One cost efficient way banks can increase leads

I started making videos for busy professionals a few years ago. I had a lot of experience in writing articles for our local newspapers and for my blog.

My initial hope was to just write website content and do some email marketing. 

After an experiment or two, I quickly realized that turning the blogs into animated videos was the way to go. 

Why?

Well, it works!  

  • Animated videos can easily pass compliance when done correctly
  • Stand out from your competition
  • Americans perform 4 times as many video views as they do Google searches.      
  • Adding video to your email campaigns can increase click rates by 300% (Wistia)
  • Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text. (Psychology Today)

(Related: How to Create Videos That Increase "Hot" Leads Guide)

For example, Decatur County is using video every month in their email marketing.

Check out this one on "Easy ways to improve your credit score."

And "How to avoid NSF and overdraft fees."

You will notice that they do not just advertise how great their bank is and how many different options they have.

They are simply sharing great content that is useful to their customers and anyone else that gets this newsletter.

Marketing is much different than it used to be.

You will not be able to bombard people with features, advantages, and benefits. 

You will have to create your own content, in your own voice, and it needs to be helpful.

Also, animated videos can be done in-house or can be outsourced for much less than other forms of advertising, i.e. billboards, print media, sponsorships, etc.

And you should get started while you still have time.

Very few banks are using video properly and this will be an easy way to stand out in a very crowded market!

Get a FREE copy of the How to Create Videos That Increase "Hot" Leads Guide

Click below for the done-for-you version of video content.

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It's time to create your own content

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I remember it like it was yesterday.  

I was seven years old and my dad had fallen asleep watching some awful golf tournament on a Saturday afternoon.  And not just asleep.  The snoring had reached jet engine levels.

And then a commercial asking where’s the beef came on and I thought it would be my chance.

As I snuck up to the TV to switch the channel, my dad said, “Hey, what are you doing...I’m watching Tom Watson on the 18th hole!”

It was like he had a 6th sense that would have never qualified for an M. Night Shyamalan movie.

Fast forward 30+ years.  

My children primarily watch Netflix and PBS, both commercial free-ish.  The first time we really watched a regular cable channel with commercials, they wanted to know where their show went each time a commercial came on.

It’s not that they don’t know about commercials.  They are just numb to a lot of advertising.

Marketing is much different than it used to be.  Being able to rely on interrupting someone’s day to sell them something is no longer a thing.

We have gone from 500 marketing messages a day to 5,000 a day.  

People are smart and ignore the sales pitches.  They research on their own and gravitate toward authentic content that resonates with them.

You will not be able to bombard people with features, advantages, and benefits.  You will have to create your own content, in your own voice, and it needs to be helpful.

Why?

Your own content can express your real voice, brand you as the expert, and resonate with your target customer.

If you are a real estate agent, create a video like the following:

Pricing your house to sell

If you are a financial advisor, create a blog post like the following:

The Sky is Falling!

If you are a banker, use email marketing like the following:

Tips to improve your credit score

You get the idea.

Creating your own content will not immediately create revenue.  But no legit marketing does. There are lot of promises, however, it’s a process.  

And this trend isn’t going to reverse itself anytime soon either, so now is the time to get on board.

Click below for the done-for-you version of video content.

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Stop comparing email marketing to email!

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When I started this business, I was more focused on email marketing than video.  

And rightfully so. 

As a busy professional, email marketing is the best bang for your buck. The video you use lets you stand out in a crowd and tell a compelling story.

I’ve since flipped my focus.

Why?

Like the ending of LOST, email marketing is misunderstood.

Most busy professionals only focus on who’s not engaging with their emails instead of the warm leads that are trying to give them money.

Here are few real life examples of this (I’ve changed the names to protect the guilty.)  

  • Bob the Banker - "So, from my emailing, it’s not who did tap in and review….but more of the ones that don’t; and if they move me to spam or block me due to getting emails, not good!"
  • Ira the Insurance Agent - "I know we had a 40.3% open rate and a 18.8% click thru (double and triple the national average by the way), but I think that didn't work very well.  I mean, why didn't everyone open the email?  Some people say they didn't even see it.  Maybe this isn't for us."
  • Fred the Financial Advisor - “We only had 90 people click thru and watch the video...we need more.”  Me - “How many people did you send it to?”  Fred -“Oh….um..not sure.  Corporate sent it for me.”

You can't compare email marketing to email.  
Compare email marketing to marketing!

Would you have this same reaction to these other marketing methods?

  • Your direct mail will not be responded to, by everyone.
  • Your TV commercial will not be viewed by everyone.
  • Your newspaper ad will not be seen by everyone.
  • Your radio jingle will not be heard by everyone.

Several clients are having a lot of success by sending high quality content directly to their existing and potential customers.

For example:

Julie Yant   Marketing & Business Development at  P.E.S.T., Inc.

Julie Yant

Marketing & Business Development at P.E.S.T., Inc.

Charles is helping my company receive results with video marketing. His videos are helping with brand awareness, as well as scheduling work, as a direct result of sharing them. I posted our latest video in our monthly newsletter and we not only booked several appointments, but sold a couple of large jobs as a result.

  • Your email marketing will have your personality and be helpful.
  • Your email marketing can be tracked.
  • Your email marketing is very cost effective.
  • Your email marketing will generate warms leads.  Every time!

and

  • There are 3x more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined. (Radicati Group)
  • Email is 40x more successful at acquiring new clients than either Facebook or Twitter.  (McKinsey & Company)

Email marketing works and it NEEDS to be part of your 2017 marketing plan! 

Click below for the done-for-you version of email marketing, plus video.

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The truth about Christmas!

There are always a lot of Christmas videos this time of year.  But none like this.  This video tells the real story about Christmas!

p.s.
If you are dreading the office holiday party, the Elf on the Shelf, or family, this video is for you!

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You are giving too many options

The other day the kids were at the in-laws and Sarah was having a rare girls night out.  

I had the house to myself!  


I wanted to get a “guy’s” movie on Netflix.  Something with a lot of car chases and shootouts.  

I begin endlessly scrolling through the Netflix screen.  Endlessly.

Fast forward to a few hours later.

Sarah arrives home and I have just started Skyfall.  

“What have you been up to?” Sarah asks.  

I wasn't really sure. 

It appears that I had been scanning Netflix, watching movie trailers, and overthinking my options.  

I had too many movies to choose from and I became overwhelmed.

The same can be true of your business.


Giving your customer too many options is giving them no option at all.


Take this case study for example:
Sheena Iyengar, a professor of business at Columbia University, conducted an interesting study in 1995. She set up a display of 24 samples of jam for customers to taste, and every few hours, she switched to a 6 sample set. The results were astonishing: 60% of customers stopped to try the jams when the selection was large versus 40% when small; and 30% of those that stopped when the selection was small purchased a jam, versus 3% when the selection was large.

A great example of a business that understands this is PCS, an I.T. company in Knoxville, TN.  

Like most I.T. companies, PCS offers over a dozen services.  However, they strategically package their services to make it easy on the customer.

Does this mean you should eliminate all but one of your different products and services?  

Nope.  

  • Do focus on your best one or two options that customers want.
  • Don’t overwhelm people with all of the different things you can do.  
  • Do tell them the specific thing you do that makes their life easier.
  • Don’t give your customers open-ended options.  Give them packages.
If you try to be all things to all people, you run the chance of being nothing to nobody (yes, I know that is a double negative:)

After you have dazzled your new customer with your primary offering, you will begin understanding their other needs.  Then you can begin showing them all of the other cool toys you have!

Oh, I still haven’t watched Skyfall.

Discussion questions:

  • Do you have Netflix?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What is the primary product or service you can/should offer customers?

 

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Why email marketing works

I’m often asked, “why don’t you quit your job?”  

You see, I have a full-time job.  A full-time job that I LOVE.  

My job is to provide training and personal advising to small business owners on how to succeed in their business.  Most of the services I provide are low-cost or FREE.  People like free.

And I’m often asked, “why don’t you start your own business?

Am I too scared?  Does my own advice not work?

Nope.  A lot of folks miss the part about me LOVING my job.  And this whole “Increasing Leads with Video Storytelling” business is working out pretty well too, so I am able to have the best of both worlds.

But I will admit that having a full-time job, a lovely wife and three kids, does not leave me a lot of time to operate my own small business.

That’s why I love email marketing.  

I can set it up to send anytime and check my inbox when I’m not on the clock.

It works on its own when I’m working on my own.
And the best part?  IT WORKS ON ITS OWN!

I get good leads every time I send out my email marketing.  EVERY FREAKING TIME.  

Sometimes, it’s not a lead.  Sometimes, it’s a straight up sale!  

Why?  Isn’t email dead?  Everybody is on Spacepage, Instaface, and Snapgram, (yeah, I’m a heavy LinkedIn user) right? 

  • Well, there are 3x more email accounts than Twitter and Facebook accounts combined. (Radicati Group)
  • And email is 40x more successful at acquiring new clients than either Facebook or Twitter.  (McKinsey & Company)

And yes, adding video to your content gives you another major boost.

  • 70% of internet traffic is now video (Cisco) and 80% of internet users will click on video or images in their search results before clicking on anything else (webwalkersolutions)
  • In fact, adding video to your email campaigns can increase click rates by 300% (Wistia)

This is why you will see video in almost every bit of the email marketing I do. 

It doesn’t just work for me, but also works for other folks too.

I recently created a video about termite control for PEST Inc. and they used it in their last email campaign.

Owner, Julie Yant said,

“I posted our latest termite video in our monthly newsletter and we not only booked several appointments but, sold a couple of large jobs as a result.”

 

There are several right and wrong ways to do email marketing, but the key is just getting started!

Ready to boost your leads with email marketing?  Feel free to email me with any questions at all.  Or if you want it done for you, I can help there too:)

Contact me today!

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Whoa, you've got a big belly

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I just got back from a conference in Orlando.  This really means that my family just got back from Disney World.  I attended the conference more than I normally would, to get a break from that magical place.

It's hard to explain how much fun and exhausting 7 days in Disney was with three kids, ages 7, 5, and 3, but I'll give it a shot.

First, just the facts.

  • We rode 52 rides
  • We each collected 23 character autographs
  • We went to 15 shows
  • We walked 42.8 miles or 51.2 miles (Fitbit and iPhone couldn't agree)
  • We spent one of the children's college funds to make this happen:)

Impressive, huh?

Now let me tell you a story.

On the hottest day at the Magic Kingdom, we got to the park before it opened.  We got in early, because we went to a character breakfast and ate a huge buffet and met Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.  

After many miles walked, shows watched, and several temper tantrums, we decided to ride Splash Mountain to cool down.  We waited in line for 80 minutes (no FastPass this time.)! Thankfully my girls found a newly married couple, Becks and Matt from the UK, and chatted the entire time.   By the way, Ava and Lilly may have a future in sales.

After the ride, Lane, my 3-year-old son, had to go potty for the forty-eleventh (a real number in my world) time. 

On the way out of the restroom, Lane was skipping and came to a dead stop.  He spun around and pointed to the rather large gentleman behind us.  After a second of awkward eye contact, Lane said, "Whoa mistew!  You got a big ole bewwy!" and points right at the man.  The man doesn't smile.  At all.  After one more awkward second, we booked it out of the restroom and had a discussion about what we do and don't say to others.

This capped off a very fun and exhausting day.  We got a few overpriced Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwiches and headed back to the room.

The facts of the trips were more informative, however, the story was more engaging and created more of a connection.

People buy on personal connection and emotion, more than facts.

The best product or service doesn't always win.  The product or service that can makes a personal connection and evokes emotion, does.

The video below is a great example.  Termites cause billions in damage to homes and I could make your eyes glaze over with the facts.  Instead, this one minute story does an even better job.

PEST Inc. was able to use this video to not only get leads, but also get new customers!  Simply sending a fact laden brochure doesn't do the trick.

So, the next time you decide to tell someone about your years of experience, proven ROI, and about your great customer service, do it with a personal story.  

And yes, video is an awesome way to tell stories.  

Click below to start telling stories with video today!

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Sowing seeds of prosperity

The Two Farmers

Once upon a time there were two farmers.

The first farmer planted his seeds early, watered regularly, and sprayed for bugs.

The second farmer planted late, watered when he could, and never sprayed, because...well, who has time for that?

He did buy a super duper crop that a friend of his told him about that was guaranteed to work with no effort at all.

When it came time for the harvest, the first farmer did well. Really well!

The second farmer, not so much. He had a couple of good crops, but mostly weeds.
He didn’t understand. He planted a few things, but really, this whole farming thing must not work. The first farmer must have just been lucky!

The first farmer wasn’t really a better farmer. He was however, more focused and patient.

Marketing your business is very similar.

When one busy professional, has a plan, is different, and markets regularly he is “lucky.”

When another wings it, sounds the same, and markets only when he is not busy (which is never) he is not so lucky.

The question is, do you want to create your own marketing luck?

Of course you do!  Click the pic below to plant your own seeds!

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I've been watching you

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I recently had a new client contact me to let me know they were ready to buy. I didn’t know that they were even looking, much less ready to buy.  She stated that she had been wanting to do video for a while, but the time had not been right yet.  She said, “I've been watching you”, but not in that Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction sort of way.  In the “I’ve been reading your blog posts and watching your videos” sort of way.  This had eased her concerns and motivated her to get going.

Instead of wondering what took her so long to buy, I was just happy that I had been top of mind for her.  Why?

Because, people are ready to buy, when they are READY to buy.

According to The Ultimate Sales Machine (shady sounding title, but a good book) says this:

  • 3% of people are ready to buy now
  • 7% are open to buying your product, but not actively pursuing it
  • 30% are neutral, meaning they haven’t even thought about your products (but may be interested)
  • 30% think they are satisfied with their existing solution (but not completely unreachable)
  • 30% are completely uninterested in your product or service

So do you only focus on the 3% and ignore the other 67%?  

Decatur County Bank knows that not all of their customers are in the market for a CD, however, they may be at some point.  

The same goes for all of their products and that’s why they send out a monthly newsletter with engaging videos.  They want to be branded as the expert and be top of mind for their customers.

This is a little like a farmer planting seeds, knowing that the harvest will come later.  

Are you planting seeds for the 67% who are not yet your customers?

Want to get some of your own seeds?  Download the FREE How to Create Your Own Video Guide, on my home page.  

By the way, I have seeds too:) Click below!

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The advantage you are not using

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I remember attending one of my very first networking events where entrepreneurs exchanged leads.  I sat there eagerly waiting on my turn.  I had rehearsed my elevator pitch and had it down to a pat.  However, being the good little networker, I wanted to make sure I took good notes and listened intently to what others had to say.

  • First, an insurance agent.  He had years of experience, put customers first, and was very knowledgeable.
  • Next, a real estate agent.  She put customers first, was very knowledgeable, and she had years of experience
  • Then it was the financial advisor’s turn.  He had years of experience, was very knowledgeable, and put customers first.

Seriously.  It happened just like that.  Then an I.T. professional, mortgage broker, and consultant basically gave the same elevator pitch.  And one of them told a joke.  A lame joke:(

After 45 minutes, I had a fistful of business cards of people in different industries and couldn’t tell you the difference in any of them.

What is the difference between you and your competition?  If you don’t know, you can bet your customer doesn’t know either.

Are you faster, more flexible, more creative, are you truly the expert in this industry, are you available 24/7, offer a unique technology, serve a particular customer, have the best partnerships, ship faster, deliver sooner, etc.?

It doesn’t need to be all of these things.  One will do.  Just make sure to do it well.  And once you identify it, build your brand around it and make yourself stand out in a crowd.

If you don’t find a distinct competitive advantage, you won’t find more business.  You will simply find more mediocrity.

Check out what Barry Associates did to start the process of letting potential clients know they are different.

Ready to stand out in a crowd and display your competitive advantage? Good.  Click the image below!

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5 video mistakes to avoid

I can still remember our first VCR like it was yesterday.  My dad brought it home in a box that was the size of the refrigerator. We were living in the future!

We were so excited, that we invited my uncle’s family over to watch First Blood with Sylvester Stallone. We just had to fast forward the tape past War Games and Octopussy.   Not really knowing what to do, we simply held the FF button and pointed it at the VCR.  And sure enough, that made the movie go faster.  Awesome!  What we didn’t know is that you could fast forward the movie, by hitting the FF button while the movie was stopped, making it go about 10x faster.  

For the next hour, we took turns holding the remote control, until our thumbs were sore.  After 10 people had their turn, the movie was ready!  And after hearing a string of obscenities in the first two minutes, that would make Louis CK blush, I assumed the movie was over.  However, holding the fast forward button for that long seemed to trump these old Baptists desire to get that devil out of the VCR.

Having invested all of that time, we moved forward with our mistake.  And I learned a bunch of new words.

Don’t get stuck with a mistake, because of time invested and misguided effort!

There is a lot of bad video out there that looks like poor time invested and misguided efforts. Video is a majority of internet traffic and the best way to connect with your customers online. This means you may decide to make your own video.  

If so, here are 5 video mistakes to avoid.

  1. Bad audio - Whether the video is a talking head or animation, bad audio can ruin a good video.  We will watch a bad video with good audio, before we watch a great video with so-so audio.  
  2. Being boring -  Yeah, I said it.  And there is a metric ton of crappy video that is 5-10 minutes of somebody staring mindlessly into the camera and talking about themselves.  Your video should tell a compelling story, with your customer as the hero.  A story with you as the hero is boring.  And the video needs movement, text, music, and some sound effects. 
  3. Adding the kitchen sink - Just because your video needs movement, text, music, and some sound effects, does not mean it needs to be overwhelming.  Too much of anything is not good, and especially true for cookie dough.  Most online video should be approximately 90 seconds.  After that, you better be making the next Shawshank Redemption to keep people’s attention.
  4. Skipping the Call to Action - Your video has a purpose.  You want to educate, however, you also want people to take the next step.  Add a strong call-to-action to the end of your video, i.e. contact me today, sign up for the seminar, click the buy button, etc. 
  5. Not being mobile friendly - Over half of web traffic is mobile and that is only going to increase. Make sure your font and props are large enough for a mobile screen.

Avoiding these mistakes will let you connect with your customer and increase your sales.

Watch this video for an example of what to do.

Click on the image below to let me help you avoid these mistakes and increase your revenue!

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Increase Revenue with Storytelling

With three kids ages, 7, 5, and 3, we tend to watch a lot of Pixar movies.  I mean, A LOT of Pixar movies.  And I have noticed a very familiar theme throughout all of them.  The main character always has a problem, they are helped by an advisor with a solution, and there is a happy ending.  The roles are interchangeable with talking cars, toy cowboys, or a clown fish.

Speaking of clown fish, take Finding Nemo for example:

  • The Main Character - Marlin (Nemo’s dad)
  • The Problem - Nemo was captured by scuba divers, so Marlin has to find Nemo
  • The Advisor - Dory, the helpful new friend
  • The Solution - Dory helps Marlin swim to Australia through the East Australian Current to find Nemo
  • The Results - Marlin and Nemo are reunited with the help of Dory and they all live happily ever after.  Or at least until the sequel.

This story is very similar to the way you help your customer.  They have a problem, you help them with a solution, and there is a happy ending.  

Stories connect and sell.   By the way, stories sell 118% better than facts!  

You want to increase sales and the way to do that is through better storytelling.   Make the customer the star of the story and you help them get a happy ending.

Check out how PCS, Inc. is using a video to tell their customer’s story.

  • The Main Character - Jake, the business owner
  • The Problem - Lost productivity and unhappy employees, due to unreliable wifi
  • The Advisor - PCS, Inc.
  • The Solution - Create a map of wifi hotspots, troubleshoot, and install a better network
  • The Results - Jake is able to now focus on growing his business and stop worrying about the wireless network

They are using this video on their website, email marketing, and at trade shows.

Now let's consider you.  

  • Does your website tell a story?
  • Does your email marketing tell a story?
  • Does your video tell a story?  If it does, whose story is it; yours or your customer’s story?

If the answer is no, then it is time to tell a story that connects with your customer and gives them a happy ending.

Click on the image below to start telling your customer's story and increase your revenue!

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Fix What Ain't Broke!

You have heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Works great with toilet paper. Seriously, what’s there to fix?

However, I can’t say the same for your business.  Or mine for that matter.

Recently I’ve changed my videos.  Instead of just whiteboard videos with no animation, I now have fully animated videos.  

 

Why?  The whiteboard videos were great, people bought them, and I got great feedback.

But I want to stay ahead of the curve and step up my game.

The result?  Increased sales, custom characters, and even better feedback.  

And as for you, think of it this way:

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would've said ‘a faster horse’" - Henry Ford

It is about incremental improvement.  Standing still in today’s market is the same as giving up.  It is easy to only do what has always worked.  The problem with that is ignoring change.  And change is constant.

And it’s scary, because you could fail.  The scarier part…you could do nothing.

Odds are that you are doing 3-5 things to market your business.  And it is the same 3-5 things you were doing a year ago.  It is time to “fix some things that may not be broken.”

  • How much content are you creating and sharing?
  • Have you added video to your site, social media, or email marketing?  (70% of internet traffic is video)
  • Do you have a really strong process for following up with past customers and current referrals?
  • Are you taking on speaking engagements that let you brand yourself as the expert?

This doesn’t mean that you should trash everything you are doing, but it does mean you should make some incremental changes.

Ready to do something scary?  No, not eating at Applebee's.  

I mean get cool video that let's you stand out.  Yes?  Good.  Click the GIF below!  Now!

CLICK THE GIF!  ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT!

CLICK THE GIF!  ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT!

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One Smart Way to Increase Referrals

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Okay, you are going to hate this.  Why?  Because you already know the answer.  However, have you done it? 

Ask your existing clients for referrals! 

Yes, it is that easy.  How often do you ask your best clients for referrals?  If you think that they will simply send them because you are just so awesome, you are wrong.  Your clients are very, very busy people with their own problems.  Sending you referrals is the last thing on their minds.   

And you want to ask your best clients.  My good friend, motivational speaker Tony Robbins (and by good friend, I mean I once bought a DVD set of his) says “People hang out with two types of folks - 1) People that are like them and 2) People they want to be like.”

Before you just blindly send a sad looking email template asking for referrals, consider personalizing the request.  Go through your ten best clients and find something amazing you did for them, and call them (yes, call) and ask if they have anybody they know that would like the same experience.

Also, going into the future, the best time to ask for a referral, is as soon as you have delivered your product or service. 

For example, if I have done a bang up job creating a whiteboard video for a financial advisor and they say, “Wow Charles, this is the greatest thing ever!  Even better than the time I met your good friend Tony Robbins.”, I will then immediately follow up with a request for a solid referral to a financial advisor friend of theirs in another geographic market or a like-minded business, such as a CPA.  

And it should go without saying, that you need fresh content to stay top of mind with your clients, so when you ask for a referral, it won't feel like it is out of the blue.  Check out the link below for the best content to post.

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Easy steps to marketing yourself today!

Marketing is much more than simply advertising or posting something on your favorite social media site.  Let’s take a look at five steps to get your marketing refreshed and ready.

  1. Fine tune your focus  - Know what your strengths are and play to them.  Identify the top two or three areas you can focus on and hone your craft.  For example, be a financial advisor that specializes in educating your clients.  Do not just be another financial advisor.
  2. Who are your customers? -  Since you can’t be all things to all people, not everyone can be your customer.  It’s important to identify the types of customers that want what you are selling, that are willing to pay for it, and focus on them.
  3. Competitive advantage - I’ve sat in a room full of eager insurance agents that are expressing how wonderful their agency is, dozens of times.  They have years of experience, the best coverage for the price, and even a story of adequate customer service.  And when it’s all said and done, I couldn’t tell you the difference from one  to the next.   It’s up to you to know what makes your business unique and find a way to express that regularly.
  4. Marketing message and promotion - Marketing is not doing a lot of different things once.  After you have identified what you do and who your customer is, it is up to you to deliver your message.  Have a marketing budget that consists of 2% - 8% of your monthly fixed expenses and spend it promoting a consistent message that clearly states who you are, the competitive advantage you offer, the types of customers you work with and the desired result.  Email marketing, social media, and networking offer the slowest, but steadiest growth for most small businesses.
  5. Schedule your activities and track your progress - Schedule the activities and do not let anything interrupt it and then do it! 

If you are looking for a good example, check out this real estate agent's video.  She identifies  who she is working with,  what she does, what her advantage is, and promotes it regularly.  And the cool thing with video and email is that it is easy to schedule and track.

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Why You Aren't Getting New Customers

Many of you whom I have met may have noticed I have a teensy bit of a hair problem.  This is not new.   I have been shaving my head for 19 years and have always been a loyal Mach 3 user.  Well one day, I ran out of my Mach 3 blades.  It was bad.  Five o’clock shadow on my head is not a good look.  My lovely wife Sarah, aka the Coupon Queen, had a solution.  She recently obtained a deeply discounted Schick Quattro.  Oh yes, the four blade razor.  I didn’t really have a choice.  I used it.  And you know what, it wasn’t too bad.  In fact, it did a fine job.

   What does this have to do with the busy professionals of the world? 

So many times we give up on our marketing efforts toward a very specific type of customer we want, because they don’t respond immediately.  If we don’t get instant gratification, we try something else. 

Think about it like this:

  • I did 7 sit ups yesterday and I’m still 40 pounds overweight.
  • I put half a tank of gas in my car last week and now my car doesn’t run again.
  • We put our house on the market last Saturday and we still don’t have any offers.

Sounds absurd, right?  But that’s what we do every day with our business.  We’ll try one or two random things for a short period, get frustrated, and move on.

Persistence is the key to getting new customers.

  • If you are implementing a social media campaign, do not expect 1,000 likes and twice the revenue in a week.  It will take time, good content, and a lot of interaction.
  • If you are sending a newsletter, try it out for several months, before you declare people aren't responding to it.  By the way, make sure you have good content.
  • If you are networking and prospecting, do it several times a week.  Not once in a while, as you have time.  Also, make it a point to identify other people you want to work with and give them a reason to want to work with you.  If they are already using your competitor don’t just give up and say they don’t need me.  You never know when they will run out of blades:)
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Stop Telling Us YOUR Story!

So often we hear about the importance of selling with a story.  And rightfully so.

Stories sell 118% better than facts!  

Just tell the right story.  Your customers don't want to hear your story. YOUR story is boring!  Even if you are the best in the industry, support insert-hot-cause-of-moment-here, and just completed a half-marathon.  Again.  

The story they want to hear is THEIR story.  Their story is interesting!  

Make sure you frame your product or service in a way that recognizes the customer, their problem, what the solution is, and end with a fabulous result, i.e. a HAPPY ending to their story.

Check out this whiteboard video that American Furniture Repair uses to tell their customer's story.   

So today, think about one way you can tell your customer's story.  They will thank you.  With money.

And if you want want a super simple content calendar that will help you tell stories, click below!

If you want a whiteboard video to tell your customer's story let me know at yourcharlesalexander@gmail.com or call me at 615-594-7094.

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Generation Gaps by Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Take a look at how Goldilocks and the Three Bears deal with Generation Gaps.  

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To have this clever whiteboard video branded for your business email me at yourcharlesalexander@gmail.com or call me at 615-594-7094.

Let’s consider the different generations each of them represent.

Papa Bear is a Baby Boomer (born 1946-1964)

•They like a lot of structure and specifics.

•Are more apt to appreciate meetings and like to communicate face-to-face.

•They want to know they are valued and needed.

•They are motivated by money and titles and less interested in feedback.

•Tend to be more focused on work, than family.

Mama Bear is Gen X (born 1965-1980)

•May be more entrepreneurial and less interested in structure.

•Want immediate communication and fewer meetings.

•Freedom and time off may be their best reward.

•Want to do things their way and may not be worried about the rules.

•Want a more balanced work and family life.

Baby Bear is a Millennial (born 1981-2000)

•They are participative.

•Want to communicate through technology, i.e email and social media.

•Their reward is meaningful work and whenever they choose it.

•They are motivated by working with sharp and creative people.

•Want a more balanced work and family life.

To work well with others, we need to understand generational differences and learn how to use them effectively in dealing with each person.

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Three Do's and Don'ts of Creating Your Niche

I have three kids, primarily, because me and my lovely wife can't count.  The third of the brood is a three year old little boy.    Lane has red hair, asks approximately 19 questions per minute, and breaks everything.  He is different.  And since the other two are little girls, he is definitely a good different.  Well, not the breaking everything part, but you get the point.

 To succeed in today's small business environment, you need a niche and you need to create a following.

DO: Be different.  Not tinfoil hat different.  Legitimately different.  Customers want authenticity and a reason to like you. 

DON'T: Be the same as everyone else and then boast about years of experience and certifications.  You just sound like Charlie Brown's teacher at some point.

DO: Have great customer service.  Be willing to follow up with your customers after their purchase and give them a reason to brag about you.

DON'T: Have arbitrary policies that do not make sense for the customer, i.e. Frigidaire took over a week to make a minor repair to our brand new fridge.  That's their policy.  They told me that many, many, many times.

DO: Charge a premium for your product or service, if it warrants it.  People will pay for perceived value, even in a market downturn.

DON'T: Try to compete on price.  You may not have the same overhead as a big box competitor, but you don't have the buying power either.  Also, the perception of low price is low value.

Niche examples:

Discussion Questions:

1. Do you have three kids?

2. Well, why not?!

3. What is your niche?

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Chicken Little and Personal Finance Anxiety

I've had several financial advisors fall in love with this one.  Don't let Chicken Little ruin your personal financial goals!

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To have this clever whiteboard video branded for your business email me at yourcharlesalexander@gmail.com or call me at 615-594-7094.

 

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