Category Archives: Testimonial advertising

Network marketing: The greatest misconception

home exercise equipment

Network marketing (joining chambers, BNI, associations) is a terrific way to build a business.  In 2007, networking was responsible for over 50% of my new business.  I hear this echoed by dozens of business owners who join a business networking group.

On the other side of the aisle, though, are dozens of business people who join business networking groups, and then when their membership renewal is due, they fail to renew.  The MAIN reason they give:  It didn’t get me any business.

How do great networkers differ from poor networkers?

What’s the secret to great networking?  How come some businesses thrive on networking, while others fail?  One of the great misconceptions of networking is that by joining a roster, you’re gauranteed business. A roster spot does not mean a thing. Just because you’re listed on a Chamber of Commerce roster, BNI roster, or Builders Association roster, you can’t expect business.  Sure, you’re a member…on paper.  But it ends there.  You’re only going to get back what you put in. I’ll present to you a great analogy.

Home exercise equipment is a lot like networking

I was talking on the phone to Janet Kruger from Lights On in Mankato, Minnesota about commonalities in Builders Associations.  A local builders association has many members — some are active, and some are not.  What Kruger said, made a lot of sense to me.  “Home exercise equipment is a lot like networking,” Kruger explained.  “You can’t buy a piece of exercise equipment, and expect it to work if you don’t use it.  If you exercise daily, it will work.  If you don’t, it becomes little more than a clothes hanger.”  Kruger was Associate of the Year in the Minnesota River Builders Association.

Three ways to maximize your networks

Here are three specific ways to get the most out of any network you belong to:

  1. Join a committee. Get involved.  Meet other members by working together.  Show them your talents.  Let your work be your testimonial.  Become part of the leadership of the organization.  It starts with involvement.
  2. Attend the meetings. Whether is business-after-hours or membership meetings, use every chance you get to meet people face-to-face.  Business comes where it’s invited.
  3. Ask for appointments using this phrase:  When could we meet to discuss ways to help each other grow our businesses? What smart business owner is going to say no?

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency in Elk River, Minnesota. He plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. Mitchell is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

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Are you trustworthy? Ride this marketing trend in 2008

liar liar

Trust is one of the key marketing trends of 2008

There is a prevailing smell of distrust these days. People distrust the government. And we’re in a political election year. People distrust big institutions. The price of gas is up. The mortgage industry is in an upheaval. Wall Street has beaten up investors of Citigroup, E-Trade, and Countrywide. Unemployment…sports legends on steroids…I could go on and on.

Consumers are looking for someone to trust

If you could pick one theme for 2008 to brand yourself or your company with, it’s trust. Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve says this:

“Our mindset is characterized by the Current DissedTrust; People continue to reject the “establishment” (government, commerce, religion, etc.) because they expect it to lie, cheat and abuse employees, communities and the environment. There will be rich rewards for any institution that can reach the bar of trust.”

What can your business do to earn people’s trust? FIVE things I suggest:

1) Use testimonials. Have a supply of testimonial letters ready, or include customer quotes in all of your marketing materials.

2) Join a professional association. It shows that you are accepted for measuring up to the standards of your profession. If you are already a member of a professional association, make sure your customers know, and that you participate in continuing education.

3) Meet your customers more often. As we continue to evolve into an email-driven society, it’s easy to lose touch. Frequently meeting customers face-to-face, and offering good service is one of the quickest ways to gain trust.

4) Add your address to your website. Do you ever go to a business website and can’t find their street address? How do you feel? What are they hiding? Are they going to rip me off? Doesn’t it make you suspicious? I know it does for me. Don’t do this to your customers.

5) Increase your opportunity for referral marketing. Join a BNI chapter, or another local business networking group. Referral marketing plays a big part of building trust.

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency in Elk River, Minnesota. He plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. Mitchell is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

website: http://www.258marketing.com
email: chris@258marketing.com