Category Archives: Social Media

Marketing ROI: Is It All About The Low Hanging Fruit?

“I want the marketing dollars I spend to have an immediate impact.  I need to be able to see sales go up within the first thirty days or I’m unlikely to continue with it.”

“I’ve never been able to see how using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or blogging can increase the leads I receive.”

“Is there any way to get my phone to ring more?”

“I’m really only interested in going after the low hanging fruit, something that will pay for my efforts right away.  After that, I’ll figure something else out.”

We live in a world of instant gratification.  We learn to move on quickly if we’re not immediately entertained.  Wall Street demands quarterly results. If something takes too long, it’s just not worth it.

I have been accused at times of quoting Seth Godin too much.  I don’t really mean to other than I am a regular reader and I truly believe he is one of the innovative thinkers of our time.  So, please forgive my idolatry.

In “Driveby Culture and the Endless Search for Wow,” Seth poses the question of whether as marketers we should be focused on getting and measuring the number of eyeballs that view our content or whether we should be concerned about those people who have a true interest, who want to listen, who may actually become long-term customers.

I’ve always tried to emphasize to business owners that what ever marketing efforts are made, it is ultimately about sales and profits, otherwise why expend the energy?  And, I am also a proponent of prioritizing efforts so that at least you can garner the “low hanging fruit,” so you can see some immediate results.  But, I am also quick to point out that many other marketing efforts, especially those where you are trying to build a dialog, a relationship with people who can help spread your brand, people who will be your proponents, will definitely take time and patience. Sometimes a Return on Investment or ROI is not measured short-term in more leads or calls.

Do you agree?

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?

You’re Regulated – Control Your Social Marketing!


We are now several years into the maturity of social media as an accepted form of marketing as evidenced by Shawn Kincaid’s post regarding Twitter becoming mainstream.  Many other articles have been written about the dangers to your business of refusing to hop on the social bandwagon, including one I posted.

As marketers we know that one of the most powerful aspects of social media is the two-way conversation that takes place, the ability to “listen” to what is being said about you, your brand and your products.  Never before have companies been in such an enviable position of being able to directly respond to comments made about them.  But, with this power comes the cost of losing control over your brand and marketing, something many have real problems with.

This is especially true in industries that are heavily regulated, such as financial, municipal and as Brian Morrissey writes, pharmaceutical.  I have spoken with many business owners and business developers from these industries that face similar concerns about social media and how they can engage without getting themselves and their company in a lot of trouble.  I don’t mean to say that their concerns are unjustified, and I would strongly recommend hiring knowledgeable legal resources who understand these ramifications.  As Brian states, the penalty for a social misstep can even go so far as to having your key product or your professional license removed from the marketplace!

As such, since these industries must maintain a firm control over their social interaction, even to the point of hiding their involvement, they end up being on the sidelines watching the rest of the marketing world heading forward at warp speed and leaving them behind.  Their marketing is stuck in a serious auto-pilot.

What this tells me is that our regulators, the ones trying so hard to protect us, are seriously out of touch with reality.  The kinds of restrictions placed on financial, governmental and pharmaceutical companies, and their ability to stay current in their marketing, is stuck in the 20th century.

As we all know from the many stories of celebrities getting into trouble, what takes place on the Internet is so transparent that it would appear the perfect place to allow the kinds of open dialog that is the essence of social media.  Would it not be acceptable for regulated industries to have that same level of transparency and be able to enter into constructive dialog with their customers?  I think the phrase is “trust but verify.”

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Leave Them Wanting More: 5 Steps to Making Sure They Come Back


In my varied past, I spent some time on stage as a professional opera singer, a wonderful and enriching experience.  One thing I learned was that during the curtain call when there was applause (assuming you got applause), you never wanted to let the applause die down before leaving the stage.  Really it was ideal to leave when the applause reached its apex and therefore leave the audience wanting more of you.  They were never quite satisfied and probably would be talking about you for some time after leaving the show.  It’s the same reason that no matter how hard you scream for an encore, you never get to hear that one more song.

You may wonder how this relates to an effort to market and promote your business.

Let’s make sure that we’re not confusing what someone wants with what someone needs.  If you start to leave people needing more, than your product or service is not providing what is necessary to sustain the consuming experience and it is likely that you will lose that customer.  Meeting the market’s needs is fundamental to having a product or service that is worth anything at all.

What I’m emphasizing here are wants.  A fundamental rule learned in every Economics 101 course is, “Man has insatiable wants and desires.”  The statement didn’t say insatiable needs.  Every human on earth has basic needs: we need to eat, we need to work, we need adequate health care, we need shelter, we need clothing, etc. Meet the needs and you’ll be okay, but probably not hugely successful, nor will you likely be able to sustain much growth.

What is imperative is that you are able to find how you can leave your customers or clients “wanting” more.  And this really begins with their initial exposure to you, say through your website, and goes clear through the lifecycle of that consuming experience.  Seth Godin in “Embracing Lifetime Value” reiterates how important it is for you to be able to quantify the value of that lifetime experience in order to understand what resources need to go into the relationship. You can then keep them coming back for more.

So, how do you make sure that your customers or clients leave with what they need but leave definitely wanting more?

  1. Make sure your website landing page tells them exactly what they need to know, no more. I believe that it is imperative to give enough information to fulfill the promise of the ad or email that drove them to your site’s landing page, but there is no reason to go beyond that.  If they need more information, provide an easy means for them to contact you so you can enter into a direct dialog, either by phone or chat, which as most salespersons will tell you, is how you can overcome objections and secure the sale.
  2. Try to invite questions that will cause them to engage with your site, with your brand or with you by picking up the phone. The key to consumer loyalty is the ability for them to directly engage in your brand.  Many marketers profess that companies no longer really have control over their brand with the new social media tools. You may as well accept this fact and make it as easy as possible, plus it will help you learn about what your customer needs or maybe even wants.
  3. Regularly add new, relevant content to your website so people will want to come back and see what’s new. This seems so obvious but I can’t tell you how many business owners build a really nice website and then never touch it for months and months.  Not a good idea.  Fresh content will also help improve search results.
  4. Make sure you are enhancing or adding features to your product or service, something your competition isn’t. This also seems obvious but it’s easy to become somewhat complacent as you start to have some success and forget about what improvements could be made to what you offer.  Always be innovating. 
  5. Constantly tell them how much you appreciate their business. Everyone loves to be appreciated and I believe this is rapidly becoming a lost art.  Loyalty comes by making sure to say “thank you.” Reward loyalty through offers that entice them to come back.  Make it lucrative for them to refer you to their network of contacts. 

Leave them needing more and you’ll lose them.  Leave them wanting more and they’ll come back.

Let me know your thoughts.

Where’s Your Passion?


In a recent meeting with an entrepreneur where we were talking about online marketing activities and building his business, I asked the question, “What are you passionate about?”

His answer…”Wow, let me think about that, that’s a great question.”

Besides the obvious ones of his wife, his child, his extended family, his friends, his favorite sports team, or his church, my question to this entrepreneur really caused him to pause and think.

The word passion can have so many meanings but let’s take the definitions that really apply here:

  1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate
  2. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything (i.e. a passion for music).

What led to this question was a discussion about whether online marketing had much of an application for his business.  As a group of highly educated professionals performing financial services, most if not all of their clientele come to them as a result of a referral.  Word of mouth was their key marketing strategy and there really wasn’t much of a need for him to put any real effort into improving his online visibility or reputation.  Blogging, social networks, search visibility are all good things, just for other people, not him.

You may be asking, David, what was his answer, what was he passionate about?

After some thought he said that he was passionate about helping people, and helping them to be more financially independent, so they can do what they really love to do, whatever that is, without worrying about money.

My next question was, “Do you like to write?” He said he does and that it has been a goal of his for some time to write a book.  Well, a book is a pretty big undertaking and maybe he could break that down into smaller pieces by writing short snippets, ideas that will help people or….a blog.

I did actually see a light bulb appear over his head.  He got it. A good friend of his had tried to convince him he needed to blog but had not explained it in exactly this way.

Write about what you’re really passionate about, not because it’s a great way to market yourself (even though it is) but just because you love to help people.  He left the meeting with much to think about.

In this world, those people who find their passion, what they really love, will be the ones that tell you that their work never really seems like work; that their success has been because they immerse themselves so completely in what they love and hence become very good at it.

Engaging in this phenomenon called social media requires time, effort and then some more time if you wish it to be successful.  Having a passion for what you are blogging, tweeting, friending, responding to will help you to stick with it.  Because, there are very few overnight wonders in social media.  Mostly there are people who have a passion for what they do and have been engaged long enough to start to see the great positive results that can be achieved.

What are you passionate about?

I’d love to know.