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The Only Two Things You Need in Your Business

Management guru Peter Drucker once pointed out, “Marketing and innovation are the only two things in business that make money; everything else is an expense.” Most people have heard of Drucker: he’s a legend in business management circles. He was instrumental in making General Motors more profitable in the 1940s, and he did so by carefully analyzing everything they did from the inside. That led to his famous quote.

Marketing is the sum total of the things you do to bring in sales, including advertising to attract new customers and transacting more business with existing customers. The framework you put in place to do that is your marketing system. I specialize in helping my clients adopt marketing systems that automate most of these factors. Automation is hugely beneficial in marketing. For example, when done correctly, direct response marketing is superior to even the best door-to-door salesperson. So I especially teach DRM, where you send out sales letters to make your entire sales presentation, along with follow-up systems to convert leads into sales, associated with ongoing systems to keep doing more business with existing customers.

Innovation includes invention and creativity — the process of doing things differently than everyone else. If you have something that you’ve created, and it’s working to bring in new customers and excite your existing customers, and your competitors notice that and are jealous of what you’re doing — well, that’s the kind of innovation you’re looking for. You want them to go nuts because they can’t figure out exactly what you’re doing-or even if they can see what you’re doing, they can’t duplicate it. It’s a little mysterious, an unknown quantity just off the radar.

You have to do things that make people stand up and pay attention — especially the people you’re trying to sell to. Innovation will result in more business.

Everything besides marketing and innovation is an expense. I could include a long list of all the things that make up the other category. You know what they are in your own business, though maybe they’re a little different in other businesses and marketplaces. Whatever they may be, they don’t bring in the revenue or the sales. So spend your time on marketing and innovation; let other people focus on fulfilling your business’s other demands. That may mean hiring people to take care of your accounting, or using a fulfillment center to send orders to your customers. If you focus on innovation and marketing, you’ll find yourself bringing in more revenue with less effort. You’ll have more happy customers, and fewer cash flow problems.

The people who really get innovation and marketing are the ones who make the most money, because the simple fact is that most businesses have little time for innovation, and almost no time for marketing. A few years ago, a friend had an opportunity to speak to the late Dr. Gary Buss; he asked Russ what he did, and when Russ told him marketing, he responded with, “Boy, that’s where the action is.”

Buss then went on to say, “I made money in real estate, and then I took that money and bought the Los Angeles Lakers, and it’s been a tremendous success. But even with the great players we’ve had, like Magic Johnson, Shaq, and Kobe Bryant, we had to constantly market. I did everything I could to get the Hollywood crowd involved, because I knew that if those Hollywood types would come to games and sit at courtside, it would be a big plus. You can have a great team, you can have a great business, but it can go away quickly if you don’t know how to market.”

I was impressed to heart that, and it really drove home this concept that it all comes down to marketing and innovation. Oh, there are other significant things you have to do; don’t get me wrong. You have to have someone to take care of the financial part of the business and run it day-to-day. Personally, I’m a terrible business person, so I know the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can handle the everyday affairs. The bottom line is to never, ever forget marketing and innovation.

So far, I’ve read the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson several times, and I’ve listened to the audiobook as well. This book was published right after Jobs’ death. According to Isaacson, some of the people who were closest to Jobs said that there’s never been a CEO who spent as much time so completely focused on the marketing and advertising end of the business as Steve Jobs did. I thought that was very instructive, because after Jobs came back to Apple in 1996, during those 13 years before he stepped down and then passed away he made Apple the most profitable company in the world. He did it partly through marketing, partly through great innovation.

One of my heroes is the late, great Ray Kroc of McDonald’s fame. During the 1960s, when fast food was taking off and suburbia was spreading rapidly, there were hundreds of companies trying to knock off McDonald’s. One day a reporter came up to Kroc and said, “You have hundreds of competitors now, popping up everywhere. What are you going to do about all these competitors?” Ray replied, “We’re going to innovate faster than they can copy.” There’s a lot of wisdom in those words.

Constant innovation makes you the competitor everyone is trying to beat. You’re always looking for new and better ways to do everything, and that’s tied directly to the marketing itself. Marketing is all about how the customer views you, what the customer thinks about you, how excited they are about doing business with you and about buying the products and services you develop. It also includes your ability to connect with them, to create bonds that keep them coming back again and again for as long as possible. Think about that. The most innovative companies are also the ones doing the best job of marketing — and vice versa.

How To Market Your Consulting Business Using Social Media

Introduction

In one of my earlier articles, I mentioned the importance of social media when marketing your consulting business. I thought it may be worthwhile sharing some of my own experiences in this regard.

Website

Barring your own personal interaction with your clients, this is your ultimate weapon for winning mandates. Your clients will go to your website to see your offering and learn about you. Everything you do on social media should have the ultimate goal of getting people to visit it – because of this, it is crucial that your website:

  • is professional and portrays your products and services clearly and succinctly
  • has contact details where clients can reach you, preferably both a telephone and email address
  • is linked from your social media tools and also displays links back to them

Which social media tool to use?

LinkedIn

For any professional services business this must be your priority. LinkedIn allows you to set out your CV in detail, plus you can create a page specifically for your business. What better way to portray your expertise in your field and, at the same time, promote your business?

Think of LinkedIn as your most formal marketing effort. People are on LinkedIn primarily for business related matters, so you need to tailor your approach accordingly.

Blogging

Blogging is an easy way to advertise your expertise and knowledge. Keep in mind the following:

  • You can be quite relaxed and personal with your blogs
  • As a general rule, don’t write long blogs. People want to be engaged, but in short, meaningful bursts
  • Use your blogs as a teaser to show people how clever you are – give them just enough to want more; hopefully that will drive them to your website where all your services are laid out
  • Don’t use blogging as a selling tool, per se. People will be put off hard-sell on your blog

Publishing articles, like this one

Use Ezine and industry-specific forums to publish formal articles that showcase your expertise. Share information that will be useful and don’t be afraid that you are giving this away for free – it will be appreciated and will be another way to get people engaged with you. If your articles show that you know what you are talking about, people will be more likely to engage with you.

An important point to bear in mind, however, is that articles are more formal than blogs. Think of them more as a professional reference point rather than an informal teaser.

Twitter

If LinkedIn is formal, Twitter is casual. This is the opportunity to show your personal side and you are expected to engage in a social fashion. That doesn’t mean you can’t link your posts, blogs and articles into your tweets, you must! I think this is the least-understood aspect of Twitter and how powerful it can be as a business marketing tool.

Facebook Page

You can create a page for your business in Facebook. Yes, it will be linked to your profile, but you can use it exclusively for your business marketing. The reach of Facebook and the easy way of creating an advert makes the case for Facebook marketing compelling. Because of all the data that Facebook collects on people, Facebook adverts can also be highly-tailored to your target audience.

Google+

Google+ is powerful simply because it is part of the biggest search engine on the planet. That means it can be used to drive your SEO efforts.

Joining Circles and participating in Hangouts (or starting your own) will help you connect with a targeted audience.

However, Google+ does require some effort. If you don’t put any in, you will likely be staring at a blank screen wondering what all the fuss is about.

Podcasts, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, Vimeo and You Tube

To the extent that images, audio and video can be used to market your business, these are also great tools to use. Creating an instructive podcast or video can be used as a personal interaction with your audience – blogging without writing!

Images and photos are perhaps more suited to a product-driven business, but creative ways can be used to market a services business too.

Conclusion

I am still experimenting with all of the above, plus a few more that I have come across (Tumblr is my latest foray). I am giving each of them some attention, although I am sure that I will gravitate to the 4 or 5 that make the most sense for my particular business and audience.

I certainly won’t be relying on only 1 or 2. A combined effort is yielding some good results.

5 Areas That Help Expand Your Business Branding Online

Promoting your business branding online is somewhat different from typical marketing strategies. You need to take a unique approach to this method of promoting your business brand. And yet, the benefits of using Web tools in making your brand distinct includes the ability to maximize your business efforts and expanding your business’ reach. After all, it only makes sense to extend your branding efforts to the Internet given the fact that most people nowadays use the Internet as their source of daily information and research tool before a purchase is made.

There are five (5) major areas that you need to address when developing a strong business brand online.

URL Address

This is a crucial determiner for web browsers. Therefore, you must be able to produce a sense of identity for your website and provide a glimpse into your company even before they get the opportunity to see what your website is really about. This also helps in your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. The search engines will search URLs first to find the targeted keywords people submit when looking for your product or service.

Keywords

Keywords are essential to help search engines connect you to the proper audience. Use keywords that are related to the nature of your website, so that it can be easily detected when people run a search on the Internet. Try to be creative in coming up with keywords to use, especially those queries not directly related but associated to your business. Be sure to add keywords to all your individual website pages as well as including them in the titles and content of your blog posts.

Website

This is where you get to showcase your company’s vision and your offer of quality products or services. Therefore, you must create a website that speaks for your company and its brand. There are several ways to do that, which includes the content, style, design, and color. You must also incorporate your company logo in the design of the website, to enhance the level of trust and confidence you want potential clients to have about you and your company. With that in mind, try to refrain from compromising the substance of your website for style. A website is just another form of marketing strategy and its objective is to communicate your company’s message.

Blog

Your blog is basically where you focus on producing quality content. This will help establish your company’s brand and expertise making you the authority when it comes to the products or services you offer. This will also help you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can do this by remaining consistent with your vision and highlighting your focus on producing a quality result for your clients.

Social Profiles

There are several social networking sites online such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, among others. When you join any one of these social sites, always include your company culture or brand. This will help visitors to easily remember your company and keep you on top of their list.

Now that you know the five areas that help expand your brand Online, here are several Do’s and Don’ts you may also want to consider:

Business Branding Online Do’s and Dont’s

• Utilizing social network sites that you are interested in is an avenue to promote your brand online and is beneficial to your business. They allow you to make connections and expand the reach of your brand. Connecting with more people on these sites will build traffic to your website and blog.

• Just write useful and quality content on your site. When people begin to realize the importance of your site’s content, it will eventually impact your rankings on the search engines.

• Try to offer good advice or solutions for your target market, but don’t be a spammer since it would basically ruin your business’ reputation.

Business branding online can and will expand your reach and enhance your branding efforts to produce additional growth for your company.