Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Social Media Marketing

Just about every business function including networking, marketing, advertising, reputation-building, hiring, researching and even socializing that we businesses owners cut our teeth on in the “real-world” are now shifting – faster every day – to the virtual world.

Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In weren’t even around 10 years ago, yet look how these social media marketing companies have changed the business climate. (click graphic to open and enlarge in new window)

small business social media marketing

Social Media Marketing - courtesy of Crowdspring.com

Social Media Marketing specifics

As a local business owner, of particular interest to me is the ease in which we can identify with our customers. Take for instance Facebook. With Facebook a business can set up a company page where members of the company can interact personally with their customers.
Social media marketing works both ways. It also gives the customer a voice and it is an excellent way to interact with companies before or after they do business. Not to mention a customer is able to associate with fellow customers.

Social Media Marketing for small business

Now you might think that setting up and running a fan page or focusing on social media marketing as a whole is reserved for big business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Creating fan pages and connecting with your clients using Facebook and other social media marketing tools such as using Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, and Google Places, is excellent for even the smallest business. I look at social media marketing as the “Great Equalizer” for small business because it is a cheap or even free way to get exposure that only big businesses could afford in the past.

Social media marketing strategy

Like every business strategy, the first step in developing your social media marketing presence is to create a plan, and that starts with strategic differentiation followed by goals, and finally outlining the tactical plan itself.  Here is a quick mind map of social media marketing networks and easily-achievable goals.

Mindmap of social media marketing plan

Social Media Marketing Plan - click to open

After you’ve created your plan, I’ve found it easier to use automation tools, such as Hootsuite and Ping.FM, to leverage your message to the masses.

In conclusion, social media marketing is especially useful to small business to connect with prospects and clients as well as to gain exposure in your marketplace.

Scott

How to screen capture

How to screen capture with Jing freeware

How to screen capture using Jing

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to screen capture, either using full-motion video or still. For short videos I use a freeware video capture program called Jing that copies whatever you are viewing on your computer screen, as well as audio. Let’s go over some uses for Jing:

  1. Marketing
  2. Troubleshooting
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Training
  5. Collaboration
  6. Sharing information with family or friends

…and many other uses.

I use Jing mostly for marketing and training; however, it’s great whenever you need to do a quick video. Recently I had a software issue and I simply cut a 30 second video with Jing and uploaded it to screencast.com to show a software tech exactly the problem I was having. He watched the video and diagnosed the problem very quickly. Many times it’s much easier and more effective to show rather than explain via email.

Here are some limitations you need to keep in mind with using the free version of Jing:

  • You are allotted 2 GB of cloud space on screencast.com. Screencast.com is the website where your videos are automatically saved to after you click the Share button in Jing. (the share button looks like a trident) If you plan on archiving your videos after their useful life is done, it’s best to copy them to your hard drive and delete from screencast.com.
  • WARNING! Deleting a video from screencast.com will cause the link that you shared of that particular video to be permanently broken, so only delete off screencast.com when you’re sure the video’s useful life is complete. Remember, you only have 2GB of cloud space so use it wisely.
  • If you’re going to do a lot of videos, or videos that require a longer shelf life, it’s a good idea to save the video on your own hosted account, YouTube, or some other permanent location and share that link instead so that the link may be used over and over again. Remmeber my warning above! Once a video is deleted from screencast.com, any links you shared will no longer be useable.
  • Each video may be no longer 5 minutes.
  • Use a high quality USB headset with mic, if possible.

How to install Jing screen capture freeware

Alright, so now we know what Jing is, let’s put it into use. First, we need to download and install it. Here’s a short video on how to do just that. By the way, I used Jing to make this video – but YouTube does not allow .swf uploads so I had to convert to .mp4 first using Camtasia Studio – also from Techsmith.

After installation, using it is a snap. Just follow the directions below.

How to screen capture with Jing

I’ll let the video do the talking :)

So there you have it – how to screen capture using a freeware screen capture program called Jing. I think you can figure out the still capture part of it, but if not drop me a note and I’ll do a short tutorial on that function as well.

Yours in profits,

Scott
The Big Banana of Business

Hiring great employees is easier with a mindmap

Hiring great employees (I call them “Team Members”) is one of the hardest parts of the job that we business owners face. Every employee in your company is a representative and reflection of your business – good or bad. Therefore it’s critical to do your due diligence and ensure the people you hire are cut from the same moral and ethical fabric as you and your company.

Hiring great employees with an easy system

Most business owners I have met who do the “tail chase shuffle”, meaning they hire someone, train them, and fire them (or the Team Member quits soon after), hire and train by the seat of their pants – and it almost never works out. I’ve had my share of bad Team Members throughout the years also; but I cut way back on bad hires by following a systematized way of hiring about 6 years ago.

image of hiring great employees mindmap

Click to launch Hiring Process Mindmap

What you see above is a Mindmap, which is a list of topics and subtopics. Notes and links are intertwined throughout the Mindmap to provide discernible flow to the process. Personally, I prefer to use Mindmaps over static/linear documents (such as a Word document) as much as possible because Mindmaps work like the brain thinks. As you think of something you don’t have to reorder the topic, unless it makes more sense. You just plop it into the most relevant category and move on.

What is a Mindmap?

With a Word Document your thought is forced into linear mode – meaning top-to-bottom, left-to-right… like reading a book. Not so with Mindmaps. I’ve taught classes on marketing using Mindmaps and for many students who haven’t used them before it’s a real “A-HA!” moment. I’ve been using Mindmaps for 6 years now and don’t know what I’d do without them. They provide a quick graphic representation of ideas, thought, and flow vs ordinary note taking or writing. I digress – back to hiring…

Since using the orderly and systematized approach above, hiring great employees is now easier and my long-term hire rate (meaning 1 year or more) is now at 92% success rate vs 66% before creating the whole system. Give it a try on your next hire and see if you like it.

For those interested in Mindmaps, I use Mindmanager 9 for Windows by Mindjet; however you can find free Mindmap software online as well, like Freemind and Bubbl.Us

Happy hiring great employees!
Scott – The Big Banana of Business
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Dude, stop sending junk email

Stop Sending Junk Email

I live in a pretty small and tight-knit community and for the most part the junk email spam that I get (easily 50+ a day) is not from my local community. Once in a while I get added to a local community interest list without my knowledge (like a Chamber of Commerce sub-list), which I’m usually ok with; but five times now in the last 2 weeks I’ve been added to an individual local business mailing list without my permission.

In another recent incident my email address got added to a mailing list without my permission where the local business owner didn’t use Blind Carbon Copy (BCC:) when he sent his message. Everyone he mailed to (probably a couple hundred people) now had their email address exposed to unknown quantities of malcontent marketers. The reply to all responses were full of terse words cast upon the spammer. It was not pretty.

Now I’m sure you already know that sending unsolicited email is a big no-no for honest business owners – especially for local firms because word travels at light speed when it’s close to home. But if you’ve lived under a rock for the past decade, now you know. Stop sending junk email. It’s not only annoying, it’s an invasion of privacy and a waste of your marketing time – unless you’re ok with making one sale every 12.5 million emails sent.

Yesterday’s email took the cake. Once every few days I check my junk mail folder to see if I mistakenly overlooked anything important. And there it was – an unsolicited message from a local health care insurance salesman. Here’s what it looked like. (contact info redacted to protect the guilty)

junk email is a waste of time, energy, and resourcesAt first I was annoyed that this local guy spammed me, but after I pulled it from my junk mail folder and read it I decided it would be fun to pick it apart piece-by-piece and critique his poor marketing etiquette.

1) I was added to his list without my authorization. Now it’s quite possible that he got my name from the local Chamber of Commerce list or local business directory. Our company is well-known locally, and my last name is part of the business name so it would be easy to put 1 and 1 together.

The problem was that he arbitrarily added me to his list without asking me. That’s bad for him, too. He has no idea if I’m a good prospect. Had he bothered to pick up the phone and called me, or sent me a postcard, or even introduced himself at a business event – at least I wouldn’t automatically disqualify him as being my insurance provider.

I will never call him now because he has shown me he’s lazy, he lies (you’ll see soon), and he doesn’t respect me. If I was a total douchebag I’d turn him in for a Can Spam Act violation, not that he would ever get in trouble since it has no teeth. It’s the douchiness factor that’s at stake here. BTW = is it douchier to spam people or to turn someone in for being a casual spammer? I’ll let you answer that one.

One thing is clear, though. As ineffectual as the Can Spam Act is, the real danger to the spammer is loss of IP access. All of the big internet providers have cracked down hard on spamming not only because they get a ton of complaints by users, but also because spam is a huge load on their servers.

If a marketer gets too many complaints the internet service provider will pull the plug on the spammer, oftentimes without warning. IPs also use and share blacklists of entire domains of known spammers. Professional spammers are pretty crafty and can deliver their email crap other ways, but “Sam the Spammer’s” local business probably relies heavily on his IP, and since his choices are limited he should be very careful to not send spam.

The ethical way to use email marketing is by asking permission and then using a formal (double) opt-in process. If Sam the local Spammer had sent me a simple email asking if I would be interested in joining his list – and I said yes – then it would be ethical for him to send me an email which requires me to at least click a link or button authorizing Sam the local Spammer to – well – spam me. In a future article I’ll go over how to create effective autoresponse messages.

I’m familiar with 3 very good and affordable double opt-in autoresponder programs:

Aweber – Claims to have the highest delivery rate amongst all autoresponder programs. This is my favorite for mid-sized lists. What I like best about Aweber is that the creators of the program are email marketing ninjas and will send you TONS of free super helpful email marketing advice. They’re running a special now – sign up for $1 for the first 30 days. If you don’t like it they’ll even refund your buck.

Constant Contact – I liked this service, but I found it a little too “corporaty” for my likes. I prefer down-to-earth, approachable business models and Constant Contact, while still very good, was a little too big for my britches. It was my first autoresponder – and it worked well. Currently they’re running a 60-day free trial.

MailChimp – Very UN-corporate-like, which for me was appealing. What I liked most about it is it’s cheap, straightforward, and pretty easy to use. I did have some issues configuring the signup formatting but it wasn’t a huge issue. Be aware that I have heard from others that Mailchimp is very picky about the type of business you run and they frown upon scammyish industries (like gambling, health juices, MLM, etc.) , even if you’re legitimate.

2) It showed up in my junk mail box – and the meat of the message was an image that I needed to right click to be able to view. Never ever – in a million years – make your most important content an image. 2 reasons:

a. because, just like in my example above, by default many email programs disable automatic image views. There are image Trojan Horse viruses circulating and if your email auto opened the image – BAM – guess what you’re going to be doing for the next couple of hours (or more)? That’s right, trying to get rid of that Trojan Horse.

b. because only text is searchable, not images, videos, or other multimedia. Now ok, he’s sending me what appears to be a rate quote and it is a short message, so in this example we don’t get the full scope of the issue of non-searchable components. If it was a longer sales letter and if I was interested, I may be inclined to hit CTRL-F (find) and search for a particular word.

Regardless, in email marketing less is more and copy is king. An image is not a wise choice for your meat and potatoes content. Unless you’re selling art, images are designed to enhance the message and help sell.

I will give Sammy the Spammer one point for including an opt-out link at the bottom of his message. Always include an easy opt-out button – preferably a one-click-and-you’re-out button. As a consumer there’s not much worse than being stuck in a loop of unwanted junk email.

Scott
Big Banana of Business

3 reasons why NOW is the best time to start a business

Best Time to Start a Business is Now!

With all of the economic doom and gloom we hear in the media every day, unemployment numbers through the roof, investors tight-fisting their money like it’s going out of style, and the general negative attitude I hear from everyday folks got me thinking about the whole concept of being an entrepreneur. And also got me to thinking why right now is the best time to start a business.

Here are 3 reasons  why it’s the best time to start a business – yes, even in this economy

1) Because people always have needs and greeds – Regardless of the economic conditions around us people still buy things they need or really want. There will always be millionaires and billionaires. There will always be a need for necessities like housing, food, water, and even DVD’s, Big Screen TV’s, Air Conditioning, and XBox’s. Don’t buy the hype. People still spend money on things that are important to them. As an entrepreneur you have to find a need (or want) and fill it with a unique product or service. If you add more value than the cost then it’s a no-brainer for buyers.

2) Because bad news creates opportunity – Housing is down – rentals are way up. Traditional mortgages are down – lease purchases are way up. Food prices are up – bulk food buying is up. Gas prices are up – smaller car purchases are way up. New car sales are down – used car sales are way up. Carpet sales are down – wood, tile/grout, and rug sales are up. People don’t just stop buying – they shift. They may spend less in one category than they used to but they’re spending on something else they want or need. Find it and fill it with your product or service.

3) Because once the economy goes up you’ll be positioned to rock ‘n roll – Bad economies never last. Eventually the powers that be figure it out and away we go into another boom period. A long time ago a financial guru/friend told me: “when things look like they’re at their worst – when everyone has thrown in the towel including the slappys, at that very moment it’s time to buy in to the hated, but otherwise solid, companies.” His advice at the time was regarding Johnson and Johnson – the pharmaceutical giant worth billions of dollars. It was getting pounded on Wall Street because of a failed test on a new drug. He bought in at the moment the stock was hated most – and sure enough, it went up shortly thereafter making a lot of money for him. The same holds true with any business. There will be peaks and valleys, but as long as the company is solid and offers outstanding service and products at a good value, it can’t help but succeed.

And a bonus reason:

4) Because there really is no perfect time – so why not now? You already have your product/service and plans ready to launch your new business but you’re waiting for the perfect time. The truth is there never is a perfect time, or bad time, to launch a business. You’ll have naysayers telling you the sky is falling in any economy and if you listen to them you’ll never launch so do as Nike says – JUST DO IT!

Scott
The Big Banana of Business
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5 ways to totally piss off your customers even if you do great work

5 ways you can do a good job and still upset the customerI had a horrible experience with a local plumbing company. Not only will I never call them again, I’ll continue to warn others not to do business with them.

This company was a direct referral from a very good friend who happens to be a contractor. He told me going in that they do some of the best work in town, but they are a little quirky at running a business. I decided to give them a shot.

The crazy thing? The job turned out great. The plumber installed a couple of water lines and a shower insert in my basement. Seemed easy enough, but the plumbing company did some things not just quirky, but downright stupid. Here are 5 ways to totally piss off your customers, even if you do great work:

1) Be Late. I had scheduled to have the plumber out on a Monday at 9 AM. When my cuckoo clock chimed 9:30 AM I decided to call the company to find out where he was. “He’s running late”, was the answer. Great, I’m glad someone took 5 minutes to call me to let me know – NOT. The nice woman said he should be here any time though. At noon I called again and got a voicemail. Everyone apparently breaks exactly at noon at this plumbing company. Whatever. I left a message.

2) Don’t Return Calls. At 1:30PM I called back. I asked if they heard my voicemail. “No, we’re too busy to listen to them all.”, the nice woman said. Really? In 2011 *in this crappy economy* a “service” business doesn’t serve? And they’re still around how? “Alrighty then, so where’s the tech? You said he’d be out shortly…and that was at 9:30 AM”, I responded – growing more frustrated. The nice woman then told me…

3) Don’t Show Up. …”I’m sorry (at least she apologized), Joe’s previous job is taking a lot longer than he thought. We’re going to have to reschedule. Later I felt a little bad about going off on her, but I had to let out the steam then and there. “So you’re telling me that I just wasted all morning and part of the afternoon waiting for Joe the Plumber when I could’ve been doing menial things like…I dunno…providing great customer service to my customers?” My tirade was lost on her. Apparently she’s been down this road once or twice before. I reluctantly rescheduled because it was a referral from a trusted source and I surely didn’t want to take a gamble on a company that would give me bad (cough cough) customer service.  Joe arrived Wednesday, on time. Things were looking up until…

4) Show Even a Hint of a Bad Attitude. Joe the plumber is a big man. He’s probably 6’6″ and about 350 lbs. The first thing Joe says to me after arriving is “I’m supposed to pipe in all of these lines and install the shower stall today?” I didn’t know what else to say other than look up to him, gulp, and say, “umm, yes?” He looked skyward and rolled his eyes…and stormed off to his truck. I opened the garage door a little to hear what was going on and Joe was literally yelling at his dispatch. “I’ll be here all g.d. day!”, I overheard him shout.

At that moment I had enough and called their office. I didn’t want this guy going off on me and doing a crappy job so I told the nice woman that obviously Joe was having a bad day and he should pack up his stuff and leave. She said…and I quote…”Joe’s just a big teddy bear.” Sometimes I’m too nice for my own good. I agreed to let Joe back in after the nice woman convinced me that Joe is one helluva plumber, but he has “his quirks”. So Joe came back in with a slightly better attitude and went to work. Unfortunately, Joe decided that it was now a good idea to…

5) Play the Blame Game. As I watched Joe work I started reflecting on the whole scenario. About how the job started off sour, but was patched over and rescheduled by the nice woman. How Joe had a perfect chance to win me back over when he showed up on time on Wednesday, but didn’t. How Joe instead threw another proverbial wrench in the bad customer service machine by copping an attitude. How dumb I was to let him back in the door.

But he wasn’t done. Not by a longshot. Joe started cursing under his breath. Something about how another technician must have taken his magic plumbing tool out the night before and not returned it. How bad the dispatchers are to him. How the company is a slavedriver and treats him like crap every day. How bad his life sucks because everyone else sucks. Joe plays the Blame Game well and I couldn’t stand it any longer. I went upstairs and immediately wrote out a memo for my staff about how we absolutely cannot ever be anything at all like this plumbing company.

Joe finished up around 2PM and just as my contractor buddy promised me, the work was fantastic. Even though Joe is a great plumber it’s abundantly clear that he’s miserable and I’m sure everyone around Joe knows it. Perhaps some even tell him, but Joe wouldn’t listen anyway. He already knows everything. I can’t help but think at least part of Joe’s bad attitude is systemic. That in some way – big or small – because the company he works for obviously doesn’t provide great customer service that Joe doesn’t feel obligated at all to treat customers well either.

Thanks for the lesson on how to totally piss off your customer, Joe and Plumbing company. You taught me that it’s pretty easy to succeed in a service business. All one has to do is do customer service 180 degree opposite of your company.

Scott
The Big Banana of Business
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How to drop a real bomb and live to tell about it

In my previous life I was a bomb slinger. “Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist” was my official title. It sounds super fancy, but for the first 6 years of my 10 year Air Force career – truth be told – I loaded bombs, missiles, and ammo on F-16 fighter aircraft.

Scott Rendall - in the middle

That's me in the middle

Armaments in general are nasty things. They’re designed to maim, kill, destroy, and burn plants, animals, buldings, and, unfortunately, people to a crisp. But they’re “necessary” tools.

Those were just the conventional armaments. I was also tasked to load non-conventional armaments like AP (Armor Piercing) ammo, anti-tank bombs, guided missles, chemical weapons, and even nukes. Real. Nasty. Stuff.

In the Air Force we were trained from day 1 to ALWAYS, no excuses, 100% of the time use checklists to make sure we did the load proper every single time. If we messed up a bomb or missle load it could cause a deadly situation for the pilot and fellow airmen. Could you imagine a hung nuke coming back to base? Not acceptable – ever.

Suffice it to say the military ingrained a lot of good habits into my head. Things I would take back to the business world when I left the service.

One of those things was that it’s absolutely necessary to do tasks that are proven safe and efficient the same way every single time. Even though I’ve been out of the Air Force for over 17 years I still remember exactly how to load a MK-84 GP bomb on an F-16. It’s dwelled in my brain after doing it 5-7 days a week, 50 weeks a year for 6 years.

But – if I was to go back, I’d still know that I have to follow that checklist. I’m human. I forget steps. I get nervous under the pressure of people shouting orders, of aircraft hazards, of time constraints. I make mistakes. We all do. And a checklist (that is used) is proven to save lives and businesses.

One time I trusted one of my crew members (employee, if you will) to set up his “jammer” (bomb forklift) for a certain bomb configuration – like we’d done in training dozens and dozens of times perfectly before.

It was a high stress situation. It was during an operational readiness exercise and we were in full chem. gear - gas masks and all. The inspectors were at our arch (bunker/hangar) watching us load live anti-tank bombs during a “hot refuel” meaning the aircraft was running and being refueled/reloaded at the same time. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh..and it was the middle of summer in Korea. Hot, sticky, can’t breathe due to chem. gear and temp/humidity, and here’s this 2-star general watching our every move to ensure we’re doing it right. And yours truly is in charge of the bomb load.

I got so busy in trying to make it perfect that I overlooked one tiny but critical element – the very first part of the checklist that tells me to double-check that the jammer rollers are in the proper configuration.

The bomb started to go up easily, and the back bomb hook clicked in with a “snap” to the rear pylon latch … almost too easily. We were rolling and lookin’ good! We might even get a perfect score out of this one, I kept thinking. I envisioned my 1st Sergeant slapping my back and buying me a beer when we were done. I gave my guys a wink and a nod through my gas mask. We were killin’ it. Now on to the front bomb hanger.

After the 2nd try, my hopes of a perfect score were dashed. The hook would not click. The jammer table moved up and down just fine, but for some dumb reason the front latch was hung up. I motioned for my jammer driver to lower the lift slowly. As he did all I remember is the bomb bouncing off the rollers…and then THUD… the bomb landed on the concrete arch floor.

“LIVE BOMB LIVE BOMB LIVE BOMB” - someone shouted - as everyone raced out of the arch at lightning speed. I counted 7 people running for their lives. It may have been more, but I was thinking 7=lucky, and I needed that right now.

Since it was a hot refuel the pilot was sitting in the cockpit – with the jet engine running and fuel truck pumping jet fuel. The aircraft crew chief got him out quickly and everyone in the arch rapidly moved far away from the bomb that fortunately didn’t explode and kill us all. We all sprinted at least 1/3 mile before anyone slowed down.

Explosive Ordinance Disposal came out and disabled the bomb…and my 2 crew members and I were immediately whisked away to meet with the Base Commander to explain why I was a 21-year-old nincompoop. Or worse, why I made him, the Base Commander, look like a nincompoop in front of his superiors. Apparently he was in the arch when it happened. I didn’t know who all was there. Didn’t care at the time. Now I did.

Just great. Here I am - a ”fast burner” Staff Sergeant (I attained rank rather quickly. All I had to do was study harder than 3/4 of my peers, pass a written test, and keep my nose clean to make quick rank at the time) who just dropped a live anti-tank/anti-personnel bomb on the ground in front of the Base Commander and the inspection team, including a 2-star Major General.

Ronald Reagan was president at the time. I often wondered if he read my name in the report.

“Didn’t you use your checklist???”, the Base Commander screamed at me. “You cost me a g.d. (It wasn’t God’s fault) promotion, you idiot!”, he fumed. I felt like crap. I probably ruined his Air Force career. Hell, maybe I ruined mine too. (fortunately I didn’t)

At that very moment this 21-yr old learned a life lesson that I will never forget.

always, Always, ALWAYS follow the checklist!

In your business are you following a checklist of safe, efficient, and proven tasks? Or are you taking a risk of “blowing up the crew” because you’re following it partially?

Do you even have a checklist? If not, do it now. For every task that’s important in your business. Just write down, in a checklist format, short tasks that you know are safe, efficient, and work every time. Things like meeting the customer, inspecting the job, pricing the job, doing the work, getting paid. Simple stuff that you do every day. Make it a system – with checklists.

Systems not only save your hide, they build value in your company.

In the bomb loading business not following the checklist may mean gravely harming or even killing innocent people. In business it could mean potentially killing your career.

Your customers are your Base Commanders. They watch what you do, whether you see them or not. They control your future. If they speak positively of you, you “make rank”. If not, you could be demoted and looked at unfavorably. Word spreads quickly and your career is in jeopardy, should you not do things right. (aka – not follow the checklist!)

Are you doing it the same way every time? Or are you overlooking steps because you have on a “chem suit”? (metaphorically – anything that would impair your senses – like you’re too busy for the little details, you’re running late for the next appointment, it’s hot, or any number of inconveniences)

Check your checklists often. Be sure they’re up to date. Don’t be like the 21-yr-old me and drop a live bomb in front of God and country. It’s dangerous, embarassing and unnecessary. Just follow the checklist!

Scott
The Big Banana of Business
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I’m back!

After almost a 2-year hiatus (I wish I could call it a “sabatical”) I’m back to writing stuff that will help all but gazillionaires in business.

One day I’ll write why I pretty much fell off the face of the earth for nearly 2 years.

It was a painful time that I don’t wish to revisit, but that story will come when I’m ready because it has many powerful business and life lessons in it. And I need to share it. And you need to hear it because I don’t want you to go through what I did.

No matter where you’re at in business, you should follow me on Twitter and definitely subscribe to my blog and Banana Bunch Newsletter.

Scott
The Big Banana of Business

Why Not GYNOT? (Get Your Name Out There)

I received an email from a local company today. The title of the email was:

Get Your Name Out There!

My first thought went something like – oh no, not another small business succumbing to the notion that simply getting one’s name out there is the key to success! Or worse – recommending others simply get their name out there.

But fortunately I read further and noticed the body of the email was really an advertisement for a company that sells promotional items like engraved key chains, pens, toys, etc.

The email got me thinking – Why NOT just Get Your Name Out There? What’s the harm in that? Aren’t we all competing for an ever-increasing slice of the proverbial Customer Pie? Well, first let’s look at what constitutes Getting Your Name Out There (I’ll just refer to it as GYNOT for sake of brevity) and then you decide if my argument makes sense.

What is GYNOT?

Just Get Your Name Out There! - NOT

If you’re like me you’ve probably heard a lot of the “old timers” in business talk about getting your name out there to gain more customers. Most of the ones I know who hang on to that old axiom came from the advertising industry – or have dealt with the advertising industry for years. If you haven’t noticed lately the advertising industry has taken a severe beating because times have changed – A LOT – over the past decade.

Yellow Pages, radio, TV, magazine, and even many direct marketers and salesmen hang on to the old GYNOT practice due to lack of understanding of the new dynamic age that we’re in.

Our customers and we ourselves have become a society of numb and apathetic consumers due to the overwhelming amount of advertising we receive on a daily basis.

It was bad enough prior to the information age with billboards, magazines, newspapers, signs, vehicles, tv, radio, etc. And the advertising overload compounded exponentially as personal computers have become a household appliance. Now add in the hundreds or even thousands of emails we get every day, not to mention the banner ads, squeeze pages, cross-marketing and affiliate links that are shoved down our throats every day… ARRRGH!

As a consumer, I’m confused. Aren’t you? I don’t know which one of the 3,000 ads I see everyday is telling me the truth, or even what I need to know. I’ll bet the same holds true for you as well, doesn’t it? This is the very reason why NOT GYNOT – we can’t just get our name out there any longer. It doesn’t work unless we have an endless amount of advertising money in our budget – and even then – do you really expect to get noticed over the thousands of other ads your prospect sees in a day?

So why advertise?

You’re probably thinking that I don’t advocate advertising. You are partially right – I don’t advocate “GYNOT Advertising”. GYNOT advertising is using a shotgun approach thinking that all you have to do is aim in a broad enough swath and you’ll pick off a bunch of targets. You probably will kill a few birds; but you’ll also miss or wing more than you’ll pick off – and that’s expensive.

The alternative to GYNOT advertising

Take a look around practically anywhere these days and you’ll hear of new marketing concepts like Twitter, Blogs, Social Networking, Facebook, Linked-In, and the list goes on. These newer-aged forms of marketing seek to establish relationships between the business and the consumer leading up to, during, and after the sale. Very smart!

But there is still a huge problem. Too often these mediums are being used for GYNOT type advertising. I went to a friends’ company Facebook Page the other day and all I saw were discounts and pitches to buy his product. There was ZERO interaction between the would-be buyer and the company. It’s as if he copied his Yellow Pages advertising and pasted it on his Facebook Page. Not surprisingly there were only a handful of “Likes” on his page – probably from family members or close friends. I shook my head and closed my laptop. I couldn’t take it any more!

Sadly, he’s not the only one who is lost on this new thing that I call “Brand Relationships”. He is just one of dozens I’ve seen who is using Social Networking in a totally inappropriate GYNOT way; and it’s not limited to our industry.

Here’s the challenge with Brand Relationship building: Connecting with potential buyers. That’s it. Overcome this challenge and you can’t help but grow and, if done correctly, dominate your online presence, which means more loyal customers and referrals.

In future blog entries we’ll delve into building your Brand Relationship with your customers and prospects.

Scott Rendall
The Big Banana of Business
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