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How To Achieve Ambitious Goals

I came across this and thought it could be helpful to some.

Written on 4/24/2009 by Ashlea Wheeler. Ashlea is a young woman currently working in Print Production but hoping to start her own tourism business.

Do you get jealous of the couple next door? You know, the people who seem to have everything including a big house, nice car, and leftover money for holidays with the kids? Don’t be. Set your sights and make it happen.

I am currently building a house, about to go on a trip overseas, and planning on starting my own business in the next few years. All of this and I’m only 20 year old and admittedly on a very low income. How do I do it?

I’m going to let you know how I achieve all those big goals that so many people think they can’t do. You can’t just wait around for the perfect opportunity because more likely than not, it will never come. Create your own opportunities and you will get what you want.

  1. Know what you want
    The key to accomplishment is to be motivated, determined, and positive. It is not going to be easy, there will be many bumps and bruises along the way and you will never get through them if you go into this project half-heartedly. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. Know your direction and pursue it - - in full.

  2. Brainstorm
    Get a piece of paper and write down all your ideas about your goal. Be as ambitious as you want, but be ready to be flexible down the road because all plans change at some point.

  3. Organise
    Get all of those ideas you just wrote down and organize them into workable groups. Say you want to start your own business? Your ideas could be put into groups such as: what your company will do, what staff you plan to have, what kind of customers you want, where your business will be, etc.

  4. Budget
    Do some research and find out how much money your goal is going to cost you. If you want to go on holiday, go online to get prices of flights, accommodation, travel expenses, etc. Try not to underestimate, you don’t want to be running into hidden expenses later on.

  5. Sort out your finances
    This can be a tedious job but is essential for goals that involve spending money. Know what money is coming in, and where your money is going out, then look at your budget. Do you need to
    cut back on your spending to save more? Most of the time, this is where people give up on their goal because they aren’t willing to sacrifice. Will you need to temporarily get a second job? Will you need a loan?

  6. Timeline
    Break your goal up into smaller goals, and put them along a timeline. This will not necessarily be the exact way it pans out, but if you have a rough idea of when you want to achieve your goal, you have something to work towards.

  7. Plan
    So now it is time to formulate your plan of action. Put all of the essential information you have into one document, then you can know what you need to achieve and when you want to do it.

  8. Implement
    This is where your motivation, determination and positive attitude kick in. Unless something substantial and unforeseen happens, you should have no reason not to carry out all the steps to achieving your goal. And even if it does, that does not mean you have failed in your attempt. Just go back through the steps you have taken and see if there is a way you can overcome it.

This list sounds simple because it is. There is no reason for anyone to sit and wallow in regret or doubt when it comes to hitting goals. Make it a simple process that allows for a slow progression and you’ll see just how simple it can be!

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle | Comment »

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EMC chief: Tech spending has bottomed out

(from the Boston Biz Journal)

The chief executive of EMC Corp. said Thursday he believes the freefall in global technology spending is nearing its nadir.

“We believe the global IT spending environment has reached — or is very near — the bottom,” said Joseph Tucci in a statement accompanying the Hopkinton, Mass., IT infrastructure giant’s first quarter earnings. “We expect IT spending to improve in the second half of 2009 as customers will have better budget visibility, be further through their own restructuring programs and broader stimulus packages should be underway.”

The comments come as EMC (NYSE: EMC) reported a 9 percent drop in revenue year over year to $3.2 billion and a 23 percent year over year drop in net income to $194.1 million or 10 cents per share. Analysts were expecting earnings of 16 cents per share on revenue of $3.3 billion.

Despite Tucci’s statement, the company said its “best estimate” on global IT spending growth in 2009 is high single digits to low double digits, with the vast majority of the growth coming late in the year. Second quarter spending is expected to be flat compared with the first quarter.

EMC Chief Financial Officer David Goulden said the company is taking additional cost cutting measures that will save an additional $100 million this year. The cost savings will be a 5 percent cut in pay for all salaried employees and a 10 percent cut in pay to EMC board members. Earlier this year, EMC announced a $350 million cost savings program that shaved the workforce by 2,400 jobs.

The company also warned investors that the IT spending environment will result in lower gross margins in 2009 compared with last year.

One bright spot for the company was the performance of VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), which is majority owned by EMC. VMware’s revenue grew 7 percent year over year to $470.4 million.

Shares of EMC were down 21 cents to $12.45 in morning trading.

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle | Comment »

Apr
13th
Mon
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EasySMBMarketing Debuts Marketing Tips, Strategies and Tactics Videos on YouTube Channel

13 April 2009 - Denver, CO

EasySMBMarketing with both it’s general Small Business website (www.easysmbmarketing.com) and it’s companion IT marketing web site (www.easystechnlologymarketing.com) announced the “EasySMBMarketing YouTube Channel” at www.youtube.com/easysmbmarketing. The first video on the site is a the debut of a new series called, “Michael’s Marketing Minute” where Michael will provide a quick video marketing tip in about 60 seconds. These tips will cover a wide range of topics and will give the viewer a brief tip on marketing thier small business or small IT/MSP business.

Also available for the youTube channel is the ability to receive a RSS feed alerting interested parties to new videos as they are posted.

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle | Comment »

Feb
19th
Thu
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Denver CO Small Business IT Consultants Staff 9News BizTech Line

19 February 2009, Denver, CO
 
Members of the Rocky Mountain Region Microsoft Small Business Server User Group partner with 9News BizTech Line to provide Free Call-In Tech Support. Joe Axne, President of Denver-based IT Guru, LLC. (www.IT-Guru.net) and President of the Rocky Mountain Region Microsoft Small Business Server User Group stated, “The is the third year our group has been invited to partner with 9News and staff the phones to help users with a wide variety of their computer issues, challenges and frustrations. It’s certainly a privilege to be asked to provide expertise to the public in this manner.”
 
The Microsoft Registered Partners participating in the 9News BizTech line are:
 
Joe Axne, President, IT Guru, LLC. (www.it-guru.net) Luke Wignall, Managing Partner, Common Knowledge Techology, LLC. (www.ck-tek.com)
Jason Blanckaert, President, Platinum Computer Services, Inc. (www.platinumcomputer.com)
Eric Mosher, President, Dynamic Data Technology Group, Inc. (www.dynamicdatatech.com)
 
The Microsoft Small Business Server User Group is a group of IT Professionals, IT Vendors and IT Service Providers dedicated to providing high quality technical support and managed services to SOHO (small office home office) and SMB (small and medium business) businesses.
 
Marketing and Public Relations services provided by EasySMBMarketing.com

Posted via email from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle | Comment »

Jan
28th
Wed
permalink

EasySMBMarketing Partners with Swiftpage

EasySMBMarketing has signed a partner agreement with Swiftpage, an on-demand and marketing automation supplier.

Press release and other info to follow.

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle | Comment »

Jan
27th
Tue
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Sign O’ The Times: Marketing In A Recession

(A followup to Jon Miller’s 14 June blog post.)

Michael G. Wachholz


Now that we are officially in a recession (at least in most states), it seems like more and more marketers are looking for tips and ideas about how to adjust their practices given the macro-economic conditions.

For the past two months, the number one post on my blog has been 7 Strategies for B2B Marketing during a Recession: The Definitive Guide.  Originally published in June, what’s really dramatic is how quickly it’s ramped up since September when the crisis really took hold. Take a look at the Google Analytics report:

Marketing in a recession

 

Put another way, that’s a 1,300% increase in searches, clicks, and page views on that topic in just seven weeks, and yet another way, each and every day more than 35 people are typing “marketing in a recession” into Google and clicking through to read that blog post.  (And, when they get there, they are really spending time reading it, spending almost four and half minutes on average on the page.)

What does all this mean? It means that now, more than ever, marketers need to:

  • Maximize conversion of their advertising dollars into prospects by optimizing their landing pages.
  • Stop wasting leads that aren’t yet sales ready and start using lead nurturing to build relationships so that when they are ready to buy, you’ll be positioned to win. In a recession, new prospects are less likely to be looking to purchase right away — which means they are less likely to want to talk to a sales rep. Lead nurturing is even more critical in a recession to ensure you convert the precious dollars you spend acquiring prospects into revenue.
  • Use lead scoring to identify the best leads and help the sales team prioritize where they spend their time
  • Prove the impact their marketing activities have on revenue and pipeline

Do you have any additional tips for marketing in a recession If so, please share!

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle

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7 Strategies for B2B Marketing during a Recession: The Definitive Guide

I thought this was a particularly good piece and there are several other pieces and websites noted that some could find helpful While Marketo is really focused on the larger side of the medium sized business on up to the Fortune 1000 business, the concepts described are solid and with some adjustment for execution, applicable to the smaller SMB business.

This piece was originally posted 14 June 08 and things have definitely become much worse since then.

Michael G. Wachholz


Should B2B marketers change their strategies during a recession? Does a recession always mean marketers have to work even harder to find ways to do more with less? Can a recession create opportunity for smart marketers to grow and thrive? These are some of the topics I recently explored on a panel at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.

Are we in a recession?

First off, let me explain I do not think we’re in a recession in the US — yet. A recession requires two quarters of negative growth in GDP, and Q4 last year saw 0.6% growth while preliminary numbers for Q1 this year were 0.9% growth (Bureau of Economic Statistics).

So we may not yet be in a recession, but times are growing increasingly difficult for consumers. The subprime mess is real, exorbitant energy and food costs are cutting into discretionary spending, and the weakening dollar is importing inflation to our economy. According to How I Spent My Stimulus, the $152 billion stimulus package is going primarily to reduce consumer debt or to pay for higher gas and food costs, i.e. it is not going to stimulate incremental spending.

What this means is that we are in the worst possible non-recession. Prior downturns avoided becoming a (global) recession because of the resilient American consumer. This time, it looks like we won’t have that saving grace — meaning things may still get worse before they get better.

What does this mean for B2B marketing and advertising?

Fewer consumers means less demand; less demand means that efforts to stimulate demand (i.e. marketing) are less effective overall. Put simply, when people buy less, advertisers spend less. According to research firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson, US advertising dropped 9% in the 2001 recession while Internet advertising fell a whopping 27%.  I should point out that this slowdown applies to business-to-business marketers as well because of second- and higher-order effects, i.e. as consumer spending drops, the businesses that sell to those consumers reduce their spending as well.

However, these overall numbers hide two important facts:

  • Branding and other forms of push marketing drop in a slowdown, while direct marketing tends to rise. When budgets are cut, the channels with the least ability to measure marketing ROI are cut especially hard as companies shift spending to more measurable channels. Investment bank Cowen and Company looked at the last six recessions since 1950 and found that spending on direct marketing actually grew during six recessions.
  • This time is different for online marketing. In the 2001 recession, online marketing was still unproven and got caught in the downward collapse of the Internet in general. Today, the trend to shift advertising dollars to measurable online channels is proven and won’t disappear anytime soon. So online marketing won’t crater like last time, but it also isn’t immune from a slowdown. In fact, eMarketer recently reduced its 2008 estimate for US online advertising to $25.8 billion. That is a 7% reduction from their prior estimate — showing the impact of the downturn — but it’s important to note that it is still 23% higher than 2007’s total. In other words, the recession may slow down the growth of online marketing, but it’s still growing at a significant pace.

What this means is that a recession will accelerate the decline of interruption-based mass advertising that simply shouts your message to customer. In its place we will see increased growth in measurable and relationship-based strategies such as search marketing, email marketing, lead nurturing, and online communities.

A downturn can also create opportunity for the companies that are more efficient at turning marketing investments into revenue, since there will be less competition overall. In a study of U.S. recessions, McGraw-Hill Research found that business-to-business firms that maintained or increased advertising expenditures during the 1981-1982 recession averaged significantly higher sales growth than those that eliminated or decreased advertising. In fact, by 1985 companies that were aggressive recession advertisers grew their revenue over 2.5X faster than those that reduced their advertising.

Seven strategies for B2B marketing during a slowdown

Given these macro economic trends, how should you allocate your marketing budget — and time? Here is my definitive guide to B2B marketing during a downturn:

1. Use lead management to maximize the value of each lead. In a recession, risk-adverse buyers take even longer than normal to research potential purchases. When you first identify a new prospect (regardless of whether they downloaded a whitepaper, stopped by your booth at a tradeshow, or signed up for a free trial) they are more likely than not still in the awareness or research stage and are not yet ready to engage with one of your sales reps. What this means is you need lead scoring to identify which leads are highly engaged, and lead nurturing to develop relationships with qualified prospects who are not yet ready to engage with sales. Without these capabilities, as many as 95% of qualified prospects who are not yet sales-ready never end up turning into a sales opportunity. These prospects are valuable corporate assets that you worked hard to acquire — so in a down economy you need to do everything possible to maximize value from them. Implementing even a simple automated lead nurturing program can yield a 4-fold improvement in the conversion of qualified prospects into sales opportunities over time. That’s a dramatic improvement marketing return on investment! Net-net: Companies that can do a better job of managing leads and developing early-stage prospects into sales ready leads will be in the best position to thrive in a downturn.

2. Focus on your house list. In a recession, you may have less money to spend on acquiring new customers. The solution is simple: spend more time marketing to (and building relationships with) the people you already know. Some activities that can help you get the most out of your existing relationships include lead nurturing campaigns, creating new content to offer to existing prospects, and cleaning and augmenting your marketing lead database with progressive profiling.

3. Build and optimize landing pages. When times are tough, it’s more important than ever to maximize the return on your advertising. Whether you are using Google AdWords, banners, sponsorships, or email campaigns, a dedicated landing page is the single most effective way to turn a click into a prospect. MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook shows that relevant landing page can easily double conversions versus sending clicks to the home page, and testing your pages can increase conversions by another 48% or more. Together, these tactics alone can result in 2.5X more leads for every dollar you spend, something that’s sure to look good in tough times. However, MarketingSherpa also reports that most companies are under-using this important technique: just 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the home page, not a special landing page, and of B2B companies that use landing pages, 62% have six or fewer total pages. A recession is perhaps the best time to focus on some of these basics.

4. Content for later in the buying cycle. When buying slows down, you need to focus more than ever on making sure you are finding the prospects who are actually ready to buy — or even better, make sure they are finding you. One great way to do this is to focus your offers on content that will appeal to someone who’s actually looking for a solution (as opposed to thought leadership and best practices content, which can appeal to prospects who may one day have a need but are not currently looking). Examples of this kind of content can include “Top 5 Questions to Ask a Potential Vendor” whitepapers; buyers guides and checklists; analyst evaluations; and so on.

5. Appeal to the nervous buyer. A recession can mean more risk-adverse buyers, which may lead to a tendency to go with “safe” solutions. This is fine for large established companies, but it means younger companies need to do more than ever to reassure and build trust. Tactically, this means including customer references, reviews, expert opinions, awards, and other validation as part of your marketing. Strategically, a recession means fewer risk takers and visionaries, so take a lesson from Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm and use methods that appeal to mainstream pragmatists: industry-specific marketing tactics and solutions; vertical customer references; relevant partnerships and alliances; and whole product marketing.

6. Align sales and marketing. Today’s prospects start their buying process by interacting with marketing and online channels long before they ever speak with a sales representative. This means companies must integrate marketing and sales efforts to create a single revenue pipeline. The old days of functional silos and poor communication between the two departments must end. A tougher selling environment, driven by a recession, means this is more true than ever.

7. Don’t be a cost center. Most executives today think that Sales delivers revenue and Marketing is a cost center. Marketers are partly to blame for part of this mindset, since when we use metrics such as “cost per lead” we frame the discussion in terms of costs, not in terms of impact on revenue. More subtly, using language like “marketing spending” and “marketing budget” instead of “marketing investment" perpetuates these beliefs. In a recession, marketing needs more than ever to change these perceptions. This means that marketing investments must be justified with a rigorous business case and should be amortized over the entire "useful life" of the investment. And it means marketing must increase marketing accountability by demonstrating the impact of each marketing activity on pipeline and revenue. Of course, this is easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Even small steps, like reports that show the total opportunity value for each lead source or campaign, can make a big impact.

Conclusion

Even if we aren’t in a recession, we are in for some tough economic times — and an economic slowdown means a tendency to scale back marketing spending. However, research shows that a downturn creates opportunity to accelerate growth faster than your competitors. This means it may be the best time to step up your marketing — at least in quality if not quantity. The marketers that focus on getting the most out of every dollar spent and on demonstrating marketing’s impact on revenue and pipeline will be well positioned to come out of the slump looking like a star.

from Jon Miller @ “Marketo”

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle

permalink

7 Strategies for B2B Marketing during a Recession: The Definitive Guide

I thought this was a particularly good piece and there are several other pieces and websites noted that some could find helpful While Marketo is really focused on the larger side of the medium sized business on up to the Fortune 1000 business, the concepts described are solid and with some adjustment for execution, applicable to the smaller SMB business.

This piece was originally posted 14 June 08 and things have definitely become much worse since then.

Michael G. Wachholz


Should B2B marketers change their strategies during a recession? Does a recession always mean marketers have to work even harder to find ways to do more with less? Can a recession create opportunity for smart marketers to grow and thrive? These are some of the topics I recently explored on a panel at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.

Are we in a recession?

First off, let me explain I do not think we’re in a recession in the US — yet. A recession requires two quarters of negative growth in GDP, and Q4 last year saw 0.6% growth while preliminary numbers for Q1 this year were 0.9% growth (Bureau of Economic Statistics).

So we may not yet be in a recession, but times are growing increasingly difficult for consumers. The subprime mess is real, exorbitant energy and food costs are cutting into discretionary spending, and the weakening dollar is importing inflation to our economy. According to How I Spent My Stimulus, the $152 billion stimulus package is going primarily to reduce consumer debt or to pay for higher gas and food costs, i.e. it is not going to stimulate incremental spending.

What this means is that we are in the worst possible non-recession. Prior downturns avoided becoming a (global) recession because of the resilient American consumer. This time, it looks like we won’t have that saving grace — meaning things may still get worse before they get better.

What does this mean for B2B marketing and advertising?

Fewer consumers means less demand; less demand means that efforts to stimulate demand (i.e. marketing) are less effective overall. Put simply, when people buy less, advertisers spend less. According to research firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson, US advertising dropped 9% in the 2001 recession while Internet advertising fell a whopping 27%.  I should point out that this slowdown applies to business-to-business marketers as well because of second- and higher-order effects, i.e. as consumer spending drops, the businesses that sell to those consumers reduce their spending as well.

However, these overall numbers hide two important facts:

  • Branding and other forms of push marketing drop in a slowdown, while direct marketing tends to rise. When budgets are cut, the channels with the least ability to measure marketing ROI are cut especially hard as companies shift spending to more measurable channels. Investment bank Cowen and Company looked at the last six recessions since 1950 and found that spending on direct marketing actually grew during six recessions.
  • This time is different for online marketing. In the 2001 recession, online marketing was still unproven and got caught in the downward collapse of the Internet in general. Today, the trend to shift advertising dollars to measurable online channels is proven and won’t disappear anytime soon. So online marketing won’t crater like last time, but it also isn’t immune from a slowdown. In fact, eMarketer recently reduced its 2008 estimate for US online advertising to $25.8 billion. That is a 7% reduction from their prior estimate — showing the impact of the downturn — but it’s important to note that it is still 23% higher than 2007’s total. In other words, the recession may slow down the growth of online marketing, but it’s still growing at a significant pace.

What this means is that a recession will accelerate the decline of interruption-based mass advertising that simply shouts your message to customer. In its place we will see increased growth in measurable and relationship-based strategies such as search marketing, email marketing, lead nurturing, and online communities.

A downturn can also create opportunity for the companies that are more efficient at turning marketing investments into revenue, since there will be less competition overall. In a study of U.S. recessions, McGraw-Hill Research found that business-to-business firms that maintained or increased advertising expenditures during the 1981-1982 recession averaged significantly higher sales growth than those that eliminated or decreased advertising. In fact, by 1985 companies that were aggressive recession advertisers grew their revenue over 2.5X faster than those that reduced their advertising.

Seven strategies for B2B marketing during a slowdown

Given these macro economic trends, how should you allocate your marketing budget — and time? Here is my definitive guide to B2B marketing during a downturn:

1. Use lead management to maximize the value of each lead. In a recession, risk-adverse buyers take even longer than normal to research potential purchases. When you first identify a new prospect (regardless of whether they downloaded a whitepaper, stopped by your booth at a tradeshow, or signed up for a free trial) they are more likely than not still in the awareness or research stage and are not yet ready to engage with one of your sales reps. What this means is you need lead scoring to identify which leads are highly engaged, and lead nurturing to develop relationships with qualified prospects who are not yet ready to engage with sales. Without these capabilities, as many as 95% of qualified prospects who are not yet sales-ready never end up turning into a sales opportunity. These prospects are valuable corporate assets that you worked hard to acquire — so in a down economy you need to do everything possible to maximize value from them. Implementing even a simple automated lead nurturing program can yield a 4-fold improvement in the conversion of qualified prospects into sales opportunities over time. That’s a dramatic improvement marketing return on investment! Net-net: Companies that can do a better job of managing leads and developing early-stage prospects into sales ready leads will be in the best position to thrive in a downturn.

2. Focus on your house list. In a recession, you may have less money to spend on acquiring new customers. The solution is simple: spend more time marketing to (and building relationships with) the people you already know. Some activities that can help you get the most out of your existing relationships include lead nurturing campaigns, creating new content to offer to existing prospects, and cleaning and augmenting your marketing lead database with progressive profiling.

3. Build and optimize landing pages. When times are tough, it’s more important than ever to maximize the return on your advertising. Whether you are using Google AdWords, banners, sponsorships, or email campaigns, a dedicated landing page is the single most effective way to turn a click into a prospect. MarketingSherpa’s Landing Page Handbook shows that relevant landing page can easily double conversions versus sending clicks to the home page, and testing your pages can increase conversions by another 48% or more. Together, these tactics alone can result in 2.5X more leads for every dollar you spend, something that’s sure to look good in tough times. However, MarketingSherpa also reports that most companies are under-using this important technique: just 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to the home page, not a special landing page, and of B2B companies that use landing pages, 62% have six or fewer total pages. A recession is perhaps the best time to focus on some of these basics.

4. Content for later in the buying cycle. When buying slows down, you need to focus more than ever on making sure you are finding the prospects who are actually ready to buy — or even better, make sure they are finding you. One great way to do this is to focus your offers on content that will appeal to someone who’s actually looking for a solution (as opposed to thought leadership and best practices content, which can appeal to prospects who may one day have a need but are not currently looking). Examples of this kind of content can include “Top 5 Questions to Ask a Potential Vendor” whitepapers; buyers guides and checklists; analyst evaluations; and so on.

5. Appeal to the nervous buyer. A recession can mean more risk-adverse buyers, which may lead to a tendency to go with “safe” solutions. This is fine for large established companies, but it means younger companies need to do more than ever to reassure and build trust. Tactically, this means including customer references, reviews, expert opinions, awards, and other validation as part of your marketing. Strategically, a recession means fewer risk takers and visionaries, so take a lesson from Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm and use methods that appeal to mainstream pragmatists: industry-specific marketing tactics and solutions; vertical customer references; relevant partnerships and alliances; and whole product marketing.

6. Align sales and marketing. Today’s prospects start their buying process by interacting with marketing and online channels long before they ever speak with a sales representative. This means companies must integrate marketing and sales efforts to create a single revenue pipeline. The old days of functional silos and poor communication between the two departments must end. A tougher selling environment, driven by a recession, means this is more true than ever.

7. Don’t be a cost center. Most executives today think that Sales delivers revenue and Marketing is a cost center. Marketers are partly to blame for part of this mindset, since when we use metrics such as “cost per lead” we frame the discussion in terms of costs, not in terms of impact on revenue. More subtly, using language like “marketing spending” and “marketing budget” instead of “marketing investment" perpetuates these beliefs. In a recession, marketing needs more than ever to change these perceptions. This means that marketing investments must be justified with a rigorous business case and should be amortized over the entire "useful life" of the investment. And it means marketing must increase marketing accountability by demonstrating the impact of each marketing activity on pipeline and revenue. Of course, this is easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Even small steps, like reports that show the total opportunity value for each lead source or campaign, can make a big impact.

Conclusion

Even if we aren’t in a recession, we are in for some tough economic times — and an economic slowdown means a tendency to scale back marketing spending. However, research shows that a downturn creates opportunity to accelerate growth faster than your competitors. This means it may be the best time to step up your marketing — at least in quality if not quantity. The marketers that focus on getting the most out of every dollar spent and on demonstrating marketing’s impact on revenue and pipeline will be well positioned to come out of the slump looking like a star.

from Jon Miller @ “Marketo”

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle

Jan
23rd
Fri
permalink

Using Blogs & Twitter to Build Relationships

Hey All!

I get lots of questions all the time regarding blogging as a marketing tool and twitter as in, “What the hell is it for?” Yes, you should have a blog. There is no excuse for not having one. The technology has risen to a point where blogging can be as easy as sending an email (which is exactly the way this post was created.) One in particular, www.posterous.com, will cross post your entry to Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, Wordpress, Tumblr and more. For example check out the post you are reading right now at Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, Wordpress, and Tumblr. You ‘ll see it has been duplicated on all of these other blogs. Go to www.posterous.com right now (well after you’ve finished reading this anyway) and create an account. The process is simple and costs nothing other than your time.

  1. Create an account at each. I recommend using your personal name as I did or use your company name. Either way, whichever you use, be consistent and use the same username and email for all of them. This helps with continuity and with the Google bots. Typically each new post is saved as an individual page, so post 5 entries and you have now created 5 pages for Google to crawl. And with the cross posting you have actually created 20 posts/new pages at the minimum. BTW, don’t forget to write your username and password for each account.
  2. Go back to your posterous account and set up all the other site and accounts.
  3. Create your first post on posterous and then go check the other accounts to be certain everything is working correctly.

With posterous you can also text message a post. Let’s say you’re at a client site and something happens that could affect many others. Assuming you can describe it in 160 characters (the character limit for txt messaging) you can txt to posterous and bing, bang, boom; your alert is posted to posterous and all the other sites as well.

I know, now you’re asking, “Michael, this all well and good but how is it supposed to help me?” These are simply more touch points for customers and prospects. Building and adding value to a relationship depends on the person (business) seeing concrete efforts that they are in your thoughts far more than at time to invoice. Additionally this is fodder for PR activities and material for your newsletter. Send notice of your blog and the opportunity for all to get immediate notices of viruses, malware attacks, phishing efforts to look out for, etc. A service of this type is a good story for a community newspaper and that could also open a door for conversation regarding partnering with them in some manner.

And yes, I know you’re where on God’s green planet you’re going to find content or just come with ideas on which to blog. That’s really much easier than you would think. There are literally millions of blogs, newsletters and other sources of information about literally anything out there. For example, possible you read a particular blog or newsletter on a regular basis. If you’re reading it, it must have info you find interesting and relevant. Use that as a source. There’s nothing wrong with reading an article and then rewriting it in your words. Or maybe you have a slightly different insight or perspective on the topic. And you don’t have write the equivalent of “War & Peace.” In fact, please don’t. Keep your thoughts brief, concise and relevant. That’s all you really need to do. The bottom-line here is you can make this as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. So make it easy and get started.…. TODAY!

 

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle

Jan
21st
Wed
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Denver PR firm closing its doors

The story below is sad. Not only to see a Denver PR institution drop of the map but also thinking about employees now without jobs. Terrible…..

But the moral of this story is about touch points, keeping your face in front of prospects and sales cycles. A PR firm will can have a fairly long sales cycle, therefore they need to keep a large sales funnel filled at all times. Part of that involves reaching out with email and direct mail periodically to maintain at least a minimal relationship with the prospect. I’ve had a few contacts with Schenkein over the past two years but I have never once received an email or a direct mail piece telling me about the company, what new projects they may have been working or even a Holiday Greetings.

Are you doing the same with thing with your database of prospects? When was the last time you touched them in some manner? When was the last email, direct mail or even a simple phone call (even to leave a voicemail) sent/made? There are many, MANY solutions out there to help you with this and even automate it for you. There is no excuse to not have a full funnel of prospects at all times.

Of course if you need any help with setting up this process, I am always here to help.

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(from the Denver Post)

Schenkein Inc., a 35-year-old Denver public-relations firm, is closing.

The economic recession led owner Christin Crampton Day to make the decision to close at the end of the month. She made the announcement Tuesday.

"It’s a sad day for us here at Schenkein," she said. "It was a difficult decision. I looked at our contracts going into 2009 and the current state of the economy and felt like it was the right thing to do."

Schenkein has 10 employees and about 10 clients that Crampton Day notified this week. The company laid off six people in June.

Schenkein lost two large clients early in 2008 and was working to fill the void when the economy tanked. Clients cut back on spending or canceled contracts, making it impossible to fill the gap, Crampton Day said.

"We started out 2008 challenged, and the timing being what it was with the economy, it was just challenging to turn things around," she said.

At the height of business Schenkein had about 30 employees and annual billings between $2.8 million and $3.2 million and was considered one of the top three firms in the area. Its clients have included CH2M Hill, United Airlines, Coors Brewing, Denver Public Schools, Cigna HealthCare, March of Dimes and Qwest.

Often when a company is trying to save money, marketing, advertising and public relations are the first to go, said Gina Seamans, president of the Colorado Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Earlier this month, the 20-year-old Bonham Group, a local sports-marketing company, laid off 14 people and closed. In August, 26-year-old McClain Finlon Advertising laid off 30 people and became a consulting firm.

Another challenge for PR professionals is social media that clients sometimes try on their own, said Andrew Hudson, founder of andrewhudsonsjobslist.com, a Denver job list.

Hudson cited the recent presidential campaign cycle with its use of YouTube and e-mail.

"A lot of companies are leapfrogging public relations and going to the public in direct ways — through social media, e-mail, websites and blogging," he said.

Hudson worked with Schenkein while at Frontier Airlines several years ago.

"It’s really sad. They have a great history and a ton of talent," Hudson said. "I think you’re seeing a lot of companies trying to create efficiencies, and unfortunately you are seeing a lot of public-relations and marketing agencies getting squeezed by their clients."

Elizabeth Aguilera: 303-954-1372 or eaguilera@denverpost.com

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales & Increase Profits Without Hassle

Jan
18th
Sun
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Welcome To EasySMBMarketing.com!!!

Well we’re into the New Year pretty solidly and the 09 webinar calendar is almost done. Our first webinar, “The 10 Step Marketing Secret To Selling More Products, Services and Increasing Profits In These Recession Fraught Times,” is scheduled for Tuesday, 27 January, (a week from this Tuesday) at 1:00 PM MST.

This webinar is going to show you exactly what you need to do to start seeing new and high margin customers come flooding through your front door. This is a great way to start the year and get things going in a major way. And the first 27 to register receive a bonus gift worth $97! You don’t want to miss it! Read more about it here. Or register for it here.

I love the tough times. I know that sounds a little crazy but let me explain why; In tough times one of the first things businesses do is pull back on their marketing efforts. This is exactly the WRONG thing to do. Because so many are pulling back and spending less, those that maintained their marketing budget get so much more bang for the buck… It’s a great time to be marketing your products or services.

I just posted up several new marketing articles I think may help some folks. One particularly good one is “10 Tips For Successful Cold Calling” Or you can check out all the helpful marketing articles at the website, www.easysmbmarketing.com.  Just click on the “Articles” button.

In either case these articles are free. You don’t have to log in or buy anything to get it…just my way of helping my fellow business owners recession-proof their business.

If you like, please post up comments on it as well as any results you generate from using it!

Dedicated to your success,

Michael

EasySMBMarketing.com

http://www.easysmbmarketing.com

875 S Colorado Blvd.
Suite #101-714
Denver, CO 80246

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales * Increase Profits Without Hassle

Jan
17th
Sat
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An Action Step Is Worth A Thousand Words

By Michael G. Wachholz, Author & Founder of EasySMBMarketing.com

We self-employed professionals spend a great deal of our marketing effort on searching for the right words. We read books, take classes, and hire consultants to help us write copy for our marketing materials. Writing sales letters, drafting brochures, and composing websites consumes hours or days of precious marketing time. But it appears that many professionals have mistaken all this wordsmithing for productive action.

Don’t get me wrong; the words we use to market ourselves are important and deserve our attention. But crafting the message and delivering it are not at all the same thing. Here are some situations I’ve encountered with clients that illustrate this all-too-common marketing blunder.

"I spent $3000 on a brochure and I haven’t gotten a single client from it."

If all we had to do in order to succeed at marketing ourselves was spend money, I suspect many more of us would have thriving businesses. But when selling your own professional services, it rarely works that way. A brochure can be a useful device for getting a prospect’s attention or providing information about our services. Its true function, though, is to open the door to more conversation, not to close a sale.

Brochures don’t get clients all by themselves. Before you begin work on one, you should know exactly how you will use it. Will you send it by direct mail? Distribute it through strategic partnerships? Give it to people who inquire about your services? Include it in proposals you write? What are the specific action steps you have in mind that require having a brochure? The best marketing tools in the world are worthless without a plan for how to use them.

"I can’t follow up on these leads because I don’t have a good sales letter."

The quest for the perfect sales letter seems to prevent far too many of us from reaching out to prospective clients. It appears that many professionals are convinced that there IS such a thing as the perfect sales letter — you know, the one that results in your phone ringing off the hook with eager clients as soon as they receive it?

Searching for this holy grail of marketing, they delay and delay until all their leads grow stale. Instead of focusing so much on the content of your sales letters, put your emphasis on repeat contacts using multiple channels over time. Place a call, then send a note, call again, then send an e-mail. You could make contact with a prospect four times over a two-week span in less time than it takes you to write and rewrite one “perfect” letter.

A series of action steps like this will have much more likelihood of resulting in a live conversation than almost any letter you could write.

"I can’t start marketing; my website isn’t done yet."

The idea of marketing one’s business on the web didn’t even exist before the mid-90’s. And somehow, we managed to market ourselves without it. Now it seems that having a website up has become a prerequisite for getting clients. Actually, the universe really hasn’t changed that much.

For the vast majority of professional service providers, their first few clients come as a result of pre-existing personal connections. These clients are people they already know, or the friends and colleagues of people they know. There’s no need for a web presence to land clients like these. In fact, you’ll compose a much better website after you have had the opportunity to have a few real sales conversations, so you’ll know more about what works when you speak to potential clients. If prospects need more information about you, put it on paper or send an e-mail. Just because you CAN share information about your business on the web doesn’t mean you have to.

Brochures, sales letters, and websites are all excellent and effective marketing tools. Writing powerful and informative marketing copy is a useful skill to learn or hire out to a professional. Just don’t let your marketing get put on hold because you haven’t yet found the perfect words to use. In marketing your services, actions really do speak louder than words.

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales * Increase Profits Without Hassle

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Dare To Be Different!

By Michael G. Wachholz, Author & Founder of EasySMBMarketing.com

Do you want to attract the attention of more potential clients and customer? Then it’s time to dare to be different. Over the last five years our marketing departments have become complacent. Rather than come up with new concepts, ideas, and marketing plans way to often we only revisit someone else’s idea, change a few things and call it our own.

Do you want to create buzz about your products and services? Would you like people to take a look at what it is that you have to offer over your competitor? If you answered yes to either of these questions then this year I dare you to be different.

Develop new ideas, actually spend time brainstorming to firm up your own company’s marketing message. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Quit comparing your creative ideas with others.

It’s time we learn that adopting the tactics and strategies of another company is just simply not enough. It’s still important to do your research regarding your competitors. However, it’s more important to listen to the needs of prospects and current clients. Truth be known most marketing companies have stopped listening. When did it become ok to quit paying attention to our markets? We want a quick fix, a fast campaign, an instantaneous idea. We’ve stopped putting in the time necessary to be effective.

Daring to be different doesn’t have to be difficult, often enough it’s as simple as getting back to the basics. You can do it in four easy steps. To get started consider the following:

  • Define your products and/or services.
  • Define the needs that these products or services fulfill.
  • Survey and listen to your current clients and customers and figure out what it is that they like or don’t like about your product. ask them how you can make them better. Ask them how they found out about you and what it was that brought them your way.
  • Develop a marketing plan for the next 6 months using the three steps above.

I’ve seen way too many marketing professionals burn out and stray away from the basics. When this happens it just becomes “easier” to begin to do what everyone else is doing. Realize that I said easier not more effective. I’ve also seen marketing professionals turn their careers and their marketing departments around by adopting the basic principles that they abandoned. I challenge you to revisit your marketing campaigns, apply the basic principles, and dare to be different. I think you’ll be surprised at the difference that it will make in the effectiveness and the excitement of your own marketing campaigns.

Posted via web from Michael Wachholz’ “EasySMBMarketing.com” - Easy Marketing Strategies & Tactics To Build Sales * Increase Profits Without Hassle