Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

18
Sep

Persistence or Insanity

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon Tags: , ,

Persistence vs Insanity - When To ChangeFirst there was the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare.  Then the Little Engine That Could.  The lesson learned is to persist, never quit and keep moving forward if you want to win the race.  We strive for success in our business and professional lives as well as our personal endeavors, and persistence is the key.

Then there’s the other saying – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  WHOAAAA, wait a minute.  Didn’t we just say persistence wins?  Something doesn’t jive here. If both of these principles hold true, then when does persistence cross the line into insanity?

Whether it’s your marketing efforts or any other business practice,  jumping from idea to idea like a frog on a lily pad, will never yield a successful outcome.  But then the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality doesn’t lend itself to the ever-changing landscape of business today, either. Stay the course or roll with the punches?  Do you feel like a spectator at a tennis match yet?

Maybe we can get a glimpse into the answer to our dilemma from NASCAR?  Before every race, NASCAR drivers take lots of practice laps before the day of the race.  Their pit crew analyzes the results of each lap.  They don’t rebuild the car after each, but rather make adjustments to dial in the perfect combination of settings for the track.

You should treat your business the same way.  Here are 5 things you can do to determine if you should persist or move on.

1.  Make small changes within your marketing plan or adjusting operational procedures, then monitoring the results.  This will give you a barometer of what works and what doesn’t.

2. Allow adequate time for honest results – Depending on the change, results may not be readily available (or accurate).  If it’s a new marketing medium, give it 90 days before analyzing the results.

3. Don’t jump on the trendy bandwagon – Just because the media is a buzz about something, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.  Case in point, social media.  Maybe you’ve heard people talking about Twitter or Facebook.  Before you jump in, first determine if your audience is there.  If they aren’t there, why should you be?

4. Monitor, Monitor, Monitor – Determine, before making any changes, what the desired outcome would be, i.e., increasing sales by x%, growing your audience, number of new inquires, etc.  It’s impossible to analyze your efforts if you can’t measure them.

5. Failure IS an Option – We don’t like to admit we’re wrong, but not every change will work for the good.  And that’s okay.  As Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t fail 10,000 times to make a light bulb, I just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”  Maybe the idea was a good one and can be tweaked enough to make it work.

How do you handle change?  Are you changing with the tide of popular wisdom or are you hanging on to time honored traditions?  Whatever works for you.  And if that’s now enought, here’s one last thought, “You can be on the right track and still get run over if you aren’t moving forward.”

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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How dare you leave a negative customer reviewBusiness owners never make mistakes.  Customer service is always stellar and the employees are the best in the whole world.  Yep, and I have some beach front property here in Arizona for sale!

Businesses, for the most part, diligently work to provide the best customer service experience possible. Notice I said “for the most part”. Some days, no matter how good your intentions are, customers may have a less than pleasant experience. Maybe you just got off the phone with a supplier telling you the shipment you were promised for an urgent job today won’t be in for another week. Maybe half your staff called in sick so you’re stuck answering the phones, scheduling appointments, ordering supplies, and keeping the jobs running. So when a customer calls with their “frivolous” complaint, you sound less than sympathetic.

Today’s customers are empowered by the Internet. A satisfied customer will tell a few people about their positive interaction with your business. An unhappy customer, on the other hand, will tell everybody they know, plus they will Facebook it, tweet it, post a video on YouTube and find every reviews site they can to tell the world your business sucks. How you handle that negative review is critical to your reputation, both online and off.

The first step in the process is establishing a company policy for negative reviews. Will you answer them or ignore them? (I always recommend answering them.) Who is responsible for monitoring review sites? Who’s responsible for responding to customer reviews, good or bad?

Here are five steps you can take to help negate the impact of the poor review:

1. Keep an Online Vigil – You have no chance of turning a negative situation into a positive if you don’t know it’s there. If someone posts a bad review on your Facebook page and you don’t see it for a month, it’s too late. Use monitoring tools like Google alerts, Nutshell Mail or Social Mention.

2. Engage Brain Before Opening Mouth – Remember, your customer is emotional. They feel they’ve been wronged or cheated so it’s up to you to soothe those emotions.  The last thing you want is to respond with emotion. That’s a guaranteed grease fire waiting to happen.

3. Just The Facts M’aam – Read their review carefully, looking for the facts hidden behind the emotions. Who did they deal with? What are the specifics of their complaint? Talk to your employee that dealt with the customer. Remember, they will be responding with emotion as well so don’t make it an inquisition.  Step outside your owner/manager body and try to see the situation from the customers perspective.

4. Carefully Craft Your Response – Be apologetic and sincere in your answer. Defending your company’s actions will only fuel their arguments. Have someone else read over your response to make sure the tone is what it should be.  Does it sound condescending or sincere?  Does it sound like you’re calling them an idiot?

If possible, offer them a discount or some other concessions. Offer to discuss their issues off line and give them phone number where they can reach you (or someone in authority) easily. The last thing you want is for them to call and they get put on hold, get shuffled around the office or leave a message and don’t get a prompt callback.

5. Overshadow The Negatives – Negative reviews are inevitable.  And negative reviews don’t hurt if you have enough positive reviews to offset it. In fact a negative review when mixed in with several positive reviews shows that your reviews are genuine.  Be proactive and encourage your good customers to write reviews in places like Google + Local, Facebook, Yelp and some of the other local customer review sites.  Then when a prospective customer looks at the reviews, they will see that one negative among the dozens of positive reviews as a flake,   “You know you can’t please everyone”.

Ultimately, there’s going to be that one customer that you just can’t satisfy (or shut up). Remember though, this conversation is not taking place behind closed doors. There are hundreds, potentially thousands, of prospective customers watching. And those are the ones you’re after. When they see you trying your best to correct a bad experience, they feel reassured that, if they do business with you, you will bring the same level of customer satisfaction to them.

How do you handle those irate customer reviews?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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25
May

What’s My (tag)Line?

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon Tags: ,

The subject came up last week in my ninja marketing dojo class while talking about LinkedIn headlines. I related the story of the networking event where I was an exhibitor. I had a lady come up to my table and when I asked her what she did and she said “I’m not supposed to tell you.” She had just come from a seminar with networking guru who told the audience not to say what they did. I quizzed her further and she finally said something like “I help businesses realize their bottom line potential.”  Okay, do you work for some clandestine operation?  Would you have to kill me if you told me?

I think she missed the speaker’s point, which was to peak someone’s interest in what you do, not make them play 20 questions to pry the answer out of you.  Let’s face it, I’m just not going to work that hard to find out what you do.

Your tagline, whether it’s in a face to face networking situation or on your social media sites should be listener/reader centered.  For example, when asked, I could say, “I do website design, search engine optimization and social media.”   Besides the fact that it’s boring, it’s also all about me. Sure I told you I do but in your mind you’re thinking, “I have a website, I don’t know what search engine optimization is and I’m on Facebook.  NEXT!”

A better introduction would be, “I help business owners create an online marketing presence that puts them head and shoulders above the competition, using website design, search engine optimization and social media to improve their search engine rankings, increase their traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.”

Do you see the difference? This tagline is centered around the listener. It still explains what I do, but in terms of what I can do for them. Now they are thinking, “my website doesn’t do that and I’m not getting a ton of business off Facebook.  I need to know more.”

The center of our universe is “ME”.  My problems, my pleasures, my concerns.  Sounds like an opera singer tuning up, “me, me, me, me.”  Make your initial venture into someone’s ME universe be about them.  How can your product/service make their life easier, save them money, make them more efficient or reduce the pain?  When you tap into the nerve center of your prospective customer/client, your message resonates with them and they want to know more.

Your tagline makes all the difference in the world. Is yours a conversation starter or a conversation ender?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Once again online privacy is in the news. On March 1, Google will be implementing their new unified privacy policy, which has sparked a firestorm of controversy. If you’re a Google user, you’ve seen multiple notices of the upcoming change to their privacy policy. But what does it really mean.

The essence of the new privacy policy is that Google will share one privacy policy across all its products. What has people in an up roar is the idea that what you search for can translate over to ads you may see in Gmail for example. Let’s say you watch a video in YouTube about widgets. You then go to Google to search for something totally unrelated, but there is an ad for Acme Widgets.

Despite the up roar, this is not new. Microsoft has the same unified privacy policy, which would include Hotmail, Bing and Internet Explorer. And Facebook’s privacy controversies have been well-documented.

While you have no choice but to either accept privacy policy or not use any Google product, there are some things you can do. By default, Google tracks your browsing history, apart from what you’re computer tracks. A check of my Google browsing history showed sites from as far back as 2007, which was probably about the time first I set up a Gmail account. (I have had three desktop computers over that period of time.)

You can opt out of browsing history in Google by going to www.google.com/history and logging in with your Gmail address and password.  (If you have set up a Google account with a different e-mail such as an AOL account to login to YouTube for example, then you would login with that e-mail address and a Google password you created.) This will bring you to the history page where you can see everything you’ve searched for while logged in to a Google account. You can remove all or some of the searches selectively. You can also pause Web history by clicking the “Pause” button at the top. At any time you wish to resume tracking your history, just click the “Resume” button.

How to change your Google Search Browsing History

The bottom line is as long as you are choosing to use a free service such as Google or Facebook, you are subject to their terms and conditions (remember that little checkbox that said “I accept these terms”?).  And how is this different from watching your favorite show on television? The advertisers know that the viewing audience is a targeted fit for their product. (And who’s to say that technology is not already in place to monitor what we DVR or watch on-demand.)

So the privacy debate rushes on. Do we close our Facebook account, stop using Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail so we can maintain our complete privacy? In today’s world, what really is happening is we are trading our privacy for connectivity.

What are your feelings about privacy versus connectivity?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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When was the last time you gave serious thought to what you’re business is about? For many, the last time was when they wrote their business plan. Businesses are created because the owner saw a niche that they could fill or they traded a paycheck for business ownership.

As a business grows and evolves, so do its strengths and weaknesses. But often times, the marketing message of the business does not change to reflect those. For your businesses stand out above the competition, you must focus on your strengths rather than trying to be like the competition.

Here are some questions to help you identify your strengths and regain your focus.

  1. What do we do better than the competition?
  2. What does the competition do better than we do?
  3. Why would a customer choose to do business with us?
  4. What do our customers say they like about our service/product?
  5. Do we really give good customer service? If so, how specifically do we provide good service?
  6. Is price a factor in closing a sale?

I went through this exercise with a prospect of new website client recently and the answers were eye opening.  When I asked what they did better than the competition, they answered, “we all do about the same thing.” So why would I choose your business if you are the same as everyone else? And doesn’t it come down to price at that point? If you’re no different than the competition, then I’m going make my decision based on the lowest price.

During a different interview, I asked the same question and the response I got was, “we are better at customer service.” Oh yeah. That’s the same thing the competition said about you. How do you know you give better customer service? What specifically do you do that’s above and beyond the norm? And how do you measure and monitor your customer service? You may not hear complaints but that doesn’t mean your service was that good. The silence of customers leaving may speak louder than their words.

 

Find your strengths and shout those throughout your marketing messages. Facebook them, tweet them and blog about them. Make your service or product special. While talking with client that does mobile auto repair, we replaced the phrase “basic diagnostic test” with “Company Name Comprehensive Initial Diagnostic test.” Did he change any of his procedures? No, but now the message conveys a whole different meaning.

What are your strengths? And what is the message your sending?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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We have a love-hate relationship with change. We want the latest technology, like cell phones or IPads.  But we complain vehemently when Facebook changes their layout or anything on their page. We look forward to the new TV season but we continue to do business as usual.

We are creatures of habit, not wanting to stray far from our comfort zone.  Or as Captain Barbosa would say “Yer off the edge of the map, matie.  Here, there be monsters.”  Okay, so maybe we’re not afraid of monsters, and it’s not really the great unknown that we hate about change.  So why do we resist change when it comes to marketing our  business?

Unlike any other time in recent history, marketing and advertising are undergoing radical changes. Even back when television advertising rose to prominence, it was still an interruption marketing model – we interrupt this program for a word from our sponsors. But first the internet and now social media have changed that drastically.

Marketing today is all about relationships. We’ve heard the marketing gurus preach “know, like and trust” as it relates to building rapport for years.  Loosely translated, that meant salesperson must find a way to communicate with the customer. However today, the trust factor is often built long before a salesperson gets involved.

Long before a prospect walks through the door or picks up the phone, they’re doing their homework, their due diligence. It starts at the website then moved to social media sites. If they find a self-centered, “me first” message or a good old-fashioned sales pitch, they hit the back button and check out the next business. But if they find a customer focused, value message, they are moved much further down the decision making path.

Here are 5 changes to a business as usual approach for your online marketing presence.

  1. You vs. We – Review the home page of your website and count the number of times it says “we.”  The more “we’s” there are the faster visitors will leave the site.  Remember, they don’t care about you – only what you can do for them.
  2. Call To Action — Does your website tell the visitor what action they should take? While you may think it’s obvious the visitor will call you upon seeing your awesome site, they may be looking for the e-mail button. A simple “Call Now” followed by the phone number increases the chances they will contact you.
  3. No High Pressure Sales — A common mistake of social media newbies is thinking “I now have 200 friends I can sell to.” Every other post on Facebook is about their current special or their incredible product or service. And they wonder why social media doesn’t work.
  4. Boring Content — Tweeting or Facebooking the pictures of your lunch every day is not likely have friends or followers waiting expectantly for the next installment (unless you’re a food reviewer.) Share something that makes people think or that will elicit a response.
  5. Interaction Is King — Having an audience is one thing but having an audience that is engaged is golden. An engaged audience will not only remember your content but eagerly anticipate your content.

What are you doing to move from business as usual to become a master of online marketing?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

 

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I had a phone call this morning from a salesperson (I use the term loosely) offering to sell me advertising.  I felt a desperate need to have 911 standing by in case she passed away on the phone.  In a dialogue that was lacking in excitement or enthusiasm,  it was almost painful to listen to.

The caller started by introducing themself and saying they were offering to sell me advertising.  Woo hoo!  Just what I wanted this morning, to be sold advertising.  When I quizzed her about her publication and whether it was a good fit for business-to-business advertising, her response was “you’d be surprised”.  I’m not sure if that meant I’d be surprised if I got any results, or if I’d be surprised at how many people blindly bought without knowing the effectiveness of the publication.  Needless to say I was not impressed.

At one point during the conversation she said local businesses that need a website could call me and explain their problem, then I could go out to their house and take care of.

As an online marketing guy I typically don’t make house calls to fix a computer problem. Major hint: learn what your prospect does so you can talk halfway intelligently.

So this conversation got me thinking about how you communicate with prospects, whether on the phone, your website or your social media sites.  Are you enthusiastic about your product or service?  (If you’re not, I’m sure not going to be.)  Do you talk about you, or do you talk about how you are the answer to my problem/pain/needs/prayers?

Take a trip outside your body and look at the message you are sending out.  If you were considering  doing business with you, would you or would you buy from your competition?

 

Gary Wagnon is the CMN (Chief Marketing Ninja) at 800biz Online Marketing Solutions.  Using an integrated approach to online marketing (combining web site design, search engine optimization, social media and action driven content), 800biz specializes in helping businesses stand out above the competition and drive more traffic to their door.

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Let’s get ready to rumble!  In the blue corner you may know him as Col. James Braddock, Maj. Scott McCoy, or. Walker Texas Ranger.   He’s the man, the legend, Chuck Norris.  In the red corner, he bowls overhand, sharks have a week dedicated to him, he’s won trophies for his game face alone.  He’s the Most Interesting Man In The World.

If these two immovable figures were to square off in a throw down which one would be the last man standing?  While we will never know the outcome of this mythical battle, businesses can learn a lesson from it.

Both of our iconic fighters display a tenacity that businesses should strive for.  Defeat is not in their vocabulary.  It seems that no task is beyond their capability.  In any adversity they adapt, create a plan of attack and act immediately.  In business, we face challenges on a daily basis, some more daunting than others.  How do we react to new competition?  How do we react during a downturn economy?  Or changes in government regulation? Price increases in materials and supplies?

Do you view changes with dread, wring your hands and saying “what am I going to do?”  Or do you welcome the challenges as a nudge to evaluate your business, to find more efficient methods and procedures?  During challenging times like these, the businesses that are able to adapt are the ones that survive.  And not only survived but thrive in the future.

Our two combatants are recognizable brands.  You can see a picture of either one and immediately know who it is without reading the name or seeing a logo.  The reason –  their brand has been so successfully created that we can easily identify it.

We think of branding as a logo like Ford Motor Company’s blue oval or Geico’s Gecko.  Or we think of slogans like “Red Bull gives you wings” or “Just Do It.” But a brand is not a logo or a slogan.  A brand is a perception, the entire persona that exists in the mind of your customers.

As small business owners we may think we don’t have the resources to create a brand.  If a business does not create its own brand, their customers will.  Whether you’re a company or an individual, you have a brand.  To quote Seth Godin, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” (Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?).

Create your brand by finding your niche, what you do best, and continually reminding your current and prospective customers what you do.  Consistency is the key.  Your brand should reflect your personality, your company philosophy and its environment.  Don’t be afraid to be different, to have fun if that’s who you are.  Obviously there are certain businesses that require a very rigid, professional persona.  Even in that case, it’s still critical to brand what separates you from the competition.

I always find it an interesting exercise when talking with a new client about their business.  One of the questions I ask is “what do you do better or differently than the competition.”  Another is “why should a prospective customer choose you over the competition?”  The answers I typically get are “we all do about the same thing”. Or I may get an answer like “better customer service” or “lower price.” What that really means is “I don’t know.  We are just doing our thing.  We don’t really pay attention to our competitor unless they beat us on a job.”

The first step in creating a brand is defining what separates the business from the competition.  Every business (if they are going to stay in business) must define their strengths and own their niche.

I recently went through this exercise in my own business.  While there are many web site designers, many search engine optimization specialists and many social media experts, very few do all three with successful results I can produce.  After many years of identity crisis, I finally created the brand that separates my company from the crowd.

In today’s online marketing world, buying decisions are influenced (if not made) by your brand reputation.    What is your brand to say about you?  Does it accurately portray your strengths and your specialties?  Is it consistent?  In a throw down with your competition who’s going to come out on top?

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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29
Jul

Blogging In The Shower

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon Tags: , ,

Some people sing in the shower but I do my best writing and blogging in the shower. Of course the paper does gets a little wet.

Last night while meeting with a group of social media enthusiasts, the question came up about what do you write. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. In fact I could probably retire if I had a dollar every time I heard it. But the truth is so many “experts” write about, or speak about the importance of writing blogs, articles, or e-zines. The cold hard facts are this: most business owners aren’t writers.

If you look up business owner in the dictionary I’m pretty sure the definition says a person that works 12 hours a day, seven days a week. So the thought of creating a regular routine of writing for a blog or website doesn’t conjure up good thoughts. Where is the time going to come from? What am I going to say? And who’s going to read it?

Assuming you can block off an hour or so a week to write your blog, does that mean you’re going to have the light bulb go off with an insightful or witty idea? That’s where my shower moment comes in. Your moment might be driving to an appointment, or working out at the gym or just before going to sleep. So the key is to jot a note down that will remind you when you’re ready to write.

Here are a few other ideas to help you build your content library.
• As you read newsletters and trade journals in your industry, watch for ideas that your customers or clients would find interesting or helpful. Either save the article or jot down the main points so during your writing time you can re-spin this article with your take on it. A word of caution: don’t just reprint the article. While people might find this information helpful it’s not your information so you’re not getting credit for being the expert.
• Think about 10 frequently asked questions about your business. That’s a natural choice for articles.
• What are 10 things you wish your customers knew or would do.
• How to tips – if you’re in a service related business give your reader ideas how they can save money, save time, improve product life or any number of helpful hints.
• Be a resource – in my case, since my readers are interested in online marketing, it stands to reason they would probably be interested in tips on keeping their computer running from an expert in my network. While I am not the originator of the content, I’m the one that gets the thanks for passing that information on.
• Use a guest blogger – along the same lines as the idea above, inviting a guest expert to contribute is a good way to keep the volume of valuable information flowing through your site. Plus it’s a good way to expand your reach into your guests network.

So until they make waterproof paper that works in the shower keep a regular note pad handy or your smart phone. For smart phone users you might try Evernote. This app will let you write or voice record your ideas for you to later retrieve from your computer or phone when you’re ready.

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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How would you like to be on your competitor’s Christmas card list? Well if you do these really well you might even get a gift basket from them.

So here is a list of 10 things that will make your competition not only smile but be genuinely happy you’re out there.

1. Not having a web site – Let’s face it, if you don’t have a website, no one’s going to find you, so you’re not much threat to the competition. Since 75% of all purchase decisions start online, your competitor will love you for not being there.

2. Not claiming your Google places page – An unclaimed Google places page or maps page is like having a Yellow Pages with no phone number or address. But the big difference is, you’re leaving the details open for anyone else to edit. And with the new Google layout showing the listings on the map so prominently, your competition will probably be sending you birthday cards and thank you notes for all the customers you’re missing.

3. Having a “Me To” website – You have a website like everyone else with a couple pages that give a basic outline of what you do. After all, everyone knows what your business does, right? But you competitor’s site explains in great detail what they do. A prospect visits your site and doesn’t see what they’re looking for, but they find it on your competitors site, you make your competition happy once more.

4. It’s all about me – Your website extols the virtues of how great your business is. Your fantastic customer service, your low prices, your quality product, blah, blah, blah. Your competitor, on the other hand, has figured out it’s not about them; it’s about the prospect. The prospect does not care how wonderful your service is, how great your product is or anything else about you. They only care about whether you can either fix their problem or remedy their pain. Whoever does this best, wins.

5. Web site has no call to action – You go to all the effort to drive traffic to your website only to educate your prospect, then watch them go to your competitor and purchase. Businesses get so concerned about not being pushy that they don’t even create any call the action on their website. Your competitor’s site not only educates the prospect, but makes it easy for them to act, whether via online order or phone call.

6. I don’t do social media – Of the 251 million people in the US on the Internet, 203 million of them are on Facebook. What are the chances some of them are your prospects? Your competitor, on the other hand, is out there building relationships with not only your prospects, but probably even your customers.

7. I have a high school/college kid doing my social media – While it’s true that teenagers are all over Facebook, and can post photos, tag people, like, share, and do all the other things that you don’t understand, social media for business it is COMPLETELY different. You wouldn’t even consider hiring an advertising or marketing person based on the fact that they sold their Xbox on Craig’s list so they could buy the new PS3? Your competitor hired a professional to create a social media plan that they religiously follow.

8. Having an incomplete social media profile – Have you ever noticed at a seminar or tradeshow they give you nametags? Is that just because they had money left over in the budget? No. It’s so you can network and build relationships with the people that are there. So having an incomplete profile on social media sites is like not only having no name tag but wearing a paper bag over your head. There’s not going to be a lot of interaction and you’re certainly not going to build any relationships.

9. Social media is a great selling opportunity – After all, you have a captive audience of Likers/Followers/Connections, why not fire away with your sales message? You’re probably one of those that go to a family reunion, pass out business cards and make your sales pitch to everyone there. Your competitor is giving valuable information, tips and helpful hints to her Likers/Followers/Connections. Her connections are growing and you wonder why yours are.

10. Social media takes too much time besides I don’t care who had Cheerios for breakfast. – Who has time to wade through the dribble on Facebook or Twitter? You have a business to run, marketing to do, and customers to keep happy. Meanwhile, your competitor has discovered a set of tools that let him/her not only schedule and manage their social media, but also monitor what’s being said about them online. They are developing relationships and handling customer service issues in real time before they become a problem.

Do a couple of these things and you stay on your competitors Christmas card list. Do several of them and there’s a chance you will get invited to the Christmas party…as an employee.

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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