Marketing Or Advertising Your Business

Yesterday I gave a presentation on the above topic to a consultant’s group I belong to, The Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. I’m also on the board, write the monthly newsletter, and I’m the webmaster of their website.

Anyway, it was interesting talking to these folks, most of whom are older than I am (scary since I’m 50), and though I got through it all, it seems they all got hung up initially on social media and just what its purpose was. One guy kept asking the question “did you get any business out of it”, to which I could answer to each one “yes”. He didn’t ask if I got a lot of business out of it, but he was missing the point.

The idea of doing things online isn’t always to immediately get a return on your investment (ROI). Yeah, that would be pleasurable, but the truth is that unless you’re already well known, or fill a need that the market has nowhere else to turn to, it will take some time before you really start making money. Sometimes it takes years, but I digress.

The basic thing about marketing a small business as opposed to a large business is that you probably don’t have a budget set for advertising. Oh yeah, let’s get the definitions of the two terms out of the way, just to be clear. Marketing is planning for how you want others to learn about your business and products. Advertising is money spent on producing materials to help you market your business and products.

Small businesses usually start out doing the same thing because it’s the only thing we know. We buy a lot of business cards, which isn’t so bad except often we haven’t fully defined ourselves before we buy the first batch. We either buy or make brochures, which means we spend a lot of money buying supplies or paying someone else to design and copy these suckers. We buy a lot of paper and envelopes to attack things that way. And we try to make endless calls (well, those who have the mettle to do it; I don’t) trying to talk to people who won’t return phone calls. It’s a tough life sometimes.

What we all eventually find out is that, through some kind of networking, we finally have a chance to make some money and do some business with others. It can be a long struggle for some of us, whereas others find success pretty quickly. There is no one way that it happens for everyone.

It’s the same with marketing online. We have read some of the stories of marketers who seemed to hit the ground running into success with internet marketing, and that’s good for those folks. But that’s not the norm. Even Darren Rowse didn’t make money initially, and it probably took him a couple of years to really ramp up his empire, so to speak. And here’s the next part; almost none of these guys continued making money the way they started out making money.

Don’t believe me? Joel Comm started out making money through Adsense; he’s moved on from there. So has Darren Rowse, who actually makes his money through many other services rather than just blogging. Lynn Terry and David Risley make most of their money in other ways than blogging, and John Chow has always said he makes more money from other sources than just blogging. Everyone has to be ready to diversify in some fashion to keep making money; you can only prime this particular pump so many times before the effect wears off. Think about 10 big name internet marketers from 6 years ago, then think of how many of them you still see on a regular basis, unless you’ve stayed on their mailing list forever. If you need to, check out Gurudaq, which I wrote about back in October 2008.

Enough of that. I figure that some might be interested in my outline for the presentation, and at the risk of someone stealing it, well, I really don’t care this time around, although it seems some of my content has been stolen by a site calling itself Lua Cheia (they stole an entire article from my business blog; I wrote them and they said it’s a version of Digg & Stumble Upon, only I got no attribution; here’s the link to it if you want to see it, but I’m not making it an active link: http://luacheia.soup.io/post/44468305/When-Protecting-Your-Reputation-Isn-t-Worth). Anyway, here’s the outline; enjoy, and do NOT ask me where I got the statistics from, as I just took the first stat I found on each of these from wherever I could find it.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

1. Mail
     A. Letters
     B. Flyers
     C. Postcards

2. Printed Materials
     A. Flyers
     B. Brochures
     C. Business Cards

3. Networking
     A. Join Groups
     B. Get On Committees
     C. Work on getting people to know you

4. Hire someone to market you
     A. Agency
     B. Sales people

5. Phone calls

6. Media
     A. Magazines/Newspaper
     B. Radio
     C. Television

New Ways Of Marketing

1. Email

2. Websites

3. Blogs

4. Social Networking

5. Speaking/presenting

Costs of Advertising

1. Printed materials can cost a lot of money

2. Cost of postage

3. Costs of joining groups

4. Costs of labor in hiring others

5. Websites can be expensive to create, but are easy to change

6. Blogs are inexpensive to create and maintain, but still need to “advertise” in another way

7. Social media is free, but can be time consuming

8. Email is free, but some people don’t respond well to it

Effectiveness/ROI

1. Mailings only convert at an average of around 1%, and only if you submit in high volume

2. Business cards only convert at an average of around 2%, but once again, volume drives the figures

3. Websites have a 2.5% conversion rate, based on high traffic

4. Blogs can help conversion rates go up by 3% if you have a niche market

5. Email converts at less than 1% for people you don’t know, around 25% for people you do know

6. Phone calls convert around 2 to 3% for product based companies, less for service based companies

7. Speaking engagements convert around 1% initially, but can increase to 5% over time for some

8. Networking converts at around 1% short term, but can increase to 5% over time for some

9. Advertising on media depends on product & location; products always do better than services

10.No figures on social networking yet, but people have gotten business from it

What Personally Affects How / What We Do

1. Comfort level

2. Finances
     A. What can we afford to spend on stuff
     B. How much in need are we of making money “now”

3. Control

4. Knowing our market too well / too little

5. Trying too hard / giving up

Big Question – What do you do in marketing/advertising & how does it work for you? Are you missing ways that might be beneficial to you long term?

Transaction Holdings THAF0919 Romance and Valentines- Love Eternal

Transaction Holdings Romance and Valentines – Love Eternal

Price – $30.71


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My First Week In Reno

Officially I’ve been in Reno over 168 hours, so that counts as a week. I thought I’d get some impressions down while they’re still in my mind. This is an “I’m Just Sharing” post, and not an internet marketing post, so if you’re not up to being entertained by a story, stop reading here and come back tomorrow morning, when another post is already scheduled to appear, and a guest post at that.

I talked already about the time issues I’ve been dealing with. Those remain, but I’m starting to get more acclimated to it; not really. I’ve just figured out how to do it my way; but I’m jumping ahead of the story.

When I arrived in Reno, I found the same thing I found in Las Vegas many years ago; there are slot machines in the airport. All over the place, mind you, though I didn’t use the bathroom so I can’t confirm or deny that one. I guess they want to put it in your mind that this is the thing to do; it’s probably the reason most people come to Reno. I got a great rental vehicle, a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe, red mind you, and it’s been great.

The first thing that strikes you about Reno is the same first impression you get of Las Vegas; it’s really brown. That’s what life is like being in the desert. However, Reno is surrounded by more mountains than Las Vegas, the Sierra Nevada Mountains to be more exact. There are actually residences on the mountains; that just freaks me out. Everywhere you go, you can see the mountains. A few of them have snow on them, not because it snows all that much here, but because it’s so cold up there that when they get their little bits of snow, it sticks around. Reno has a total of 26 mountain summits and peaks; that’s something else. The picture above is what I see out of the window of my hotel every day; neat, eh?

There are also a goodly number of casinos here. I’ve counted 10 thus far, and if there are more I won’t be finding them, or looking for them. If I get on the main highway to where I work I pass 2 casinos, and there’s one that’s one block away from where I’m working, and it’s connected to two other casinos. I learned that they’re now all owned by the same corporation, which explains the arrangement. If I go a different way, the back way so to speak, I pass three other casinos, though it takes a little bit longer to get to where I work. But not much; I’m in a pretty good way with where I work and where I’m staying.

I’ve mentioned brown, and I’ve mentioned casinos; at that point is where the similarities between Las Vegas and Reno end. The image of Reno is much different from the reality of Reno.

In the other post, I showed you the famous Reno sign. What I didn’t mention is that, because of the economy, the area where that sign resides isn’t as active as it used to be, even on the weekends. During the week, the casinos are fairly dead.

Where I’m working is downtown Reno, as are the casinos, and one day last week I walked over to one of the casinos to eat lunch at one of the buffets. I was amazed at how easily I could walk to the casino, as there wasn’t a car moving on what’s supposed to be the second busiest street in town, and very few moving on the busiest street. There weren’t many people in the casino, and I walked right up, paid my money, and was immediately seated at a buffet; that just doesn’t happen in Vegas.

It doesn’t often happen at the casino where I live during lunch time or dinner time. The place where I’ve played poker has only 9 tables in the poker room, and the three times I’ve been has never had that room full; that’s shocking to me. Even today, a Saturday, four of the tables weren’t in use most of the day, and by the time I left, they’d closed another table. That’s shocking to me, but I guess the people who live in a casino town aren’t the ones who’d be going all that often. So, parts of Reno are suffering because the economy is killing the number of visitors.

Reno is also set up for lots of shopping. There are all sorts of malls around the city, though nothing downtown, which seems to fit a pattern I’ve seen in many other travels of mine. I’m within range of a bunch of them, though thus far I’ve only gone in one direction, which leads me to the places I want to go. The cost of groceries is higher than where I live also, but I’m not sure if that’s a thing out this way or if it’s specific to the town.

My hotel is great, but I’ve had a problem here and there. I finally had to turn on the heat on Wednesday, and the smell was horrible. Like most smells, you get used to it when you’re in it, but the minute you get out of it and come back, it’s horrible once again. The water in the bathroom area was also messed up. I was brushing my teeth and went to rinse, and I noticed the water was hot. So I turned it further to what I thought was the cold water and it got hotter. I turned it all the way to the other side and it was also very hot. I’d never heard of a water problem where there was no cold water, which was the reverse problem I had in my hotel room in Chicago back in October. Because of those two issues, Friday night I was moved to a different room, now on the 4th floor by request, where the view of the mountains is better and the problems that existed are gone.

There is one more problem I’m having, though I’m not quite sure which problem it is. I’ve developed itching all over my body, and it’s either attributed to the sheets on my bed, or the very dry air here. You don’t tend to think about dry air when it’s cooler, but they haven’t had any precipitation in this area in a very long time, and none is predicted at least for another week, and I’m just not used to that.

Sounds like an odd thing to complain about, but my skin is also drying out, and when a black man’s skin dries out, this thing called “ash” makes us look,… well, we don’t look good. I tried putting the hotel’s lotion on parts of my body, and other than my hands, the rest of my body seems to be saying “are you kidding; that stuff isn’t going to work on me”. It absorbs into my body and nothing changes; the oddest thing I’ve ever seen.

I’ve noticed that I’m drinking lots of bottles of water at work, though I didn’t think about it until today, and in the hotel I’m always drinking something, but then I did that at home so I hadn’t really noticed the change there. The women down at the front desk said they’d ask someone to put older sheets on my bed, but that was before I changed rooms, plus the hotel’s only been open, as of today, seven weeks; just how old could the sheets be? After talking to my wife earlier in the day, I’ve bought something called Eucerin, which is supposed to both moisturize my skin and help stop the itching; we’ll see how well it works, as it’s a very uncomfortable feeling.

The diabetes news is that, for the most part, it’s holding its own. I had one really bad day where I just lost my mind and ate lots of stuff that just isn’t good for me, and it jumped drastically high. I have to be more careful about that, but I’m not used to the availability of some things I really love where I’m working, some of it things I haven’t seen in years where I live.

That’s not even counting the groceries I bought Wednesday night, as I’m staying in a Homewood Suites, which means I have a kitchen where I can prepare some of my own meals. If my wife was with me, we all know I’d have purchased much different stuff, but it still might have come to more than $100. The price of food here is more expensive than at home, as I mentioned before; lucky for me, I had it, but we’ll get back to that part later on. Today, being Saturday, I prepared my own brunch, and right now I’m cooking something to eat for a very late dinner, as I forgot to eat earlier; oops.

To get this out of the way, this is a pretty good consulting assignment. Everyone has been extremely nice, and the first week I’ve even made my own impact on things, as I’ve been able to get some folks to do some things they’ve never thought of doing before. Once again, I’m the only American black person in a position of leadership, but Reno’s demographics at least make sense with that one.

he time thing I talked about I’ve solved by doing something that would be considered as unconventional by most people, but hey, this is me. I’ve started staying up until at least 1AM, which would be 4AM at home, and since I usually sleep 5-6 hours, I’ve been able to stay in bed until at least 7AM. I don’t think I can continue in that vein for long, though, because if I have problems sleeping, like I did Thursday night, it makes for a miserable tiring day, and I was quite miserable Friday, and having a high glucose number in the morning didn’t help matters much. It came way down by the evening, as I took care of how and what I ate during the day, but the headache started around 10AM and didn’t go away until very late Friday night, just before I decided to go to the casino.

The final piece I’m going to talk about is the poker playing at the casino. This is for Khaled, who’d asked me to give an update from time to time on my poker games, though I may not be talking about it all that often.

I went Monday night, which was unexpected, and I ended up coming back to the hotel up over $650. Friday night, when my headache finally went away after changing rooms and eating something, I decided to go again. When I finally left that night, I had added another $305 to my winnings. Then today, I went again, after working on another business project for almost 5 hours that I had thought would only take 2 hours, and I didn’t play as well. I lost about $400 of the money I’d won, but that means I’m still up over $500 since I’ve been here. I’ve had to eat, and I bought those groceries, but my money is holding up really well otherwise, and I get paid after this week, so life is looking pretty good.

Except for the meal I just made, which tastes terrible. It was a can of Chunky Soup, a brand we have at home but not this particular kind, and I don’t like it; oh well, I’ll just eat something else, since I have the food here. Anyway, that’s the story of Reno from my eyes, and I’m going to be here a long time, except for the two weeks during the holidays. My wife is having fun at home without me; guess I haven’t made myself indispensable yet. I’m going to have to work on that.

Global Warming: The Signs and the Science DVD

Global Warming: The Signs and the Science DVD






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