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Increase Your Chances of Success by 5 Times – or – Screw New Year’s

Increase Your Chances of Success by 5 Times – or – Screw New Year’s

Word count: 1,107
Read Time: 6-8 mins (but well worth the read)

“A good plan violently executed now is better
than a perfect plan executed next week.”
– Patton

Don’t wait, go here NOW: ScrewNewYears.com

I recently met with a client about a project he wanted to do and towards the end of the conversation he said, “This sounds good, but I think I’m going to wait until New Year’s to start this … I think at the beginning of the year we’ll be fresh and ready to go….”

I sat there for moment, leaned up, looked him right in the eyes and said,

“Losers wait until New Year’s…screw New Year’s…let’s get started NOW!”

Even as I type this, I’m not really sure why I said it (aloud). I’ve definitely thought it multiple times in the past, but it was a little surprising that the words just slipped right out of my mouth.

He was obviously frazzled by my comment and turned red in the face.

I started explaining to him that New Year’s is just as arbitrary as August 24th…or September 19th.

There’s nothing really “special” about New Year’s other than the fact that it gives people an excuse to procrastinate.

I get that there are a few “legitimate” reasons to wait until the new year to do certain things…like if your fiscal year doesn’t allow the budgeting or something similar. But, more times than not, it’s BS.

With the holidays underway, it’s only a matter of time before the buzz of New Year’s resolutions begins in the office and on your social media feed: lose weight, stop smoking, start practicing yoga, build your own business. These are goals that you probably hear year in and year out.

Setting a New Year’s Resolution is a traditional American custom, but does setting a goal on an arbitrary date based on tradition really help you achieve success?

Forbes magazine doesn’t think so. According to an article published in 2013:

More than 50% of Americans make resolutions, but only 8% stick to them.

Wow. 8%

That’s an estimated 156 million individuals not reaching their goals every year.

Compare that to a surveyed group who say they “never set New Year’s Resolutions and get started immediately on goals”.

This group reports a whopping 80% success rate.

Think about that.

Those who don’t set New Year’s Resolutions report almost 5 times higher success rates than those who do.

The gym is a perfect example of failed resolutions in action.

Santa Claus exercisingCome each January, every exercise machine and weight bench is full, and you find yourself waiting in line for your favorite elliptical machine on a Tuesday night. The enthusiasm is palpable as everyone gets off on the right foot.

Fast forward just a few weeks later, to mid-February, and the crowds have thinned out considerably. In fact, according to the Fitness Industry Association, 22% of people who buy a gym membership in January will have quit completely within 4 weeks (with another 20% following them in the next few weeks).

And get this, 15% will show up for a workout less than once a week. Not exactly the kind of behavior that changes lives.

So what can you do to increase your odds of success?

Start Now!

Why? Because it’s costing you dearly not to.

What Is Procrastinating Costing You?

I’ve coined a concept called “Permanent Opportunity Loss”

3f03c9d.png

Here’s what this means:

Imagine having set a goal to start a business. You estimate this business can earn you $10,000 per month. If you take the $10,000 per month and divide it by 30 days, that breaks down to roughly $333 per day.

So, in theory, for every day you procrastinate on starting this business, it’s costing you IN REAL DOLLARS (of permanent opportunity loss) $333 per day.

This is the very reason why hotel discounting sites exist.

If a hotel goes without being 100% booked, it’s permanent revenue loss that they can never, ever make up on those un-booked rooms. So they would rather make 25 to 50% on a room rather than leave it empty…causing them to lose revenue for that day — forever.

So think about the implications of waiting a month…6 months…a year (or more) on doing the thing you want to do.

Not to mention the psychological damage.

The emotional low that comes from not living up to your own expectations can be really tough to deal with. The feeling of failure can even continue to hinder your ability to get started, creating behavior that puts you further away from your goals than ever.

Now, instead of losing weight, you put on five pounds. Instead of starting your business, you lose your job…the list goes on.

Psychologists Janet Polivy and Peter Herman call this emotional roller coaster “the False-Hope Syndrome”: unrealistic expectations about our ability to change followed closely by the dashing of our initially high aspirations.

How do you overcome this? Simple:

Immediate, consistent mico-actions (ICMA)

Start IMMEDIATELY and do small, consistent follow up actions until you create momentum.

While it can be difficult to focus on self-improvement during the holidays, taking small steps toward your larger goal today will help build your confidence while avoiding the disappointment that comes from having unrealistic expectations about your ability to change overnight. Instead of putting that goal “somewhere out there in the future”, focus on changing daily habits that will help you move closer to your goal.

A study from Stanford University on willpower shows that keeping a New Year’s resolution is hard work. Professor Baba Shiv, who conducted the study, states that it’s the equivalent of lifting a 300-pound barbell with your brain. The amount of willpower it requires takes too much energy for the average pre-frontal cortex (the area of your brain that governs willpower) to succeed.

Want to lose weight? Start keeping a journal of your eating habits TODAY.

Looking to kick cigarettes once and for all? Smoke one less cigarette TODAY.

Always wanted to own your own business? Draw up that business plan NOW.

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, you will not magically transform into a new person, ready to take on everything you have been putting off the year before. Why not ring in the New Year with a feeling of accomplishment? Even if only for small steps, already in place?

Every day you have the opportunity to start, and the most successful people always start before they feel ready.

Take Away / Action Item

Go to ScrewNewYears.com (now) and join a community of people who are MAKING IT HAPPEN. This is only going to be available until Dec 15th. When you visit the page, you’ll see, as with any other goal, the more you delay, the more it will cost you.

Back To The Basics – or – The M&Ms of Marketing

Back To The Basics – or – The M&Ms of Marketing

Words: 236
Read Time: 2-3 mins

Fundamentally, there are really only two things you need to be concerned with when marketing your business:

1. Your market
2. Your message

Of course, there are several nuances pertaining to these two, but fundamentally these are all that matter.

These are the basics and should never be overlooked.

Vince Lombardi, one of the winningest coaches of all time taught this same concept. He focused on the fundamentals and was most famous for his “This is a football…” speech.

To both rookies and seasoned veterans, Lombardi sincerely communicated the fundamentals of football – going so far as to explaining the significance of a football, showing the team the goal posts, pointing out the end zone and out of bounds lines, etc.

It’s not that these men didn’t know these things, but more importantly, needed to be “reminded” of the basics.

This is the same with marketing.

Forget about SEO, Social Media, NLP, psychological triggers, etc.

What you need to know is:
1. Your market and
2. Your message

Get these two right and you’ll do just fine.

Get either one of them wrong and you’re in for trouble. None of the other fancy-schmancy things matter when you screw up your market or your message.

Take Away / Action Item:

Get back to the basics.

Reacquaint yourself with your TARGET audience/your IDEAL customer and be sure you’re consistently using the message that speaks to them.

No Such Thing As Objections – or – “Vitamin D…for DUMB!”

742 words
Read time: 2-4 minutes

I was in a Vitamin Shop that will remain nameless….but if you need a hint, it rhymes with “Vitamin Shop”.

Anywho…I was looking for a supplement and found the one that looked like it would give me exactly what I was looking for. Just before I purchased it, I whipped out my phone, scanned the UPC code and was able to find the same exact product online at a well-known online retailer for $8.90 less including shipping.

Shortly thereafter, a sales rep came over and asked if I needed any help.
I said to him, ”Well, I want to get this supplement and I see that it’s 9 dollars cheaper on this site…”

He said, “Okay.”

Nothing else

“Is there any difference between this product and the one online?”

“No.”

“Do you price match?”

“No”

So I asked a ‘dumb’ question…”Is there any reason why should buy this here?”

His response, “Well, I guess not.”

Dumb!

So, of course I left and bought the supplement from the site.

A significant lesson to learn here was that the sale was not lost because of price, but because of the inability of this guy to sell me on the value of something I already wanted.

Yes, online it was a few dollars cheaper…but his opportunity was to sell me on why I should get it in the store.

First, his immediate response could have been, “Yes, you can get it for a few bucks cheaper, but you can get it NOW here in the store…You wouldn’t have to put your health on hold for 5-7 business days.”

comic expression BAM! Great comeback…

Secondly, he could have said, “Yes, they’re cheaper, but you wouldn’t have a live person to answer your questions.”

KAPOW!

Yet another great response!

I could probably think of a ton more.

In sales this is called framing or (re)framing.

It’s a concept that changes the context of an objection so that it no longer is an objection.

Instead of ‘objections’ I like to call them observations. (You’ll see why below)

When you know you’re delivering real value, this works in almost EVERY situation.

Here are a few:

  • Observation: I see you’ve only been in business for 1 year, do you think you can do the job?Reframe: Absolutely! Because I’m new at ______, I’m hungrier than fat cats who’ve been doing this for years and I’ll work harder for you.

    A second reframe could be: Yes, and because of that, I have a fresh approach to _____.

  • Observation: I really want what you have, but I can’t afford to buy your services.Reframe: Do you not see that as a problem in and of itself? This is the perfect opportunity to turn things around for your company. When you really look at it, you can’t afford not to get this.
  • Observation: The economy is bad…and things aren’t going well for us now…Reframe: I agree, which is why this is the perfect time to _________. The best investments are made in a down economy.
  • Observation: The economy is is good and things are going great for us now…Reframe: I agree, which is why this is the perfect time to _________. The best time to strengthen your foundation and shore up in case of a turn is when things are good.

Easy reframes to change the context of the observation and deepen the value of the offering.

The guy at the store pretty much gave up and told me to buy it from the other place. Geez

One argument could be that the vitamin guy is only working for $9/hr and he doesn’t have the training or desire to “sell through objections”.

Unfortunately, sales opportunities are lost like this all the time to entrepreneurs who’ve been in business for years.

They give up when there’s even an inkling of a “no” or “objection”.

Don’t let that be you.

Take Away / Action Item

Think of the objections you tend to hear the most.

First, reframe them in your mind as “observations” and not objections – Psychologically, this makes a HUGE difference in how you handle them.

Secondly, think of how you can ‘reframe’ an observation to deepen the value you’re offering. Note I didn’t say “think of rebuttals” — this is not about becoming a slick sales guy with snappy rebuttals…. this is about understanding and communicating the value you’re offering your clients in your presentation.

Antonio Thornton is a hilarious dad, mediocre Salsa dancer and business strategist with Money Mouth Marketing, a results-based marketing firm. Money Mouth Marketing is the only firm in Georgia who guarantees a minimum 3x ROI for it’s clients (Yes, we’ve checked). To grow your busines, grab this free report on the 3 things you can do right now to generate immediate income:www.moneymouthmarketing.com/3x

The $30,800 Mistake – or – Does Your Marketing “Measure Up?”

35e35db“If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.”

— Lord Kelvin

Though this famous quote by Lord Kelvin was about thermodynamics, it can be applied to virtually anything.

Especially marketing.

A client came to us a while back wanting to hire us for an “aggressive new client acquisition” campaign.

Now, before starting any new marketing efforts, we always take our clients through an extensive discovery session to find out where they are, what they’re doing, what’s working, what’s not, etc.

After going back and forth for a while, we broached the subject of her current advertising campaigns.

She was advertising in 3 magazines and said 50% of her business came from these publications.

I felt something was a little off with that assumption, because I’m very familiar with advertising returns. So I asked her was she doing any call tracking. To my ‘surprise’, she wasn’t.

I asked how she came to the conclusion that 50% of her business was coming from these magazines. She said, “I’m sure of it.”

Hmmm.

So, I asked to track her inbound calls for the next 60 days and she agreed.

We started on a different campaign, but during the first 30 days, she got a surprising result from tracking her inbound calls:

NONE of her new business came from the magazines.

Zero. Nada. Zilch

30 days later….her call volume went up from the work we were doing, but only 2 calls came from the magazines.

90 days into tracking calls and we found that she received 4 inquiries from the mags and had one potential client…but none of them actually turned into business.

Interesting.

We revisited the conversation about the ads and she was visibly frustrated to find that she wasn’t getting anything from her existing advertising. (Side note: I think she was more upset about the fact that she was wrong.)

She had been spending $2,800 per month for the last 11 months with not much to show for it.

Bummer :-/

The good news was that we now knew the truth about the situation and weren’t guessing anymore (like most business owners do).

The outcome:

We stopped all advertising with the mags which immediately saved $2,800 per month ~ over $30,000 per year in dead advertising.

Even if we didn’t do the campaign we were doing, we still brought huge value to the table by saving her $30k per year.

This came as the result of one simple thing:Young man with lens

Tracking

We’re often asked how we’re able to guarantee results. Simple —

We do what works and don’t do what doesn’t…

And, how do we know what works?

We track……..everything.

We are a direct response marketing company, which means when we do a thing, it gets a return. If we can’t track it, we won’t do it…ever. That’s what branding and PR is for.

Take Away / Action Item

TRACK EVERYTHING YOU DO

As Lord Kelvin said, “If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.”

THE best thing you can do for your business is track and record every single callthat comes in.

Try this:

Start a Google Doc or Excel sheet…(heck, get a yellow legal pad if that’s your only option). Track every call you receive, every event you attend and every marketing effort for the next 30 days. You will be surprised to find out what’s working and what isn’t. Just knowing this empowers you to make better decisions about where you spend your time and money.

Antonio is a “cool” dad, part-time super hero, and business strategist with Money Mouth Marketing, a results-based marketing firm. Money Mouth Marketing is the only firm in Georgia who guarantees a minimum 3x ROI for it’s clients (Yes, we’ve checked). To grow your business, grab this free report on the 3 things you can do right now to generate immediate income: www.moneymouthmarketing.com/3x

“Why Hire A Professional” – or – “Kids, Don’t Try This At Home”

“Kids…don’t try this at home.”Why Hire A Professional

I remember this all too familiar phrase from my younger years when I watched “That’s Incredible” with Fran Tarkenton, Cathy Lee Crosby and the other guy (I can never remember his name….does anyone remember that guy’s name?)

Anyway, I loved that show.

They should have said, “NOBODY try this at home” because I think adults can get themselves in just as much trouble as kids.

Just recently had a conversation with a potential client who is finding out first hand about why it’s important to hire a professional.

I just ran a PHENOMENAL campaign that officially puts me in the category of “Bad A$$” —

It converted at 92%

It was my “Retro Birthday Offer” and here’s what it looked like:


Why Hire A ProfessionalAwesome right?!?

So here’s how this worked: My birthday was coming up, so I sent a birthday card to potential clients offering them a time sensitive discount for MY birthday.

Inside the envelope, there was a real birthday card with a hand written note….. and yes, that’s a live check for $500 you see in there.

I’ve done a few variations of this over the years, but this was the most successful by far. I’ve also had a couple of clients hire me to write ‘birthday offers’ for them that did really well.

These are fun — and get really fun when they turn into huge windfalls.

So, back to this potential client… She received the promo and absolutely loved it. She called me immediately and was raving about how creative it was and how I’m a marketing genius…bla, bla, bla.

Here’s where the fun part comes in:

During the conversation, I became aware that she completely ripped off my promotion. She ‘attempted’ to duplicate it and send it out to her potential clients.

Initially, I was ‘feeling some kinda way’ (as the kids would say)

But, reminded myself that imitation is the best form of flattery — I’m flattered :-/

I know I can’t ‘copyright’ an ad…nor would I want to. An ad is public domain. And as a copywriter, I reference swipe files all the time. So she was well within her rights to steal it, use it in any way she chose to.

But here’s something to consider when trying to duplicate what the pros do:

Imagine going to a magic show. Not one of those cheesy shows held in a smoke-filled back room of an off-strip casino…but a really well-performed, David Blaine-level magic act.

So as you’re watching the magician, you are amazed at the tricks he performs. You’re so amazed that you get the idea of trying his sawing trick yourself.

Why Hire A ProfessionalYou rush home to duplicate the trick. You get a cardboard box, paint it the same colors as the magician’s box, get a similar looking saw and put your pet cat Bubbles in the box…

You wave your wand and say the magic words……….

……..then start sawing.

Need I say more. Poor Bubbles 🙁

This is dumb.

And this is why almost all magic shows start with the disclaimer: “PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME”

Because dumb people try these things at home.

Back to the story…

I asked her about her promotion…particularly how her offer read and the first thing she said was that she replaced the check with a lottery ticket….

Uhm…okay

Also, she had no call to action, nor any ‘sense of urgency’ language…no, this, no that….

Hmmm….remember Bubbles??? Poor Bubbles

Here’s the thing:

As simple as it seems, it took me 4.5 hours to craft this offer. Yes – a ONE PAGE sales letter. There are tons of things that the untrained eye cannot see. There’s some NLP and psychological triggers scattered throughout… even the choice of envelopes and what I wrote on the envelope was a part of the master plan.

I’m a professional copywriter. I’ve been writing ads, sales letters, promos, etc for 20 years. I’ve learned (at great expense) from some of the top copywriters in the world. Not to mention the lessons I’ve learned from the dozens of ads that bombed.

There’s no way the average business owner is going to write copy as well as I do. Just as I will never do taxes as well as a CPA, I will never write code as well as a programmer… and…

I’ll never do Blaine-level magic tricks. (oh, how I wish I could)

Take Away/Action Item:

Unless you’re going to become a dedicated student of marketing, most business owners should never try to do their own marketing — leave it to the pros. You should have a solid understand in of what marketing is (and what it’s not), what works and what doesn’t, how/why it works, etc. Then hire the right professional that you feel comfortable with.

If you are going to attempt to do your own marketing (or anything of any significance like taxes, legal, etc), at the minimum, get guidance from someone who knows what they’re doing to offer you advice along the way.

I’ll borrow a line from the old Charter Peachford commercials…

If you don’t get help here……get help somewhere.

Antonio is an awesome dad, author, speaker and business strategist with Money Mouth Marketing, a results-based marketing firm. Money Mouth Marketing is the only firm in Georgia who guarantees a minimum 3x ROI for it’s clients (Yes, we’ve checked). To grow your busines, grab this free report on the 3 things you can do right now to generate immediate income: www.moneymouthmarketing.com/3x

How to Quadruple Your Sales Overnight – or – “The $50,000 Question”

976 words
Read time: 3-5 minutes

We just recently had a client come on board who chose to work with us because of a simple question I asked. Based on the work we’ll do with them, it will add up to about $50k in the next 12 months.

So, literally, this was the $50,000 question!

How to Quadruple Your Sales Overnight

But before I reveal what the question was, let me run a funny scenario by you:

Imagine you’re out dancing.

How to Quadruple Your Sales OvernightYou’re having a great time doing the Foxtrot, the Boogaloo and the Mashed Potato (kids under 30, go ask your mom what the Mashed Potato is — LOL). As you’re dancing, you try one of your signature moves from high school, but it doesn’t go according to plan and you feel a little pinch in your back.

Ouch!

You manage to make it home and into your bed with a slight backache. However, during the night, the pain gets worse. You know you’ll have to go to the doctor. By the next morning, you make it out of bed, wobble into the car and finally make it to the doctor’s office to get help with your pain.

At the doctor’s office, you sign in, fill out the paperwork and have seat. The nurse opens the door of the waiting room and calls your name to come back. After the nurse weighs you and checks a few of your vitals, she ushers you into an exam room to wait for the doctor.

Typical medical office visit, right? (Except if you live in Canada)

After a few minutes (45 minutes), the doctor enters the room.

Just as you are about to explain your situation to him, he blurts out, “I’ve got three drugs for you to choose from:

  • Drug #1, Mediocerol, is $500, and it might make you feel okay …

  • Drug #2, Feelgoodonex, is $1,500 and it will make you feel even better …

  • And drug #3 Fantasinephren is $2,500 … it’s the best one we have and it’ll make you feel fantastic.”

(note: These drug names are completely fictional and any resemblance to any other drugs is purely accidental…..hopefully these aren’t real drugs and I end up getting sued by the pharmaceuticals)

Anyway, back to my story….

So, how would you respond?

If you’re like most, you’re thinking, “This guy doesn’t even know what’s wrong with me and he’s trying to shove some drugs down my throat?! What the…?!”

This is the exact same thing that happens when sales professionals walk into a meeting with a new prospect and attempts to shove his “packages – plans – products” down his client’s throat.

In essence, he’s trying to prescribe a solution when he doesn’t really even understand the problem.

Back to my new client and the $50,000 question:

The guy I met with was obviously already very successful, but has some issues he wanted to address.

When I sat down to talk with him, the very first words out of his mouth were, “So, tell me – whaddaya got?”

My response? (Pay attention! This is the $50,000 question!)

“What are you trying to accomplish in your business?”

He sat up in his chair, leaned forward with his hands clasped … and with an inquisitive look said, “Go on…”

I went on to say, “I can’t possibly tell you what I’ve got without knowing what you need. I’m here to find out what your goals and…and then determine if my services can help you accomplish those goals.”

He stared at me for an uncomfortable few seconds. He smiled. Then he extended his hand and said,

“You’re hired!”How to Quadruple Your Sales Overnight

I chuckled and said, “You don’t even know what we do…how much we charge, etc!”

He responded by saying, “It doesn’t matter. I know you’re the man for the job.”

He continued by explaining, “I’ve had seven or eight of those SEO, Social Facebooky guys sit here and spew at me about all the gizmos, algorithms and whiz-bangs they have. They all confused the hell out of me.

You’re the only guy who asked me what I want! The funny thing is, I don’t even know what the hell I want, but I know you’ll be able to give me what I need.”

After asking him a few more questions and digging deeper into his business to find out what he really needed, we put together a plan that will be worth close to $50,000 in business for – for just this year alone.

Like my new client, most people don’t know what they need, or how to verbalize what they’re are looking for. They know they have a problem, but they don’t know the solution (of course they don’t…because if they did, they wouldn’t need you).

Ask questions.

Like a (good) doctor, your job is to “diagnose” the real issues first, and “prescribe the right medicine” based on their expressed needs.

Let them talk!

Most business owners never get the opportunity to talk about ‘what’s really going on’. They can’t talk to employees about problems…they aren’t going to talk to their spouses about problems… you may very well be the only person who they can confide in to express their frustrations.

Here’s an added benefit: they’ll end up telling you exactly how to sell to them if you listen closely. 😉

Take Away/Action Item

As simple as it sounds: ask questions.

Be a consultant, not a salesman

A consultant first finds out what the client needs, then provides the best solution for them…EVEN if it’s not theirs.

Whether you sell a product or service, sell based on your clients’ needs – not yours. Don’t go in to any sales meeting and immediately make your pitch to sell them something they may or may not need.

Side note: if your job requires you to hit quotas for a particular product or service and you’re told to sell them “by any means necessary” – find a new job.

Antonio Thornton is a kick-ass dad, author, speaker and business strategist with Money Mouth Marketing, a results-based marketing firm. Money Mouth Marketing is the only firm in Georgia who guarantees a minimum 3x ROI for it’s clients (Yes, we’ve checked). To grow your busines, grab this free report on the 3 things you can do right now to generate immediate income: www.moneymouthmarketing.com/3x

1

Use What You Have…and Charge More For It – or – “Too Hot For Tots”

1,024 words
Estimated read time: 4-9 mins

Summary:

While doing some research for a client, I ran across an article about the origin of Tater Tots. I found a couple of interesting lessons for entrepreneurs. So…you’re getting a two-for-one today (toofer’ as Southerners would say) – Use what you have…and Charge more for it!

Marketing Advice From Tater Tots

Part 1: Use What You Already Have

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tater_Tots

“Tater Tots were created in 1953 when Ore-Ida founders F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg were trying to figure out what to do with leftover slivers of cut-up potatoes. They chopped up the slivers, added flour and seasoning, then pushed the mash through holes and sliced off pieces of the extruded mixture. The product was first offered in stores in 1956.”

Most businesses are sitting on assets that could be bringing in millions. Day-to-day operations preoccupy entrepreneurs so that they can’t see assets that are hiding in plain sight. Sometimes it’s good to have a fresh set of eyes look at your situation to find out what you aren’t seeing.

This reminds me of another client who was adamant about us creating a new customer campaign. They were willing to spend as much as $4,000 per month because they were so set on getting new customers in their door.

When we initially spoke, they said sales were stagnant and they needed to reinvigorate things with an influx of new business. However, after doing an assessment, (asking questions) we identified that they were doing a horrible job at staying in touch with their past/current clients. We proposed a customer reactivation campaign. They were so focused on the idea of getting new customers, that they were missing this huge revenue opportunity right under their noses.

They really fought us on the reactivation campaign … but one of the partners convinced the others to ‘give us a shot’. Thankfully so! We ran a campaign that cost them a little over $1,000 and brought in $88,000 in revenue in less than a month.

Moral of the story:

Always look closely for the assets hidden in your business.

Part 2: Price (value) Perception Is Everything

More from the Wikipedia article:

“Originally, the product was very inexpensive. According to advertising lectures at Iowa State University, people did not buy it at first because there was no perceived value. When the price was raised, people began buying it. Today, Americans consume approximately 70 million pounds of Tater Tots per year.”

I’m not a pricing expert, but I am an expert at getting maximum dollars from client interaction by providing maximum VALUE.

Usually, one of the first pieces of advice I provide my clients is: triple your prices.

I do this somewhat for the shock value, but it’s also to get them thinking outside of the box they may have created for their business. Price elasticity is one of the most overlooked “strategies” in business. Most entrepreneurs aren’t charging nearly enough for the value they’re providing for their clients.

Anyway, back to the Tater Tots… Of course, I wasn’t there, but I’m assuming these new ‘Tater Tots’ were priced as low as they were based on the assumption that – as leftovers of another product – they had no intrinsic value. Low cost to produce means a low sales price, right?

Wrong!

Always remember to distinguish between value and costs as you establish prices for your goods and services…And communicate that to your clients.

Here are a few tips on pricing that you can learn from Tater Tots:

  1. People don’t value that which is free (or sold at a price which is perceived as “too cheap”). Price accordingly if you want to do good business. Avoid pricing products and services based solely on what it costs you.

    If you knew how much it cost to produce a ‘tall latte’ … you’d probably poop your pants at the markup. That [famous West Coast coffee chain] doesn’t price their menu items based solely on the costs of the product.

  2. Price your goods and services based on a value proposition. People spend money on the things that are important to them. [that coffee company] prices their beverages and snacks based on the perceived value that a ‘tall latte’ offers the drinker.
  3. For entrepreneurs who may be struggling: Don’t set your prices based on what you assume others can afford, and especially not based on what you think you yourself can afford.

Another example: Recyclable Paper. Paper that you put in the recycle bin has no intrinsic value, right? Wrong! Producing paper towels and bathroom tissue from that discarded paper is a big business.

You’ll find that the people whom you charge little-to-nothing will cost you time and money in (lost opportunities, headache, etc.) And, on the opposite side of the coin, when you give people a solid perception of value, they will pay for it. And you’ll have a more profitable business.

Take Aways/Action Items:

Take away #1: Use what you have

Are there any underutilized assets/resources in your company that you may be overlooking?

Some ideas to consider are:

Human resources – are you getting 100% from each employee/team member? I remember a business owner who would “lend out” his receptionist when things got slow.

Space – Do you have warehouse space that is sitting idle? You could rent that space out to other companies.

Technology – is there another business owner who could utilize software that you own but aren’t using? Could you rent out use of software (i.e. estimating software, etc.) to someone who can’t afford to buy it themselves? (Check licensing agreements before doing this)

Past customers/unsold customers – Are you staying tin touch with past clients or reaching back out to clients who didn’t buy?

Take away #2: Understand price elasticity and how it applies to your business.

Never, never, EVER price based on industry norms –unless you want to be “norm(al)” – remember, [that Seattle coffee company] charges five bucks for what used to cost $.75.

Never, never, ever price based on what YOU can afford — don’t allow your financial situation to dictate the value of your services.

How can you ask for more by delivering more value?

Other packages/bundles you can create to increase purchase prices?

Are there other service offerings you can bring into your offering that delivers more value, but doesn’t cost you more money?

Antonio Thornton is an author, speaker and business strategist with Money Mouth Marketing, a results based marketing firm. Money Mouth Marketing is the only firm in Georgia who guarantees a minimum 3x ROI for it’s clients. For more information, visit www.moneymouthmarketing.com/3x

Poor Publix

Deer Oh Deer

I’ve been following the recent ad war between Walmart and Publix.

I feel Publix will lose.

Apparently some genius in the Publix marketing department decided to create an ad campaign that pits Publix head to head with Walmart.

I can only imagine how that meeting must have gone,

Idea guy: “Hey guys, let’s take on Walmart!”

Marketing team: “Yeah, that’s a great idea.”

Apparently, Publix’s stance is that Walmart does not always have the lowest price. Their argument is that with their weekly offers and BOGO (buy one get one free) sales, Publix has lower prices on select items – which is ‘technically’ true.

However, Walmart campaigns are based on the fact that they DO have lower prices – all the time – and that you are free to shop the way you want to shop. One billboard boasts: “Shop your list not theirs.”

I feel Publix is fighting the wrong fight… They should really stay in their lane and campaign on the things they do best – superior customer service – their USP, (Unique Selling Proposition)

Every successful company has, or should have a USP. A unique quality that differentiates them from their competition. I remember when the Publix slogan was: Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.

This is a unique selling proposition. And, one that Walmart can’t beat. Everyone knows that shopping at Walmart is a moderate to horrible experience – misplaced items, constant musical isles so you can’t find what you’re looking for. And, don’t get me started on the checkout lines. You’d better bring a crossword puzzle or pull up Facebook on your smart phone to keep yourself busy for a half hour. This is not the experience at Publix.

Also, Publix is very big on community…whereas Walmart is constantly playing catch up and defending themselves.

These are the points Publix should be campaigning on, a battle that they can actually win.

In my industry, competing on price has been dubbed “the race to the bottom”. How low can you price your products and still stay in business. This is a horrible, horrible selling proposition and is exactly what Publix is doing.

Here are a couple of takeaways for your business:

1. Never, never, never, ever compete on price. You are only devaluing your services. There will always be someone who’s more ‘broke’ than you; willing to make less money, or, like in Walmart’s case, simply bigger than you, that will sell the same thing for less than you can afford to.

2. If you’re going to compete, compete on VALUE. How much more value can you bring to the table then your competition?

3. Your value should define your company’s USP. The thing that you do better than any other person in your industry. Once you to find your USP, set the stake in the ground and stick to your guns – always honor yourself and your company by communicating and promoting your USP.

Personally, I think you have got to be out of your mind to take on Walmart head to head – especially on price. There’s a much, much easier way.

Dear, Oh Deer – Know Your Customers’ Language

Deer Oh Deer
I’m a vegan and I’m not necessarily fond of hunting…but I AM a marketer…and as such, I jump at the opportunity to share brilliant marketing when I see it. This is a perfect example of knowing your customer and speaking their language. Notice anything different about these deep freezers?

Hilarious!

They display their deep freezer sizes by how many deer you can fit into the freezer. You won’t see this at Home Depot or Sears.

I’m sure this company knows that their average deer hunter customer has no idea how to convert quarts to gallons to cubic feet, etc…. I can imagine the scene:

Store clerk: “yes sir, how may I help you?”

Hunter:  “yes, I’d like to buy a freezer for my deers”

Clark: “what size are you looking for?”

Hunter: “what size have you got?”

Clerk: “well, we have a 5 cu ft, a 10 cu ft and a 20 cu ft”

Hunter: [blank stare]

Clerk: “Uh hello?”

Hunter: “Uuuh, how many deer will they hold?”

You can bet this was the common theme in this store…then, the store manager, in a stroke of pure genius, decided to “speak his customer’s language” by selling these freezers in terms of how many deer they store — I love it.

This reminds me of a company named Big Ass Fans.

Can you guess what they sell?

Originally, the name of the company was HVLS Fan Company – and they provided high volume/low speed (HVLS) vertical fans – BORING!  The idea came when they had clients in the warehouse to demo their fans…The common response was, “Wow, that’s a big ass fan!”

The rest is history.

Now, they are one of the top companies in their industry…in the entire country. Mainly because of their outrageous name, but it still boils down to very smart marketing and speaking their customer’s language.

Practical Marketing Tips and Application

You don’t have to go changing your name to something as outrageous as Big Ass Fans, but the lesson here to consider is: Are you speaking in terms of your customers thought process and language? avoid using a lot of technical, and a street-based jargon. Most people don’t think in this way. The initial iPod marketing was a great example of speaking in terms of their customers thinking. Instead of saying “this device has a 4 GB hard drive capacity,” they said, “You can store up to 10,000 songs.”

Do you find your customers asking for a specific thing, in a specific way — even though the name of the product or service is something completely different? Consider re-framing what you sell in the terms your customers speak in.

Sometimes you may be too close to your business to see it as a potential customer would. Allow Money Mouth Marketing to help you tap into your customer’s language – Learn More >>>

 

 

Small Business Marketing Tip #421 – Think Your Product Is For Everyone?

Deer Oh Deer

If you’re trying to sell to everyone, you’ll find yourself selling to NOone.

The other day, I was talking with a woman who claimed that, her product is for everybody. In her own words, “Everybody needs this product…”

News Flash: NO product is for everybody.

Her comment was the result of having been ‘sold’ on the validity of her product. (FYI – if you haven’t already guessed, she was in network marketing)

Nothing against network marketing, but most people think that traditional marketing rules don’t apply.

They don’t.

Her product was a health product that claimed to cure everything from stress to cancer.

Sounds great but here’s the thing: Everyone isn’t interested in living a healthy lifestyle. Don’t believe me?? Just look around.

The people who MIGHT be interested in her product are the people who are interested in a healthy lifestyle…specifically, people who may be dealing the ailments her product claims to cure or want to prevent these ailments.

In fact, if you wanted to get even more specific, it would be people who are interested in taking daily supplements to improve their health.

My point?

Unless you have a virtually unlimited marketing budget, you have to be diligent in finding the people who want what you have…no one else!

Because not matter how great your marketing is, you will NOT sell to the people who don’t want your stuff.

I’m a vegetarian…a strict vegetarian. So no matter how great the marketing is for your hotdogs…I’ll never buy them from you. I’d have to be close to death before buying your hotdogs…and probably then I’d just find some other alternative.

So, running your ad in Veg Atlanta magazine would be a “bad” idea.

Now this may seem like an ‘extreme’ example, but it is what a lot of business owners do – indirectly. Just by thinking ‘everyone needs your product’ you’re trying to sell to people who might not be interested in your stuff.

When you narrow your marketing efforts to only your target market, you’re doing two powerful things for yourself that will have an exponential impact on your business.

1) Your marketing costs go DOWN. When you focus on a niche market, you can access them faster, easier and more cost effectively.

2) When you’re marketing to the right audience your conversions go UP. Since you’re only speaking to people who want your stuff, there’s an exponentially higher chance of them actually buying from you.

So, you end up spending LESS and selling MORE…. just by focusing your efforts on the people who matter – the people who WANT your stuff.

Money Mouth Marketing Lesson:

Ask yourself, “who REALLY wants what you have to sell…?”

Identify them, and sell ONLY to them.