Those Blasted Bungled Botched Blogs

Bad articles thrown in the wastebasket

I’m kind of particular about what I spend my time reading.  There’s just not enough time in the day for reading badly written blogs, yet small businesses trying hard to get some momentum, some attention, frequently turn to putting out blogs that aren’t well written just for the sake of getting more eyeballs.  Not a good strategy since your blog can contribute to your overall brand.

I don’t know the author, but if you have a few extra minutes and want a good example of what not to do, go to “The Hyperlink In Between Written Content for Sites and Branding.” I’m not sure whether they were making a joke to make a point but I’m sure you’ll see what I mean.

Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Make Sure that Punctuation and Spelling are Correct-This seems obvious but I must admit, I see mistakes all of the time.  It is really about attention to the details.  If you are focused on the details in your blog, then you’re probably focused on the details of serving your customer.  For some great direction and many humorous tips, I recommend Liz Craig’s blog.
  2. Give People Credit Where Credit Is Due -As was once said, “when you steal from one person it is called plagiarism, yet when you steal from many, it’s called research.”  (I can’t remember who to give credit to for this quote)  It is really easy to put links into your blogs that will take readers to your source’s website if they would like to learn more.  It helps their website by having an inbound link and it is the right thing to do.
  3. Be Careful When Using Humor-It is really a cool thing if you have the talent to be funny when you write but you know, it’s not really all that easy.  That’s why comedy writers get paid so much. What seems funny to you may not be to your readers and in fact could alienate them.  If you are a frustrated comedy writer and your blog is your outlet, use humor cautiously and judiciously.
  4. Give your Opinion on Your Subject-If all you’re providing is information, people can go to a zillion places on the Internet to get information.  What people really want to know is what your spin on this subject is.  Why do you have a passion to write about it?  Let people inside your head (I know in my case that’s a scary place to be) so they’ll get to know you and you become a person to them instead of just a company.  This is where you can build trust.
  5. Have Fun and Tell Stories-People will travel far to hear a good story.  Surely you have actual life experiences that can bring a rich texture to your subject and help your readers relate to what you’re saying.  It will gain you many loyal readers.

I’d love to know your thoughts.


The CMO Outsource

How Not to Make a Marketing Call

Our home is our haven, a place of rest, relaxation and the ability to unwind from the turmoil of the day.  The invasion of this space by unwanted calls is the reason Congress enacted the now infamous “no-call” designation, where by placing yourself on a list, you can limit the solicitation calls you receive to only those parties to whom you give specific permission.

This “no-call” list does not apply to not-for-profit entities, and since we give to a number of organizations whose mission we believe in, we do expect to receive calls from them occasionally.

The other night though, I received a call that I just had to post about.

With the phone ringing, I leave the couch and see on the caller ID that it is an 866 number, so I know in my mind, oh, this is probably a solicitation call for a donation.  I debate answering but decide, I’ll listen to their pitch.

Once I answer, a computer voice says, “Your call is important to us, please hold for the next available agent.” Are you kidding?!?!

You called me and you want me to wait?  What’s more, if my call was so important to you, why wasn’t there a live person ready to speak with me?

If you are making a sales or marketing call, please be sure that you are sensitive to the other person’s time and show enough respect to be ready and prepared to speak to them when they answer the phone.  It is only common sense.

Needless to say, I hung up the phone promptly and went about my business.  I didn’t learn which organization was calling me but if I find out, they will get no more of my money!

Have you had a strange marketing call you’d like to share?


The CMO Outsource

Give a Little to Get a Lot

Helping hand

I think all of us are moved by people we see who commit their lives to giving to others.  Selfless acts of kindness, love, sympathy, camaraderie and generosity can touch an inner part of us and make us pause and think, “I wonder if I had the strength to do that or maybe even the time.”  After all, we are all very busy people, what between work and family there is precious little time for much of anything else.

This isn’t going to be a post dedicated just to acts of kindness, although, according to The Artist Farm in “Warning: Life is Risky and Will Cause Death,” with each passing moment, we are one breath closer to our last breath.  Helpful acts can bring great joy.

Rather, this post is about how giving a small piece of your knowledge to those who could become a client or customer one day can be very smart marketing, and it may just be the right thing to do.

There are a number of sales training courses that will tell you to be cautious of the trap of free consulting, that it’s a lot of fun to show people how much you know, how smart you are, and shouldn’t you really be charging for those great ideas?  I believe there is a fine line between what some people call free consulting and what I call helping people out.

I believe that most entrepreneurs become so because they have a passion for something, whether it’s good food, excellent financial advice or just building a business that can be sold for a huge profit.  There are always opportunities to use this passion to help entities that are having trouble helping themselves, or to give guidance to a protégé who will some day improve on what you have done.  Every time we turn around, if we open our eyes, there are ways we can help and use our talents to make a difference for someone else.

It’s really not that hard, and it doesn’t really need to be a Mother Teresa moment, although she did provide us with a great quote, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”

If you help someone who has a question, and the advice you gave them was valuable, don’t you believe that they will tell a friend, who will tell a friend and so on and so on?  You can’t get much better word-of-mouth advertising.  Better yet, maybe, just maybe they will do the same for someone that needs their talents.

Think about it and give me your thoughts.

David Soxman, Marketing Consultant

Do You Have a Disconnect Between Sales and Marketing?

Road closed sign

I was talking with a business owner the other day at a networking event and when the subject came up about the importance of having a marketing plan to follow, he said, “well isn’t marketing just sales?”

I don’t mean to poke fun at this individual because I strongly believe he is not alone.  I can’t count how many calls I have received that have asked for a marketing person when in reality, they were looking for a sales person.  This distinction between marketing and sales is important to make, particularly in Business-to-Business (B2B) sales, where the buying cycle can be complex and take much longer, particularly on bigger ticket products and services.

Marketing’s objective is multi-faceted: to raise awareness of the company, product or service; to educate the public on the product’s use or value; and to generate qualified leads.  Once the lead information has been captured, regardless of how that took place, it is then handed to sales to negotiate and close the deal, resulting in the transfer of money.  But is this the way it really works?

As we all know, this overly simplified scenario above is not exactly reality, because it doesn’t take into account the quality of the lead.  As the buying cycle of many products and services lengthens, a prospective buyer at a moment in time can be at any number of stages in their process of making a purchase.  Marketing may have captured their lead information, but do they really know at what stage of the buying process the lead is?

Now we move to what I call the disconnect in this process.  So many times, when it is determined by sales that the lead is not ready to purchase now, it is simply discarded as a poor quality lead.  Depending on how the lead information was collected, if the prospect made the effort to provide information, then it could probably be considered a valid lead and therefore should not be discarded.  What should take place in this process is a method for sales, after having discovered the lead is not ready to purchase now, to be able to return the lead to marketing for what we call “nurturing.”

Nurturing a lead through their buying cycle involves a unique set of communications messages.  Hopefully sales was able to determine at what stage the prospect was at: awareness, interest, intent, consideration or comparison.  Based upon this information, a schedule of specific messages can be established to stay in front of the lead and remain in the forefront of their mind, helping them through their buying decision process.  Once marketing can determine that the lead is ready to buy, it can then be shifted back to sales to close, and the circle is completed.

In order for this process to not become too onerous, it is imperative to have in place the proper technology to automate this function to help maintain consistency and to improve tracking and measurement.

I thought the following chart from MarketingSherpa was interesting in how it relates to this topic of lead quality and the challenges all marketers face.

New Chart: Today’s Most Significant Challenges for B2B Marketers to Overcome

Marketing Challenges chart

I would love to know your thoughts on this.