Archive for March, 2016

Engaging The Micro-Moment

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
— Alvin Toffler- 1970
Your customers’ expectations have changed. When there is a question, something breaks, or a specific product or service is needed, in seconds a mobile device comes out to retrieve an answer. Welcome to the micro-moment or as we called it in the old days, a world demanding instant gratification. On Tuesday I read in the LA TIMES that customers’ expectations for a one-day delivery has changed because of Amazon Prime. Consumers of all types expect all deliveries to be in one day… even if it has to comes on a container ship form China!
Is your business prepared to operate at hyper-speed? Does your website optimize to communicate or sell in a micro-moment? Your customers may not wait! They want answers as soon as the question pops into their heads and not a nanosecond sooner… or later.
In 2014 the number of mobile connected devices exceeded the number of people on Earth. On average smart phone users look at their phones 150 times a day. Yes, they still own a laptop or table top computer but they rely on them less and less.  Is your marketing strategy taking this into account?
Just because Google says your website has to be mobile does not make it right  Every business is different and your marketing strategies ALWAYS depend on your customers.  However, you need to understand advancing internet technology and online marketing tools as they relate to your business and customers… and optimize them. The answer is always in the question.
Whether it is assessing technology or leveraging Amazon Prime, let us help! Our process will support you in sorting out the answers by focusing on the right questions… but remember, one size does not fit all… no matter what Google and Facebook tell you.

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Having a website without clear intention

Is like shouting your name at the top of Mount Wilson… You know what you are doing but no one else does
The internet used to be like the movie Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come”.  Getting noticed beyond a few close friends takes focused effort and clear intent. Casting too big a net actually diminishes your marketing efforts.
Here are a few challenges
  • There an abundance of competition on the world wide web
  • Content is king but it takes time and skill to write good content or blog
  • It’s expensive and time consuming to get found on search engines
  • Google and Facebook keep changing the rules
  • Finding the right social media to network with my customers
  • Applying a mobile strategy that makes sense for my business
  • Good Customers don’t write reviews
  • Making a Video requires me to being in it
Everything above is true. So…as my grandfather Milton Reynolds (“Inventor” of the ball point pen) use to say – “If you want to do the impossible you must start right away”!
A successful internet marketing strategy starts with answering these questions:
  • Who are your best customers
  • What do you want then to do
  • What do they want to know
  • Where do they go to look for information
  • How do we gain their trust
  • How and when do they connect to the internet
  • What is my brand story

The answers to these questions should help you develop a clear intent or purpose for your website strategy. Furthermore, what your intent for haivng a website should not be is to just prove you are a real business… it can be so much more than that!

THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET
Here is my favorite request – I want to pay for a marketing solution that will be programmed such to automatically and effortlessly brings me great leads every day, guaranteed. In my experience that is wishful thinking and may lead to an expensive disappointment. Success will most likely be a combination for digital programming and traditional marketing techniques that work together effectively. Having a clear marketing intent that your customers understand and remember will pull create results

My Recommendations:
Think like your customer, set a budget, take small steps, measure results, plan your work and then work your plan!

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Experiencing Information Overload?

Since 1970 the number of ads you see every day has grown from 500 to 2,900
Future Shock

“Information Overload refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information

It Is Really Nothing New
In the 3rd and 4th centuries BC Chinese scholars warned about its dangers. In the first century AD, Seneca the Elder said, “The abundance of books is a distraction.” Imagine what they said when the printing press showed up in the 1400’s… yep, mankind was doomed!

Getting Heard Above All The Noise
Certainly the popularity of the Internet has increased the potential for information overload many times over.  Getting discovered on the web has been likened to standing in “Blue Heaven” at a sold-out Dodger game and shouting your name… only the four people directly in front of you might hear you.

Google Is REALLY Changing The Rules
For the last 10 years the best hope for small to mid-size businesses to be found by new clients has been on the Google Search return page. In the past, if we used all the right keywords and had reasonable content we could be the answer to our best customers’ “Google” questions. Well, that just got harder.
Google just announced that as of April 21, 2015 the top returns will be given to websites that are mobile friendly or “responsive.” On that date your website must work just as well on a smart phone or tablet as it does on a computer or it will not beat out your competitor who has gone “responsive.” This is a really BIG change in Google’s magic algorithms.

Take Heart – Responsive Websites Are Affordable
Mobile friendly templates are now pretty common. Recently The Reynolds Group has introduced a new Content Management System that is cost effective and powerful. Not only is it mobile friendly but it includes a simple blog for quickly adding content  and handles e-commerce too. A new website can start as low as $300 a month.That includes our time tested marketing strategies and designs that have been refined over 164 websites too.

What Does This Mean For The Future of Mankind
Here is what the futurist Alvin Toffler said in 1970:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Make A Difference

Here are three simple ideas you may find rewarding while creating new business in the next 12 months.

1. Join a networking group

Get out of that rut!

Not all networking is on the internet. Plenty of people are getting out and doing it belly to belly.

  • It will forced you talk about what you do and who are your best customers… which will help you think through all phases of your marketing.
  • You find new business opportunities.
  • You will expand your network of trusted advisers, which will help you and your clients when they ask for help.
  • It will make you a better salesman.

There are lots of business networking groups like NexGen Provisors, Meet-up, BNI International, Vistage, etc. Depending on your business, other organizations to consider are trade associations, service clubs, a local Chamber of Commerce and religiously affiliated groups.

Join Toastmasters. It will make networking easier.
Not everyone is conformable meeting new people or speaking in public… These are critical skills in networking.

Toastmasters International is a great solution. You will learn how to speak to a group in a safe environment and regularly practice those skills.

  • You will become a better public speaker
  • Meeting and speaking with new people will be easier
  • You will refine your marketing strategy
  • You will be a better salesman
  • It will expand your network too

Get involved with a Non-Profit 

It is nice to get out of your routine and help others. It is also a great way to meet people and bond while doing a good turn. You will really get to know someone if you have worked side by side with them. Some of my best business contacts and best friends have come through doing public service  together.

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

When Is It Time to Get a New Website

When is it time to get a new website?
It is not the age or technology that determines when it is time to replace a website, it is results and how it performs against the completion.

A well thought-out website will pay for
itself every 6 months… It is worth the investment.

Times They Are A Changin’

The time in which a website must to be fine-tuned and updated to stay competitive is shrinking. To be specific, since 2002, the rate “from time-of-launch” a website starts becoming outdated has collapsed from two years to three months!

The Internet is tilting to benefit the “biggest” Internet players and away from the rest of us!

If your website was made in the last decade (or in the last century) and you are getting a steady flow of leads there is no reason to update your website. If that is not the case, maybe it is time to step up your game. Are you being found? Are you getting leads, or more importantly, sales that can be traced to your Internet strategy?

Get back in the game

An Internet marketing strategy is a plan coupled with an easy-to-use CMS (Content Management System) to update and manage your website content. If your lead quality and sales are “under-whelming” or dropping….whether your website is one-year-old or ten, it may be time to review your strategy, try a little Search Engine Marketing, update your content or possibly… it’s time to rebuild your website.

4 things your website should say in a few seconds:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do
  3. Who you do it for
  4. How to reach you

5 things your website should do in a few seconds:

  1. Be found
  2. Invoke trust
  3. Motivate action
  4. Create leads
  5. Demonstrate leadership

Three recent websites we built and optimized:

Simple performance factors to follow:

Start by knowing what you want your website to accomplish, balanced by what your clients want to know, then set goals and measure results. Watch:

  • Quality of leads
  • Average time on website
  • Bounce rate
  • Return visits
  • 5-10 top keyword rankings
  • Website activity – year to year
  • Sales attributed to website

To evaluate your performance, use your inbound sales staff, historical data from Google Analytics and industry norms.

Give us a call if you have questions or need any help!

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Milt Reynolds and the Ball Point Pen

Milt Reynolds & The Ballpoint Pen

A New Novel about the life and times of the man who believed, to do the impossible, it had to be done NOW!

Even in death, when Milton Reynolds’ name comes up, he commands a room. If you ever did business with him you would never forget it. When a group of friends, associates or competitors met there was always a new story to tell about Milt that ended in someone saying “that story was true” and then a big laugh. Heck, in  1975 my employer docked my pay $20 bucks because I was his grandson. He had bought a pen that leaked in 1949 and swore he’d get his money back someday… he laughed… I cried.

In life Milt is credited with not only inventing the ballpoint pen but: revolutionizing retail signing; setting world records for the fastest times flying around the world (competing with Howard Hughes); and searching for a higher mountain than Mt Everest in the Himalayas, while possibly spying on the Chinese…. and more.

There are business school courses that still use Milt and the introduction of the ballpoint pen as a classic marketing case-study. This new book, Mr Ballpoint, will give you a good flavor of what really happened as well as what life was like in the late 40’s.

The story begins in Chicago towards the end of the Second World War and pits a fictional version of my father, Jim Reynolds, against his super-entrepreneur and “film-flam” father, Milt. Although many of the stories are true, Jim’s character embodies four or five real men that surrounded my grandfather at the time. Also, the two fictional characters the author creates make a compelling father/son story.

The author of Mr Ballpoint is a good friend of mine, Gerald Jones who met my father 3 months before he passed. Dad told Gerald he wanted the story to be a musical… but for now a book must do! Although I was a help and a cheerleader… Gerald did the heavy lifting in terms of research and writing Mr Ballpoint.

The story is historically accurate and the funniest parts are true. It is an ideal read for history buffs and high school or college-aged kids who might want to know more about Post-World War II America.

Milt was a marketing genius and unparalleled self-promoter who possessed a fabulous sense of timing and humor. He was a pirate and steely-eyed businessman who thought the impossible could be done, but it had to happen right now. He made enemies… but never for too long. Did I mention he was very charming?

Oh, can we tell stories!

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

The Moment of Relevance

The Moment of Relevance

Nothing is more powerful than an idea that has reached its time

Your best prospect’s purchasing decision starts at the moment of relevance or when the light switch flips from, “not ready yet” to, “it’s time to take action.”  It is the beginning of the selling process, when your top prospect begins doing research, looking for resources as well as  identifying industry authorities and potential suppliers. It is the moment when your client is ready to engage in some form of meaningful discussion.

 

TIME STOOD STILL

Imagine your big moment of relevance!! Your best potential customer is typing in your business’ name or keywords right into Google, Yahoo or Bing…. What happens next means everything.

  • Will you be found?
  • Was it the right audience?
  • What impression was made?
  • Will they know what to do?
  • Did we apply the right tool(s)
    • Website
    • Video
    • An online review
    • Internet advertising
    • Linkedin
    • Your blog
    • An authority’s blog
    • Google+
    • Facebook
    • Pinterest
    • All of the above
    • Something new

If the answer is none of the above….you should get busy.
 

WANT THE SHARPEST TOOL IN THE SHED? 

Answer These Questions:

  • How do these tools work?
  • Who is our audience?
  • Does it make doing business with us easy?
  • Can we provide a clear call to action?
  • Are we sensitive to our customer’s perspective/needs?
FINALLY
Are you still with me? Here are a few relevant notes from a recent Google class I attended:
  • Think about your moment of relevance
  • List your business in more online directories
  • 90% of all buyers look for online reviews
  • Update the copyright on your website every year
  • Look at Google + Business - I was impressed
  • Work on customer engagement vs getting “likes”
  • Look at market trends over time with Google Trends

If you want to know more about what I learned in class or discuss your Internet strategy, please call.

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff

Websites The Silent Salesman

Websites -The Silent Salesman  
Is your website a selling tool or just a static piece of literature

A website is so much more than an online brochure. It is a  powerful sales tool that can move your best prospects through the complete sales cycle.Start by identifying the steps a new (or existing) customer goes through to buy your product or service. Then look at your website and see how it can support that process at each step. The website’s architecture should prompt them to move to the next step but not force them to do so. Also, be sure to provide a simple “call to action” at every step.


How do people buy your product?

Every business is different but here are the steps my prospects went through when I was a manufacturer.

Steps in a sale process:

 

Client has a question or problem and wants to know the best (or fastest) way to solve a problem

  1. Discovery – The client looking for answers starts on the internet, but also reaches out to friends or partners and attends trade shows… etc.
  2. Introduction – The client visit websites or booths of potential businesses who fit their criteria, know their business or can solve the problem… to check them out.
  3. Questions – Client asks direct questions to see if there is an understanding of their “unique” problem or if you can offer possible solutions.
  4. Visualization – Client see themselves  in the solutions presented… what color does it come in?
  5. Demonstration – Present an onsite working demonstration or proof of concept   
  6. Business plan – Client creates plan of how solution will be implemented and presents this to their organization.
  7. ROI - Cost justification of solution with an industry appropriate return on investment (ROI)
  8. Close – Purchase is made

How does a website sell?

  • Discovery – Search Engine Optimization for high page rank, links to authority websites, blogs, “appropriate” Social Media discussion groups, Website shows “what’s new” or the times and locations of where to see it.
  • Introduction –  Web 3.0 design: Looks like a leader, clear branding, appropriate headlines and picture that show what you do, how you do it and for whom.
  • Questions – Clear phone number, good industry specific content, effective use of email forms as “calls to action.” Make it easy to ask a question and have a clear “Contact Us” link.
  • Visualization – Industry relevant content and images, “Client Work Space” to make reordering easier, large high resolution images to see greater detail and case studies.
  • Demonstration – Short video, Skype conference call
    GoToMeeting software, in-house presentation appointment.
  • Business plan – Case studies, white papers, contact with industry specialist
  • ROI – In most case this is best handled one on one but case studies and white paper will help.
  • Close – Folks buy from folks.  Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting…. but it never hurts to have a “Buy Now” botton that links to eCommerce.

FINALLY

Websites are very good for after-sale support…. but that is a subject for the next newsletter.

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admin on March 7th 2016 in Web Stuff