Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with @dnewman. David Newman is the author of “DO IT! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits and Crush Your Competition” (AMACOM, 2013).
David works with executives and entrepreneurs who want to position themselves as thought-leaders and generate more leads, better prospects and bigger sales. His background overlaps three key areas. First, David has worked inside organizations as the client; he has also worked as a speaker and consultant for Fortune 500 companies; and finally, he’s helped over 300 speakers, authors, executives and entrepreneurs raise their game and deliver their highest value. For more info, visit doitmarketing.com
SmallBizLady: What advice are you giving businesses today that is drastically different from five years ago?
David Newman: Five years ago, social media was literally in its infancy. Facebook was only open to college students, there was no Twitter, LinkedIn was mostly for senior execs, recruiters and jobseekers, and blogging was mostly done by techies, authors and consultants, or self-absorbed teenagers. So the major shift in thought leadership marketing is not only to write articles and white papers and ebooks (good advice 5 years ago and GREAT advice today) but to also get deeply involved in the one or two social media channels that resonate the most with your buyers, customers and clients.
SmallBizLady: With so much marketing noise out there, how can businesses make themselves heard? How can they rise above the noise?
David Newman: Great question – and the answer you’d get from most marketing and branding people is… BRANDING. That’s NOT my answer. Sadly, when it comes to small business marketing, “branding” tends to be a lot of BS, smoke and mirrors. The REAL essence of what you need to stand out from the crowd is CLARITY. Clarity of your message, clarity of your positioning – what you do and who you do it for best. Clarity around the promise you’re making to people who do business with you. Clarity around the experience they’ll get when working with your company. The reason I’m so big on clarity as your distinguishing factor is because clarity on YOUR part greatly increases confidence on your buyer’s part. And confident buyers BUY – doubtful or confused buyers do not.
SmallBizLady: What are some sales no-no’s that you see small business owners make?
David Newman: There is a handful – and most of these fall into the old school “sales training” approaches that are still out there to a much greater degree than you might expect. So… manipulative sales techniques, lying to prospects (“I have your business card on my desk and…”), product- or service-centered messaging vs. prospect-centered messaging, selling features and benefits rather than focusing on outcomes and results, old school cold calling (what I call “dumb calling”), untargeted batch and blast email or direct mail (aka paper spam), and most other sloppy, thoughtless outbound marketing tactics have passed their expiration date like an old bucket of yogurt. Don’t do it. This is good news for most of my seminar audiences and coaching clients for two reasons – 1) They hate doing it AND 2) Their prospects hate getting it. So there IS a better way. In four words, the new sales mantra needs to be: 1. Offer value 2. Invite engagement.
SmallBizLady: With so many marketing options out there, how do you suggest business owners prioritize or focus their efforts?
David Newman: The only kind of marketing you’ll end up doing – and doing well – is marketing that you personally find Easy, Effortless and Enjoyable (EEE). Because the bottom line is that you have to wake up every day ready to market your business – rain or shine, happy or sad, feel like it or not. Under those conditions, if you don’t find those marketing tasks that you’ve chosen for yourself to be easy, effortless, and enjoyable – guess what? You won’t do them! And no matter how great the strategy, no matter how brilliant your tactical plan, at the end of the day, only ACTION creates results. So you have to hand-select a small number of marketing tactics that you’re willing to lean into and commit to doing on a daily and weekly basis, month after month, and year after year. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
SmallBizLady: What are three things people can do right now to get a boost in their marketing efforts?
David Newman: Here are three tests to apply to your marketing:
1. The black marker test: Put one of your ads (or web pages, brochures, or promo pieces) and one of your competitor’s side-by-side. Now black out both names. Could your piece be mistaken for some other company’s piece? Could you just cut out the competitor’s name and stick it on your piece and people just might not know the difference? If so, you have a piece of blah-blah-blah marketing. Fix it – and you win!
2. The “So what” test: Take a look at each of your marketing statements in your ads, brochures, and on your website. For each point, can you come up with a compelling value-based answer to the question, “So what?” Make sure to use prospect language and not marketing-speak or gobbledy-gook techno-jargon!
3. The “Prove it” test: Prospects assume all marketers are liars. Do you prove any of your claims? How? Testimonials, third-party proof, verifiable facts? Again, add these to your marketing mix – and you win!
And a fourth one: Total self-promo here –but true: Buy my book today and you’ll get a MAJOR marketing boost: http://bit.ly/doitbonus
SmallBizLady: Tell us about your book.
David Newman: The book is “Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits and Crush Your Competition.” The thing that makes the book unique is that it’s a SALES-focused marketing book. So many marketing books focus on marketing for the sake of marketing. I’ve collected hundreds of ideas, strategies, tools, tactics, and scripts that will help you do marketing specifically to drive sales. More sales. Better sales. Bigger sales. That’s the result of any strong marketing program. The other thing that I’m really excited about is the dozen or so “DO IT! Success Strategy Sidebars” throughout the book, with contributions from outside experts like you, Melinda – folks whom I love and respect and who do great work in the realm of marketing, sales, social media, and business development. The book is part action handbook, part field guide, part marketing manual, with a big dose of kick-in-the-butt do-this-now tactics. Even though the subtitle says “77 ideas” there are about 200 ideas in the book if you look at each section and count all the specific action items, templates, tools and scripts under each one. Sorry to say – truth in advertising is dead!
SmallBizLady: Why should people buy the book today even though the book won’t be out till June?
David Newman: Two main reasons:
1. If you pre-order the book today, you will get over $747 in business-building bonuses RIGHT NOW and LATER, you’ll also get a terrific book jam-packed with savvy marketing, sales and business development strategies, tactics and tools. (You’ll be among the first to take delivery of the book the moment it is released – on or about June 5.) To check out the pre-order bonuses you’ll get immediately when you buy today, visit http://bit.ly/doitbonus.
2. For all the folks who pre-order today, you will also be invited to a series of special teleseminars, you’ll get pre-order only bonus ebooks such as the Do It! Marketing Manifesto I’m creating for 800-CEO-READ, and some other pre-order only gifts and bonuses. Like you, Melinda, I’m incredibly generous with folks who are fabulous enough to support my work in small business marketing and like you, I tend to OVER-deliver like crazy. So pre-order the book today at http://bit.ly/doitbook and then pop over to http://bit.ly/doitbonus to claim all your goodies.
Thank you in advance — and Melinda, thank YOU for the opportunity to share your wisdom as featured in the book!
SmallBizLady: In the book, you emphasize choosing a target audience and a specific niche. Why is that important?
David Newman: Whenever I work with clients or speak to groups, we ALWAYS start with identifying specifically WHO you are marketing to. I call this your “Buyer Persona” We use 7 key questions to flesh out the traits of your highest-probability prospects that you should spend most of your time targeting and connecting with. You need to understand what makes them tick – what are their characteristics, traits, attitudes, and values? What’s important to them? What headaches/ heartaches do they have when it comes to the problems that you solve? You’ve got to speak prospect language about prospect problems. Until you do that, NO marketing strategy will work.
SmallBizLady: You talk in the book about “Thought Leadership Marketing” – what is that and why is it important?
David Newman: Thought leadership marketing is a combination of speaking, publishing and social media – it’s your secret weapon! Why? Because experts win on value – generalists die on price. Thought leadership PROVES your expertise. No matter what you’re selling, you’re selling EXPERTISE first. Experts win trust – and trust earns sales. The book is full of templates and tools for speaking, publishing and social media success. It’s fill-in-the-blank easy.
SmallBizLady: What’s the first step business owners should take to find “hot button” issues they can use in their marketing?
David Newman: The first step? Research. Preparation. Industry, regional, business, and company news is now at everyone’s fingertips. Look for verbatim quotes, videos, interviews to capture as much as you can from representatives of your target audience. Search Google, YouTube and LinkedIn. Scan industry and association message boards. Then go directly to the source – your real live customers and prospects. One of the best ways to approach prospects is with Interviews, Surveys, Research, Data gathering. It positions you and your company as an expert resource and it gives you valuable data you should be getting anyway!
SmallBizLady: Is there an online way that small business owners can become thought leaders?
David Newman: We’re doing it now! Any time you share your face, voice, expertise, you are building thought leadership. Whether you choose blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Skype, Slideshare, or iTunes. The more valuable advice, insights and recommendations you give away free, the more buyers you attract. Experts also FLOP – Feature and Leverage Other People. I blogged about this here: http://bit.ly/bizflop
SmallBizLady: Given everything in your book, what are the top three strategies you suggest small business owners focus on?
David Newman: 1. Figure out the audience you want to serve the most because they are your peeps, your tribe, and your natural followers.
2. Then figure out what they are passionate to learn, to do, or to become.
3. Finally, start talking about, sharing, and connecting them with resources that solve those urgent, pervasive, expensive problems, headaches and heartaches.
Do that publicly via speaking, publishing, networking – both online and offline – and the floodgates will open for you. There’s a 4th strategy, of course – buy the book today and get your $747 in bonuses: http://bit.ly/doitbonus
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.