Monday, March 22, 2010

Giving Up Too Soon

“Great things are not done by impulse,
but by a series of small things brought together.”
Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) Dutch painter

Business owners I meet complain they tried coupons and they didn't work, or the bought an ad or hired a sales force and didn't get the results they were expecting.

A couple things are going on:

1.) inconsistency and
2.) unrealistic expectations

It takes time for new initiatives to take hold and your message must be consistent and you have to be invested in it.

What is your business objective? If you cannot write it down in one or two sentences it's too complicated. If it's complicated, your market won't understand it. Once you pare it down to one or two sentences, select the channels - direct sales force, advertising, facebook, linkedin, twitter, youtube, coupons, etc. etc. etc.

Invest in whatever channel you choose and make sure it supports the one or two sentences you've outlined. If it doesn't re-evaluate and start again.

This approach will not fail you.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 15, 2010

Creative Marketing

Our Guest Blogger Busy Beaver Button Company talks about increasing awareness with the use of buttons:

Where do business owners go to develop themselves? The DePaul University Coleman Entrepreneurship Center offers classes like Finance for Non-Financial Business Owners through the Business Owner Academy, and a Peer Roundtable forum moderated by experienced executives that discuss the challenges of running a company.
The Coleman Center is a business education destination, and they use branded buttons to engage people. Their holiday gift shown here is a 3-inch button made by Busy Beaver Button Co. with an inspirational quote by Walt Disney. Pin it on as a reminder that “If you dream it, you can do it.”
Click here to learn more about the Coleman Center and become a member. Click here to learn about the eMerge Alumni Council that connects graduates with DePaul.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coupon Usage Up 27%

Guest Post by Gwen Bauer of Open Me Marketing.

Gwen started Open Me Marketing with her husband Derrick, 3 years ago. Armed with a degree in Art History and Graphic Design, Gwen worked at several advertising agencies, including DraftFCB and Seven Worldwide. She started Open Me with her husband to follow her dream of helping small businesses flourish while using her graphic design skills. They most recently added Print Me Coupon to their marketing mix to capture the online market. Any business can create a coupon by going to The monthly fee is $20 a month. The business can get the first month free by typing FreeMonth in the promo code. Here's Gwen's perspective on effective coupon marketing:

"Bandwagon or no bandwagon, I have always used coupons. Ten years ago when I started dating my husband, I carried around the Entertainment Book. When we would get ready to go out, I said, "OK, we can only eat where we have a coupon from. So you can pick from X,Y,Z places." As much as it annoyed him 10 years ago, he is now a coupon addict as well. It is fun! We like the fact that we can save a little and put the saving somewhere else. Whether it be for a drink or dessert or towards a bill or vacation.

Coupon usage is up 27% since the recession!!! Yes, the recession has brought us much heartache and devastation but make the best of what you have and start using coupons to help you achieve a little financial relief. The growing popularity of coupons comes from people looking to save money. Once only found in the Sunday newspaper, consumers can find deals on shopper-friendly sites such as, in their mail box such as your neighborhood saving booklet "Open Me" for your Chicagoland peps, on their phones, on blogs, manufactures websites-everywhere now in days.

Who knows how long it will be "cool" to use coupons but we have heard lots of people say they will stick to their new ways of saving for a while!

How to do coupon marketing well?

1. Vehicle

No matter what form or advertising you do, your vehicle must benefit your business. Weather you pick the newspaper, local direct mail savings booklet, Internet or mobile advertising, make sure your vehicle is reliable, known where you are advertising and is going to get your message delivered. If your message does not get delivered, it does not matter how good your coupon is, no one will reply.

2. Offer

The stronger and appealing the offer, the better the response you are going to get. I have to tell my clients this all the time. Everyone wants a lot of people to respond to their coupon. Ok, then, give the consumer a reason to try your business. What is going to make you change your current habit? How can I get you to try my burger over your favorite one? Something free right? If I gave you a free burger would you come try mine one night? And what happens if you love my new burger? You'll come back for another right? And then I make my money. Offers give consumer a reason to try something new or stray away from what they are used to doing. We all need a little motivation-coupons are motivators!

Strongest offers include something free. ie. Free Entree, Buy One Get One Free or Free Manicure. Secondary offers are usually 1/2 off. ie. 1/2 Off Entree, Buy One Get One 1/2 Off OR 1/2 Off a Hair Cut. "Add On" offers are offers that give away an item or service a consumer would normally "add on" to their order. ie. Free appetizer or Free highlights or Free Waxing.

In the end, you want a strong offer that is geared towards what you do best and are known for. So if you are a restaurant that specializes in pizza, don't have an offer for hot dogs. If you are a nail salon don't have an offer for a haircut. Keep the offers to what you do best, after all, that is what makes your place differentiate from your competitors.

3. Market

Target the market that you do business in or want to. If you have one customer that travels 60 miles away to come to your establishment, that does not mean the majority of people will. Consumer usually travel 3-10 miles to do business. In the city, it is a lot shorter distance. Spend your advertising dollars wisely and target the market that you will best likely get business from.

If you'd like to discuss coupon marketing with Gwen Directly contact her at
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ask the Experts

Since our business is lead generation, my clients want to make sure they are investing their money wisely to generate quality leads that will ultimately result in new business. Almost any business is willing to make an investment they can be sure they will get a return on.

I know for sure that direct calling is the most effective way to build a database of qualified prospects and to learn if they have a need for your service now. I know for sure that if the business imports the data into a CRM and markets to them overtime, they will have a qualified pipeline of opportunities that will produce results over time.

Managing the CRM is the single most basic effective marketing tactic a business can employ. You might be surprised at how many businesses:

  1. Do not have a CRM at all

  2. Have a CRM where the data is inaccurate

  3. Do not consistently update the CRM

  4. Do not insist that their sales people use the CRM in the sales process

  5. Do not use the data that is in their CRM for strategic marketing

Establishing and maintaining a CRM is the most basic, necessary lead management step.

After that, there are a host of tools a business can employ: direct sales, telemarketing, social marketing, pr, events and I'm sure more than I am listing here.

Which one the best? In my opinion it's the one the business commits to and manages wisely, continually evaluating the channel for effectiveness. Any tactic can work if you work it.

Since I am not the expert on every channel, I've invited a group of experts to discuss marketing tactics they think are effective and discuss why to give us all ideas on how to increase the effectiveness of our marketing channels and enable us to use our marketing budget wisely.

Please check back for posts from Guest Bloggers.

If you would to submit a topic for consideration, please email me.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


As a sales professional I purposefully stayed away from leadership roles. I liked the freedom of being in the field and the power of bringing in a new deal. When a new deal was on the table, the squabbles seemed to dissipate and my co-workers came together to service the new client. That's where I like to focus my time and energy.

A few years ago I was asked to be the President of a referral group. I was initially reluctant but then thought I'd love to do it because the goal of the group was new business development and that's what I love to do.

As I took over the leadership role, I inherited the stresses of the President. After each meeting I would receive a host of complaints that included: the coffee is weak, someone is not a strong member, the meeting started late, forms needed to be completed etc. etc. etc.

The complaints started to wear my spirit down. I was new to leadership and I thought I didn't like it.

I struggled with the challenge and then decided the solution was 'to focus on the goal'. If the complaint did not impact the goal positively or negatively, it didn't deserve significant time and attention. The 'coffee is weak' got dismissed pretty quickly.

The goal was simple: to generate more referrals for each other. I would measure the success or failure of each activity by how it affected the goal. We did produce results, the meetings were focused, and we attracted high caliber entrepreneurs to our group.

There was still a challenge though. The meetings now were robotic. I missed networking and working the room. Now that I was leading, I had to focus on the structure and gave up some of what I loved.

I also realized that there was another unspoken goal but it was very present. The goal was 'friendship'. These members truly liked, respected and enjoyed each others company. Although it was unspoken, this goal was equally as important and, to some members, more important than the goal of generating leads.

The goal of friendship added a comraderie to our group that visitors felt right away. It gave us a competitive advantage. It was important to the members, so it became important to me too.

I focused on the stated goal and the unstated goal. The meetings became less robotic, I had more fun, got to do what I loved and the group helped me to learn how to lead.

It was through their friendship that I learned how to lead. Under any other circumstance, I would've moved far from the challenge and focused on getting the next deal. I'm a much richer person for the experience and grateful for the friendships I created.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, February 15, 2010


The greatest tool you have in sales is listening.

One tool that will help you to listen is to repeat your prospects words exactly.

When you do so, the prospect will really start to feel like you've heard them and that you understand them. Then strive to do it. You will not serve yourself by simply mimicking what they say. Seek truly to understand.

If they say their challenge is 'antiquated equipment'. Respond 'antiquated equipment?' wait, and then thoughtfully listen to their response.

You will learn so much.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Social Media

In the new world of social media and connecting, there seems to be a goal to connect to as many people as you possibly can. I see thousands of connections on people's Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Before social media, if you gave out a name as a referral, it more often than not meant that you knew this person, could vouch for their work and their integrity. Before social media, you might be careful before you gave out that name because you understood how the professional performed was a reflection on you. Referrals really meant something. The receiver of the referral had a level of confidence in it.

With social media, it's not always the case, a contact could just be a name on a page.

I personally like the "I can vouch for this person" approach. If there is a professional on my LinkedIn page it means that they are a professional I know and believe in. I like the effortless way I can connect and keep in touch with these people. If my connections do ever grow to 1,000 people, they will be people that I have actually met in person and have some sort of connection with.

Personally knowing people and understanding their value and being able to help promote them is the power of networking.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]