It’s been a while since we’ve discussed one of the very foundational ideals here at MJTVgirl….your Ideal Client.
I have recently had the difficult experience of dealing with several people who are very knowledgeable in their business or trade with one small problem: they don’t know who they are. Why is that important, you say? Well, other than feeling completely lost, I imagine, that means they don’t truly know why they do what they do. That’s a big problem.
So – how does that connect to understanding who your “Ideal Client” is? It goes a little something like this: when you know who you are, you find it easier to see and understand what you have to give — and what you want to give. You also know what will work for you and what won’t work for you. Those important things get nailed down and all of a sudden its MUCH easier to see what you will DO and who you will do it for.
For example, our marketing firm Client Cycle Marketing offers marketing consultation. We have a program, we teach. We’ve built that program on a combination of who we are, why we do what we do and who we best serve with that information. There are certain kinds of clients who are generally successful — and certain kinds who are not. This is not a judgement in anyway — it’s just a truism. Some people respond better to certain types of stimuli — I work best with trainers who are engaged, supportive and generally curious about my goals. I do not work well with bullies. See? I know myself — and it works the same with you.
Who is your ideal client? Who is engaged and inspired by what you have to say or do? Who is not? Understanding these subtleties will help you build a practice full of clients who re-hire you again and again, rather than a bunch of clients who may work with you once and then you never hear from again. Which do you want?
September 27, 2012
OK – so I’ve been a bit absent from these pages the past few weeks. True.
But…by now…you should know that I have been working on something. Something BIG to share.
Stay tuned here next week: what’s coming will change the way you look at your marketing plan FOREVER. And that is not a tease…it’s a promise.
Have a nice weekend all and dream happy dreams of your fabulous life.
August 27, 2012
I was talking with a potential client last week and when we started talking about video as a possible option to help him market his business, he slumped and said, “oh man….spend a ton of money on a video? why????”
That’s when it hit me….and I finally understood. My clients think a few things that I need to clear up:
1. video = tons of money (for no real return, they silently believe)
2. it’s HARD
3. it’s really really expensive.
You’ll notice that I put the money part down TWICE. The reason? Not enough marketers who recommend video truly understand HOW to use it EFFECTIVELY as a marketing tool (meaning: the return on investment is not explained well – or even at all).
Why is this? I am guessing at the number of ad and marketing agencies who regularly farm out video have only used it to make :30 spots and not TRUE CONTENT. OR…they are just video production houses who just want to make video content and have no true understanding on how to market the video content and show true ROI to their clients.
A fabulous idea is born…. when you understand what good content and video content truly is AND how to promote it, it will become clear that as we progress in on-line marketing, video is one of the only true tactics that will effectively do a few things for your business:
1. Builds credibility and scalability. Your face and your message connect to the viewer — your clients get to know you and using video to do this is effectively like adding hours and hours of SELLING time to your week. It’s really hard to fake stuff on video — like a human lie detector, people intuitively know when you’re scamming them. In this case, don’t use video. For all of the rest of you legit folks, read on.
2. We learn better by watching than reading a bunch of dense text. It’s a proven fact that Americans now would rather watch than read. Over and over again, the numbers on video view instructions for a complicated process or product far outpace any written materials on websites of thousands of businesses. We just like it. That’s all.
3. Video can do a number of things well and why not take advantage of 1 and 2 when you’ve got no time and need to generate more sales? Video can:
- attract new clients and customers – utilized correctly in a variety of sites and campaigns, video content done for this purpose is like offering honeysuckle to bees.
- once you get the audience, you’ll need to engage them. Video is also #1 on the hit parade of all marketing tactics in doing this – create the right video for the target audience you’ve worked so hard to attract and they will begin to engage with you and even SHARE the videos with their networks — that’s the exponential effect that video sharing through social media can have on your business.
- nurturing your target clients and customers to up-sell and bring them more VALUE.
- and the Grand Prize of all the work of bringing in the new clients — CONVERTING them. Whether it’s sales or up-sells or referrals – video is unsurpassed at helping you connect on your CALL TO ACTION.
If you’ve made it this far in the post: here’s a freebie. WHERE DO I START??
#1 place? What part of my business is MOST CONFUSING and takes the most time for me to explain. Start here with your video thinking cap firmly in place. This topic should generate at least 5-10 videos, even for the most straight-forward businesses.
Building technology has never been cheaper than it is today. Or faster.
In the past twelve months, Ruby on Rails programmers built more than a million apps on top of Heroku, a platform that allows coders to save drastic amounts of development time. Historically, the majority of the cost of a typical app comes from maintenance, says Heroku COO Oren Teich; companies like his build layers of technology that deplete those setup and maintenance costs–not to mention experience required–to build software. “Innovation is increasing,” Teich says. “This is a huge trend we’re seeing day after day.”
Moore’s Law says computer processing power gets steadily cheaper and faster to produce. This rapid innovation has given rise to new rules for technology pricing, essentially pushing prices down on even brand-new products. On the web, this is something I call the “Law of Free Product Economics,” which goes as follows:
If a product on the market can be monetized by any means other than directly selling it, a comparable version of that product will eventually be offered for free.
It’s Happened Throughout History
Early newspapers cost money; we paid for the product. But news eventually found another way to make money and simultaneously increase reach: advertisements. Since then, the price one pays for a newspaper or magazine is typically a fraction of the actual cost.
The parallel goes beyond news and content: As the cyberhighways of the 1990s expanded, the most basic, universal software applications (like email) quickly became free. Today, we’re witnessing an acceleration of the trend toward free in products both consumer and enterprise.
It Happens Because Of Networks
An oft-mocked cliche of Internet startups is the practice of investors funding companies to build up massive user bases without clear ways to make money. Big networks like Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook operate for years in the red until membership reaches some tipping point, after which monetization can be “turned on.”
Network effects, however, have allowed purveyors of monetizable goods to set various products free in order to entrench users and build barriers against competitors. Google is famous for this. Google Docs, Gmail, Gcal, and a host of other products keep people within Google’s ecosystem; the endgame–and what pays for all the free product development–is sponsored search advertising.
Another example, hand-made goods marketplace Etsy, lets its users build free e-commerce web pages, something other sites charge money for. Etsy makes money, of course, via transaction fees when customers buy scarves and mustachioed iPhone cases, but its software product is absolutely free.
It’s Happening In Enterprise
Recent innovations have spurred discussion around a concept called “consumerization of the enterprise,” or the trend of stodgy, corporate software being unseated by lighter-weight, easy-to-share, cloud-based tools like Yammer. Core to this trend is the “freemium” pricing model. Essentially, software is given away for free with limited features, and customers are charged only for more advanced features or for hosting.
As competition in app building increases, entrepreneurs are releasing better versions of enterprise software–with more features–at increasingly free-er rates.
It’s Happening With Various Models
At the end of the day, in order for a product to become free, there must be another means of making money through it. Even in open-source software, monetization comes via donations. The most common ways product developers make money from free wares are the following:
- Advertising and sponsorship: Content and networks are often monetized this way, though many other products are as well. Think Twitter, Pandora, Words With Friends, and this very website. In many cases, companies will offer to remove advertising if users make up the cost themselves, but the users never have to pay anything.
- Hosting and storage: Often with SAAS products, users never truly pay for features; instead they pay for bandwidth, disk space, or air time. WordPress, for example, is free, but charges a few bucks a month to users who want to host their blog on WordPress servers with a custom domain. Per-seat or per-user enterprise products like Salesforce and Mailchimp essentially make money from data storage and server time, rather than on tools.
- Transaction processing: As with products like Etsy and PayPal, tools tend to be free in marketplace businesses–both to encourage liquidity and because transactions are easily monetized via fees. There are even examples of this in the physical realm: Square, for one, gives credit card readers away for free in order to amass users, then makes money on transactions.
- Services: People will pay for red-carpet treatment, and free products often feed users into monetizable service upsells. For example, open-source programmers often charge for tech support on their free apps.
- Cross-sells and upsells of other products: Inferior products may be given away in order to warm potential customers up to more lucrative products in a model dubbed “freemium.” The Law holds up with freemium because at the top of the product food chain lives the product that cannot be monetized by another means. Everything below that point becomes free in support of the paid product. (Until someone else finds a way to make the premium feature free.)
- Shortcuts or patience-busters: This method consists of giving apps away for free, but charging people money to jump the line or cheat. Social games like FarmVille are an interesting example of this: in-app purchases become a way to circumvent patience. In fact, at the 2011 Open Mobile Summit, FarmVille’s Director of Mobile said 90 percent of the game’s revenue came from in-app purchases, according toReadWriteWeb.
Of course, the existence of free alternatives does not mean some paid apps or games cannot compete on quality or uniqueness or brand. But the economics of an industry change quickly in the presence of the free option, which is quickly becoming a given.
Setting Your Own Product Free
For web innovators, the Law Of Free Product Economics may sound like bad news: You may have spent agonizing months of your life building a product; it should be worth something.
The good news is, parodoxically, giving your product away for free may unlock greater profit opportunities than if you keep it behind a paywall. WordPress, Dropbox, Evernote, Aviary,Desk.com, and countless other everyday apps all thrive off of giving their core product away for free.
At my company, Contently, our core business is a marketplace (connecting journalists with publishers); however, in the process we’ve built our dream software tool: a workflow system for managing freelancers and editors in a cloud-based newsroom.
A handful of other companies sell similar tools; all of them charge on a per seat basis, the typical enterprise software approach. Naturally, we like our tool a lot more than theirs, so our first instinct was to make our product even more expensive. However, we realized that meant facing the inevitable fact that someone would one day release a free version, not to mention closing a product we loved off from a large number of people we thought could use it. So we crossed our fingers, and opened our platform gratis.
People go to great lengths for free. They’re willing to give you all sorts of information and feedback, and they’re often willing to hear a sales pitch for your upsell. (In our case, it’s payment solutions and VIP service for big media companies and agencies.). Since releasing the Contently Platform for free, the influx of Fortune 500 brands and big media companies interested in our paid solutions has been, in a word, awesome.
The bottom line is someone will probably one day ship a version your product for free. Maybe it will lack this or that feature you hold so dear, but that won’t matter. The broader the appeal, the more likely someone’s going to undercut your paid product with a free one.
I say beat the competition to the punch. It’s going to happen anyway. And setting your product free may just earn you the most business you’ve ever had.
[Image: Flickr user John Catbagan
All of us get confused. A little upside down now and then. Usually this happens when, a. we don’t understand the situation or b. we have tooooooo many choices. Most of us will do the predictable thing when confused: shut down. Once that happens, we can get a little depressed that nothing is moving.
When you take little or no action, you will receive mediocre results. This is the law of the universe, and there isn’t anything that you can do to change it. If you are unsatisfied with any areas of your life, maybe you are not taking the necessary steps to make things better. Here’s a step by step guide to get yourself going again.
1) Admit This – Even Seemingly Positive “Steps” May be Procrastination in Disguise
“Everything in moderation,” is a popular mantra around my office. Even things that are seemingly good for you – like knowledge or yoga or fresh air – can be harmful when ingested or used in unhealthy amounts. The same is true for knowledge.
The only way that knowledge becomes power is if it is married to ACTION. Learning and taking classes and getting your MBA is all well and good – until you realize that you’re merely putting off launching. You can always keep learning but for most of us, when we create something – like a program or a product – that will help others: GET IT OUT THERE. The nips and tucks of perfectionism won’t make it better. Might even ruin it.
You can turn your life around only when you had decided to make use of the acquired knowledge and take action to make things happen.
2) Have A Goal in Your Mind: Without One You Are Just Wasting Time
Knowing what you want will help to guide you along your journey. Many can have the tendency to “keep your options open, go with the flow.” A little of that is good — too much is bad — just as in step 1. When you have a goal in mind, you set your sites on something, you will “see” where you are going. That makes it much easier to make decisions (will this get me where I want to go? yes or no) and it makes things SIMPLE.
If you do not know what you truly want to achieve in your life, find out what you are dissatisfied with. It is a good place to start. Be aware of your dissatisfaction in your life and set a goal to turn it around. Make it a goal to lose weight if you are dissatisfied with how you feel and look. Make plans to get out of debt. Find ways to start a business. Just get an end to your mind so you can start to work towards it.
3) Brainstorm For Strategies
You will need strategies if you want to reach your goal. You may not have all the answers now, but you need the first set of strategies that you will take to start moving forward. You can improve upon your strategies afterward.
Brainstorm about all the strategies you have in your mind and write them down on a piece of paper. Brain dump everything on the piece of paper and don’t think about how silly the idea is. You are not going to evaluate during the brainstorming period. Evaluation will only hinder the process.
You need to find out whether your strategies are feasible and are they the 80/20 tasks that will provide you with major results. For your info, the 80/20 principle is the concept of identifying key tasks (20%) that will produce the greatest results (80%).
The common mistake during the evaluation period is to allow fear to make the decisions. After the brain storm session, most people will cross out many fabulous strategies due to fear. They will start to doubt their capability of carrying out that strategy. Don’t let fear hold you back. Ask yourself this question; “if you can’t fail, will you still do it?” If you do, most likely it will be a key strategy or task that you need to undertake.
Remember to identify the 20% tasks that will produce 80% of the results. Checking email is the 80% task that will produce 20% of the results. Writing an article or creating products are the 20% tasks that will produce 80% of the results for a blogger. You get the idea.
5) Take Specific Action Today
It is time to get to work. Your dreams will remain just that unless you start to take action to turn it into reality. I believe you are going to take the necessary action or else you won’t be reading this article in the first place. Refer back to the strategies that you chose and derive specific action that you must take.
David Allen, the author of bestselling book Getting Things Done, mentioned one excellent idea in the book. If you want to tune your car, tuning your car should not be in your to do list. You can write ‘tune my car’ into your to do list if you are the car mechanic. If you’re not a mechanic, it is a good idea to break the task down into action steps that you can do instead.
This is the thinking process.
Tune my car – Find the name card of my favorite mechanic – Get the number of the garage – Call and schedule the appointment.
“Tune my car” is broken down into specific steps that you need to take in order to get things done. When your tasks are specific, it increases the probability of you doing it. If your to do list is filled with vague tasks, you are making it harder for you to take action. Life is hard enough, make things easier.
If you intend to write “tune my car” in your to do list, what is the next step you are going to take? You do not have a specific step to take in this case. You are making yourself procrastinate when your tasks are vague. It will be a completely different story if you write down ‘find the name card of my favorite mechanic’, followed by ‘get the contact number of the garage’ and lastly ‘call and schedule your appointment’.
Getting specific tasks out on your to do list can help you gain clarity, take action faster and build your momentum to take more massive action.
6) This Is The Secret Weapon You Can Use If You Are Reluctant To Take Action
Let me introduce you this idea, 5 Minutes Room Rescue, proposed by the FlyLady, who is an executive turned into an organization guru. The idea is to set your kitchen timer for 5 minutes. Next, rush to your dirtiest room and clean it up. When the timer buzzes, stop and you can stop with a clear conscience.
This powerful strategy can help you to kick-start yourself into taking massive action. Sometimes when you just don’t feel like doing anything, set a timer for 5 minutes and start doing it. Usually you will end up doing more than 5 minutes. It is hard to stop when you are seeing instant results.
To get you to start is the hardest task. However, it is hard to stop when you get started. This is where momentum will help to make things easier for you.
7) Review And Fine Tune
Taking massive action is terrific, but it won’t matter if it does not produce the results that you want. Make it a habit to do weekly or monthly review. Use numbers to help you track results. If you want to lose weight, track your weight monthly. Record them down on an excel sheet. If you want to start a business, create a time line and review it monthly to see how you are progressing.
The most important question that you need to keep asking yourself is whether are you getting nearer to your goals.
If what you are doing now is not getting you nearer to your goals, fine tune and change your strategies. If you are doing the right things, results will show. This is why tracking numbers and reviewing your progress is crucial. Once you start to see the results, you will be inspired and motivated to take massive action.
May 23, 2012
I am 100% serious. You can be on TV…anytime you want.
OK – let me back up. WAAAAAAYYYY back in the day, I produced the news. The 6pm news, the weekend news, etc…for many, many TV stations (network affiliates) around the US. I put the show together, I wrote most of the content, essentially, I produced a daily newscast.
After I had moved on to my marketing agency in Maine and worked with clients like Discovery Channel and Kraft Food, I began to realize – and share with these clients — that they could do EXACTLY WHAT I was doing. They could produce their own show.
AND…get it on the air.
So – I began to make TV shows. For Yankee Magazine. For Shipyard Brewing Co. These were great little information-laden programs that had an entertaining host and featured gardening segments, boating segments, local grocery and apple picking segments (you name it) and all the adjunct activities. Oh, and it was built around products and services that lend themselves very, very well to how-to segments and reviews of products. (Check out this segment on de-cluttering your closet made for a local moving company, Sitterly Movers).
And then – I began to realize, it wasn’t just for the big boys. Many, many companies a small TV markets (even a medium-sized TV market) have access to the airwaves and could make and air their own TV show. All they had to do is come up with a concept – and produce it. And that’s usually where I would come in.
Most of these small and medium sized clients used TV advertising a lot and were getting more into web video and wanted to bridge the two. They also saw the tremendous value actual informative content had over straight advertising in long-format – people seemed to like it better. They didn’t feel “sold,” they didn’t LIKE to feel like they were being sold – but they were interested in the information the client had to offer.
For example, I produced a real estate show and we featured a home appraiser (who told us all what to look for when buying a new house), we featured a pool company, a window and door manufacturer who shared with us how to keep your home energy efficient year-round, and we also interviewed a painter who showed us the “Top 10 MOST COMMON mistakes people make when painting their homes” (inside and outside). Get the picture?
Now, if you’re thinking, “wow that’s cool but super expensive,” there are many MANY ways to get and make your own TV show that will generate leads and easily pay for itself in a short period of time. And really, it’s not nearly as expensive as you think — especially if you can sell back the time to a sponsor. OK, OK…I am getting way ahead of myself now….
For the sake of argument, check out this video I produced to sell my little show – in a fairly small market #112 Springfield, MA (each TV “market” or DMA in the US is ranked in order of population – with #1 being NYC, #2 LA, #3 Chicago…you get the idea). In terms of those larger markets, this is SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult. This idea/program really works very very well in small markets for reasons we will talk about later.
Oh..and check out the little sales video…it worked very well….and served as a great testimonial for what I was trying to accomplish with my video and marketing business moving forward.
The COOLEST part of this? You can do it too…no kidding. Let me know if you’re interested in how by sending me an email here at the website — email@example.com or when you sign up for the blog – just let me know and I will tell you how you can be a TV star. No joke.