First, thank you to Michael, a good friend always ready to talk Marketing with me and inspire me to understand my vision.  Today, as he and I chatted about social marketing and blogging, I started to realize something not everyone knows… 

Let’s start off with an understanding that social marketing IS the medium of the future.  Bingo cards in magazines (if you are too young to remember Bingo cards, then be grateful that the world moved on from this painfully slow form of marketing!) and mailing letters are so obsolete.  Don’t get me wrong.  Direct mail can be very effective if executed well, but there are so many quicker more efficient ways to network with the today’s generation.  Even phone calls are becoming a relic of the past. 

One of the major ways is MySpace!  Of course, this medium…blogging is a fav-o-rite of mine, but MySpace is another flavor.

It seems like 99% of the MySpace pages miss the main rule of marketing.  KISS—Keep it simple stupid!  As I look over the profiles available on MySpace, there are some that are very nice.  Graphical layout compliments the message and even promotes the reason for approach.  However, as a rule….they are painful!  My general rule is clean clean…and did I mention clean?  Remember, MySpace is user oriented.  It is meant for the human element to gather and meet with friends.  Create a network and find like minded people interested in the same things you are…whatever that may be.  If you offend the masses, you loose friends.

It like that guy who is always wearing an ugly shirt when he goes to a party.  His wife loves him too much to say it is ugly, so she just rolls her eyes as everyone gasps and points.  Don’t be that ugly shirt.  I mean, don’t let your MySpace page be that ugly shirt.

What can you do to Succeed in MySpace?

  • If you are graphically challenged, GET HELP!  MySpace is full of people offering help and there are tons of free skins online.  One such place is http://www.freecodesource.com.
  • Remember that this represents you.  Don’t be scared to be different, but don’t turn people off either.  If you want to turn a module alittle to the left or right….go for it.  Distinguish yourself!
  • Make your information reflect things that would interest other people.  Draw them in…get them to contact you.
  • Invite people to your MySpace.  Get out there.  Share interest and exchange invitations.  If you have a blog, then promote it here.  Use and abuse this space.

By no means am I an expert on pretty-ing up a MySpace page, but they don’t have to be unattractive.  In a few short hours, I made my page (have a look at http://www.myspace.com/marketing_goddess).  Is it an inspiration for Michelangelo?  Not likely…but it is not going to start a mouse race for the little black X at the top right of the screen either!

If you stop by MySpace page and want to leave me a comment, do it! Do it! Do it!

By the way, that was a call to action.  Next blog, we talk about asking for what you want and directing your customer to the sale.  Again…I get to change my mind!

If you have specific topics you would like for me to address, then give me the test.  Ask!!!

If you have questions, comments, or emotional outburst….well, that is why I am here! ~~Diana, Marketing Goddess

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Today, my goal is to pass along the one greatest mistake any marketer (business owner have to be marketers also!) makes in the development of a business or marketing plan.  It applies to all industries, all businesses, and all product/service lines.  Ready?  Because I won’t sugar coat the truth…here is the 64 thousand dollar question:  Do you know your customer?  If you are shaking your head confidently, then I you have all the customers you need and you can stop reading now!  <keep reading—that comment is a test to see if you read my last blog!—world domination remember??> 

You see, I work with many great companies in a week.  Some have great inspiration and a fabulous team.  Some have a great product, but a weaker team.  Some have great competition, but a driven group of individuals wanting a piece of the pie.  The one thing they all lack is an unerring knowledge of their customer.  When I ask them the questions that are vital to successfully selling their product, I get a mixture of “I guess,” “I think,” and “I assume.” 

BTW…it is my belief that the word “assume” should be banned from the English language!

Anyway…soapbox aside, these phrases are a plan for disaster.  You have to know what your customer likes and dislikes, know where he shops, what he eats and drinks, what kind of car does he drive (hint: financial as well as culture implications)…dont stand back and guess….go out and find Elvis!

Here is another of my famous “Marketing Goddess” checklists for knowing your customer:

  • Personality Profile:  This includes knowing the basic information about your customer like what they like to do with their spare time, what does their house look like, who are their friends, do they have children, large family vs. small family, large town mentality vs. small town mentality….and on and on.  All of these things are triggers for buying habits.  Think on this…someone who grew up in a large family is more likely to be thriftier, so you will need to go the extra mile when explaining benefits (NOT FEATURES—ask if you don’t know the difference!).  You will really have to work on integrating your product into their “need structure” as opposed to their “want structure” because they tend to spend money on what they need first.
  • Know Your Customer on Sight:  Do you have a mental picture of your customer base?  This will be more than one person, so I tend to think of it as a group family reunion picture.  Look across gender, age, race, ethnicity, hobbies….these will be the physical features of the person you are seeking.  I recently did some work for a tattoo company.  While at dinner, one of the ladies started to tell me how she had always wanted a tattoo, but she was scared to get one because she might not like it.  This is the customer!  Know that person when they appear in front of you. Why??…keep reading.
  • Engage and Listen (do these simultaneously):  It is important to ask the questions you want to find answers to…BUT…engage and listen.  People love to talk about themselves.  If you are interested enough to listen to them talk, they will talk your ears off every time.  Crazy part of that…they will think you are the best conversationalist in the world!  So, it goes something like this…”what do you do in a day?”….They answer.  Never never ask yes or no questions.  Always ask questions that lead to another question or a detailed answer.  You can feel free to jump in with questions as they talk like “how many kids/dogs do you have?” if that is what they are discussing at the time as you go (this is called engaging).  Engaging is as simple as asking the right questions on the topic they are discussing so it shows them you are listening!  They feel like you are really interested…and you really are!  In the instance above, with the lady who wanted the tattoo, I found out what was holding her up, if she was bothered by the idea of the pain, that she had been looking through shops (tells me what stage in the buying process she is at), how her husband felt about it, and if she had found something she liked!  That was a short conversation of less than 10 minutes.  Then, I left her with the website address and talked to her about a few features that addressed what she had told me.  Was it successful?  It was—she called to rave about the site and tell me of her purchase!
  • Understand Their Motivations:  This is possibly the most important factor.  This will tell you what makes someone act or take the action you want.  There are three big motivations: security, money, and prestige (power).  These things are not always connected and NOT always self-directed.  Example—if you are selling a security service, knowing that someone travels a lot and wants to make sure their family is safe while they are away is gold to you!  Or, if you are selling a phone reminder service for the elderly, knowing that someone has elderly parents in another city that they worry about is your cue.
  • Think Like They Do:  Ok, so now you have all of this information.  Use it to think like your customer.  What services or products do they use?  Can you add to that?  Can you create a product or service that they would want to go with it?  Do you have a product or service that you can create a marketing slant for each of the audience you have discovered?  You need to tailor your approach to each of the groups you have found.

Hint Hint Hint:  Know ahead of time what action you want your customer to take.  Do you want them to sign up for a newsletter, post on your blog, or buy something?  Ask yourself…how do I move them that way?

Now, Plan B:  Always be prepared with an alternative plan of action.  For instance, what if someone is not ready to use your service or buy your product?  Do you really want to loose your marketing investment on them because they are not comfortable and ready to buy?  NO WAY…give them other options.  Post on the blog, sign up for my newsletter (Elvis information), fill out a survey for a discount, get a free informational white paper…give them something and keep working on them.  One great example of this is John Roulet of Gold Standard Management (http://www.unleashyourtiger.com).  He gives away a free white paper called “Key Principles of 21st Century Management” when you register for his newsletter.  Find an alternative plan of action and provide incentive!

The test is when you can pass your average customer at dinner or in the grocery store, drop a slight hint on them about your business (please…dont annoy people…this is your test, not theirs!), and they want to know more.  Remember, the key to any good marketing is not getting the sale from the beginning.   Your goal is to develop an ongoing relationship with your customer, “Mr. or Ms. Ideal Customer,” and then keep them in your sales channel.  Marketing theory says it takes 3-5 contacts with a customer before a sale.  So, think of this as a first date.  Learn what you need to know about them.  Look alittle deeper…what are their hobbies, interests, favorite colors, favorite foods…you name it, you know it!  Every piece of intel is important to your success.  Because your real goal is to “Find Elvis” or that collection of traits that will give you insight to your customer.  When you have that golden collection of traits that sell to your customer, then you will be able to approach the market with a new understanding of what you should offer, incentives, and services that make that clickable combination of widespread, repeatable sales.  Don’t wait until “Elvis has left the building” to go searching for your perfect customer (make that CUSTOMERS!)

Next posting?—A theory from my hero, Jack Welch, about taking your product or service into a new market.  Maybe…again…I get to change my mind!
If you have questions, comments, or emotional outburst….well, that is why I am here!
Diana, Marketing Goddess (Magic Touch Marketing @ www.marketingsc.com)

First, a grateful acknowledgement to Tim Totten of Final Embrace for giving me a well needed kick in the blog!  I met Tim yesterday while doing some blog marketing and he reminded me that my blog was suffering from malnourishment.  I promised Tim that I would get my blogging act together!  And the Marketing Goddess never breaks a promise!  So, here’s to you Tim!

My favorite quote on the planet:  “The best definition of insanity is to do things the way they’ve always been done and expect different results!”  Although I don’t remember who said it (I could goggle it), but that is not the point.  Its application to marketing is the point.

Let’s look deeper!  It is often the case with niche markets that they forget those creative solutions that make them stand out from their competitors.  Those really important “Ah Ha!” and “What If” moments that sparks organic growth.  About now, I ALWAYS get the weirdest looks from clients as they point out that they either get as much business as anyone else in their market or they assure me that their services are popular with their customers. 

Always remember:  Marketing has a two sided function. 
1—Attack the Company:  This is a serious microscopic look at your product and service to see where you can reach out to customers even if your company has to change.  Many customers feel the need to defend their companies, but, in fact, it would be like the doctor giving you medication.  It might be bitter and hard to swallow, however, look at it from a detached perspective if you can and take the medication!  The pain only last a second.
2—Dominate the World:  A good marketer will not accept anything less and neither should you.  Which would you rather?  A marketing company who is interested in gaining 5 new clients or 10 new clients?  Granted, marketing is NOT a short term solution.  Great marketing puts you are a road to successfully lining customers up outside of your door and maintains the flow of new business.  It’s not how much business you deserve (all great respect to my hero Jack Welch!)…it is how much business will you settle for?
Once you accept those two ideas, Great Marketing is within your reach!  Now, grab my hand (electronically speaking of course!) and walk outside the box with me.

Ask yourself these five top questions:
1–Do I have a viable market plan?
2– Do I really know what my customer wants?
3–What new trends can I incorporate into what I already do to meet customer needs?
4–Do I have the proper partnerships in place to really maximize my exposure?
5–Are you constantly in contact with your customer base?

A quick case study in dedication to Tim’s market (Funeral Services):
Audience Analysis (this would commonly be a part of your SWOT analysis—ask if you want to know!!):  People who need funeral services after losing a loved one.
1–Do I have a viable market plan?  A market plan will include all the pretty bells and whistles that answer the most important questions…how will I attack?, where will I attack?, what do I want to gain from this attack?, and how much will it cost me?  These are all important because you want to get every $ back that you put into a marketing approach.  So, set goals.  Know what you want and how you will get it.  Also, know how to measure what you will receive for your investment!  This marketing plan will give you a quick and easy map for your marketing.
2–Do I really know what my customer wants?  In the funeral market, one would assume that traditional is king.  But….NEVER ASSUME.  As with any market, your customer decides what is important.  Remember, we are outside of the box.  What if you offer theme funerals?  You’re thinking cheesy right?  Are you thinking of an incredibly patriotic military themed funeral?  Outside of the box says offer your customer what they want to make it perfect for them.  Much the same as weddings, don’t stand at the doorway and wish you could offer this or that.  Ask your customer….”when you think of the perfect funeral, what do you see?”  Make that happen!  Even if you need to hire an event planner…make it happen!
3–What new trends can I incorporate into what I already do to meet customer needs?  Now, the world is full of new and useful social marketing tools that can be used in every facet of life!  For example, do you have a website?  A blog?  An online memorial services page for each funeral where people can get together online to remember their loved ones.  Do you have the ability to offer web cam abilities so long distance relatives can log in to your system and virtually be at the funeral?  Perhaps leave notes of comfort for the family from far away?  Really, walk outside of the box with me!
4–Do I have the proper partnerships in place to really maximize my exposure?  In the example above, perhaps you seek sponsorship or partnerships from FTD (or another large online flower shop).  This way, when people are viewing the services they can send flower to their loved ones.  Are there other partnerships that will support and grow your business?  Reach out to them and explain WHY you should partner together.
5–Are you constantly in contact with your customer base?  This is the most disappointing to me in our online, wired up, constantly connected world.  In past days, we would struggle to make sure we kept in contact with each customer.  Now that is it easier, we don’t work at it.  It takes several contacts before your customers see you.  Do a postcard mailing promoting your “Respect for Military” funerals.  Send out emails to your customer base (opt-in only PLEASE!!) with a short message of services and how you can help prepare.  Get in contact.  Funeral services are always preaching about pre-planning for pre-need.  Take your own advice!

You see, marketing does take thought, planning, and insight.  You have to really understand the people you are trying to reach and then take the mountain to them.  Even if that means doing things in your field that others are not doing.  Don’t continue to walk the same ground because you don’t want people to look at you.  That goes against every marketing grain known to mankind.  THE BASIS OF MARKETING IS….people are looking at you and talking about you!
Now, get out there and start some buzz in your business.

If you have questions, comments, or emotional outburst….well, that is why I am here!
Diana, Marketing Goddess (Magic Touch Marketing @ www.marketingsc.com)

I know…I have broken the unwritten rule of blogging.  I have missed updating my blog.  I can hear the blog gods rumbling disapproval in the distance of the internet.  I hear the teller at the bank and the clerk at the grocery chastising me for my lack of respect of my blogging duties.  Or…maybe not.  I mean, all of those people cant really know about my blog right?  I am sure they are not sitting by their computer every night just waiting for me to log my blog!  And that is just the point that I want to discuss.  PR is vital to the success of any marketing strategy.  That is not the  “giving out your business card” or “placing an ad” approach to marketing.  PR is a whole different and often confused hybrid animal.  It’s a zebra with spots instead of stripes and very few people know how to properly work the PR machine.  But the point is not whether to promote using PR as a part of your marketing arsenal.  The point is not even where to promote because there are tons of free PR sites.  Later in the blog, I will give you my top 10 list of free PR listing sites!  (See…you have to keep reading for that.)  PRweb and MassMediaDistribution have both gotten good paid results for me personally.  The point is that you should promote using PR and that you have to do it correctly to achieve results. 

Big Question:  What is the wrong way?

Well, I am glad you asked!  Remember, PR is geared toward media exposure.  So, trying to sell yourself or your services will not work.  The media can smell a sell job a mile away and will not touch anything you send.  Instead, try writing about:

a      a success story

a      place you have broken into the market

a      a service that you provide that no one else does

a      a new way you are influencing your market

a      a break through in society because of your product

In short, if you can show them the news, they will find you!  There are many templates on the web to show you have to write a great press release.  But, remember….the key is that it HAS to be press worthy!  Sure, you promote yourself and show them it was your press release, but you are not selling the press.  Their job is not to be sold.  You are selling them a story.  To do that, you must excite their news sense and allow them to spread the news of your existence like it is there idea! 

Ok…. Top 10 Free PR sites (in no order):

  1. I-Newswire
  2. PR.com
  3. ClickPress
  4. PR Buzz
  5. USPRwire
  6. UKPRwire
  7. PressBox
  8. PRLeap
  9. 24/7press
  10. The Open Press

Next Blog: Link Building! (Probably….I get to change my mind!). 

Quote of the Blog:  “I mean look at Madonna, there’s a poster of her all over the world when she has a new album and I don’t think they’re any good. But there’s a lot of PR.” —-Victoria Jackson 

Now….if you are trying to figure out who Victoria Jackson is, then I have one more link for you….www.google.com!  If you have questions, comments, or emotional outburst….well, that is why I am here! Diana, Marketing Goddess

Welcome from the Marketing Goddess! In the course of a week, I meet so many people who fall into either one of two categories: desperate or disillusioned.  Those desperate for help are seeking the one saving grace that will save their business or bring them much needed attention from potential customers.  On the other side, those who are disillusioned have tried marketing, by their own hand or inexperienced professional, and believe marketing is all smoke and mirrors.  I can assure you that good marketing can bring a business into the light and great marketing can catapult it into success.  As sure as I am there is not a successful business on the face of the planet that can survive without good marketing (this opinion is starting to bare fruit by the number of Fortune companies that are making CEOs of Marketing professionals), I am equally as sure of one other thing.  Marketing is a carefully applied, well structured science with built in tweak times that allow for adjustment based on your audience and product reaction.

Let me be more clear…a company that puts a marketing plan into effect and leaves it to function without guidance or careful supervision is doomed.  Even the best marketing strategy should be adjusted for competition analysis, market fluctuations, audience reaction, and business partnerships.  If this is starting to sound like a pain that would make a toothache fun, then you are missing the point.  By all mean, Marketing should be where the party is at!  It is where all the crazy “what ifs” and magic “Ah Ha!” moment take place.  But, those moments can not supersede the planning, execution, and revision of a strong marketing strategy.  Enter stage left your marketing consultant.  This is the person who should guide you through the process.  They should make you a partner and make sure that you understand and agree with the approach.  I have on many occasions had to make a strong case to a customer about why we are approaching a market from a certain viewpoint, but any good marketing consultant will be ready with answers to these questions and willing to hear your ideas.Ok…so what questions do you ask a marketing consultant before you hire them?  Here’s a starter list:

  • What has provided the best results in your portfolio?  What has provided the worst results?  What did you learn from each?
  • Considering the scope of the project, where would they suggest your marketing start?
  • Describe a time when your marketing opinion conflicted with your customers marketing opinion?  What did you do?
  • What marketing theories guide you the most?  (Hint: Mine is always to use details.  Old marketing theorem says: “Lie with generalities, tell the truth with details!”)
  • At what point do you consider a marketing initiative completed?  (Review answer above!)
  • What type of marketing do you consider yourself best?  (web, email, PR, direct mail…on and on)
  • References past work with results

While I am not suggesting that you contact the FBI and get blood tests to make sure the person you hire is a competent marketer, I am suggesting that you get involved in their thought processes and understand their approach to marketing.  After all, you are trusting the growth of your company to this person.  You must be willing to believe that they know what they are talking about, have the ability to plan and execute a strong market approach, and know when it is absolutely correct to go back and reevaluate the plan.  The only way to know for sure is to look behind the smoke and mirrors for the science of the master plan.

Quote of the Post:  “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”Red Adair

If you want answers, then please ask the questions!~~Diana

Hello All,

My first official blog!  Its all so liberating.   Alright…on with business.

Whenever someone contacts me about writing sales copy for their website, I always ask the same question:  why don’t you want SEO copy too?  After a painful silence, I start to explain my question because so few people understand the true nature of strong SEO writing.  People fall into two very distinct categories.  Those who want SEO writing without strong sales copy and those who want strong sales copy without a SEO focus.  The question that I ponder so often is WHY?

All SEO experts (of which I can claim a moderate amount of knowledge and experience) and web designers worth the air they breath will tell you that getting picked up by search engines and increasing ranking is the name of the game.  But marketers across the world will unite in screaming the value of sales text that provides a high ROI rate.  Who is right?  Please trust the Goddess on this one (after all, have I ever lied to you before??)…….you have to have BOTH!

While it is true that getting people to your website is important, this is really the childhood argument about “the chicken or the egg!”  Don’t get caught in that circular logic.  If a professional tells you that only one form of writing is important for your website, then they are likely revealing to you their own beliefs and abilities.   Although I strongly advocate listening to the professional that you hire to help you create your marketing strategy and on-line presence, never do so blindly!  Ask questions.  Find reasons.  Compare it with what you know….see…..hear….understand. 

Things to Remember to Help you Find the Best Writer:

  • A good SEO writer should be able to provide you with rankings for keywords to use in the writing of your text. 
  • When searching for a Sales Copywriter, look for someone with examples of their work.  They wont be offended.  They are used to being asked to supply proof.  You should walk away from their writing thinking…..”I want to buy that!” 
  • Realize that Sales Copywriting for the web is WAY different than marketing sales copywriting!  I mean…TONS of difference.
  • Now…the important part…look for someone for your website that can do both of these things.  They should have URLs with results that they can show you.

Wow…time flies when you are having fun!  Plus, I am a Gemini…so I am ALL ABOUT THE COMMUNICATION!

Quote for today: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”–
Henry David Thoreau

Ask questions if you want answers!~~Diana