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Weekend Favs May Twenty One

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week. I donít go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

5 Practical Tips for Getting More from Facebook

As the importance of Facebook as small business marketing tool continues to grow itís important to adapt your marketing behavior in ways that allow you to gain practical benefits from the way people are choosing to use social media. Some business owners still struggle trying to learn what some might call Facebook marketing, but the key is to change the way you approach it. To me thereís no such

Are We Marketing in a Mobile World

Today Iím presenting at BlogWorld Expo in New York (#BWENY) on the topic of mobile marketing with Navin Ganeshan of Network Solutions. (Iíll share my notes on the talk tomorrow.)

The Complete Small Business Marketerís SEO Toolkit

Business owners and marketers donít necessarily need to become SEO experts, but they do need to equip themselves with enough knowledge, data and access to simple SEO tools to allow them to understand how and why one site ranks higher over another, whatís holding a site back and the most important ways to quickly analyze any page they land on.

Why We Overtweet

This morning Iím participating in a panel at SXSW Interactive in Austin called Tweeting on the Weekends. The panelist and audience will attempt to address the idea that our digital worlds are overtaking our physical worlds and perhaps threatening to invade our lives in ways that cause more damage than good.

5 Ways to Benefit from Real Time Data

Every businessperson knows that good data makes you smarter. Well, a truer statement might be that an accurate analysis of the right data can make a company smarter, but lack of any data can be fatal.

Fail in Favor of the Customer

I talk to lots of companies about who they hire and how they train.

The Worst Business Advice You Ever Received

Donít worry, the title of this post doesnít suggest something youíll find here, itís about something I want you to share.

Getting Creative with the New Facebook Page Image Ribbon

Since last weekís sweeping changes to Facebook Pages people have been scrambling to unearth all the little tricks that the new format affords.

Social Media Management Tips

Todayís post really started as an answer to a readerís question Ė ďIs there a way to schedule status updates to my Facebook Pages?Ē

How to Keep Tabs on the Greatest Presentations Made Everyday

People are presenting incredible information about your industry or topic of interest in conferences, workshops and trade shows everyday. Wouldnít it be great if you could know what was being presented in those venues in near real time, without every leaving your office? Or, better yet, wouldnít it be great if you could also have access to the slides from those presentations the day they were made available?

Accentuate the Negative

Iím one of those folks that is squarely in the camp of the glass is not just half full, itís mostly full, so this post may seem a tad uncharacteristically, well, negative.

The Logistics of Time

Time is a funny thing Ė itís the scarcest resource we are allowed to use. There are countless books, software programs and systems that aim to help us manage and control it, but for the small business there is a complex set of variables that come in to play.

Free As In Shipping

People donít like surprise fees, donít like being nickle and dimed, and donít like to pay for shipping.

Engaging Your Collaboration Universe

In my view one of the most positive things the Internet and its host of associated web applications has fostered is our ability to collaborate over space and time.

New Facebook Groups Could Be Big for Business

Facebook rolled out a few unpredicted changes this week with an eye of getting users to communicate with friends in new ways.

Delivery is the New It Thing

If youíre looking for a way to differentiate your business or products and create a killer competitive advantage you may not have to look any farther than how you delivery of your products and services.

Are You Creating Art or Creating a Factory

I have to warn you that todayís post is a bit of a ramble because Iím working through something that feels kind of big, but that I donít know that Iíve concluded.

What Farmers Know About Community

I grew up in a farm community and while itís unlikely one farmer thought of themselves as fierce competitors of another, they do provide a market with the same products.

Is Your Purpose Patent Still Pending?

Lots of business owners sit around the office tinkering with the notion of that one great innovation to be patented on the road to riches. Well, I think weíve all got a patent in us but, for many, that patent remains forever pending. The patent Iím referring to is the ďpurpose patentĒ Ė your personal connection to work the serves a deeper purpose. That patent doesnít need approval from the USPTO, it only needs approval from you.

Follow-up Is the Momentum Building Power Tool

Woody Allen was attributed with the quote - "eighty percent of success is showing up" but I would add that in marketing it's all about following up.

Right and Wrong of PR Pitches

For years I was on the pitching end of PR and, while I still do some for my own promotion, I am more often on the receiving end of pitches these days.

The Simplest Secret To Business Growth

Everyone wants to know the one thing they can do to get things going, the magic pill they can take, the one bit or advice from a guru that will turn the ship around. (HowĀfs that for some clichés?) Truth is, business is mostly a bunch of hard work, done consistently. However, there is one thing that every business can do that works in every instance – the one simple secret to guaranteed business growth. Want to know what that is?

Is Social Media Killing Your Business?

I know todayís short post might come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog, but even though I promote the heck out of social media use for small business, I see a dangerous side as well.

Turning Problems into Marketing Strategies

Most industries impose an unseen tax on participants trying to stand out, go against that grain or do the right thing or hard thing.

Stop Wasting Your Time With Social Media

If you have no precise marketing strategy, or even a simple set of marketing goals, social media participation will only serve as a glorious way to highlight that your business is precisely like every other business that says they do what you do. (Thatís a nice way of saying you are doomed to compete on price.)

3 Sources of Grammar Inspiration

About once a week I amuse the grammar troops by torturing some aspect of the language in my writing. Hey, I donít do it on purpose and I love that Iím able to provide an otherwise cuddly group of individuals with a steady flow of chuckles.

5 Tips for Getting More Leads from Speaking

A lot of folks dream of being a sought after, highly paid speaker (some people wet themselves at the thought of it as well.) But, in this education based marketing environment we find ourselves in today, speaking for leads may be the best approach ever.

Co-Creating Know, Like and Trust

I am giving a talk this afternoon at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston and here is the essence of the message I plan to deliver.

How Social is Your Email?

Iíve noticed a really interesting phenomenon lately that I think needs some addressing.

5 Tips For Getting More from Facebook

In continuing with my series of quick social media tips (check out 5 tips for LinkedIn) I’m covering some tips for business use of Facebook here. I’ve actually written about some of these tips in great detail before, but this can act as a quick primer for folks who like their info snack sized like this.

The Power of the Embedded Entrepreneur

Just the other day I did an interview with a columnist working on a story about people starting up a business venture while still employed.

Whatís Your Signature Response to Problems?

Iíve written often that one of the ways to create goodwill, positive buzz and happy customers is to exceed expectations. Responding proactively to problems offers, in my opinion, one of the easiest ways to exceed expectations available.

The 5 Things People Really Buy

No matter how many shiny, cool features and benefits you cram into your marketing messages, brochures and presentations, you better find ways to help the prospect get what they really want. And, no matter if you sell heating and cooling services, legal services, hand painted greeting cards, or consulting, at the end of the day, your customers all buy some variation of the same five things.

The Ultimate Measure of Marketing Success

While many metrics help marketers determine the success of things like messaging, lead campaigns, and brand awareness there is one all-important metric that I believe, if captured, is the key to unraveling every marketing challenge that you face.

But You Do Need To Be Smart Enough to Buy It

A lot of small business owners are good at what they do. But, theyíve learned thatís usually not enough to grow the business so they get outside help, quite often in areas related to marketing, so they can ďfocus on what they do best and let others handle the rest.Ē

All Tweet and No Cattle

Today Iím going to take on a topic that may not be altogether popular in some social media circles, but itís a message that small business owners need to wrestle with.

Are You Right Brain Dead?

A ton of research suggests that the right half of our brain supplies the more creative aspects of our thinking. So it goes that more creative people use that side of their brain more predominately.

Adding Social Features to Your Web Site

The web has become a terribly social place and that raises the expectation of most web site visitors. The ability to add content, comment, rate, review, interact and share information found when surfing the web has become standard fare.

What I Donít Know

What we donít know about our markets, our customers, our products, our business is where our lack of growth and outright failure resides. Of course, the rub is this - on our own, we donít know what we donít know and are powerless to do anything about it.

Answer Questions Get Search Traffic

Keyword research tool Wordtracker recently added a cool free tool called Keyword Questions. I think this has some great SEO potential for small business marketers.

Do You Suffer from Occasional Contentapation?

Youíve got a blog, youíre getting into the education based, content rich, web presence thing, but sometimes you just canít think of anything to say. Donít worry, youíre not alone and itís nothing to be ashamed of. Millions of marketers have begun to complain about the symptoms commonly diagnosed as Contentapation.

Be the Red Leaf

So I come back from my chilly morning run and am greeted by the site of one lone red leaf popping out of a sea of green ivy and decaying brown leaves - and I canít help but take notice.

Are You Waffling?

Politicians are often accused of waffling between stances on issues in an attempt to broaden or redirect their appeal. Well, Iíve run across a small business or two plenty guilty of the same.

Whatís In a Name These Days?

The name of a business is an essential marketing decision and certainly should be considered in that vein.

So You Think Youíre Different?

Being different, or more accurately, having a point of differentiation that matters to a market, is one of the most critical marketing strategies for the small business.

Get Your Shine On

One of my most frequent mantras for small business is ďStrategy Before Tactics.Ē In other words, you must develop a solid marketing strategy before you ever consider the what and how of the tactical side.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

The title of this post is the name of a great free service. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is the brain-child of East Coast PR pro Peter Shankman. (I did a podcast with Peter that I will publish shortly, but I wanted you to know about this resource right away.)

What a Business Makes

Iíve owned my business now for over twenty years, I love it, wouldnít have it any other way. Iíve worked very hard to make my business what it is, but Iíve finally come to the conclusion that, after years of hard work in this endeavor - you donít only make a business in this process; a business makes you.

Lifetime Value of a Customer is Unlimited

Maybe youíve heard of this term that some marketers use called ďLifetime Value.Ē The idea is to calculate what a customer might be worth over the course of doing business with you perhaps for years as opposed to a single transaction. The determination of this number might change the way you look at how much you are willing to invest to get each new customer.

The Press Release Triple Threat

PR is great, itís not free, itís earned, but when it is, it packs some very nice ROI. One strategy that small business owners should employ is to take their PR message online and directly to the prospect by consistent use of the age old tool, the press release.

Creative Emulation is the way to Innovation

For some, the term creative emulation means copying, so I guess thatís what Iím talking about. But, Iím not talking about copying, like stealing, no, Iím talking about the kind that takes a much greater amount of creativity.

Direct Response Directory Ads

For some, not all mind you, directory advertising, the kind the Yellow Pages sells, is still a decent place to advertise.

Stumped for content?

Content is the commerce of social media. But, relevant content, the stuff your customers and prospects actually want to know is the gold. Constantly cranking out this gold can sometimes present creative challenges.

Staying top of mind

Itís a pretty accepted fact that finding ways to do more business or get more referrals from your existing customers is a smart way to build a business. But as the din of noisy demands captures your attention itís easy to forget all about those existing customers until they pick-up the phone and reorder.

Build your you hub

Todayís happening small business entrepreneur has several businesses, maintains multiple web sites, blogs at a couple places, has written a book, and has profiles on half a dozen social network sites. I havnít even mentioned that they have also thrown themselves into a couple cool new beta start-ups, projects and fun not-for-profit adventures.

Go ahead, dream small

Thereís a time and place to go big, lord knows we get told how small we are often enough.

Those idiots in sales just donít get it

Iím presenting a workshop this week titled - How to get sales and marketing on the same page.

A lesson in marketing from my dear sweet wife

I was reminded today of a running joke I have with my wife. Occasionally, she will ask me to do some odd job or another and then immediately proceed to tell me just how to do it.

The 7 Stages of a Referral Generation

Referrals happen, thank goodness, but for too many, they happen randomly, almost accidentally.

Keeping your employess in the light

When asked to list the most important factors for considering a job number one and two was having the right tools and the information to do the job well. Income was down the list a bit. The best selling book - First Break All the Rules - does a great job highlighting this reality.

Reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose

Iíve adapted the slogan above, borrowed from the original green movement, to apply to the new rules of content and information on and offline.

Is appreciation referral motivation enough?

I talk to lots of small business owners and marketers about referrals. One of the burning questions always revolves around the topic of motivation. In other words, how do you motivate someone to refer your business when the time comes. Or, the perfect situation, how to do you get them to proactively evangelize your business.

What would the perfect business day look like?

Most days small business owners are juggling all the stuff that comes at them all day, either planned or self-inflicted, with a somewhat unsystematic, gut level kind of approach. I know I do that - sometimes it works, sometimes it really, really doesnít work.

The ultimate secret to business growth

I talk to business owners every day that want to take their businesses to the next level, but are puzzled as to why itís so hard. They push and work and expand and contract only to find themselves right back where they found themselves last year.

Books as naked conversations

Perhaps youíve already heard about Amazonís new ereader device called the Kindle Given the amount of press, both good and bad, it has received, including about 3,000 words in Newsweek, I suspect maybe youíve heard something about it.

Live blogging the Thanksgiving drive

Iím headed down I-35 somewhere south of Oklahoma City fully wireless and blogging - donít worry Iím not driving.

Pre-written emails to the rescue

Email is awfully invasive, no way around it these days, but itís also awfully effective for all types of communication and response.

The definition of branding

One of my readers pointed out that they really appreciated the definition of marketing that I use throughout Duct Tape Marketing. Marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you. Most small business folks, exposed only to more academic definitions, really seem to appreciate the truthfulness of that characterization. This same reader (Eddy) also asked then for my definition of branding (as it might relate to marketing)

Want to cut your ad budget?

Advertising is a very effective way to generate leads, but it remains one of those double edge swords type of things for budget crunched small businesses. On the surface, advertising can represent the single greatest marketing expense - on the other hand, it is how most businesses take it to the next level.

Posting relevant comments on blogs is networking

I happen to think that many small business folks would find networking on the web as valuable as networking at, say, the next Chamber event. There are many ways to do networking on the web but I happen to think one of the easiest is to participate in blogs you enjoy by frequently posting relevant content. Blog comment posting is very much like standing around chatting with a group of folks at a networking event (except you donít have to balance the Swedish meatball plate on your wine glass.)

Why would someone come to work for you?

Most small business marketers think in terms of marketing as a way to get a keep customers. While that is indeed correct, effective marketing is also a great way to attract and keep great talent to your business. No matter how hot your products and services are your growth will be tied very directly to the your ability to get people who are passionate about your company and its story working side by side with you.

Could you pull a Radiohead?

Radiohead, a wildly popular UK band, shocked the music world by first dumping their record label and then announcing that they planned to make their latest album, In Rainbows, available digitally with a ďpay what you think itís worthĒ pricing model.

Gift certificates for referral

Sending gift certificates, good towards the purchase of your products and, yes, services too, can be a great way to stimulate additional purchases.

Exchanging services for advertising

Large advertisers have been doing it for years - buy our product and get a free t-shirt to wear around and help spread the word about our company.

How the perfect marketing plan would work

Depending upon who you ask a marketing plan is either a necessary evil or tremendous waste of time. - Thatís such a shame, but I think Iíve finally come to understand why this is.

Make them a oneconditional guarantee

Guarantees have long served marketing organizations as a way to shift the risk from buyer to seller. By assuring that a prospect can get a 100%, no questions asked, no hassle full refund if not thrilled guarantee, the thinking is that the buyer has nothing to fear if the product doesnít live up to expectations.

What Are You Afraid Of?

Fear is the most basic of human elements and plays a major role in business success and failure.

Could you work without a staff?

The Internet has made working, collaborating and sharing down right simple. With it many businesses are living the dream of running multi-million dollar business without any permanent staff. This magic is done increasingly at the hands of a growing world of workers known as virtual assistants. A virtual assistant is someone who is set-up to complete tasks remotely for a fee

Building Your Own Social Network

Social Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace are all the rage at the moment for the potential they offer some businesses. They do offer tremendous applications for building community and even building business but these giants also possess some real limitations for most businesses due to the overwhelming size and potentially unfocused nature of the community inhabitants. (Do you really want some creepy 16 year old reading all the private, intimate details about your products?)

Every Media Mention Counts

Sometimes to get the PR ball rolling youíve just got to get a little press. It doesnít matter if that ends up being a mention in the neighborhood business associationís newsletter. Work every angle when you are just getting started and eventually you will start build up some steam.

Life time value, now thereís a number I love

Iím a marketing guy, so, like many marketing guys, Iím not so much a numbers person. I know I should be, but, there you have it.

Are There Holes In Your Network?

Once you build a little trust with your clients they often come to rely upon you for more than the scope of your products or services. ďI know youíre my accountant, but do you know anyone who can fix my garage door?Ē

A Facebook and Google Reader App for Bloggers

A few weeks ago I wrote a post pointing out the growing usefulness of Facebook as a business tool. It isnít that I am so enamored with the social network as I am optimistic that the new open platform will allow developers to create some very useful business applications.

Get To Know (No) Fast

I spent two days in training with a very seasoned group of sales professionals recently and the same point kept coming up over and over again as we applied the principles of marketing to selling situations.

Two Questions That Matter Most

When you consider writing marketing copy, throw out all your notions about features and benefits, riveting, detailed descriptions and techno jargon and focus on answering the only two questions that really matter - and do it before you pass go.

Do Just One Thing Better Than Anyone

Beverly Sills, Americaís best known opera soprano, died yesterday and I was struck by a quote she made during a past New York Times interview.

Build Your Boats Before You Need Them

A lot of folks thinking about starting a business spend all their time doing the typical start-up stuff like incorporating, finding office space, and designing business cards. All good and needed steps mind you, but donít neglect the most important step.

My Daughters Are So Pissed

Here's how it all started. Hey girls, "I just signed up for a Facebook account."

Most of the Time Talent's Not Enough

You're a talented writer, designer, speaker, consultant, coach, salesperson, but doors aren't flying open for you. Why not? Talent, I'm afraid, is assumed - a lot of people have talent. It's the price to get into the game. Talent, married with creativity, however, is how you get out of the cheap seats. (In fact, creativity will allow you to get places with lesser talent than others - oops, potential self indictment)

But What Do I Write On My Business Blog?

Man, do I get tired of the question posed in the title of this post.

Why Do People Refer?

I get asked the question above plenty. The answer is really easy: People refer people, products, services and companies because they like to, it makes them feel good, it's just human nature.

Ringtone Branding - Another way to spread the brand

Ok, this one might not be earthshattering, but it's kind of fun. Sound is a great way to build brand recognition - think about all the jingles over the years that you could not get out of your head.

What's the Measure of One Word?

It's absolutely essential that you find a way to differentiate your business in a meaningful way. I know I talk about this all the time, but it's that important.

Blurb Books a Great Tool for Telling Your Story

I ran into a service called Blurb at the SXSW Interactive Conference this March and think they have a tool that has some great small business marketing applications. The service lets you take written words and images and turn them into very professional looking hard bound books in small quantities.

What's In Your Name?

The name of your company can and should carry some serious marketing weight.

Small Business Using Video

A few days ago I asked readers to tell me the best ways they've seen people using video in marketing...

Create Your Own Referral Sales Force

Joining referral networks like BNI or local chamber groups can be a great way to help you network and generate referrals. The most powerful way to use this strategy, however, is to grow your own.

Sell Em What They Want

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the other day. We were discussing the fact that, try as we might, our prospects don't always know that they need what we have to offer. Often, they think they know what they want, but professional (not infallible) experience tells us we might know better.

Teaching as a Marketing Tool

The saying goes if you want to really learn something, teach it.

What Have the Senses Got To Do With Marketing?

Emotional connection to something is translated by the senses. With marketing one of the goals for many companies is to create and deepen the emotional connection clients and prospects develop with a product, company or service. This is what creates unshakable loyalty, unsolicited referrals, and viral word or mouth.

Selling the Soul of the Business

Successful businesses usually get that way by doing something well. Really successful businesses get that way by doing something well and documenting, duplicating, and training associates on how to do it using a system.

What Gets Measured, Gets Converted, Gets Results

I'll attribute the title of this post to the legendary Peter Drucker, although, that's not exactly what he said - it does capture the spirit though.

When Free Is Just Too Expensive

Offering free stuff as a marketing tactic is an accepted practice in most industries.

What's An Appropriate Web Site for Your Business?

Web design and features are a lot like fashion in a way - trends and looks come in out of style with the changing seasons.

Who Should Review Your Business Plan?

I'm a big beleiver in business plans - not the text book thing, the simple working, changing, living, breathing thing. Every business should use one (note I said use not have.)

How Long Should It Take For My Marketing To Work?

I get the question posed in the title of this post often so I have two questions myself to preface the answer - How long do you plan to be in business? and, How long does it take to build a really high quality home?

The Less I Do, the More I Make

The trap of the small business owner is, that in many cases, to grow a business to some level of success means putting your head down and working real hard doing the making it, fixing it, shipping it of the business.

If Gap Needs a Niche

The New York Times carried an article today with the headline - Gap Is in Need of a Niche.

What Do Successful Small Businesses Do That You May Not?

In an article published in the January issue of Investment Advisor magazine several points in an article called Stepping Up - How the best advisors take their firms to the next level jumped off the page.

Does Your Firm Suffer from Feature Creep?

I have a software development client that is always complaining about "feature creep." This is their industry term for a software development project that continues to grow as users determine they need little add ons along the way. Next thing you know, nobody can really remember what the software was supposed to do because it doesn't really do any one thing particularly well after the weight of the creep carries it down.

Marketing is What You Do and What You Say

A lot of marketers get caught in the trap of figuring out what to say to get the sale. Then, well, then things go south a bit.

The Abundant Marketing Mindset

It seems like every time I conduct a marketing workshop for small business owners about half the crowd admits that they don't really like marketing - it makes them feel like they are self-promoting. This mindset is particularly common among professional services providers. (Yes, doctors, lawyers, and accountants, I'm talking about you.)

Shopping Online for the Holidays

A recent Yahoo!/Harris poll had some telling results for small business owners.

Filling the Gap Between Generation and Conversion

I had a journalist ask me the other day to define the difference between sales and marketing for the typical entrepreneur.

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About the Author: John Jantsch

RSS for John's articles - Visit John's website
John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing - The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide (foreword by Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth) published by Thomas Nelson - due out in the fall of 2006 He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small business marketing system and Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Coach Network. His Duct Tape Marketing Blog was chosen as a Forbes favorite for small business and marketing and is a Harvard Business School featured marketing site. His blog was also chosen as "Best Small Business Marketing Blog" in 2004, 2005 and 2006 by the readers of Marketing Sherpa.
Click here to visit John's website.
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More from John Jantsch
Are You Waffling
Are You Creating Art or Creating a Factory
Is Social Media Killing Your Business
Do You Suffer from Occasional Contentapation
The Complete Small Business Marketers SEO Toolkit


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