It’s hard to connect content and marketing

Business schools just don’t understand the value of content in your marketing efforts. Rarely do I run across a business owner who truly appreciates the term “content”. And we’ve found even those who do, don’t have time to create it because “they’re too busy marketing and finding new customers”. Connecting Marketing and Content

The bottom line is this, if you don’t understand that the internet has changed the game – then content will never make sense. For most people marketing classes were about the three P’s and “location, location, location”, and branding. And in all of those cases, the examples in the book were billboards, product packaging and sales letters.

That’s it!

To expect Master’s degree wielding marketers to grasp the Shift from post cards to websites is maybe too much to ask. But in the same breath, aren’t those same people the ones who shop, research and buy online?

Somehow, it still baffles me when I can’t make the connection between the content on the sites they’re currently buying products from – and their inability to translate that to marketing analysis.

Building the bridge between yesterday’s marketing classes and today’s marketing environment is the key, for sure. I find once business owners fully understand how the web works, what Google’s role is and how consumers find goods – the light bulb will have gone off. I’m not yet sure if it’s the mechanics of Google or the mechanics of the internet – but one of them solves the other.

Words. It comes down to words. When you search for “Honda 355 Motorcycle 600 cc Nashville”, Google’s job is to find something to return to the person searching that matches their query. And the ONLY thing they have to go on, is words.

I heard you screaming in the back. Yep, you’re trying to tell me that links are just as important. Well, you have the right idea – but you’re not using the right “words” to convey it. A link is code someone types onto their website that references yours. No matter what, that link is made of words – even if it’s a picture.

Together, the words used to link one page to the next, the paragraphs of text on web pages, the names of the photos you’ve loaded up to the web pages, the title of web page and the words people use when they comment on your posts – that is content.

Content + Search Engines = Marketing

If you’ve got great, structurally correct content – then you’ve got a marketing plan any professor would be proud of. (Even if that means you have to show them how many units you sold first).

Laser Targeting Your Customers #bcn10

This week, at my MeetUp group, to which the topic was “Laser Target Your Customers”, I met a guy who sells solar panels as a commissioned salesman. He’s really pretty inspiring being that he got the job so he could learn more about solar panels so he could create a better website.

I found out right away that he’s been aggressively marketing his solar panels – doing all the right things you would assume a solar panel salesman is doing. He’s got business cards, he goes door to door, he did a mailing, he’s got

Who's better at targeting customers?

websites set up to send prospects where they can learn more about solar panels, he’s trying to capture e-mail addresses, he’s met with Realtors to learn if they improve home value and he’s met with home builders about installing them in new homes. . . I’d say he’s better than your average salesman when it comes to productivity.

BUT he’s making no sales.

The problem is he hadn’t figured out what the true benefit of solar panels are, and thus he had no message and without a message there’s no one to target. So, that’s what we did and now he’ll have no trouble “laser targeting his customers” going forward.

Messaging

After all the talk about the benefits of solar panels, I asked him one question: “When do you make your money back”? Solar panels reduce utility bills but you’ve got to pay for equipment and installation up front. His answer was “10 years and at that point you’ll have no utility bills”

[stextbox id="alert"]PRESTO! That’s the answer in a nutshell.[/stextbox]

The benefit of solar panels is that you’ll have no utility bills in 10 years. That’s an easy-to-understand, straight forward benefit. And from that we can contrive a very smartly put together target market. Of all the people on the planet, who would most appreciate no utility bills?  Yep, you guessed it: Seniors!

Now we’re getting somewhere. So . . . if you retire to a fixed income, utility bills are one of the few fluctuating bills remaining. If it takes 10 years to get to that benefit, wouldn’t it behoove Mr. Solar Panel salesman to target 55 year old homeowners? How about 55 yr. old homeowners, within his sales territory, who can afford the upfront cash outlay? Now there’s a market we can laser target.

Laser Targeting Methods

Here’s where you come in.  How can a solar panel salesman market solar panels to 55 year olds? I’ll get the ball rolling, and then I want to hear your ideas:

  1. Joint Venture with a Financial Services guy to put together a seminar about “Getting rid of utility bills when you retire”.
  2. Use Facebook Ads demographics to reach only people in his territory who are 55 right now with an ad that says “Retiring in 10 Years? How about reducing your utility bills to nothing?”
  3. Guest blog on “planning to retire” websites with articles about the value of getting rid of your utility bills.”
  4. Start his own local radio show (or become a guest on one) that’s about Saving Money for Retirement.
  5. Partner with the power company and get featured in their events about selling power back to the utility company.

So that’s enough to get your thinking cap on. How can Mr. Solar Panels further laser target this very clear niche?

Aileen Bennett – Using People is well worth the read

Aileen Bennett’s newest masterpiece, Using People,  is in print. Now if you know Aileen you’ll understand the significance of “newest masterpiece” – because she pumps out spectacular speaking engagements, masterful PR campaigns and engaging social media exploits all the time. This go ’round, her genius is on paper.

I should disclose that Aileen and I sit in a Mastermind together and thus this “recomendation” could be construed as somewhat expected of me, as a friend. But until I got through the first 16 pages, I had no idea how well presented, informative and necessary this information is for us, as marketers and business makers.  To quell any thoughts that this recommendation is biased, I’m prepared to give you some concrete reasons why Using People should be your next purchase.

So let’s cut to the chase and talk about “Lie to Yourself”, one of the great chapters in the first half of the book. We already do lie to ourselves - every day – that’s one of the points Aileen makes in ”Using People”. We make assumptions all the time all the time about the way people are going to react to our proposals, about the way people feel about us and about what people are already expecting of us. Then we do everything we can to notice evidence to support these lies.

 The point is we’ve got to learn to recognize that these assumptions and untruths exist. Since they aren’t real, and aren’t the real truth – planning and taking action with these assumptions leads to failed purposes. Aileen says emphatically, “. . . our assumptions say more about us then they do other people.”  This is a lesson you can’t learn too soon.

In “Flip a coin”, Aileen uses a familiar coin toss trick to teach you that indecision is really just procrastination.  I personally use the “regret approach” (which will I regret least?) to help make these indecisive moments clearer – but I fear my technique could be much improved with the simple coin toss. Aileen suggests when you lack clarity on a decision, “flip a coin”. When you flip a coin and vow to go with the result, you inevitably reap the mental sigh of relief when the coin lands on the side you really want and instant regret when it asks you to follow a plan you really didn’t want to do. This instant regret may have been hidden – but becomes clear with the toss. Use the tool – then do what’s right.

The short section titled “Never Forget a Name” had me writing this review before I was even finished. I was not only caught off guard in her insight, but it forever changed the way I’ll introduce myself and be introduced at functions and events. Her bottom line is this. . . many of us have problems remembering people’s names. So we’ve all heard of the many pneumonic devices and tricks to assist in remembering names . . . but when have you ever gotten this advice?

You need to go into every meeting knowing that the other person may have a hard time remembering your name. Not only that, but you can use that to your advantage. Unlike others around you, help new acquaintances remember your name using a few great “Using People” techniques.  Wouldn’t it be great if your name is the only one people remembered from the event? Personally, I think paying that much attention to someone in an attempt to help them remember my name will inversely make it easier to remember theirs.

[stextbox id="grey"](If that’s not enough reasons, then I should mention that the most beautiful woman I think I’ve ever seen is pictured on page 98. )  :)[/stextbox]

Now, that’s just 3 great reasons to read this book. If you found any of these ideas worthwhile – then know that there are atleast 12 more that are going to improve your business and bottom line. So if you like to wait before you get things, then got to Amazon and get this book right now. No one from Amazon is going to rush out and bring this book to you today, so ordering it today will insure that it will be in your mail box before you finally get around to “getting it”.

Oh yeah, I’m not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but my name is Dan Morris.  I author Lettersfromdan.com :)

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