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What’s the Point of Marketing?

Posted on 5 June 2014 | 2 responses

Why is marketing important? And what’s the point of marketing YOUR business?

Lots of business owners I speak to – especially in the helping, healing and service professions – feel uncomfortable about the very word “marketing”. They think marketing is pushy, sleazy and unethical (unfortunately, when it’s done badly, marketing can be like that), and they don’t want people to perceive them that way.

So they coyly couch the word “marketing” in terms they think are more acceptable, less scary: “public relations”, “branding”, “publicity”, “building a tribe”, “sharing”…

But let’s get real! Think of all the activities you might do that fall under the wide umbrella of marketing:

  • Researching and designing your products and services
  • Ensuring that every customer’s experience is user-friendly, delightful, amazing…
  • Creating a website
  • Writing effective and shareworthy taglines, brochures, blog posts, enewsletters, white papers, books, ebooks, emails, video scripts, tweets…
  • Advertising
  • Producing flyers and posters
  • Doing surveys
  • Creating videos
  • Sending out media releases and doing interviews
  • Creating promotional materials and corporate gifts: t-shirts, calendars, pens, coffee mugs…
  • Gathering testimonials
  • Doing webinars and teleseminars
  • Printing business cards
  • Having a booth at a trade show
  • Offering discounts, coupons, loyalty cards, membership programs…
  • Offering no-cost samples of your products or services
  • Creating affiliate deals
  • Doing competitions
  • Attending networking events
  • Public speaking engagements
  • Corporate Social Responsibility programs
  • SEO (search engine optimisation)
  • Creating social media accounts
  • Following/liking people and companies on social media
  • Asking people to “Like” your Facebook page
  • Sponsoring worthy causes
  • Getting a professional to design your logo, staff uniforms, shop or office interior…
  • Doing flashmobs
  • Commenting on other people’s blog posts
  • Training your staff

What’s the point of all those activities? It’s to build the “like, trust and respect” factor, to build awareness and word-of-mouth buzz, to be seen as a responsible corporate citizen, to make your company’s online content easily findable and shareable, to establish and nurture relationships, to be seen as a thought leader, to get media coverage…

I.Heart.Marketing

And deep down, what’s the point of all THAT?

It’s to sell more of your products and services, more often, to more people, preferably at a profit, right?!

Just to be clear: I’m not recommending that you sell useless crap, and I’m not advocating mindless, wasteful consumerism. But if you’re in business, you want to sell your products and services and make a profit so that you can keep on serving your customers, employing your staff and making a difference in the world, don’t you? Otherwise your business is just an expensive hobby.

So please don’t be apologetic about marketing.

The lesson: As Sergio Zyman, the former chief marketing officer at The Coca-Cola Company and the author of “The End of Marketing As We Know It”, said: “The purpose of marketing is to sell more stuff.” (I like that quote so much I use it on my website.)

Action steps:

  1. Let go of any beliefs you have about marketing being pushy, sleazy and unethical – they’re not helping you, or the clients who want and need your products or services.
  2. Get very clear that EVERYTHING you do in your business has marketing implications, because everything you do affects people’s perceptions, motivations and expectations about you, your company and your products and services, and that affects their behaviour: they’ll either buy from you or they won’t. (In fact, my definition of marketing is: Managing perceptions, motivations and expectations.)
  3. When you’re considering any potential marketing activity, ask yourself: “How is this going to lead to actual sales?” (I’m not saying it’s easy to measure that process – that’s another story.)

I’d love to hear what you think. Do you enjoy marketing yourself and your products and services, or does it make you cringe? Please post a comment.

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 81

Posted on 25 May 2014 | No responses

This is Part 81 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “7 Twitter Turnoffs” by Sabina Varga (@supergoodcopy on twitter)
  2. “4 Reasons Your Tweeting Immediately Kills My Interest” by Jonathan Payne (@SocialGamePlan)
  3. “10 Golden Rules of Twitter” by Garin Kilpatrick (@Garin)
  4. “Quoting Tweets Is Fine, But Twitter Would Rather Not Say So” by Jeff Bercovici (@jeffbercovici)
  5. “What to Tweet When You Don’t Know What to Tweet” by Douglas Idugboe (@douglasi)
  6. “The Twitter Strategy Guide: 14 Twitter Tips to Take Your Tweeting to the Next Level” by Kevan Lee (@kevanlee)
  7. “21 Social Media Tips You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner” by Mike Spohr at BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed)
  8. “3 Twitter best practices that unlock business success” by Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer)
  9. “50 Tweetable Twitter Tips You Wish You Knew Years Ago” by Diana Urban (@DianaUrban)
  10. “How to Get More Readers to Share Your Blog Posts on Twitter” by Diana Urban (@DianaUrban)

For a list of links to Parts 1-80 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Want to share this post? Here are some tweets I’ve prepared for you:

Click to tweet: “Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 81” by @kayross http://bit.ly/1mjapSi #twittertips

Click to tweet: Thanks @kayross for compiling this list of 10 great blog posts full of #twittertips. http://bit.ly/1mjapSi

Click to tweet: To tweet more effectively, see this list of blog posts compiled by @kayross http://bit.ly/1mjapSi #twittertips

Happy tweeting!

Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

Bridging the Gap – Your Marketing Challenge

Posted on 27 February 2014 | No responses

A few years ago, I was working with a client on crafting the content for her website. In our back-and-forth email discussions about the draft text, I asked her several times to clarify what she wanted to say, and encouraged her to consider how her potential clients might perceive her marketing message. I sincerely wanted her to be successful, and I wanted to be sure that I understood her thinking. Later, she told me she felt that by constantly questioning her, I hadn’t been listening to her respectfully.

I was sad about that, because I felt I’d failed in my duty to communicate clearly with her, in a way that made sense for her. As a professional service provider and consultant, I’ve often found it challenging to find a balance between what my audience or customer says they want and what I want to say (because I genuinely believe it’s in their best interests).

Do YOU face the same challenge in your business? Do you want to know how to build a bridge between what your audience says they want and what you, as an experienced  professional, know they REALLY want, deep down? And would you like to find a graceful, non-hard-sell way to communicate the relevance of what you do?

At the Nan Lian Garden, Diamond Hill, Hong Kong

At the Nan Lian Garden, Diamond Hill, Hong Kong

I recently listened to two calls by Isabel Parlett, The Soundbite Shaman, that really helped me to understand how to do that. The theme of her two calls was “How to Write Business Copy Without Tricks or Hype”.

Isabel has given me permission to give you the link to the recordings of her two no-cost calls. In the calls, Isabel demonstrates what she does by including some short spot-coaching sessions with some of her clients, and she shares tips about how to take your potential clients from what they say they want to the bigger picture of what you see is truly possible for them.

You’ll also learn how to add intensity to your marketing messages through insight, passion and wisdom, not hype. (By the way, Isabel isn’t paying me anything to recommend her, but I’m happy to do that because I’ve had some terrific private coaching calls with her about my own marketing messages.)

The lesson: It is possible – and necessary – to link what you offer with what your potential ideal clients say they want, in a way that makes them feel heard.

Action steps: Listen to Isabel’s calls, and change the way you talk and write about what you do.

What do YOU think? When you’re  talking with your potential clients and writing your marketing content, what do you do to bridge the gap between what you do and what your clients say they want? I’d love to read your comments.

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 80

Posted on 12 February 2014 | No responses

This is Part 80 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “The Number One Mistake Everybody Makes on Twitter” – a Slideshare deck by Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee on twitter)
  2. “31+ Twitter Tips! The Ultimate TWITTER Marketing TIPS List” from Bizolly (@Bizolly)
  3. “12 sure-fire ways to spot a dirty Twitter spammer” by Chris Lake (@lakey)
  4. “7 Twitter Marketing Tips That Really Work” by James Blute (@JamesBlute)
  5. “Twitter 102: The Do’s and Don’ts of Twitter Writing” by Courtney Ramirez (@CourtneyRami)
  6. “100 Must Follow On Twitter 2014 [SLIDE DECK]” by Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar)
  7. “7 Twitter Mistakes you can’t afford to make in 2014” by Harsh Ajmera (@ajmeraharsh)
  8. “30 Reasons Why James Blunt Won At Twitter In 2013” from The Poke (@thepoke)
  9. “10 Big, Recent Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Changes You Should Know for a Better Social Media strategy” by Belle Beth Cooper (@BelleBCooper)
  10. “Should I Share What I Ate for Lunch via Social Media? Authenticity vs Transparency” by Pam Moore (@PamMktgNut), with a video, 4m 33s

For a list of links to Parts 1-79 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!

Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

The 7 Habits of Highly Annoying Websites

Posted on 10 February 2014 | No responses

Do websites that do this this drive you nuts?

  1. Lots of white text on a black background. (Illegible.)
  2. A loud video soundtrack starts playing automatically as soon as you land on a page. (Give me a choice!)
  3. Pop-up ads. (Somebody give me a sledgehammer. Please!)
  4. They’re just badly written and demonstrate no understanding of marketing or human psychology. (User-unfriendly, unconvincing, frustrating to read, and bad for the company’s reputation.)
  5. When they ask for your phone number, they insist that the only acceptable answer is a 3-digit area code and a 7-digit number.  Oh, and they ask for a Zip code too. (Grrr! Not everyone lives in North America!)
  6. On their Contact page, they only offer a form for you to send them an email, but they don’t tell you their email address, a postal or street address, or a telephone number. (Not helpful.)
  7. They use cheesy stock photos of multicultural groups of smiling, attractive, anonymous executives. (Boring.)

Kay Ross

What other habits of highly annoying websites would you add to this list? (That would make a list of more than seven habits, but hey, that’s OK.)

Photo credit: Kenneth Lim Photography

How to Write a Media Release and Influence a Journalist – Part 22

Posted on 18 November 2013 | No responses

This is Part 22 in an ongoing series of blog posts I’ve compiled about how to write effective media releases and pitches, and how to influence journalists and bloggers (with integrity, of course) so you get the publicity you want.

Each part in the series lists 10 (or sometimes more) articles, videos etc. by various people. For a list of links to Parts 1-21, see the Media Relations category on this blog. This series used to be titled “So You Want to Write a Media Release and Influence a Journalist?”

Here are the latest resources:

  1. “5 reasons that reporter isn’t calling you back” by Gil Rudawsky (@GilComMedia on twitter)
  2. “7 simple yet common press release mistakes” by Mickie Kennedy (@ereleases)
  3. “Press Release Cheat Sheet: 8 Fatal PR Flaws to Avoid” by Erika Napoletano (@RedheadWriting)
  4. “Pitching Bloggers, Part One: The Press Release” by Sara Bozich (@sarabozich)
  5. “Pitching Bloggers, Part Two: Making the Pitch” by Sara Bozich (@sarabozich)
  6. “The Dos and Don’ts of Pitching Journalists on Social Media” by Zoe Fox (@zoebfox)
  7. “11 tips for pitching reporters” by Lee Odden (@leeodden)
  8. “Infographic: 7 surefire ways to frustrate a journalist” by Kristin Piombino (@KristinPiombino)
  9. “Dear PR People: Please take this quiz before you send out another press release or email pitch” by B.L. Ochman (@whatsnext)
  10. “How To Pitch To The Press: The 8 No-Fail Strategies” by Cheryl Conner (@CherylSnapp)

Would you like to recommend any other good resources on this topic? Please post a comment (but please beware: I’ll delete spam) or send me an email. I won’t list EVERY article I see; I’ll only recommend articles that I think are well written and that add something useful to the debate.Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 79

Posted on 16 November 2013 | 2 responses

This is Part 79 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “Twitter not working for you?” by Michelle Prak (@Prakky on twitter)
  2. “Twitter Bios: A Creative Writing Challenge” by Carina Claassens (@SoundIdea)
  3. “The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag” by Rebecca Hiscott (@rebeccahiscott)
  4. “The Complete Guide to Twitter Etiquette” by Rebecca Hiscott (@rebeccahiscott)
  5. “The One Mistake Almost Everybody Makes on Twitter [Quick Tip]” by Jay Acunzo (@jay_zo)
  6. “Jonah Berger Is Over Twitter” by Laura W. Geller (sorry, I don’t know her twitter handle)
  7. “Twitter Illiterate? Mastering the @BC’s” by Hanna Ingber (@HannaIngber)
  8. “Yes, I Tweet a Bit (Innovators Use Twitter)” by Gregg Fraley (@greggfraley)
  9. “That Goddamned Blue Bird and Me: How Twitter Hijacked My Mind” by Kathryn Schulz (@kathrynschulz)
  10. “Is Twitter Still a Numbers Game? Was it Ever?” by Lynn Serafinn (@LynnSerafinn)

For a list of links to Parts 1-78 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!

Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

- See more at: http://www.kayross.com/blog/2013/09/09/twitter-tips-and-resources-part-78/#sthash.F9DL5Vtr.dpuf

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 78

Posted on 9 September 2013 | No responses

This is Part 78 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “How Twitter Is Reshaping The Future Of Storytelling” by Rita J. King (@RitaJKing on twitter)
  2. “The 10 Essentials of Twitter Etiquette” by Kevin Allen (sorry, I can’t find his twitter handle)
  3. Especially for authors: “Twitter Is A Stupid Waste Of Time…Not!” by Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC)
  4. “Twitter testimonials – how to embed your favourite tweets on your blog or website” by Martina Iring (@martinairing)
  5. “The Complete Guide to Twitter Lingo” by Amy-Mae Elliott (@amymaeelliott)
  6. “4 Reasons Your Tweeting Immediately Kills My Interest” by Jonathan Payne (@SocialGamePlan)
  7. “10 steps for brand managers to get started on Twitter” by Shelley Pringle (@shelleypringle)
  8. “Is Twitter Still a Numbers Game? Was it Ever?” by Lynn Serafinn (@LynnSerafinn)
  9. “Do these 10 things to promote an event on Twitter like a PR pro” by Becky Gaylord (@BeckyGaylord)
  10. “7 Twitter Turnoffs” by Sabina Varga (@supergoodcopy)

For a list of links to Parts 1-77 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!

Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

How to Write a Media Release and Influence a Journalist – Part 21

Posted on 5 August 2013 | No responses

This is Part 21 in an ongoing series of blog posts I’ve compiled about how to write effective media releases and pitches, and how to influence journalists and bloggers (with integrity, of course) so you get the publicity you want.

Each part in the series lists 10 (or sometimes more) articles, videos etc. by various people. For a list of links to Parts 1-20, see the Media Relations category on this blog. This series used to be titled “So You Want to Write a Media Release and Influence a Journalist?”

Here are the latest resources:

  1. “How Smart Companies Use PR to Get the Word Out” by Jeff Hoffman (@SpeakerJeff on twitter)
    Excerpts: “No one cares that you launched a new company. No one cares that another set of products has been unleashed upon the world. Media is interested in one thing: the effect of your product. The lives that have been changed or made better by your company and your product.”
    and “PR masters don’t write stories about themselves. They write stories about their customers.”
    and “So think about your customers. Find a true story of how your company’s existence made something good happen in the life of one of your customers.”
  2. “PR Pitching in a World of Overloaded Inboxes” by Thomas Armitage (@thomasjarmitage)
  3. “The Next Web editor’s tips how to (successfully) pitch journalists – Brad McCarty, editor of a popular online tech publication, shares his advice for pitching the media and landing a story.” by Andrei Florian (@andrei_florian)
  4. “Hack to Flack: A Former Journalist’s Guide to Better PR Pitches” by Lindsay Goldwert (@lindsaygoldwert)
  5. “20 words and phrases that will doom your pitch” by Russell Working (@R_Working)
  6. “How To Get Press: Don’t Pitch Your Product” by Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh)
    Excerpt: “…the things we’re interested in is not other people’s stories, but information that helps us write our own.”
  7. “How to Write the Worst Guest Blogging Pitch of All Time [Template]” by Ginny Soskey (@gsosk)
  8. “5 dreadful practices that annoy reporters” by Mickie Kennedy (@ereleases)
  9. “S%*t PR People Do That Journalists Hate [SlideShare]” by Katie Burke (@katieburkie)
  10. “Press release dos and don’ts” by Kevin Allen (@Kevin_J_Allen)

Would you like to recommend any other good resources on this topic? Please post a comment (but please beware: I’ll delete spam) or send me an email. I won’t list EVERY article I see; I’ll only recommend articles that I think are well written and that add something useful to the debate.

Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

 

Twitter Tips and Resources – Part 77

Posted on 20 July 2013 | 2 responses

This is Part 77 of an ever-growing blog series, with each post featuring links to 10 useful, funny and/or provocative articles/lists/blog posts/videos/sites I’ve come across about how to use twitter more effectively (and how NOT to use it).

Here are the latest 10:

  1. “How To Get Followers On Twitter” by TJ McCue (@TJMcCue on twitter)
  2. “4 Golden Rules for Tweeting During a Crisis” by Heather Taylor (@howveryheather)
  3. “9 Mistakes To Avoid When Using Twitter” by Timothy Carter (@TimothyCarter)
  4. “3 Secrets to Getting Retweeted Like Godin – And How to Get More Twitter Followers From It!” by Edmund Lee (@EdmundSLee)
  5. “Twitter Hashtags 101: Complete Guide to Discovery and Power” by adunn on internet media labs (@internetlabs)
  6. “Hashtags: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” by Danielle Prager (@Danielle_Prager)
  7. “Why I’m Not Buying Your Tweets” by Deborah Lee (@debsylee)
  8. “How to Get Started With New Twitter Lists” by Amy-Mae Elliott (@amymaeelliott)
  9. “How To Use Twitter – Tips and Tricks” by a very tongue-in-cheek Derek Haines (@Derek_Haines)
  10. “Social Media Pet Peeves” by Lisa Mason (@somedsatisfied)

For a list of links to Parts 1-76 in this series (which was born on May 19, 2009), see the Twitter category on this blog.

Would you like to recommend any other good twitter resources? I certainly don’t list EVERY article about twitter that I see – I might recommend an article that I disagree with, if I think it contributes something useful to the debate, but I won’t recommend an article that I think is badly written.

Happy tweeting!

Kay Ross
http://twitter.com/kayross

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