Things I Learned from David Newman

January 7, 2011

Today at Austin Speakers Network I saw David Newman of Do It Marketing speak. I’m a fan.

  1. Buyers are lazy, confused, and befuddled. So make the buying process easy for them. For you writers out there, this also applies to people who are reading your work. Just replace “Buyers” with “Readers”.
  2. Target the work that you want and then take what comes.
  3. If you don’t risk turning some people off, you’re never gonna turn anybody on.
  4. Learn to say NO – you’re defined by the things you don’t do at least as much as the things you say yes to.
  5. A professionally published book says to a buyer “I don’t have to be the first one to trust you.”
  6. Don’t market dog food to the dog. He’s not the one buying it!
  7. The financial impact of the problems I solve need to dwarf my fee.
  8. The formula for a title is: Something Catchy: Specific Benefit or Outcome.
  9. Create content daily.
  10. Offer the following guarantee: I’m better than anyone who’s cheaper, and I’m cheaper than anyone who’s better.


Content Is King

October 12, 2010

Junta42 just released the 2010 Content Marketing Spending Survey, a study on the use of “content marketing” in business. Content marketing is basically an umbrella term for any kind of marketing that delivers relevant, valuable information to potential customers, as opposed to, for example, the kind of ads you might expect from Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, which are mostly going for brand reinforcement. Not surprisingly, small companies spend twice as much (as a percentage of their marketing budget) on content marketing as large companies.

Fifty-nine percent of companies are planning to increase the proportion of their marketing budget dedicated to content marketing, and are expected to spend 33% of their total marketing budget on content marketing.

Some interesting stats:

  • 72% use social media
  • 48% of companies use white papers.
  • 19% use eBooks

The takeaway: white papers, e-books, and other relevant, high quality content is considered to be a widely respected way to expand your company’s customer base and to improve the salability of your product.

Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Branding

June 9, 2010

Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising, and Branding

I’ve been getting e-mails from Penman PR for a while … not sure why … I don’t remember signing up to be on their mailing list … and I was getting ready to unsubscribe, when I saw this.

Okay, you got me. I will stay on your mailing list.

10% Inspiration, 90% Marketing – Books & Modern Media

October 29, 2009

People hate technology. They really do.

Of course, this is a vast generalization, and really what I mean is that businesspeople hate technology. But even that’s not true, because plenty of businesspeople out there embrace it and use it for exactly its intended purpose – to provide a new way of providing something consumers want, and in exchange, receiving monetary profit.

Which means that it’s not that businesspeople hate technology, it’s that business-dinosaurs hate technology, because they’re too blind to realize that change is inevitable, so they should embrace it and figure out a way to incorporate it into their business model.

And for some reason, well-established artists seem to be least creative when it comes to inventing ways to take advantage of technology, because they’re so incredibly stuck in the old paradigm of Intellectual Property. I wrote about this several months ago, and as a self-published author of a fantastic book who’s completely loused up the marketing process, it’s something I think about quite often.

In response to how much easier it is to copy and distribute art today than it was even 10 years ago, an organization called Creative Commons has created a “some rights reserved” license, a.k.a. the Creative Commons license, which lets the copyright-owner choose the conditions upon which copying and redistribution are permitted.

By now, most people are aware, at least vaguely, of the existence of the Creative Commons license. Many, I suspect, still haven’t seriously considered using it. Why? Because using this license requires throwing out all the books you’ve read that tell you how to break into the business. It requires a D.I.Y. approach to publishing, and it requires trusting that if you give someone something for free, the money will flow in your direction. Stephen King tried this approach nine years ago, and it was ultimately unsuccessful. Fair enough – he’s already got a model that works for him.

But Cory Doctorow recently published a column in Publisher’s Weekly about how he’s done exactly that. Here’s someone who clearly has no problem coming up with ingenuitive ways of marketing his work, and has reaped the rewards as a result.

I think we can all learn a lesson from Cory Doctorow, Diablo Cody, Stephen Elliott, and the other mad artists working in the world of modern technology. Come up with something new, and dedicate your time to it.

Because the more time I spend in this business, the more I realize that there are few things harder than finishing a book – but marketing that book happens to be one of them.

16 Ways To Advertise Your Business On a Shoestring

July 30, 2009

Courtesy of SCORE Houston

“If we build it they will come.”

That was an interesting storyline for the classic movie, “Field of Dreams”, but it doesn’t work very well in running a business. The attraction of customers requires marketing, and marketing cost money. Therein lies the dilemma. Most small businesses simply don’t have a lot of spare cash to spend on marketing.

That same kind of “if we build it they will come” myth seems to have attached itself to the Internet. As a result, businesses large and small are racing to build their own websites, expecting that panacea to provide a low-cost, effortless alternative to traditional advertising and marketing. It won’t happen.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m all in favor of websites. Your own site allows you to make information about your company and products available to millions of people, and in more detail than is usually possible in traditional marketing. But, the mere fact that your website is available doesn’t necessarily mean that anybody will actually read it. The Internet is an important part of your marketing solution, but it can’t stand alone.

“If we build it, they will come” doesn’t work. Potential customers will not be attracted to your web site unless you tell them where to find it, and also tell them why they might want to go there. Oops! We’re back where we started. Even your website requires marketing, marketing requires money, small businesses don’t have a lot of money to spend of marketing…and that vicious circle goes round and round.

So what can a small business owner do? How does a business do marketing on a shoestring?

Here are 18 proven ways to advertise your business without breaking the bank.

1) Business cards and business stationery. This is priority number one, and definitely NOT the place to economize. Your business cards, letterhead and envelopes should be first-class, giving you a really professional look, telling your customers that you take your business seriously, and so should they. Oh yes, and if you do have a website, be sure that you advertise it on yours cards and letterhead, and be sure your website is kept up to date.

2) Get those business card into as many hands as possible. Pay a visit to all your family and friends. Leave a small stack of business cards with each one, asking them to hand them out to their friends.

3) Don’t overlook the suppliers with whom you do business. Give them your business card. Since you buy from them, ask if they can use your products or service, or refer you to others who can. When you succeed, your suppliers succeed.

4) Closely behind your business cards and stationary, your “elevator speech” is crucially important. This is your 30-second commercial, which clearly and succinctly verbalizes who you are, what your business does and the value you bring to customers. Write it, polish it until it says exactly what you want it to say in the fewest possible words…never more than 30 seconds. Memorize and rehearse your speech until it effortlessly flows off your tongue. Never allow your “commercial” to sound canned or memorized. Make it warm and sincere. Then, deliver your “commercial” at every opportunity, every time you introduce yourself to someone for the first time.

5) Build a networking community. Attend business & professional groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, civic associations or other networking groups, and become actively involved in 2 or 3 of those groups. Have your “elevator speech” on the tip of your tongue, and have a pocket full of business cards where they are easily reachable. Every time you introduce yourself to someone new, deliver your “elevator speech” and hand the person a business card. Don’t forget to ask the other person about his/her profession, and to really listen when they tell you. They’ll be impressed that you are interested, and will remember you as a warm and caring person.

6) Differentiate yourself and your business from the competition. Become news. In your advertising, tell prospective customers how you are different. But, there are also other opportunities to set your business apart from the competition. The news media doesn’t usually concern itself with the “ordinary”. Something is “news” because it’s extraordinary, different from the norm. Look for something unusual about what you do, what you have done, or what you are going to do, and publicize it. If the story is of citywide interest, send out press releases to the Chronicle, and to the news departments of Houston radio and TV stations.

But, don’t forget the small area newspapers and magazines. They are on the lookout for stories of interest to readers in their particular area, and are more likely to publish your story than are the major news outlets. When submitting a press release to a print publication, be sure to send along a photo.

7) Write an article that demonstrates your expertise. Send it to Houston area newspapers and magazines (and perhaps even some business oriented web sites). Be sure to tag the end of the article with your name, business name, phone number and a reference to your product or service. If your article is actually published, get permission from the publisher to reprint the article. Make copies and include the article with your sales letters or other marketing pieces you might send to customers and prospects. Publication tends to elevate customer perceptions concerning your expertise.

8) Offer yourself as a public speaker. Volunteer organizations, civic associations, service clubs, Chambers of Commerce, libraries and other organizations often need speakers for meetings. Toastmasters International might be a good place to start. Toastmasters is a nonprofit educational organization that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.

After you’ve had some practice in public speaking, at least enough to feel comfortable in front of an audience, seek out speaking engagements. It’s a good way to get publicity for your company and to shine your image as an “expert” in your field.

9) Do product demonstrations. What groups might be interested in learning how to use some of the tools of your trade? Obviously, you won’t teach them everything you know but, in appropriate situations, you could demonstrate enough to get them interested in your product or service.

10) Stay in constant contact with customers and prospects. It has been shown that one exposure to a marketing message is usually not effective in changing a customer’s buying habits. That’s why you see the big, national advertisers running the same TV commercial, over and over, ad-nausea. Repeated impressions are essential to cut through the vast amount of advertising clutter to which we are all exposed on a daily basis.

Small business owners can’t afford that kind of constant advertising in the mass media. But, there are other ways to maintain an ongoing conversation with your customers and prospects. In exactly the same way that SCORE utilizes this newsletter to stay in contact with you, our clients, you can use e-mail (at very low cost) to stay in contact with your customers, reminding them of your products and the benefits they offer. It costs more, but you can also send out sales letters or other direct-mail pieces precisely targeted to your best prospects. Highlight your product features, but don’t stop there. You must explain how those product features will benefit the customer. Incidentally, drop a business card in every letter you send.

11) If you use a car or truck in your business have your business name and contact information professionally painted on the side of the vehicle. That turns your essential transportation into a traveling billboard. If you don’t want the business name painted on the vehicle, consider using magnetic signs.

12) If appropriate to your business, make “cold calls.” Either by phone on in a personal drop-by visits, call on those people who are most likely to need and want your products and services. Utilizing that “elevator speech” we discussed earlier, briefly describe what you do, and ask for a no-obligation opportunity to talk to them about ways you can help them meet a need or solve a problem.

13) Learn to ask existing customers, prospects and casual acquaintances for referrals. When you get them, be sure to follow up on the leads.

14) Use other people to sell your product or service. Instead of (or in addition to) selling your products yourself, look for existing mail order companies that would be willing to include your products in their catalogs. Could your product be effectively sold on such websites as e-bay?

15) Run a contest. Make the prize something desirable and related to your business.

16) Take advantage of every opportunity to have your business listed in a free directory. Professional associations often publish such directories.

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