The Real Asset In Any Business

Posted On March 23rd, 2012

One of the most overlooked elements of any marketing campaign is the relationship the sender of the campaign has with the list being sent to. Often this is the big variable in campaigns and why one member can get unbelievable response to an offer or a campaign and others fall flat. Current Spokesperson Tom Malesic of EZSolution comes to mind. His “Tom Bucks” referral campaign drove insane results for his company, securing him over 50 referrals at the time he first launched it.  Others who mimicked the campaign got  far less impressive results, some coming up with a big fat zero.  So what’s the difference? The only one that can be identified would be the relationship with the list. This is why you’ll hear me tell newbie members over and over again NOT to start sending direct mail to cold lists. It’s one of the more expensive ways to grow your IT services business; and unless you’re willing to send at least 1,000 pieces, scrub the list, follow it up with telemarketing and then send 5 or 6 more campaigns out every 3-4 weeks thereafter, don’t bother. Yes, members occasionally send out 100 letters and get a dozen responses; that’s not totally uncommon. But the reason I don’t want new members starting there is simply because building a relationship with the list so that they start not only to recognize you but pay attention (and ultimately) respond takes TIME.

Starbucks has a tremendously valuable business not because of the buildings, sales, etc., but rather the loyalty and relationship it has built with its customers. Apple is the same. Their clients will stand in line in the cold for HOURS to be one of the first to get the latest iPhone. Zappos’ entire business strategy was not based on shoes, but on customer loyalty through amazing service. Read full article and comment →

Are you an expert in creating, selling and delivering disaster recovery plans?

Posted On February 9th, 2012

I’m looking to hire an expert on creating, selling and delivering disaster recovery plans (not just backup services) to small and medium businesses. I would pay for these consulting services, but don’t know what amount of time and involvement it would require; that will be part of the discovery process I’m conducting right now. The person I’m looking for must meet the following criteria:

  1. They must have extensive experience in creating, selling and implementing IT specific disaster recovery plans for small and medium businesses; not just Fortune 500 companies. If they have experience in non IT business continuity, such as setting up temporary work places, dealing with food, utilities, etc., that’s a plus. However, my focus is on the disaster recovery and business continuity specific to IT systems, data, phone and Internet.
  2. Must be technically proficient with the various backup and disaster recovery technologies (almost everyone we’ll be dealing with on this project will be IT savvy and will want to know the technical aspect of disaster recovery and continuity)
  3. Must understand “consultative selling” and the aspect of working with the client to craft an agreed upon plan based on their needs, budget, etc. They also need to know how to properly set expectations with the client. Ideally, this person would have a process for this.

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How To Create 20+ High Quality, Traffic Building Video Blog Posts In Less Than 2 Hours

Posted On February 6th, 2012

Online web videos can build a great amount of personality and credibility in your marketing. The reason that video is such a great social media tool is that it provides your ideal clients with information that instantly builds your relationship with them, gives you credibility and helps you to generate sales leads. BUT…

Shooting a video of yourself can be downright scary for many people. I hear it all the time: “Jeff, I really know that I should do more online videos, but I look horrible on camera and hate to look at myself.” A little secret: Everyone (except ego maniacs) hates the way they look and sound on video. Even Robin refuses to watch her own videos for this reason.

So here’s a simple (but effective) strategy for getting started with videos:

Use video to answer questions that your prospects and customers ask about the services that you provide (or IT questions in general). Here’s the formula:

Step 1: Brainstorm a list of the TOP 10 questions you hear from clients and prospects. This could be about what you do, cloud computing, what to spend on IT, how to keep employees in check, or anything related to your business. Brainstorm a 2nd list of the TOP 10 questions that your clients and prospects SHOULD have but rarely ever ask. (See Robin’s wedge letters, free reports and other sales letters for good content here.)

Step 2: Setup your video camera for recording. I recommend the Kodak Zi8 with an attached lavalier microphone, but a simple Flip camera or webcam would work just fine. Read full article and comment →

2 Catastrophic Events That Almost Bankrupt This Managed Services Provider

Posted On January 23rd, 2012

The January 2012 Marketing GENIUS of the Month 

Story as told by Tim Shea…

Before finding Robin, our business was hovering just below $1 million dollars in sales for a couple of years. We were making a profit, but I was incredibly frustrated by the lack of growth. It seemed as though we were stuck and needed to figure out how to get over the hump and bring more new customers in the door. Like most of her clients, we were good technicians but not good at sales or marketing, so when I saw that her program was geared specifically toward managed service providers, signing up was a no-brainer – and thank God I did.

Two Catastrophic Events That Almost Bankrupt Us 

Shortly after signing up with Robin, I had two catastrophic events happen that had the potential to put us out of business. A key engineer quit because he was going through a divorce. He had been servicing a contract that represented 25% of our

 revenue and, since we couldn’t service the contract without him, we lost it. Then, a month later, our largest MSP client (135 computers) decided they had outgrown us and cancelled their contract. That meant 20% of our revenue stopped suddenly, leaving a big, gaping hole in our profitability. Leveraging Robin’s strategies for marketing, I was able to sign 26 new accounts that year and re-sign the lost account a few months later. That means we ended up recovering the 45% in lost revenue. Since then, she’s gotten me through a number of mini-crises, but those were the ones where the marketing really saved our bacon.

The Best Campaigns We’ve Implemented To Date  Read full article and comment →

How To Develop Super Hero Speed, Agility And Talents

Posted On January 16th, 2012

“We Are Not Going To Die…  Butters stared up at me, pale, his eyes terrified. “We’re not?” “No. And do you know why?” He shook his head. “Because Thomas is too pretty to die. And because I’m too stubborn to die.” I hauled on his shirt even harder. “And most of all because tomorrow is Oktoberfest, Butters, and polka will never die.” — An excerpt from book 7 of the Dresden Files, “Dead Beat”

 Okay, if you’re not a fan of the Jim Butcher series “The Dresden Files” you won’t find the humor in (or even understand) the above reference, but it’s my newsletter and I get to write what I want. I would have to imagine that there are a handful of fellow fans in my member base since the series has sold a few million copies and has been made into a comic book series and a TV show. Briefly, it’s about the life of Harry Dresden, a highly-skilled but scrappy wizard living in Chicago, trying to eek out a living as a private investigator (he’s the only person listed under “Wizard” in the phone book). His investigations always seem to suck him into incredibly dangerous situations that he somehow manages to overcome. I got hooked a few years back when searching for something new to read before bed to switch my mind off and have since come to love the unlikely super hero Harry is.

Speaking of “super heroes,” you may have already guessed this year’s Boot Camp theme is “The Super Marketing League.” I’ve been wanting to do this theme for awhile now…and since running a business has gotten to be significantly more difficult Read full article and comment →

The Secret To Attracting Your #1 Ideal Prospect

Posted On January 9th, 2012

When you get right down to it, marketing really isn’t that hard. What’s hard is getting out of our own way and setting aside everything WE know so we can think more like our prospects. Stop trying to be cute and clever and just say what you mean to say. Below is a one-page advertisement I found in my swipe file that is several years old, but could be used today. While it is for a chiropractor, there are several things you can (and should) note and study:

1. The prospect we are looking for is flagged in the headline by the problem they are having. This is a simple, brilliant but often forgotten strategy.

2. The entire ad focuses on the situation and pain of the prospect and very little on what the solution itself is. In fact, it’s not until the middle of the ad that the solution is revealed. THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT LESSON TO TAKE NOTE OF. I see IT companies making this mistake constantly: focusing on the product or service and what it is before they’ve accurately aligned with the prospect and flagged the prospects they are dealing with.

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New Year, New You?

Posted On January 3rd, 2012

I hate dieting. Requires a LOT of self-discipline; a word that is usually associated with Nuns and flogging. To me, eating good food with an excellent vino is one of the great pleasures in life…and I do mean GOOD food…not the factory-made mystery meat, intestine-clogging cryogenically manufactured corn products, or the anti-freeze dipped mock-vegetables Taco Bell tries to pass off as food. But, if you’re like millions of other people, “losing weight” is probably one of the New Year’s goals you have. So is “saving more money” or “getting out of debt.” If you’re an entrepreneur, I’m sure you have certain goals you want to hit that are tied to personal income, business growth and profits.

But are you REALLY serious about these goals, or are they going to show up again next year with very little progress made? And were these the same goals you made last year that are now showing up again, little to no progress made?

If you were sitting at your desk on December 31st looking at the final numbers, disappointed because you didn’t make your goal, what were you doing the morning of January 1st to make sure 2012 is any different? If you were sleeping off a hangover, you’re not serious about acheiving it. And if you’re not that driven to acheive great wealth and success that’s fine…but stop whining about not having any money.

If people were truly HONEST with themselves, they’d admit the reason they’re not achieving a key goal is because they lack sufficient motivation to achieve it. They want it, but they are desperately, eagerly (and foolishly) hoping they can find some easy way to make it happen…some simple solution. An “easy button.” And they reject doing anything that appears to be out of their comfort zone or learning something new. (By the way, trying to get your plan “perfect” or “right” before you take action is a form of procrastination too. Don’t kid yourself).

If you were really serious about losing weight…   Read full article and comment →