Tag Archives: Social Media

You’re Really Not Ready for Social Media, Are You?

The social media pig

There’s an old saying in the opera business, “Never teach a pig to sing because it will frustrate you and irritate the pig!”

I bring this up as I recently had the pleasure of talking with a company that provides professional services, specifically architecture, which has enjoyed a long history of providing innovative, functional designs and building planning for their clients.  They have enjoyed the luxury of great word of mouth referrals that have meant a continuing stream of business, which has fueled growth and provided good salaries for many employees.

This firm is now at a crossroads.  There is a concern that there are many opportunities, for which they are well qualified, that they are simply not hearing about.  There are deals happening that they aren’t aware of until an RFP goes out and they’re in the situation of bidding for low profit work, and as we all know, you can starve to death answering RFP’s.  They are significantly more successful when they can get involved in the early stages of planning, to be able to influence design and staging decisions in their favor.  What’s more, their pool of referred leads from existing clients is either not providing a sufficient number of high quality leads or that well may be starting to dry up.

Into this situation I introduce their website that is some number of years old, is primarily a static online brochure, is hard to navigate within and doesn’t provide easy ways to capture leads nor to encourage any visitor interaction.  Any efforts at search optimization are minimal at best.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In preparation for meeting with this firm, I was curious to see what kind of conversations from the architectural industry existed in the blogosphere.  Having looked at a number of aggregator sites, and doing some simple keyword search, I was able to conclude that there are ample opportunities for this firm to begin to become engaged in a dialog about their industry and for which they have a passion.  There are questions being raised and design theories being discussed that would enable this firm to present themselves as not only experts, but also as concerned professionals in the advancement of their art.

My biggest mistake was to use the words, social media.  The immediate response was, “Well, we’re not big believers in Twitter and Facebook, we just don’t see how those apply to our clients, what’s more, those involve so much time that the payoff is hardly worth the effort.”  It didn’t surprise me to then hear that the principals of the firm thought their website was just fine, that it was not really all that important and no money needed to be spent there.

I had one of two choices: try to teach the pig to sing or simply walk away.  I chose the latter.

I have found an interesting series of seven B2B case studies put into a well organized ebook by the good folks at MarketSherpa and available at Hubspot.  If you go to page 56 of this ebook, you’ll find a case study of a professional services firm, an accounting firm, who used social media and SEO to build a lead generation machine that drove direct sales.  In fact, they saw their website traffic increase by 68% and generate 10 to 15 leads per month!  The old website generated no leads at all.

You can choose to ignore what is happening in marketing right now.  You can say that it’s just not for you, and maybe it’s not.  But if there is a conversation taking place out there in your industry, and you’re not part of it, then you’ve lost a big chance to stand out.  You’ve also probably missed a great opportunity to grow your business.

Well, are you ready?

All my best,


The CMO Outsource

If I Only Had 24 Hours, I Would……….

As the spring has now quietly melded into the summer months, many familiar things begin to happen, not the least of which is the appearance of the fireflies or lightning bugs as they are sometimes referred to.  As dusk settles in, these lowly creatures begin their mating journey, coming up out of the grass and immediately signaling their arrival with that yellowish-green pulse of light.  It almost seems as if they are working in concert, as there are so many flying up from the ground and in synchronous tempo, they flash together.  It is sad to know that the male of this species has but 24 hours to find a suitable mate in order to procreate. Talk about motivation!

It is also true with the near perfect hibiscus flower.  This flower is truly one of the most spectacular and perfectly formed flowers with vibrant colors, large pedals and prominent pistil and stamen.  It is a joy to see these large, beautiful blooms, but sadly, as soon as the sun goes down, the blooms of the day fold up and are through, never to open again.  Just one day to show their glory.

What would you do if you knew you only had one day, 24 hours to impress the world.  How would you catch the eye of your prospective customer?  What lasting impression would you leave that would make you unforgettable?  How would you want them to remember you?

Many times when you reach out with your marketing communications, you have one shot, just one chance to leave a lasting impression.  What may seem unimportant or trivial may have a significant impact.  An employee saying the wrong thing or writing a disparaging remark on the wall of their Facebook page could cause unforeseen problems and is all the more reason to have established social guidelines for your employees.

If you had 24 hours, how would you use your special skills to change the world?

If you always have the frame of mind that you get but one chance with a prospective customer, the way you market your company will take on a new importance, it can be an opportunity to have an impact on a life, and be the chance to show your glory.

I’d love to know your thoughts.


The CMO Outsource

Why Blog?

I get asked this question from many business owners who are contemplating stepping into the social media waters.  How is the investment of time and energy going to turn into more business?

It is important to ask how you can measure a return on the investment because if as a business owner you simply don’t have time to consistently contribute valuable articles to a blog, you will surely need to hire someone to help you.

Here is the answer I give.

First, blogging will not produce an overnight success; it will take time, probably even months of time.

Secondly, you need to have specific goals you want to accomplish.

Thirdly, you should research to see if there are conversations taking place out in social media that pertain to what you do, your skills, your industry, your competition, your passion.  If you find that conversations are taking place, then you must become part of the dialog or you risk being left out.

Blogging enables you to help people who have questions or problems that you can address.  Once you’ve entered the dialog, it is imperative that you are genuine.  Ideally, you become an expert in your readers’ minds and that converts into trust, which as we all know, is the key to making the purchasing decision.

Like any other marketing effort you make, and blogging is just a part of your overall marketing plan, you must measure to see if you are achieving the kinds of results you set out in the beginning.  Tools are available that will give you eyes into what is happening.  Are you getting comments?  Are you having conversations?

Jeff Bulla has conducted an interesting survey on blogging in his article “11 Reasons Why People Blog.” It is very eye opening.

If you have questions or are unsure about whether blogging makes sense for you, drop me a line.


The CMO Outsource

Marketing Communications: Why Is Everybody Always Yelling At Me?

man with megaphone yelling

There they were, two kids standing toe to toe and nose to nose, with faces beet red, cheeks puffed out, sweat dripping from their forehead, fists clenched to their side, and even though they weren’t more than a few inches from each other, their voices were raised in a mutual fortissimo that could be heard a block away.  The idea, of course: Speak louder than the other guy and win the argument.  This scene is a very funny thing to watch because as we all know, it just doesn’t work.  A whole lot of time and energy gets wasted.  Sound familiar?

I talk with business owners who are just getting into the “social media” game and of course they will ask my opinion on what they’ve done.  Many get caught in the trap of not being able to step outside of the mindset that social media tools should be used for promoting the business, to help people understand what it is about their company that is better than anything else out there.  And this extends beyond just social media to most other forms of communication.  Websites, billboards, brochures, television spots, email all are used as just another method of repeating their marketing message only louder, more often, to more people and oh yea, did I say LOUDER.  It is very hard to break old habits but it’s an absolute necessity.

We are yelled at all day, from so many sources, all standing about two inches from us trying as hard as possible to get our attention by yelling louder than anyone else, yet the effectiveness of this diminishes with each passing day.  As a species, we are developing greater capabilities for ignoring the noise.

As Seth Godin says, “The goal shouldn’t be to have a lot of people to yell at, the goal probably should be to have a lot of people who choose to listen.

Here are some ideas that might be different:

  • Instead of telling someone about your product or service, ask them what they need or what is on their mind
  • Use Twitter, Facebook, your blog, your website, email, etc. to start a conversation
  • Stop promoting yourself
  • Invite comments, even if they disagree
  • Let people understand what it is about YOU that they might find interesting or be able to relate with
  • Build trust
  • Tell what is happening in your industry and what is your take on it
  • Mention interesting books, blogs or articles that you have read
  • Strive to give more than you get

What are your thoughts or what might you add to this list?

An Argument for Spamming


I recently read an article written by Todd Natenberg, who owns a company called TBN Sales Solutions.  It was in the local Kansas City newspaper in the business section but what caught my eye was the article’s title “In Defense of E-mail Spam.”  Having written a post recently about your online email reputation and how spam can all but destroy it, I naturally was very interested in what Todd had to say.

He believes that the concept of “opting-in” to receive future email solicitations is a flawed system as there are people that will opt-in who are not good candidates and there are those who do not opt-in that may very likely purchase your product in the future.  Situations change and therefore the statement of not “opting-in” now may not be valid later.  He says, “No business wants to merely send out an email. The goal is to have that email lead to action in the form of purchasing of services (or products).”  He raises a valid point that small businesses, who are the foundation of our economy, cannot afford the massive advertising expense to get the word out that they exist, and if you have “no call” lists and anti-spam laws, that you have severely hindered small businesses’ capability to market themselves.  They must have the ability to do economical email marketing.

Todd raises good points but here is where I believe his theory isn’t relevant anymore.  The traditional forms of blasting out a message to the masses, regardless of whether it is radio, TV, magazines, or …email, is rapidly losing its effectiveness.  Saying your message over and over, or louder and louder, hoping to find someone who might be interested only irritates and doesn’t promote the building of a relationship.  Seth Godin talks of this in his blog entitled “Bullhorns are Overrated,” where he says it’s probably better to find many people who choose to listen. Asking someone whether they would like to hear from you via email and how often they would like information is one of the best ways of building goodwill and lasting loyalty.  This is why the social media pilgrimage has built to such a crescendo.

One other thing I believe Todd omitted.  I don’t think we can fully comprehend the physical load on email server hardware if we were to “open the faucet” to unabated email solicitations.  The shear volume of “spam” could task these resources to their limit, forcing providers, companies, etc to make investments in additional hardware, the costs of which would ultimately be passed on to you and me as consumers.

What do you think?