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.


It's A Customer Service Tool 1st, Sales Machine 2nd

Most small businesses and honestly “marketing experts” have not figured out the main reason you should be active and monitoring your Social Media platforms.  I’ve always stated (and believed) the top reason to use Social Media is for SEO and branding.  Secondarily as a great way to market your business on your own advertising medium.  I believed that until a light bulb turned on this summer.  Yes, Social Media still plays an integral part in your SEO and can be your own “radio station” but it’s now taking a backseat CUSTOMER SUPPORT.  Yes, Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become the new 1-800 where your customers turn for answers and issues.  

We manage a few hundred Social Media pages for businesses in the Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky area. Most of these businesses are retail / restaurants.  Most days I find myself answering posts about something that went wrong with their visit to the business or questions that would have been a phone call in the past.  The vast majority are courteous and professional and just looking for a prompt reponse.  I can’t tell you how many respond back that they’re surprised someone from the business actually responded and in a timely manner.   This is not only a great opportunity to fix this issue, but it’s also a great chance to show other customers that you stand behind your product and service.  Our goal is to respond within an hour, and I can tell you this has helped sell products and fix a mad customer in the clients showrooms MANY TIMES.  

On Facebook, most companies I come across in these situations either don’t respond or delete the post.  This is a TERRIBLE IDEA!  If you’re not going to respond, DELETE your page and get off that Social Media Site.  There are certain situations where deleting is the only answer, vulgarity, competitors, spam, etc.  But if it’s a valid question or concern, FIX IT!  Not responding is like hanging up the phone on a customer that calls to complain.  Deleting the post just makes that customer angrier and will not only lead to other posts on your page and their personal account, but it will lose your company a customer.  

I’ve also found that many companies don’t respond to private messages very well.  I try to use Facebook in the same manner my clients customers do.  So when I’m in need of information that I know I can easily get with a phone call I instead turn to Facebook.  I want to see what my client’s competitors are doing and see how we stack up.  Recently I was in need about the prices and packages of the WEBN Fireworks deals Newport restaurants were offering.  I sent a private message to 6 places.  1 got back to me the next day, then another 2 days later and the other 4 never responded.  The worst part was when we made follow-up phone calls to ask about their deals, most had no clue or very little information, but that’s an entirely different blog post 🙂

Even funnier was my message to Lee’s Chicken recently.  I had went there with a coupon and when I arrived their prices were lower on their menu than the coupon.  Wanting to see how they’d respond and let them know of this issue (like I’d hope a customer would point out to one of my clients), I sent a private message to their Facebook page.  1 month later  TO THE DAY I get a response asking for more details.  Seriously, 1 month???  Businesses need to start treating Social Media messages just like their phone or front door.  Would you not answer your phone for a month?  Would you keep your clients locked out of your store for a month?  Of course not, then why do it online? 

LONG STORY SHORT, if you want to survive and retain TODAY’S consumers then you better start paying attention to your customers questions and concerns online.

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.  

Are you going to wreck your new Corvette?


Imagine pulling out of your driveway and HAMMERING the gas pedal of a Corvette and never touching the steering wheel.  

2 weeks ago I was on my sofa watching TV at 9:35pm when a private message came across my phone from one of our client’s Facebook Pages. If you know me, you know that I constantly monitor our client’s pages, 7 days per week and 16-18 hours per day.  So it’s not unusual for me to respond to guest questions, complaints or concerns at times when most people are unplugged from work.  This message stuck out more than any other and here’s why.  This was a guest that was at the restaurant at the time of the complaint.  She was sitting at the bar and messaged that she wasn’t happy with the service she was getting.  I asked if she had spoken with a manager she said no.  This really caught me by surprise she’s sitting in the business and turns to Facebook to get an issue resolved???  Who does that?  Today’s customers, that’s who!

Luckily, I was monitoring it and I reached out to the manager and he solved the problem.  We manage hundreds of social media pages with hundreds of thousands of fans, DAILY and every day we do more “customer service” type work than we do branding or content creation. The BUZZ WORDS in Social Media are “engagement” “viral” “high value content” but the major one should be “THE NEW 800#”.  The facts are the people aren’t turning to 800 #s or even managers 10 feet from them anymore, they are turning to Social Media.  Why?  it’s quicker and honestly a great way to scare the business into answering  your concerns ASAP.  The major issue though is that many companies aren’t equipped to manage situations like this.  

Recently I was speaking with a colleague about this and I wasn’t surprised to hear that no one manages their pages after hours and on the weekends.  The major problem with this is that something could BLOW UP big time in that short period of time.  Imagine the traction a bad Facebook post can get in 24 hours, strike that, 24 minutes!  This time a year ago I was involved in a post that went viral REALLY fast.  It turned out to be a PR stunt by a non-profit trying to get attention.  It was amazing how fast this went from a post, to a post with 100+ shares and a lot of negative PR attached to it.  Luckily we saw this right away, got the facts from management and squashed it in a few days.  It was a really stressful few days, but we were able to come out on the good side of this one, BUT WHAT IF this had sat there unanswered for 2-3 days.  WOW, that would have been ugly.  In 2014, an unanswered Facebook post is almost an admission of guilt.  Consumers want to hear from you now.


Back to the Corvette.  

Why are you pressing the gas pedal on a corvette and not looking at the road? If there’s a straight road you’re in good shape, but we all know some curves, a school bus and a stop light are just around the corner. That’s what’s happening if you’re not monitoring your Social Media pages ALL THE TIME to make sure every post, good and bad, is being answered.  Like it or not, you need to have eyes on your pages all the time. Probably the only time your somewhat safe is 11pm-6am, since the vast majority of your customers are asleep. 

So I leave you with this thought…GRAB THE STEERING WHEEL, no one wants to wreck a nice Corvette.


 Here are 6 quick tips & examples to help get your fans back!

Facebook Questions?

Do you have a Facebook page for your business?  Do you monitor the stats on the page?  If you’ve answered yes then I’m sure you’ve noticed a BIG drop-off in your post reach and page interaction the past 60-90 days.  At Driven Media Solutions we manage over 300 Social Media Pages for local businesses and in November we noticed a disturbing trend, Facebook posts were not being seen!
What’s happened?  Facebook has created an algorithm that only allows certain fans to see your posts.  No one is exactly sure what that winning formula is, but the top way to increase your chances are through fan engagement.  A few years ago the majority of your page fans saw your posts, but not anymore.  Advertising is another way to get your fans back, from what I see Facebook basically is forcing you to buy advertising.  They’ve not come out and said this, but if you read between the lines that’s whats happening.  This isn’t a terrible issue, after all Facebook has allowed thousands of businesses to build a great medium to market your business for FREE, but it would be great if you knew what was going on.  Below are a few suggestions and examples to help your page get seen more often by your fans and get your reach back up.
Facebook Ads Work 1.  Facebook Advertising – Like it or not, you need to allocate a budget for 2014 to either buy ads promoting your posts or your page.  You’ve been given a great advertising medium for free the past few years, now it’s time to pay.  CLICK HERE to see an example of a local small business spending less than $100 per month to promote their posts and the results they’ve seen on their website.  This company has been using Facebook ads on and off since June 2013.  In this example they saw 382 new visits to their website in the past month and the video ad has been watched 1,123 times and has generated a reach of 14,224. Keep in mind the demo picked for this ad is ultra targeted.  You can create great targets in your ads with demo, geographic and interests. 
2.  Contests– Facebook did make it easier to do contests in 2013.  They removed the rules about having contests within your posts and it’s really helped drive engagement and page traffic. Don’t be fooled though, you don’t need to have big prizes.  CLICK HERE to see a great example of the power of a $10 gift card!

Local Content Is King

3.  Local Content – What gets the attention of your audience?  In Cincinnati if your customers are sports fans there’s a PRETTY good chance a jab at a competitor will do the job.  CLICK HERE to see a post that did just that and reached over 37,000 people and had 200 shares.
Cute Facebook Post 4.  Pictures – Pictures are what they want you to post!  Product pictures and pictures of happy customers are great.  But the ones that really get attention are funny pictures.  Remember, people are on Facebook to catch up, get a laugh and communicate with their friends.  Even better is a funny picture that ties in with your products.  Here’s one of my favorites we did in 2012 CLICK HERE.  This picture got 49 shares for a small 1 location business with less than 500 fans.
5.  Loyalty Programs – Find a program that your fans can participate in while earning points towards products.  We’ve partnered with Boost Chatter on a few of our client’s pages and seen increased engagement.  Fans earn points for liking, commenting and posting on your page.  Once they reach a goal they get a reward, CLICK HERE for more info.
6.  Follow Others – There’s a feature on Facebook called “interests” that allows you to follow businesses on Facebook without being fans of the pages.  This lets you to follow competitors or other pages and not have anyone know.  You’ll get an update daily with all of the pages’s posts that day.  If you log into Facebook you’ll see this option on the left hand column below the pages you manage.  You’ll get your best ideas from local and out of town companies just like you and you’ll be able to watch their posts and see which ones will drive engagement.
The 4 businesses highlighted above are all different sizes and industries.  If you put in place these 6 tactics and you continue to offer compelling, interesting content to your fans, you’ll have continued success using Facebook to market your business.  Remember there are hundreds if not thousands of factors that go into the algorithm, so keep plugging away, watching your metrics and find out what’s working.

Practice What Your Preach

Distressed LogoWe’ve all heard the phrase “practice what you preach” and when you become a parent you start thinking “wow I really need to do this”.

Well in my career as a marketing consultant and speaker it’s typically hard to be able to say that you do this.  Most people in my profession do this for their clients and that’s about it and most have worked in 1 capacity.  One of the reasons that I’ve had success and have been able to help my clients is due to my past. (CLICK ABOVE TO READ THE REST

Continue reading

When Should I Send My Email

Every month I host seminars covering Email and Social Media Marketing and I get MANY follow-up questions from small business owners. I’ve decided to start a series of videos to cover these questions. Below you’ll find my 1st video, “when should I send my email?”

Continue reading