6 Reasons Your Company Needs Personality in 2017

Don’t blend in; it’s certain death by camouflage. If there’s ever been a time to be a round peg in a square hole, it’s now.

Many, maybe even most products or services within the same category aren’t particularly unique or memorable, they might do a very good job, but then all your competition might do exactly the same job. If you deliver a service just as well as the next guy or you produce a product that meets the customer’s expectation perfectly every time, but so do your competitors, then how do you stand out?  You’re vanilla in a sea of vanilla.

… And all this is assuming your prospects can find you in over eight hundred million websites. That’s another whole discussion. But lets assume for now that you are being held up and compared to 2 other companies that produce (for example) a cola product. You’re RC Cola (remember them?) going up against Coke and Pepsi. They essentially all taste the same (with all due respect to cola connoisseurs) but advertising budget wise, well I’m sure you can guess who comes in at #3. So, what do you do?

Don’t Hide

Come out from behind the corporate curtain; build trust through transparency. Have your message come from one person in your company that is real, has a name and a face to go with it.  If he or she is funny, let that come across in blogs or newsletters. If they’re philosophical or analytical let it show, that too may have a huge audience. Put up their picture, tell your company story through them.  You’ve just become real to your clients; someone who is just like them.  Create some company guidelines and then let employees blog about theirwork place. West Jet features employees who are owners in the company through the stock-sharing program. What better way to toot your horn. 

Be a little bit Controversial

I remember as a young teenager asking girls if they’d like to Flick My Bick: I didn’t really even know what that meant but I suspected it carried a sexual connotation.  The Media had made it somehow okay to say it. I don’t know what I would have done if anybody had ever taken me up on the offer but I had a Bick lighter in my pocket just in case things got awkward

 

Ashley Madison’s user base got hacked and was in the news for weeks and guess what? Their’ customer base got even bigger. If you hadn’t heard of them before, you knew who and what they were now.           

Find the Humor

Not every company has a sense of humor and maybe your product or service doesn’t lend itself to being funny (funeral homes would have a tough time with this one) but the vast majority of businesses could lighten things up a little.  All cultures enjoy humor but not everyone’s funny bone is located in their elbow. Who would have thought a candy bar commercial or a cereal campaign could have us laughing at it or singing along to it for comedy’s sake.

Remember these?

Snickers: You’re not yourself without a Snickers.

The California Raisin’s“I Heard it Through The Grapevine” Kellogg’s Raisin Brand

Be Vulnerable

If you’re never going to be as big as the top dog in your field, it’s okay to admit that and even embrace it while you competing on some other platform. It worked for the Avis rent a car company in the 60’s. Remember the, “We try Harder Because We’re #2”, campaign? There was something very likeable and relatable in the vulnerability they showed in trying very hard to be #1 but still coming in 2nd.  I’m not even sure now who was #1 , but I remember #2.

Whether people think you’re good or bad, in first place or second place they are thinking about you

Look for the Emotion

Ever noticed the variety of ad campaigns and company personas centered around love and commitment?  To this day I want to drink Budweiser beer because it might bring me closer to that little lost puppy and his friend the Clydesdale, and I’m not even a beer drinker.

Be Unique

 Step back and look at your company through someone else’s eyes. How might a farmer, or librarian or dancers perceive your company? You can’t be all things to all people but you can look for ways of standing out from the crowd when the opportunity arises.

“Tilly Endurables” took the opportunity to turn a basically unexciting, albeit well made, hat product into a story that lives with them till this very day. You may recall the story of the elephant trainer at a Toronto area zoo that had his Tilly hat snatched off his head and eaten by one of the elephants only to find it excreted three days later in a pile of um, elephant memorabilia. He washed it and continued to wear it making Tilly not only endurable but unforgettable ever since. Truly a unique story.

 

 

These Mindsets May Be Crippling Your Chances of Doing Business

The Little or No Business Crowd

Their Entrepreneur Mindset: They love to keep busy picking colors and font sizes for their website, fussing over the perfect tagline and experimenting with the newest homepage animations. They are like the amateur car mechanic that constantly tinkers with the engine, adjust the brake pads and shines the car, but! ... never leaves the garage to test drive it. 
As long as they are actively engaged in the  “get ready to do business “ mode, without actually ever going after it, then they believe they’re in business. They…. are the legendary, but reclusive, “Wantrepreneur”. They’ll friend you, text you, poke you, tweet you, link you and generally engage in every type of social media with you, but!,  they rarely ask for your business because,  they’re just not quite ready yet.  

It’s easy to see how the beginner entrepreneur falls into this category of the Marketing Overwhelmed. Somewhere between list building, branding, social media, website creation, market positioning, email campaigns, and blogging….the infamous, “analysis by paralysis”, sets in. You just don’t know what to do next, so a little bit of everything becomes your plan.  
Is That You?...... or  Maybe this is you.
Every shiny object that comes along appears to be the next best thing and you just have to have it. It’s debilitating and counterproductive, but it doesn’t have to be your future. 

Not Enough Time
How well do you use your time? Between accounting, billing, web design, customer interaction, emails and a lot of other busy work, you’ve just run out of time. The solution? Just don’t do all that stuff. Focus on things you do well and outsource some of the rest 

Stealth Marketing Mode
The Wantreprenuer has a close friend and he/ she is the Stealth Marketer, they’re busy too, but in a different way. They put all their efforts into dreaming up programs and online courses. They’ve taken the latest webinar on passive income websites, written eBooks and special reports.  But, you know what they’re not doing? …Getting out from behind their desk and selling their services & products to their prospects. 
Ask yourself this, would you buy a product from somebody hiding behind his or her computer, somebody that couldn’t look you in the eye and tell you why they deserve your business? Likely not, they haven’t earned your trust and in this day of computer scams and ninja rip-off artists, trust is harder to get than ever. 

Don’t Understand Your Zone of Excellence
We’re all good at something and we’re all known for something we’re good at. 
Ask yourself these questions and you’ll go along way to identifying your niche:
 
What gets you excited? What would you do even if no one paid you to do it? What makes time just fly by and you can’t wait to get back to it again tomorrow?
What are you known as an expert on when you gather together with your friends?

Once you’ve identified the answers to these questions, you have discovered your  “Zone of Excellence”.
Now you can start to think about a marketing plan that is consistent with your ZOE.
……………….Stay Tuned

How to Attract Clients Using the ABC’s Method

A B C
It’s easy as 1 2 3
As simple as do re me
A B C, 1 2 3
Baby, you and me girl

 

With apologies to Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, client attraction has a formula; it’s time tested, effective and as easy as
A B C

ATTRACTION

•    Where do your target prospects hang out? 
•    Are they easily found? 
•    Can you access them? 
•    What would be the appropriate attraction strategy once you know these answers?

***Hint: your business stage determines the answer to that last question***

Consider the dollar value of what you are selling: small dollar value = low touch.  High dollar value equals high touch and that may involve a presentation, written proposal etc. 
There are always about 3% of your target audience who are ready to purchase what you have to offer right away. 


BOND

Ever been on a date? Well of course you have, but do you remember how it started?
Someone walks into a bar, spots you across a crowded dance floor and so begins the ritual. They may be ready to “seal the deal” with you immediately or maybe they want to be romanced for weeks, months or years. You’re both thinking about the same things: do they like me, know me, trust me?
Don’t rush into this relationship unless you’re both ready. 
Business is much the same way, you have a lot of competitors and your prospects are
bombarded by pitches from them every day. What will make you different?

Solution: Listen 1st (60%) Explain 2nd  (10%) Close 3rd (30%)
                                 
CHOOSE
The key to closing is to offer your clients some type of choice so that you don’t have to close. Wherever there is choice the client will close themselves.
After you have outlined your offerings ask: 
•    If you were to do this with me, which of these options would suit you best? 
•    Great, if you decide to move forward, when would you like to start? 
•    “Perfect” (try and get some dates)
•    “Okay, that works well. So, is this something you want to move forward with?” 
•    Excellant, you will get some great results. I will send (give) you an information package right away. Let’s plan on meeting on (insert date)
•    “How would you like to pay for that?”     

When the time is right, it wil be the right time. (Chineese proverb)

Create More Buzz Around Your Behive

It’s hard enough to get users for your product or services when they don’t know much about you, or you’re buried deep in the bowels of the Internet, but what about a new product launch? That’s especially difficult because you’re not on the store shelves yet or your website hasn’t been updated to reflect future products and you’re just months away from delivery.  Organic searches depend heavily on SEO to rise in the rankings and social media may not be your strong suit.  So, are there other ways to increase awareness of your new products ? Well the answer of course, is of course. Amongst the dozens of tried and true methods for gaining a following, 3 standout out as highly effective and intriguing. 

In no particular order they are:

1.    Let your followers in on the big secret

Use your low hanging fruit. Leverage your existing customers, assuming you have other products or services that they have bought and are happy users of. People generally love to think they have knowledge that others don’t yet have or some inside edge that only they enjoy. That certainly applies to your new innovative products. It can be as simple as an “ask”.  Provide them with just enough new product features and benefits to intrigue them and then ask them to share it. Spread the word to all their friends through whatever means they have available to them. This could be through email, people they meet with, Facebook and of course all the other social media channels.  These preferred clients also become great opportunities to test market your new technology with a soft launch or provide earlier access to your product.  This may result in some great testimonials right out of the gate. 

Ask them to be part of an advisory group and get their user feedback. That feedback is pure gold and may provide some important pre launch insights and embarrassing product glitches.

Find Industry Bloggers: 5 should do it initially. You may already know who these influencers are but if not just try Googling for them, another source is directories of bloggers by industry. Bloggeries.com. Of course you may have to provide some free product to get their user experience but that will be well worth the investment, especially if they have a large following. Blogging can additionally provide direct links to your site and help with SEO to bring you up easier in organic web searches. Your own company blog is also a great source for growing a following, just be sure to use it responsibly and provide rich useful content.

2.    Have an Elevator Pitch and Use it Constantly

Of course everyone knows what they do and who they do it for but can you articulate that in 30 seconds or less. That elevator ride might only be two floors, so have a 10 second version also.  If you haven’t thought this out, this will help.
Answer these 4 questions. 
Who am I?
Who am I targeting for my product?
What problem do I solve for them?
How do I solve that problem and what are my qualifications to do so?
Practice this so it comes off naturally.
It may seem so obvious to you what you do but its surprising how many people can’t succinctly state what they do and what their value proposition is. People have short attention spans both online and in person, you need them to know why your special and why you’re you better then you’re competition.  You also need to include your call to action, what do you want them to do next.
You never know when that opportunity to do a 30 second add about yourself may occur, so be ready, rehearse and let your enthusiasm show through. Have a 10 second version also for shorter elevator rides. Everyone in your company should have a tailored pitch that is personal friendly and client facing. Be transparent and you will become contagious; people will want to share you.  

3.    Make The Media Your Friend

Adults and teens will spend nearly five months (3,518 hours) next year watching television, surfing the Internet, reading daily newspapers and listening to personal music devices, according to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract of the United States, released today. Media is all around us and everyone else.

Members of the media often appreciate someone who makes their job easier.  Get accurate information to them in a timely manner and establish a relationship that will serve you in the future.

 

Branding for the Self Help Industry

I had a Jetson’s lunch box as a kid, I also had their cereal bowl and placemat. Do you remember them?.... maybe not, you might have been more a part of the Ninja Turtles era or possibly Barney and Friends, but for me it was all about George Jetson, his wife Jane, their son Elroy and of course their totally gorgeous teenage space daughter, Judy. I had a thing for Judy, but that’s another story, and besides my psychotherapist said I wasn’t the first kid to have the “hots” for a cartoon character. (He would have been more convincing if he hadn’t been giggling, but I digress). 

So, what’s in a brand anyway?  Is it just plastering your company name on everything or is there more to it than that? Well the answer of course is, of course. 
Branding is now much more about how your product, service or company is perceived and talked about by “the people” than it is about what you say, how much money you spend or many products you can get your pictures on.

Are the Kardashians a brand? You better believe it. The queen of the “selfie”, we won’t name her but you know who I mean, started out as part of a family of oddball characters, which over the years has become even odder as they went along. I don’t even know where to begin with this family, but the most famous of the clan found her own niche in society because many females identified with her most prominent feature, I’ll give you a hint, it’s behind her. It made an appearance in just about every picture taken and likely has it’s own Facebook page. But it did pioneer new territory for females who wanted to be seen as something other than the magazine cover waif- thin stereotypes.  So, how did the phenomenon known as the Kardashians happen? 

The K family followed some simple rules (intentionally or not) to become one of the biggest brands in North America. It starts with what others are saying about you and that is most often occurring now through social media.  If the bloggers, tweeters, facebookers and snapchatters are calling you this then your efforts to appear to be that means changing the public perception of you by influencing this and that. The Kardashian’s embraced the technology and in fact totally exploited it.  
The language you use, the specific market you target, the humanitarian causes you support, the website your customer sees, the taglines you use, how your own employees talk about you, the pictures you post and of course the quality of the product or service you provide are all part of a complicated mix that requires industry professionals to navigate. …. And that’s just the beginning to building your brand.

3 Ways to Make Sure Your Website Helps You Sell

Few things are more important than your website for generating interest and sales. Many websites look pretty but are nothing more than an online brochure.  These may be designed by well meaning CEO’s or the CEO’s teenage kid who has studied some online content (probably You Tube). This might work for a Ma and Pa type of setup if you are a service based small local business and only require a phone number listed on your website. But chances are you want and need something that performs much better than that. So, with that last point in mind, let’s look at what makes a website “sing” with authority and functionality.

Think About the Client: Think about how your client may find you on the Internet. Does your site contain the keywords they might search with? If you’re not sure go to Google and use their keyword search tool to see how popular the terms are that might bring someone to your website. Next you want to weave those keywords into all your website content including headlines and subheads as well as behind the scenes content like page titles, meta tags and page descriptions. All this will make it easier for search engines to find you.

Remember your prospect has a “problem” or a “pain” and are looking for a solution, make sure your site gets your solution across to them very quickly, their interest is fleeting. You might not be able to squeeze everything you or your product can do for them on your website but make sure it’s enough to entice them to go to the next step and contact you.

It goes without saying (or maybe it doesn’t), you’ve only got so much time before your prospect wanders off to the next website, so make sure you articulate your USP quickly ( what makes you , your product or service different and better than all the rest).

Keep It Clear and Concise: Each sentence, paragraph and webpage should lead logically to the next. Always remember it’s not about you, it’s about solving your visitors problems.

Make sure you make a clear promise in a persuasive way followed by proof and credibility builders. 

And… always remember, your website visitor wants quick answers to their questions. These are some of the questions going through their heads.

Where am I? Who are you? What do you offer? How does it help me? How do I navigate this site? Where do I go next? How do I make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, etc.?

Call to Action

Each page of your website has a purpose and that is to lead the prospect into doing something. It might be to sign up for a newsletter or request a special report, or even just to ask a question on your contact page, but have them do something that moves them towards a sale . That something could also be to just start establishing their “trust” with you. The average person visits a website 4-5 times before making a purchase so make sure you’ve started to build the bridges towards trust so they keep coming back. Eventually when they’re ready to make a purchase you come to mind first.  

Ask yourself the right questions, get the right answers

Ask yourself better questions, get better answers