real Fans for Your Social Media Marketing Spend

…buy Twitter Followers in our website, starting at $29 USD / 5k Followers…

DON’T DO IT

If you don’t get at least 1 spam solicitation a week for purchased followers via your social media accounts or via email, consider yourself lucky. Scam artists are always looking for the inexperienced social media marketer to make their money. You already know that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” and profile scammers would be extinct, but, as long as there are buyers, there will be takers. Inexperienced social media clients often ask if they should buy followers because their established competitor has thousands.

Insights tell all

You may not have access to your competitors insights and analytics, but you can judge a book by its cover in this instance. Start following your competitors and note whether their posts, tweets, and photos garner engagement. Isn’t it interesting how an account with thousands of followers often gets disproportionately few likes, retweets, reposts, shares, or comments?

There are 2 main reasons for that; 1) they are lousy at posting, but more likely, 2) they have a base of artifically acquired followers irrelevant to their business. Those so-called followers are not responding or even noticing the posts – that is, if they even exist in real life! So while the competitor may tout a huge fan base, their success is shallowly based only in that number, not in results.

Quantity vs. Quality

Gone are the days when quantity was critical to the perception of a successful social media account. Landing pages (no longer permitted) were created as tools requiring a “like” before entry for contests, deals, yadayada, to acquire new followers – and lots of them. Slowly, it became very evident that many new followers became fans just for the freebie or perk – the attraction being the giveaway and not your goods and services. Unlikes followed or your business simply ignored.

Marketing is marketing whether on or offline. Ever had an event for your brick and mortar focused on giveaways and contests? The results? You probably got enough warm leads with real sales to cover the cost of the event and little more. If you aren’t attracting the right prospects with any method of marketing, you lose.

That’s not to say a big marketing campaign can’t be fruitful, but new and inexperienced small business owners often do not use proven tracking methods for an accurate ROI of their market spend. Year after year they spend on repeat “perceived” successful events without knowing the reality to make revisions for real success. Again, they can talk about how many people attended the event, but inquire about results and you may get an ambiguous reply.

Retention or Acquisition?

Social media business account holders are becoming savvy to the reach of a quality following because they learn that retention, more than acquisition, is the best way to keep and grow business. If you follow a successful formula in your business, you will get referrals.

Customers with needs/desires that match your goods/services

+    Excellence in Customer Service
————————————————

= PROFIT

Bottom Line?

Remember: Buying followers and contacts is as effective as inviting a whole community of strangers to your party – most come for the free food and leave without even remembering your name. Invite specifically those to your “marketing party” who can benefit from your products and services, then wow them with your service. They’ll not only remember your name, they’ll refer you to others.

Will Followers Be Content with Content in 2015?

As I had my morning coffee browsing others’ posts and cruising articles, I was struck by a sense of content productivity obsession. This is what we have taught ourselves must be done for successful marketing of our businesses.

But is it really true?

  • Yes, Google is constantly on the hunt for fresh content.
  • Yes, social media users are forever curating material to catch followers’ eyes.
  • Yes, business owners scramble daily for improved SEO.

But, are we truly capturing our target audience? Or instead perhaps overwhelming or, worse yet, losing them?

I can’t help but believe that quality will always rank over quantity. And, I am seeing more evidence that those who post less frequently with better and more relevant content to their desired target are winning.

Think. Are you posting content for the sake of content… or are you providing the right content for your efforts to be worthy of your audience’s precious time?

2015 – Let’s be more judicious in our marketing efforts. Agreed?

14 Reasons Social Media Marketing Beats Traditional Marketing

Traditional Marketing vs Social Media MarketingHe who refuses to learn deserves extinction. Rabbi Hillel

The conversation with those not engaged in Social Media is often limited to their perceptions… I’ve tried to condense the most common misperceptions through these comparisons.

  1. Traditional Marketing tells us how we should feel about product.
    Social Media Marketing tells others how we really do feel about product.
  2. Traditional Marketing interrupts our leisure time by forcing product messages upon us.
    Social Media Marketing leads us to company pages we can invite into our streams to browse at our leisure.
  3. Traditional Marketing deals with the familiar to spread the word generically.
    Social Media Marketing looks for the unfamiliar to spread the word virally.
  4. Traditional Marketing spreads a message to the masses in hopes of attracting a few loyal followers.
    Social Media Marketing spreads a message to a few loyal followers to attract the masses. 
  5. Traditional Marketing tells consumers what they may want.
    Social Media Marketing gives access to what we do want.
  6. Traditional Marketing messages have no direct accountability.
    Social Media Marketing publicizes accountability through viral messaging.
  7. Traditional Marketing uses long-term strategies developed through a fixed schedule of exposure.
    Social Media Marketing follows direct emotion, passion, and curiosities of the moment.
  8. Traditional Marketing messaging is for short-term profit.
    Social Media Marketing messaging is for long-term connection.
  9. Traditional Marketing asks questions and uses research to determine reaction.
    Social Media Marketing answers questions and uses instinct to create reaction.
  10. Traditional Marketing creates artificial messaging based on external research.
    Social Media Marketing spreads authentic messaging from internal reaction.
  11. Traditional Marketing helps products become successful regardless of quality.
    Social Media Marketing helps quality products get discovered and expose poor products.
  12. Traditional Marketing messaging can be stagnant or ineffective by the time they surface.
    Social Media Marketing messaging is ever evolving and always present.
  13. Traditional Marketing follows a predetermined path on a predetermined schedule.
    Social Media Marketing explores a multitude of highways on an ongoing basis.
  14. Traditional Marketing controls response to product via marketing professionals and accountants.
    Social Media Marketing controls product response via actual consumer word of mouth.

Agree? Disagree?

Google Plus – Hot or Not for Small Business?

Google Plus Hot or Not

More frequently, small business owners ask why I am a Google Plus proponent. They ask “…of everyone I ask – no one is on Google+ so why should I bother with it?”

I have previously blogged about this, but it bears repeating. Google Plus is GOLDEN for SMBs!

Don’t take too much stock in articles written by Google+ crapehangers. The majority naysayers are non-participants and/or superficially informed – or just copycat blogging.

If you are a small business owner, it is more important for you to consider the BENEFITS of using Google Plus rather than concern yourself with its popularity.

Get over the social media stereotype

Take note of the lack of pu$h for boo$ting or promoting your po$ts on Google Plus. Why? Because Google Plus wants your content, not your money. By having Google+, Google has a social media platform providing data they can’t get glean from website content.They want pure, unadulterated, and accessible source content.

Google Plus will grow.

Consider the beauty of a platform that showcases and integrates your content so well you WANT to participate. The more you use Google Plus, the more you’ll also want to use many Google apps and tools because of the convenience created by the integration.

As a business, remaining active on Facebook is essential because it is like the old yellow pages. In pre-social media days, your business had to be listed in the yellow pages or you “didn’t exist.”  And as long as Facebook is still the go-to for users looking up a business, you must remain there.

Google Plus and YouTube

Have you noticed how anxious Facebook now is to get you to upload your video shares directly to Facebook? They have promised a 30% higher visibility if you do. They realize that VIDEO is the new mode for social media – especially for business. Who currently OWNS video? YouTube. Who owns YouTube? Google. What is the #2 Search Engine in the world? YouTube. What’s the easiest way to share, repurpose, embed your videos? YouTube.

So, help me with this. You should want to upload directly to Facebook for the chance at a 30% boost in visibility in a follower limited Facebook news feed (which you could pay pennies to boost anyway)? In exchange, it will cost you dearly in search capability. And what about your YouTube Channel and subscribers, not to mention the limitations on repurposing that video!

And Google+ has made it exceptionally easy to repurpose YouTube videos on their platform. The more you use Google, the more content and use information they have to improve their search engine algorithms. Therefore, they want to keep you and make you happy.

Take advantage of this opportunity

  • Claim your business on Google Local Business and complete your Google+ Profile!
  • Add a cover photo reflecting your business personality and logo.
  • Complete your About Page
  • Upload photos of your storefront, your business in action, your products, your events, your staff, etc.,

And hey, while you’re there, why not take a shot at engaging with some of those supposedly non-existent G+ users? ;)

Don’t Fall for Facebook LIKE Scams

Look what I found in a Non-Profit’s Facebook messages! (see image)

BAD NEWS! This is clearly a scam.Warning Signals of Facebook Scam

3 BIG FLAGS!

  1. BAD GRAMMAR is always a big hint! Leaving out articles like “a” are common for foreigners trying to target Americans. Don’t overlook that as a typo.
  2. “NO ADVANCE PAYMENT REQUIRED” Really? Not only are the fees ridiculously low (lower than Facebook fees), but isn’t it just too STRANGE they DON’T NEED your money up front?
  3. NOTICE they didn’t ask for your email address, they want your EMAIL ID with Facebook. That’s why they don’t need your money up front.

If you give them YOUR EMAIL ID, they could have access to your Facebook account. If you are using ads for your small business or non-profit, you have provided Facebook with a payment method. If you provide access to your Facebook account, you are risking your credit card information to scammers!!!

Bottom line, if it looks too good, too easy, it’s not usually legit.

BE CAREFUL.

(Note: I am on the board of this local non-profit and manage their Facebook Page)

“My Staff Doesn’t DO Social Media” is Killing Your Social Media Potential

But my staff doesn't DO Social Media!

When I discuss how important in-house contribution is for social media marketing with (TOO MANY) small business owners, I hear:

“But, my staff doesn’t DO Social Media.”

First of all, statistics tell us that’s not true.

Not only does your staff own a smartphone, but have likely downloaded at least 2(00) social media apps to talk to friends and family, and play games. And during breaks, lunches, WHEN YOU AREN’T LOOKING, and at quitting time, they are ON social media. 

Oh, sure…, they’ll TELL you they aren’t on social media, but what that translates to is THEY ARE AFRAID you will put them in charge of your business page.

SOLUTION

At their next review, explain that in this age of digital marketing, social media marketing contribution is now a job requirement for all new hires. And for existing employees, reviews will include evaluations of their individual contribution to your social media efforts.

GUILT IS A TERRIBLE MOTIVATOR

Yeah, yeah, I know the guilt seeps in… You tell me you are a lousy example of social media business participation so you figure you can’t ask them to do what you don’t do. Wrong!

  • Since when do you know how to do everything your staff knows how to do?

Their contribution is IMAGES, anecdotes, and testimonials

They won’t use their data, add an app, or use their SmartPhone.

Starting on the most basic level, they will take candid photos of your business in action, customer testimonials, anything that reflects your business success. You should also provide a store notebook to jot down anecdotal material for your social media content.

BUY a digital camera for the store or business, and leave it readily accessible to staff.  They can virtually begin contributing to your social media marketing as soon as you brief them on camera use and care.

  • Yes, you need protocols for what is/isn’t appropriate to photograph and how often.
  • Yes, you need to set up a Dropbox, Google Photos (which is cool because of enhancement features), or other cloud account folder for your photos.
  • Yes, you will be responsible for transferring those images from the camera to your computer via the included USB cable to the Dropbox or whatever folder.
  • Yes, you or your trusty admin whom you have given shared access to your cloud folder will then have to share them to your Social Media page(s).

But, other than that, that’s IT! Any and every person on the staff should be allowed to have some fun with the camera catching some on-the-floor moments which can lead to bigger and better participation. YouTube is your next goal.

Just one candid photo per week can mean a boost to your Social Media stats.

Here’s hoping you aim higher.

Fans are more likely to follow

…if they get the feeling they know you and your business. That’s what the photos provide – an inside look.

Now go buy a darn digital camera.

You can get them for less than $200. Or, spend a little more and it will come with wi-fi for easy transfer. It’s a business deduction – a marketing expense!

Now I hope you are saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I think of all this?”