Archive for the ‘Expert Interviews’ Category

It’s Not Ego, Its Survival…Start Marketing

August 11, 2007

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Joel Kweskin - JDK Marketing CommunicationsA while back my friend and marketing expert Joel Kweskin of JDK Marketing wrote an interesting segment in his email newsletter about how the perception of egotism prevents some business owners and managers from fully marketing their businesses.  This is a behavior  that holds back many of our non-profit clients so I thought it appropriate to probe a bit further with Joel.  Below is a recap of our discussion.

How do you help clients  overcome their pride and begin marketing their businesses?

Sometimes it’s just a matter of a little “tough love.”  After all, I point out; you may be waiting a long time before anyone else offers to sing your praises.  Its one thing to bore everyone at a cocktail party regarding your exploits…it’s another thing in the arena of the marketplace, where it’s expected that businesses point out their virtues in reasonable fashion.

Who do you think are the worst offenders?

Small businesses – sole proprietors – are often reluctant to self-promote.  They’ll network at venues and through networking groups where these “insular” milieus allow for a greater comfort level to talk up their business.  But getting outside those comfort zones is another matter.

I would throw in non-profits as these organizations are started with the most altruistic intentions and promoting anything other than the needs of those they serve is almost unthinkable.
 

What baseline tools do you recommend businesses have in their marketing toolkit?

One of the simplest, more effective “tools” – and certainly least expensive because it appears for free – is the press release.  Written in a compelling manner, its role is to spark interest in the media to look further into the subject and, hopefully, either run it as is or develop their own bylined story.  And, best yet, with accompanying photos, film or sound bites.  Clients reluctant to even do this can put their own altruistic spin on things by reminding themselves that they’re doing the publication (or website or TV or radio station) a favor as well, by providing them with the very lifeblood of their existence – a news story.  Once that story appears as “news” it may be then perceived as less crass or commercial, simply because it has been “legitimized” as a news story.

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  4. The PR Refresh Video
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Your Speakers Video: Tips From an Expert

July 16, 2007

Dr. Larina Kase, PsyD, MBAUpon launching a successful business coaching consultancy and co-authoring the New York Times best seller, The Confident Speaker; Dr. Larina Kase has become a much saught after public speaker and expert on booking speaking engagements.  After a discussion with Dr. Kase in a recent post, Public Speakers, Get Your Video! I decided to invite Dr. Kase to share her thoughts on the use of video to market public speaking services.

  1. Given your experience marketing your speaking engagements, do you think video really helps in getting booked? If so, why?

    Yes! I think that video greatly helps you get booked for speaking engagements. I have a few brief video clips on my site and I’ve been told by meeting planners that they (and others sprinkled throughout my site) are very helpful. Videos are so important because they give people a sampling of who you are and how you communicate. This helps them to see whether your style is a good fit for their organization and audience.I’ve been meaning to get a professional video shot at one of my speaking engagements. I’ll put clips on my site for marketing and use it for speakers’ bureaus.

    Dr. Kase, below is a seminar demo we put together for a client:

    [blip.tv ?posts_id=172087&dest=-1]

  2. If video is such a useful tool why don’t more speakers invest in them?
    The reason I took so long to even put amateur videos on my site  was that I thought that I wouldn’t be able to figure out the technology. People are also afraid of video because it is intimidating to tape and watch yourself. It is, however, a wonderful educational tool and definitely worthwhile. If you aren’t confident in how you look, remember that a professional can make you look good. I wish I always looked like my make-up artist, hairdresser, and photographer make me look for my headshots, but I don’t and that’s why I hire the professionals!
  3. Besides the obvious footage of the speaker, what other elements can be included in the video to encourage event organizers to book you as a speaker?
    I recommend that my information expert and speaker clients include not only footage of themselves in their demo tape and online, but also a variety of headshots, screen shots and clips of TV appearances, your speakers’ bio, testimonials from meeting planners and audience members (on my feedback forms I always ask audience members if they have a testimonial and if I can use it with their name in my marketing), list of clients (companies) who have consented for you to list them as clients, and professional memberships, such as National Speaker’s Association.

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Duct Tape Marketer Talks Video

April 20, 2007

John Jantsch Duct Tape MarketingThose who know me personally or follow my blog understand my passion for the great marketing opportunity video offers small businesses.  Because you hear me talk about it so much I decided to get the opinion of a new media marketing expert.

Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine present John Jantsch as a next generation go-to marketing resource.  John is also the the creator of several business marketing educational products including, Referral Flood.

John was kind enough to break from his busy schedule to talk with me about using video to win new customers.

Can you comment on the ability of video to sell the invisible (showing your value/uniqueness, making an emotional connection, etc)?  When I say invisible, service companies sell an invisible offering but even product driven firms are invisible in many ways to companies unfamiliar with them.

My definition of marketing is getting someone who has a need to know like and trust you – with that in mind, video can help a prospect make a trust building connection faster than words on paper might – much like a sales call would over a sales letter. When it comes to selling a service, or the invisible as you called it, trust is paramount. The first impression given by a video can also turn someone off faster as well.

Why is it that so few marketers (consultants and business owners)  include a multimedia component in their marketing plans? 

I guess it’s because of the perception of high cost and lack of know how when it comes to producing such pieces. Like many things it will become a priority when they understand the potential rewards outstrips the cost and hassle.

What are some ways you might suggest small and medium sized businesses use video online and offline to win customers?

Online it’s a great way to put a personality on the face of the company. I’ve also used it very effectively to help explain how to do something with a product or service, for training and for short client testimonials and case studies.

What do you think about this idea – I suggest small business owners give their company evangelists (their accountant, fellow board members, satisfied customers, etc) their professionally produced company marketing video on business card-sized disc or on video iPOD.  The goal here is to make it very easy for the evangelist to say, “I know someone you should meet…here, watch this”

I thinks it’s a great idea – one of the core referral principles I teach is to make it easy to refer you. Any tools that allow someone to put your message in a prospect’s hands with little work will help the cause.

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Creating Website Copy That Sells

March 23, 2007

Lisa Manion, Copywriting ExpertIn developing websites our goal is not to win design awards but to build sites that meet our client’s goals, most often increasing sales.  To maximize sales I know effective copy is essential, so I have tapped expert copywriter, Lisa Manyon of Write On Creative Marketing Services to teach us the ins and outs of web copy that sells.

Lisa, what are the elements of website copy that turn browsers into buyers?

Want to know the secret of increased website sales? Shhhh. Copy is the DNA of your marketing materials. (This brilliant revelation was shared by top female copywriter Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero) And, it’s true, strip your website of copy and what do you have? (In case you don’t already know, copy is the written part of advertising, marketing and promotional materials.) See, without words, it’s really hard to get your message out there! Copy counts and actually your sales count on your copy. Copy truly is what helps you make the sale.

Back to the question at hand, your copy must speak directly to your core audience. The most important part of copy is the headline and of course the body copy /offer must be compelling and move people through the sales process. Basically, your writing must be interesting; it must motivate your core audience.  Plus, your copy must request action. It’s also important to remember that the PS is the second most read section of copy. While this is true primarily for sales letters, I’ve seen this technique used very successfully in general web copy.

How does web copy differ from other forms of copywriting?

All copywriting really serves the same purpose, to motivate readers to take action and ultimately invest in products or services. When writing web copy, you must consider online factors such as search engine optimization and electronic formatting. A couple of great resources are Web Word Wizardry> A Guide to Writing for the Web and Intranet by Rachel McAlpine and How to Win Sales & Influence Spiders – Boosting Your Business & Buzz on the Web by Catherine Seda.

What are some common copywriting mistakes people make on the web?

As I mentioned previously, electronic formatting is something you need to pay close attention to. One of my pet peeves is using underlining on a web page. Most people realize that if a section of text is underlined on a website or in an e-mail, it’s a hot link. So if you’re underlining for emphasis, this can confuse readers because they expect instant gratification (i.e. redirect to more info) when they click on an underlined section of text.

Another common mistake is simply not asking people to take action and using a passive voice. You must make the web experience as simple and engaging as possible.  Don’t make people guess. Clearly tell them what’s in it for them and tell them how to get it.

Finally, and perhaps the most detrimental is not investing in professional copywriting services. Some savvy business owners choose to invest in training to learn the craft so they have the tools to create copy for their own business. This technique can work and at the very least, it arms the business owner with the information they need to effectively outsource their copywriting. Unfortunately, many business owners think they can simply write their own copy, without formal training and believe they will get the same results as seasoned professionals. Sadly, this is rarely the case.

Christopher Knight offers a great resource at www.ezinearticles.com. Be sure to check out The 7 Biggest Mistakes That Professionals Make When Writing For The Web with guest expert Dr. Pauline Wallin.

Can you identify some exceptional examples of web copy that sells?

Most of the web copy that speaks to me is written by well-known copywriting gurus. Bill Glazer is one of my favorite copywriters. In fact, I now have a rule when it comes to reading his copy. I insist that I have at least two cups of coffee in the morning before opening anything from Bill. I also hide my credit cards just to make sure I don’t make an impulse buy based on his copy. I know copy is really exceptional when I’m motivated to buy especially because, as an insider, I know the formulas that expert copywriters use. The writing style and the offer have to be really great for me to bite. Peter Bowerman and Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero have both written copy that prompted me to buy. Recently I happened upon Alice Seba’s web site and I really like her style, too.

P.S. Lisa Manyon specializes in POWERFULLY communicating business messages to get results. Her work has been featured by the National Association of Women Writers and her article Nine Ways to Network More Effectively is slated to appear in Bob Bly’s upcoming networking guide. Manyon acted as a team leader for Lorrie Morgan – Ferrero’s Red Hot Copywriting Bootcamp. Manyon’s eBook is now available and you can learn more here http://writeoncreative.com/blog/biz/ Be sure to sign up for Manyon’s Musings to receive savvy marketing insights delivered right to your in box www.writeoncreative.com/WOC-Ezine.html Write On ~ Creative Writing Services, LLC. ®

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The Power of Your Press

March 2, 2007

Ellison Clary PR ExpertLike most small business owners, we are always looking to increase our customer base and stabilize cash flows.  Anyone who has worked with me knows that attracting and leveraging good press is a big part of my growth strategy .  When I mention the idea of courting the press some of my clients don’t understand the value; so I have asked a local public relations guru, Ellison Clary of Ellison Clary Comprehensive Public Relations to clear things up for us.

Ellison Clary, a former Bank of America executive and Charlotte Observer writer draws on 35 years of experience in journalism and public relations to enhance the business and reputation of clients. Ellison’s Clients come from segments such as legal, architectural, retail, financial, construction and technology.  Google Ellison Clary for more information.

Ellison’s Contact Information

  1. 415 North Church Street, Suite 113, Charlotte, NC  28202
  2. Phone: (704) 344-0893 and (704) 763-7290. 
  3. Email: eclary@carolina.rr.com

Q:  Why should businesses consider public relations as part of a plan to attract new business?
A:  It is an effective method for communicating with current and prospective clients through various public channels, including print and broadcast media, as well as new media. It also involves such low-tech channels as speeches and face-to-face meetings.

When businesses employ a well-designed, realistic public relations plan along with a clear, concise message, they communicate with the proper audiences for a fraction of the cost they would incur with advertising. That is because, unlike advertising, public relations efforts largely use channels that are free. The major cost of a public relations program is for the time and expertise of the professional who implements and operates it.  

Q:  What should be considered before creating a P/R plan?
A:  Often, a business needs to start a public relations plan with an issues development effort which pinpoints major objectives and prioritizes them. Then it should plan strategically about how to accomplish these objectives. A realistic time line for achieving goals is also important. A public relations professional can help with these early steps.

Q:  What are some of the options for cultivating good P/R?
A:  Options for disseminating the message or messages of a business abound in both the traditional media channels of print and broadcast as well as those of the new media such as Websites and blogs. A public relations professional will work with a business executive to devise a mixture of these channels to approach with a message that is tailored to appeal to each one individually.

A time-tested way to open the door to these channels is with a news release. A news release tells a story the way a business executive wants it told and is a written record of where the client stands on an issue or topic. It contains the major points a client wants to make in a format that is easily understood by the media. It reaches the right media representatives because the public relations professional who uses it knows how to target and distribute the information.


Q:  What are the advantages of using a P/R consultant vs. executing P/R initiatives yourself?
A:  Many precepts of public relations boil down to using common sense. Most people can employ them if they discipline themselves to spend the time necessary to devise an effective message, to develop a program for disseminating it to a wider audience and to follow that plan conscientiously. The vast majority of business executives simply don’t have time to work on this. They choose to employ the services of a public relations professional, instead.  

In addition to Ellison’s insightful suggestions, I would add that video and multimedia are great tools to refresh your press hits.  If a local or national publication does a story about your business get permission to add the material to your promotional video and to your website.  By doing this your press coverage is refreshed each time a new prospect views your promotional media. If you are covered by a news station or television program, read this post to learn how to turn the hit into a promotional video (Full Story).