Online Newsletters – Are they worth it?

I was cleaning out my e-mail inbox the other day and realized just how many e-zines and newsletters I receive. Some of them I subscribe to (like AAF Smartbrief, Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro’s Red Hot Copy, and various blogs via Feedblitz) and read on a daily basis.

Some I’ve subscribed to and wish I had more hours in the day so I could read them.

Then there are the unsolicited ones. Businesses I’ve met at a networking event who take my info and add it to their mailing list in an attempt to generate some sort of brand awareness. But sadly, this tactic doesn’t work.

The problem? Unsolicited newsletters are annoying, and repetitive. Most are regurgitating some “market trend” that doesn’t even apply to me (ex: I had 18 real estate agents sending me their newsletters – most saying the exact same thing and I’m not even in the market for a house!!)

The question becomes – how much time does it take to compile these newsletters? And if people aren’t even reading them or your content is similar to your competition, are they worth the time you’ve invested?

What if you started a blog instead so people could read your thoughts when and how they wanted to. You could track which topics get the most respose via comments and page views. If you have original and interesting content, people will read it. Then, when it becomes a good investment of your time, start your newsletter knowing you have a subscription base.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Word of Mouth Advertising: Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

Something to talk aboutEarlier this week I awoke to find my car vandalized. In the middle of the night someone smashed the windshield, stole my stereo and broke the steering column.

Stressed and frustrated I called my insurance company, GEICO. I was dreading the conversation, expecting to speak with a callous insurance agent that couldn’t care less about my situation. Although I had never before filed a claim with GEICO, I developed a preconceived expectation based on the hundreds of customer service reps I’ve been on the phone with over the years.

To my surprise, the GEICO agent (I wish I remembered her name!!!) went above and beyond.

“Ms. Morris” she said, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been with GEICO for over 7 years. Thank you for being a dedicated customer. I know you might be worried about how this will effect your premium. This is covered under the comprehensive portion of your policy and since it’s a not-at-fault claim, your premiums won’t increase. I’d be glad to help you find a body shop in your area and arrange for you to drive a rental car while your car is being worked on.”

Wow. Thank you for talking to me like I’m an actual human being and not just a number. You exceeded my expectations and now I am telling my friends.

The lesson? People will talk if you give them something to talk about.

If you meet my expectations and nothing more – I have no story.

If you are terrible and don’t meet my expectations – I will bash you.

If you are stellar and exceed my expectations – I will praise you. This is the key to Viral Marketing.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Professional Millennial: My life in Gen Y

I have a secret…I’m a millennial.

I knew how to operate a computer before I knew how to write. One of my first “real” dates was with someone I met Online. Every research paper I wrote started with an Internet search.

Maybe this explains my ridiculous work ethic, my uncompromising idealism, my unwaivering integrity – it’s a part of my generation.

As Claire Raines explains in her article at generationsatwork.com, Millennials (born between 1980 – 2000) are the

“hottest commodity on the job market since Rosie the Riveter. They’re sociable, optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative, open-minded, influential, and achievement-oriented. They’ve always felt sought after, needed, indispensable. They are arriving in the workplace with higher expectations than any generation before them—and they’re so well connected that, if an employer doesn’t match those expectations, they can tell thousands of their cohorts with one click of the mouse.”

And you know what – she’s right. Here’s my story…

In high-school & college I graduated near the top of my class, was in too many extracurriculars to mention, and earned a darned good living working part-time as a telemarketer for an insurance agency.

After college, I entered corporate America and was severely disappointed by the “do-what-I-say-because-I’m-the-boss” attitude that many of my employers exhibited.

Like many Millennials, I job hopped until I found a company that operated with integrity and purpose. Within three months I was the top selling rep in my office. Within eight months I was #3…nationally.

I was wooed away by a company that shall remain nameless and was slotted to earn well over $100,000 a year before I was 26. Because of my ethics and integrity I made a tough choice and walked away because I refused to “sell out.”

Without skipping a beat I started Write Ideas Marketing – which has been profitable from day one. I now get paid to think of ideas that my prior employers not only had at their disposal for free, but actually told me “would never work.” Funny how things work out, isn’t it?

Are you managing a millennial?

If so, I can tell you from personal experience that most of what I’ve read about our generation is true. We are driven, confident and won’t settle for anything less than ideal.

The secret? Keep us challenged. Mentor us. Inspire us to dream bigger. And make things fast-paced. We’re used to instant gratification and find it hard to “wait in line” or deal with bureaucracy. If you don’t, you may see your top talent walk right out your door.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Integrity Selling: An Interview with Fred Sarkari

Recently, I ran across a blog post that made me think. It was a man who openly admitted to double booking an appointment with a client and chose to be honest. You can read my former post by clicking here.

This fascinated me. For years I have been saying that it is not only possible – but essential for a salesperson to have integrity to be successful. So I decided to ask Fred what his thoughts were on the subject…

In a Gallup Poll released in December 2006, the sales and marketing industries represented 3 out of the 4 least trusted professionals. Why do you think sales people are perceived as untrustworthy and how can we change that perception?

Sales people at times get so caught up with the end in mind that they start making promises just in order to reach their goals. So, unfortunately we are least trusted with some level of validity.

The only way we can change that perception is to start putting our energies into the success of our clients. Our ‘end in mind’ should not be what will we receive, it should be how can I help my client succeed. Help enough people get what they need and you will receive more then you ever dreamed possible.

In your program descriptions, you mention, “gone are the days of sales people using closing lines.” Why do you think so many companies train their sales staff to sell in this style? What can salespeople do as an alternative to using traditional tactics?

Yes, closing lines are not only ineffective to our clients; they are out right frustrating and disrespectful to them. At the same time these questions are necessary in the questioning process. What makes them ineffective is not the questions alone but how and when they are used.

It is like building a house, for a house, the foundation is needed along with a roof and doors for the completion. To try and frame and roof a house without pouring the foundation is as ineffective as using questioning in the wrong process.

Maybe if enough people request, I will put together an article on effective questioning.

Some people feel that “integrity selling” is somewhat of an oxymoron. What are your thoughts? Do you feel it is possible to sell in an honest, ethical and integrity-based manner?

It is the only way, as long as you are in this game for the long term.

First we need to define what integrity really means. Integrity is being true to your values no matter what circumstances you face. “People with integrity expect to be believed and when they are not, they let time prove them right.”

In essence, if sales people were to take the time to become aware of their values, be true to themselves and their values this game of ‘buying and selling’ would be a lot more enjoyable for all involved.

How can business owners help their salespeople sell with integrity? Is it more about hiring the right people or creating the right culture?

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. One of the major errors business owners make is chasing people with the right skill set causing more of a frustration to them in the long term. It is crucial that the people we hire want to be there and more importantly share your values and vision.

There are 3 things business owners have to keep in mind when hiring people for any position.

1. Hire the right person for the job. The right person is the one that shares your values and vision.

2. Then put them in the right position. The right position is the position that will bring out their greatness, this does not necessarily has to be their expertise. Connect with your employees in order to truly understand where their heart lies.

3. Give them the tools and resources they require.

Remember, the right people will never complain about the lack of resources. The right people will make it work with what they have.

Your question about the culture. As the business owner, you are the culture. Your culture needs to be defined first. Then you hire people that believe in your culture in order to sustain your culture.

Your foundation, Dare2Drm, is focused on instilling desire, direction, passion and purpose in our youth. How can we help a child in our lives achieve their highest potential and act with integrity?

Very simple, stop telling our children they cannot do something. Even when we know there is a good chance they will fail.

Parents think they are protecting their children by making sure they do not fail. We do nothing but set them up for their greatest failures in the future without the experience of how to overcome and move on.

Always let them be young enough to know nothing is impossible.

Let them fail, let them fall, let them hurt and in turn teach them it is okay to do so as long as they never stay down.

Your organization works with companies across the globe – do you feel that the values of honesty, integrity and ethics are universal or do they change from culture to culture?

From what I have seen they are absolutely universal. A culture in a company is nothing more then an accumulation of values within the people in that company.

Values are linked to principles, and principles are principles because they are universal and prove the test of time.

You also provide one-on-one coaching – is there one person that you would like to work with? Why?

Someone just asked me if I have a mentor. Yes, I do but I have many. I have ones that I like to learn from depending on what part of my life I am looking to grow in.

For a little over a year I have been learning from, or I should say trying to suck every ounce of experience from Callum Desouza’s mind as I can.

Why you ask? I find it very intriguing how he can run a multi million dollar business with such calmness and balance in his life. His employees would do anything for him without question as they have the utmost trust and respect for him.

www.belleviewcommunities.com

You’ve recently written a book, “How the Top 5% Think.” Who or what inspired you to choose this topic?

That is a tough question for me to answer. Not because I am unsure of the answer but because the book has a background journey that goes back approximately 15 years. It is a journey where I finally embraced and in turn it made me who I am today.

We all have our own stories and in turn our journey. Some choose to fall a victim of them and others choose to embrace them. I fell victim of my medical journey for close to a decade until I embraced it with the realization of it being a gift. Your purpose will reveal itself when you embrace your journey.

This was my way of reaching out to a larger population. Help others embrace their journey and in turn pursue that life of ‘happiness’ that we so long for.

What is your secret to success?

Wow! Where do you start with that question? I really cannot say there is one thing. Part of success to me is always staying true to your core values while fulfilling your purpose.

Most have a hard time with that, as most have not gone through the process of true awareness; a process where they have clarity to their values. If you do not know what you value then how can you live your values?

One of the main reasons would be not only understanding the process required but more so to implement the process in order to achieve your desired success. A clarity in awareness is the foundation to any success in your life.

For more information about Fred, please visit his website at www.fredsarkari.com

 

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

How to succeed in sales without really trying

Fellow blogger Fred Sarkari posted a true-to-life tale of a mistake that I know all of us have made at one point or another – double booking appointments. To read the full story click here.

Fred’s reaction to his mistake and the choice to be upfront, honest, and genuine is one we can all take a lesson from. We will make mistakes – there’s no question about that. The question becomes how do you handle your mistakes?

Do you hide, lie, and cheat? Because if you do – you are making a bad name for all of us who believe in selling with integrity. In addition, unethical sales is hard work – remember Quintillian’s quote, “a liar should have a good memory.” You are actually creating more work for yourself – and you’re busy already, so why would you choose to do that?

Instead, let’s dare to be honest. Let’s follow Fred’s example and reap the rewards of better clients, more referrals, and a cleaner conscience.

Kudos!

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit www.writeideasmarketing.com.

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How to define your target market – motivation vs. demographics

I recently worked with a client named Jane who is a healer of sorts. When we sat down to analyze her target market, she was mystified. “I don’t know” she said. “I work with both men and women, their age and income is varied and they are of all sorts of different professions – this is why I can’t figure it out.”

As with many entrepreneurs, Jane was focusing on the demographic profiles of her clients which were at best, varied. We looked instead at the motivation of her clients – that is to say, “why the heck do these people come to you in the first place?”

At this point, we discovered that Jane’s clients were very spiritual. They generally had an emotional block and tried various traditional ways to heal, perhaps by visiting a traditional doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc. Bingo!

Motivation defined Jane’s target market. Once Jane began promoting her services to chiropractors & massage therapists, who had a number of well-motivated clients searching for someone like Jane, her phone began to ring.

Big companies are also looking at motivation as a way to segment a target market. One that is rapidly emerging is that of the “Alpha Moms” a group of socially-savvy, hip and type-A mothers.

A recent article in USA Today touts the equity of this target market in companies such as Nintendo, Proctor & Gamble, and GM. More and more it’s the social characteristics and motivation that defines a target market, not the specific demographics.

Start focusing on the needs and motivations of your target market instead of the age & income – chances are, you’ll be rewarded.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Writing Copy that Sells – Read How You Want to Write

In today’s world of SEO & meta tags writing online copy can be an intimidating undertaking. Eastonweb’s blog has an insightful interview with Lisa Manyon as she shares her tips and tricks for writing website copy that sells. You can view the post by clicking here.

In my experience, people write like what they read. Many of my clients are insurance companies, associations and technical firms. In the initial interview we analyze why their current marketing material isn’t working. I generally hear something along the lines of “we know it’s bad but we just don’t know how to fix it.”

At this point I assure them that the “blahness” of their current copy isn’t their fault. They’re simply writing like what they’re reading. With so much marketing swill in these industries (especially with the dreaded tri-fold brochures) how could they be expected to write any differently?

If you want your copy to be effective you can either:

  1. hire a copywriter who specializes in promotional copy (insert shameless plug here) or you can
  2. start reading the work of lots of expert copywriters.

I read Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro’s Red Hot Copy almost daily and appreciate her conversational style.

Joe Robson tends to have a more to-the-point style and his website www.adcopywriting.com offers some helpful tutorials.

And if you are working with a copywriter for the web, at least ask about SEO (search engine optimization). At this point it’s almost a requirement to understand the basics of how to weave in keywords to help improve your search results.

Happy marketing.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com