33 Mind-Blowing Ideas from Today’s Top Marketers.

MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness
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Rock Your Business
33 Mind-Blowing Ideas from Today’s Top Marketers

Written by 33 different extremely smart and cool people. Collected and edited by Brett Duncan, MarketingInProgress.com

© 2011

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So here’s the story .
In mid-December 2010, I had a simple idea. Unlike with most ideas, I decided to act on it right away without figuring out all the details. I wrote several friends, colleagues and online buddies to join me in a project. I basically asked them to answer one question: What is one marketing idea that could make a big difference for entrepreneurs in 2011? 32 of these marketing aficionados quickly responded with an ―I‘m in.‖ The result is what you‘re reading now. To say there‘s a variety of ideas would be like saying Prince is a talented musician. I‘m actually shocked by just how diverse it is. You‘re gonna get something out of this.

Here’s what you can do with this ebook:
1. Read it (obviously). Highlight your favorite parts. Jot notes in the margins. Then figure out one thing you can do to put an idea to work. 2. Email it. I bet you know some people who would get something out of this book. Send them to MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness. If you have an email newsletter, this may be a great addition to an upcoming campaign. 3. Share it. Be sure to ―Like‖ this ebook, Tweet it, and whatever else you wanna do. Again, just share it from MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness. 4. Blog about it. If you are a blogger with an audience who enjoys this kind of stuff, post your impressions in an upcoming blog post.
You may also notice that a few authors wrote to a specific audience. That‘s by design. Even if you‘re not part of that audience, per se, you‘ll still get something out of their post. So keep reading.

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One More Thing (ok, maybe two)

I gotta thank Pamela Wilson from BigBrandSystem.com for coming up with the title of the ebook. I had an initial idea, but Pamela came up with ―Rock Your Business,‖ and it made complete sense to run with it. Thanks! Also, big thanks to Lyn Christian from SoulSalt.com. It was Lyn‘s idea to not stop with just an ebook. She wanted a place where all of us could discuss our reactions to ideas in this book, and then take it further and form a tight-knit community where we can all share ideas, tips and whatever else comes to mind. It‘s a great idea, so I created the Marketing In Progress Roundtable, a simple online forum where we can all talk about thoughts that spring from this ebook. It‘s absolutely free to join. When you do, you‘ll get access to lots of cool member-only features, such as ….

  

Discussions with some of the ebook authors. Access to the Roundtable community (hey, it‘s your community; do what you want with it!) Audio interviews and seminars featuring many of the ebook authors. (There‘s already an interview with Lyn Christian waiting for you)

Join now by going to MarketingInProgress.com/Roundtable. Enter your email address, and we‘ll send you your invitation. It‘s free to anyone, so pass it along to anyone you like. OK – enough intro stuff. Let‘s get into the ideas, shall we? Thanks – Brett Duncan, MarketingInProgress.com.

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Don’t Wanna
The Surprising Secret to Getting What You DO Want in Your 2011 Marketing
By Shannon Bradford

If you‘re like most entrepreneurs, you‘ve read plenty about planning for the new year. You‘ve been told you need to set SMART goals, to calculate a marketing budget, to put together a social media plan, or to analyze your brand. All good ideas. But if that advice leaves you saying, ―Don‘t Wanna,‖ all the better. Yes! You heard me right: All the better. Why? Because by thinking, ―Don‘t Wanna,‖ you are on your way to the most successful marketing year you‘ve ever had in your business. Shannon Bradford is a writer, small business coach, and the founder of Small Business Divas, a resource center for entrepreneurs offering real-world, can-do small business advice. She is the author of Brain Power (Wiley, 2002). Connect with Diva Shannon on Twitter: @smallbizdivas. Get more practical small business advice or the No-Torture Small Business Plan Kit free at SmallBusinessDivas.com. I know it seems counterintuitive. But stay with me. Asking yourself what you really don‘t want is one of the best ways to get to a practical marketing plan that is focused on your true priorities. Here’s why it works. Like most entrepreneurs, you probably did not start your own business because you love marketing and run to your desk every morning singing, ―I can‘t wait to work on my marketing!‖ But, if you do, you can feel free to skip this article.

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More likely, you started your business because you have a talent, an idea, a passion for your product or service. And marketing is that must-do exercise that takes up chunks of your time, rarely feels urgent, and is hard to connect results to the investment. When you focus on what you don‘t want to happen, you avoid the wishful thinking or follow-the-herd mentality that tends to invade small business marketing plans. Instead, you shoot straight to the essence of a plan that is based on clear priorities that are uniquely important to you. And build leverage to motivate yourself to execute. It’s a simple three-step process. Here’s how it works: Step One: Identify the top three happenings (events, outcomes, embarrassments, or disasters) you ―Don‘t Wanna‖ in your marketing in 2011. Now, for each of the three Don‘t Wanna‘s you identified, answer two questions: Step Two: What would you suffer if it did happen? Let your imagination run free with all of the scary thinking you can muster. Step Three: What can you do to make it not happen? Identify one or more concrete actions you can take to prevent the Don‘t Wanna. Your Don‘t Wannas and the concrete actions you identified now become the foundation of your marketing program. Your three Don‘t Wannas become your three priorities. And your actions from Step Three tell you what you need to do. Of course, you will need to develop a ―how, when, how much, and by who‖ plan for each of your concrete actions. Now you have a practical marketing plan for 2011 with concrete actions based on clear priorities that are uniquely important to you. And you got there with the surprising power of ―Don‘t Wanna.‖

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The rise of social enterprise
Transform your business into a profitable powerhouse for the greater global good
By Dino Baskovic

Dino Baskovic is the manager of online public relations and social media for Amway Corporation. He is responsible for strategic direction of all social media initiatives that support corporate and brand reputation. Dino was formerly a professor of web design at Lawrence Technological University, as well as founder and principal of Vincena, an interactive marketing consultancy based in Detroit and Research Triangle Park (Raleigh, NC). Dino has an extensive PR background and has counseled agencies and clients since graduating from Kent State University with a B.S. in public relations in 1997. He can be found online at dinobaskovic.com and on Twitter: @ProfessorDino.

Imagine for a moment that you own a coffee shop. As part of your consumer marketing strategy, you source the best beans from around the planet, taking great care to find fairtrade, organically certified varieties. Customers clamor for your coffee as a result and you prosper financially. Yet instead of gauging your success by mere profits or shareholder satisfaction, your primary measure of what makes a blockbuster business is helping the farms that supply your operations halfway around the world. That is your bottom line—the quality of life for those farmers, ensuring they are able to trade in fair market conditions and can adhere to sustainable, environmentally-friendly growing and harvesting methods. (The bottom line is still your profit. Quality of life for those farmers needs to be tied to a ―sustainable business‖ model before it can be tied to sustainable farming.) The above example, more or less, describes social enterprise: creating profitable businesses that enhance the quality of life for those in need through conservation and respect for global cultures. The concept is not entirely new, having been the focus of leadership initiatives from respected universities such as Harvard and Cornell for well over a decade. A growing legion of business luminaries gather at international assemblies such as the Skoll World

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Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and the Social Enterprise World Forum. Additionally, social entrepreneurs have gained media traction over the last few years, particularly with the advent of microlending and microfinancing in third-world countries through noteworthy lenders including Kiva.org and Grameen Bank. Social enterprises may collaborate with governments and NGOs alike as well as NPOs/NPGs to establish market presence for certain goods and services. It is important to understand that in most cases, social enterprises are for-profit ventures. Also, what defines such enterprises can vary from market to market depending on regulatory conditions. Furthermore, social entrepreneurs are classified as innovators, able to bring forth creative, inventive and original offerings to market with the intent of reshaping society. How can you become a socially-mined business, or steer into that direction? Here are some questions to ask yourself: Do I truly have it in me to (re)focus my business on advancing social causes, including the fortitude to overcome hurdles that may lay ahead? Am I a ―change agent‖ in the real sense of the term, and if so, am I confident that sharing my ideas and innovations will create massive change for the good of the planet? Can I market my social enterprise in a way that inspires, engages and alters behaviors for the better?

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While not everybody is called to be a social entrepreneur, it is vastly beneficial to realize that potential marketing opportunities abound at the convergence of the private and public sectors. Expect increasing coverage and marketing analysis of the face of social enterprise in 2011.

For more information, please visit the following resources on the web: Slide Presentation: “Tech-Savvy Social Entrepreneurship” http://hbr.org/web/extras/tech-savvy-social-entrepreneurship/1-slide Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative http://www.hbs.edu/socialenterprise/ Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future http://sustainablefuture.cornell.edu/ Cornell Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise http://www2.johnson.cornell.edu/sge/ The Skoll Foundation http://www.skollfoundation.org/ Social Edge http://www.socialedge.org/ Social Enterprise Alliance http://se-alliance.org/ 9 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

Join Your Chamber and Show Up
By Patricia Redsicker

If there‘s ONE thing that I think would make a HUGE difference for entrepreneurs in 2011 it is joining their local Chamber of Commerce AND getting deeply involved. Chamber membership is a common sense investment and one of the best values in business. The chamber exists to provide business benefits that you‘re not likely to find anywhere else – referrals, networking opportunities, representation and advocacy and an appropriate environment to give your organization the spot light. This is especially important if you‘re a ‗solopreneur‘ or a small business with a shoe-string advertising budget. But there‘s more to Chamber membership than paying your dues and having your business listed in their business directory. That in it-self will not do much for your growth. Unfortunately however a lot of people expect the Chamber to ‗do something for them‘ just by virtue of sending a check. In my experience, I have found that what brings most value is the time investment that you make in Chamber activities and committees. It means getting deeply involved and being very active within the Chamber community. It means sharing your resources with others. It means altruistic service. When you first become a Chamber member, find out what committees are available and what kind of services they provide. General committees include legislative, membership, marketing, events, and so on. Find one that is a good fit for your business skills and your personality and apply to become an active member of that group.

Patricia Redsicker is the principal of WordView Editing, a copy-writing and social media consultancy in the Baltimore area. She is also a very active member of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Young Professionals Network – a group within the Chamber.

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Give that committee your time, skills and resources without counting the cost or expecting anything in return. Make sure that you are consistent in your involvement. Don‘t just show up a couple of times a year and expect to reap any worthwhile benefits. Provide the most outstanding service, just as you would for a high-paying client. What will happen over a relatively short period of time is that other Chamber members who are prominent and influential - will start to notice your hard work, your commitment and dedication to service. They will find it easy to come up and talk to you because they‘re used to seeing you around, helping out and getting involved. It will be a natural thing for them to ‗go-to‘ you because you‘re part of the ‗establishment‘. They‘ll take a genuine interest in what you do outside of Chamber activities because they see that you‘re committed to something bigger than yourself. In addition, the Chamber itself will be happy to refer business your way in exchange for your dedicated service to them. You can be sure, that a referral from the Chamber is no small favor. At the time of this writing, 95% of my current and prospective projects are directly from Chamber connections that I have made through active committee involvement and consistent service. I would not have met these prospects if I were just another paid up member who did not get involved.

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$100+ million in Lead Conversion Tools
by Jeff Swaim

Today, the game has changed from getting ―leads‖ to getting customers. We‘ve been too bombarded by ―free download this‖ or ―win an iPhone that‖ to get sucked into filling out a form or submitting our email addresses like we used to. Today we are more discriminate and REAL content is king. So how do we rise above the ―gimmicks‖ and attract qualified leads and turn them into outstanding customers? Well, as 21st century marketing guru Seth Godin puts it, ―Be remarkable or be invisible.‖ Below are five key principles I recommend to make ―real‖ customers happen, followed by my priceless Bookmarks List of online tools that are worth their conversion weight in gold. Here‘s to a powerful 2011!

Jeff Swaim is the founder and tribe leader of MOOv, a ―digitally-minded‖ advertising agency based in Denver, Colorado. Their specialty is remarkable marketing and ridiculous results—because if you are not remarkable—you are invisible! makeamoov.com

1) Be transparent, authentic, and real. Fluff won‘t cut it today. 2) Do your homework. Real content is king. Make your brand believable. 3) Keep I.T. people out of the room and maybe let in a few marketers. Mostly, have real people—true prospects—drive your messaging, offer and design. 4) Ask for as little information as possible, and get more later. (After they are a customer.)

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5) Pictures are still worth a thousand words. Pictures and sound are worth 10,000 words. DO NOT make prospects think. Hand-hold them right into your customer list. Bookmarks of those who truly GET lead conversion: http://userfly.com http://feedbackarmy.com http://clicktale.com http://attentionwizard.com http://crossbrowsertesting.com http://usertesting.com http://app.mockflow.com http://socialmention.com http://trackur.com http://imoderate.com

Like what you’re reading so far? Come hang out at the Marketing In Progress Roundtable. Free forum, free interviews, free seminars, great discussion.

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Be Exceptional, No Exceptions
By Lyn Christian, MCC, CFCC

All the creative, inspiring marketing ideas within this book may be for naught unless you are willing to do one thing: assure that your product or a service is exceptional. What I mean is this: Great ideas fulfill a need or want in the marketplace. Lyn Christian captivates audiences with her presence, courage and truth telling. As a world-class coach, coach trainer and as a published author, she is all about fierce integrity and peak performance – for her clients and herself. Her work currently extends from being the CEO of Soul Salt Inc. Life Strategies and Business Coaching to living up to her eyeballs in the lab of human evolution. (Lyn just re-entered the world of competitive sports at age 51) To learn more about Lyn visit: www.soulsalt.com www.lynchristian.com www.soulsaltacademy.com 14 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness Exceptional ideas fulfill a need or want for lots of people, and compel lots of those people to pay for them. Exceptional ideas seduce, attract, nurture, and entice our attention and our cash. To repeat: Lots of people need and want your product + lots of those people are willing to pay for it = EXCEPTIONAL. Stop yourself if you‘re prematurely reaching for the ―exceptional‖ rubber stamp. You don‘t get to label your offering as such. That‘s your customer‘s job. Your job is to create and market something exceptional. This process often follows a pattern similar to this: Develop your idea as best you can. Launch a version of it and market that to your audience.

Observe what real, paying customers have to say. Or what they don‘t say about your product. Revise if needed and add more marketing to your efforts. Launch again. Repeat the steps above as often as is necessary to reach exceptional. Or until you prudently shelf the idea. If you want an example of a completed process, consider the book titled The Christmas Box. Originally Richard Paul Evans intended to create two copies of his book to give to his children. However, his wife read and reacted to the book so powerfully that they determined to self-publish twenty copies and gift those out to friends as well as family members for Christmas. Within six weeks their phone started ringing. In fact it rang almost every day. Local book stores were asking to fulfill orders they had taken from people who had heard about and wanted the book. Another 5,000 copies were self-published and some formal marketing was added to the mix as Richard Paul Evans kept listening to and responding to the marketplace. By the next year, The Christmas Box had become #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. Now that‘s exceptional. Recently I launched my first i-phone app called Today and Not Today. What started out as a paper-based tool designed to help clients cut through chaos and effectively plan out their day, has now become a digital resource. And at the same point in time where this e-book was first offered online, the app was knee-deep in the ―great‖ stage. I know as you do that millions of ideas are out there hoping to become exceptional. Will mine be one of them? Will yours be one of them?

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Stories
By Dave Sattler

Stop thinking about what you sell as a product or service. What you sell is an experience. People often confuse the terms product and brand and consider the two to be interchangeable. Product, from a marketing perspective, is something with a set of relevant attributes that appeals to your target group of consumers priced competitively and to support your business model. A brand is the emotions associated with your product(s) that actually drive purchases through word of mouth and loyalty. Dave Sattler is Web Marketing Strategist for Scentsy. He worked with PetSmart, Intel (China), and MarketRx. Most of Dave’s work has been around helping consumer product companies identify word of mouth and interactive strategies to drive conversion and generate brand loyalty. At Scentsy, Dave drives online marketing and branding strategies for Scentsy corporate as well as facilitating online evangelism by both consultants and consumers through the use of social media.
http://twitter.com/davesattler http://davesattler.posterous.com/ http://www.linkedin.com/in/getdave

Highly relevant, very cool products fail all the time. Brands are built on emotions and the more emotion that is invested into a brand the harder it is for that brand to fail. In May 2008 sustainable apparel brand Nau posted on its blog that it was closing its doors. But consumers wouldn‘t let the brand die and sent letters, emails, and blog comments sharing their passion for the brand. According to, Ian Yolles, Nau head of marketing; "I felt like I was occupying two realities. In one there was this profound shock of a company closing down. Yet in this other, these customers communicating their passion for what the same company stood for." The outpouring of support for the Nau brand prompted Ian and a handful of ex-Nau employees to make some phone calls and within 5 months they found a buyer that would let the brand continue to live and was slated to turn a profit in 2010. http://www.inc.com/magazine/20091201/a-second-chance-for-a-failed-brand.html http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/06/nau-outdoor-eco-clothier-is-back.php 16 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0301/entrepreneurs-patagonia-nau-horny-toad-thatwas-then.html Donald Calne, the well-known neurologist and author of the book Within Reason:

Rationality and Human Behavior wrote;

―The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while
reason leads to conclusions.‖
Every year Interbrand measures the strength of brands all over the world. These very interesting reports illustrate three vital components of a brand; the loyalty of that brands consumers, the ―recommendability‖ (or Net Promoter Score) of that brand, and the ability of that brand to leverage word of mouth in marketing. Essentially; 1. How many of your current consumers will purchase from you again? 2. How likely are your current consumers to recommend your brand to others? 3. How much word of mouth equity have you accumulated? Of your consumers, how many would evangelize for you given the chance? And beyond recommending, how many would engage with your marketing? The success of your business is directly tied to the strength of your brand which is directly tied to the strength of the emotions associated with your brand. Stories are still the most valuable form of reaching people on an emotional level. When I say ―stories‖ I mean anything that offers people an opportunity to consume or generate content that reflects the uniqueness of the human experience. To drive the launch of the Ford Fiesta into Europe, Ford invited the EU public to submit their own definition of ‗now‘ to the ‗This is Now‘ Flickr group. Over 60,000 images were

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submitted and the 200 blog posts reached over 2M. This is great example of how Ford crowdsourced the telling of a story and generated awareness and interest. http://wearesocial.net/thisisnow/ How do I go about doing this? Post-conversion marketing - invite those who already love you to tell stories about you. Find ways to amplify the voice of those who already love you and would tell your story to the world or engage around your brand. This will generate stories.

Find a (brand-rich) story, create your own, or crowdsource the story-writing to the public. Once you‘ve found your story, find the most compelling medium to tell it and make it easily shareable.
Be honest with yourself. When thinking of marketing engagements ask yourself; ―What will people say about our marketing? Is it word-of-mouth worthy? How is this going to get people talking about us and what will they say?‖ Remember the goal is not simply to entertain those that already love you but to give them something so compelling that they‘ll be inclined to share it with their friends.

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Why Small Ball is Better Than Swinging for the Fences
By Frank Barnett

Editor’s note: this post was originally written in late January 2011. The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away, and I don‘t know about you, but for me, some of the best drama on TV comes courtesy of sports. There‘s the slam dunk to cap a comeback. The fumble that‘s picked up and run back to win the game. And, of course, the towering home run. Just mention ―The Drive‖ or ―The Catch‖ and sports fans will nod knowingly. They happen every day - and they‘re why we watch. But while home runs certainly sell tickets, in baseball and in business, good managers know that ―small ball‖ wins championships. What is “small ball”? Frank Barnett is an internet marketer with an unhealthy obsession with conversion rate, one of many ticks he’s developed doing search marketing over the last 10 years. You can find out more about Frank at frankcbarnett.com, or follow him at twitter at @fbarnett. If you‘re not familiar with the term, ―small ball‖ is just like it sounds: as a strategy, it‘s the opposite of banking on the ―long ball.‖ Instead of swinging for the fences, you simply get a runner on base. Instead of trying to get the guy home in one shot, you bunt the guy on first over to second. In short, you take high percentage shots. It‘s similar to shooting layups instead of three-point-shots in basketball. A bunt won‘t bring the crowd to their feet, but it almost always will advance the runner - and the runs all count the same. They don‘t give you more points for hitting it out of the park.

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Small Ball as a New Year’s Resolution It‘s a New Year - a clean slate. If you‘re like me, you set some pretty lofty goals to make the most of this year. What resolutions did you set for your business? Are you banking on a towering home run, a bottom-of-the-ninth Grand Slam to get you where you want to be? Are they strikingly similar to the plot line of Casey at the Bat? Let me suggest that instead of swinging for the fences, you should play a little small ball. I‘m a web guy, so here‘s an example (you could do the same with your call center or direct sales): Instead of scrapping your website and hiring a big-money firm to build you a rockstar web app that will ―hit it out of the park,‖ simply shoot to increase your existing site‘s conversion rate by a tenth of a percent each quarter. It‘s far cheaper, totally within your control - and completely doable. It means you spend a lot of time making small tweaks to your web content, to your images, to your checkout process or lead-gen funnel. But it‘s not a crash diet and it takes discipline and patience, and it‘s unlikely anyone will call you a hero at the end of January. But take a look at what that incremental improvement can do for you this year: the average website converts at around 1% or 2%, which means that for an average website, playing small ball gets you a more than 33% improvement over what your site did in 2010. If your site converted 33% more visitors than it did last year, that would be pretty big, I‘d guess. In sports as in business as in life: It‘s a lot more glamorous to swing for the fences. But the smart money will always be on small ball. Consistent, incremental improvement will almost always beat the big, dramatic one-shot initiative.

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Listening to Understand
Fundamental to Direct Sales Success
By Neil Phillips

As sales people, we sometimes get so caught up in our own ―stuff,‖ that we forget one of the first principles of sales—understand your customer. If you don‘t know what they want, how can you help them get it? Stephen Covey would offer the simple advice to ―seek first to understand, then be understood.‖ I was coaching a group last week and the core knowledge that we were talking about was customer-centered listening. You might call it active listening, reflective listening, or heartcentered listening, but the core of all of those is precisely where we were trying to focus. The essential lesson is a simple one: the business relationship you build with your customers depends on you listening to them as people, and not as purchasers you want them to be. While we all know and engage in the behaviors, we seldom put it together in a list. As a group, we discussed seven concepts.

Neil Phillips is an internationally known network marketing and direct selling coach. Visit Team Connections to read his blog or sign up for the free newsletter. For a daily coaching message, visit him on Facebook.

1. Be physically available. Hold yourself nonverbally open and attentive. Don‘t forget to nod and smile. 2. Be mentally open. Engage in minimal interruptions while staying focused on the conversation. 3. Use door openers like ―You sound excited! I love your enthusiasm. What‘s going on?‖ 4. Be verbally extending. Ask for more details.

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5. When you hear a metaphor being used, keep it going. ―I am so tired of just being another player on the team.‖ ―I understand. You want to be the captain.‖ 6. Be verbally summarizing. Paraphrase. 7. Be verbally shaping. Reframe the conversation. (Think about the 50% glass— is it half empty or half full?)
―I tried weight control pills before. It didn‘t work.‖ ―Are you saying the supplements weren‘t right for you?‖ ―Yeah. They may work for some people but I think my G.I. system is more sensitive.‖ ―So the supplements worked, you just needed better direction on which ones.‖ I guess you could say that this really isn‘t complex. We listen like this when we are in conversational mode. The difference is that we should do this when we are in a selling mode. If we think we know the answer before we hear from the customer, then we are more likely to misunderstand than not. Listening to Understand doesn‘t always come easy. We have too many stimuli pulling at our attention. This is a list just to get you started. I‘m sure you can add to it. I want to leave you with a couple of additional questions. How can you stay focused on the telephone? (Hint: It won‘t happen while driving or internet surfing.) How do we extend customer centered listening to a blog, Facebook, or elsewhere on the cloud? It‘s easy to push ourselves out like traditional interruption marketing. How can you start an internet dialogue?

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Dream Big! Then Shelve 'Em
By Dennis Cheatham

Dennis Cheatham dennischeatham.com

You may have lofty and exciting entrepreneurial ideas but if they haven't been conceived with your market in mind, they'll fail. Design thinking is a methodology that espouses the importance of user-centered design. In other words, it's the process of innovation conducted with an empathetic attitude toward your market. Consider your customer (user) when devising products or services, or while testing your existing ideas for ones you've already hatched and revise or discard those ideas while wearing your design thinking glasses. Constantly evaluate if the project you're pursuing meets the needs of the user and be critical as you develop it. Creating and evaluating ideas this way will reveal their strengths and weaknesses and will save you time, money, and heartache in the process, as long as you're willing to shelve the ones that don't work to make room for others whose day has yet to come.

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How to be Unforgettable
By Pamela Wilson

Remember me? I‘m your potential customer. I want to buy from you, but I can‘t remember the name of your business. I have money in my hand, but your business name isn‘t coming to mind. I wish your marketing had been more memorable. Maybe if you‘d written your copy to be benefits driven, I‘d remember you better. That means if your business sells chewing gum, you don‘t focus on how it‘s flavored with organically-grown spearmint, which is a feature. Instead, tell me how chewing your gum will give me fresh breath so I can stand closer to that cute person across the room, which is definitely a benefit. If your tag line explained what you offer in a memorable way, at least I‘d be able to Google you. But I can‘t, because it doesn‘t. 24 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

Pamela Wilson helps small businesses grow with great design and marketing tips. Learn the basics with her free Design 101 e-course at the Big Brand System.

Maybe if you‘d delivered your message in a memorable package, I‘d know where to send my money right now. If you‘d used the same two colors on everything you created — your web site, business cards, brochures and t-shirts — I‘d have an easier time remembering the name of your business. If you had chosen a distinctive typeface or two, then used those consistently in all your marketing, I‘d be more successful recalling who you are. I want to buy from you, but I can‘t find you. What will you do to be unforgettable this year?

Got some ideas of your own?
Let’s all talk about ‘em. Join us at the Roundtable.

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Lay Off the Social Media
By Terena Bell

Lay off the social media. Seriously. I know this is sacrilege to say in an e-book, but when it comes to social media, less is more. Don‘t get me wrong. I spend as much time Tweeting (twitter.com/InEveryLanguage) in a day as I do talking to my mother. In Every Language (www.ineverylanguage.com), my company, has its own Facebook page (www.facebook.com/InEveryLanguage) and I even have two for myself—a personal one hidden from the search engines and a professional one that‘s not. In the language services industry, which is where I do my work, I‘m even considered to be a social media leader, publishing on social media in Multilingual, and speaking on it at conferences for the American Translators Association (ATA) and the Association of Language Companies (ALC). I‘m even co-chair of the ALC‘s ―social media task force,‖ whatever that‘s supposed to mean. So, yes, I believe in the power of social media. But, seriously, let‘s not go overboard here, people. When you‘re an entrepreneur, the one commodity you definitely need more of is time. Everyone will tell you it‘s cash flow, but you can always get more money. You can‘t get more time. So what you have to do is budget time just like you would money. You have to spend it judiciously and save it wherever you can. Social media—which, again, I heartily believe in—takes time. When you run a business, whether you started it or not, you are responsible for its image. Yes, it‘s okay to think creatively, be progressive, blah-blah, but you need to act responsibly as well. That‘s why In Every Language never got a MySpace. When we first jumped on the

Terena Bell is CEO of In Every Language, a social enterprise offering translation, interpreting, and localization in 170 different languages to clients worldwide. Follow her on Twitter at @InEveryLanguage or find the company online at InEveryLanguage.com.

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social media bandwagon, the only brands on MySpace were rock bands and Adidas. It simply wasn‘t a good fit for us. MySpace would have taken time and diluted our brand. In Every Language‘s hallmark program is Translation Plus Two (http://bit.ly/i3lVSb), an initiative where we match corporations in need of translation with translators from economically-discriminated populations. While we stayed away from MySpace, we did get a profile on SocialYell (www.socialyell.com/In-Every-Language), a site none of our competitors have signed up on. SocialYell‘s beauty is that it focuses on corporate social responsibility. Our target market includes corporations that want to be responsible throughout all aspects of their supply chain, including translation. So while having a MySpace profile would have been a bit too teeny-boppery, having one on SocialYell helps fortify In Every Language‘s branding position as the responsible translation provider. Again, I‘m not saying to kill off your social media, but I am saying lay off of it a little bit. You don‘t have to have a profile on every site out there. Save yourself some time and look for sites and forums that allow you to grow your brand and to truly reach your actual market.

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The Eleventh Commandment
By Dana Phillips

There is a great saying, ―if it is to be, it‘s up to me.‖ The success of your business is in your hands and you can‘t blame your neighbors, your kids, your husband, the weather if you fail. Here are some practical tips for marketing your direct selling business. Consider purchasing a sign or wrap for your car that reads, ―To buy or sell XYZ, call me at...‖ Be sure to wear your company logo wear or nametag everywhere you go. Then be prepared to follow the Direct Selling Eleventh Commandment: Open Thy Mouth. I remember my first year in business I wore my nametag in a Safeway grocery store in Topeka, Kansas. When people noticed my nametag, I could have smiled and just said, ―Yes, I‘m a representative for XYZ,‖ but I continued the conversation. I opened my mouth and scheduled four appointments in one afternoon. You see the nametag might get visual recognition, but it‘s your warm personality, your ―Open Thy Mouth‖ conversation that will bring you business. A catalog or business card won‘t recruit a new person for you. People won‘t say, ―Oh look, I see your nametag: I want to have do business with you.‖ Learn to open your mouth in all sorts of situations, circumstances, and opportunities. You might want to talk about your product, have your catalog in every restaurant you go to. It could be as simple as this: when the waitress comes up, admire her, give her a sincere compliment, ―you‘re just such a friendly person and I don‘t know if you even know about my product XYZ, but I‘d love to give you a brochure.‖ Then ask her for a number so you can follow up. 28 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

Dana Phillips is an internationally known expert in Direct Selling. She co-authored Direct Selling 101, a bestselling audio CD from the Time Warner series, Coach in a Box. Dana coaches direct selling leaders, and consults with direct selling companies. Learn more at TeamConnections.org.

One of the most successful tips I give my clients is to put yourself in a contest. Life is a contest. It‘s always fun. So you can always announce to people: ―I‘m in a contest. I‘m trying to talk to five people today about our wonderful product. May I tell you a little about my company?‖ Another game you can play to help you remember to start conversations is the ―Five People Here Game.‖ When you go into a store or a mall make a decision that you are not leaving until you have the name and the number of five people. One sales leader told me she went into the grocery store playing this game and she was shocked by the amount of time that she was in the store. The reason she‘d spent an hour is because she booked three parties, all brand new people she had never met. It was her enthusiasm and the fact that she was talking to people and opening her mouth. ―If it is to be, it‘s up to me.‖ You are the CEO of your company. You are the owner of your business and if you don‘t open your mouth, nobody else is going to. Recognize that you have something terrific to offer, and realize that there is business everywhere. Go and get it; open your mouth.

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Give your brand a soul
By Cynthia Smoot

Last year, you probably jumped into social media and started a Facebook page and created a Twitter account for your business. You started pushing out your marketing messages with wild abandon and waited for the customers (and their money) to come pouring in. A year later, you're scratching your head and wondering what all the hype was about. Social media is not traditional media. So quit using it that way. It's called "social" for a reason. Think about what you like to see on these sites from your human counterparts: funny pictures, birthday shout outs, witty quips or funny remarks about something in the news... It's the things about a person that makes them human and relatable that make you feel connected to them. If you want to see more than just mild success on your social media channels, your brand needs a soul. And while we're at it, give it a personality too! Talk about something other than yourself once in a while. Reach out to others and comment on their posts, talk to people about things other than your brand or the products you sell. Turn yourself into a likable, relatable, engaging voice and you will have a much better chance of creating those "brand evangelists" you've been hearing so much about. It's no different than what I tell my young son, "To have friends, you have to first BE a friend worth having".

Cynthia Smoot Social Strategist and Marketing Consultant Gangway Advertising @GangwayAdv @OhSoCynthia

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Just Communicate
By Travis Dahle

If there was one piece of advice that I could give people when it comes to their business it would be this: Just Communicate. If you understand this one simple concept, you can see your business explode. Just Communicate has several concepts. First, your presentation is about you – not about how awesome your project/service/idea is. If you are going to give a presentation about your business or your new idea that you are trying to get funding for, people are going to buy into you – not the presentation. That means that you have to be able to communicate your idea to those people. Unfortunately, most people think that they have to pour as much information in as humanly possible because they want to make sure that nothing is left out. Congratulations, you just added a few more deaths to the PowerPoint pile. Keep it simple, short and to the point. If you need some tips or suggestions, either go here (dahlecommunication.com), here (presentationzen.com) or here (ethos3.com). When it comes to presenting those ideas, delivery is a key aspect to success. While there is a lot that goes into being an effective presenter, some suggestions include: prepare, practice and be confident. Again, a lot more goes into it, but that‘s a start. While ‗Social Media‘ is great, most people don‘t understand how to use it for communicating with people. The largest are of course Twitter and Facebook. These two can speak for all of the various ‗Social Media‘ out there. While Twitter and Facebook have the potential to reach out to your customers, too many people use it as a marketing tool instead of a communication tool. Social media is a way to have a conversation with the people who are either buying your products, using your services or buying into your business. It 31 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

Travis Dahle has a passion for communication that borders on obsessive just hope that you are not speaking in front of an audience with him in it because he'll probably be analyzing what you are doing! He works on spreading his gospel on the importance of good communication on his website at DahleCommunication.com.

shouldn‘t be about how many people will see your latest press release or your latest coupon for a product or service. What you should do is engage in the community and communicate with them. Another aspect that people struggle with deals with cell phones. While cell phone technology is great and it has allowed us to have access to the internet 24/7, access to our emails, texts, twitter updates, Facebook updates and the latest news – it has actually hurt our ability to communicate. When you are talking to someone face-to-face, don‘t treat them like they are secondary to your phone. The problem is a lot of people feel an almost Pavlovian reaction to their phone when they hear or feel their phone go off with some type of e-mail, text or update. When you check your phone while in a meeting with someone, you are telling them that they are not important – your phone is. Stay focused, keep communicating and check your phone later. So remember, Just Communicate. If people would follow that simple mantra, their business would do much better. Presentations, social media and face-to-face communication can make or break a business. Use them effectively and succeed.

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A Marketing Plan Matters
By Jennifer Fong

As an entrepreneur, you‘re responsible for everything. From the important client meetings to scrubbing the toilets, it‘s often all you. And because of that, we often focus more on the actual execution, rather than the ―luxury‖ of planning. And this can really come back to bite you, especially when it comes to your marketing.

Jennifer Fong is a direct sales and social media corporate consultant and speaker that helps companies put into place a strategic social media presence that brings measurable results. She blogs regularly about ways that business owners can use social media effectively at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com. She also provides regular information on the ways that direct sales companies can use social media effectively at http://www.jenfongmedia.com (Launching Spring 2011).

If you‘re using social media to market your business, you might find yourself sitting in front of Facebook or Twitter each day asking yourself, ―What should I post today?‖ The problem with this approach is that it prevents you from being strategic in your communication.

We all know that the ultimate goal is more sales. But we also know that ―buy my stuff‖ is not the kind of communication that works through social media. Instead, it takes a gradual approach over time. But if you‘re not planning that slow build that builds trust with your market, how on earth will your social strategy be effective?

A marketing plan matters. You should be planning at least 3 months in advance what you want to communicate about your business. Are there holidays coming up that you can use as part of your marketing? Do you have specials, promotions, or other offers that can be highlighted? Will particular topics be of interest because of something going on in your community? 33 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

Your marketing will only work if it communicates the right information at the right time. Maybe it‘s not an earth-shattering new idea, but planning is neglected far too often by busy entrepreneurs. Plan 3 months ahead each quarter of this year, and watch how much more effective your marketing will be.

HOWDY PARTNER
By Tracey A. Altman

TRACEY A ALTMAN is currently vice president of marketing for Wholly Dip brands, including Wholly Guacamole, Wholly Salsa and Wholly Queso. She has over 20 years experience (but doesn't look that old) working with all kinds of brands, including Nokia, Haggar Clothing Co, Virgin mobile, Pizza Hut, etc. Tracey has learned one thing: great marketing is about research,insight and guts. Check out facebook.com/whollyguacamole or linkedin.com/traceyaltman.

With small budgets and lean staffs, finding partners to share your promotion with is a strategic advantage from your competitor. When thinking of partners, don't think of just the obvious ones. Who shares your target? Who shares your brand personality? Who compliments your brand? Who stands for something you would like to stand for? Are you equal brands? Or are they bigger? You bigger? What assets do you both have to trade with and capitalize on? It can be a big program - ads, events, etc., or a small program - Facebook cross-over promo. Start slow and see how the brands work together first… … and then go bigger. I partnered a bread company with a sneaker company a few years back. On the surface, doesn't work. But we were both targeting moms and the bread company gave the sneaker company exposure in the grocery. The sneaker company gave the bread company exposure 34 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

in malls. Message: healthy kids are important. Eat well and exercise. Great campaign and scored tons of moms joining their websites and becoming brand advocates for a long time. I also partnered Pizza Hut with the Florida Police Department. What was I thinking?! It was during the "buckle up campaign" where police officers were stopping consumers to make sure they were buckled up. For the police, this was a safety message that had a negative connotation to it. So Pizza Hut used it to launch a new pizza - and make a negative message into a positive message - if they stopped you, and you buckled up, you got a free pizza!

Consolidate To Dominate
By Roland Gilbert

Roland Gilbert is an Associate Director of Communications at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. He, his wife, and three kids, live in Wylie, Texas. RolandGilbert.com

It can be overwhelming to think of the myriad of ways to advertise a product or market your ideas today. Dozens, if not hundreds, of traditional and non-traditional mediums are at our disposal. Broadcast radio and television, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, eblasts, websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter … just to name a few. Some are extremely expensive, and some are pretty cost-effective. But winning big doesn‘t mean that you need to conquer them all to stay connected to your audience and have a meaningful conversation and mutually profitable relationship with them. In fact, and it may seem counterintuitive, I believe that if you were to focus your efforts and actually reduce the number of different channels of influence you‘re using this year, rather than increase them, I think you‘ll see tremendous results. This is an approach that requires 35 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

neither reducing your budget (when would you ever get it back if you didn‘t spend it all, right?) nor needing to ask for more money (how likely is that request to be granted in this economy, right?). For example, I once heard a concert promoter lament that he‘d ―wasted‖ a lot of advertising money using three different radio stations trying to get butts-in-seats at the show. I thought he‘d have done much better focusing the same amount of money into just one station. He‘d have achieved a much better frequency (the number of times a person hears an ad) and probably gotten a better response from just one audience hit hard than attempting to reach three hit lightly. I would have advised him to dominate one station. Consider your current communications strategy and ask yourself some questions. How many different means am I attempting to use right now? Do I feel like I am mastering them all or is it overwhelming and frustrating? Is my audience seated around all of these tables or just a few of them? Which tables do I really need to pull my chair up to? If it seems like you‘re always a few steps behind in successfully using all of these means, you may need to make some hard decisions and cut some things loose. You may be a candidate for consolidating your mediums and focusing your efforts – using the exact same budget you already have – to increase your rate of return. I know how hard this is in light of all the newest and greatest high-tech gadgets and social mediums popping up on the horizon every few months. I am continuously fighting the urge and temptation to stay on top of it all. But saying ―no‖ to some good things will allow you to say ―yes‖ to some better things. You will also need to be able to discipline yourself to remain a ―committed marketer‖ and place more of your eggs into fewer baskets – and watch those baskets! Some say, ―Less is more.‖ I‘ve also heard it suggested that, ―Less is better.‖ I believe that if you can bring yourself to consolidate your communications channels, and dominate fewer mediums, you will reap huge rewards. 36 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

Recognize Your Hero Potential
by Lisa Robbin Young

Originally, the title of this post was "Value Yourself" because there seems to be a preponderance of people in direct sales that suffer from horribly low self-esteem. But I didn't want people to get caught up in their own self-worth, when the fact of the matter is, YOU'RE ALREADY AWESOME. Your customers love your product, your company, and see you as some kind of expert in both. You are their hero. Think about that for a minute. You are a hero. You take risks, you venture forth, into uncharted waters, not knowing what's around the next corner. You reap rewards, you help people, you change lives. You decided to be a hero the minute you became an entrepreneur. But not just any kind of hero. An ACTION hero. Think of the greatest action heroes of all time. Like them, you have a little technology on your side, a whole lot of grit and determination... and chances are good you're going to get banged up a bit on the journey. Business - especially being an entrepreneur - has ups and downs. We get banged up, beaten up, scratched and dented. Still we rise, learning from our blood, sweat, and tears, how to make our passion a going concern.

Lisa Robbin Young is a multi-passionate speaker, trainer and coach working with leaders and entrepreneurs to help them discover their own hero potential, bringing them the courage to take the next step on their journey to success. She is the founder of DirectSalesClassroom.com, a comprehensive online training center for direct sales professionals. Her new project for entrepreneurs, BusinessActionHero.com, launches in 2011. Lisa can also be found on twitter at twitter.com/lisarobbinyoung.

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And also like the action heroes of the big screen, you have a mission, a passion to serve a greater good in the world. To find your own "holy grail", leave a legacy, and make the lives of the people you serve that much better. But the key to being a hero isn't found in believing in yourself. The key to being a hero lies in taking action. DO something - anything. Do it better, do it differently, do it with class. It's about action, not perfection. This is not a license to be sloppy. It's an invitation to do your best work for the people that see you as their champion. Who wouldn't want to be a hero in that case? Stop questioning your abilities. Get over yourself and see how heroic you really are. Use the tools you have in your marketing bag of tricks to create a marketing plan for the year, build a solid book of business, and propel your organization to the other side of the chasm that stands between you and direct sales success. What are you waiting for? Be an action hero in your own business, and your value can't help but be revealed to everyone around you.

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Using Referrals to Grow Your Business
By Brad Linder

We run a health and fitness program in Coppell, TX. We offer a few different services when it comes to looking, feeling and performing better like boot camps, personal training and a program called the 24 Day Challenge. Our main service, though, is what most people call ―Boot Camp‖ that runs year-round and is designed to give a person all the tools needed to get started on a plan, regardless of fitness level. With a business like ours that promises weight loss and fitness results, it is very important that the client or customer knows, likes, and trusts us before making a decision to join us or not. We have great numbers of retention once we get a client because of this approach. We have had the most success growing our business with a program we call Referral Rewards Program. Since our fitness boot camp is done in a group atmosphere, we create a friendly fun environment that creates motivation, encouragement and inspiration. People end up making new friends and enjoying the process of trying to start getting in shape and the progress along the way of reaching new health and fitness goals. It is no wonder that the best way for us to attract new customers and clients is to have a huge incentive program for referrals.

Brad Linder CEO, Get You In Shape GetYouInShape.com

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Our Referral Rewards Program allows all our clients to bring friends, family, neighbors and anyone else to try a session out for free. The people they bring are already hearing what our program has done for our client so we are one step closer to having that potential new client know, like, and trust us. We know that our typical client will most likely want to have extra motivation by helping someone they know join our program. Why not give them a little nudge by offering some great incentives for referring people to our program? Offering a free session or try-it-before-you-buy session is a great way for them to casually check out the program before they commit to it. This allows us to get them to know, like and trust us before they purchase anything. People love discounts and having a Referral Program is also another way to help them get discounts on our program. We have a few referral incentives and we also have contests for the most referrals. One month we had a contest to see who could bring the most people to try a session out over one month. The winner got a free month of boot camp. This allowed us to get a lot of new people checking out our program and led to a great month of new clients or customers. Our regular Referral Rewards Program gives our clients different discounts based on the amount of people they bring to us that join our program. No matter what type of service you have, the referral program can and should be used to help grow your business.

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What’s Inside Your Website?
By Sam Merrick

Are you spending enough time thinking about what‘s inside your website? Have you spent hours and hours thinking about how it looks on the outside but skipped over the content? Sit down and read through your website as if you were a prospect for your business or organization and ask yourself a few questions:

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6)

Is it clear what your business or organization does? Is it easy to determine how to contact you? Do any pictures or graphics stick out in your mind? Would you contact your company? Are you bored? Are you confused?

How did you do? I‘m going to give you a few tips on how to improve these areas of your website. Clear Call Outs – Make sure your phone number is easy to see and sticks out and shows up on your mobile device so users can just click and call you. If you use a contact form, make sure that link is clearly visible and not stuck at the bottom of your page. Don‘t be afraid to repeat your phone number more than once either.

Sam Merrick Director of Search Marketing RaeSea Internet Marketing

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Graphics and Pictures – Using stock photos is popular because it‘s easy and relatively inexpensive, but using these images rarely creates any emotional connection to those using your website. You don‘t have to use perfect photos…you want to look human and real. Faces are important and interesting. Also, graphics that depict what you do and how you do it are effective and memorable. Arrange Your Text – Paragraph after paragraph of text is just boring and easy to skip over. Using headlines, bullets, pictures, and icons to break up the content is very common but don‘t stop there. Put the most important text at the top of your page. Put the first things you say to customers in a meeting at the top of your web pages. Pitch your service. Tell them what you do and why they need to use you before they click to another website. If you are using an intro paragraph with a lot of fluff then they may never make it to anything else on your web page. If you are having trouble with this, then try this simple exercise: Close your eyes and picture your website. What things do you see and remember? Are there certain lines of text that you remember? Are those meaningful? Think about these elements and how you can improve them and what you want prospects to remember. This works for companies who have a lot of traffic from current customers also. Just think about what information and news you want them to find and use so that they stay a happy customer. It‘s just as easy to close a nice looking website as it is a plain one. But, if you like what you are reading…it‘s tough to put that book down no matter how ugly the cover is.

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Everyone Loves a Contest
By Chris Padgett

Want a surefire way to create meaningful engagement with your target consumer? Consider a contest tactic as part of your overall marketing plan. Effective contests can be a cost efficient platform to drive awareness and consideration of your brand and drive powerful word of mouth. Contests appeal to a variety of consumer needs including competition, recognition and fun! A contest is ultimately about reciprocity. The contestant gets something of perceived value for participating and the contest holder gets something of perceived value for facilitating the contest. If you choose to pursue a contest tactic as part of your marketing plan, here are five foundational questions to address as you design the contest: 1. What situational opportunity or issue does the contest address? Contests can take on all shapes and sizes and ultimately must create meaning for the contestant. 2. What’s in it for the contestants? The bounty for the winner(s) must be big enough to matter.

Chris Padgett is CEO of Zeitgeist LLC, a growth company that helps companies, communities and individuals envision and achieve growth. Learn more at ignitegrowth.com .

3. What are the rules of the contest? All contests have rules. Think through all possible contestant scenarios. 4. What resources are required to enable success? Successful contests often assume a life all their own. Thinking through how you will administer the contest for the

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duration will ensure success. If you don‘t think you can do it alone, consider bringing on board a partner to ensure success. 5. How will you spread the word? Although the best contests spread quickly through word of mouth, identify the best places to promote your contest to your target audience. Ultimately, a contest can be a way for you to raise awareness and consideration of your offering and when designed effectively – subtly convey the soul of your brand.

Localize Online
By Jack Monson

Retail & restaurant chains, franchise systems, and any organization with a distributed sales force should create individual, local Fan Pages, Twitter accounts, and local blogs for each individual location or outlet. For more info on how my clients are benefiting from localized pages, reach me via JackMonson.com and for details on tools companies are using to empower their local outlets, visit Engage121.com. Many brands are focused on building a large following on the national or corporate brand site(s) and are not setting up local pages. It‘s my position that local pages are better at competing for consumers‘ attention and are more likely to convert fans to customers than a vague corporate page. A localized page or stream is more relevant and gives more valuable content to consumers. 44 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

How Selling and Prospecting in Network Marketing Has Evolved
By Janette Stoll

In the last couple of years, a lot of new players have entered the network marketing field. With so many new companies hoping to lure away top recruiters or attract people with their "ground floor opportunity" – it will become increasingly more competitive for network marketers and direct sellers. It‘s no longer enough to rely on your warm market or even your local community to build your business. With cheap technology and the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks, you don‘t have to rely on people you know for business. That‘s not to say it‘s not a good place to start, but any serious entrepreneur knows that they can‘t build a long-term business if they‘re not leveraging as many resources as possible. Given the internet‘s immense potential to reach people so quickly, easily, and at any time – it‘s not surprising that you‘re seeing more Facebook ads from direct sales and network marketers. And with the recent "Google slap", top distributors lost a ton of traffic that was coming from Google. This unfortunate event opened a whole new level of playing field for new people to compete online with the top recruiters.

Janette Stoll is a WAHM and teaches direct sales entrepreneurs how to leverage the internet to build a home-based business. Visit Janette at MarketingDirectSales.com.

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First, if you‘re a network marketer and not online yet, I don‘t think there‘s an option NOT to get on board, unless you plan on building your business laboriously with offline marketing alone. Not to mention traditional marketing is also expensive. With cheap technology and so many ways to attract leads online, why wouldn‘t you want to tap into this vast online pool of leads? But attracting leads isn‘t as simple as joining a bunch of social networks or putting together a blog. It still comes down to this … What differentiates YOU from other network marketers and what are you bringing to the table? Your sales and marketing pitch almost have to be remarkable to attract attention these days. Value is the holy grail of internet marketing today. Everybody talks about value and making real connections, but how does a newbie go about doing this? Even though there‘s a lot of ways to ―do‖ online marketing, I think content marketing and using strategic keyword-based marketing will be vital to a network marketer‘s success. Content creation, unlike paid advertisements, can be re-purposed into different mediums and broadcast on multiple channels to build your business. The significance of this is that even if top networkers spend loads of money on paid ads to drive traffic to their sites have content that sucks or is too "salesy", people will click away from their site. The days of pitching to your prospects are over. Nobody wants to be interrupted. Most products aren‘t that unique and neither is the compensation plan. In fact, they‘re all starting to blend together.

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The art of selling and prospecting in network marketing has really shifted to a more consultative approach. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that put their prospects first and use their knowledge to solve their prospect‘s pains or help them fulfill their dreams. With this in mind, use the talents that you already have i.e. your interpersonal skills, writing, speaking, whatever skills you‘ve got. Package them in value-based form and use your content to attract your target audience. I think 2011 is an exciting year for network marketers even with all the new players. For those that understand how to use content marketing in a strategic way to connect with their target market and combine it with value-based marketing, they‘re in a position to go beyond the wild west days of marketing that network marketing has traditionally been known for.

Want some more ideas to help rock your business? Join us at the Marketing In Progress Roundtable. New seminars and interviews available for free every month.

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Don’t over think it.
By Mariam Shahab

I get it; your project, your product, your point of view consumes your whole world (okay, and maybe that of your significant other and/or roommate) and you want to make it absolutely stellar. But here‘s the thing, your end user just wants you to make their life easier, not absolutely stellar. Your product isn‘t going to change their world. Sure, it hopefully will make life better, easier or even more fun, but it definitely won‘t be life altering (unless of course you‘re creating a time machine). Instead, be a work in progress and tell everyone that you are learning along the way (translation to marketing lingo: be transparent). Absorb and dissect every piece of applicable knowledge thrown your way and share it with your audience. I promise, it‘ll make you and your product seem more human. Say you‘re updating a feature of your product, don‘t just announce the new and shiny addition tell your users why you‘re adding it and what inspired you to do so. Did the inspiration come from a conversation with your great aunt Betty or from user generated feedback? Share the juicy details with us! Did you have a release date set but can‘t meet the deadline? Tell us! Don‘t over analyze. In short, don‘t be afraid to be perfectly imperfect.

Mariam Shahab is a Corporate Communications gal w/ love for affordable fashion, caramel chocolate, engaging social media, creative innovation & odd numbers. Boston University alum living in Dallas. Talk to me: @MShahab mariamsthoughts.com mariamshahab.com

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People Still Buy Coffee
By John Lacy

Maybe you haven‘t noticed, but it would seem that we are experiencing a fairly large economic downturn. If your business or products are regularly featured in the Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift Money-Is-No-Object Catalog, I wouldn‘t worry about it. In fact, you really have no reason to read further. But for the rest of us, these times are a bit tougher than we‘ve gotten used to over the past few years. Prices are up, credit is tight, jobs are scarce, equity has been stripped (and spent), and people aren‘t buying. I‘ve noticed a change. Our clients certainly have. One of those clients and I were brainstorming over a cup of coffee the other day (not six dollar frappe-latte-chinos mind you, just good ole plain coffee) and our conversation naturally turned to the challenges he was facing. He is trying to grow his business in this rough economic time and is at a loss as to where to focus his marketing dollar. His worry is that he provides a lower end ―luxury‖ service and his past customers are no longer buying. John Lacy, Lead Coffee Drinker for RaeSea Internet Marketing, raesea.com ―Competition is disappearing, but what good does that do if the customer is as well? Should I start looking for a cheaper product or slash my prices?‖ As I listened, it dawned on me that that is exactly what he should not do. He really needed to just to present his brand in a different manner to a new group of buyers.

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For so long consumers have had no problems spending fairly large amounts on big ticket luxury items or extravagant recurring services. But as the discretionary spending of many households declines, the first things to go are the ―big‖ spends: Couples are deciding against the trip to the Caribbean and instead planning ―Stay-cations‖; exploring the mountains in the next state from the beauty of a small cabin. The four year old SUV might have to be kept a few years before replacing it with a newer model, but get it a good detailing, polish and new tires. Maybe cancel the weekly maid service and buy a new vacuum and tools to make cleaning easier, and have the maid only once a month. Ok, maybe that last is a bit drastic, but the point is made. The luxury spend is becoming less frequent but is morphing into a more practical purchase. Just remember that consumers ARE still spending and we will always see demand for some niceties. The ―luxury‖ items just aren‘t the same as they once were to the same people. If your existing (or now previous) consumer bought your product four each week, or as a basic everyday purchase, focus on finding several new customers who might see your product as a bit of a luxury, but will purchase once a month. So instead of deciding to offer your product at a cut-rate price point to the same consumer, simply offer your product to another group as its new luxury service or discretionary spend. Products that are (or were) once a ―must have‖ or basic service to one demographic can easily be marketed as a splurge to another. No thanks on the Frappe-latte-chino; just black and leave room for sugar and cream, please.

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Make Your Prospect The Star: Interactive Video
By Guy Shalev

In 1980 if you looked at the top of US and British music pop charts you would have seen that clearly "Video Killed the Radio Star‖ (song by the British group The Buggles). Well…here we are in 2011 and it appears that interactive video reigns supreme as the next killer marketing tool. According to a recent study by Dynamic Logic, video outperforms virtually all other formats in aiding brand awareness, online ad effectiveness, brand favorability, and purchase intent. Imagine taking 1-way video to the next level in the form of 2-way communication. This means making it speak in a relevant, engaging and timely language with your prospects or customers all while capturing and analyzing their actions in real time. This is the basic premise behind interactive video and it‘s significantly changing the way businesses market to and interact with other businesses and consumers. Interactive video is generally defined as merging actionable elements with linear video – giving the user the power to choose how they want to interact with the content. This results in transforming the viewer from a passive watcher to an engaged participant and in some cases the star of the show.

Guy Shalev is the Chief Innovation Officer of Wired World Media, based in Denver, Colorado. WWM is a being-based Internet development company committed to conceiving and executing innovative niche online business concepts.

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What does this new technology mean for marketers? Here are just a few of the many benefits:

1. Marketing experience becomes highly relevant and exciting for everyone 2. Viewers are more likely to take action since they are interested and engaged 3. Videos can be customized ―on-the-fly‖ and thus become inherently viral 4. Interactivity is the norm for the video game generation – they are quick to ignore
anything less 5. Reach, effectiveness and ROI are highly measurable via detailed analytics

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Ah...the App!
By Karen Orem

Technology is moving us forward so quickly; sometimes it's hard to imagine what's just around the corner. It's been said many times that if you are basing your marketing and selling on information from five years in the past, then you are out-of-date and not in touch with the times. Although I tend to agree with that to an extent, sincerely serving a customer by wanting to help them, knowing your product and being able to repeat successful processes with a great reputation still holds true. I'm a strong believer in relating to your customer, with that ultimate goal of having each customer for life. So where does that leave us with new technology and old values in 2011? What is the best way to reach out? What are the best choices? How can you present your uniqueness to potential customers on the other side of the world, with the same attention you can give a customer walking into your office? Where's it at in 2011? I feel the hottest and best way to reach out with your business, "your unique you," is through the wonderful world of apps. For those of you who haven't experienced downloading an app to your phone or tablet and seeing the value in it, you are certainly missing out. Apps can be used in every market and the only limitation is your imagination. Consider the following:

Karen Orem received her certificate of training from the DSWA’s ELITE Leadership Course. She is also a coach-inprogress and specializes in inspirational and motivational writings. You can find blog posts by Karen through Team Connections, the DSWA’s Direct Selling Notebook, and Marketing in Progress. Karen is in the process of writing an eBook on weight-loss, developing a specialized social media site, as well as developing a low-cost opportunity for parents of teens. You can share with Karen at her blog, Peace and Prosperity, and reach her at peaceandprosperity.01@gmail.com.

the "free app" - allows your customer to try-on your company, see what you have to offer and see if it's worth their time and trouble;

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     

the "low-cost app" - extends that extra something special about your company or service which isn't just given away; the "user-friendly app" - making everyday life easier; the "follow-up app" - where you help your customer keep track of their purchase, how-to's, and support; the "loyal customer app" - with special savings presented to those wonderful repeat customers; the "affiliate app" - getting extra-savings or commission on recommendations; the "big-gun apps" - expensive, but worth it! These are serious downloads (i.e. GPS Systems, and the like);

One of the biggest advantages to apps is that it can put you on the same level playing field as a big company. The entrepreneur can create a remarkable following, and gaining contact information such as emails to connect to in the future is of great value if handled ethically.

There is no denying that the smart phones and the tablets are a huge market these days and big players that are, once again, transforming our technology, but don't forget that little icon, that specially created uniquely made app that makes the smart phones and the tablets winners. I hope you are considering all the possibilities these wonderful downloads can provide. How can you use an app to increase your bottom-line, gain customer loyalty, and keep track of your customers' habits within your market? Schedule some time to explore this new field, it can definitely strike-up a win for you and your customer!

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Holiday Marketing Ideas for the Whole Year
By Sarah Petty

Editor’s note: Yeah, this post has to do with the holidays. So you might be tricked into thinking these ideas don’t apply the rest of the year. You’re wrong. Sarah’s tips below are too good to reserve for just the end of the year. Do this stuff year-round. Sarah Petty eats, sleeps and breathes small business marketing. She started her career in marketing at Coca-Cola Enterprises, earned a University of Illinois MBA and ran the marketing department for a top local advertising agency for years. Only five years after opening a boutique photography studio, she was named by The Professional Photographers of America as having one of the most successful studios in the country. She is also founder of The Joy of Marketing, where she is dedicated to teaching other small business owners how to grow their businesses with amazing marketing strategies. Check out her small business marketing ideas at thejoyofmarketing.com. As a small business owner, if you are planning to send a generic, pre-printed holiday card with your business name imprinted on the inside, don‘t bother. However, if you want to use your holiday card to build your brand and help grow your small business, all you need is some creativity and a little bit of time. By physically mailing an emotional sentiment that is NOT a sales message to your database of clients, you are making a non-intrusive, emotional connection. The impact: people get excited enough to brag about you, everyone is buzzing about your business at holiday parties, and you reinforce the power and charm of your brand. Here are five key tips to creating a more engaging holiday card to create love for your brand during this emotional time of year. 1. Use relevant and creative photography. Rather than presenting a generic image of a random holiday scene, work with a local professional photographer to create excitement with interesting, creative and relevant

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photography. I am a fan of creating emotionally charged images of your family to share on your holiday card because it gives your clients a personal connection with you. 2. Make it interactive. The more you engage your clients, prospects, friends and family, the more they develop a connection with you. Give your community something to do with your card other than look at it. If it can spin, twist, talk, jump or sing, all the better. You want your card to be the most impressive on the mantle when holiday party guests arrive at your clients‘ homes or offices. If you have more time than money, take time to embellish your card on your own.

3. Pour on the emotion. If your words don‘t elicit a feeling or emotion, you might want to find other words. ―Happy Holidays‖ just isn‘t enough to bring people to tears. The mood is already set for you this time of the year. The words included in your card with gorgeous photography must evoke a feeling of love, warmth or gratitude so you can tap into the heartstrings of every viewer. If you aren‘t a creative wordsmith, hire a professional copywriter, trade with a friend who is a strong writer or solicit quotes from some of your favorite clients.

4. Make the effort to write a hand-written, personal note. If you can create a mind-blowing creative holiday card AND write a personal note in each one, WHOA. There isn‘t much that can top that in the race for thoughtfulness and sincerity.

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5. Have a JOY factor. When you go above and beyond what is expected with your holiday card, the feeling you create with your clients, prospects, friends and family transfers to your brand. You may have heard of the ‗halo effect‘ and that‘s exactly what happens when you send a heartfelt, creative holiday card. People believe that if you give this much attention to detail and love to your holiday card, you must be delivering this extreme level of expertise in your business.

Is This the End of the Start?
By Steve Sammartino

You can probably remember back to a time when websites were tagged on advertising or with addresses in their full glory: http://www.xyz.com It then became www.xyz.com followed closely by xyz.com. In the early phase of the web we had to direct people to our sites overtly in our communications. We had to spell out exactly where to go. This evolved further to the phrase ‗Google us‘ which is the modern version of ‗Find us in the yellow pages.‘ And the most recent iteration we are seeing is the Social Network, aka Facebook, becoming the directory of choice. Many brand advertisements are now using Facebook as their sign off:

Steve Sammartino is founder of Rentoid.com and blogs regularly at StartupBlog.Wordpress.com.

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facebook.com/brandxyz More recently, ‗there‘s an App for that‘ and the success of the itunes/ app store platform is doing the same thing in smart phones and mobile devices. Is this start of the end of the open web, the Wild Wild West (www)? Are we moving back to controlled media channels where we have to play in other organisations spaces? Is this what we really wanted? Or is it just the natural evolution when there is just too much information available? It feels a little like we‘ve let other people take control of removing the clutter in our life. We‘ve stopped leading and started following. It makes me wonder if there is a limit to the number of information channels we can follow. If Dunbar‘s number tells us how many meaningful relationships we can have, which incidentally is under 150 - is there a media channel equivalent? It feels like there should be. It scares me to think controlled media is making a very big comeback – sure we generate the content, but we don‘t own the forums. I just hope this latest iteration of the web is temporal and it doesn‘t stifle the great period of innovation we are currently experiencing. The thing all entrepreneurs need to remember is that the barriers to any digital innovation have never been lower, and no business is all powerful.

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Generosity Campaigns: A New Approach to Advertising
by Christopher Thiede

If you‘ve never heard of Pomplamoose, chances are you‘ve seen them. They are an indie music duo who was featured in Hyundai‘s 2010 Christmas advertising campaign. Over the years, they‘ve sold hundreds of thousands of songs through their Web site and iTunes and have nearly a quarter-million subscribers to their YouTube Channel. No big-time record contracts or nationwide tours. Their success holds a lesson for entrepreneurs in nearly all walks of life. They gave stuff away for free. They used their music to promote causes they cared about, giving away free MP3s of their songs and albums to people who donated books to a local school, or farm animals to people in Africa. Chris is president and owner of Build Communications LLC, a branding & PR firm that specializes in the home building & remodeling market. On the Web: www.buildcommunications.com. E-mail: chris@buildcommunications.com. Twitter: @chris_thiede Through their Generosity Campaign, they expanded their audience. Their ―advertising‖ was their generosity. Advertising, in its conventional form, is becoming less and less effective as a means of attracting new business. Think about all that goes into creating an effective ad campaign. You have to hire an agency or a creative firm to come up with an idea and produce the ad. Then you have to place the ad in media – print, broadcast, online, outdoor – many, many times in order to even have the slightest effect on awareness. And you have to compete for the audience‘s attention with all the other advertisers in the world. 59 MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness

And you spent lots of money. Lots of it. That‘s not to say advertising never works, but for entrepreneurs and small businesses without unlimited budgets, Generosity Campaigns can be more cost-effective. The more you give, the more you‘re likely to get in return. For the record, I‘m not talking about just giving away your products or services will-nilly. I‘m talking about offering help in the form of products, ideas or advice - related to your area of expertise - to people who are likely to benefit from it, in ways that are likely to increase your influence among your target audience. How you go about it depends on your specific situation. Like Pomplamoose, can engage your audience to support a worthy cause. You can donate your products or services to help a non-profit organization that works in your industry. You can even offer free advice to potential customers. A Generosity campaign is far cheaper than advertising, and can be more effective. There is less cash outlay because it usually involves just your time and expertise. It allows you to showcase your capabilities. And it allows you to build goodwill and trust among your target audiences. All you need to do is make sure the campaign harnesses your passion and talents, otherwise it will seem insincere. And of course, the campaign should raise your profile among people who are potential customers. Being generous is great, and if it allows you to become more successful, then you can be even more generous in the future.

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Come Hell or High Water
By Brett Duncan

Let me blunt, entrepreneur. Your problem isn‘t ideas. It‘s not social media, or your website. It‘s not even customers. Your problem is commitment. Your problem is you confuse business with busy-ness. You think success is measured by the size of your to-do list. You think the best option is lots of options. And you’re confused when it comes to commitment. Don‘t worry; you‘re not alone. This isn‘t just an ―entrepreneur thing.‖ It‘s a human thing. People logically know that focus and commitment are effective, but they don‘t really believe it. So they don‘t do it. Here’s how you can cure your commitment issues: create a “hell or high water” statement. You know, a sentence that starts like ―Come hell or high water, we‘re gonna do this.‖ A line in the sand that promises that this thing is gonna happen regardless of what else goes on. Brett Duncan blogs regularly at MarketingInProgress.com, where he shares tips and ideas on how to move your marketing forward. He also put this lil’ ebook together. Follow him on Twitter: @bdunc1. Most people who know what they‘re talking about think the term ―hell or high water‖ came from cattle drives, where cowboys would wade through rivers and suffer through the prairie heat on their way from Texas to Kansas. The conditions were tough. But it didn‘t matter, cuz come hell or high water, that cattle was gonna end up in Kansas. I bet those cowboys would even throw in some profanity, just to make the point.

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This is what you gotta do. Figure out that handful of stuff you are committing to, right now. Then make a ―hell or high water‖ statement out of it. ―Come hell or high water, I‘m launching my membership site next month.‖ ―Come hell or high water, I‘m blogging three times a week this year.‖ ―Come hell or high water, we‘re gonna increase customer retention by 10% this year.‖ Want an idea to actually happen? You gotta sell out to it. You gotta commit. Come hell or high water.

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The End
(unless, of course, you join us at the Roundtable. Register now for free.)

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed this free ebook. If you wanna thank the authors in some way, here are some ideas:

1. Subscribe to their blogs. Leave comments. Follow them on Twitter. 2. Share this ebook with at least five people you know will dig it. 3. Put at least one idea to use, and let us know how it ended up. Just leave a comment on this page: MarketingInProgress.com/RockYourBusiness.

Thanks again –

bd

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