Monthly Archives: February 2013

Door-to-door Sales

I had not one, but two people from the same carpet cleaning company stop by my house the other day. They were offering a deal and they were going door-to-door to sell it. The deal was for one free room/floor rug/piece of furniture cleaning. After declining the offer, this dual encounter had me posting on my twitter account:

“If your product/service was really that awesome, would you really have to go door to door “giving” it away? #justsayin”

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Living in a Bubble

I have been living in a bubble. Because I have been working in marketing (and sales) the past seven years, I have been surrounded by people (other than some of my clients) that are tech savvy. In a way, I’ve been inoculated from the real world. Only until recently did I realize that there are still people who don’t use computers. Ever. Or who don’t have a smart phone. I know it was probably a naive state of mind, but my peer group had me thinking we truly were living in a digital age and that everyone was participating.

What has shocked me more than the realization that not everyone is online, is that a lot of these folks don’t care! The world is rapidly changing and evolving, information and entertainment are being aggregated and housed online, and communication is easier (and in the case of texting, less human) than ever before. And still, these people are uninterested. Some are scared, sure, and that prevents them from embracing technology. But the apparent majority just don’t see the need.

This just blows my mind. Not because I think everyone should drop what they’re doing and rush out to buy a computer or smart phone. Not because I think technology is the answer to everything. But because eventually all cell phones will be smart phones. Because Apple is currently working on a flexible screen, which perpetuates the idea that computers will be on everything. And because almost every new car comes with a “navi.”

I’m not passing judgement on these folks, or even suggesting that they should do anything to change. I guess I’m just reflecting on myself and wondering if, despite practically being raised on the Internet and cell phones, will there ever come a point where I just don’t care either? Technology won’t stop evolving, but I might. At what point will I decide to stop embracing the next big thing?

I’ve also had to evaluate how I communicate and engage new people. It’s absurd and presumptuous for me to assume that they care as much about the internet, computers, or smart phones as I do – or that they use them. In order for me to be a successful marketer and communicator, I need to consider my audience and make sure I’m doing an adequate job of delivering my message.

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Shopping When You’re Hungry

Out of all the advice I’ve ever given, or will ever give, this principle seems to be the most important. Why? Because I see the same mistake made over and over and over again.

Do not make important decisions regarding your business when you’re strapped for cash or when you’re emotional. You won’t be thinking clearly, therefore you’ll make poor decisions. Just like going shopping when you’re hungry.

My advice? Take a deep breath. Consult a third party, preferably one you trust. Or, at least wait until you’re no longer hungry.

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Do Better Part II

Part I received some (well deserved) criticism for identifying a problem without providing solutions. So, here are a few quick tips to help small business owners do better when it comes to social media and blogging.

Tip #1: Post frequently. Here is a simple set of guidelines to follow (at a minimum):
Facebook: Post at least 1x daily, Monday through Friday.
Twitter: Post at least 3x daily, Monday through Friday.
Blog: Post a blog at least 1x weekly, preferably on a weekday.

Tip #2: Post quality content. Don’t be in such a hurry to post frequently that you throw up garbage. Think of ways to add value to your customers’ lives. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just useful.

Tip #3: Fill out all the information. Facebook, more than other sites, provides several places to put company information. Fill out every bit of it. Then do this on every other site your company is on.

Tip #4: If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t know what kind of content will add value to your customers, ask them. I promise they’ll tell you. If you don’t know how to use Facebook or Twitter, Google it or consult with an expert. The internet makes it more embarrassing and difficult than ever to use the excuse, “I don’t know.” You can’t just throw up your hands and go home. So, ask. The answers are there just waiting to be found.

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Do Better

Will tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and a Blog drive thousands of people to your site or to your business? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s not why you’re using them. You’re using them because they are free (from cost but most likely not time) and because you don’t have the big marketing budget for tv, radio, or billboards.

However, just because Facebook, Twitter, etc. are free-ish doesn’t mean you should approach them haphazardly. Think of a restaurant that spends tens of thousands of dollars on remodeling their dining area. New booths, new silverware, new paint, the whole nine yards. But then they cheap out on the menus. There are typos and grammatical errors, and overall it seems as if the owners couldn’t care less about what the menus look like. Patrons might find themselves asking what else the owners don’t care about, like the food.

You can do a million things right every day in your business, but if you’re bad at something as public as social media (or menus) it’ll be noticed more than anything you’ve done well.

Edit: Due to some constructive feedback, I’ve posted a Part II of this blog where I’ve addressed what small business owners can do to be good at Facebook, twitter and blogging. 

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