h1

How to be prepared for your next on-air interview

August 24, 2010

I’ve just returned from giving a five-minute on-air interview with Fishers Chamber of Commerce President, Dan Canan about my business Gurtowsky Graphics and the Fishers Business Insider, a monthly publication that I design for the Fishers Economic & Community Development Commission in conjunction with the chamber.

Note to self. Be prepared.

You’d never know that my college background was in broadcast news. I was so nervous during the interview that I mis-spoke certain titles and internally sounded like I was rambling on about nothing.

So I’m writing this blog to give you a few tips in case you find ourself in front of the camera with a live microphone.

  • Make sure you have a clear understanding from the interviewer about the topic that you’ll be speaking.
  • Arrive a few minutes early so you can adjust to your new surroundings. (This interview was held in the produce section of a Super Target.)
  • Write a few ideas ahead of time or small topics that you can share if needed during the interview. But have one topic or reason in particular for conducting the interview. For example, are you promoting a particular event for your company or business? Or is there a particular area of expertise and information that you want to share with your audience?
  • Focus your eyes, ears and attention on the interviewer not the camera man. (This can be difficult because you aren’t sure who you’re really talking to.)
  • Relax. Treat the interview setting like it’s a casual, comfortable conversation that you are having with a friend or co-worker. (But be sure to mind your p’s and q’s.)
  • Don’t forget to thank the interviewer at the end.
  • If you’re happy with your interview or feel your information is important to share, be sure to tell your friends, co-workers and others in your sphere when to look for your interview to air, and give us the time, station and day if possible.
  • Have fun. Your personality will shine through if you can take a deep breath, be relaxed and speak casually and professionally.
Advertisements
h1

Business Networking: Is it worth it for your business?

August 18, 2010

As I head off to a Fishers Chamber of Commerce luncheon today I sometimes ask myself if business networking is worth it for my business? And the answer has to be yes. But that yes doesn’t come easily. I like to call any type of networking “sweat equity marketing.” Meaning you can’t just plunk down your membership fee, sit down and expect business to fall into your lap instantly or at all.

Instead join professional organizations with longevity in mind and roll up your sleeves and get to work. That’s how you’ll get business. Some ways that you can work your “sweat equity marketing” is to volunteer to take on a leadership role. For instance, I quickly realized that the best way to become more familiar and more valuable to the Fishers Chamber of Commerce was to volunteer to be one of their Ambassadors. As an ambassador we help new members at events feel more welcome and show them the ropes. We represent the chamber as leaders and go to people whenever a member needs anything and we extend our time and sometimes our talent when needed to help the chamber maintain and even grow their organization. And we commit to attending atleast six events per year.

What do you get out of it? You begin to naturally build relationships with professionals who live in or near your town or city and people get to know, like and trust you. So when they do need your product or service they think of and choose you and your company first.

It doesn’t happen overnight and may not happen for the first six months of your membership. But eventually it will happen. So the next time you attend a professional networking event ask yourself, “What can I do to make business networking worth it for my business?”

h1

10 Tips for Long-Term Marketing Success

July 29, 2010

There are so many ways to manage your marketing efforts so you can make and keep your business successful. Whether you are a business owner or employee, marketing is a vital part of your business. As you read these tips think about one idea you can initiate right now that can make a difference.

1.   DEFINE YOUR MARKETING INVESTMENT

What should you be doing with 10%, 30% and 60% of your marketing time?

“As a rule of thumb, according to Jay Conrad Levinson in his book Guerrilla Marketing for Free, here’s what you should be doing with your marketing time:

SPEND 10% of your time and energy marketing to the universe at large (meaning anyone in your marketing area).

SPEND 30% talking to your prospects (or those folks in the universe who match your typical customer profile).

SPEND 60% talking to existing customers.

Why? Because it costs you one-sixth as much time and money to sell to an existing customer as to anyone else.”

2.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS?

Take some time to inventory your current marketing tools and tactics.

What are you doing now to market your business?

What is working and what isn’t?

What one item can you add to your marketing mix that can help you be remembered?

3.   CREATE/MAINTAIN/USE A CUSTOMER/PROSPECT LIST

Do you maintain a customer/prospect list for your business right now?

What are you tracking?

What should you be tracking?

How should you be tracking this information?

We all probably use some sort of list to track our customers and prospects, even if it’s just via invoices or email listings. But at some point we need to take the information we have and incorporate it into a program that can show us at a glance what’s happening with a particular customer or prospect or can help us gather lists that we can use to market to specific audiences.

Some of the items that you want to be tracking include the basics like name, address, email, phone number, website, anniversary or birthday information.

You can also take it to the next step and include referral tracking information. You can track who gave you your last prospect or sale. This can be helpful because it will tell you where your activity and money is coming from so you can repeat that process and thank your referrals for giving you business.

You can use  “CRM” (customer relationship management) software programs like ACT, AddressTwo.com, SalesForce.com, Highrise.com, and more to manage your customer/prospect lists. Some of these offer online management systems.

These powerful programs can help you track your marketing efforts and grow your business. Some companies will even let you try the program before you buy.

If you have a marketing tracking program in place ask yourself what you can add to  make it work harder for you. Can you use it to do email campaigns, postcard mailings and more?

4.   DO YOUR CLIENTS AND PROSPECTS REMEMBER YOU?

Do you attend one or more professional networking events a month?

When you network do you hand out your business card and expect to instantly get business? Or worse, do you hand out your business card and ask for the sale within the first few minutes of meeting a prospect?

Customers and prospects remember you based on how many times you interact with them and how effectively you grow relationships with them. So take the time to grow a relationship or to at least ask more questions before asking for the sale. Prospects and customers make choices based on what’s “top of mind” — or who they remember when it’s time to buy something.

ASK YOURSELF:

What’s your personal auto or home insurance agent’s name?

Who sold you your last house?

Who handed you a business card at your
last networking event?

Do you know these people by first and last name and their company name?

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BE REMEMBERED?

Here are a few tips:

Build relationships not transactions

Become active in your member affiliations like chambers, professional organizations, etc.

   You can:

–   Volunteer

–   Take on a leadership role

–   Join a task force

–  Sponsor an event

–  Advertise in their publications
    and on their websites

By becoming active beyond the “membership” role of an organization, you can quickly add value to the organization, yourself and your business.  And it will help you be remembered, build relationships and grow your business.

If you focus on helping someone get what they want or need you will become a more valuable marketer and you will get what
you want.

5.   ONLINE, WORD-OF-MOUTH, PRINT: WHAT’S THE MOST EFFECTIVE FORM OF MARKETING?

Many business professionals have turned to using only social media and e-newsletters to market their business because it can be more cost effective. But is it reaching your 10, 30 and 60 percent investment? It is recommended that you create a marketing plan that has a mixture of communication tools. 

Your plan should include a mixture of professional networking to include chambers, associations, professional referral organizations like BNI, online marketing such as your website, facebook, twitter, blogs or even online ads, e-newsletters, newsletters, postcard campaigns, greeting card campaigns word-of-mouth marketing and traditional advertising if your budget allows. The most effective form of marketing is having a mix.

You have to decide what’s right for you and your business.

Ask other business owners what they use and what’s working for them. You can do this by using business facebook pages, linkedin or sending a survey via online software like surveymonkey.com.

The bottom line is that you want to be remembered and growing a long-term successful marketing plan with a mix is the key.

Your prospects and clients need to hear from you weekly, monthly and quarterly and mixing the communication tools keeps it fresh. For instance, you probably don’t want to just use weekly e-newsletters unless you are a restaurant or business that can offer weekly coupons that we can come to expect and use on a more regular basis.

Instead offer a brief monthly e-newsletter to provide tips and pertinent information about your business, send a postcard mailing to reach prospects and customers and ask them to go to your website and fill out a form and offer some kind of incentive, and send a note or greeting card on a customer’s birthday or business anniversary or a handwritten thank you note to a prospect for meeting with you.

6.   WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER ONE MARKETING ASSET?

What is your number one marketing asset? It’s YOU!

You make your business unique. Marketing tips and techniques are what help you market your business, but you are the ultimate marketing asset!

Whether you’re interviewing for a new job, talking with a new prospect or representing your business at a networking function, business deal or other business activity, we should remember you.

7.   SUCCESSFUL MARKETING MEANS BRAND CONSISTENCY 

Remember to keep all of your marketing tools branded consistently.

How? — Keep your brand colors, fonts, images and logo consistent on your website, letterhead, envelopes, business cards, advertising — whatever you use to market your business. Adding a picture of you on your business card or your business team on your website can bring instant credibility to you and your business. We identify more quickly when we can recognize faces and we’re more likely to remember your name.

8.  SHARE YOUR BUSINESS TACTICS WITH OTHERS

One of the best ways to market yourself and your business is to offer to speak at events, write your own blog or share information with others. It builds instant credibility, provides valuable information to your prospects and customers and gives you an opportunity to give back to your business community.

9.   DO YOU HAVE A MARKETING PLAN?

A marketing plan is your road map to success. There are many ways to create a plan. Start with a simple plan that can become more comprehensive as you get more familiar with the benefits to using it.

Here are a few resources for you:

Research your membership directories and look for marketing firms or other businesses who specialize in helping you create a marketing plan.

Use Google search engines. You can find     a multitude of marketing plans, books, tips and more on the web.

Ask your business colleagues how they created their marketing plan.

Visit your local library and ask for the business reference section, many may be accessible online.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/howto/mktngplan

marketingplans.com

Visit the score.org and sba.org websites. They have local offices and offer free business consulting and low cost seminars.

Incorporating even one of these tips can quickly get you on the road to achieving long-term marketing success.

10. KEEP UP WITH MARKETING TRENDS: READ BOOKS AND SUBSCRIBE TO E-NEWSLETTERS

The best way to keep up with your marketing success is to stay up-to-date with marketing trends and information.

Here are a few recommendations:

READ MARKETING BOOKS

Guerrilla Marketing for Free by Jay Conrad Levinson

Marketing Kit for Dummies by Alexander Hiam, 3rd edition (get the book with the cd in the back)

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd edition by David Meerman Scott

Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers by Seth Godin

Real-Time Marketing for Business Growth by Monique Reece with forward by Ken Blanchard

SUBSCRIBE TO E-NEWSETTERS

http://sethgodin.typepad.com

http://marketing.about.com

http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog

http://www.toprankblog.com