Crafting your ‘different’ message

Last week I touched on how you need to get the word out about your business because no one really cares about your business until you give it meaning. This isn’t the 1800’s where you knew the blacksmith, tailor, farmer, etc…Today’s market landscape is soooo crowded you’re going to have to spend some money to get your message heard.

Today we’re going to talk about crafting that message. 

You’ve finally come to the realization you’re going to have to market your product, service, whatever. Now, what medium to choose? Print, radio, TV, direct mail, social media and the list goes on. It can be quite tricky to figure out what to use. Some business folk will choose to sprinkle their cash in each. DON’T DO THIS UNLESS YOU HAVE A TON OF MONEY TO SPEND. Stick to one medium and test it. Don’t spread yourself too thin using a bunch of mediums. Put all your eggs into one basket, especially when you’re starting out.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which medium you choose, as long as you choose one. Once you’ve chosen the medium, it’s time to start crafting the message.

Your message can only say ONE thing about your business. That’s it, that’s all. Find the core of your message and beat people over the head with it.

For example: Army Commanders will ask themselves, “What is the ONE thing we want to accomplish tomorrow.” This really simplifies the message that they will pass down through the ranks. The message could be, “We will destroy the bridge leading to the castle.” Think about that for second…it doesn’t say how it’s going to happen or bog down the objective in details. If all goes to hell, the men on the ground will know EXACTLY what the objective is.  DESTROY THE BRIDGE!

Police will often use this tactic for undercover missions. “Infiltrate the dealers and find the supplier.” Does the Police Chief care about how it’s done…kind of, but at the end of the day all he/she cares about is finding out who the supplier is.Pretty simple marching orders for those who are going to carry out the undercover operation.

Here’s a way you can find out what your core message is.

Fill in the blanks: My (business) is the ONLY (business category) in (city / town) that (whatever it is your business does).

For example: My hot dog cart is the ONLY street vendor in Charlotte that offers ballpark Frank’s.

From there – you can relentlessly promote and market the fact you have ballpark Frank’s (or whatever you have that other’s don’t). And don’t say, “we have the lowest prices, best customer service and the most experience.” EVERYONE SAYS THAT! I’m sorry, but you will not be cheaper than the Dollar Store or Wal-Mart. If you get into a commodity battle the BIG GUYS WILL DESTROY YOU. Go for the heart and the mind will follow.

If your customer service is better…PROVE IT. If you can’t think of a story about how your customer service representatives went above and beyond with a customer than you don’t have the best customer service. Treating customers with respect and greeting them with a smile is expected. It doesn’t mean you have the best customer service. Now, if it’s raining outside and you walk every customer to their vehicle with an umbrella over their head…then we can talk. Until you can prove it, don’t mention it in your advertising.

Once you’ve picked the medium and figured out your core message, you can start working on your creative. And that’s when the fun starts…

The above isn’t an exact science. It takes time and plenty of thinking to come up with a medium and core message. It’s best to bring in an outsider who will challenge your thinking. As a business owner, you’re too ‘inside the box’ to realize what other’s think about you. If you need help finding a medium and breaking down your core message, shoot me a note at effumarketing@gmail.com

Next week we’ll discuss CREATIVE or how your message will be seen and promoted.

Just because you build it; doesn’t mean they will come

The quote, “build it and they will come” has somehow made its way into a business person’s vernacular. The actual quote is, “build it and HE will come,” and it comes from the movie Field of Dreams based on the book Shoeless Joe. Anyway, where the quote came from is irrelevant as it’s here and it’s some sort of mantra for Mr./Mrs. business person.

Here’s the thing, NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS (except for maybe your friends and family). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Just because you have bricks, mortar and a sign out front, doesn’t mean people know you or care about you. You have to let people know you exist and why you exist.

Think of it this way, just because you walked through the doors of a bar, doesn’t mean you’ll be going home with someone. You have to work for it, you have to let people know you exist. You put on your ‘good’ clothes and do your hair. Maybe you dance a little bit to show ’em what you got. You reach out and let other’s know about you and you’ll most likely have to spend some money.

My dad ran into this whole “build it and they will come” BS when he first opened his shop. He was working out of our basement until he decided to get a brick and mortar place in a decent location. He was extremely talented at what he did, his prices were reasonable and he already had a core group of customers. He was ready to expand and bring in new customers. He thought getting a brick and mortar shop of his own on this busy stretch of street would automatically bring in new customers. It didn’t. He failed to market his shop to give it meaning other than another sign and collection of bricks in an already crowded marketplace. He eventually shut the shop down and returned to the basement. He now works for someone else while dabbling in his craft on evening’s and weekend’s at home.

Think about that for a second – my dad was one of the best, his prices were competitive and he had an existing customer base and yet the shop failed.

Just because you build it; doesn’t mean they will come.

My wife used this line time and time again when she spoke with clients at the ad agency she used to work at. The line shocked people. “Well, I have this great product and this great team and everyone SHOULD know about,” says Mr. Client.

My wife would respond, “How are you getting the word out about this great product, etc…?”

Mr. Client would usually clam up and give some half-ass statement about how he just got reviewed by some website no one has heard of or newspaper no one reads. Or my personal favourite, “I have a Facebook page and Twitter account.”

Congratulations Mr. Client! You’ve just started on the path of overwhelming debt and bankruptcy.

What are you doing with that Facebook page and Twitter account? Do you realize these are for-profit businesses and the only way to reach the amount of people you need to reach in order to run a successful business will cost you money? There are no more freebies when it comes to social media. The social media business model is broken.

Don’t believe me? Read this: http://valleywag.gawker.com/facebook-is-about-to-make-everyone-pay-1547309811

You need to have a marketing strategy

Brick, mortar and a great location no longer cut it (it doesn’t hurt to have these things, but you need to do more). A social media account that you update every other day doesn’t help either.

Why should I go to your business? Why should I spend my money there? Who the fuck are you and what will you help me with?

An apple is just an apple until you give it meaning. It’s a delicious and juicy fruit that will instantly refresh you. Not to mention it’s healthy for you. Until these associations are built in your mind; it’s just a red or green round thing. Your business is the same thing. It’s just bricks, mortar and a sign (or Facebook page). It doesn’t have meaning until you TELL me it has meaning. The only way to TELL me it has meaning is to spend money. When you have figured that out, you can start crafting your message. I’ll touch on that next week.

Until then, remember NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS. It’s a harsh reality, but you need to realize that before you can start making some serious cash.

What are you doing with your life?

You only get one. It’s here and then it’s gone. And yet, you push things off to tomorrow. Or you’ll say, “I’ll do that when the time is right.” You have this idea tomorrow is a given. You go to bed and you know you’re going to wake up the next day.

I know this is true, because these are the thoughts I have on a daily basis. I’m always planning the next day or even my week. I’m saving for retirement, I’m always thinking of tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, planning for tomorrow and retirement is probably a good idea, but forgetting about today, is not.

What are you doing? Are you trying to be better? Are you trying to improve yourself?

You can plan yourself to the grave. What matters is right now.

If you’re like me, you probably have these gut instincts that say, “I should do that.” However, you tuck those things away and save them for later. It’s as if you’re saying to yourself, “I don’t have time for that right now.”

Yet, it’s these thoughts, these instincts that will drive you forward and make your life more fulfilling.

So, “What are you doing with your life?” The key word is, “doing.” Trying and failing is a part of life. Steve Jobs tried and failed numerous times over his life. In baseball you can fail 7/10 times and still be considered great. You have to understood failure is a part of the process. And this is key:

IT’S NOT A FAILURE IF YOU LEARNED SOMETHING

If you want to ride a bike, you need to go out and DO it. You can read all the manuals and watch all the tutorials on YouTube, but you won’t get anywhere until you hop on that bike and start peddling. And you’ll fail. You’ll fall, you’ll scrape your knees, you may run into a tree, but you’ll learn from that. Eventually you’ll be riding hands-free down the road while whistling at cute girls as they pass by.

You have it within yourself to do what your gut is saying. Listen to your gut, don’t tuck away the things it is saying. Start making a difference in your life. Start failing and start doing it now.

– Jordan

Ps. Wonder what I’m doing? Well, aside from writing this, I read a TON and take what I’ve learned and apply it to my day job as a marketing consultant in the radio industry. Some things work, some don’t, but I always test things out. I also try to connect with like-minded individuals who are trying and failing on a daily basis. If you’d like to connect with me – feel free to do so at www.twitter.com/formerly_jr.

What if you weren’t afraid?

I was reading a story on LinkedIn Pulse the other day and it inspired me to write this post. One of the founders of Angie’s List had quite the dilemma when he finished school. Stay close to family and look for a job or move far away to Columbus, Ohio  where he was offered a one-year gig with a little known start-up with little pay. After all, it was a job, but the uncertainty and fear paralysed him until his father said, “What if you weren’t afraid?”

After that, his thought process completely changed and he moved to Columbus to help start Angie’s List, which has been in business for 18 years (The company is currently under scrutiny after never turning a profit in those 18 years, but I digress).

What if you weren’t afraid?

I’m a HUGE fan of Johnny Cash and Eminem. A bit odd seeing them side by side on paper, but they both were/are fearless. That wasn’t always the case (and probably still isn’t), but they both managed to plough through fear and continue to do so.

In Eminem’s case – he wanted to be a rapper. As a white boy growing up in one of the toughest areas of Detroit trying to get involved in a scene predominately dominated by a different race, most thought he was crazy. He was ridiculed relentlessly, but he didn’t stop. Can you imagine the paralysing fear he must have faced day in and day out?

To this day – he still battles fear as all of us do. Most recently he released a song apologizing to his mother.

This after a couple decades of slamming her in his music and in the public. He also has pledged to never perform “Cleaning Out My Closest” in concert. A song in which he tears his mother and father a new one.

Eminem has grown not only as an artist, but as a person. He’s ready to admit his mistakes to the world. He’s also more than willing to let you in to his life; the good and the bad. Can you imagine releasing your diary to the world to the scale Eminem has? Think about it. Does it scare the shit out of you? Hell, my palms are sweating just thinking about it. But, what if you weren’t afraid?

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash always wanted to be a singer, but he was conflicted because his father never had faith in him to pursue such a career. For ages, Johnny wanted to please his father.

After high school, instead of hitting the road as a musician he decided to join the Air Force, in hopes of pleasing his dad. In this time away from home, his passion for music grew even more. He’d play with the guys overseas and come back home hoping his father would be proud of him not only for his service to the country, but for his music as well.

Again, his father gave him nothing. Johnny was afraid his father would never respect him. However, Johnny kept moving forward and continued to dabble in music until he finally drew up the courage to pop in to Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee (where he lived at the time) hoping to get a recording contract. He failed on multiple occasions, until he won over the producer with a couple rock’a’billy tunes “Hey Porter” and “Cry! Cry! Cry!” As we now know, this was only the beginning.

What if Johnny was crippled by his father’s criticism? What if Johnny never left his home in Arkansas to try and break into the music scene in Memphis? What if he never walked into Sun Records? What if Johnny left fear get the best of him?

You will be afraid

In life and in business, you WILL be afraid. There is no doubt. Whether it’s starting up your own businesses or deciding to switch job titles within your current company. There will always be an element of fear.

Ask yourself – what if you weren’t afraid? What would you do? How would you see the challenge in front of you?

By flipping fear on it’s head, you begin to see a new path. A path to innovation and change. Try it right now. Think of a challenge you are currently faced with. Now, what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

If you’re interested in discussion your fears – email me at effumarketing@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Or maybe you’re too afraid to let me know your fears…

– Jordan

Mining for Followers and Facebook Fraud

For the past month I’ve been doing some digging while trying to build my digital network contacts. And what I’ve found is emptiness. I started by searching for ‘interesting’ people on Twitter. People in the tech category or places I’d like to work for in the future. While doing this, I’d follow people based on their feed. I’d visit their blog / website and get to know a little bit more about them and / or their business. I wanted to show my general interest in them. I DM’d the few that followed back and mentioned something I found on their blog / website that piqued my interest. What did I get? No response.

It was then obvious to me that some people are only interested in seeing their Twitter followers grow. They could careless about engaging with their followers. What’s also funny, is the people who didn’t respond were generally those who had the same amount of followers as people they followed. They obviously scoured the Twitterverse and started following as many people as they could in the hope people would follow back.

Those people aren’t for me. I’d rather have quality followers over quantity. I know when I tweet my followers will read what I tweeted because they trust what I’m posting will be of interest to them. That’s the whole point of Twitter on a peer-to-peer basis.

What I also found and continue to find is people who follow me don’t engage with me. I check out their stuff, follow them and DM them asking them what made them follow me. Were they interested in my content? Or were they only ‘mining’ for followers? Again, I get no response, so I unfollow them.

Like any social platoform out there. It’s about QUALITY not QUANTITY. If your business has 10,000 followers on Twitter and 50,000 ‘likes’ on your Facebook fan page, but you haven’t seen your profits grow, maybe you should double-check your social media strategy. Come to think of it? Do you even have a social media strategy?

On that note – check out the ‘Facebook Fraud’ video below. It may explain why you have sooo many ‘likes’, yet haven’t sold a damn thing through Facebook.

By the way – you can follow me on Twitter here