However, we’ve reached a level of marketing saturation that has made those methods that used to work obsolete.
To be really successful in today’s highly competitive marketplace, we need to start answering a different question in our advertising…”why.”
Consider the fast food hamburger as an example. There are a lot of different foods competing for our dollars when we’re in a rush. The super easy choice is a hamburger. The big three are McDonalds, Burger King and Carl’s Jr. They all make and sell hamburgers. They all cost about the same. So how can they gain market share? By answering the why. Of the three places, I admit I eat at McDonalds and Burger King more than Carl’s. Of those two, I like Burger King the best. Why? Because of the flame broiled burger. I think BK makes the best mass-produced hamburger in the country, if not the world.
I drive by a tune up place in Murray fairly frequently that has a message on its marquee saying, “Follow us on Twitter.” Every time I think “why?” I can’t think of a reason. Maybe they’ve got one. They probably wouldn’t go to the trouble if they didn’t, but it’s not being communicated. A better message would be “Follow us on Twitter because you can get a free tune up.”
I tell people to read my blog because they’ll learn how to use Twitter and Facebook and blog in a profitable manner. More importantly other people say the same thing.
The key to answering the “why” question is to include the word “because.” I got this idea from Copyblogger, but I’ve heard it from other sources too. Your because can be anything, just use the word because it answers the question “why.” I like Burger King burgers because they’re flame broiled. The question of “what” is answered by the product and the question of “how much” doesn’t matter because it’s the best tasting burger out there and the price differential between my other burger choices is nominal.
Answering the question “why” removes the price question altogether so long as consumers are clear on what your product or service is. Your “why” should be your competitive advantage or unique selling proposition. Price doesn’t have to, nor should it enter into your advertising, if you answer the question why.
Last year I had the opportunity to test drive a Bentley. I always wondered why someone would spend over $200,000 for a car when a perfectly good BMW or Mercedes costs a fraction of that price. Once I drove the car, I understood why. Other than the fact I couldn’t afford it, price didn’t come into play at all. From the massaging seats to the powerful engine to the hand stitched interior that looked so well put together it could never fall apart, I learned the “why.” I would have bought the car on the spot if I had the money.
We’re not all out there selling Bentleys, but if we answer the question of “why” in our advertising, we’ll never have to answer “how much.”
What is my “why?” I make websites successful.
I spent part of this afternoon volunteering with my networking group at the Road Home, a local charity committed to help people overcome homelessness. It’s something I’ve always thought about, or talked about doing, but never done before. Thanks to Corey and Erin to organizing and getting about a dozen people down there to help out.
The amount of donations coming in was overwhelming. In the two hour period we were there, I saw three 14 foot trucks full of donations be emptied. The Road Home is a little bit different than other charities and they have a very specific use for the items they receive. For the people they serve, they try to use only new items, but have had to make an exception this year on coats and outerwear because of a shortage of donations.
Used items are sent to Deseret Industries where they earn a credit to provide furniture to the families and individuals they serve. Unfortunately some items like “sample size” toiletries can’t be used at the Road Home. Besides the Fiscal Networking group, the two prominent groups that turned out while we were there included a large contingent from the Brighton High football and lacrosse teams who managed to empty those trucks in just a few minutes each time they rolled up to the loading dock. The Salt City Roller Girls made up another contingent that helped out immensely.
It was heartwarming to see so many donations of various types coming in these trucks. Some people donated brand new coats, toiletries and blankets. Others even wrapped their donations in wrapping paper. Sadly, the wrapping has to be ripped off to identify the contents, so please just donate the item in the future. Our group was in the back of the building the entire time, so we didn’t quite realize the trucks full of donations were being filled from the front of the building because of a huge media drive. It wasn’t until Santa himself came through that I realized economy be damned, there are a lot of generous people in Salt Lake City.
Homelessness is a huge problem and more people than ever before are dying because of it. We all have limited resources and have to pick carefully where we donate our money or time. It’s easy to have charity on our mind this time of year, but what about March, or July when donations dry up? Charity has to be a mindset. Let’s give back a little to our community and make it a better place to live, work and do business.
At the end of October I had the opportunity to visit the Send out Cards facility in Salt Lake City.
What I like about this business is it allows people and businesses to send out their message in a form people will open – a greeting card.
From a marketing standpoint it’s analog marketing at its finest. The company takes advantage of technology to provide personalized printing solutions and distribution for a very low per unit price.
Two things allow Send out Cards to do what it does; technology and efficient systems. For example, the company orders paper in certain quantities so it doesn’t age or dry out. This “just in time” ordering allows a quality product to go out every time.
The technology driving the company is mind-boggling. They can print one custom card or post card, score it, fold it, stuff it into an envelope and stamp it for less than $2.00 per unit.
Think about what that means for a small business that uses direct mail for marketing. You can send out a direct mail campaign with a mouse click, have someone else do the work and actually reach your customers because most people will open a card!
How important is this in today’s digital world? Very much so. Consider this example from Andy Sernovitz:
We have a member of our team who got hired because she sent a great cover letter in the mail. It was the only paper resume we got, so we noticed. We weren’t even hiring, but the letter was so great we had to grab her before someone else did.
In today’s highly competitive marketing world three things need to happen for you to be successful; be found, be noticed, be remembered. Do you think Send out Cards can do that? I do.
Having done targeted direct mail for a mortgage company, I see immense value for any company that sends out small quantities of direct mail. In addition, I see the open rate for greeting cards to be superior in every way.
Consider that with a traditional direct mail campaign, a good response rate is going to be 5%. 95% of the people who get your post card, coupon or letter are going to throw it away. Most will do it without even reading your message.
For a message wrapped in a greeting card, the numbers are much different. Another Send out Cards representative told me he put together a campaign for a local restaurant and they saw a 30% response rate to their offer in a card. If you do any direct mail, I think Send out Cards has to be part of your tool set. I know it’s a part of mine.
It’s easy to start and set up. I sent a dozen Christmas cards to clients and family this afternoon without licking an envelope or buying stamps. If you’re in the insurance business, mortgage business or real estate business and not taking advantage of this amazing tool, I highly recommend you get started today.
The other day I wrote about a challenge I was facing with a client of mine who was using a WordPress site.
Their web designer had possibly nefariously tagged the entire site to be invisible to the search engines…like a vampire unable to see its own reflection.
While I worked for a while on unravelling this mystery by looking into the deepest, darkest corners of the code and then the web that encased it, I found no solutions. I tried a work around that failed, even though sucking the blood out of other methods succeeded. Ultimately, getting my hands dirty in the cobwebs of WordPress found success.
As I suspected, the culprit was a simple checkbox with a universal application. Unfortunately I didn’t know where to look. The WordPress gurus I consulted had no idea. To be fair, I fired off questions. Channa is awesome. I was looking for answers, not explorations.
While setting up a new WordPress site last night, I discovered the answer to my question. I’ll save the screenshot for another time.
Settings-Privacy-I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers.
If you have this checked, your website is golden. If not, your website is dying an anonymous death. Like a rare disease, nobody but the experts knows why your site is dying from a dearth of traffic. I do. Let’s fix it.
I’ve spoken about Kevin Davis before and how well organized he is in his business and how he leverages outsourced labor to complete his projects.
Kevin hosts a meetup once a month and last night he shared all the details of his product launch for “Cash in a Flash.” In his typically transparent fashion, Kevin shared the what, why and how of his most recent product launch. I’m not going to share all the details because you really need to attend to understand the entire operation.
What I will share is the product is grossing $100,000 a month in sales and netting high five figures. Traffic is being generated at 150,000 unique visitors per month.
There were pitfalls along the way that Kevin also shared. He actually shut down the operation for a week five days after launch because there was a serious technical difficulty.
Kevin hosts these meetups once a month, so if you have a product or service you’re marketing, get over there! It will be totally worth it.
About 26 people attended the meetup with many of the usual suspects; Spencer and Erik at Paidin14days.com, Josh and John from RapidDev, Andrea Warner from Stompernet, but we did have some gurus in our midst like Jon Davis from Launchworx and Utah Top Blogger finalist and SMCSLC award winner Janet Thaeler.
Kevin’s presentation was amazing and it was really great getting to talk to everybody afterwords. Janet even gave me a copy of her new book!
This was the first time I’ve attended Kevin’s meetup and if there is only one meetup you can go to each month, this would be the one.
Dr. Michael Jennings is opening a revolutionary medical practice right here in Salt Lake City. Geared for small businesses, entrepreneurs, the uninsured and uninsurable, this medical practice offers a direct pay program that works for many people. You can find the practice at www.pfpslc.com. Here’s the press release that came out Monday -
FIND A DOCTOR THAT DOESN’T REQUIRE INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE?
Salt Lake City, UT, December 7, 2009 — Finding a doctor that doesn’t require health insurance sounds as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. Personal Family Physicians, a new Salt Lake City family practice, wants to remove the insurance company from the doctor/patient relationship by providing a direct care program designed for the uninsured or uninsurable. Small businesses and entrepreneurs may also find the direct care model attractive. The office opens December 7, 2009. Complete practice details are available on the Internet at http://www.pfpslc.com?ref=sbspr.
Dr. Michael Jennings founded the practice to change the way healthcare operates in America. “By offering a direct care solution, we help small businesses and families get the healthcare they need,” said Dr. Jennings. “Healthcare shouldn’t be about insurance, it should be about serving the patient’s needs. That’s the oath I took thirty years ago,” Jennings continued.
Personal Family Physicians can provide services to the uninsured and uninsurable in many cases. The new office is bringing hope to those who have “pre-existing” conditions most insurance companies won’t cover. It also provides an attractive financial alternative to small businesses that find it unaffordable to offer medical benefits to employees. The direct care model isn’t suitable for every patient, but Dr. Jennings offers a free consultation to determine whether his practice is a good match to the patient’s needs. “Ultimately I want the patient to decide if we are right for them. In most cases, I think the answer is ‘Yes’” he concluded.
I’ve been trying to get to the WordPress Wednesday meetup group for some time, but have always had conflicts. Tonight was the night and boy was it worth it!
Recently, many of my potential clients and clients have been asking about web design. For a simple site, the first thing that comes to mind for me is a WordPress site. When most people think of WordPress, they think of a blog. While that’s what WordPress started out as, it has evolved into a content management framework.
Tonight, that’s what group leader Channa Connolly taught about and gave specific examples of using themes and plug-ins. Those themes and plug-ins are only available on the self-hosted version of WordPress. I’m not using that version, because I like the ease of use of the WordPress hosted version you see here.
With the right theme and design, consider WordPress a site you can make changes to yourself. Blog or not. My clients at Fiscal Networking chose to use a WordPress site because they wanted to blog and Corey keeps on adding cool plug-ins to expand the capability of the site.
One of my newer clients had his site done in WordPress and while a blog is available, it’s not being used yet. Tonight, Channa taught how to activate it using the Atahualpa theme which my client happens to be using.
Both of these sites use WordPress, but they are completely customizable and don’t have to look the same. Here’s another example of a WordPress based site. My takeaway from this meetup is WordPress is a viable solution for a quick website for clients who need something quickly and want to be able to make minor changes themselves. It’s also a great blog authoring tool.
If you want to learn more about WordPress, this is an amazing meetup group or you can contact me to set up and maintain one for you.