Dec 01

What’s up with the ellipsis?

I have a client who insists on using an ellipsis, for no apparent reason, at least once in every email she sends me.  At first I misunderstood what she was really trying to say and assumed she was impatient or implying “Um, come on… get it together!” (For example, “Hello…  I need the newsletter sent out today…”)  Now I realize it’s just her, let’s say, particular style of writing.

ellipsis

But perhaps we all have our own “ellipsis” of some sort.  Try to look at your email and other written correspondence with a new eye. Do you use some form of punctuation way too often? Do you capitalize constantly? Do you fail to capitalize anything? Do you use exclamation points when they are not necessary!? Do you add an extra question mark for no particular reason??

A simple tweak to your writing style could mean the difference between turning a potential business relationship off or relaying your message exactly as you intended.  Know what I mean…


Apr 01

What to say when they say, “The price is too high.”

Posted by Mandy Minor, marketing strategist and copywriter   For the first four years of my company’s existence I struggled with pricing.  We did the pricing exercises and knew what we needed to charge – prices that were in line with the market and truly a good value for the service and support we provide.  Even so, price was the most common objection, and this whittled away at my confidence.  I know objections are disguised desires to buy, but still – it gets old!

So I solved my price confidence issue in two steps.

Step 1: Gather ideas and tactics from sales pro friends and online resources.
I’m an avid networker and have established great relationships with two sales guys who know their stuff.  I got their advice and worked it into our existing pricing structure; turns out our pricing was spot-on.  Then I did the same from the plethora of awesome sales resource websites online, like Just Sell and RainToday.com.  Just Sell had some real gems for handling the price-is-too-high objection, like “That’s a valid issue. Several of our current customers had those same concerns at the beginning. Let me show you some examples of how those purchases paid off.”  Then it was on to step 2.

Step 2: Mind training.
I know, sounds weird.  But really all it was is this: I allowed myself to become comfortable with our prices.  I looked in the mirror – literally – and said – out loud – “We give our clients amazing service and expertise and are worth every penny of the reasonable prices we charge.”  I took my sales friends’ advice and learned to stop talking; when sales conversations got to the price I stated it and shut up.  This one tactic alone was a miracle worker, because it exudes confidence.  And finally, I stopped wasting time sweating sales that didn’t happen and began using that energy to focus on upcoming opportunities.  And today as I write this we have three quotes to write and more resume business than we’ve had in months.

Everything I did, you can do too.  Go get ‘em!


Feb 11

How far is too far?

Before we get started let’s just preface this by stating the obvious: We’re in marketing and therefore want ads to exist.  Ads, in one form or another, are our bread and butter.  But does that mean any possible ad someone can dream up is good?  We think not.

Think about this example: We have the ability to make concrete and get it to stick to the ground.  That is good.  But would paving every square inch of ground be a good idea?  Sure, it’s possible.  But that doesn’t mean it needs to be done!

Same thing with ads.  We recently read about Court TV’s “audio spotlight” – speakers installed in the ceilings of bookstores that promote a new murder-mystery show by playing a recoding of a voice whispering, “Hey, you, can you hear me? Do you ever think about murder?”

Um, can you say, “Hello creepy?”  Sure it‘s clever, it’s different, it’s new – and it’s likely to make more than a few people jump out of their skin and scurry out of the store.  Hearing voices is a legitimate sign of mental trouble.

And if this trick is embraced we have to ask the obvious: what’s next?  Cereal boxes yelling at us from the grocery aisles?  Reams of paper with flashing light wrappers?  Sure these ideas sound nuts, but so did the “audio spotlight” at one time.  And we don’t even have time to get into the opt in/out and invasion of privacy issues here.

Yes, we are painfully aware of media saturation and how we all get to witness thousands of advertising messages daily.  But is the natural conclusion then to create weird and invasive ways to cut through the clutter?

Might the real problem lie in the fact that there are too many people pushing too many ads?  If we were more selective about the type and amount of ads put out, might people be more receptive to them?

Just remember: Things that are “weird” today will be common tomorrow.  And then we’ll have to suffer through days of non-stop whispering about stuff we need.  Awesome!


Apr 30

Social media: Not the Holy Grail, but a good tool to have.

A recent University of South Florida study determined that millennials are not “friending” or “tweeting” about companies and brands like marketers thought they were.  This is going to sound strange coming from marketers, but we’re not surprised.

More and more, people are using social media to promote their products or services.  Think about it: Do you use Twitter to post about your business or area of expertise?  Does your business have a Facebook page – or do you wish it did?

But let’s face it, college kids don’t interact with social media this way.  Their lives involve sleeping, going to class, and having fun.  And they like social networks because they help them with the ladder.

So naturally “interacting” with brands is a big part of that, right?  Wrong.  Do you yearn to spend your free time that way?  Sure, some people do, but not most.  We have lives full of things to do and people to see.

The point is that “social media” has its applications, but it’s not the Holy Grail of marketing.  It’s a tool you can use in your marketing program, which must be based first and foremost on identifying your target market and reaching out to them.

Thanks to Megan Hendricks for bringing this article to our attention.


Aug 30

To tweet or not to tweet – that is the question, right?

Posted by Mandy Minor, marketing strategist and copywriter   Everyone’s talking about Twitter, and it seems like everyone is tweeting: friends, associates, even the Weather Channel make regular tweets about topics ranging from useful to downright silly.

So what should you do?  Take a look at the pros and cons, then decide for yourself.

Pros:
• It’s pretty easy; at 140 characters per tweet you really can’t put too much time into it
• It makes it easy to stay in touch with clients
• It’s good brain exercise to figure out how to say something in 140 characters or less
• It’s good exposure for you and your company
• You’ll get to hear directly from clients, giving you valuable feedback

Cons:
• People can see what you’re up to, even if – and sometimes especially if – you don’t want them to
• It can be too personal if you don’t keep the focus on your business
• It can be a security breach if you tweet the wrong information
• In all likelihood you will not get clients from tweeting, but will build brand awareness

But no matter what, don’t start tweeting just because it seems as though the whole world is giving updates on whether their teeth are brushed yet.  But definitely DO secure your name and your business name.  Even if you decide Twitter isn’t a good use of your time, that doesn’t mean someone else won’t!