Archives for February 2013

You’ve Been Voluntold!

confusedIf you’re anything like myself – you do a great deal of local networking. At least two or three days a week, you might run into me at some event or another. Some are professional groups where my target customers lurk and others are general professional organizations local and national. In a few of these organizations I play a managerial role, (one I’m the president). As you may well understand this takes a great deal of commitment and effort. I absolutely believe that these groups help get my brand in front of the right people who desire what I’m offering. I have a strategy for my efforts and all involve being in control of my efforts. I’m proud that my brand commands the respect of my peers and as such I never have to suffer the the terrible affliction of being “voluntold.”

If you’re on a committee or two but fail to show up when you’re needed to participate, you will fall fate to joining efforts you are unaware of at the time you were induced. Some describe it this way – ” the fasted way to getting the worst job on a committee is to not show up at an important meeting.” At that critical meeting your brethren will take great pleasure in volunteering you, and if this happens – brother you’ve been VOLUNTOLD!”

Being Voluntold is the scarlet letter of organizations. If you’re Voluntold too many times your personal brand is going to take a beating. For the sake of your brand, be aware of the importance of meetings and your responsibility within a group.

You’ve been warned.

Here’s What’s In A Great Marketing Tool Box…

toolboxYour brand is anchored in what differentiates you. Without that differentiator, you have to fall back on image or (god forbid) price. A good number of small businesses think to raise the bar they have to changes their logo, update their image and refresh that website. I’ve sat through enough meetings with graphic designers who still push this antiquated notion. My background is in graphic design so I have a healthy respect for the industry. But, I don’t rest the success of communication and sales initiatives squarely at the feet of design. Design from my perspective is the compliment to great branding.

Give me something that absolutely resonates with your customer and then wrap it up with great design so that your overall communication is outstanding and really positions the customer as a leader in their category. That’s a story worth telling. Graphic designers today have a tendency to not understand fundamental marketing. Most (that I know) have never taken a marketing course. Graphic design courses in this region don’t have marketing as part of their curriculum. To these isolated designers, it’s an us or them attitude.

How many presentations on social media have you been to where they compare social media to off-line media as if they were rivals. ie: doing this and this social thing will save you the cost of print, radio and TV. Email marketing is much more beneficial than direct-mail marketing. Stupid. It’s all about fit – NOT us or them.

The fact of the matter is, they are ALL tools in your brand tool-box. Online marketing is spectacular and combined with traditional media can be incredibly powerful. The Kardasian’s may have millions of Twitter and Facebook followers but without television and print coverage how long do you think they’d last. When the day comes and the public tires of them and they no longer exist in the visual media – THAT will be the true test of their brand power.

My promotional efforts include on and offline, and face to face efforts. And every single effort I put out there has to be absolutely consistent and powerful. My brochures aren’t printed on my office printer. My business cards to come in a sheet | have to tear apart. My web efforts weren’t developed for the price of a case of beer. But I didn’t spend a King’s ransom either. Everything involves a fit. What works for your brand. Overall what is it saying to your audience as opposed to what your competitors are saying. Are you leading or following?

Peer deep inside that tool box and foster a strategic plan than carries your brand along as authentic and as powerful as your marketing budget affords you.

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