Category: Marketing.

Are you a small business struggling to find time for marketing and attracting the right customers to your business? We’ve met plenty of other small businesses that are in the same difficult position you are in. So we came up with a solution: the Business Builder Marketing Workbook.

This easy to understand workbook leads you step-by-step through the marketing process and will help you identify your perfect customer, your unique selling point and so much more. TheBusiness Builder Marketing Workbook is divided into 12 sections. You can complete them all in one sitting for those of you who are high achievers, or you can do one chapter a month to let it really sink in for those of you who are focused on working IN your business.

Our workbook gives you the opportunity to work ON your business allowing you to leverage your time and make you more profitable. Over two years in the making, this well thought out manual will provide you with tools to grow your business — and it’s not complicated. You’ll find worksheets that add to the information in each chapter. We recommend doing the lessons in order, and doing each step in order because one lesson builds on the next.

To get more information visit: www.BusinessBuilderSeries.com

You can order a hard copy workbook, a digital copy or both — all for less than you’d pay an agency for one hour of work. Start working with our simple Business Builder Marketing Workbook and start attracting more customers into your business today.

Start with your own. From cleaning up your office to working on your own life, it’s so tempting (and easy) to focus on other people’s messes and problems. The other person’s problem and solutions are so clear and obvious to us. Their mess lures us into a false sense of a simple answer and quick solution. We are so tempted to say, “Why if you’ll only do this, everything will be fine.” Solutions aren’t always as simple as they appear — especially in other people’s lives.

What is difficult and far more bold is to start with your own mess. Start making changes in your own character. Start improving your own attitude. Start that habit at work that you want everyone else to emulate. Start cleaning your own desk and taking control of your own life.

I’ve been working on paring down and simplifying at the office and at home. It feels really good to be organized and uncluttered. In the process, I’ve noticed my tendency to want to “help” others with their difficulties, their messes, and their problems. That silly desire sidetracks me from what I really need to be doing. That distraction stops me from working on my own problems. It prevents me from thinking about and solving my bad habits.

Please don’t think I’m saying don’t care for others or help others. That is not what I mean at all. I’m specifically talking about focusing on others when we seriously need to focus on ourselves.

Often when someone else’s behavior or mess bothers me, I look to myself as quickly as possible to see if I’m guilty of the exact same behavior.

Leave other people’s messes for them. Allow others the joy of solving their own problems. Focus on your own. It may just start a chain reaction of change at the office, at home and in your own heart.

Here is a solution to stop the decline of newspapers nationwide.

• Make every newspaper the same size.
• Make all ads the same sizes.
• Use inches and not “column inches.”
• Make it simple to buy an ad – have a human answer the phone.
• Make sure the ad prints well.
• Make sure the invoice is correct.
• MOST IMPORTANT: Cover the news in your community. You’re not a national or world news source. Your a community news source. Be just that, and do it well.

We would still have community newspapers that thrive.

For those of you that would like a little more information:
All newspapers are different sizes. This means advertisers must alter each ad to fit each newspaper. This is a lot of work and makes buying and placing newspaper ads really troublesome and time consuming. Then newspapers have their own sizing system called “column inches” – NO ONE knows what a column inch equals because it’s different with each newspaper. So that’s why I suggest standard newspaper sizes and ad sizes. An advertiser (who is the newspaper’s main source of income) can then place an ad easily in New York or New London, MO. The same ad would fit in all newspapers.

Hire people that know what they are selling. Hire people that understand print quality and will work to get good quality. The print quality and sales quality has dropped off dramatically. I frequently cannot get someone to answer the phone when I want to place a buy or have a quick question before turning in an order. Then when I do place a buy, I have orders lost and ads not run. To top it off, the billing in most of the regional papers is terrible. We need to double check everything to ensure it’s accurate. Sometimes a newspaper will run an ad all month when we wanted it to run once. Too frequently we have to call and ask for our invoice.

The newspaper industry is killing itself with poor service, poor print quality and poor content. 

The last suggestion is the most important. Content must be derived from the community the newspaper resides in. Skip the national and world news. Focus on what is going on in your community – and not just events that have occurred – but what is coming up too. Look for and report real news.

My suggestions are simple. Fairly simple to enact and would save small newspapers.

FAKE!

You’ve heard about “fake news” a lot lately. Well there are plenty of fake invoices out there too. This short article tells you how to spot them.

My clients call on a regular basis saying, “I thought we stopped all yellow page advertising? I just got another bill in the mail today!”

I ask them to send me a copy or if I’m there I ask to see it. It usually looks something like the graphic above. The amounts vary dramatically, but they are usually somewhere near what you have paid for yellow page advertising in the past. The customer name is filled out and it looks like a real invoice.

Imagine how many companies around the country are just paying these invoices. You might be thinking, “What could it hurt? You’re getting yellow page advertising somewhere, aren’t you?” The answer is; maybe. You may be getting in a national advertising book somewhere.

But consider the fact that AT&T sold off their yellow page division years ago. AT&T is a progressive company. Keep an eye on them to figure out what you should do with your company. They sold the yellow page division for a reason. They projected customers would find information in a new way and that division would no longer be profitable nor viable.

Now take a look at the size of your local yellow pages. You’ll notice it’s remarkably smaller – and you can’t find local business numbers. Another thing you might notice is that hardly anyone is using it. Just ask around.

So if your local yellow pages are not working, how do you expect a national yellow book to work for your company?

Don’t fall for fake invoices. Here’s what to look for:

The return address is nowhere near your location. Normally your local yellow book will be located in a community near you, and have an address that is reasonably close to your location.
Somewhere on the invoice it will say, “This is not a bill.” This is required by law and sometimes it take a few minutes to locate it. But it will be there.
When in doubt, do a quick internet search of the company or call a trusted marketing advisor.

A reputable marketing professional is there to help you build your business. Fake invoices don’t benefit your company, they drain your profit. Be on guard.

© Sally Kintz, Poole Communications

“Design is the single most critical factor in determining the ultimate winner of the 21st Century.”
~ Kun-Hee Lee, CEO Samsung

Good design is what sets a business apart from the competition – whether it’s the organizational design, the work they do or the product they create for their customers. Design is a critical part of business success because it means someone is thinking things through and looking at the big picture.

The Huffington Post reported that a US Postal Service survey shows mail at an all time low.

Take heart. This is the perfect opportunity every business has been looking for. Write a note to your customer. Your small note (that you can send for a mere 46¢) will make an impact because no one receives letters anymore.

The post office reports that an average home received ONE personal letter roughly every seven weeks. That is absolutely amazing. But I have to admit, I opened my mail last night and threw away 90%. Most of it was junk and form letters. People don’t consider a letter “junk.” Especially if you have something nice to say or share – and you write it by hand. People keep letters because they leave a lasting impact that you can read again and again. it’s like sharing a little piece of yourself and your life.

Go write a note to someone you care about. Consider writing a thank you note to a customer and make a difference in your business.

STD. What do you think this stands for?

Yeah, me too. Sexually Transmitted Disease.

Well in some businesses it’s used for Sales Tool Development, Seize The Deal, Short Term Disability or Standard Testing Diagnostic. Hmm… would you have guessed that? Chances are slim that you would. Instead you’re probably still trying to not laugh out loud when that engineer keeps talking about that large piece of equipment’s accurate STD output.

Can we please just stop this? It confuses our customers. It stops communication dead in its track because people are trying to figure out what you mean without appearing stupid.

Take the time to spell it out and explain things clearly. Here’s why I think acronyms are stupid:

S – short sighted
T – too technical
U – ubiquitous (everywhere!)
P – passive
I – incomprehensible
D – disruptive

Take two minutes to write out (or say) what you’re talking about. It’s not going to take that much more time and it’ll save you headaches in the long run. And don’t blame texting! This has been going on long before texting was even invented.

So go seize the day, and skip the STD.

When you were a child and drew a picture on a piece of paper, did you feel the need to fill up the entire page? Were you told it was wasteful to leave empty space? That belief may have been okay then, but it might not be a good idea for your marketing materials now. Fewer words or less design means higher impact for the words you do use. You don’t have a lot of time to catch someone’s attention and too many words will get lost. Only the main words will be read anyway, so don’t clutter your materials with information that won’t be read. Using fewer words will help you stick to the main point. Keep it simple.

The old model of focusing on industry and large business to bring jobs and build our economy is no longer working. We have a new model, but no one is paying attention to it and Northeast Missouri’s growth is being retarded. We could and should be doing better.

Traditionally all economic development in this region has been focused on industry and larger businesses. Because of this, much of what is being done is “top secret” and cannot be discussed. How many large businesses have been brought to Northeast Missouri in the last several years? The answer is none. That’s because our focus is wrong.

A more successful focus would be on small business growth and development. Small business is the foundation of our community and our country. Small businesses when properly attended to, can grow and develop into larger businesses that hire more people. Small business is easier to attract and easier to grow.

Owning a business of your own is part of the American Dream. Colleges and Universities are focusing more on entrepreneurship because of documented need throughout the country. Let’s be proactive and try something different – something that works.

The Provenance Project brought many artists/business people to this region. It’s been proven that a simple invitation is a powerful force. Artists are buying buildings, homes, and building their businesses, with no help from the city, county or economic development. Just think how much better each business could be if there was some place or someone they could go to and get information about incentives, training, incubators, loans and tax credits.

It’s time to refocus. To pay attention to the companies that have chosen to be in this region, to help them grow, and to encourage more small businesses start ups in Northeast Missouri.

Finally, I am also advocating for a more transparent process. If you’ve been to any chamber meetings you’ll have found that all economic development is “top secret” and can’t be discussed. Economic development affects every person in Northeast Missouri and our region deserves better accountability.

I just received another email that had a WORD document attached. When I opened the WORD document it had a few sentences that could have easily been put in the body of the email. It takes time to open attachments. Recipients might not have the program you sent the attachment in. I especially hate PowerPoint attachments because they take so long to open. I’m encouraging everyone to think just a little bit before they send an email or an attachment. Here are five easy tips:

1. Use the subject line. Make it informative and change it if the email’s topic changes.

2. Keep your emails brief. Research has shown that six sentences is a maximum. Get to the point.

3. Be kind. An email can be easily misunderstood. Take extra effort to be kind and say something friendly.

4. Provide contact information. This enables the recipient to call, email or check out your website.

5. Use a pdf, png or jpeg attachment format. They can be quickly opened and read by almost anyone.

We’re all being asked to do more in less time. Let’s make the world a little easier and communicate clearly.