Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

Scott Smith talks about marketing and branding…

As I was searching the other day for more information on creative advertising, I found some really great information from Scott Smith. This is information that will help with effective marketing and advertising.

In my old advertising and marketing days, I’d always start by collecting deep knowledge of the product or service, and of the category. That included always trying the product for myself, or getting someone I know and trust to try it.

I think this is crucial: if you don’t believe in the products you are selling or know anything about them, how do you expect to speak with confidence to your potential clients? What if they have a question about a specific detail – Can you answer it? What if they want to know more about the products reputation or durability – what can you say about it without having used it?

So, bottom line – Use the products you are selling! Have your friends and family use them! Get feedback. Post the feedback on your site (especially if it’s really good!); if it’s bad you may want to look at other options within the product line. Scott Smith goes on:

…ensure that the product or service [is] up to snuff and functioning properly according to its goals, and that brand or line extensions [are] in place to address various users’ needs or tastes.

We’d learn as much as possible about what the users think, and what they want. Car manufacturers can put all the technology they want into a car, but if a consumer wants a RED car and the manufacturer doesn’t offer RED in that model, the sale is lost. You gotta know stuff like that. Knowing the category is essential to maximizing potential revenues and profits.

The phrase “knowing the category is essential to maximizing potential reveues and profits” is perfect. If you don’t know what your clients want, you are probably waisting lots of time. Find what people want and then give it to them!

How do you find out? One way is by going to a bookstore or library and looking at magazines that your market users may be interested in. What types of products do they buy currently? Who advertises in these niche magazines? What do they offer?

Another way is to ask your market. Do a survey, make a poll or form they can fill out; give them something “free” if they fill out a brief quetionnaire. Do something to collect data that you can use in the future to better meet the needs and wants of your customers.

If you understand the importance of knowing…this stuff, and make it your business to know the answers in your categories, it makes selling and positioning a brand within a Web site whole lot easier…

Great stuff! Now use it (and make comments!)…

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Michelle Sorro’s “Exit Interview”

There have been some great comments on Michelle Sorro and her “exit strategy” – if that’s what you want to call it.  Here are some of her exact words:

“What I signed up for originally is not what I’m dealing with now…”

Well, what did you expect?

“….it’s certainly not what I signed up for…”

Did you want a walk in the park resume builder?

“I don’t even feel like I want to come back to the board room(I’m sorry you feel that way!)…I would like to resign…”(ouch!)

When asked “Would you have quit if you had won?” she replied,

“I may have quit [if I had won]…” (Bold strategy, we’ll see how it works out for her!)

Closing remarks:

“I appreciated the opportunity…I have learned so much about myself…It’s a great way to get to know your strengths and weaknesses…I didn’t think it would be quite like this…I’m quitting in my [boxer’s corner] because there is something going on with my spirit…I can cope with this any way I want so for me, it doesn’t feel like I’m quitting anything, it feels like I’m actually staying true to my integrity, staying true to a process that doesn’t work for me naturally…”

All I can say is Wow – the nerve, and on National TV in front of millions of potential employers – she’s in a tough spot! To see the entire exit strategy, go here:

So, what has happened to endurance, accepting failure, and learning from it?  Michael Jordan, when cut from his high school basketball team, didn’t “resign” or “stay true to [his] integrity” by walking off the court.  Babe Ruth was not what you call an athletic specimen of a baseball player, but he sure worked around that.  When life gets tough, is just giving up the best “moral” thing to do so we don’t “look bad?”  In my opinion, and I may be wrong, giving up makes you look terrible!

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What are you waiting for?

Grrr…. 😉 Now that I’ve got your attention – Does procrastination get us anywhere? Are we satisfied with what we’ve always done? Did we maximize our potential in 2007? The obvious answer for most of us is NO!

What are you waiting for?Do we really believe we can achieve whatever we set our mind to? Do we really want to make changes? Do we feel that “Now” is the time?

As I read Rob Schaumer’s Blog about goal setting, I thought a lot about clients I currently work with: they all want to make changes, see results, and succeed. The one’s that see the most success all have one major thing in common – “[they] never worry about [what they] can’t change, [they] labor only on what [they] do have control of: attitude, knowledge, skills, and work ethic.” (Moller Mission Statement)

A key part of goal setting is implementation! As the saying goes: “Getter Done!”

Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

The Power of SMO!!

Wow, what a change in traffic! Yesterday I added a plugin for and digg, two of the top SMO services on the internet. I submitted a new article about Michelle Sorro from the Apprentice. Today I’ve seen a huge influx in traffic – from 25 visitors yesterday to 761 visitors and counting today! Yahoo! (literally) – most of the traffic is coming from this Yahoo site:

So, if you haven’t got a or digg account, get them and use them. Make sure you submit articles to the right categories and avoid spam. Use the links to “Socially Bookmark” your favorite pages.

Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

Focus, Focus, Focus!

Starting an eCommerce business, or any business for that matter, can be a difficult task. Focus is critical! If we try to do everything at once, we can only expect mediocrity in pretty much everything.

Keep things narrow at first. Focus on the smallest possible problem you can solve that will potentially be useful. One of the biggest problems many new companies make is trying to do too many things at once. This makes life really difficult and can impede our progress. Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages: with much less work you can be the best at what you do. Small things almost always turn out to be much bigger when you zoom in.

The concept of focus is really logical; however, most of us seem to have a resistance to focus. Just remember, when you get to be #1 in your particular niche market and then find that niche to be too small, you can always broaden your focus.

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How do I start a Joint Venture or Business Partnership?

A Joint Venture is a “business strategy where two parties utilize one another’s strengths to positively grow their prospective businesses, creating a win/win relationship.” ( I truly think there is nothing better: utilizing one another’s strengths to effectively grow your business.

Here are a few steps I take when forming a Joint Venture:

Step One: Set Goals about what you want to accomplish with this new marketing strategy – the more specific you are, the better chance you have of realizing these goals. Write these goals on paper so you can see them. “A goal unwritten is only a wish!”

Step Two: Ask yourself: “Who already has a strong relationship with people to whom I might be able to sell a noncompetitive but related product or service?”

Step Three: make a list of company names on paper, then DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Research the companies you think would make great partners with your company. Find out what their clients like best about them. Look at the companies marketing: What do they do now? Who do they target primarily? How could it tie in with what you do?

Step Four: Contact those non-competing businesses and present them with a proposal that is hard to say no to. Show them how committed you are to making this work. Make a list of all the benefits your product or service will bring to their clients. Introduce them to your product or service. Supply them with plenty of information on what you sell, and some testimonials confirming its high quality.

What are steps you all have taken when forming partnerships or joint ventures?

Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

Michelle Sorro: The Apprentice Quitter…

I watched the end of the Apprentice Los Angeles tonight and found it quite amuzing: the teams were being critiqued on a project they did for a bus tour ordeal or something. As the truth came out, Michelle Sorro, who was the Project Manager for the losing team, began to try to cover herself by saying things like “Well, this program wasn’t really what I expected…” and “My inner spirit just isn’t able to perform at it’s best in these conditions…” (quotes are made up but this was the general feel of her argument).

As I listened to the weak reasoning she gave for her failure, it helped me realize that there are going to be excuse makers and quitters everywhere! Some succeed and reach their full potential; others don’t. Why? Why? Why?

I really believed what Donald Trump said – No matter what business you go in to there will be trials and things that pull you out of your comfort zone; however, quitters will never see the success they are truly capable of because they throw in the towel and give up. He went on to point out that he’d much rather watch a boxer go out and fight to the finish, even get knocked out, before seeing him quit or give up early.

How true this is in small business management and eCommerce. The main difference between those that are extremely successful and those that don’t achieve what “they expected…” is one word: PERSISTENCE! When times get tough, when they don’t see immediate results overnight, do they get frustrated and sulk, or do they dig in and use the tools they’ve been given? When they see a little success, do they sit back and relax or do they focus hard and try to capitalize even more on the small success, which will lead to bigger success?

“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” – Napolean Hill

Bottom line – it’s too bad that Michelle Sorro will have to live with the label of a “quitter” (even though she makes about $50 million a year in real estate 🙂 )

Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

Branding Rules!

Good idea – wonder if my wife would be okay with this “marketing strategy”?

Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

Why BUY advertising!?

I hope someone can help me with this advertising dilema. I sell ad space for one of my companies, Highlight Sports. Branding is a concept I’m attempting to engrain in the heads of clients I work with.

My role at Highlight Sports is to promote creative advertising. We provide completely customized DVDs at cheer and dance competitions. In my research I’ve come to the conclusion that a company buys advertising for one of two reasons:

  • Branding
  • Direct sales
  • Branding refers to the process of impressing a company name or a product name onto society’s collective brain. Branding happens with both new and existing products. When you see a billboard that says nothing but “Coke” on it, or you see a NASCAR car that says “Tide” on the hood, or you see a feel-good ad on TV about a car company or an oil company but there’s no mention of a product, that is branding. The advertiser doesn’t necessarily expect you to do anything today — the advertiser simply wants to impress itself on your consciousness. The question that comes to my mind is:

    “How do you teach the importantance of branding to advertisers that don’t seem to know what they are missing out on, that base their advertising decisions solely on ROI?”

    Digital Presence & Marketing Strategy

    Where can confidence take you?

    At “Confidence” is defined as:

    1. full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing.
    2. belief in oneself and one’s powers or abiliites; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance.

    Why is this imporant when it comes to building a new internet (or any) business? Does it really matter if I’m confident in my own abilities?  Isn’t “self-confidence” like being boastful or proud?

    In my experience with small business management, I would say the main factor that separates the successful businesses from those that are not is that one small word – CONFIDENCE! Synonyms for confidence are faith, belief, trust, reliance, dependance, and self-assurance.  I really believe strongly in the idea: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t – You’re right!”  I don’t know anyone who has achieved a high degree of success, be it money, leadership, recognition, or even a great family foundation, that didn’t have confidence.  It is one of the vital keys to reaching our full potential.

    How can we gain confidence in our own abilities?  What steps can we take every day to build our confidence if we feel it isn’t there yet?  Here are a few steps I take that seem to help:

    1. Write out a plan: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  I haven’t always done this but the more I do, the more I believe all the information I read about it.  A plan is crucial in any endeavor: football teams have a playbook of plans, contractors plan things out before building a home, professional speakers have a plan before they take the stage, teachers use a curriculum.

    2. Review your plan frequently: Remember, remember, remember!  It’s so easy for us to make the excuse – I forgot to do that.  That’s why reviewing your plan at least daily can help.  Post the plan on your bathroom mirror, tape it to your car dashboard, write it in your planner, do whatever YOU need to do to remind yourself of steps you need to take.

    3. Tell someone about your plan and ask them to hold you accountable:  It’s far too easy to quit and give up on yourself when things don’t seem to go as easy as you think they should. That’s why it’s good to have someone there to help you through and encourage you to stick to it.  Your confidant may be able to give you feedback that can help you get to new levels too.

    4. Record your progress:  “Small Success leads to Big Success!” I know, many of my clients probably hear this too much.  However, those that do it really seem to be getting to levels that they never imagined were possible.  It can be so rewarding to read back over the steps you’ve taken to get where you are, even if they are very small.  It’s always the little things we do every day which help us get where we want to go.

    5. Revise your plan from time to time: Don’t be afraid to make adjustments.  If a certain defense isn’t working for a basketball team, a good coach will change things up, give the offense a different look to see if it will make a difference.  If he keeps doing what he’s always done, he will most likely get the same result.  So it is with our business plan: we will have to make revisions from time to time; especially if what we are doing isn’t taking us where we want to go.

    What do you all do to increase confidence and bellief in what you are doing?