Make 2016 Different & More Profitable

I have a saying I use frequently “advertising is easy, but marketing is HARD”.  Why is it hard?  Because marketing requires you to do the heavy lifting and thinking.  You’re not just hopelessly placing ads, you’re creating ideas that will drive revenue and profits.  

In this event you’ll get the tools and ideas to help make 2016 different from past years.  During this 3 hour seminar you’ll hear from 5 speakers who will help jumpstart your thinking and get you ready to market your business like never before.  

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, Instagram & Twitter 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.

8. Reviews – Stop worrying about bad reviews and HOPE you get some, then you can show everyone how you handle issues.

You’ll leave with a custom marketing plan and workbook that will help make 2016 even better than 2015!


Video, Email & Social Media Marketing Seminar

Videos, Emails & Social Media Work Great Together

I’m more excited over this seminar than any I’ve done this year.  Video marketing is a great way to grow your business and brand.  The part I like the most is that very few small business owners have started using videos.  What does that mean for you?  It means HUGE growth potential.  

In this 2 hour seminar we’ll cover in depth the following topics:

1. Video Marketing – How to create short videos that you can use to create brand recognition, drive website traffic and more importantly SELL MORE PRODUCT.

2.  Advanced Social Media Marketing – What can you do outside of just making a post.

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

4.  Search Engine Optimization – How to use videos to create more website traffic through organic SEO. 

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.


Do your customers REALLY know you

Do your customers know you or THINK they know you?  I’ve got a funny story that will make you realize that you’re missing a BIG opportunity in your marketing.  In 2005 a guy walked into our boat dealership and was interested in buying a boat from us.  He went on to tell me how he was friends with the owner of the boat manufacturer, Earl Bentz, and he deserved a better deal.  Earl was a legend in the boat business.  He had been around for many years, he reminded me of a politician, always on camera and somewhere shaking hands and kissing babies.  So the customer explained how he was great friends with Earl and could buy a boat from the factory if he’d like (not actually possible), but that he wanted to do business with a local store.  Of course I was agreeing with him and in the conversation I asked how they became such good friends, how they knew each other.  I won’t bore you with the LONG story, but at the end of the day it turns out they had met ONCE and that was when he waived to him and shook his hand at a fishing tournament.  This was how they became “good friends”.  No I didn’t call him out on it, I sold him a boat and he became a good customer of mine.

You might ask yourself how this happens, how does a consumer get to a point where they THINK they are good friends with someone, but they don’t actually know them.  It’s called MARKETING.  Earl like any smart business owner always put his face out there.  He was in the marketing, videos, at events, on tv shows, etc. Everyone knew Earl and when you thought of one of his boat companies you always thought of Earl.  

Flash forward to today and the great results a client of mine is having.  Steve Cain of Steve Cain’s All Vacuum Center in Crestview Hills started using videos to market his company a few years ago.  He does product demonstrations, how-to videos and showcases items he sells.  Steve has become really good at making these videos and his message comes across great.  What’s happened isn’t surprising though.  Every week customers come into Steve’s store to speak with him about a new vacuum.  They mention that they’ve watched many of his videos.  These customers are more educated now on what Steve sells and more importantly they are more comfortable with him.   They aren’t walking in off the street to a stranger, they are coming in to see STEVE, the guy from the videos.  On top of that, the videos make his website and other marketing standout from the competition.  Plus there’s the added bonus of the organic SEO value of each video on YouTube, the pages on his website and the content for email and Facebook.

So I’ll ask you again, do your customers REALLY know you?  I didn’t think so, get started today and create your own video marketing plan.

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.