Saturday, January 23, 2016

5 Questions You Need to Ask About Your Business Today.

While most of the Northeast is being bombarded with snow, Marie and I were fortunate enough to plan a three-day sojourn to Puerto Rico about 2 months ago, never realizing that we would be missing the snow storm of the century.  With more than 25 inches of snow already having already fallen, we are hoping that our flight will be canceled.

Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy and if we wanted to stay longer we should have planned it. Alas, we did not plan for that and will be on a plane tomorrow in the late afternoon or maybe it will get delayed. I suspect the latter.

But where does that leave us.  It leaves us with asking some important questions about our business and our plan.

Here are 5 questions to find out if we are planning to do work that matters.
  1. What are you doing that is difficult vs hoping someone will give you an easy solution?
  2. What do people say when they talk about your center?  How much time have you spent today building your brand?  Does anyone care about your  business as much as you do?  And if not, why not
  3. What are you trying to change and who are you changing it for. Often, I speak with operators who love the idea we suggested, but freely admit that it may be difficult to control.  If control is your mission and not trying to offer more valuable products to your customers and prospects, then why don't you have a job as an auditor somewhere else where you can check and control other people's work as opposed to doing the hard work necessary to be the best?
  4. Can you visualize what that change would be, really see it in your mind's eye and be able to translate your vision to your staff so they can see what the goal is supposed to be?
  5. If you stopped delivering your product, would anybody miss it or would they just pick up and go somewhere else?  I'm really asking: Is your product and service combination remarkable, unmistakably different and would it be missed terribly by the people who already patronize your business?
Please answer these questions, if you can, and if you cannot then it certainly is a symptom of other issues; issues that you may not recognize right now, but issues that, over time. will most likely impact your business. 

As Larry, the Cable Guy, says: "Get 'Er Done."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What You May Be Hiding.

Your prospects are hiding in plain sight from you. Even your customers are hiding from you. Know why? Maybe it is because you have not fully committed yourself to the gathering, managing, marketing, and re marketing to people who like your product.

Instead, you are sending out Facebook posts and email posts as if you expected everyone to buy your "sale" item.

Ever wonder how many people open your digital communications? Ever wonder how many people click over to your landing page (What's a landing page, you may ask?. we'll answer that in a minute)

The reality is, if I can be so bold this brisk  morning, you may be subconsciously hiding from taking responsibility for the necessary marketing changes you must make because:  you don't get it; there's nobody to do it and you need reassurance on how to do it.  All viable answers...but not rationale.

You built a business, sweated you're "you know what off" and now you could be avoiding things that you don't have to fear anymore

So don’t avoid it.
Come out of hiding to find those customers and prospects

And  look in the hiding places. There right there in plain sight.

p.s. A landing page is a page that the customer lands on after he clicks a link in your email that specifically relates to the topic you are discussing. It doesn’t just take him/her to your website; it takes them to the specific topic

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Every Story Can Tell And Sell

A reader writes about mt last blog pertaining to telling a story. Here's what he had to say: 

"Wow Fred. Like you suggested, I put out a Facebook post today telling a story for the first time.  I have always done what most people have done just post basically ads of specials and deals.  With the story type, I have twice as many shares and likes as usual."

Nick, Cedar Lanes, Weed, CA

It's not unusual. People respond to stories because they are hard-wired for it. Every great movie or play has three acts. In fact, the very first stories our parents told us were nursery rhymes that started with "once upon a time," which set the stage for the story, introduced the main characters and began to establish the "tensions", which was the basis for the story. 

In Act II, the tension built and one or all of the main characters was in danger or was feeling very conflicted or hatched a plot to take advantage of another character. (The twists on this basic theme are almost infinite. Just pick up any compendium of short stories and see for yourself.)

In Act III, the hero came to the rescue or a situation was created where the characters in danger were rescued.

Now, can you tell a story about bowling like that?  Simply paint a picture of your product about what they are feeling and then translate it into words.

How about this short nursery rhyme you could send your target audience; adding a lot more specifics, of course :-)

Once upon a time, there was a family named Jones.  Ms. Jones was a single Mom and her two children, Jimmy and Jenny were 8years old and 6 years old respectively.  Both went to the same elementary school, and having to drop off both children at the same school was so very convenient for her, which made MS Jones life a bit easier. After all, her position as an Advertising Executive at BIG CITY Digital Marketing Inc. was stressful enough. 

One day Jimmy and Jenny came home from school and told Ms. Jones that they were going to be off tomorrow and that school was closed for a "Teacher Review Day."  Looking at her schedule, Ms. Jones saw that she had a very light work day calendar and decided that she would take the day off and spend some time with her children; something she did way too rarely.

She began to think of her options. "We could go to the mall", she thought, "but the kids would get bored too soon".  "How about a movie?" she said out loud. "No", she said, "we wouldn't be able to talk at all and I want to spend time with them and talk, not just stare at a movie. They do too much of that already," she said to herself.

Just then Jenny came in and said, "I know Mom, let's go bowling. My friend, Sarah, and her folks are going to the bowling center in Middleville. Let's meet them there."  Ms. Jones, wide-eyed, said, "Bowling?  I haven't been bowling in years and the last time I went, well..." as her voice trailed off.

"No Mom", said Jenny, "this place is cool. Come on, let's go."

So off went the Jones' family to meet Sarah's family at Middleville Bowling Center and boy was Ms, Jones surprised when she opened the front door of the bowling center.  Bright new carpet, lighting, welcoming hosts - who even helped her figure out the automatic scorers - clean restrooms, bowling balls that fit and food that was just oh so tasty.  She didn't expect this at all!!! Even the music was crisp and clear and age appropriate.  Best of all, she watched as her kids and their friends just laughed and laughed and had a wonderful time.

The best news was that when it came time to pay, it was a whole lot less than she expected and as she walked out the door with each kid in hand, she said to herself, "now that was a great value. I am going to do that again with them.  Maybe even have Jimmy's next birthday party there."  

"Totally great time, eh kids?", she said to her two children, who just smiled, squeezed her hand in agreement and gave her big hugs.

It was a great day and, and that night as Ms. Jones lay her head on the pillow to go to sleep, she said, "Thank you Middleville Bowl.  It was a great time with my kids. I almost forgot how much fun bowling could be."

Now if you wrote a story like this, albeit in a much-shortened version, don't you think your readers would relate to it more, especially if you sent this email to all the women in your database between 25 and 44.

Give it a try and tell a story that sells - without selling - and don't forget to add a coupon at the end as well to spur their interest to take action.

The End.