Consultant Marketing Crafting Identity

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SEO is only part of the equation.

I agreed to sit on a panel after a presentation on SEO the other day.

The presentation was well done if a little lumpy because the presenters were not used to using Zoom.

I learned some things about how SEO works which I’ll put to good use.

But, the most important thing I learned was that key words are worth nothing if the web site doesn’t communicate on a personal level.

The right words.

As the presenters put it, SEO is for the AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the search engines. The words speak to the humans visiting the site. The more personal and to the point the words are the better your chances of getting the visitor to take the action you want them to take.

An example from a consulting web site rewrite:

Before:

These men and women feel they are being reactive rather than proactive and want to exert more analytically supported control over the business. Often, they feel that they are running just to catch up. They are certain that with the right plan in place with assurance the have right managers on the job they will be able to handle any crisis.

After:

Do you often feel that you are running just to catch up? Tired of being reactive rather than proactive? Want to exert more insight driven control over your business?

Our clients are certain that with the right plan in place and the right managers on the job they can handle any crisis.

The Before is talking about someone. The After talks to someone. Questions move this to a conversation instead of a description. Notice the increase in connection and the impression of a personal exchange in the After.

Empathy counts

Shifting the “Running to catch up” to the first position says to the busy executives you are addressing that you understand the situation they are confronted with daily. Too often, CEOs and other senior officers must concentrate on finding a fix for what is going wrong rather than concentrating on getting things right for the long term. The sentence beginning, “Tired of being reactive…” standing alone reemphasizes the empathy and clicks into their desires. “Insight driven control” suggests an attainable way to reach the better management goal.

Graphic cues

Separating the last sentence provides a visual cue that there is a change in the  discussion. That is accentuated by opening the sentence with the words, “Our clients.”

Typography offers multiple ways help our minds picture the conversation:

  • Bolds
  • Italics
  • Underlines
  • Strike throughs
  • Initial Caps
  • Punctuation
  • Bullets
  • Copy Centered
  • Copy Left
  • Copy Right
  • Copy Justified
  • Numbered lists
    • Indents

We are a graphically oriented bunch. I’ve been told that spelling, so difficult for many, is visually oriented rather than verbal. So, instead of sounding out words it may pay greater dividends to eyeball them out!

Page or Screen

These graphic elements work in print and on your computer screen. You can do so much with words that some e-mail experts in Business to Business (B2B) situations prefer all text to templates full of color and photos and illustrations. But in the Business to Consumer (B2C) world the colorful piece in print or digital form wins the day.

Strangely enough when you follow-up with print matter after an initial digital presentation the preference is contrary. In B2B color brochures are preferred whereas In B2C one or 2 colors is well accepted for transmittal.

Video  

Recently I was reviewing some web sites and one had a video that was silent. I thought my computer sound had crashed. A couple minutes in I understood what the video was about. The silence had become a hook, a way to intrigue me. It was a kind of sound punctuation. It made me remember the site well after I had any use for the service offered.

Video literally grabs your eyeballs but without words to go with it the story may not come through. Words supered on screen can make a powerful point . Music can enhance it all.

But without the words in the voice over and those imprinted on the image you have a failure to communicate and there goes your identity.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing The Right Words

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They arrive in my inbox as attachments.

The request is: “Here’s the latest, take look and see if it will get your agreement.” Or, “How can we make it better?” Sometimes it is just a simple, “Please edit. I’m looking for people to agree with this and take action.”

Multiple forms, one mission

Here are the most common written documents produced by my clients:

  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Posts
  • White papers
  • Position Papers
  • Presentations
  • Booklets
  • Books

All of them are written to be informative and to one degree or another to be convincing or persuasive.

Words that work

Ever find yourself wondering what someone means, especially when they use acronyms? Do you get confused when someone’s argument goes off obliquely? Are there words you’ve heard that sound good but don’t convey a succinct meaning to you?

I’m playing with you. Let’s try those questions with other words:

Ever find yourself wondering what someone means, especially when they use collections of letters as a word? Do you get confused when someone’s thinking goes off at an angle that doesn’t make sense? Are there words you’ve heard that sound good but don’t speak clearly to you?

A better picture in your mind’s eye

The USA is not one of the greatest collections of readers in the world. Of the developed countries we rank 16th or 17th depending on the study. Scarier still is the fact that about 14% of the US population is illiterate! So why should a consultant be worried about that?

Step away from the 50-cent words

Yes, you are well educated. Yes it cost you a fortune. Yes, you’d like to put the vocabulary you learned to work. Of course, you want to impress that prospect with your knowledge.

Don’t.

Let your emotions be your guide

To convince or persuade you first have to communicate. To get people to see things your way you have to find a way get your ideas across to them. Shorter words have greater emotional connections. The little words make people feel things. Some examples:

  • Canine versus dog
  • Residence versus home
  • Endeavor versus aim
  • Unbiased versus fair
  • Expeditious versus fast

Understanding is a many layered thing

The length of sentences as much as the words used control what we understand.

A sentence that goes on and on like a winding country road that meanders through one croft to another over hill and dale passing innocent bovine pastures and orchards swollen with nuts and fruits will sooner or later cause a bump in the reading larger than any of the chasms in the lanes.

Whew! I got lost somewhere around “bovine.”

To win, you need to write short.

Short sentences.

Little words.

To get the gig you need to touch their emotions.

Don’t impress.

Do not make them guess.

Find the words they use.

The right words.

This is the way I end a speech that talks about how to go from nobody to somebody:

  • The Right Words can make you Memorable in a heartbeat
  • The Right Words can generate trust as you introduce yourself
  • The Right Words allow people to sort themselves into prospects or referral sources
  • The Right Words can get the sale.
  • The Right Words can establish your brand in the time it takes you to speak them

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Automagiced

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“I don’t have to be there in person.”

First I had to teach consulting clients how to use Zoom. We walked through lighting, checking the background and the inevitable foul ups. Then we did a little refresher on how to present successfully at a distance. A couple months into sheltering in place we shared fun uses like a virtual happy hour.

Then the lights went on. Forced to work at a distance and substitute technology for being up close and personal I started hearing comments like:

            “I don’t have to be in the room to build rapport.”

            “I can work with folks a plane ride away without a TSA line.

            “Is there a way we can get to prospects beyond the metro area?”

Automagic Marketing

That’s what I used to call the kind of marketing that pushed the limits on georaphy. Still do, actually, but back when I invented the term I was more aggressively promoting it. To me, the promise of automated marketing was a kind of magic.

It still is.

But then or now the problem is that most folks just don’t understand it. To make Automagic Marketing work, you have to know the limitations as well as the impressive capabilities of computers connected to the internet using direct marketing techniques guided by the magic of if-then scenarios.

An apology, translation and explanation

For those of you that understand this stuff, please pardon my starting with really simple and moving toward more complex. I’ve been amazed by the lack of knowledge of the very sophisticated clients I work with of all ages and backgrounds.

A Rolodex TM

It started with a Rolodex TM. My friend Allen, one of the best sales people I’ve ever met, told me how his jewelry company kept card files on customers that included data on each customer’s extended family. They knew the purchases, ring sizes and preferences for both wives and mistresses! These days that kind of information is in databases manipulated by software for Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Some think that an e-mail program like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact is a CRM. That’s because CRMs always include a way of sending an e-mail either standing alone or working with one you have installed on your computer. The most modern CRMs can also send out texts to smart phones. (Drives me nuts, too!)

Automagic Marketing is what happens when you connect a CRM to an e-mail system and use the abilities of the computer to respond to what action the addressee takes on receiving your message. It is like direct mail on steroids.

The basics

Google is the great search engine that helps you find most everything on the internet. That’s because it ceaselessly searches what is out there. And those that understand how it searches are always dropping clues. Keywords are the primary way to get on the radar. These are words significant in any search you do. A hash tag (which started on Twitter) linked to a keyword makes the item you’ve tagged more visible on social media. Although searching by hashtag has declined, using them puts you higher in the search for the key word. (That’s why people use up to 11 for one item on Instagram or Facebook).

Blogs vs Newsletters

Many of us write blogs. For some it is like writing a journal. For others it is the need to put ideas out into the world and get reaction. If you are looking to have a conversation, you can allow folks to subscribe to your blog. After the psychic payoff you need to understand that a blog says to Google that you have made a change to your web site. That is the best reason for having you blog as part of your website. It enhances your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is the process that helps make sure that your site ranks high in the search engines for relevant keywords and phrases.

A newsletter is not a blog. A newsletter is published via e-mail. It can be all text or formatted with pictures and text, backgrounds and other design elements. It is usually developed using a template supplied by an e-mail service and is sent to a list of people who have opted in to receive it. That list is why some internet entrepreneurs are millionaires. That list, which includes suspects, prospects and customers, is becoming the basis of valuation for companies that operate digitally.   

These days newsletters come in all levels of graphic design from text alone to magazine style approaches that have audio and video links built in. Adding to and making offers to that list is how to get to a 24/7 payday.

Links that pay

People subscribe to your newsletter because they want your content. That may be because they saw a blog and signed up on a form  to get more information. Or they were intrigued by something you posted on social media (a lead magnet) that linked them to a form (a landing page) that had to be filled in to get the item they wanted. The sign-up form automatically puts the contact data into a list and sends out a message to the inquirer’s e-mail so they can download the information. That is automated marketing at it’s simplest.

But wait, there’s more

What if you could set a timer so that another message went out to that new subscriber in an hour or a day or a week or whatever combination of those you preferred?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you have your computer react to subscriber behavior such as their choices in a survey by sending out different information based on their answers?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you could shift your follow up e-mail sequences based on current responses?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you could track subscriber reactions from opt-in to purchase and then based on the purchase begin a sequence to purchase the next product in the series you offer.

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

The magic

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The magic is in knowing this is possible.

The magic is in the ability to test to see what works…automatically

The magic is in devising strategies with this capability to build a business, a brand and a life of joy…automatically.

I do that magic and I call it Automagic Marketing

And so it goes

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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Cruise Control

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My promise.

I tell the consultants that meet me in-person or on-line that I can help them build their business, their brand and a life of joy.

I may meet them when networking, speaking at a live or virtual event but most frequently I have been referred to them.

Usually, my retainer clients come as a result of referrals. Most believe their marketing problem can be resolved with a web site update. All are surprised when we begin the engagement with a full backgrounder on how their business operates.

I look at:

  • Objectives
  • Operations
  • Financials
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Prospect Viewpoint
  • Positioning
  • Profitable Niching
  • Value Proposition

All that is put in writing before we consider any component of their brand identity and promotion.

Why? Why not just jump in and build a website or videos or whatever?

They are just cruising

They are moving along at a steady pace just as you do when rolling down the interstate. That can be good or bad. If you get lulled into not paying attention to what is going on you can wind up miles down the road past a turning you should have taken. You can lose track of how much fuel you are consuming and when to refill. You can let things get away from you.

In business you can miss the signs of a disruption that will affect your organization or your customers. In the corporate world you can get siloed and lose track of the overall while running your part of the operation with consummate skill. Everyone gets comfortable with how things are going. And the business stagnates.

By looking at all those items noted above I can get most clients to shift to a better way.

Cruise Control

According to Wikipedia, “Cruise control is an electronic device that allows a vehicle’s driver to lock the accelerator on a specific speed and take his or her foot off the pedal. Cruise control is designed to be used on roadways without frequent stops, turns, or required driving maneuvers. 

You must still steer the vehicle and be alert for the unexpected.

Cruise control in your business comes when you have, either as a solo or along with your management team in a larger organization, done these things:

  • Everyone knows, understands and can operate based on your mission
  • All of you have the same customer avatars in mind
  • The value proposition is apparent in all your communications.

Remember, cruise control is only about maintaining a certain level of speed. Steering the organization, speeding up or slowing down, even stopping is still your job.

How you deal with disruptions or unexpected changes in the environment or industry in which you operate requires another gear.

Overdrive

Wikipedia has two definitions of Over drive:

  1. an automotive transmission gear that transmits to the drive shaft a speed greater than engine speed.
  2. a state of heightened activity going into rhetorical overdrive.

The second is what applies to marketing your business. Cruise control keeps you rolling at a steady pace. When you need to focus your creativity you need to shift into overdrive. With or without disruption, you need to hone your ability to focus and bring the extra drive to solving your business problems.

If you have a partner or a team, all of you need to go into overdrive when necessary. There is no need to stay there all the time. It is best applied based on the concern being addressed. The positive aspect is that you are delivering more power without stressing the engine of industry.

You can’t stay in Cruise Control or Overdrive all the time. Sooner or later you have to stop…for fuel or maintenance or just to see what is going on. Those kinds of stops occur almost without thinking about them. There is one significantly more important.

A Life of Joy

“Take a day or a week or a month off now and then and share the time with those close to you get to a life of joy.“

I call the ability to keep rolling at a steady pace Cruise Control and the ability to focus  your creativity, when needed, Overdrive.  Whatever you call your approach, it works. I add one element by showing folks the wisdom of getting out of the driver’s seat. It takes them away from the business and strengthens their relationships with the key people in their lives. The clients that I’ve been serving longest all say that this is their greatest takeaway from working with me.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Going Virtual

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Meet via Zoom, phone or in-person?

Frank and I will be Zooming in the morning.

There was a time when that statement would have drawn quizzical looks and, in all likelihood, some snide comments. No more. Today that company name has reached the level of brand penetration that compares only to Kleenex and some other brands that have become household names for an entire category.

Have a virtual day.

The more I though about how one product has come to dominance because of the Coronavirus the more my mind began to delve into how we may be ready for a spread of that virtual acceptance to all our approaches to business.

What if, at 8:00 AM your phone chimed and presented this message:

Translation:

8 to 8:30 E-mail

8:30 to 10 Planned phone calls

10 to 12 Team Brainstorming

Noon Lunch

1 to 2 Video Call, file attached

2 to 4 File work

4 to 5 Chat with coworkers

5 Outa here for a beer.

All of us are more comfortable with icons than you may think. I’d be willing to bet that most of you didn’t need the translation to understand most of that schedule. Take that a step further and consider how quickly you and your colleagues could be ready for your day using the same icons all the time.

If you are working from home and using a virtual assistant/scheduler this could be the front end of a cloud-based system to keep you on track.

Imagine a complete connection

As I’ve reported here, I now work with a Virtual Assistant. Cristy is located in the Philippines. I work a 10-hour schedule from 8 AM to 6 PM Pacific. She works an 8-hour schedule from 2 PM to 10 PM Pacific. For her that is night-time. She goes to breakfast when I tuck it in for the night. We meet Monday through Friday at 2:00 PM Pacific to review what needs to be done and at 6:00 PM to confirm the day’s work and check signals on the following day’s schedule.

Microsoft Teams makes it work

You can put your whole team into the system and assure real communication. Audio calls, Video calls. Chat that is like texting on steroids (Those of you, like me, that prefer typing to thumbing will love this!) The ability to share files, edit and annotate so everyone can see them. Huge amounts of cloud-based storage. And it is always being improved and uses the familiar Microsoft suite of products.

It turned this solos mind around.

I stopped collaborating on a regular basis when I left the Ad Agency business in 1990. When pushed to do so by colleagues I refused. I felt the tools were clunky and having worked with creative development found business types a little boring. But collaborating with a young lady half a world away has brought back that wonderful feeling of finding solutions to problems from a different slant.

In one month her recommendations and implementation have increased my blog following four fold. My Linked In comments and approaches are at record levels. And Facebook by which I’m totally eluded is beginning to be a place I visit because other folks are visiting me.  That will continue and increase next month when we add even more video to the equation.

Will I operate more virtually coming out of the Pandemic? I already am. What about you? There is no turning back.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Failing Forward

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Dr. Ali Anani, my friend from BeBee where I blog internationally, got me thinking about how failure is a major part of learning for just about anyone in business.

Fail Fast and Frequently to Succeed.

I quoted that rubric in response to one Dr. Ali’s postings. I’ve been lucky enough to work with entrepreneurs that have been successful. I’ve participated in over 200 successful new product launches.

There have been some failures as well. The camera kerfluffle may be the best example about what not to do but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about failure leads to success.

Fail towards success

  • Tell everyone your product idea and listen. The hard part is hearing what they have to say. You start with everyone because it is easiest. But as quickly as possible begin gathering input from folks that are probable buyers. Sometimes you discover that the people you thought were customers aren’t. Sometimes you discover that the product is not in the form or what they want. Once in a while you get confirmation. But it is the failures that keep you from spending more time and money than you need to in order to find a viable product.
  • Assume that everyone understands the user interface. There is no single thing that everyone understands. Nowhere is this more true than in technology products. Engineers design and incorporate as many functions as possible in a device without considering the average user. An example: last week a friend and rather sophisticated coach told me that her internet/TV/phone service guy showed her how to answer her smart phone by swiping the button. Until then she was jotting down the number and calling back. Starting up a new flat screen TV took me three phone calls and a very patient technician to get it to work.Seldom, if ever do technology companies wise up and have real users try things. It took Microsoft at least seven years before they looked for customer input on how windows worked! Every time you’re required to simplify operations based on a user failing to be able to make it work is a success.
  • Let YouTube provide the manual. I’ve been victim to this syndrome personally. It took my Virtual Assistant and I three days to figure out that we would have to upgrade a piece of software one level to be able to use it on social media. We made the decision that it was probably not worth the expense because it was so poorly documented. They failed but not successfully. In retrospect we should have picked up on the probability based on the marketing. The idea is good, but the greed in the pricing and the obvious lack of real interest in the customer will, in the end shut them down. The more you think through how a customer is going to use the product and the better the instructions you provide the better off you are going to be.A “genius bar” is a nice piece of customer service branding but I would appreciate a little more genius in documentation. Most people would.
  • Drag all your preconceptions along. This usually happens in the hardware side of things but I’ve been involved in a couple of software and service situations where this failure prone approach has not led to success. In one case, a company which will remain nameless received the largest order for a new product that they had ever received from a single company. It was from a company they had never worked with before. The testimonial ad was presented in a divisional management meeting and caused a furor. Management said, “Our products are for engineers and scientists, not for the likes of insurance companies. Do not run that ad and advise the sales force to seek appropriate customers.” The lesson is that when you offer a product and an audience you had not figured on starts buying you failed to see that market but they could make you a success.

The Camera Kerfluffle

There was a time when a 35 millimeter Single Lens Reflex camera was what the upcoming pros used. If you were an amateur, into photography, had money and wanted something better than a Kodak Brownie you looked at 35mmSLRs. You wanted something with the control a Pro would use and the possibility of using different lenses.

But there was also a market for small, aim and click cameras that used 110 film. Kodak jumped into this market as well as a number of Japanese companies. Use of plastics throughout these products made them incredibly low cost. My client, a manufacturer  and distributor of 35mmSLRs saw this as a new market for which they could provide a higher quality product. The client was willing to spend the money to do some research. We set up focus groups searching out people that said they wanted a simple way to take “record photos” of special events and vacations.

Given the choice between the simple point and shoot cameras and the 35s they oriented to the models of one Japanese brand of 110s that were offered in multiple colors. They wore curious about the 35s but felt they were too complex.

The young product manager assigned mistook the interest in the 35’s and the company went ahead with design and development of a 110 camera with changeable lenses.

Back to Focus groups with early production models along with competitor products. Again, the focus group participants were curious about the all black tiny camera with interchangeable lenses. But asked which one they would like to take home oriented to the competitor multicolored units.

No argument could convince the product manager to reverse his decision to go forward with his pet project. It cost the company millions. But there was one good thing that came out of it. The company learned that the more their lowest cost model could be simplified the better it would sell to the people that wanted just a little more than point and shoot. As a result, it has become the standard in photography schools across the globe.

“It is not a failure if you learn from it”

Both my mother and my father said this. Both taught me the patience to see things through and to acknowledge mistakes but always to look for the lesson in the outcome. I try to pass this wonderful knowledge on to all those I work with.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing After the “All Clear”

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Yes, I’m more than a little squirelly.

Yes, I’d like to go back to business as usual.

No. That is not going to happen.

Maybe in Korea or New Zealand but not in the United States. It is never boing to be the same for consultants here.

Negative Impact

The virus had a negative impact on over 85% of consultants that responded to our annual survey! They said things like this:

  • “People will have to get better at online marketing because onsite is taking a hit.”
  • “Business will never be the same–smaller locations, work from home, telecommuting, more younger people, more technical”
  • “We will use more virtual communications, marketing and delivery. Agility might become more important to clients and prospects.”

An on-line happy hour

Tribal customs die hard. A client sent me a Zoom recording of an exit meeting following a successful engagement with a client company. The entire team had gathered by Zoom with a drink at hand to celebrate the work they had done together, work which will ultimately make the company stronger as they emerge from the social distancing requirements.

Six months ago they would have met in a local tavern, clinked glasses and bottles in shared toasts and enjoyed the camaraderie of a group that had come to know each other better than before because of their shared experience.

Shared memories are a significant part of what happens in any consulting engagement. A happy hour gathering is a pleasant way to share them. That won’t go away when the country “opens for business.” We can expect social gatherings to continue. The only question is when.

We are a solution. That will continue”

That was one respondent’s take on what the future of consultant marketing has in store.

She was right.

That is what consultants do. They help solve problems which may not always be apparent to the folks that wind up hiring them. That won’t change. But the digital wind has picked up force in the last five years.

The digital shift

Another respondent said, “There will be more digital than ever before.”

Back in 2015, out of 100 billion monthly Google searches, those from mobile devices finally surpassed desktops for the first time. WordPress powered 25% of web sites as of early November. Usage of both has soared. A shift to digital has finally started to impact Consultant marketing.

Referral Marketing is still, far and away the most used consultant marketing strategy. But selling online and internet marketing are showing significant gains across all three of the categories we’ve been studying all these years (start up, growth and established firms). Internet marketing is now preferred over networking, direct marketing and chasing new contracts from former employers and clients.

Controversial and social media

In follow up conversations via old -fashioned phone calls and using the bright shiny technology of the moment (Zoom) I found myself looking for a way to summarize what was working for those who were using digital marketing to their advantage. Here’s what I came to believe:

            “Controversial gets you heard. Proof gets you hired.”

Building a brand onsite or online requires a unique trust-based identity that is memorable. You need a hook. Being controversial is one way to do that. The few consultants that go out of their way to be controversial do it with the end in mind not just as a knee-jerk reaction.

They consider the question or concern and based on their knowledge of similar situations and successes in the past disagree with the common assessment providing convincing arguments for their viewpoint based on solid analytics.

The awareness of their name/company name has grown exponentially as has their ability to generate new business from sources they had not considered before. Yes, they still must find a way to interview prospects, analyze their situation and provide a value-based proposal. Yes, they have to provide clarity and speed to solutions. Yes, they need to keep their eyes and ears open for follow-on work. But they no longer discount the source of the initial contact.

After the “All clear”

There will be “New Normal.” The established firms will be the first to take advantage of the digital technology to build a business development approach. A few will structure business development around powerful video capabilities almost like establishing a “personality newscaster.” Some will do ongoing research with an eye toward finding the areas where “common knowledge” ain’t. A segment will build a “tribe” that become willing purchasers of individual products, events and subscription services. My short- hand way of identifying these approaches is:

  • Video Personality
  • Opposite Viewer
  • Productizer

The biggest shift

One major shift will happen because of the Coronavirus. The strip mall and other shopping centers will be converted to housing locations faster than it has been happening already. Small and medium businesses will abandon the idea of having leased offices. They will shift to home offices renting shared offices and meeting spaces on an as-needed basis. Larger companies will take a long look at the lower cost of providing all the equipment needed for a home office versus the cost of “cubicle farms” as they digitize more and more of the administrivia.

I’m betting that along the way we’ll find some new ways to take care of our “social critter” needs.

And so it goes.

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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing A Tasty Webinar Slice

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Have you noticed how often you are seeing offers to attend a webinar show up in your e-mail? Is the apparent increase because of sheltering in place? Has the world suddenly become more receptive to online offers? Why do they all seem the same?

There is a formula.

It seems like every webinar offered lately uses it. Here’s the way it works:

  1. There’s a reward if you stick around until the end.
  2. Why you should listen to this person
  3. The problem your product solves for me
  4. Some social proof like statistics that tell me you are an expert
  5. A roadmap to the things you’ll learn if you hang in there
  6. Stuff that lured you in the first place…but not all of it.
  7. The program you can buy plus bonuses (with a call to action)
  8. Wrap up the content you promised
  9. Surprise bonuses for a limited time (with a call to action)
  10. Q&A with emphasis on the main objection (with a call to action)
  11. Link to the reward promised
  12. How you’ll be transformed when you buy (with a call to action)
  13. Follow up afterwards if you didn’t buy during

That baker’s dozen was developed after studying this phenomenon and submitting to more product, service and program offerings than I care to count. That includes a couple webinars that were touted to “teach me the secret of a successful webinar.”

The secret.

A member in a mastermind put it this way, “Give them a whole lot of what and damn little how.”

But before you can do that you have to do some solid marketing work. Specifically:

  • Identify the ideal audience for what you want to sell. That means you know their key problem including the emotional pain it causes them and you understand how your offer solves their problem
  • Develop Content that converts. Find a way to help them see things in a different way. Give them “Aha” moments that naturally lead to deciding to take action now.
  • Create a “no-brainer” offer that is clearly valuable for the basic product but irresistible when the dollar amounts of bonuses are stacked up beside it and the clock is ticking.

Don’t stop when the webinar ends.

Number 13 up there was a last-minute add-on. It was grounded in the statistical information presented by organizations teaching this systematic approach. The facts:

If 100 people attend a webinar the max that buy is about 30%. If you follow up with all those that didn’t buy immediately you can get as many as 70% to purchase. People that registered did so because your offer looked interesting. They will appreciate the fact that you are still interested in them even though they didn’t order.

Why is it so prevalent?

It has simply become the go to shiny marketing object in the era of the Coronavirus. It was becoming more common before we started sheltering in place. Now it is more ubiquitous than ever. It has replaced selling onstage even though it follows a similar script. It is hard to know which is the adaption in some cases.

Webinars are the most direct of sales tools available on-line. Nothing else allows an entrepreneur to take her or his complete belief in a product or service out of the box and tell the world about it. No other approach can generate the income from a “tribe” as quickly. This online marketing template is focused on instant rewards.

The ROI is unsurpassed.

Do the math. I’ll make it easy. Let’s say 125 people register. 100 show up (20% drop-out is the usual). Out of those 100 attendees about 30% or 30 people buy. Afterwards you maintain contact with the 70% of people that didn’t buy while you were “on the air.” About 50 of them buy (I rounded).

If your offer was priced at $100 you generated sales of $3000 while you were “on the air.” Roughly ten days later (Follow-up sales go off a cliff after 10 days) you can rack up another 50 sales of $5000. That’s $8000 for one webinar. What could you generate with your product or service in a one-hour webinar?

But it is only the beginning.

Now that someone has voluntarily joined your tribe they are significantly more prone to look into other offers you might make. Even if the initial purchase did not get used (this happens at a rate north of 65%) they still associate your name with products and services that can be trusted and frequently will buy additional products from you particularly those priced higher than their initial purchase.

Would a new template work as well?

I don’t know.

But I’m going to find out.

I figure there are a lot of consultants out there that don’t have time to register and attend a webinar on someone else’s schedule that lasts anywhere from an hour to half a day. I’m going to investigate these variables:

  • Webinar length
  • Time of delivery by time zone
  • Alternate templates (the current one can be done in as little as 3 minutes!)
  • Live versus recorded versus recorded with live kicker
  • Charging versus free for the webinar.

Why test?

I’m up to here with the old template. It has robbed me of countless hours when I could have been doing something profitable both short and long term. It has generated damn few really useable bits of information. True, I’ve found a couple resources that have provided products that work and continuing content that is useful. But overall I’m looking for folks that are not going to waste my time. I may be wrong, but I believe there are a lot of consultants out there that feel the same way. I’ll find out.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Elephant in the Room

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When there’s an elephant in the room, you can’t pretend it isn’t there. My clients and others in the consulting community finally “got that” this week. You may have noticed.

There has been a marked increase in the number of webinars being promoted. One passed through my email that had pricing of $98 for one major speaker $980 for both major speakers and streaming of the whole event and $9880 to be allowed to Q&A with the principal speakers. I have never seen a pricing structure like that for a webinar. I checked with a friend who literally wrote the book about online presentations. He said, “I’ve seen pricing that high and that low but never with that kind of spread for the same event. Of course, the elephant in the room is causing more people to move their events online than ever. We’re going to see even more weirdness”

More weirdness.

Three times this week I’ve done impromptu workshops with a client to give them tips on how to use Zoom without giving a bad impression. Here are the highlights:

  1. Get dressed. You may be comfortable in those sweats but would you wear them to an in-person meeting? Really? Dress to impress. No, you don’t have to suit up, but you should be in unwrinkled business casual at least. Let your clothes say a little about you. Creative? Wear something zingy. All business? Go with a pressed button down collar.
  2. Hair and makeup please. Okay, you guys can skip the makeup but comb your hair and shave. Before this lockdown is over there are going to be a lot of guys with ponytails. I’m already having trouble finding my ears. Women, do not think the camera on your computer is forgiving. It isn’t. Apply the paint, you’re going hunting after all.
  3. Come into the light. Before you opt into the meeting or request an instant meeting, turn on the camera on your computer and look at your face. One of my clients self-described his look as a “sickly cadaver” Turns out his wife’s grow lights for the plants in his office were on! It is good to be lit from the front with natural light say by a window.
  4. Look behind you. Clients who have visited my office know about the stacks of books and boxes of client products. They would think it strange if I appeared and they weren’t there. Dirty dishes in the background is not good. A stack of toys visible over our shoulder is not good. I’m just as averse to background screens. Let me see your home office. After all, most of us are adlibbing here.
  5. Step away from the computer. Too many of us are used to moving forward to convey our sincerity and interest. It doesn’t work when you are using something like Zoom or Skype. Back up. When you move closer to your computer we lose sight of your hands and suddenly it is like you’re  being muted visually. We are so oriented to body language that when we can’t see the hands of the speaker we feel disconnected. You can see yourself on the screen. Make sure your hands are visible.
  6. Have a live video signal. My Virtual Assistant and I regularly use the video chat capabilities of Microsoft Teams. Her husband who is on lockdown was cooking in the kitchen and leaned in to ask if she wanted tea. It’s hot there. All he was wearing was shorts. Startling when you are deep into a database discussion. The point here is that we are all coping with an unusual circumstance. Let your family know when you are live on video. Develop a visual warning sort of like the red “On Air” lights in radio and TV studios.
  7. Bring it! Stop worrying about what you look like and think more about what you have to say. Before the call, make notes about what you want to cover. If that is complex and you want to say things perfectly, put the information in a word document and put it up on your screen for a sort of homemade teleprompter. (Just don’t inadvertently share your screen!) If you are going to be asking questions figure them out before you enter the meeting and don’t be hesitant to record the session if you’re uncomfortable taking notes.
  8. Know how to use the technology. Take the time to watch the video tutorials and then telephone a friend to actually have a meeting. It is easier to make all the mistakes when the person on the other end knows it is a practice call. Be sure to return the favor.
  9. Take a coffee and body break before. Take it from a professional speaker—you don’t want to step on stage without having relieved yourself. A video meeting is just like stepping on stage. (you don’t want to ask to be excused leaving your fellow caller with “dead air.”  I don’t drink coffee on stage but I like to have my morning cup with me if I’m on a call. And I always have a glass of water handy to  quell those frogs that invade my throat. You can be quite comfortable sipping as you pause to make a point or while the other person is talking.
  10. Play to the camera. When someone is talking you inherently want to look at them. That’s okay. But when you are talking look at the camera. It’s that bright white dot centered above your computer screen. That way people will feel you are looking directly at them. In the “real world” we call it eye contact. It is the fastest way to generate feelings of trust.
  11. Get there early and Network. A video group meeting is no different than one in-person in the days before social distancing. Wave. Say Hello. Put on a happy face. Share some non-threatening observations. Small talk is okay until the meeting is called to order. Want to meet privately with someone in the group later? Be up front about it during the networking. Don’t do it while “in session” though, that generates negative feelings unless it is at the behest of the group or group leader.
  12. Say thank you. In one to one meetings a hand-written thank you note has proven to be one of the most powerful branding devices I’ve ever seen. An e-mail thank you to attendees is, in these times, nearly as powerful. This is particularly true if you met one-on-one with a prospect or client.

Zoom and Skype and other kinds of video calls have replaced face-to-face meetings for the moment. It is truly the elephant in the room but not one to be afraid of. Acknowledge it and have fun learning to ride it.

Sorry, I’ve got to run. I have a video meeting coming up and I have some files I’m going to want to share and I need to refill my coffee and comb this unruly mop. Barbers are going to be really busy once the all clear sounds!


And so it goes

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Capitalizing Now

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”He roller coaster
He got early warning
He got muddy water
He one Mojo filter
He say one and one and one is three
Got to be good looking
‘Cause he’s so hard to see
Come together right now
Over me”

I awoke to those Beatle Lyrics on a rinse and repeat cycle between my ears.

I let it thrash on for a while and then tried to logic it.

The best I could do was assume it was about where Consultant Marketing was headed as a result of this damn virus.

He roller coaster

That must be a reference to the way most Consultants market their services. You know that clicking sound as the roller coaster is lugged up to the top of the first hill…Market, Market, Market. Then you tip over the top…Do the work, Do the work, Do the work.

That’s when you begin to think about finding a better way, a way to have business in the pipeline.

He got early warning

Wouldn’t that be loverly! Knowing, in advance where the work might be coming from and what it might entail is the dream of every independent professional. All of us yearn for that full-tilt referral-based practice that somehow gives us visibility of what is in store for us next week and next month. That would be nice to have but how do we get it?

He got muddy water

It was tough enough before but now with this Coronavirus lockdown we don’t even know when we can see someone in person. Audio and video conferencing just isn’t the same. Senses are blunted. Body language is not as easy to see and interpret. I almost believe that pheromones have some sort of role in the traditional face-to-face! The roiled surface caused by social distancing keeps us from getting information with any depth.

He one mojo filter

  • We must capitalize on the hesitance of the competition. Me, I hired a Virtual Assistant.
  • We gotta put what we have to better use. I’ve had Office 365 since a client recommended it. I’d never used the Teams capability in it. Now, my VA who is resident in the Philippines and I share files, chat, phone and video as if we were just cubicles apart. It took just 10 minutes to set up.

  • We have to start substituting. We find apps we didn’t know existed before. And we link them into our operational software. We do video testimonials using Zoom or Teams to record and Camtasia to edit. We get the job done by adapting our methods to meet familiar objectives.

He say one and one and one is three

It does all add up if you take advantage of both intuition and logic. That ain’t easy. You have to work at it. The elite consultants I work with have that skill. They find the fundamental differences that lie behind the figures. They explore form and fit and focus to determine how your business can find hidden profit. They listen to what you say and what you do to reveal better ways. Often the solutions they find are to problems that may not have surfaced for you.

Got to be good looking ‘cause he’s so hard to see.

In a way that is what my mission is all about. Consultants must have a brand that is not widely known but is fascinating to the prospects that need their help. You have 3 seconds in person or online to get to Memorable, 10 seconds to get to Trust. That ability to be both logical and intuitive at once is what will make you Unforgettable. Doing your job well will not make you visible to the general public. But do it often enough and well enough to generate a lasting legacy within that group of people and organizations that need your help and you will become Legendary.

My job is to help you craft unique trust-based marketing strategies to connect, become Memorable, deliver in an Unforgettable way and develop the mindset to become Legendary as you build a business, a brand and a life of joy.

Come together right now, over me

What that all comes down to is that within a week we will send out invitations to participate in: The 17th Annual Consultant Marketing Survey.

We will ask you to tell us how you marketed your practice last year, what you’re doing now and how you anticipate going forward after we stop sheltering in place. We will, of course, send participants the report before we release it elsewhere.

And so it goes

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for crafting on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com