Category Archives: Website

Don’t let your marketing become ‘Tyranny of the Urgent’

hourglass jpg

Are you balancing the important marketing with the urgent marketing?

I was talking to a business owner this afternoon, when she used the phrase “tyranny of the urgent.” It got me thinking about how business is run, sales are made, and marketing is planned and executed.

In Charles Hummel’s 1967 essay Tryanny of the Urgent, one important point Hummel makes is striking a balance between what is considered urgent, and what is considered important. This issue is really all about time management. As a cotton mill manager once told Hummel “Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.”

What are examples of urgent marketing?

Business owners are under pressure to increase sales, make payroll, handle employees, and many other things. Under this pressure, marketing that I would consider urgent is any type of marketing that is reactionary. When a competitor runs a coupon, you run a coupon. When a car dealer runs a giant inventory reduction sale (which by the way is cliche…because what sale isn’t meant to reduce inventory?)…they are trying to make a month-end sales quota. This is urgent (and reactionary) marketing. Selling price before value…another example of urgent marketing. It’s looking for the quick-fix, the quick buck, the easy sale.

What are examples of important marketing?

Important marketing is, at times, going back to the basics. It is creating, and maintaining, your customer list. It is making sure you have your graphics, logo, and pictures organized on a disk for easy access when marketing materials are needed. It is building a marketing plan, so that you can be proactive, rather than reactive. It also keeps you on budget. Important marketing is building a website rich with content, and search-engine optimized, so that you can start the marketing process to your customers before they become your customers.

6 things you can do to shift marketing priorities from urgent to important

  • Write a marketing plan.
  • Organize your business logos and pictures into one easy-to-find place.
  • Get your database of customers updated
  • Do a website evaluation…is your website doing what you need it to do?
  • Consider getting professional marketing services. The small business owner can’t do it all themselves. Consultants of any kind bring valuable outside opinions and experience to the table.
  • Begin each week with a list of the most important things that will grow your business. Create another list of the tasks for the week. Schedule time with yourself to work on the first list.

One of my favorite phrases is: Business is a series of interruptions…interrupted by more interruptions.

Let’s all try to get out of the interruption trap. Ever go through a day and know you worked hard, but thinking back, can’t remember what you accomplished? Yeah, it happens to me too. Remember, it’s not about time. We all have the same about of time…24-hours per day, 7 days per week. It is about the priorities.

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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.


Business blogging: It’s a marathon, not a 100M dash

Meet Up logo

I had an opportunity Tuesday evening to meet a group of Twin Cities bloggers at a Biz Bloggers Meetup, organized by blogger Caroline Melberg.  It was chance to meet other bloggers from around the Twin Cities.  Some were newbies, some relatively new to blogging, and some very experienced.  The purpose – to share ideas and topics about blogging.  15 heads are better than one…an exchange of blogging ideas is always great.

Here are a couple of things I learned from my fellow bloggers between bites of my pizza

One discussion I had with blogger Aaron Weiche from Five Technology was about what Weiche called the “tipping point” in any blog.   This tipping point is the moment when a blog “catches hold” of Google search engines, gains a respectable amount of subscribers, and starts to get the attention of the relevent blogging community.  When this happens, your blog can become a marketing tactic in your marketing plan.

I liken blogging to a race

However, I’d call this race a marathon, and not a 100M dash.  In other words, if you’re looking for a quick fix or silver bullet to boost your website traffic, blogging isn’t the ticket. Why?  Because business blogging takes time to reach that aforementioned tipping point…including lots and lots of content focussed on your topic.  Time must be invested in your blog, if you’re going to make it a serious marketing tool for your business.  That’s just the way it is.

Relevance is one of the keys

Another thing that I learned, according to Melberg, it that your business blog must always be relevent to the audience you’re writing for.  This is important.  Keyword relevance helps a blog get that Google Juice we’re all seeking.  Blog topics must stay focussed.  Melberg should know…she consults about blogging to quite a number of clients.

I enjoyed the meeting.  If you’re in the Twin Cities area, are blogging, or even just thinking about it, join the group and see what it’s all about.  The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 28th in Plymouth.

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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.

Co-blogging: You don’t have to go it alone

If you want to start blogging about a topic or area, find like-minded bloggers and create a co-blog.

Co-blogging has several advantages. The blogging is spread out, so one blogger isn’t writing all the content. WordPress makes it very easy to let each co-blogger contribute, and there is an administrative function that allows overall editting. And co-blogging gives different views on a related topic.

If you can find non-competing co-bloggers to write about a topic or area of interest, co-blogging is a nice way to start your blogging experience. And a very good way to market your business.

Elk River Minnesota Blog

Our Elk River Minnesota Co-blog

Want to see an example of a co-blog? 25-8 Marketing Inc. recently launched a local Elk River, Minnesota Co-blog entitled Elk River Minnesota Blog. In cooperation with Chuck Carstensen, a local Realtor with The Discovery Team at RE/MAX, we invite internet surfers to read about community news, events, music, art, local sports, entertainment, living in Elk River, and other cool things about zip code 55330.

Community co-bloggers are invited to participate by submitting one blog per week of local interest to Elk River Minnesota Blog. Thus far, we’ve gotten Michael Yoakum, owner of Great River Remodeling, and Matt Pagh, agent for Integrity Insurance and Financial Services, to jump into the world of co-blogging with us. And the invitation is open…our hope is to get about ten co-bloggers to contribute with interesting information about our hometown.

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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.

Marketing Proverb: The best time to plant a tree

plant your marketing seeds today

The Chinese Proverb about planting trees goes something like this:

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.  The second best time is today.

This saying applies to so many realms of our lives, our businesses, and our marketing.  If you had planted a tree 20 years ago, you’d be enjoying the shade and fruits of your labor.  But what if you didn’t plant a tree 20 years ago?  Wouldn’t the second best time be today?

Plant your marketing seeds today

So many of the clients whom I meet with plan their marketing in a reactionary mode.  Need sales…react with marketing.  They are so busy working in their business…that they forget to work on their business.

What I try to explain is that by planting marketing seedlings now, you might see fruit (sales) in as little as three months.  If you persist in your marketing seedlings, your current-month-mode can work toward a great-year-mode.

What marketing seeds can you plant today?

  • The best time to update and organize your customer list with email and contact information was 6 months ago.  The second best time is today.
  • The best time to do a needs analysis with a key customer was 3 months ago.  The second best time is today.
  • The best time to do create a website or blog was in 2005.  The second best time is today.
  • The best time to strengthen your relationship with the top 20% of your customers was last year.  The second best time is today.
  • The best time to write your 2008 marketing plan was last October.  The second best time is today.
  • The best time to organize your logo, pictures and business graphics in one spot so you have everything you need to quickly create stunning marketing materials was a year ago.  The second best time is today.
  • The best time to ask all of the people you did business with last year for referrals was last year.  The second best time is today.

Do business like you plan to stay in business

Be proactive with your marketing.  The sooner you start your marketing with long-term in mind, the sooner the benefits will show up short term.  What are you waiting for?

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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.

Got Google Juice? The good, the bad, and the ugly factors.

google juice

Every business website needs traffic.

You need Google Juice. Why? Because Google is king, representing 70% of all traffic driven to your website.

It is theorized that there are probably more than 200 factors that account for how a website is ranked by Google. Search engine optimization experts don’t have the answer yet. However, here is a list of the good – and the bad – factors that will affect your Google Juice:

Ten Good Google Juice Factors

  • Keyword in URL (resource for key word search: Google Ad Words)
  • Keyword in domain name
  • Keyword in title tag
  • Keyword density in body text
  • Keyword in H1, H2, and H3
  • Links to internal pages
  • Internal Link validity (resource for checking this: free link checker)
  • Freshness of pages
  • Page Rank
  • Quantity and quality of Backlinks

Seven Bad Google Juice Factors

  • Server is often inaccessible
  • Text presented in graphics only form
  • Link farms
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Traffic buying
  • Link buying
  • No links to you (Here’s what I use: Backlink checker)

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. But as a business owner you should start here if you want to get a little more Google Juice.

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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

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

What’s In It For Me: Three ways to get your emails read

radio signalThe most popular radio station in the world is WII-FM. WII-FM stands for “What’s In It For Me?” If you do a serious amount of business correspondence or email marketing, this topic needs to stay forefront on every piece of email your write.

I am going to give you three ways to get your emails read, and acted upon.   Here is a copy of an email I received this week:

From: Mike <last name withheld to protect their identity>

To: Chris Mitchell <chris@258marketing.com>

Subject: Follow-Up

Hello Chris –

Do you think you can take a look at what we can do for you?

This email is from a vendor who is trying to sell me his direct mail service for my clients. I haven’t heard from him in 10 months. I haven’t done business with him. He’s out fishing for business. Let’s dissect the problems with this email:

1) Subject. “Follow-Up” isn’t a subject.  It’s extremely vague. It doesn’t get my attention. And there is no benefit.

Lesson: Every email subject line needs to show a benefit. Whenever you are writing an email, especially one of a sales/marketing nature, the subject is going to get displayed in a recipient’s in-box. You get about 2-seconds to make an impression. Your subject line is the only thing they see.  In 2-seconds you are judged – your email will be opened, skipped, or deleted.  Remember – your subject line is your 2-second permission to get the next 30-seconds (when they open your email) to get your point across.  If you fail with the subject line, your email will rarely get opened.  Make your subject lines compelling.

2)  Content.  “Do you think you can take a look at what we can do for you?”  I’m going to translate this:  Can you drop what you’re doing right now?  Can you remember what we talked about 10 months ago?  Can you spend some money on my services?  The answer is no.  You’ve given me no reason to do this.

Lesson:  In your content, always frame a benefit.  Will I save money?  In my case – Will it be of value to a specific client?  If so…which one?  Why should I take action now? The content of your email has to include “what’s in it for me?” or it will be ignored.

What is the valid business reason for getting this email?  Have a valid business reason included in each piece of email correspondence you send.  The word “because” is a very important word.  It’s what is called a “trigger” word.  It triggers response.  According to copyblogger’s Brian Clark:

One of the most important characteristics of compelling, persuasive content is specificity. The more specific you are, the more credible your points, arguments or sales pitch.

There are many ways to be specific in your writing. One of the best is simply giving a reason why. And the most effective transition word when giving a “reason why” is because.

3)  Contact information.  In this particular email, there is none, except a return email address.  Another major mistake.

Lesson:  There is something in emailing called a signature.  It’s automatic.  It can be added to every piece of email you send, and includes your name, title, company, phone and fax number.  If you don’t use it, please start immediately.

Don’t make anyone look around for your phone or fax number.  If, after reading your email, they are compelled to call you…please make it easy.

HERE’S A TIP THAT JUST MADE THIS BLOG WORTH READING TODAY:  One more thing about automatic signatures.  Add a link to your website and blog in your email signatures.  You will be suprised at the number of people who will visit your website or blog using this technique.  Who knows?  One of them just might become your next customer.

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He 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