Category Archives for "Marketing Advice"

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”

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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.

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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

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.

Catching Rabbits and “Trying” To Multi-Task

Deer Oh Deer

This really has nothing to do with small business marketing ideas, but I think you’ll be able to find some hidden benefits you can apply to your business (or life)…

A really good friend of mine once told me, “You can’t catch one rabbit chasing five”. Well being a ‘city boy’ I never chased rabbits…so the lesson didn’t hit me like I’m sure he intended it.

So, I just figured something out about multi-tasking. We can’t truly do it. (Yeah, I know I can be slow sometimes), but these are some of the things small businesses entrepreneurs deal with.

There was a study done that scientifically proved that the human brain can only consciously think one thought at a time. Therefore, we can really only do ‘one thing at a time’ that requires thought. Like a computer, you brain can switch back and forth between two tasks (thoughts) quickly..creating the appearance of multitasking; but just as a computer, it can only process one thing at a time.

Now you may be sitting there saying, “Hey, I can watch the tele and read a book; or talk on the phone and make a cup of coffee…etc.” And you can do these things, but here’s something to consider: You’re only consciously concentrating on one thing at a time. Making coffee is most likely a ’subconscious/non-conscious’ activity burned into your subconscious that you could do with your eyes closed. Same as watching tele.

Here’s how this impacts projects, jobs, etc.

Think about this:
If you’re working on 5 projects simultaneously, you’re giving each project 20% of your time, 20% of your effort, 20% of your energy, and you’re getting about 20% momentum.

Even if you work on one project per day (in a 5 day week), you’re still not giving each project the time it deserves to be as successful as it could be. Why?

Momentum and creative intelligence.

Before you think I’m going off into left field, let me explain what I mean:

Think about a car. Even the fastest car takes at least 4 second to get from 0-60mph. Well, what if that car went from 0-20, then stopped. Then started again. Then got to 30mph, then stopped. Then started again.

The car never reached it’s full potential. Especially in the same time that it would have it just went from 0-60.

So imagine things operating at 20%. Your oven, your lights, your computer…the list goes on. Think about that for a moment, what of you car only started 20% of the time. What if the bank’s computer only worked 20% of the time (if you’re with BOA, you know how this feels already)… Or you go to deposit your money and the teller says, “sorry, only 20% of your deposit went through”.

This is exactly what we’re trying to do when we ‘multi-task’ by doing 4 or 5 projects at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea to diversify your revenue streams, but the key is to get one thing going at 100% (or as close to it as possible) then move on to the next thing.

Another reason this is detrimental to peak productivity is creative ‘universal’ intelligence.

Have you ever been working on a project and you were stuck on something, then 3-4 days later, you sitting somewhere, eating ice cream or something totally non-related, then “BAM” the idea hits you that solves the problem you were working on?

Well this is a creative intelligence that’s in all of us. It works when our conscious mind is distracted doing other things – on a sub conscious level. Unfortunately, when we’re working on 5 things at the same time, that subconscious intelligence is working at 20% as well and only gives you 20% of the ideas, 20% of the problem-solving ability, 20% of the inspiration it normally would.

The moral of the story: Do one thing at a time.

Unless you’re able to tap into the other 90% of the brain that most people don’t have use of and you can truly multi-task, then do one thing at a time. Get it done, and move on to the next thing.