Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Neuroscience of Motivation

Strengthening your positive emotions and weakening your negative ones can have huge benefits for performance. Here's why.


The most recent newsletter from management coach Jon Pratlett explains that, when you encounter a difficult situation, your brain reacts differently when you say "I am…" as opposed to "I feel…" 
"Research suggests that when our brain's fight/flight response is activated and we become aware of it, saying to ourselves "I am angry," "I'm frustrated," or "I'm sad" is only likely to perpetuate the threat response."
The reason is simple. When you say "I am" you're making a statement about your identity, which implies the permanence of that emotion. You're saying to yourself "This feeling is who I am."
By contrast, if you characterize your emotion as something you feel, it doesn't imply permanence, since emotions are fleeting. Saying "I feel..." rather than "I am..." is more likely to result in:
"...a measurable shift in blood flow AWAY from the fight/flight centre and major muscle groups, and TOWARD the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the very part of the brain that cultivates witnessing, empathy, and problem-solving."
There's another level, though, that Pratlett doesn't mention, which consists of characterizing your emotions as something that you are "doing" rather than "feeling" or "being." Compare these three remarks:
  1. "I am frustrated."
  2. "I feel frustrated."
  3. "I'm doing frustration."
The third statement puts you in control of the emotion. Yes, you're feeling it, but because it's something that you're doing, you can stop doing it. In other words, you're putting your mental energy into solving the problem of the negative emotion.
This system also works for positive emotions, but the other way around. Compare the following three remarks:
  1. "I am motivated."
  2. "I feel motivated."
  3. "I'm doing motivation."
It's the first statement--the one that makes motivation a part of your identity--that creates the most power. The second statement not so much, while the third statement implies you're just "goin' through the motions."
In other words, if you want to become more successful, train your brain to:
  • Characterize negative emotions as what you're doing rather than what you're feeling or who you are.
  • Characterize positive emotions as who you are rather than what you're doing or feeling.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

7 Popular Marketing Techniques For Small Businesses

Before your business starts marketing a product, it helps to create an ideal customer who you want to reach with your promotional materials. Once you have your ideal customer, you have a plethora of techniques to pick from. Most of these are low cost/no cost methods (sometimes called guerrilla marketing) and you may use different ones at different stages of your business cycle, or you may utilize them all at once from your business' inception. We'll look at seven of these techniques in more detail. (Do you have what it takes to work in this fast-paced field? This article will help you determine if marketing is for you. Refer to A Career Guide For Marketing Majors.)

TUTORIAL: Starting A Small Business Tutorial

Hooray for Free AdvertisingWhen you build a business, the first thing you want to secure is a customer base. With a decent printer, an answering machine and an average computer, you can put together a fairly extensive advertising campaign without having to pay for space.

1. FlyersThis is the carpet-bombing method of cheap advertising. You find an area that you would like to do business in and you distribute flyers to all the mailboxes within reach. Your flyer should be brief and to the point, highlighting the services you offer and providing contact information. Offering a free appraisal, coupon or discount never hurts.

2. PostersMost supermarkets, public spaces and malls offer free bulletin board space for announcements and advertisements. This is a hit or miss method, but you should try to make your poster reasonably visible and have removable tabs that the customers can present for a discount. Make each location a different color so that you can get an idea from the tabs where the most leads are being generated. If there is one area that is producing the majority of your leads, you can better target your campaign (flyers, ads in papers catering to those areas, cold calling, etc.)

3. Value AdditionsThis is one of the most powerful selling points for any product or service. On the surface, value additions are very similar to coupons and free appraisals, but they are aimed at increasing customer satisfaction and widening the gap between you and competition.

Common value additions include guarantees, discounts for repeat customers, point cards and referrals rewards. Often the deciding factor for a person picking between one of two similar shops is whether he or she has a point card or preferred customer card. You don't have to promise the moon to add value; often you just have to state something that the customer may not realize about your product or service. When you are making your advertising materials, the value additions should be highlighted.

4. Referral NetworksReferral networks are invaluable to a business. This does not only mean customer referrals, which are encouraged though discounts or other rewards per referral. This includes business-to-business referrals. If you have ever found yourself saying, "we don't do/sell that here, but X down the street does," you should make certain that you are getting a referral in return.

When dealing with white-collar professions, this network is even stronger. A lawyer refers people to an accountant, an accountant refers people abroker, a financial planner refers people to a real estate agent - in each of these situations, the person stakes his or her professional reputation on the referral. Regardless of your business, make sure you create a referral network that has the same outlook and commitment to quality that you do.

As a final note on referral networks, remember that your competition is not always your enemy. If you are too busy to take a job, throw it their way, most times you will find the favor returned. Besides, it can be bad for your reputation if a customer has to wait too long. (Are your shoulder's wide enough to carry a company's reputation? See The Marketing Director's Pitch.)

5. Follow-UpAdvertising can help you get a job, but what you do after a job can often be a much stronger marketing tool. Follow-up questionnaires are one of the best sources of feedback for how your ad campaign is going. Why did the customer choose your business? Where did he or she hear about it? Which other companies had he or she considered? What was the customer most satisfied with? What was least satisfying? Also, if your job involves going to the customer, make sure to slip a flyer into the nearby mailboxes, as people of similar needs and interests tend to live in the same area.

6. Cold CallingUnpleasant? Yes. Important? Yes. Cold calling, whether it is over the phone or door to door, is a baptism of fire for many small businesses. Cold calling forces you to sell yourself as well as your business. If people can't buy you, the person talking to them, then they won't buy anything from you. Over the phone you don't have the benefit of a smile or face-to-face conversation – a phone is a license for people to be as caustic and abrupt as possible (we are all guilty of this at one time or another). However, cold calling does makes you think on your feet and encourages creativity and adaptability when facing potential customers.

7. The InternetIt is dishonest to pretend that the Internet is a cohesive whole for marketing – like a community hall you can put up a poster in or a section of the highway were you can buy billboard space. However, it is difficult to overstate the importance the Internet has on marketing. The previous methods of marketing have not changed in the last 50 years. The Internet has been born and evolved rapidly during that same time frame.

It is nearly unthinkable that a company, even a local cafĂ© will not have at least a website with the vital details such as location and hours. Not having a site means not having a point of access for the growing number of people who Google first when they want to make a buying decision. Add to this a social media presence (Facebook page, Twitter account) and the need for good SEO, and it can appear overwhelming. However, the technology has evolved to the point where Wordpress – just one example of a free HTML editor – can meet all these needs.

Bottom LineMore than likely, you will find that the conversion rate on marketing is very low. Even the most successful campaigns measure leads – and converted sales from those leads - in the 10-20% range. This helps to shatter any illusions about instant success, but it is also an opportunity for improvement. Do you want a company to buy your product? Give them a presentation showing how it will benefit them. Do you want someone to use your service? Give them an estimate or a sample of what you will do for them. Be confident, creative and unapologetic – people will eventually respond. (Understanding how to manage business credit is the key to obtaining small business loans. Check out The Small Business Jobs Act: Make It Work For You.)
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Get Started on Reaching That Big Goal

How to Get Started on Reaching That Big Goal
 


Starting is always the hardest part. Here's a super simple trick to power you over the hump.

How many good intentions founder on the difficulty of simply getting started?
Your resolution to start exercising more regularly or your vow to keep up your company’sblog are laudable goals. But each morning when the alarm clock rings, your intentions are good, but your will is weak, and another day passes without you making progress toward your goal. How do you overcome this inertia?
Some experts offer elaborate systems. Others prescribe deep soul searching and intensive visualization. But David Kadavy, author of  Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty, has a simpler solution, and  it takes only 10 minutes a day, so you can’t possibly offer the excuse that you don’t have time for it. 

Ten Minutes to a New Habit

He described the technique on his blog: "Each day, after I wake up, as soon as is possible--before eating, before showering, before checking email, (but not before meditating)--I pick one task, set my iPhone timer for 10 minutes, and work on that one thing non-stop." Sounds incredibly doable, right? But how effective could something so head-slappingly simple actually be?

Very, according to Kadavy. "Sometimes, the 10 minutes seems like an eternity. I’m just waiting for it to end so I can eat something or go to the gym," he admits, "but often--actually, usually--I don’t stop after 10 minutes. 10 minutes turns into 45 minutes, an hour, two hours, of non-stop work on one project." Whether the 10 minutes launches further productivity or is simply torture doesn’t really matter. "The point is, you get started," he says.

Two Reasons Why It Works

And simply starting, even if your first steps are shaky at best, is incredibly powerful for a couple of reasons. The first is that when you are doing, it’s hard to be doubting. Or as Kadavy puts it, "Once you get started, the trail has been carved. The rigidity of hesitation gives way to the fluidity of being in a project. Whatever second-guesses that had to be quelled to get started are knocked down by the possibilities introduced by being in motion.”
Second, 10 minutes is too few for excuses. By setting yourself such a modest goal, you really leave yourself no option but to actually accomplish it. And, hey, as we already noted, you can always do more if inspiration strikes.
So what sort of habits does this technique work for? Kadavy suggests the usual health-related changes such as hitting the gym or stretching each morning but also suggests it’s a good way to get started with meditation.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How to Write Ad-Copy That Sizzles

Obviously, you have an amazing product or service. You just need to get the word out so that people know about it.
Sure, you could shout from the rooftops about all the amazing benefits your customers would receive if they purchased your product or service.
Or, you could put together a sales page. But, if your sales page is going to work than you need to know a thing or two about ad-copy.
What’s ad-copy? According to BusinessDictionary.com it’s an advertising message that aims at catching and holding the interest of the prospective buyer and persuading her to make a purchase in a few short seconds.
It may sound simple enough, but it takes quite a bit of practice to become a master copywriter.
Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. What are you trying to achieve?

Whenever you write anything for your small business, you must begin by identifying what you want to accomplish.
Do you want the reader to become a lead? Do you want to make an initial sale with a new prospect? Or perhaps you want to make a repeat sale with an existing client or customer?
Never begin writing ad-copy without a crystal-clear goal in mind.

2. Always write with action in mind.

Every single piece of content that you write should have an obvious call to action. In other words, you want your prospects to “do something” once they’ve read your ad-copy.
Should they visit a landing page and download a freebie? Do you want them to call a toll-free number? Or, do you want them to visit a sales page?
It doesn’t matter if you are writing an email, blog post or hosting a webinar, you want your prospects to take action.

3. Be specific.

When writing ad-copy, generalities are the kiss of death. Instead, use words and phrases that are specific, detailed and precise.
For instance, you wouldn’t want to write, “Click on the button below and you will find out how to lose weight.”  That’s much too vague and unclear.
Instead, you would write, “Click here for my special report that will show you how to lose 10 lbs. in 14 days.” Now that’s good ad-copy in action!

4. Keep it simple.

Luckily, you’re not going to be graded on your writing (thank goodness)! So, don’t write in an academic, scholarly fashion.
You want to keep your ad-copy uncomplicated, straight-forward and easy to read. Believe it or not, many ad-copy experts recommend writing at the 5th grade level.
You’re not writing the next great American novel, you’re writing a piece of content that is designed to be scanned quickly.

5. Write in chunks of time comfortable to you.

Oftentimes, small business owners bite off more than they can chew when it comes to creating ad-copy content.
Don’t force yourself to work long hours writing ad-copy. Even if you dedicate just 15 minutes a day, you can accomplish quite a bit more than forcing yourself to write in 2-hour chunks of time.

6. Keep keywords in mind when you write.

When you do take the time to write ad-copy, you should also take the time to perform a bit of keyword research as well. This will help your content rank well in the eyes of the search engines.
To start, use the Google Adwords Free Keyword Planner to research the keyword phrases that your prospects are using to search for your products and services.
Then, make sure to utilize these keywords in the header, title and/or body or your content.
So, the next time you are faced with putting together a few persuasive words to show off your products or services, make sure to keep these tips in mind. You just might make a sale or two!

Friday, May 30, 2014

From Lead Generation to Lead Engagement

Smart marketers are realizing that while the ultimate goal is to acquire a good lead and convert this lead into a customer, simply acquiring a lead isn’t enough. An unbranded lead is a commodity with limited if any real value. This award-winning ad forMcGraw Hill from 1958, offers a smart and timeless reminder.  
It’s difficult to understand much about a buyer simply by getting their lead form, other than they are in the market. By the time the buyer fills out the form, they   are up to 75% of the way through their purchase process but if they weren’t introduced to your company at the earlier stage of their buying journey- when they were formulating their thinking about market leaders, solution providers and best in class vendors, they know literally nothing about your company. The goal in marketing today is to shift from lead generation to lead engagement (Tweet This!). To do this requires knowledge about the buyer, the ability to position your company as a thought leader, and a process for nurturing the buyer through their purchase journey.

The Complexity of Lead Generation

How do you do that? The good news  is that there are brands, platforms and tools available today to help shift from lead generation to lead engagement. The challenge is that the content marketing, ad tech and performance marketing ecosystem is highly fragmented and confusing. You run display programs on various sites and networks. You have search campaigns on multiple search engines and vertical search sites. You distribute your content marketing across a range of content syndication networks. And you buy leads from the multitude of lead generation sources. This disjointed process is complicated and inefficient, and it actually detracts from the marketers ability to drive engagement and marketing performance.
Running disparate campaigns across the wide range of networks, platforms and systems and assuming they are reaching the right buyers, at the right time and delivering the right message- is simply unrealistic. Marketers today need to coordinate their marketing so it works together in order to drive engagement. They also need to ask more of their media providers.
  • Old Media Model: simply connect buyer and seller and get out of the way
  • New Media Model: use data to connect the right buyer to the right seller at the right time and nurture the relationship.

Companies Shifting to Lead Engagement

The most advanced data targeting, data analytics, lead profiling and lead nurturing systems in the world are useless unless your marketing is engineered to work together.
  • Autobytel, the auto site, is a good example of a company doing this really well. Instead of simply sending a lead to advertisers via email, they take the time to educate car dealers on how to reach and engage the interested buyer via text messaging and targeted email messaging. They also use data to help their advertisers. As an example, their data shows that 53% of auto buyers end up buying a different make/model than the one they were looking for. Autobytel uses this data to help advertisers better communicate with prospects about the range of similar makes and models they offer and not just focus on the one the consumer filled out the lead form for.
  • At Business.com, we have built a proprietary data platform for our site and network that allows us to track detailed data; from every visit through to a lead, as a buyer goes through their purchase journey, providing a more contextual experience for our audience and higher performance for our advertising. We also aggregate lead data and provide benchmark reports for our advertisers on which brand the buyer bought and how the follow up process worked.

How to Shift to Lead Engagement

Here are a few tips to get you started on shifting your lead generation to lead engagement:
  1. Focus on the basics.  Narrow the number of suppliers and limit the number of systems you use in marketing. The added complexity in managing too many vendors and systems detracts from the performance of your marketing. Make sure you have clear metrics for success, based on your cost per acquisition goals, your conversion to customers and the lifetime value of the engagement your marketing generates. Share your goals with your media and systems suppliers and get their best thinking on how they can help you achieve them. Be aware of the cost of constant switching. While it may seem wise to constantly switch your advertising and marketing, the reality is your absorbing a significant cost every time you switch. Focus instead on scaling the performance and engagement with a small number of strong providers, as opposed to regularly switching around.
  2. Start with the buyer in mind. Develop a best practice around creating buyer personas. Write out personas for each of your key buyer segments by title, function, need and size of company. Name these personas and assure that everyone in marketing and sales understands them completely. Then focus your marketing messages and content to these buyers. Tweet This Tip
  3. Think of the marketing funnel as a continuum. You want to introduce yourself to the buyer early in their journey when they are at the top of the marketing funnel. Engage and nurture their interest as they work through the process and then continue the relationship once they’ve become a customer. Your best future customers are your current customers so don’t stop your marketing once they’ve purchased.
  4. Ask your customers how they feel about your marketing.Business product buyers today are very savvy. They have access to information at the touch of a keystroke- more than your best sales rep could possibly share with them. As a result they are also very knowledgeable about marketing. They love marketing that engages them, that helps them solve a problem, learn something new, validate an assumption or inspires them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

SHARPEN THE "HOOK"

Zig Ziglar - Business
Business
The first rule of successful communications is that you must immediately win your audience’s attention, capture their imagination, engage them, and answer their “What’s-In-It-For-Me” question.  In other words, hook them into giving you their attention.  It is sort of like fishing.  A sharp hook catches more fish than a dull one.



It doesn’t matter who your audience is – it could be suspected prospects, actual prospects, customers, staff, or investors.



It doesn’t matter what communications medium you are using – it could be this newspaper, a web page, email, direct mail, or spoken word.



It doesn’t matter the purpose of your communication – it could be advertising, selling, motivating, or convincing.



What does matter is that you immediately engage their interest and their imagination by answering that often unspoken question, “What’s-In-It-For-Me?”  If you don’t engage your audience in the first moment, at least a good portion of the effectiveness of your communication plummets like a lead balloon.



The first thing your audience will see is your headline in a printed ad, the subject line in an email, and the first thing they will hear in a speech or sales presentation is your opening statement.  If you create interest and capture their imagination in that first vital moment your audience will give you the opportunity to tell them more, to convince them, and motivate them to action.



Your headline can be a bold, even audacious, statement, a question your audience will want the answer for, an evocative beginning to a story, a shocking statistic, or even a well crafted pun.  But whatever it is it needs to be something that keeps your audience from turning the page or hitting “delete,” or closing their mind to your communication.



So review your marketing and advertising communications, your emails, your notes for the talk you will be giving at a meeting with an eye and ear to evaluating the headline.  Are there more powerful words you can substitute for dull ones?  Can you turn a statement into a question?  Are you using emotions in addition to facts?  If you sharpen your “hook” you will catch more fish.
Larry Galler works with professionals, small-business owners, contractors, and entrepreneurs to increase sales and profits through better, more creative marketing and effective administration systems.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Personal Development - The Importance of Investing in Yourself!

The Importance of YOU

In early childhood, learning different things helps with shaping our adulthood. This process of personal development does not stop at any subsequent stage of life. There are always opportunities and ways of improving personal development at every moment of our life. The opportunities will have to be explored depending upon our circumstances. It could be in the form of taking private lessons for improving weaker areas of your potential. It could also be in the form of undergoing a night or part-time course to obtain further credentials helping your career and improving your work performance. To gain additional capabilities in developing the unique capabilities, you may have to spend a small amount of your resources to achieve your goal.
The importance of investing in your self could be in the form of buying books, or training your mind in exploring the new ideas. If you wish to increase your knowledge in financial planning or communication skills, you will be required to undertake relevant course to develop that skill. By undertaking the tax preparation course, for example, you can understand your finances and taxes. By doing an exercise only once or by simply attending one seminar, you cannot be expected to change your mind set forever. You must be willingly to immerse yourself in different forms of the personal development every day with discipline.

Personal Development

Investment in YOU

With your investment money, you need not invest only in your marketable skills. Going to the spa or by undergoing a massage you can increase your physical and mental health. The language course can accelerate your communication skills. Anything can fit within the category of personal investment which helps in personal development. This can be in the form of purchasing books, subscribing to magazines and journals, night school, seminars or online courses and even a membership in the local body building club; basically anything which is creative and helps in personal development.
You need not be crazy in buying anything you want and fool yourself. You will have to plan your budget for such investment until you are able to afford to undertake the course. Purchasing of romantic novels will not be considered an investment unless it is being used to analyze for becoming a romantic writer. Personal development remains a key to clear the unevenness and patchiness in your skill and any personal investment will be counted towards the improvement of personal development. You have to change your mind set to do so and free yourself from any kind of weakness.
Time management and minimizing interruptions are ways to manage your time effectively and how you spend your leisure time. In starting, finding extra time to undertake the prerequisite procedure may pose some problems. But this can be managed by optimizing the time you spend with your family or on your enjoyment activities. This extra time could be devoted to your work or for your education. Commitment to your future success should be a hard commitment to stay consistent with personal development.
Some alterations are always forced upon because always there are few circumstances, which are beyond your control or because of our choices or life events. Efforts are required in setting up goals and objectives. This will need your timely personal investment for overall personal development. Thus identified skills can assist you to make the positive, relevant and effective decisions for the future.

Your Life

Improvements in your life include:
  • Career: Build your career by finding what makes you happy
  • Money: Learn the skills to be financial free
  • Health: Develop both healthy habits and physical exercise
  • Relationships: Always keep building your relationships
  • Spirituality: Find a connection with a higher power

Planning Your Goals

Your Needs

  • Spirit
  • Soul
  • Body
  • Mind

Developing YOU

Developing an effective and powerful mindset, in the form of a positive affirmation and visualization, is the most fundamental strategy. It is equally valuable for professional and business stand point to transform your health, attitude and passion for life. Affirmations should be repeated daily before the commencement of work allowing you to grow as a leader and as a person of influence.
Utilization of frustrated time, like, when you are caught in traffic jams you can spend your time in listening to audio of influential speakers and thinkers. Audio aids are an essential part of the personal development which provides the power of easy association. Consistency and repeated listening of some superb audio tapes will change your mind set.
Associating with rich high quality blogs would be a tremendous step in keeping your attitude intact. Social media blogs with positive and motivating quotes are a significant steps to networking with like minded people.
It is always advisable to be in association with wealth, skilled and compassionate thinking people. Association with result oriented presenters in seminars and webinars will affect your thinking in a positive way. These seminars are a good source of inspiration, incentive and relationship. You must take note of the speakers at the seminar. And make an effort in applying their works to your life.

Buy Self Improvement Tools

Learning YOU

Learning new skills and advancing your career would be possible by changing your behaviour. Managing your time and how you spend your time while with family, friends or when you are free. Can be vital in achieving your overall goal in self development. There are a few practical steps that can be taken to enhance personal growth. Developing a positive mindset with affirmations, listening to expert speakers, attending seminars, webinars, selecting a mentor and developing a habit of reading inspirational books are a few different ways in developing personal development of your life.

Make Magic Happen

Growing YOU

Selecting an appropriate mentor can teach you to complete a particular job in a right manner. The mentor will also keep you accountable to your objective, dreams and your goals. You can always look up to them and a go to for advice when you need one. One can always learn from their mistakes and prevent getting distracted from goals. The role of a mentor could related to health, social life, family life, money, assets and career achievements must be balanced with your set of goals and what you want to achieve which will help in selecting them as a mentor.
The habit of reading is one of the most prominent means of developing your personal development. Books remain the means of positive self talk. Great thinkers, philosophers and writers, normally modify their skills, knowledge and thoughts in books. Basically, you will be listening to their voices while reading these books. Generally the books are inexpensive and can be referred to as and when required for help. Reading of quality books is considered to be food for the reader’s soul. It is true that readers are leaders. Books allow us to develop our analyzing skill. You can always make notes of strong points worth recalling. The habit of reading stimulates our imagination and develops the desire to explore the solutions to our problems, which we may have never thought of.
The combination of these elements in personal development and implementing them can be life changing. Good luck with your personal development in the future.

Taking Your First Step