Trust is the Strongest Link for Consultants

“At least once a year I look at how I’m marketing my own practice,” I said

“This year I looked at all the ways to link suspects, contacts, prospects and such to my digital assets.” Brand as central to link strategy

Gail, our resident writer who is always looking for the facts, sounding like a TV cop asked, “So what social media did you put on the list?”

“Well,” Rick offered, “I’ll bet he picked on the usual suspects—Linked In, Facebook and Twitter and maybe a little bit of old-fashioned direct mail since he ran operations in my direct marketing agency for a while.”

“That’s good as far as it goes,” I replied. “I looked at Instagram, too.”

Bubba snorted. The branding Buddha dripped southern disdain as he said “Instagram– isn’t that the chile of Facebook from the wrong side of the sheets?”

Gail snickered and said, “Kind of, but it’s closer to the photo album the Momma wanted to share.”

“In any case,” I said, “you have to have a business page on Facebook in order to put ads on it and you use Facebook tools to build the ads.”

Chris, our young Digital Director for a training outfit said, “What you decided to do with each of them is what is important. Is it possible you’re about to take the plunge into ubiquity?”

Bubba drawled, “You getting’ uppity boy? I know there’s some new blown theory about being ‘present everywhere’ in the digital world. Tha’s why some brands are so well known. And it has more to do with all kinds of media than just the on-line stuff.”

“You’re right again my cracker friend,” I said. “I ran some tests on-line. You remember that old data that linked awareness to preference? Well the tests showed the rule of thumb is true. The difference is you can get the results a lot quicker.”

B@B Purchase process

Chris asked, “Did the numbers work out the same?”

“It’s too early to tell on the longer term items but from Awareness to Preference to Trial is pretty much the same,” I replied. “This is really more about human nature than media. Just because we have more ways of reaching people doesn’t change the way people operate.  The better they know you the more they trust you. If they trust you they respond.

What it does do is force you to look at broadening your approach slightly and to be present enough in any media you use to generate the critical awareness that leads to success down line. It means you have to be very cognizant of your brand across all the media and make sure that all the things you do are linked.”

The Takeaway:

Digital advertising response goes through the same phases as non-digital…just a little faster.

Human response based on trust is what to monitor if you want to make money…not the media.

Your brand is the linchpin of all your promotions. Link everything to it.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at:

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic.





Form With A Personal Touch

“It all comes down to your form, “I said.

“Are we talking golf or Tennis? “ Chris asked as he sat down.

Getting Subscribers

“Neither” said Rick, our direct marketing expert. “We’re talking forms for web sites and landing pages and other uses on line. One of Fletch’s clients was unhappy that he recommended that a form to capture visitor e-mail addresses be included on every page of the website. The client argued that it wasn’t classy and interfered with his branding.”

Chris, our digital director in residence, turned expectantly to Rob the Branding authority in our midst and said, “So the branding viewpoint is….”

Bubba didn’t disappoint him. “Son,” he said, “That feller’s got his knickers in a knot for the wrong reason. Heah’s the thing. You got folks comin’ to a website and the reason they are there is to find out some more about you or your product or service. They may be looking to meet you. If you were dealin’ with them in person what would you do? You’d make it as easy as possible. You’d answer their questions. You would try to connect with them. You’d invite them to keep in touch. That means the form has got to be there but:

  • The form needs to fit in with the personality of the site
  • The design should emulate the rest of the site
  • The language should fit in with the rest of the site

Kate, our sales veteran took over. She said, ”If you think of the form that way you treat it less like a form and more like an invitation. You tell people what they are going to get and you treat them with respect. You make your approach more personal. For instance, instead of having a button that says Submit you use language like ‘Sign Me Up’ or ‘Connect Me.” (Here’s an example)

“Limiting the amount of information they have to supply is important in that situation,” said Rick. “The other thing you have to tell them is that you won’t sell or give away their information to anybody. Of course, there are other kinds of forms. Those need to include Bubba’s rules but forms that are designed to detect digital body language or for gathering more information such as an application need to assume a couple things:

  • The fewer the queries the better. (Try to keep it under 7)
  • Make it as simple as possible for the visitor
  • Consider gathering information sequentially to build up a prospect profile for multiple interaction situations
  • Put your labels above the fill-ins
  • Use Drop down menus to conserve the visual space of the form
  • Use checkboxes to allow selection of multiple values at the same time
  • Use radio buttons where applicable to allow for faster viewer scanning.

“If I bring my client to lunch will you guys repeat yourselves?” I asked.

Gail, our writer/editor quietly spoke for the group saying, “You’re big boy. You can convey what was said here today. “What I hear you saying is that you’re not sure you can convince your client. Try telling him what you learned.”

The Takeaway:

Forms on web sites, landing pages and sales sites are all better when they are built with a personal touch in mind– like an invitation. That means designing the form to fit in seamlessly while making it as easy for the user as possible.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic.

3 Secrets to Linked In Success

Linked In SecretsAs I sat down, Kate, the sales doyen was saying, “It is amazing what you can do with Linked In! I use it to research companies and prospects and build my perceived expertise and all sorts of things.”

Rick asked, “Care to share?”

“Allow me my direct marketing friend,” I said. “I’m always curious about how folks use social media tools. I wrote a primer for my clients on Linked In mostly about how to get started. Here are the three things I said were essential:

  1. Build a great Profile that includes your key words and start adding connections.
  2. Select some groups and participate.
  3. Research people, companies and prospects you find interesting and follow them.

Kate clapped her hands and said, “Way to go for the basics, big guy. Anybody have advice on the profile part first?”

Chris, who makes his living as a Digital Marketing Master, said, ”Remember that anyone searching you on linked In has one of two attention spans:

  • As long as gnat in a windstorm if they are scanning
  • As long as it takes to read it all if they really want to know about you… the kind of research I’ll bet Kate does.”

Branding Guru Rob (who we all call Bubba) piped up, “So you’d best ‘member to give folks a reason why to learn more with the words right behind your name.

“Good point Bubba,” said Kate. “I’m going to read that piece that Fletch wrote for the profile part. What about the part they call interests on linked In?”

Gail said, “I’m a writer, I like to know what they are calling things so I opened it up on my laptop. Under interests it has: Companies, Groups, Pulse and Education.

“Let’s stick with groups,” said Rick. “Do I want to go with peers or prospects? Do I even have to choose one or the other?”

“Kate,” I said, “let me take that one. I say both. If you do only peers it can wind up like you’re talking to yourself but you do need to know what is going on in your profession. Prospect groups can give you insight into what they want from people like you and whether or not they have problems you can solve… for a fee.”

“I agree,” said Kate. “The only way to determine which groups to join is to look at them. Look at the number of posts and comments and frequency to decide which ones merit your attention. Then get involved. You can set notifications from for every discussion to daily or weekly summaries.

Gail asked, “What about research?”

“Pull up my profile,” Kate responded. Notice that there are entries in just about every category they provide. Notice, too that the words sales, sales consulting, sales training and other sales references occur throughout. (Sign up to get your copy of the Networking Ninja Beginner’s Guide to Linked In.)

That gets people to come to me. But when you are looking for information you can use  just type the search term into the search box at the top of the page. A person’s name or a company name is where I usually start. Once you get to a person’s profile you’ll be able to learn more than you ever thought possible. Where they went to school, how they got to their current position, even how you might be connected.

Every person I know uses it slightly differently but there is no longer an excuse for walking into meeting with an executive knowing nothing about them.

The Takeaway
Have a complete profile that is consistent with your website, your other social media profiles and causes people to want to contact you.  Engage with the kinds of people that can keep you informed about your profession and may need your services. Be proactive. Look into those that express an interest and build the relationship.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and a group of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and secretary of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 20 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic.


When Not To Apologize

Angry man“I was trying to make sure that all the folks that wanted to keep getting my blog and newsletter and other publications about small business marketing would keep on getting them” I said.

“Nothing wrong with that,” said Chris, the Digital Director.

“Yes and no according to one recipient.” I responded.

Chris asked, “What was the problem?”

I replied, “I wouldn’t have known there was one if I didn’t regularly read this fellow’s blog. For him, the personalization went awry. I inferred from his subject and description in a blog the following week plus a follow up comment that I had offended him by getting him to click through from an e-mail sent to hundreds of people that had been personalized with their first names.”

Rob, the smooth talkin’ Johnny Reb branding guru said, “Sounds to me like he took it kinda personal.”

“I’d go along with that, said Kate. In sales terms you got too friendly, too quick.”

Rob, nodded and said, “That can really put a hitch in your git-a-long.”

“All of us preach personalizing our e-mails whether it is sales or marketing or just person to person, I said. But the problem is we don’t know when we make a mistake in an e-mail. This particular e-mail was a test of a new automated marketing system. It went out to 453 people. I found out with the first mailing that people were not sure it was me. They e-mailed me about the concern. One old friend left a lengthy voice mail. Most of them suggested personalizing it if I could.

The second time I sent it to the 327 people who had not responded. The e-mail was longer and personalized and invited anyone that was not sure it was me to call or e-mail for assurance. A few did it. It was the ‘from’ address that bothered them.

So now I’m sending it out a third time to 271 folks. The message will be longer, personalized, explain what I’m doing at greater length, again urge them to contact me if concerned and be totally up front that they are going to a landing page.

I will not apologize for asking them to sign up.

Why? Asked Kate.

“His blog made it painfully clear that he felt he had been tricked because he was taken to a sign up page. But he never indicated how that sign up could be done without some sort of landing page to capture his sign up, add him to the lists involved and otherwise put him into an automated marketing system. He never contacted me about his concern.

Over the two e-mails, 26 people that wanted to sign up but wanted to be sure it was me, made contact. Of those, 24 signed up. The two that didn’t are just too busy for more e-mail but wanted to be sure that they would remain in my personal contact list.

I won’t apologize because he could have made no comment and assured the same action. He is off the list and won’t be invited back.”

Chris said, “Harsh.”

Kate looked over her glasses at him and said, “I know Fletch wants to keep every customer forever but I also know he is pragmatic. It wasn’t inappropriate personalization in this case. It worked. The guy clicked through and then was unhappy. And if he feels all that up close and personal why didn’t he get in touch? Situations like this, you cut your losses and move on.”

Jerry Fletcher has had his share of successes and surprises in Automated Marketing. That is the source of his expertise. Clients have been known to say that “he starts where the software stops.” Sign up on the landing page in question:

Jerry speaks professionally on three continents. His speaking web site is

How Do You Build An E-mail Marketing List?

“That’s the question for all of us that want to sell products on line,” I told my brain trust.

E-mail List buildingThe two most familiar with digital marketing spoke first. Rick, our direct marketing guru said, “Buy one.”

At the same time Chris the digital Marketing Director said, “Build one.”

Rob, our Georgia-born branding expert sighed and said, “Y’all want to dance?”

“Sounds reasonable to me,” I said. “Why don’t you two have at it. I’ll referee and if the rest start piling on, I’ll encourage them. Just remember we want solutions for the little guys that don’t have a ton of money or time.”

Rick said, one of the most successful ways I know to build a list is to buy an e-mail list of people that have bought something in the same arena you’re selling into. You just have to be sure that you get good recency and frequency information.”

Rob asked, “What does that mean?”

“Bubba,” Rick said, “list brokers, particularly those that work with retailers keep data on how long it has been since someone made a purchase and how frequently they buy. Those are selects, ways you can have them parse their lists for you so you get people with a track record for buying the kind of thing you want to sell them.”

Chris chimed in, “And you can do the same thing if you want to build a list. What I’ve done is buy regular mail lists because it is usually cheaper and there may not be an e-mail list of the customers I’m looking for. Then we send out post cards to them to get them to respond on line usually for some information they want or to sign up for an educational webinar. We’ve been running 5 to 7% sign up each time we mail.”

Kate’s bracelets were clanking as she gestured no at both of them. “Look guys, Fletch said limited time and money. As a sales consultant I run into this all the time. You gotta find a way to put people in the pipeline now, without spending a bundle. What have you got for folks like me?

“I can speak to part of that,” I said. Start with what you have:

  • Contact your current clients/customers and ask what they are looking for (and then sell it to them and put them in your customer list)
  • Contact your current prospects to determine where they are in the process (Sell ‘em if it makes sense, toss them or put them in your list for futures)
  • Pull that pile of business cards out of the drawer in your desk and go smilin’ and dialin’ as Bubba would say. (Same triage: Sell ‘em, List ‘em or Toss ‘em)
  • Or, if you have the right integrated CRM in place put out an Opt in message that is connected to a benefits landing page that automatically puts something of value in their hands via download, puts them in your list automatically and can even begin a drip campaign based on their stated interests or concerns.”

Kate said, “Instead of trying to sell a product sell them on the idea of staying in contact with you. I can tell you the process works. I’ve been doing it for years only not as regimented as I should.”

Gail, our copywriter said, “Don’t forget a call to action. Always give people a way to contact you regardless of whether it is an article or an interview, a video or an association meeting. It’s just like Fletch’s story about fishbowl marketing where the customers put their business cards in a fish bowl by the checkout.

“Don’t forget, Gail” I said, “that’s the client that found she had to put a sign in register by the fish bowl for all the women that were her best customers that didn’t have business cards.”

The real question is what will work for you? Do you have hard data on your attempts?


Jerry Fletcher meets around kitchen and boardroom tables to change the marketing of companies in the Americas. He prefers working with “Little Guys” with 1 to under 500 employees. Jerry’s consulting web site is

Jerry speaks professionally on three continents on how to craft Trust-based marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy…on and off line. His speaking site is