Tag Archives: marketing

Sharpening your Marketing Saw: What can you do?

sharpening the marketing saw

Stephen Covey talks about this anology in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:

What are you doing?’ you ask.
‘Can’t you see?’ comes the impatient reply. ‘I’m sawing down this tree.’
‘You look exhausted!’ you exclaim.
‘How long have you been at it?’
‘Over five hours,’ he returns, ‘and I’m beat! This is hard work.’
‘Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?’ you inquire. ‘I’m sure it would go a lot faster.’
‘I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,’ the man says emphatically. ‘I’m too busy sawing!’

When it comes to business, we’re all busy.

I ask clients who don’t blog, or do newsletters, or update their website, or develop a marketing plan…why? The answer is always honest. And it’s almost always the same. They are too busy. They are too busy working IN their business to work ON their business.

What can you do to sharpen your marketing saw? Here are four thought- starters:

1) Commit to organizing your database. Your database of customers is the single most important thing you have as a business owner. Once you have a contact management system or some sort (computerized, with name, address, phone, email), exportable to an excel spreadsheet, you’re set.

Y our database is part of the foundation of all the marketing you do. And probably most of the referrals you get.
2) Reading good literature. The average American reads four books a year. Don’t be average. Reading will give you insight and perspective. I am currently re-reading one book: Permission Marketing (by Seth Godin) and reading another: The God Questions (by Hal Seed and Dan Grinder).

3) Brainstorm Brown Bag. Set aside a lunch hour (once per month) for a brainstorming session at your office. Everyone brings their own lunch. The challenge is pre-determined…what new ideas can we use, what’s working, how are you handling this objection. You get the idea. Hint: Rule one of brainstorming…no idea is judged during the session.

4) Seminars and workshops. Most of us do professional development or continuing education. That’s great. But also try something outside the norm of your business life. You can probably relate it back. I recently took a 4-week meditation class from Kelly LaVine that was outside my “norm” and really enjoyed it.

Abraham Lincoln said this: Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. He was a pretty smart guy.

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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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Real Estate Marketing: 5 creative mailings

I had the opportunity to spend about 2 hours today with a group of Re/Max agents in Rogers. A very energetic group of entrepreneurs who were focussed on what they had to do in the current housing market.

In the marketing/brainstorming session, I encouraged them to continue to do their monthly mailings. However, I suggested that they try to position themselves a little differently in the eyes of their clients.

How? Well, I know from personal experience that any time I receive a stack of mail…what do I open first? Something that piques my curiosity. If there is an odd shaped package…or odd shaped letter…it gets my attention.

So, carrying this one step further, I brought some cheap “inserts” that could be sent inside the envelope, accompanying their letter. Here are some of the fun headlines we came up with, using things that only cost pennies each:

  • Safety Pins – “Don’t get stuck with that high interest payment.”
  • Stick matches – “This is a very hot market now for buyers.”
  • Plastic knives – “Here’s a sharp idea for home sellers.”
  • Packet of seeds – “I want to plant a quick real estate idea with you.”
  • Band Aid – “We can help you — find a great real estate deal.”

Just a few ideas to have fun with your mailings. Be creative.  Think outside the box. It positions you well in the eyes of your customers.

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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.

Drunken Irish…and other memorable quotes from Jesse

jesse ventura quotes

When I think of Irish (today being St. Patty’s Day), I think of Jesse Ventura. Why? Well, one of my favorite quotes from the lovable former Minnesota Governor occured in 1999 when Jesse appeared on the David Letterman show:

“Whoever designed the streets (in St. Paul) must have been drunk. I think it was those Irish guys, you know what they like to do.” – Jesse Ventura on Late Night with David Letterman

Today’s blog is dedicated to this fellow baldie’s other memorable quotes.

I’ve compiled a list of my other favorites. Whether he was sticking his foot in his mouth, or just telling it like he thought it was, I have to admire Jesse, because you ALWAYS knew where he stood on an issue:

Jesse Ventura Quotes

“Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business.” – Jesse Ventura, in a November 1999 issue of Playboy Magazine

Jesse Ventura - Ain't got time to bleed

“I decided to run for governor because I got mad… I want to make government more directly accountable to the people.” – Jesse Ventura

jesse ventura wrestler“I asked Dalai Lama the most important question that I think you could ask – if he had ever seen Caddyshack.” – Jesse Ventura

“Wrestling is ballet with violence.” – Jesse Ventura

I also believe that government has no business telling us how we should live our lives. I think our lifestyle choices should be left up to us. What we do in our private lives is none of the government’s business. That position rules out the Republican Party for me.” – Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura - boa

“If I could be reincarnated as a fabric, I would come back as a 38 double-D bra.” – Jesse Ventura

“Congratulations, you have a sense of humor. And to those who didn’t: Go stick your head in the mud.” – Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura Wiki Facts:

Jesse Ventura (born July 15, 1951), also known as “The Body”, “The Star”, and “The Governing Body”, is an American politician, retired professional wrestler, Navy UDT veteran, actor, and former radio and television talk show host. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. He is also a 1-time AWA Tag Team Champion.

In the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1998 he was elected the 38th Governor of Minnesota and served from January 4, 1999 to January 6, 2003 without seeking a second term.

In January of 2008, the Associated Press reported that a new book authored by Ventura, titled Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me is scheduled for release in April. In it, according to the report, Ventura suggests that he is a potential presidential candidate for 2008.

What does any of this have to do with marketing?

Great question. Jesse was different. He was the anti-politician’s Politician. As a marketer, he knew how to get attention, how to create headlines, and how to be truthful. I think we can all take a page from the Jesse Ventura book on marketing.

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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

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

Yellow Page Advertising: 4 Need-to-knows

 yellow page bad ad

Yellow page advertising representatives are the best trained advertising salespeople in media sales

It’s a fact.  They are good.  They are persistent.  They motivate by fear.  But think about these four things the next time your yellow pages ad is up for renewal:

Most people are right-handed. They hold the phone book in their right hand, and use their left hand thumb to flip through from back to front. So what’s so great about having the biggest ad in the front — when most people see the smaller ones in the back of the section first?

According to the Yellow Page industry, Americans look in the Yellow pages about 3.6 billion times per year. Sound like a lot? That’s only about 14 times a year a person.

Beneficial Finance always advertised, “If you’re within the sound of my voice, there’s a Beneficial office near you. Look for us in the White Pages.” Smart move — a listing in the White Pages is free — and consumers choose among competing locations instead of competing companies.

Yellow Pages advertising is sold as “bigger ads are better” or “color is better.” The best marketing strategy is for people to never have to go to the Yellow Pages.

Which book should I choose?

I get asked this all the time.  Every yellow pages representative will throw numbers and statistics at you.  As a business owner, it’s a tough decision.  My advice:  If you want to cut back on your yellow page advertising, there are two primary books you need to be in.

The most important YP to advertise in…is your primary (biggest) circulation directory for the area.  In my area (Minneapolis)…it happens to be Qwest/Dex for Minneapolis.  70% of residents use that.  Your local utility directory is the second most important.  So…put 70% of your budget in the primary, and the balance in the utility directory, and call it a day.   The rest of ’em are fighting for market share…and readers.

PS.  Make a three to five year plan to scale back on YP.  Divert YP resources (budget) to online.  It’s headed that way.

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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

Minneapolis Star Tribune reaches new low with this anti-real estate story

I was absolutely floored with the Minneapolis Star Tribune yesterday

On the front page: Credit Mess Means Selling For Less was the lead story. (see above print version) It showed me that the Star Trib is really, in my opinion, anti-real estate. Why?

1) The headline is sensationally negative. I really wonder if they wrote the headline PRIOR to writing the story.

2) The graph is inaccurate. They show a 12.5% decrease in 2008. Fine. But that only the first 3 months. They make this look like a larger thing than it is. I learned how to draw more accurate, to-scale graphs in third grade. Hey, maybe they fit the graph to cover the shape of their photo?

3) How many realtors did they need to interview before the Star Tribune could get this quote from Ryan O’Neill of ReMax Advantage: “I don’t see it getting better in the immediate future.” What that in the context of a longer quote?

4) The story buried good quotes from Kevin Knudsen (Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors) and Greg Bauman (St. Paul Area Association of Realtors) on page 8 of the section. Too little, too late. The Star Trib’s ‘sky is falling’ mentality is plastered all over page 1.

I have friends, clients, and business associates in real estate, homebuilding, mortgage, and banking. I’ve talked to several of them about this story. It’s not just me…there are a lot of people upset with this story. This type of bad news, perpetuated by newspapers like the Star Tribune, is the only thing that sells subscriptions.

Maybe they’re grudging because Edina Realty cut 70% of their Star Tribune newspaper budget about a year ago to develop their internet presence. But the anti-real estate industry bias is all too apparent here.

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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

Four things your Billboard Reps didn’t tell you

bad billboards

Just a few things that I’m sure the outdoor billboard rep “forgot” to mention…

1. The average person isn’t exposed to your billboard the same way you are. Many outdoor sales reps sell their facings (the term for a single billboard) by driving very slowly by the locations of various boards they own. The rep points out the location so the prospect (you) sees the board for as long a time as possible. Then once the client rents the board, they may go out of their way to drive by it. The average person isn’t paying as much attention to the client’s board as the client is.

2. Which billboards do you remember seeing on the way to work? Make a list of the boards along that route and notice the ones you’ve never seen. People who frequently look at billboards are:

  • Those that sell outdoor advertising
  • Those that advertise on them
  • Other advertising sales people
  • Everybody else

3. Winter is a risky time to be advertising on billboards. Where are your eyes when the roads are slippery or the windshield is dirty?

4. The average time someone looks at a billboard is about three seconds. The billboard companies tell advertisers to keep their messages short — seven words or less. How much selling can you do in three seconds or seven words?

PS.   Know what the best two words are for a billboard?   Next Exit.

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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