Make More Money – For you and your clients

I’m looking at 6 items that have made me multiple 6 figures.

1 made me $40,000 in a month.

3 have made 7 figures for my clients, yes SEVEN FIGURES

What are they? Watch to find out?

Traffic & Conversions Summit 2017

WOW, that’s honestly all that needs to be said about the 2017 Traffic & Conversions Summit.  BUT, I’ll give you a little more:)  I can honestly say that I’ve never been to an event that packed so much into 3 days.  The value that was in the 20+ training’s I attended was more than anything from the prior 20 years times 10.  The vendors onsite were amazing and on point.  THEN when you factor in the brainstorming that went on in the 1-2-1 sessions I had with friends it’s hands down an event that I will do every year, twice if I could!

Failure doesn't happen overnight

Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgement, repeated every day.

Jim Rohn

I was listening to Dave Ramsey recently and he said the quote above and it struck a cord with me.  He was talking about how people don’t become broke or bankrupt overnight, but it’s the multiple cups of Starbucks Coffee or Chipotle Burritos (that aren’t in their budget) over a few years that cause them to go broke.  I wasn’t thinking about this from a financial standpoint, but of course a marketing and business standpoint.  

Every month I meet a business that is failing at some part of their marketing.  Their sales are being affected and they aren’t growing for reasons that they can’t understand.  Then I start asking questions like this

Do you collect your customer data every day?

Do you use email and social media tools for marketing? Are you posting every day, emailing at least monthly?

 Do you do any mailings to your past customers?

Do you attend any local shows that would put you in front of your customers?

When was the last time you had someone stand on the street in front of your business with a sign?

Do you have a rewards card?

These questions could go on and on, but the answer I get to most of them is “no” and  “I don’t have time”.  Let’s face it, we all are busy, but we ALL HAVE TIME to do the little things that make us better.  In my monthly seminars I also throw out ideas for business owners to do on a weekly basis.  A few of my favorites are:  Take 10 minutes 1 time per week and connect with 10 new people on LinkedIn, promote 1 person per week on your Social Media and get 5 new email addresses per week.

The reason I mention these 3 tasks is because they all do very positive things for your business and they prove how a small set of tasks each week can lead to a big reward.  These 3 tasks will net you 520 new LinkedIn connections and 260 new emails.  When you count the LinkedIn emails you’ll have 700+ new emails to help market your business.  The Social Media posts promoting others is a HUGE winner.  You’ll gain exposure to thousands of new people through these posts. WHY?  When you promote someone else, others share and you’re exposed to a new audience.  Plus, many times that person will return the favor and promote you at some point.  


A wise friend once told me “if you pack a jar with big rocks it’s easy to dump out. But if you pack it with a bunch of pebbles and sand, it’s much harder to empty.”  Now look at this saying when it comes to marketing.  You can throw a few rocks in there and run a few radio ads and do an ad in the Sunday paper every year or you can pack the jar full of pebbles and sand.  What do I mean?  Daily posts on Facebook & Twitter, YouTube videos, update your website, a blog, a kid holding a sign on the street weekly, monthly emails, customer mailings, etc. 

If you don’t do this your sales will always be controlled by the economy.  It’s not hard to keep on top of these things.  I recommend people create a spreadsheet.  The one on the right is a task list of items I perform daily, weekly and monthly for clients.  MY CHALLENGE TO YOU is to create something like this for your company.  Write down the 10-15 marketing items you need to do each day, week and month.  Look at this list every day and make sure you are on top of your game.  If you don’t create minor wins throughout the year then you can’t get to the MAJOR WIN!  On the flip side if you fail to do these tasks every day of the year, then don’t be surprised when you fail at the end of the year.

Get Your 2015 Marketing Plan HERE!

We want you to start 2015 with a BANG!

This is going to be a GREAT event.  In this 3 hour seminar you’re going to hear from 5 speakers who will give you the tools to help you grow your sales and profits for 2015.

In this 3 hour seminar we’ll cover in depth the following topics:

1. Social Media Marketing – How to use Social Media to market your business and as a customer relation tool

2.  Referral Relationships – You have a great group of satisfied customers, now lets make them a sales staff.

3.  Advanced Facebook Marketing Tactics – Create impactful ultra targeted ads to get in front of your best customers.

4.  Search Engine Optimization – Getting found online and what it takes to be on the top results in Google

5.  Newsworthy – Learn how to get the attention of the media and get your business in the headlines. 

6.  HOW TO SELL!  Many times this is one of the most over looked aspects of marketing.  

7.  Email Marketing – Learn the best practices for sending email and how to make this great marketing tool drive traffic and sales to your business.

You’ll leave with a custom marketing plan and workbook that will help make 2015 a great year.


When & Why You Need Help.

Let’s face it, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp aren’t rocket science.  It’s not too difficult to figure out the ins and outs of most social media and review websites for your business.  With that said, I’ve always believed that it’s better to hire someone to do something that you are good at, but they are great at.  But recently a few instances opened my eyes to a few other reasons business owners should have someone outside of their company manage or at least oversee/consult on this process.  I’m going to keep adding to this as they pop-up, but below are 3 reasons that are top of mind.

#1 Emotions – Your business is your baby, you’ve built it and worked hard to deliver the best product you can. Yes, you and your staff mess up time to time, but who doesn’t.  Does that give a customer the right to SLAM you with a negative review online!!!!  YES IT DOES, unfortunately and you have to learn to take the emotion out of it.   This is probably the toughest aspect of managing your online reputation.  You take pride in your business and these reviews are like a punch to the stomach.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients boil over after 1 negative online review and want to put that customer on blast.  This is where outside eyes help.  @e aren’t tied to the situation, they didn’t just kick our baby.  An outside consultant should be able to look at every situation, come up with a politically correct response and put out the fire on this negative review.

#2 Employees – I’ve seen instances where something happens on Facebook that reflects poorly on one of your staff and that person or a friend covers it up instead of fixing it.  If an outside source is monitoring your pages then this won’t happen.  The issue will get addressed no matter who was involved.

#3 Time – You’re running a business, not a marketing firm.  You need to keep your eye on the prize.  The minute you take your eyes off what makes your business tick then you lose.  That’s what can easily happen with Social Media.  A 5 minute session on Facebook to answer some questions turns into 2 hours and before you know it you’ve ignored the customers walking in the door.  

Marketing Must Do's For 2013

The Basics!    I remember in college our defensive backs coach would have us practice the most basic movements EVERYDAY.  We’d practice not having a false step when the ball snapped.  Then, I didn’t see the importance of it.  Now, I realize how important it is to always practice the fundamentals.  Whether you’re playing a sport,  running a retail store or selling advertising, there’s no difference.

So for 2013 I propose you start practicing the basics when it comes to marketing.

1.  The #1 most important part of your business should be your customer database.  I’m simply amazed by the number of companies and sales professionals who don’t have a customer list.  It’s really pretty easy, you spend too much time and money to acquire a solid lead or customer, why would you not find out everything you can about them.  Email is FREE.  Why wouldn’t you have every customers email address?  Many businesses focus first on mass media.  If you use mass media to get people through the door, that’s perfectly fine.  But if you don’t get their info you are just asking them to respond to the next advertisement they see from a competitor.  BUT, it’s all in the ask.  I recently heard a cashier say “You don’t want to give me your email do you?”  Of course the answer was no.  Give a compelling reason as to why you need their contact info.  I promise you, most  customers will give you what you want.

2. Get more customer info.  Don’t just settle for their name and email.  If you’re in retail, do what you have to do (bribe with gift cards) to get their spouse and friends info.  Think about it, your customers friends have the same hobbies and likes.  So find a reason to get their friends info.  In the boat business we had a “Friends of Plapp’s” program.  You could register 3 friends or family members into a program that got each of them a $25 gift card on their birthday.  We asked for father, brother and best friend and many times sold those people large ticket items within 12 months.  So in 2013 GO DEEPER, don’t just settle for your customers info.

3.  Start using email!  I’m simply amazed that with the lack of email marketing by local businesses and professionals with today’s technology’s.  Services like Constant Contact are affordable and very easy to use.  Pop quiz; whats in your pocket or on your desk that receives email…YOUR PHONE!  So do your customers.  It’s easier than ever to reach your customers/prospects.  I currently have aprox 300 sales professionals calling on me on a monthly basis in the marketing industry.  Would it surprise you to know that only 1, yes ONE, sends out email newsletters (not the one’s that corporate gives you to forward).  A non-selling email is the best way to stay in front of customers/prospects and to become a resource to them.  In the retail industry, this is no different.  Many more companies are using email, but all too often it’s not well thought out or focused enough.  

4.  Grass-roots events – A few years ago the Cincinnati Reds had a skateboard give-away game.  They handed out 10,000 skateboard decks.  If you know skateboards then you realize that you still need grip-tape, trucks, wheels, bearings, and protective gear.  So there were 10,000 potential customers walking out of a Reds game at the same time.  I had a friend in the marketing business who called me for some ideas.  I told him about this promo and said to call every skateboard shop in town and show them a package for his team of workers to put literature and coupons in the hands of these customers as they walked away from the stadium.  Not one shop wanted to do it and a few even said “they’ll find us”.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!  The potential to reach 10,000 customers, heck even 1,000, would have me out there in the brightest clothes with the strongest call to action.  From what I understand, there were no companies outside the stadium on this night.  A huge missed opportunity.  

This is no different with B-2-B.  Find events where your potential customers are gathered like at BNI meetings, chamber events & trade show.  Find a way to make a memorable impression and more importantly talk to exactly who you want to meet.  Did you know that most events like this have RSVP lists?  Why not find out who’s going ahead of time and create a list of 5 people you want to meet and have your message ready.

5.  Social Media – Yes I think we can all agree that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+ aren’t going anywhere. All have their strong points and ways to drive name awareness, website traffic and profits.  I could write 10 pages on this one, but I’ll spare you.  My best advise is hire an expert to help craft a plan.  Another great resource are blogs, here’s a great one, Social Media Examiner.

6.  In-Store / VIP Events – Three years ago I helped a client of mine, The Golf Exchange, create a series of golf seminars in the winter at their store.  After 8 weeks we had attendance of 100+ per night.  Yes we got 100+ golfers to a golf store in the SNOW!  We created a strong series of events, gave them great reasons to come out and guess what happened, they came out!  The results were great, sales were up 38% in 4th quarter.  The best part, we spent no money marketing these (except for in-store P.O.P’s).  We used email, social media and word-of-mouth to market these seminars.  

Are you B-2-B?  It’s just as easy.  I could show you a million examples, but I’ll stay close to home.  I have hosted over 12 events in the past 12 months and averaged over 60 business decision makers at each event.  And you’ll never guess how I marketed these events….EMAIL and Social Media:)  Why not start right now planning a March Madness party for the 1st Thursday or Friday of the tournament.  Find a nice local restaurant with tv’s, reserve an area and invite your top customers.  ALL of them are looking for an excuse to get out of their office those days, give them one.

7.  Your Website – I hope you have one by now.  Even if you’re a salesperson and not a small business, buy your name or something that makes sense and start branding YOU.  Great looking professional websites can be found on platforms like WordPress for under $1,000.  If your website is not something that you can update yourself on a daily basis and keep fresh, then start over and get one that is.

8.  PPC – Pay per click advertising is a great way to find exactly who you want to do business with.  Google took the top spots for ads a few years ago for PPC because they found that most consumers were clicking the top 3 search results.  Now you can buy keywords and search strings that are ultra-targeted.  If you’re a weight loss clinic, you can put an ad in front of a consumer searching for “how can I lose 40 pounds”.  I’d say that’s a pretty targeted customer.  

9.  Have a “Call-To-Action”.  We all fall victim to this and this is on the top of my list in 2013 for my clients.  Too many commercials don’t give a valid reason for customers to buy.  We need to sit back and look at why they need to buy, and then craft specific commercials to reach those customers.  Next, give them a very specific reason to come in.  Discounts, new products, offers, events, etc.  Give your customers a reason they can’t pass up to come check out your business.  BUT don’t get sucked into always offering discounts.  There are many other ways to get a customers attention besides discounts.

10.  A 12 month plan to actually DO #1-9.  You wouldn’t leave for vacation tomorrow without a map or GPS.  Don’t do the same this year with your marketing plan.  Create a month-by-month plan that lays out what emails you will send, what videos you will shoot, what your offers will be that month, etc.  Then print it, pass it out to managers and meet bi-weekly to review it.  Don’t get caught planning a March Madness party for your top 25 clients the Monday before, have that planned 2 months out and always be thinking about what’s next.

I hope you found these tips helpful.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.  

Good luck in 2013.  

What if you left your current job?

Matt Plapp Family Picture
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

I remember back in the late 90’s when everyone was amazed that I had my sales contacts so organized.  I’m not sure what got me doing this, but I had every company and client in ACT ( a computer contact software).  I had their spouse’s name, their birthday, the last time we talked, etc.  I used this to help me stay organized, but also for one other REALLY important reason…CONTACT INFO.

Since the first day I got into sales I knew that I had to create my own following and if I was going to work my butt off I wanted to have a great account list 5, 10 or 15 years down the road.  I knew that if  I was going to cold call early in my career like I had to, that I wanted to be able to have some great relationships down the road.  So I kept great records with all of my customers names and info.

Flash forward to 2012.  One of the BIGGEST issues that drives me crazy is seeing professional sales people not use Facebook and LinkedIn correctly.  It’s amazing how easy it is to create, upadate and connect with everyone on Social Media and Email.  Social Media allows you to get a better look at your client’s life and for them to see another side of you.

BUT…it also holds the key to my question “What If You Left Your Current Job?”   Are you prepared if you were to change careers?  If next week you had to leave your current position and start over on your own or at a competitor, would you have a way to communicate this with your past customers?  I’ve been in this situation before and I can tell you the transition was so smooth it was amazing.  It was easy to get the word out, easy to prime my contacts for the upcoming change and most importantly, easy to start my new path.

Recently a guy that I know made this transition pretty well, and he was able to avoid few hitches due to his past use of Social Media.  He recently left his job and started his own company.  Not to cause any issues he did not solicit any of his former customers during his employment or after his departure.  But, he was able to “inform” them without crossing any boundaries and in turn is starting his business off on the right foot.  What do I mean by this?  He was using Facebook to communicate with his clients, interacting daily with them and participating in their lives online.  The relationships grew stronger and when he left his job he was able to update them very easily with posts on his personal Facebook page.  Many sales people have non-completes or contracts that do not allow them to contact customers from their prior job.  But, that rule doesn’t apply for them coming to you.  So by using social media long before this change, he was able to transition really easily and it’s not surprising to me that many of his clients followed him to his new place of business.

That’s the beauty of it.  Your friends and family are buying what you are selling, but are you TELLING them in a professional manner what you’re selling?  In this example it was more than that.  He didn’t want to cross a line by soliciting former clients.  But since they were connected on Facebook and other social media sites, it was easy to keep them in the loop and at the end of the day start a new business with a great foundation.

So my question for you is…What would you do if you left your current job?  Do you have the ability to pick up where you left off without having to call or see everyone you sold to in the past in person?  Or could you do this with the click of a button?

Do your reps understand ROI or your clients goals?

Matt Plapp Family Pictureby Matt Plapp

Recently the topic of ROI (return on investment) has been in the news more often.  It’s pretty easy to figure out why.  Companies are getting smarter and more frugal with their dollars.  Not just for marketing but for everything they do in their business. I remember a few years ago when I was running our family business I got some great advice from a friend and accountant, Scott Malof. We were looking at buying some large equipment.  In the past we would buy it based on the demand of our customers and making our employees jobs easier.  Scott agreed with that, but encouraged me to look deeper and at the ROI on the machine and the time it would take to pay back the investment.  Sad to say I had not done this before, and for this particular purchase it was really clear that we did not need to buy this machine.  It would have taken 10 years to get back the investment and by that time we’d be using a dinosaur.

Onto my reason for this article.  Recently I’ve seen upwards of 100 media presentations for my clients.  We’re putting together 2012 marketing plans and in this process, meeting with anyone and everyone who has an idea that will drive sales and profits.  What’s really apparent to me though is that most sales people don’t understand their clients needs or business model.  The investment levels of their proposals many times are no where near where they should be and their sales pitches only benefit one person….THEM!  How do I know this…I DID THIS MYSELF early in my career.

Back story, in 1999 I was on one of my first radio pitches.  I was presenting to a roofing company.  I was working for WGRR Oldies 103.5 in Cincinnati.  The client had told me their average roof sold for $5,000. So I went back, put together a schedule that I thought met this clients needs.  I came back a week later with a $20,000 6 month radio campaign. My thoughts were of the 120,000+ homeowners our station had… surely we could sell 4 roofs!  Wow, I was green:)  Looking back I laugh and think about the # of sales reps across the industry that are not trained on what their clients need.  In hindsight, my campaign would have probably needed to bring in 40 roofs over 6 months to just recoup their investment and for it to really payoff around 80-100.  I would have probably still thought we had 100 listeners in the market for a roof.  But once you go DEEPER and factor in reach, frequency, competition, etc, the facts are we would have had to have 700-1,000 customers in the market for this client to see the 80-100 deals to have a great ROI.   Looking back I’m confident this would have been a bad deal for the client.

Recently I was meeting with a rep for a media company.  He’s a pretty good rep, he understands how to build a relationship, he knows his product, he’s not pushy and over persistent, but he does need a lesson in ROI.  His presention was for a client whose average purchase is $30.  His plan called for a monthly spend of around $6,500.  Now I don’t take all marketing dollars and expect an ROI that month.  I give credit for branding and purchases down the road.  But for this type of client, around 70% should come back that month.  So based on his proposal, his station would need to bring in 5 -7 new customers per day or approx 152 per month.  THAT’S NOT HAPPENING!  Could they bring in a few customers per day, yes, but not 5-7.  In this instance reps tend to look at their budgets and commissions before they do their clients needs.  And they are looking at their budgets because their managers are looking at the stations budgets.   HOW DO I KNOW?  Been there done that.   Most of my friends are media reps. I know exactly what they are thinking, and typically it comes from a lack of training and the fact that a stations budget is hammered into their heads more than sales training.   They just want to succeed and too many times they’ve put trust in their managers who have never worked in a small business.

In closing, don’t let this be your reps.  Take the time to train them on how to find out what the client really needs.  Better yet, ask some of your best clients to come in and talk with your staff  about how to create packages that will hit their needs and what questions to ask.  Don’t let your rep go in a meeting with a $100,000 pitch to a client with a $50,000 TOTAL media budget.  Give them the tools they need to help their clients succeed.  Once they start looking past commissions and budgets everyone wins!