null's blog larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&rss null's blog en-us Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:38:07 PDT Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:38:07 PDT Telemarketing 6: GETTING COMMI http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D865CEF6B01F835CE040010AAB015FFF 28. This is not the major event or even the big part in a telemarketing sales call. It’s just the natural, logical, progression of a professional sales process. But you still got to ask. Commitment must be gained on every contact in order to move the process forward. You don’t ask, you don’t get. If there is to be a follow-up contact, if information is to be sent or faxed, there must be commitment on behalf of the prospect regarding that material. 29. Ask large. Think big. Buyers will often move down from a large recommendation, but they rarely move up from a small one. If you ask for the biggest widget the largest dodger you have, ya they might say no but then you can go down. If you present the smallest you can there is only one place you can to. Nowhere. By asking for the biggest you will increase your average order size. That’s a fact not a myth. Never suggest more than is in the best interest of the customer, but not making a large enough suggestion when appropriate is actually hurting the customer. 30. When in doubt, ask. Do you have a foot-dragger in your follow-up file that is perched squarely on the fence? I have some of those too so don’t be ashamed. Ask for a decision! Get some movement. Get them sold or get them out of your list. A “no” today is better than one six months and 15 additional calls from now. Move them forward, or move them out. 31. If you’re going to schedule a follow up call, get a commitment of some type. Why would you ever bother to call back? If they won’t commit to doing anything– a review your literature with you, a survey of their existing inventory, etc.-they likely have no interest. Don’t waste your or their time. It might just be time to say: NEXT! Larson Notes & Satire:  Without a commitment to taking the next step in the sales process you have nothing. It is easy to say no over the phone and sometimes asking for an email or send your “kit” over is just that saying no without having to say no. For whatever reason people don’t or many people don’t know how to say know so help them, you are doing them a real favor to get them off the fence. Really really! If you feel this is the kind of phone selling you want, go on and pick up the phone and heir us. One call to 847-991-1294. We make the calls so you don’t have to. Our Next Blog: ADDRESSING RESISTANCE (Objections) Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-07-31 08:43:22 Telemarketing 5: SALES RECOMME http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=EE6B126B0526686FE040010AAB014BF0 SALES RECOMMENDATIONS 25. You should only talk about your product/service after knowing specifically how it will solve the problem or meet their need. Remember it’s about them, not you. If you cannot solve their problem or make things better for them, don’t sell them. Be real and be truthful. Only then you can tailor your remarks specifically and personally for the prospect. 26. Get and stay off script. You need to get feedback during your discussion of benefits and you can’t do that reading a script. “Do you feel that would work for you?”. “How do you feel that would solve your problem?” Some telemarketing companies or tele-trainers might tell you that gives the prospect an opportunity to tell you “no.” Exactly! And that’s a good thing. If there’s a problem, and they don’t see enough value in what you’ve presented, now is the time to find out. The sooner the better! 27. Avoid the question, “Anything else?” when attempting to upsell. I mean how dumb is that question? If there is anything else, your the “pro” so you make the suggestions as to what if anything else they might need. Just like when a store clerk asks is their anything else you need, the answer is usually, “No.” So be the telesales person and instead, give them a suggestion, a suggestion that makes positive sense, and help them answer it. For example, after they agree to buy an item, or a service, say, “Many of our customers who get _____ from us, also find that ____ is also very beneficial for them to get even greater use. Larson Notes & Satire:  We are out there not just trying to make a living with the best product or service we can provide a client but we are trying to make their life better. I truly believe that. I will never force a bad or wrong product on a client or prospect to make a sale. If you feel this is the kind of phone selling you want, go on an pick up the phone and heir us. One call to 847-991-1294. We make the calls so you don’t have to. Our Next Blog: GETTING COMMITMENT (Closing)  Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-07-22 08:28:07 Telemarketing 4: EFFECTIVE QUE http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=F359DAC860A222D7E040010AAB0148AF 13. Become a doctor. Sit down and study the patient and gather all pertinent information before you give your prescription. How could you make an effective presentation to the prospects needs in any other way? 14. Don’t use a “benefit list” to present from. Like who the heck cares? Instead, use it to create the questions you to determine if those “benefits” are of any value to your prospects and customers. Some “benefits” could actually be liabilities. 15. Avoid asking go-nowhere questions. You know things like, “Is everything going OK?”, “What are your needs?”, “Are you having any problems now?”, “How’s service?”, and, “What are you looking for in a vendor?” I mean come on how lame are these and where do they take you? All it really does is force the person to think too much. Instead, get them emotionally involved in seeing and feeling the pain of not buying or joy of fixing the problem that can be solved with your product/service. For example, “What do you do when you need parts shipped overnight, but are unable to get them?” 16. Ask one question at a time. That’s how many they’ll answer at a time and the answer you are given might give you insight to the next one you should be asking. 17. After asking, be quiet. Yes, shut up. The first one who opens their mouth looses. Resist the urge to jump in and talk if they don’t answer immediately. Don’t be intimidated by silence use it as your ally. They’re likely thinking about what they’re going to say. Let them sweat it out! 18. After they’ve finished, count to two (silently, of course). This gives you the necessary time to process what they have said and ensures they’re done talking. They might not be and you get an added bonus that they might continue with even better information than what they have said. 19. Be confident. One reason sales reps ramble with questions is that they’re not prepared or confident. Prepare your questions. Think it though and visualize the process like a professional athletic does before they compete. 20. Always know where you are going with answers, regardless of the answer. Stay in control. 21. Follow up their answers with solid related questions. Too often sales reps work from a rigid list of questions, and lose the opportunity to pick up on prospect statements which are just the tip of the iceberg of their real feelings. Get off script! For example, if a prospect said, “I believe the main reason production isn’t higher is a lack of motivation. The best move is to follow up with, “I see. What specific signs of poor motivation have you been seeing?”, or, simply, “Tell me more.” Or if your Canadian “A?” 22. Quantify the problem if possible. “How often does that happen here?” “How much do you think that is costing you?” “How much time does that take?” 23. Resist the tendency to present. Some sales reps get so excited when they hear the slightest hint of an opportunity that they turn on the spigot of benefits. You don’t need to be using the “Always Be Selling” mentality. Hold off, get a few more questions in, and cement your solution. Create an even better description of the benefits you bring that are tailored exactly to what they’re interested in, you will make the sale. 24. Shut up and listen. Learn more about their decision-making process. There could be many behind-the-scenes influences on the decision. Ask about the actual users of your products/services, anyone else who could influence it, who has to sign off on the decision or OK who appropriates the money, and who are the people who would rather not see it happen. Larson Notes & Satire:  A closed mouth gathers no foot. I have seem more sales reps talk themselves out of a sale than talk themselves into one. Ask and be quiet. As Hank Trisler once said: “First one who talks, looses.” Our Next Blog: SALES RECOMMENDATIONS If all this sounds over the top too difficult call me at 847-991-1294. We make the calls so you don’t have to. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-07-08 07:29:53 Telemarketing: INTEREST-CREATI http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=EDC37E9065081891E040010AAB0111D1 8. The objective of your telemarketing opening is to establish some kind of curiosity and interest in 15 to 20 seconds so that the prospect will be willing give you more time. Basically you need to tune into their personal radio station WII-FM “What’s in it for me? Find their pain or the pleasure and you can keep going. 9. Now don’t ever get dumb and use all those stupid, resistance inducing phrases on your telesales call, like, “If I could show you a way to _____, you would, wouldn’t you?” The only thing you’re looking for is permission to continue the conversation. 10. Again don’t be dumb. When cold call prospecting, don’t start with things like, “I was just calling people in your area…” Like that really makes a person feel important. People want to feel like you’re the only one you’re calling (even if they know it’s not) and not just one of a bunch of people pulled off a list of names. 11. Use continuation words when opening cold prospecting calls: “depending on,” “might,” “maybe,” “perhaps,” and “possibly.” Of the great Canadian work that comes at the end of every phase “Ay”. These are non-threatening words that might bring you something of value, if you ask the right question first. For example, “Depending on what you’re now doing in lead generation, I might have something that could reduce your overall costs and bring in more sales. I’d like to ask you a few questions to see if this is something you’d like more information on.” 12. Have something of value to say on every call. Particularly if you make calls to current clients. Avoid saying “I’m just checking in with you to see if you needed anything,” and, “Just calling to touch base.” These are lame. If after your call they are not able to say they are better off after your call than they were before it, you shouldn’t have made the call. Call with news they’ll have an interest in. Call about ideas you’ve heard from other customers they might be able to take advantage of. One of my printing salesmen called to say he “just came back from a trade show and saw something interesting, and thought I could benefit from it. They know that in actually every time you call you’re looking for an order. So give back something of equal value. Larson Notes & Satire:  If I can say anything here it is don’t be a time waister. Each call needs to have value. Telemarketing is not the phone call it is the message of increased value to them. Remember WII-FM, What’s In It For Me. Our Next Blog: INTEREST-CREATING OPENING STATEMENTS Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-07-02 13:36:00 Telemarketing: BEFORE REACHING http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=F359DAB80C5E22D7E040010AAB0148AF 4. When you call in remember to treat the screener, gate keeper, receptionist as you would the customer. This person determines whether or not you’ll even have a chance to speak with the person you want to talk to. 5. As you talk you need to be gathering as much information as you can from whomever you are able, talking to anyone and everyone as you make your way through the phone web prior to speaking with your target prospect. The prospect does not want to be bored out of their minds when they have to answer your basic qualifying questions. 6. Before you pick up the phone if you did not do this in the last section, think of a good reason for needing to speak with the decision maker, and be prepared to sell this to the gate keeper. All they are going to care about is: “Does this person have anything of interest or of value for my boss or are they just a waste of time?” 7. If leaving a message on voice mail, or with the gate keeper, (and always leave a message) be certain it offers a hint of the benefit or result you can bring to the table that sparks curiosity, but doesn’t get into the specifics about your product of service which could cause them to prejudge your offering Larson Notes & Satire:  Every part of the process needs to be thought out like a choreography plans out a dance. Each movement, each step needs to be thought out. Telemarketing is not just picking up the phone it is a true art form when done right. Our Next Blog: INTEREST-CREATING OPENING STATEMENTS Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-07-02 08:46:36 Telemarketing: PRE-CALL PLANNI http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=E03844BCA4625F7AE040010AAB016124 Telemarketing, telesales, teleprospecting, inside sales, cold calling whatever you want to call it the professional use of the phone in sales is a process, not a goofy technique or gimmick. I started pounding the phones back in the 80’s and quite successfully I might say. So well that in 1999 I made my entire company become a telemarketing company for small businesses that needed lead generation help. So not over the next few days I am going to take you through every part of teleprospecting, telemarketing and cold call, in order, giving tips that that have worked for me so you can help yourself right now. If you choose to go down the telemarketing path of sales.     PRE-CALL PLANNING 1. What is the primary objective for this and every telemarketing call made. “What do I want them to DO as a result of this call, and what do I want to do?” Appointment, invitation to an event? Order or sale? And then, this being telemarketing have a plan B for success which I always say is “to become a person they remember as a nice guy.” I will call again so I want them to remember good things about the experience on the phone with me. 2. Prepare questions for your telesales call using your call objective(s). Ask yourself, “How can I explain to them why it is their best interest to take this action as a result of asking questions, as opposed to talking them to death?” Remember, people believe more of their ideas than yours and they will either purchase for the pleasure of gain or fear of pain 3. As for Plan B (see above) you need a secondary objective for each telephone sales call you make. You need something you’ll accomplish, at a very minimum, every time. Make it easy like picking something you’ll have a very good chance to succeed, like, “Getting them to say yes to accepting my literature and becoming their ‘Backup Vendor’ This way, you can enjoy success on every call you place, and if you do any kind of cold call volume it is so important to have a good feeling. Larson Notes & Satire:  Telemarketing or telepropecting is not just picking up the phone and making calls. Like any sales call you need to plan it and know where you want to go and achieve. Our Next Blog: BEFORE REACHING THE DECISION MAKER Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-07-01 13:19:05 Telemarketing: The Good Bad an http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=F359DA7443E922D7E040010AAB0148AF Yes I admit it I’m a telemarketer. But I hope I’m one of the good guys,  I don’t sell windows, siding, doors and lawn services. My company does not think bothering people at dinner is a good thing. We might bother you at lunch, but then why are you eating lunch at your desk anyway. Get out enjoy the sunshine. Besides for years sales people using the phone to establish connections and make appointments has been a legitimate way to do business. But there is the dark side so as a “Telemarketer” my industry has to deal with the pros and cons. We have proven quite effective for years, and marketing managers have reported feeling more valued through telemarketing compared to other less personal options of direct mail, mobile marketing and oh yes email marketing. Did you know the Spam museum up in Austin, Minnesota is free of charge, but I regress. Now some say in this wonderful digital era with all this twits, the 3 F’s of Friends Family and Followers and shares and likes and all that stuff it, Telemarketing, seems passé, out of date and all too time intensive. Yet I have found more often than not from business leaders, that the pros of telemarketing outweigh the cons. If you’re like most businesses you have a handful of smaller accounts with one large account that is over 33% of your business. Life is good if nothing changes but if you lose your big account you have a major problem on your hands and it is very likely that one key account loss will put you out of business. So you want to grow, but how? Social Media Marketing push, online ads, pay for clicks, email marketing, direct mail all with not so good results. You know exactly what kind of companies would benefit from your service, and he wants to target local business only. For this kind of situation, your best lead generation option is telemarketing. You might want to use an email or direct mail in combination with telemarketing but I’ll save that for another blog post. It is a fact that telemarketing is the only marketing action that goes out and grabs the prospect. All others you are hoping and praying that they, the prospect, will pick up the phone and call. Ya right in your dreams. Reality is, and if anyone telling you different they are lying through their teeth, on the average, it will take 75 to 90 calls to get an opportunity of some kind and unless you’re a real mud slinger, a good B2B Telemarketer is only going to be able to give you 10 to 15 calls an hour. You or your trained sales staff have that kind of time? So you have 2 options.  The first: hire your own dedicated on staff telemarketer. You can try to train them, get a list, create a script, give them a phone, a desk, (coffee, plenty of coffee) have payroll, and all the taxes that go with that and then hope and pray that once they get trained and working good they don’t up and leave, get burnt out, get hired away or any other number of telemarketer agent problems. Think about what this is going to cost you. If you are not ready to hear: "What is my script?”  â€œHow do I handle the call?” “What data should I use?” “Do I send follow up emails?" “Do we have a PDF ready to roll?” “Do we have a mailer stuffed and ready to just address?” Wow. This is the technical side of running a telemarketing lead generation operation for one agent or a hundred. Second option: You can hire a telemarketing services company like mine Larson and Associates 847-991-1294 www.larsonassociates.ws . As a telemarketing service we take care of prospecting potential clients, making cold calls, setting appointments and everything else in between. If you use Larson & Associates, we do the hiring of a dedicated telemarketer for you. One person who is the ONLY person who will be calling for you (as well as one back up person, just in case. Things do happen) Then we get everything ready from the script, the lists or lists (which you might provide or have us down load one from 1 of the 3 list companies we use) to an email or direct mail program to a email follow-up to pre-set mailers ready to go.  What you can’t or don’t want to do and have ready and in place we do so when you go live with your program it is as successful as possible. Larson Notes & Satire:  If you choose to use us all you need to do is make a pre-payment for the first two weeks of your program to reserve your dedicated agent and set up a start date. The hard work of getting new clients will not stop there. Getting good sales results is a hard, process. But you can now have an experienced agent in place and an experienced company watching out for your best interests and to help you on your way to new client heaven. After all, 75% of B2B sales involve some form of human interaction and intervention, be a phone call or a meeting, telemarketing for lead generation is only the first 30% of that. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 10 hours a week. Maybe you should add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2014-06-07 05:47:56 How To Implement the Pareto pr http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=EDC37D959F611891E040010AAB0111D1 The 80/20 Principle or the Pareto principle states that 80% of all are results are generated by 20% of our efforts or actions. In other words, when it comes to getting the results you want, only a very few things you do really matter. All the rest ... well, they're just a waste of your time. Business philosophers love to talk about the 80/20 Principle because it applies so to almost any corporate, business or life situation. You've probably heard it said that 80% of profit comes from 20% of customers, or that 20% of a company's staff generates 80% of its productivity. Look at your own company and see how true that is. Yet the 80/20 Principle is much, much bigger than that. It's a universal, natural fact, proven over and over again in scientific research. And it's visible in nearly every imaginable circumstance. For instance, in the wider world, roughly: ·        20% of thieves account for 80% of the value of all crime ·        20% of drivers cause 80% of all car accidents ·        20% of any community's population utilizes 80% of its resources And if you look at your own personal life, you'll find that about: ·        20% of the time you spend at work accounts for 80% of what you achieve ·        20% of your clothes are worn 80% of the time ·        20% of your home's carpeting receives 80% of the wear These little statistics demonstrate the truth of the 80/20 Principle - and the fact that, like it or not, it has an over baring impact on your life. Now for the power in the Pareto principle. The real power of the 80/20 Principle — the secret to using it as a tool for massive life transformation - lies in finding, focusing on, and exploiting the most important 20% of your resources in every situation in your life. I'm not talking about cheating or cutting corners. I'm talking about learning to identify the things that matter most to you and add the most value to your life ... shifting the majority of your energy and attention to those things ... and disregarding everything else. In theory, applying the power of the 80/20 Principle is really quite simple. In practice, it's much easier said than done.  Pareto's Principle, the 80/20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on the 20 percent of you work that is really important. Don't just "work smart", work smart on the right things. Larson Notes & Satire:  Like a lot of things it is hard to figure out what is the 20% that you should be focusing on. Break it down into smaller parts start with finding your least effect 20% and cut those out of your daily, weekly or monthly activities and see what the effect is. Then find the next 20% and so on. In a few short months you will have shaved off a significant amount of wasted time talent and energy.   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2014-04-14 10:13:23 10 Judgments In Digital Market http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=E03845C951A97A42E040010AAB016120 Companies across the country are desperately trying to get their right and left brains working as they lay out ways to work the confusing ways of Digital Marketing. As we work through the maze of paths to follow I would present 10 incorrect assessments that I feel are present. Judgment 1: Digital technology changes too fast to keep up.  That is a yes and no. You do need to be working they channels but it is not changing as much or as fast as you might think. What is changing is the way consumers are accessing it. PC, Laptop. I-phone text, THAT is what is all over the place.  Judgment 2. There is this “new” thing called big data. Don’t get all stressed out buy this term Big Data. Big Data is nothing new, just the new scary buzz word running around the industry to scare everyone all off. It has really been around forever. You just need to understand your market segments and what questions and answers do you need to know and have answers too? This is what most businesses need rather than “Big Data”. Unless your company can process thousands or leads there is nothing to think about here. What you really need is Little Data targeted. Judgment  3:  Our brand has a one-to-one digital strategy to engage customers when, where and how they prefer.  Ya, ya, ya, everyone says this but nobody dies this or can. The closest chance you have is a call center marketing attack. Any communication you have in any other channel is rule-based, and not completely personal. So don’t think digital strategy think engagement strategy. Judgment 4: Our brand needs a mobile app.  Mobile is a channel, not a strategy. Only an app that has an impact is one that serves a need. In other words apps that impact are ones that serve a specific need.  Or the app must be developed the way new products and services are. Judgment 5: Our brand has to have a facebook page. Most do but does yours? I’m thinking that Preparation H and Condoms are not the kind of products to communicate about their brands and be engaging on Facebook, I think. At least I hate to think about the client engagement on those products. Judgment  6: You need a microsite for your campaign. You don’t need a micro-site for anything. You can put your special content on a page on your existing web site. Maybe yes and maybe no. A purl has it place but you might take a look at Linked Local Network:  http://www.linkedlocalnetwork.com/linked-local-web/ . This is money well spent. For less than the price of a cup of coffee you will see a double digits in your alexa score getting better in the 1st week. Judgment  7: Our digital manager doesn’t know code. After I say so what I will tell you if you’re a large enough company someone should know code but more important is that you understand the value and how long things take. Then you won’t get cheated. Judgment  8:  We can’t ignore this new digital thing. You can’t? You really cannot be everywhere nor should you be. Better to be using 3 social media sites at close to 100% than 20 at 5% each. It is all about viability, not the numbers. Need help see our Social Media Marketing plans. We get you on the map. Judgment  9: We can measure this digital thing or can we? The understanding of what can and what cannot be measured is limited to understanding the data. Things like followers beyond friends and family, better yet how many shares are you getting off your postings. Find what is important and measure it. Judgment  10: We don’t understand this digital thing. Stop treating digital as some kind of special thing. It’s not, it’s only just another tool in your bag of tricks. Identify the experience you want your customers have and the experience you want to deliver to them and the value that that will deliver to your business. Then determine how best to execute that total experience in social and digital platforms. Larson Notes & Satire:   Need insight and direction for your social media marketing? Take a look at Linked Local Network:  http://www.linkedlocalnetwork.com/linked-local-web/ Through this tool we have a system that through the power of the group, because as a landing page that is a page within a page you have other’s puling raw leads in your direction. Really it’s true. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. And we have seen those companies web sites getting a 32% lower (the lower the score the better) in their Alexa rankings! No data? No followers? No direction? No plan? Then come to us. We ask the questions to get your marketing in key and harmonious. We offer a 5 step digital social review. Step 1: Domain Review Step 2: Website Review Step 3: Google Review Step 4: Social Review Step 5: Content Review If you need more online activity we have answers. If you need a Landing Page for your web site, consider one of our Signature Pages that will bring your company's web site not just more hits but good solid sales leads. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. Call us 847-794-8710 or 847-991-1294. I'll get you set up. And it even works on those $10 and $15 a month sites. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-01-28 07:16:34 Areas of Marketing Growth For http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=E038446B033BC4E7E040010AAB016128 So what is everyone thinking of doing for 2014 in the way of marketing? In samples we have seen and collected we have found:   Marketing Spending Will Grow 45% of all companies expect to be increasing their Marketing budget 30% of all companies are increasing their spending on what is called “Big Data” technologies and 21% of all companies will be increasing spending on Big Data analytic services  5.3% is the projected growth of global advertising spending There will be over $135 Billion spent in 2014 on new digital marketing and 72% of those Marketers who use PayPerCick are planning to increase their budget (before you go down that path look at Linked Local Networks Signature Landing Pages http://www.linkedlocalnetwork.com/linked-local-web  for $1.00 a day you can see your page rise almost daily in organic searches 18% in 3 weeks) $531 Billion is the expected growth in global advertising spending $110 Billion is the expected digital media growth  2.9% overall growth in U.S. advertising spending. 46% growth in subscription of programs, books, electronics, etc) 158% increase in click-through rates for email that start with a social media shaping button 29% growth in content marketing 19% growth in e-commerce retail sales from mobile 12% worldwide growth of smartphones 18% worldwide growth of tablets. Larson Notes & Satire:   Need insight and direction for your social media marketing? Take a look at Linked Local Network:  http://www.linkedlocalnetwork.com/linked-local-web/ Through this tool we have a system that through the power of the group, because as a landing page that is a page within a page you have other’s puling raw leads in your direction. Really it’s true. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. And we have seen those companies web sites getting a 22.1% lowering (the lower the score the better) in their Alexa rankings!" Call us 847-794-8710 or 847-991-1294. I'll get you set up. And it even works on those $10 and $15 a month sites. No data? No followers? No direction? No plan? Then come to us. We ask the questions to get your marketing in key and harmonious. We offer a 5 step digital social review. Step 1: Domain Review Step 2: Website Review Step 3: Google Review Step 4: Social Review Step 5: Content Review If you need more online activity we have answers. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2014-01-22 09:14:47 The Soon To Be Centerpiece Of http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D8659DE3F94AB250E040010AAB015CD6 It’s coming to a Social Media Platform near you. Native Ads. Soon, all advertising on social media will be native in-stream ads. The right side banners will disappear. Here's why experts are so certain: At BIA/Kelsey, which is forecasting that $11 billion will be spent on social ads in 2017 and 40% will be going to native ads, Jed Williams, who is the author of the forecast, said: "if I was to re-forecast the native ad market today, would we project it growing larger at a faster rate? Certainly." In-stream native ads look, feel, and function totally seamlessly across both mobile and PC platforms. This is exactly what company’s want, as they struggle to build cross-platform campaigns. On mobile's smaller screens, makes getting the stream just right the experience. Mobile ad spend was up 83% last year, to $8.9 billion globally. Twitter has started native-social with Promoted Tweets in early 2010. Twitter now offers a suite of three different in-stream native ad products. LinkedIn is making major investments in its native strategy and Pinterest is piloting native ads on its platform.  I have to believe image and video sharing networks such as Pinterest, will soon be offering some kind of native ads, of course centered on pictures. Photos are after all the most shared kind of content on the Web; 43% of internet users have shared at least 1 photo in the past month. Larson Notes & Satire:  Need insight and direction for your social media marketing? Take a look at Linked Local Network:  http://www.linkedlocalnetwork.com/linked-local-web/ Through this tool we have a system that through the power of the group, because as a landing page that is a page within a page you have other’s puling raw leads in your direction. Really it’s true. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. And we have seen those companies web sites getting a 14.7% lowering (the lower the score the better) in their Alexa rankings! No data? No followers? No direction? No plan? Then come to us. We ask the questions to get your marketing in key and harmonious. We offer a 5 step digital social review. Step 1: Domain Review Step 2: Website Review Step 3: Google Review Step 4: Social Review Step 5: Content Review If you need more online activity we have answers. If you need a Landing Page for your web site, consider one of our Signature Pages that will bring your company's web site not just more hits but good solid sales leads. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. Call us 847-794-8710 or 847-991-1294. I'll get you set up. And it even works on those $10 and $15 a month sites. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition. Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws/ http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-12-20 09:27:42 Harmonize Your Marketing http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D865CCE264FC835CE040010AAB015FFF When you market your company no matter what kind of channels you might be using: telemarketing, direct mail, content, blog, social media, just like an orchestra they all need to be working together, be in tune. It is a fact that when musical instruments are in tune they really do sound louder than if they are even the slightest bet out of tune. Each element like a different instrument all part of a perfect harmony. Your  marketing plan has different instruments,  like violins, oboes, French horns, cellos, but also different “chairs” in the orchestra, like 1st chair, 2nd chair, etc, those being not just the marketing department but also customer service, sales, product service developers, and yes ever the “suites” have a stake in the performance and need to play a note or two. And don’t forget the audience out there. Male, female, be they 20 year olds or 48. Some have site impairment some don’t, i.e. what are they receiving your message on phone, mail box, lap top, desk top, I phone? So yes find out what channel or the way the customer (not you) prefer to communicate. Remember ever the mighty Google uses direct mail so sell Ad Words. Use cross – channel management for your cross-channel marketing to get a single message out. Sadly those people, the one’s that understand traditional marketing are getting fewer and farther apart. The old rules still hold. It’s only the medium that has changed. You need to know the rules before you have the Knowledge to break them. Lastly, getting back the message, one message across the entire band width and you have a start to achieve the harmony you need. Larson Notes & Satire: Need insight and direction for your social media marketing? Take a look at Linked Local Network:  http://www.linkedlocalnetwork.com/linked-local-web/ Through this tool we have a system that through the power of the group, because as a landing page that is a page within a page you have other’s puling raw leads in your direction. Really it’s true. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. And we have seen those companies web sites getting a 14.7% lowering (the lower the score the better) in their Alexa rankings! No data? No followers? No direction? No plan? Then come to us. We ask the questions to get your marketing in key and harmonious. We offer a 5 step digital social review. Step 1: Domain Review Step 2: Website Review Step 3: Google Review Step 4: Social Review Step 5: Content Review If you need more online activity we have answers. If you need a Landing Page for your web site, consider one of our Signature Pages that will bring your company's web site not just more hits but good solid sales leads. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. Call us 847-794-8710 or 847-991-1294. I'll get you set up. And it even works on those $10 and $15 a month sites. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws/ http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-12-19 08:01:23 The Businesses of Social Media http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D865CCCC64BC835CE040010AAB015FFF Social Media Marketing is a must  for businesses these days. It is one of the easiest and fastest ways to promote your business across town or across the world.  If you are looking for a good marketing strategy for  your products or services, you can use these networks as an important tool for marketing and expect an increase in sales. To be engaged in Social Media Marketing you need to be Listening, Engaging and Collaborating all the time. This is not like traditional advertising or marketing where you are always pushing your message. It is a balancing act of working your message in a diverse engaging way. Put that together with the speed of Social and it can add a totally new dimension to your businesses marketing attack. Social media marketing allows you to reach out to a large online base of internet active people. You can now get in touch with your targeted audience and potential customers. Social gives you the opportunity to offer quick responses to the good and take care of crisis control management like never before when needed. You can now spread information about the company’s services and products and get feedback at the same time. Create brand awareness and give broad based exposure to your business. It’s all here. Small or large business, social doesn’t care. Social media is an outstanding marketing channel in today’s world. As the trend of online marketing is growing at a jet speed, it is important that your business is exposed to the social networking websites. Engage your social world by providing them useful  and relevant content. Ask questions to your 3-F’s family friends and fans.\ Hold contests and surveys. Execute on your marketing campaigns. Measure success and goal conversions. Provide customer service. Listen to product ideas and feedback from customers. Deliver a consistent branding. Need insight and direction into social media marketing for your business? Join the club. Our club, on Linked Local Network:  http://www.linkedlocalnetwork.com/linked-local-web/ Larson Notes & Satire:   One of the major benefits of social media is the conversion rates. It is much easier to convert the your 3F’s  to become customers. We work with our clients to understand their business, the audience they need to be targeting and create a customized strategy. If you are looking for some support in getting started, contact us and we can get you started to. No data? No followers? No direction? No plan? We ask the questions so you can make the right choices socially: Should your business be on social media? What networks should you choose? How do you create a great profile? What type of content should you post, and when should you post it? Everyone must answer these questions, including business owners who want to create a strategy for their own business, marketing managers who need to convince their CEO to invest in social media and consultants who create strategies for clients in a wide variety of industries. We offer a 5 step digital social review. |Step 1: Domain Review Step 2: Website Review Step 3: Google Review Step 4: Social Review Step 5: Content Review If you need more online activity we have answers. If you need a Landing Page for your web site, consider one of our Signature Pages that will bring your company's web site not just more hits but good solid sales leads. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. Call us 847-794-8710 or 847-991-1294. I'll get you set up. And it even works on those $10 and $15 a month sites. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-12-12 10:48:29 Struggling With B2B Social Med http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D8659DC16045B250E040010AAB015CD6 Need insight and direction into social media marketing for your business? Join the club. No data? No followers? No direction? No plan? Chances are some one has done all the hard work for you and all you need to do is look. I’ll show you how to research the competition’s social game plan so you can build a solid social media strategy of your own. When it comes to social media marketing, you need to answer a few fundamental questions: Should your business be on social media? What networks should you choose? How do you create a great profile? What type of content should you post, and when should you post it? Everyone must answer these questions, including business owners who want to create a strategy for their own business, marketing managers who need to convince their CEO to invest in social media and consultants who create strategies for clients in a wide variety of industries. Fortunately, you can find answers through the process of competitor research. The 3 Fs Friends, Family Followers obsession? While you shouldn’t become obsessed about how many fans or followers you have, keep in mind that the numbers, your numbers you have at the beginning of your campaign can help you answer the following important questions. 1. Should your business be on social media? If your competitors have an audience on social media, whether it is 100 people or 100,000, you should be too. If you aren’t, your competitors are tapping into and gobbling up a customer base that your business is completely missing out on. 2. Which networks should your business focus on? After the big 3 Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter that a strong look at some of the others. In Social Media Marketing you never really know where for your kind of company you should be. It only really takes one set of eyes to become a major account. That set could be the actual decision maker or their significant other or a possible influencer.  With a little creativity, you have a chance to reach a group of customers, any group with little or no competition. 3. Have you reached all of your target audience? If you have been using social media for a while, but not getting results, take a look at the size of your 3 F’s. Sorry but large numbers work better. You may have a lot of Fans who could care less about your company but again I cannot say this enough, IT ONLY TAKES 1. So think about it, do you still have room to grow your network? Probably. Larson Notes & Satire:  We offer a 5 step digital social review. Step 1: Domain Review Step 2: Website Review Step 3: Google Review Step 4: Social Review Step 5: Content Review If you need more online activity we have answers. If you need a Landing Page for your web site, consider one of our Signature Pages that will bring your company's web site not just more hits but good solid sales leads. Companies that are using a Sig Page are seeing 30% to 40% more web activity on their existing web sites. Call us 847-794-8710 or 847-991-1294. I'll get you set up. And it even works on those $10 and $15 a month sites. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-12-11 08:21:59 Call Center Empowerment http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=DDEFD83D8C2C17DEE040010AAB015E5A Think about this, in a survey released by WhitePages of more than 540 telemarketing centers, fewer than 2/3rds of companies that have telemarketing centers are able to deliver actionable customer service information to sales people due to data overload and a lack of focus on customer satisfaction. That is only 1/3rd. Using Big Data in Contact Center, managers were overwhelmed by too much data flowing in and out from too many sources and that was causing an inefficiently in both consolidation and utiliization. Heck even small amounts of data can flood out a company’s program.   If reps are not able to or allowed to take the next step towards customer satisfaction or getting to the purpose for the call, you really need to empower them with the tools, the data and the freedom they need. Then they need to be not just calling but be given enough time for each call. This has always been a big problem for any kind of telemarketing work. Its smarter to stay with a customer as long as it takes to get to the customer of prospect to the desired action point, than work on getting a specific number of calls per minutes. Telemarketing reps are not as connected to customer data, and for good reason. More than 40% of customer contact information is still manually inputted by the rep instead of being fed through an automated API or Web-based system. Some of the reason for that is that there is not a good CRM system on the market that I have seen that works for even an average number of prospects or client data. As a result, half of telemarketing  reps say they faced productivity challenges by having to ask customers for even the basic contact information they should be given in the first place. Some of that goes with the territory but the better the data, the better the list, the better the results are going to be.   For more than one program I have run, I get a little upset when the Owner or the CFO or the Marketing Manager asks me about the number of calls they are getting per hour or how many people we need to get run a certain program. Its like they could care less about quality. Companies continue to look at telemarketing reps and centers as cost centers instead of revenue centers. Companies must look at telemarketing in a different way. If they decide to use them to sell or up-sell products and services, they have to empower the telemarketer to sell better. That means keeping data updated so that reps will immediately know who they are calling and giving them enough time to get the job done. Companies need to distribute the data to the reps to let them get action. Business is way too competitive. You really have to start looking at telemarketers as a competitive advantage.  Telemarketers that are able to use the training they've been given are happier in their jobs and do a better. And a happy caller is a productive caller. Larson Notes & Satire:  For many this should be outsourced. Do you really have the time to manager a telemarketing department? Consider what is the best job you could or should be doing for your company?  Where does your real talents lie? If you’re behind with your numbers we CAN help! If you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. If you need a Signature Page that will bring your company's web site not just more hits but good solid sales leads call 847-794-8710 or 847-991-1294. I'll get you set up. And it even works on those $10 and $15 a month sites. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2013-11-27 11:05:13 Google Changes SEO Keyword Dat http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D865CC800447835CE040010AAB015FFF Well they did it again. For at least the second time this year Google has changed how they are ranking your web site. Google said a few weeks ago that all keywords from organic searches will be encrypted and/or secured through the HTTPS protocols. From an SEO perspective, this means site owners and marketers will no longer benefit from organic referral keyword data. Ouch there goes all those SEO amateurs running around saying 1st page Google guaranteed. Don’t know why anyone would fall for that stuff anyway but. . . The term "Not provided" is a term that SEOs have had to deal with for the past couple of years. If you are unfamiliar with "not provided," this is how a referral keyword is listed in Google Analytics as a result of an encrypted search. "Not provided" started in October 2011, when Google decided to change its privacy policy to protect users who were logged into their Google accounts. These logged-in users performing a query through Google would then have their keywords suppressed from Web analytics tools. These keywords showed as "not provided" in Google Analytics, as "keyword unavailable" in Omniture and as "search phrase not provided" in WebTrends Over the years, the amount of traffic from "not provided" referrals grew. This was not only due to an increasing number of users logged into Google accounts, but also, Firefox 14 included secure search in its search bar. Then Safari with iOS6. Then this year, Chrome started encrypting searches performed. In September, something happened. Something that made "not provided" become the rule of the web. In September 2013, there was a sudden spike of "not provided" traffic. That is basically when Google started turning off the magic switch on organic keyword referrals. What does this mean for marketers? How can you adjust to make sure your site is found effectively in search? This move has made many SEO marketers mad. Well ya, now they have to work harder. It really changed how hard they have to work top get results. I will say a good SEO marketer is worth their weight in gold but the bad ones were really getting away with murder. Efforts to focus on keywords at the page level will become much more difficult. You still have to be mindful. Key words and met tag descriptions are still a must but where data was available to show SEO marketers which keywords to target, well now it's almost a guessing game. What could be done in a month now will take a year. Google Webmaster Tools do continue to provide some degree of organic keyword referral data, but it there are limitations. Some people are saying that this is merely sampled data and no complete. Additionally, it only shows the top 2,000 keywords, and data that is no older than three months. Google says it is working on extending the backdate to a year, but this still means SEO marketers will have to download keyword data on a monthly basis. Otherwise there will be no way to make year-over-year comparisons. Larson Notes & Satire:  Yep, if you are not on the cutting edge you’re on the cutting block. If you site has going down I the rankings or not getting the hits you were, well face up to the face that you don’t know everything or maybe it’s time to find someone new to work on your sites SEO and page ranking. There is a reason that Larson & Associates is #1 in a Google, Yahoo or Bing key word search. Trying typing in “telemarketing for printers”  Maybe we do it better then the rest. If you’re behind with your numbers we CAN help! If you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-11-20 07:32:08 Lead Generation ~ Fill Your Fu http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D865CB9A9568835CE040010AAB015FFF You have a quota? Most sales people do in one way shape or form. If you sell for a living or own a business, you need sales and you need to have or get your quota full. I.E “you got to make your numbers. This is a real pain in the butt and if you need to “nudge” the people in your pipeline to Close because you have so few prospects and the end of the month is coming it gets nerve racking.  The truth is that when you have a full pipeline, when your dumping leads down your sales funnel and processing out the good, bad and indifferent at a record pace, it starts to not matter anymore. You could have more prospects than you know what to do with. That means you won’t be desperate to “force” closes that should not be closed and you can maintain your value and your asking price. Larson & Associates is a US owned and run target marketing / telemarketing company offering telemarketing services to small and medium sized businesses worldwide. Larson & Associates can provide the full customer support your company needs to grow your business. We provide a full range of quality, cost-effective target marketing / telemarketing services including appointment setting, lead generation, database updating, telephone surveys, order taking, customer support, and more, at a cost less than if you did it yourself. Larson Notes & Satire:  Larson & Associates is a US owned and run target marketing / telemarketing company offering telemarketing services to small and medium sized businesses worldwide. Larson & Associates can provide the full customer support your company needs to grow your business. We provide a full range of quality, cost-effective target marketing / telemarketing services including appointment setting, lead generation, database updating, telephone surveys, order taking, customer support, and more, at a cost less than if you did it yourself. If your behind with your numbers we CAN help! If you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment.  Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate  P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-09-20 08:14:34 Is Your Elevator Pitch Any Goo http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=E03844B442D77A42E040010AAB016120 Do you have the Perfect Elevator Pitch? Can you tell what you do in a concise compelling way? Most people can't. If you can say what you do in 25 words try again. So here is how to make your Elevator Pitch efficient and effective. The classic elevator pitch. It's a major challenge that every sales person, marketer, and entrepreneur must do. The concept is really quite simple: all you need to do is communicate what you do in the time it takes to ride an elevator from ground level until the door opens and you have to leave. Now we are not talking Willis Tower here. We are talking about your normal building that gives you 55 seconds or less. You only have about 55 seconds to get in and get out and leave a powerful message with enough of a hook to get someone to continue the conversation after exiting, ask for your business card or have a catch praise they will not forget. At Larson & Associates I have 2, “We make good businesses great and great businesses even better!” AND “We bother people at lunch not at dinner.” Everyone needs a simple and concise way to explain what they do. It is one of the keys to successfully prospecting, networking, events, chance meetings and parties for getting new business. Unfortunately most people explain themselves comes off self indulgent and boring resulting in wasted conversations and fruitless encounters or what they say is so dumb and cute no one is really going to take it serious. Here is the typical wrong way: Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am the CEO of ABC Widgets. We help companies grow and we give great customer service. Do you have any widget needs? The people on the receiving end may or may not think they need blue #2 widgets. Most of the time they are only thinking about what they are going to say to you.  In this pitch there is nothing to compelling in this pitch to further a conversation. The only hope you have to continue the conversation is the hope they have for you want to buy what they are offering. A powerful elevator pitch, needs to communicate a compelling value proposition that attracts customers to buy that in a nut shell fills a need gives them a fast reason they will love to buy or a fear if they don’t buy they will have great pain in their lives.  If your working a room this will help you efficiently weed through a large group of people, stopping only for meaningful conversations with real potential customers. Here is a step-by-step process on how it's done: Step 1--Connect with Empathy: Create a specific pain statement or a major pleasure statement for the prospect you want to have a conversation with. Remember you only want to talk to people who are willing to pay for the problems you solve not everyone in the room. Don’t waste your time:   Say you want to work with companies with revenue over $5,000,000 who need a just-in-time manufacturer of blue widgets #2, and they are only a $1,000,000 dollar company; let the thing alone the right? If the person does not meet your target move on. I once knew a guy that would only sell typesetting to ad agencies on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. If your ad agency was on Wabash or Wacker Drive, forget it he would not call on you. He would not call on you if you were an agency that his best friend worked at. You did not meet his target. If the person you’re talking too doesn’t fit or know someone who does, they can answer no and you can move on, and the good news is you have only spent less than 20 seconds.  But if their company is suffering from the issue you targeted or what you offer is such a good feel they can’t help themselves and they fit your target, you'll be actually see their faces drop as they identify with the pain of get a big smile when they have the need too’s or the pleasure your service will bring them.  Now you immediately look smart and empathetic as they affirm that the picture you painted is terrible and frustrating or will bring them the ultimate joy of their lives. You have gained their attention. Step 2--Offer an Objective Solution: Now you got your prospect not only listening but they just got vulnerable. They are thinking you might be pretty smart and insightful. Don't prove them wrong by trying to close. Continue showing them how smart you are by offering up an objective solution to their issues. You might try something like “Wouldn't it be great if ...”?  For example: Wouldn't it be great if there were a company that could design and produce blue widgets #2 and deliver “just-in-time” that makes brings down your warehouse costs and storage needs and lets you be more efficient and lets your salespeople close more deals? If people don't respond positively to this statement then they weren't really connecting in Step 1 and you can move on having only wasted 45 seconds total now. Those who you have connected with should be now hanging on every word and nodding their heads, thankful that someone finally gets their frustration or understands what brings them great joy. Step 3--Provide Differentiation: You are 90% there. The best way to close is by not closing but by by explaining why only you are the best choice to provide the very solution they need. You have to be ready with a couple of points that will truly differentiate you from your competition. Note that "Experience" or "Great Customer Service" doesn’t cut it. Everyone has great experience and fantastic customer service. Using the kinds of things everyone else says won't make you stand out since all of your competitors claim the exact same even if it's not true. To have a true differentiator you need something your competitor can't do or won't do without great effort or expense. Here's the finish: My company uses proven project management and internal design with the tightest turn times in the industry with online or phone ordering systems designed to match your internal requirements to deliver blue #2 widget to your specifications on your dock when you need them every time!   If you would like Ill email you a link to our company web site. If they say no, you only wasted 1 minute 17 seconds. If they say yes, you have succeeded in starting not just a conversation but a targeted prospect that has a high degree of success to be doing business with.     Now just in case you missed it, the last line is incredibly important because it gives you permission to get and use their email and continue the relationship. Even if you aren't a writer, have content like white papers, videos or blog posts ready to email and support your pitch as promised. As Hank Trisler says: “People buy on emotion and justify with facts.” Larson Notes & Satire:  Easy and hard to get what you need to say into tight compact words. Work on it, test it, and practice it. And as you practice it, you will get better till it becomes natural. And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-08-26 09:28:27 15 Astounding Marketing Facts http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D8659C0A1D2EB250E040010AAB015CD6 Marketing facts and figures help marketers understand where we stand against the averages and norms. They also help us understand consumer trends, business trends and where the industry has been and where it is going. Here are 15 of the most astounding social media, email and other marketing facts and figures that I have come across. 1. Companies spending more than 25% of their marketing budgets toward optimization are twice as likely to enjoy high conversion rates, according to a recent study conducted by Adobe. Does that mean optimizing your current marketing mix is a better investment than putting dollars toward new channels? Many marketers are not optimizing their current marketing channels to the fullest extent. Marketing optimization comes down to applying best practices and testing various techniques to improve response.  2. According to the 2013 Marketing Trends study conducted by J&C, 75% of marketers are planning to use social media this year. Social media was second only to email as the most used tactic in marketing. Social media users are now being inundated with messages. 3. According to HubSpot, in 2013 marketers spent almost a quarter of their overall budgets on blogging and social media. 4. According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, companies that blog 20 times per month get five times more traffic than those that blog less than four times per month. 5. HubSpot also reported that 80% of marketers with a company blog reported positive inbound ROI for 2013. These organizations are likely implementing a number of inbound marketing tactics with a blog being one. 6. This year, 43% of marketers found a new customer via their company blog, according to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report. Blogging takes a strong commitment to content development. Learn more about how to evolve your content development strategy. 7. In 2013, 90% of marketers say they will increase or maintain their use of email. Furthermore, according to Lyris, more than 145 billion emails are sent annually, equating to every user receiving approximately 9,000 emails a year. Breaking through a cluttered inbox isn’t easy. Be sure you are doing everything possible to test and optimize subject lines. 8. According to MarketingSherpa, 69% of consumers are willing to give up personal data in exchange for more customized service. Personalization is becoming an expectation and a norm by consumers and business decision makers.  9. According to Google Think Insights, 74% of mobile users rely on their mobile devices to check email. This number is likely to continue to grow, demonstrating the growing need for mobile optimized emails. 10. Mobile open rate on emails is up 138% in the last 18 months, according to Google Think Insights. 11. Almost half of mobile users feel frustrated and annoyed when they visit a site that’s not mobile-friendly, according to Google Think Insights. Ensure that your emails and landing pages are leveraging responsive design.  12. According to FierceCMO, the volume of triggered email increased 73% in 4Q12 from the year- earlier period. 13. Open rates for triggered emails hit 49.8% in 2012, almost 95% higher than general emails, according to HubSpot’s blog, December 14, 2012. To learn more about how to optimize your triggered emails, check out J&C’s Triggered and Behavioral Email ebook. 14. The direct mail business is growing by 1.4% annually, according to the DMA. Direct mail is a viable marketing tactic, and direct mail effectiveness, measured as response rate, continues to remain steady. 15. Two out of three people who receive direct mail make a purchase or also engage in a different marketing channel, demonstrating the power of integrated communications. Ensure all your marketing channels are working together to create a cohesive prospect and customer experience. These marketing facts and figures help paint a clear picture of the state of marketing in 2013. Hopefully this information can help you shape marketing strategies and convince others of the approaches that should be pursued. Larson Notes & Satire:  Fact is that Social and Social Media Marketing are getting more and better looks but Google and the other search engines than your web site. Add that to all the above and what are you waiting for?   And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment.   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2013-08-22 10:57:16 Do You Blog? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=DDEFD7DBDF735AE1E040010AAB015E58 It’s a fact if you want to increase your Google rankings blogging is one of those magical keys. Right now only 40% of companies out there are use blogs for marketing purposes, is your competition a blogger? With over 80% of all people rating a Blog as a useful tool in a company’s marketing attack why of why are blogs given such a low priority in a company’s marketing mix? What if your web site through an organic key word search got a 4 figure hit increase? Yes I’m talking over 1000% increase in organic traffic on your web site! What if you got 3000% or 4000%? How many more eyes would that be? So why aren’t you blogging? The most common reasons people tell us they are not using this powerful tool are: > I am not a writer. > I don’t know what to blog about. > No one is going to read my blog. > I don’t have the time and resources to keep a blog updated. > I (just) don’t have a blog page Don't have a blog? No problem, we can create a blog for you. Here are some features of our Blogging Services and Marketing that we offer: > We Create & Maintain your Blog for You > We promote the blog to RSS Feed Directories for Greater Visibility > Weekly – 400 minimum Word Blog Posting - Written and Promoted > Blog Pinging to the top blog directories & search engines after each blog post > All blog content is social bookmarked > Put links in your Blog to point to pages on your web site\ > Content written to use your Keywords > Get greater web site exposure and a constant stream of keyword targeted traffic > Build more back links to your site > Boost your search engine ranking Larson Notes & Satire:  If you don’t, can’t or just plain don’t want to write a blog we can be helping. Don’t be kidding yourself content is King and fresh content is Emperor. Weekly posting might not seem like a lot but after a year that is 52 posts. Do 2 a week and that is 104 more content pages then your competition. And if your competition is standing still doing nothing you are way far out in front of the race to top ranking. And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2013-06-27 07:36:44 Using Facebook Hashtags http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=DDEFD7D4B0DF5AE1E040010AAB015E58 They are new so it is not or would not be a surprise if you’re not using them or if you’re using Facebook hashtags in the right or best way possible, 9 times out of 10 you’re probably using them the wrong. Coming after another long build Facebook build-up, Facebook finally announced that it is supporting clickable hashtags. You know just like twitter does. Facebook is saying this is the first step of “a series of features that surface some of the interesting discussions people are having about public events, people and topics.” If you have played with them at all on twitter you can start to understand the power. Few things Facebook has released have except for Facebook itself really transformed how social media users interact with each other within, but hashtags, hashtags can change all of that. Hashtags are basically identifiers (the # symbol) that indicate a theme or interest. These hashtags are pretty much everywhere Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. Hashtags are just a way for users to scan strings of thoughts. Hashtags are created by users are clicked upon, and they link an entire conversation thread on that hashtag. Hashtags presents people the chance to follow a conversation as well as reply to the same conversation without the problem of looking back to find the thread, so interact action, and engagement with you and your social media sight grains traction. Hashtags on Facebook are working pretty much the same way they do everywhere else – with a few differences. Let’s look the differences that Facebook hashtags are and a couple of tips on how to use them, as a social media power user, can leverage them to your advantage.    MONITOR: The first step if you’re planning to really get the full potential out of your hashtags is to first understand how they are currently being used. Start by searching for a hashtag. Just pick a keyword you’d like to see information about and type the # symbol and entering it into the Facebook search box. Searching for the hashtag will return updates from other Facebook members as well that you may not be connected to. This can be both good (you can post with hashtags and like key words on a SEO dominate the word (for free) and bad (they might find your competition) but live with it. Searching regularly for hashtags related to your company is a valuable social easdropping tool on the competition. Using Hashtag research can start to give you an understanding of what’s being talked about, shared and discussed, providing competitive insights and an advantage when it comes to creating your own updates.   As of yet social media management tools aren’t yet providing any statistics to track #hashtag word clicks, but I think it will happen rather quickly. Major money follows trackable items. INTERACT: Once you have a good understanding of what hashtags are going around, as well as the overall tone of those hashtags (positive, negative or neutral) you can start interacting with the people who are using “your” terms. To really do this, you need to find posts of theirs you can like and share and, if possible, make a comment on it. Interaction is a basis of success in social media, so be social! Be audacious! Put your neck on the line and get out there in front of an audience, your audience that shares similar thoughts and needs, experiences and beliefs and you will start to find yourself in a  better positioned to receive not just a positive response but more positive responses more often. Larson Notes & Satire:  But perhaps the most important thing to know about hashtags is just that they exist at all on Facebook. It will be important in the future to monitor their use related to your company, your brand, your product and/or service, your interactions and your engagement with the Facebook community. Hashtags don’t need to define your social media presence on the network, but they can support it and in a very proactive positive way. If I was to make any suggestion it would be to start playing around with them. I hae found the more I play the better I get. And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-06-24 07:04:30 Generate User Reviews http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D865CA687323835CE040010AAB015FFF If you are doing any kind of Social Media Marketing, no matter what size your company is, you should know how important it is to leverage reviews in both online and offline marketing efforts. Some studies are showing that 72% of consumers trust online customer reviews as much as a personal recommendations. Who’d have guessed, huh? Obviously any reviews no matter how or where it comes from can help to get customers to make buying decision. There are of course a few areas that can make you get a little worried about reviews. There is of course the fear of negative feedback. Then there is the fear of time needed to develop and implement a successful reviewing tool while obtaining trustworthy, relevant reviews. To help you, here are a few ways to help you get user reviews without really trying too hard. 1. ASK YOUR FANS: It’s not against the rules to ask. Really, just ask the 3 F’s (family, friends, fans) to make their love of you and your services known to the world, via a formal review. After all if you can’t as your 3 F’s who can you ask?   2. FOLLOW UP A POST-SERVICE/PURCHASE: There’s a key time frame to follow up with a customer who has purchase a product or service from you to allow you to ask for a review. I cannot tell you what that is because it is different for every kind of company category, but one exists. You might need to test different time lengths to find what the optimal follow-up period for your business is but then you will know and you will never have to miss an opportunity to send a follow-up email, letter or phone call asking how a customer’s experience was.   3. ESTABLISH A PRESENCE ON MAJOR REVIEW SITES: Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local, Merchant Circle, Storeboard, Citysearch, etc. are all good trusted sites to get and posts reviews. Or at least they want you to think so. Now I’m not argue so go get your company listed with a profile, then keep it updated and respond to all user comments both good and bad. These review sites also impact SEO, so by establishing a profile, your company can gain greater visibility, attract more hits and, hopefully, more reviews.   4. MAKE IT MULTI CHANNEL FRIENDLY: As those in the online space are well aware, mobile and tablet usage is gaining traction. To ensure that customers visiting your site, regardless of the kind of device they are using, can easily access and enter their reviews, you need to make it multi channel friendly. Need help with this, call us and we can make it happen.   5. CREATE USER PROFILES: As ego-driven people, we tend to act or as the case may be, write differently if we know someone is watching. By not allowing anonymous reviews, customers are not only likely to give more accurate reviews, but also more helpful ones because their name is on it (literally). In the B2B world, user profiles can also create an opportunity for user promotion, as a reviewer they can enter their company name as the user name and get a company plug.   6. PUBLISH REVIEWS FOR THE PUBLIC: There’s no sense asking for reviews, if other people cannot see them. Additionally, those who previously read reviews that encouraged them to make a purchase, are more likely to come back and review their own experience.   7. OFFER DIFFERENT WAYS TO REVIEW A PRODUCT/SERVICE: Not all of us are great writers. So the problem is if a customer , who isn’t great writer, could give you are great review you might want to offer them an option of multiple choice questions in order to rate your product or service on a scale of 1-10, this way all those non-writers will be able to leave an favorable opinion.   9. OFFER TRIAL PERIODS: If you want reviews, but don’t have any customers, to leave them, one tactic is to offer trial period for your service. Do not make the condition that they have to review your service in the end, but offer the service and hope your quality offering and your follow-ups brings them back to give you a positive review.   10. WORK WITH A REVIEW AGGREGATOR: There are companies out there that help companies generate reviews through referral engines (like us). They help to take the guess work out of the process by sending follow-up emails on your behalf, working with your social media profiles and offering customers a follow-up options to your business. Larson Notes & Satire:  Social media can be made to be better. It just takes a little work. Now you know a few more tricks of the trade. And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-06-21 06:33:17 Save Money By Outsourcing http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D9C1BAED0FADC2E8E040010AAB013440 As an entrepreneur it is a very normal and natural want to do everything yourself. I mean it’s your baby. You started it, you’re building it, you must know what is best. But if you do all the work yourself you are saving money? Are you getting the best effort and talent in targeted areas of your business? The question is, could someone be doing a better job for you?   If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs or small business people when we first start out, you might be forced to do everything yourself because of “sweat equity”. Money is not there to do what needs to be done so, you do it. But there comes a time when you need to either delegate or outsource.   Once you get to this point in your businesses life you have to have a reality check and realize that to do everything yourself is not practical and there are some things you are really not qualified to do.   Lucky for you that almost anything you need can not only be outsourced but there are able, willing experts out there to do the work. So you have lots of choices of not just want to outsource but who to outsource to.   According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the average small business owner spends up to 40% of his or her time on routine administrative tasks. Constantly working on non revenue-producing tasks that could be more productively and cost-effectively performed by a highly skilled, knowledgeable assistant is losing your business significant income.   Steps in determining what to outsource   Step 1: Decide what tasks are taking up your time or that you are not qualified to do, such as web promotion, social media marketing, bookkeeping, janitorial, etc.   Step 2: Find out how much time you are putting into each task.   Step 3: Determine what you would do with the time that you would save by outsourcing.   Step 4: Determine the tasks which should or cannot be outsourced or the things that you are most qualified to do. Not everything can be outsourced.   Step 5: Prioritize every task. When you outsource, don’t give too much responsibility the first time you unless you know them or they come very highly recommended from a trusted friend.   Step 6: Now assuming you certain tasks you are going to have someone do for you, write a task list of what you expect to have accomplished either on a daily or weekly basis.   When you get to that point in your businesses growth when you need to outsource and you will find your business able to grow even faster. Call Me, Howard Larson, now, at 847-991-1294, for a free consultation.   If results are what you need and expect contact us today. We do what others only promise.    Larson & Associates / We Make Good Businesses Great & Great Businesses Even Better. www.larsonassociates.ws 847-991-1294 All associates located in the United States But remember, you can ONLY get the Larson advantage at Larson & Associates      2013-04-09 08:22:07 Multi-Channel Marketing Progra http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D731A4E2AFEA3810E040010AAB017FF8 What is a Multi-Channel Marketing Program or Cross Channel (different kinds or marketing and advertising like telemarketing, direct mail, social media marketing, content or blogging, etc.)  Marketing Plan? Think about it. What is it and how can your company use and put one in place? Simply a Multi-Channel Marketing Program is one part of a cross channel marketing plan.   When done right a Multi-Channel Marketing Program will include strategies for telemarketing, print, web, email, direct mail, PR, order fulfillment, charitable interaction and other internal and external pushes. A Multi-Channel Marketing Program focuses on internet and offline marketing activities. Creating an online marketing strategy and cross channel marketing plan also requires a bit of analysis; to figure out what channels your company has used in the past (if any) before and which of those was most and least profitable.   Why is a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy and Multi-Channel Marketing Plan Important? If you’re like most businesses, at least the ones I know of, you don't have an endless supply of money to work with. So it is important for you to decide what marketing channels they'll spend money on based on the ROI (return on investment) and how much to allocate to each channel. It's also very important to make sure that your marketing efforts go across channels so they are supportive and reinforcing towards each other so that the prospects you are going after receives a consistent message, in any of numbers or ways they connect with you. But you need to create a plan that details what activities will be executed, when they'll be launched, across what channels they'll be launched, how frequently they'll be used, what customer segments they'll be targeting, how long they'll run for, what products will be promoted, what message will be communicated, and what the sales or customer acquisition goals will be. When you businesses executes your marketing efforts "in the dark" you get a lot of wasted money, confusing and inconsistent message and low conversion rates.   Larson & Associates will work with you to learn what your company has done in the past (what works and what doesn't) including a return on investment analysis if the sales data is available, what your current company strategy is and what your goals are, take a review or your current marketing efforts, and together we'll create a plan that will be executed, tracked, and measured, and adjusted as need be.   If you really need more prospects call us. It is not a problem.  We simply take the target we have created and make connections for you.  It’s almost that simple.       Call Me, Howard Larson, now, at 847-991-1294, for a free consultation.   If results are what you need and expect contact us today. We do what others only promise Larson & Associates / We Make Good Businesses Great & Great Businesses Even Better www.larsonassociates.ws 847-991-1294 All associates located in the United States   Remember, you can ONLY get the Larson advantage at Larson & Associates   2013-04-05 07:40:49 Telemarketing Brings Profits a http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D9795F3829EB3BE2E040010AAB0115AB Telemarketing really can increase both your profits and bring needed added sales. If you don't already use telemarketing as a marketing channel for your business then maybe now is the perfect time to be adding telemarketing. So you may ask if telemarketing is expensive? Telemarketing can be very expensive, but it depends on how you go about it. If you do the in-house telemarketing route you might be surprised to find it is usually more expensive. The Set up, the hiring and telephone, the computer, the training the managing, sick and vacation days all add up quickly. Your best bet if you want to use telemarketing for your business would be to find a telemarketing company who is inexpensive, experienced. They should allow you to pay per hour or have an hourly plus incentive package available or even a per lead package. Expect to have some prepayment if you want a quality job. Work out how much you're willing to or can spend per week, then stick to that and grow your telemarketing campaign as your business grows. Most marketing companies will be willing to work with your budget and help you grow since it will also benefit their business. To give you some idea, we at Larson & Associates, charge as little as $30 per hour per agent, or incentive plans mixing hourly and incentives. We can offer these affordable rates due to our structure and experienced staff. How can telemarketing increase profits? As business owners you know you need fresh leads to keep your sales funnel full. No new leads, sales go down. Fresh leads sales go up, like magic. Telemarketing is one of the few ways to ensure you have a consistent flow of red hot sales leads and appointments because it is one of the only ways that actually goes out and seeks sales leads and doesn’t sit back and wait for them to come to you. Almost every other form or marketing does just that, it has you sitting there and hoping the prospect contacts you. But then we all need to remember where ever they come from, a lead is a lead... no one really cares if they are generated online, word of mouth, television, radio or telemarketing. You need to remember that the leads you get from telemarketing will not to turn into instant sales.  Not every single lead you get is going to close, it is simply an opportunity for your business to present its products and services to an interested person. It can happen quickly sometimes sometimes longer but you do need to remember there is still a sales cycle that is a part of your industry. Telemarketing is a form of advertising and marketing not necessarily direct sales and you need to have patience with the progress of the leads and then use them properly. How can you use the leads or appointments properly? Firstly you need a quality sales team. If you already have one then you need make sure they understand exactly what a lead is, that it is not a closed sale, that it is only a lead... and that they still need to close the prospect. It is simply a lead of someone who has expressed interest in your product or service. Pick the correct qualifying questions. This (after your leads list) is the most important part in setting up your telemarketing attack. Keep in mind that you have 15 seconds to draw them into a conversation and only then to you gain the right to ask qualifying questions. Get your sales team involved in the process because they are the ones who are going to get the bulk of the new leads and work by submitting the kind or qualification criteria they use to have in your telemarketing team’s questions. You know your sales team will be the first to complain (and rightfully so) about leads they are getting so their input at this point will make all the difference in the world. You need to ensure that leads or appointments are not being wasted. I have seen time and time again that the company was not ready to hit the ground and follow up on leads from prospects that ended up buying from a competitor. They came in started a lead generation plan without a follow-up, follow-though plan. Sometimes sales people get lazy. They think that these leads they get should roll over and buy. It is a lead not a roll over play dead slam dunk! Not every lead or appointment is going to be easy. Sales people do need to be managed. (special message to sale people) Sorry guys you can’t just run loose and free you still need to fit into the company’s growth and sales plan. You as management are buying them leads so you as management needs to have accountability as to how they're utilizing the leads and appointments, you have a right to know that they are following up, and making the necessary calls when these potential customers asks. Are they re-scheduling any appointments which can’t be kept? Do they know the status of each lead or appointment they're working on? Too often do I see sales leads being sent back to me for reasons such as "customer had a family emergency and needs to reschedule appointment" In cases like this the sales person should be taking charge and using his superior sales knowledge and his calendar and schedule the reschedule themselves. Don’t get lazy and stop being a sales person. You need to start building rapport not the telemarketer. This isn’t a bad lead! It could in prove to be a much easier lead to close due to the level of rapport being built as well as the prospect feeling bad that they had to cancel the first appointment. Bottom line is you need to be tough on your sales people, I am not saying over manage them with needless reports and paperwork but scrutinize their work and if you have leads you believe weren't properly qualified to the standard you were promised based on your qualifying questions talk to your telemarketing company and many rather than scratching the whole process you only need to tweak it to make it work. Now the 1 Million Dollar Question. How long will it take to start seeing profits from telemarketing? It all depends. Might not be the answer you want to hear but it is the truthful one. Sometimes telemarketing is a working progress so you should not expect dramatic results quickly. You need to work together with your telemarketer to make sure you get the success you want out of the telemarketing campaign. Sometimes you will need to alter those qualifying questions in order to get the better results. Don’t just go and slam the telemarketer. Let’s face it, it’s a job few people want to do. Usually things will run much smoother if you're working with a company who has experience in telemarketing for your industry, your product or your service. Especially if you are not 100% sure on what you’re qualifying questions should be. We can also provide our thoughts as to what qualifying questions you might want to include. Remember this is for your benefit to work with and help us get you great results so the more detailed the information you give us on your product or service and what kind of results you're looking for and what your sales process is, we can only do better. If you begin your campaign with all the correctly then you can and should be seeing results as soon as the leads or appointments are worked on by your sales team. This could be as quick as one week! Now does telemarketing have other benefits besides generating sales leads and appointments for your business? Absolutely! Any marketing that is don’t correctly and is actively getting your business name out there will defiantly have other benefits for your business. Monitor all activity and ask how they heard about your company. Many times weeks and months after a telemarketing campaign is over you will get calls coming in. Don't just use telemarketing as a lead generation service or appointment setting service Max it out!!!! Let us give out your website your business details send or email information to those people you think don't exactly qualify or aren't available for an appointment right now. Things change. Circumstances change. Personnel change. Not only will this increase traffic to your website but it will provide you with future business and will expose your business to more people! The person we speak to may also have friends who might be interested in your products and/or services as well. Is telemarketing the only marketing I need for my business? No it is only one way, but one of the few that go out and actively goes after prospects. If you're just starting out telemarketing is definitely a great place to start, it is fast, effective and will definitely increase profits for your business and allow your business to grow NOW not in 3 months. But like any marketing channel the more the channels you are using the better. Combining telemarketing with Social Media Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing, Blogging, Direct Mail, E-Mail will only bring more exposure to your business. As you work the channels you need to see what works and what doesn’t. Larson Notes & Satire:  I think telemarketing can do positive things for your business when it is done right. You don’t and some slash and burn kind of person doing the calling for you, leaving a trail of blood behind them like Sherman’s March to the Sea. We are not a slash and burn kind of place. If you're thinking of adding telemarketing to your business’s marketing plan then get in touch with us. We can put a plan together and usually have you up and running within a week. Putting in place a person who has experience in your kind of business so you can begin working towards boosting profits for your business! And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2013-04-04 08:32:36 Multi-Channel Marketing http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D865C9D42DAE6A8BE040010AAB015FFD Larson & Associates Multi-Channel Marketing Program gives you the opportunity to get your message out and reach consumers through one of three media:            ·         Teleprospecting / Telemarketing ·         Social Media ·         Web Site SEO ·         Direct Mail ·         Email Marketing   Fact is the more marketing channels your company is using the easier for prospects to find and become customers.  You probably have a brick and mortar location as well as a website and company brochure and (seeing that your reading this online) perhaps some social media marketing.  Each channel provides a different view and gives you a different kind of marketing avenue and prospect “eyes”.  This is what multi-channel marketing is all about.  Each channel provides a different opportunity for prospects to find you, interact with you and to buy from you.   Whether you choose Teleprospecting, Social Media, Web-SEO, Direct Mail or Email Marketing we can help you get your message out.  Starting by knowing, understanding and isolating the demographics of the targeted group of people or companies you are targeting and the message you are sending can help decide not which channels to use but which ones to devote the most effort into.   If you are not sure who your best customers are we can analyze your current customer list, find out the kinds of clients you work best with and basically find you more of them in any number of ways.   If you really need more prospects call us. It is not a problem.  We simply take the target we have created and make connections for you.  It’s almost that simple.       Call Me, Howard Larson, now, at 847-991-1294, for a free consultation,   If results are what you need and expect contact us today. We do what others only promise.   Larson & Associates / We Make Good Businesses Great & Great Businesses Even Better. www.larsonassociates.ws 847-991-1294   All associates located in the United States   Remember, you can ONLY get the Larson advantage at Larson & Associates    2013-03-25 07:55:55 Ways Lead Generation Works http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D731A4EF62BAEC4AE040010AAB017FF0 If you can’t keep your sales pipeline full of fresh new leads you will fail. NO matter what out of any list of 100 names there are only a certain number of new customers. So every time you take 1 out of the list be it a yes or a no, you don’t lose 1 real lead, you lose that 1 and maybe 20 more that were never going to buy but are still in your data base. 1) Using The Wrong People – For every lead generation program, you need to be sure that the employees be it inside telemarketer or outside rep making the sales calls have the appropriate background and knowledge. I would say you want to be finding a mature adult who knows how to think on their feet. A college education back ground doesn’t hurt and any kind of selling experience. If you can get any familiarity with the client, product or service is you got a real winner. 2) Defining The Lead – How will sales reps or telemarketer know when they have a lead or suspect if they have no clue what a good lead looks like in the first place? What does a customer look like? If you can’t define it don’t expect anyone else to be able to do it for you. A business can qualify a lead by industry, company size, revenue, location, and be taking the prospect to a closed sale faster by confirming the more advanced information like budget, authority and timeline. 3) Poor Messaging – A message that does not resonate with prospects or that is difficult to understand, or one that is difficult for sales reps or telemarketers to say and deliver is going to slow down any kind of lead generation campaign. Your company must have a clear, pointed, directed message that speaks to the needs, the pains or the joys for your product or service from your company for the prospect to generate results. 4) Wrong target – If you have the wrong list the message does not make any difference. This happens when you do not properly build or acquiring a list of prospects based on your company’s perfect customer or if you focus too much on the influencer and not the ones making the buying decisions. Remember the perfect demographics when making or getting your list, industry, company size, revenue, and location. 5) Poor Lead Handoff – This sometimes means a lead was not properly qualified, or it took too long for a good lead to the sales people too late, well after the prospect has forgotten about the conversation or bought from another vendor. It done right and seamlessly a proper lead handoff can help businesses avoid both of these situations. Larson Notes & Satire:  I have always said the better the Lead List the better the Lead Generation process. If you are hitting on the right people and the right companies they well need what you are selling day in and day out. There are ways to do this. Secrets if you want to call them that to make the process better. I call it experience. So how will your company grow in 2013? Share with us your thoughts. What has worked in your organization in lead generation and what are mistakes you have learned from in the past? And if you want your business to be more and have more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2013-03-15 11:24:06 The Mindset of a Communication http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D731A4E9FA8DEC4AE040010AAB017FF0 Get your head out of the sand. If you can start thinking of more than just a shift in technology or product line, becoming a Communication Services Provider is at least to start with, a shift of mindset. As a CSP, you’ll still be a Printer or a Print Services Provider (PSP) but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real change is in your head, it is one of your overall perspectives of your business and your company. Here are four ways to adopt and implement yourself as a Communication Services Provider 1st Start by talking to your customers. Really when was the last time you talked to your key accounts on what they need, not just in the way of printing but about their entire communication needs and process. 2nd Selling a product or service is only one step of what you need to be doing. Selling printing makes you a commodity. Selling a communication service makes you a total service filling out a full need, not a part. If you do it right, this interacting with customers should of course be a constant back and forth process for the entire life cycle of the customer. As a Communication Services Provider you need to learn about the reason behind the products and services they buy. With each service and transaction you make, you need to know and ask “What is that client’s ultimate goal and reason for doing this.” As there Communication Services Provider your mind needs to be project based, not product based. You are solving a problem not a requirement of that problem. You’re starting a communication partnership, instead of just being a print vendor. If you understand your customer’s print marketing goals and how those align with their overall marketing goals you start to become valued partner. If all you do is pick up the phone, take the order and then hang up and do the job, become noting more than a commodity. 3rd Start Selling Solutions. Shifting from PSP to CSP means you’ll have to sell yourself in terms of total solutions instead of just products. The print part of a project is just that, only part of the solution. Now you need to communicate the benefits of print in the context of the total communication and marketing system. The brochure you print, the flier you produced, your direct mail offering you have going out isn’t important because it’s just a piece of paper or a nicely typeset invitation to purchase your client’s product. All of those things mean nothing really. You can go out and buy them anywhere. The direct mail pieces, the flier, the brochure, are nothing without knowledge of the entire process. You need to be selling the solution not the product. 4th the all important Follow Up. If you have listened to and understand your client’s business goals and communication and marketing objectives, you’re finally in a position to follow up with them and offer them true value. Your printing company is already part of the communication and marketing process. Now, take those isolated printed pieces and make it a communication campaign with all the other parts of the channels of marketing and communication. As a Communication Services Provider, you can sell clients on creating complete projects both on and off line, which allow you to track campaign result and engagement. You can further automate the process to report to your clients on exactly how the mail performed–who went to the personalized webpage, how long they stayed and whether they acted truly interested. In other words, you can become a total marketing partner, actively delivering leads, reporting marketing effectiveness and using measurement tools to make future campaigns more effective for them. Just remember becoming a Communication Services Provider means changing your perspective, then match that with your product and service offerings. You aren’t just selling a new product: you’re partnering with a client to help them find total communication solutions not just print solutions that solve their problems. Larson Notes & Satire:  So how will your company grow in 2013?Only in one way? Printing if you’re a printer? Signs if you’re a sign shop? Yet, you could be more, so much more. If there was a way for you to become a complete communication company for your key accounts at no cost to you, would you? If you want your business to be more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-03-13 09:16:58 Growth Synergies for the Print http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D58B2E1D8D49B39AE040010AAB015435 I know it goes against every bone in your ink stained body but to grow in 2013 might require a new way of thinking. Are the old strategies still working for you? I’m guessing no. I’m guessing you are getting hammered from the right and from the left from online, to do it on my copy machine to paperless.    So what do you do? If you play ostrich and put your head in the sand you’re done for. The only word that comes to mind is Synergy. You need to find people in related fields that can add to your company’s service base. Surround yourself with a team of experts to engage in a successful hands off partnership. If the railroads had see how airline companies were going to come in and dominate passenger traffic they might have gotten into the business of flying or bought them out when they were small and buyable. If you’re a commercial printer, this is especially a wise strategy to consider. You can buy your way in. But that takes money which is in short supply. We all know that in a flat economy, sales are hard to come by. And I call 2% growth pretty flat. That’s why you can’t just think of adding more sales people, or cutting your costs. After the last few years or cost cutting are there any more places to cut costs? Probably not. And as for qualified salespeople the good ones are not moving and the bad ones, well you don’t want them. To do what I am suggesting you may have to reconsider the basic structure of your business. Parts of your business that are drags on your business. What would happen if you stopped or outsourced those parts? Then there is expansion of services. Could you achieve synergies to make your “printing” company a communication company by teaming with someone else? This is a case where you could work with a competitor or parallel company to achieve a win-win situation. There are risks, there always are risks.  But the greatest risk a printing owner can make is to be stuck in his or her definition of what the definition of their company and business is and to formulate a growth strategy.   Larson Notes & Satire:  If you want to bust out of the trap of being a printer to one of being a marketing communication company. We have ideas. They might work for your company, they might not. As for why, what we know about web, social media marketing, telemarketing will take you time to catch up to what we know and guess what? By then we will know even more. My point is to form a synergy with an organization like ours who does not want to steal the printing side of your business but work behind the scenes as a partner letting you keep in total control of the customer base might be just what you need to get your company to 2014. If you want your business to be more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-02-19 06:58:35 White Hat / Black Hat better k http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D52150D6B49978B8E040010AAB0107B6 I might know every wrong way to make a website go up on the search engines. You know the ones that get your site booted out of Google and then you need to go on bended knee and beg them to take your web site back and list it.  You might think oh that’s bad. But let me tell you it’s very very good. When it comes to social media marketing, there is a long list of best practices and worst practices that you the marketing manager or business owner needs to be aware of. Sometimes this line of good and bad get all messy, and even though you might be innocently just trying to improve your hits and followers or metrics, BAM! The web marshal goes and puts your site in web jail. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 new followers! Yes you could be crossing the line and being accused of using “black hat tactics”. Black hat tactics go against both the written and unwritten rules of social media. Yes we are at war, but these kinds of tactics bait the system in order to achieve better results. Now some black hat tactics are clearly underhanded and I mean sneaky bad, and easy to identify, others are not so bad and are leveraged by thousands of marketers and companies on a daily basis, sometimes on purpose and many times totally unintentionally. Below I have given you 5 black hat strategies, along with ways to clean up your act. Black Hat 1: Buying your Audience This is such an obvious black hat practice, and it really makes no sense to do. While there are many services that make it simple for someone to purchase fans or followers, this tactic has little-to-no value. The popularity is nice and we all wanted to be Homecoming King or Queen in High School, but you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Not only can you totally damage your company’s reputation with your real 3F’s friends, family and followers, but chances are that these mysterious new audience fans don’t care much about what your company has to say. Then again, purchased fans and followers could hide spammers and hackers, which have the potential to really cause a whole lot of problems for you. White Hat 1: Growing your Audience The best way to grow your audience is with engaging content. This includes great posts, insightful content, images, videos, promotions, polls and any other type of interactive ideas and update that grabs you attention. Once you start posting content on a regular basis and promote it on your SM page even more people can see, find and comment on it. This should be done on both Facebook and Twitter. As you do this you (nicely) get the word about your company’s social profiles, which helps increase real fan and follower. Black Hat 2: Running Facebook Promotions Directly on a Page This is an example of where the lines between black hat and white hat get blurry. Although many companies run promotions on Facebook on a regular basis, only companies who are running these promotions within Apps on Facebook.com are actually complying with the Facebook Pages Terms.   White Hat 2: Running Legit Promotions The Facebook Pages Terms make it totally clear that promotions must be administered within Apps, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App. However, social marketing managers should also note some of the network’s other promotion rules, like acknowledging that promotions are not endorsed or sponsored by Facebook, disclosing who is collecting participants’ information, as well as not using Facebook functions (such as likes, comments or check-ins) as valid actions for entries into a contest or promotion.  Black Hat 3: Spamming for Traffic Another obvious black hat tactic is spamming for traffic. Most of us have seen the social spammers, who tend to comment on popular posts and tweets with a random message in addition to some strange link. While most of you reading this article know better than to click on these suspect links, others don’t, which is why this shady tactic continues. White Hat 3: Posting for Traffic The best way to fight against spammers is to report them, but this doesn’t solve the problem of how you can obtain more web traffic via the social media. Aside from posting good engaging content, another way companies can boost their visibility (and therefore web site traffic) is by participating in conversations on topics, which is most easily done on Twitter or LinkedIn. Black Hat 4: Corrupt Cover Photos Facebook cover photos are meant to be a representation of your company, but some companies leverage this area to promote sales. The Facebook Page Terms, however, clearly labels these tactics as prohibited. In fact, covers images cannot be made up of more than 20 percent text, include price or purchase information, contain website, email or mailing addresses, have references to Facebook actions or other call-to-actions. White Hat 5: Innovative Cover Photos If you are determined to use your cover photo to promote a new service or product, try to use some imagination in order to not breach the Facebook Pages Terms. While a cover photo car get to the point or a new product or service you need it to also comply with cover photo guidelines by not including too much text, a call-to-action or pricing information. Black Hat 5: Sneaky Automation Using automated services for social media campaigns is another place where the lines between black and white hats get blurry. While these services can make life much easier for you, they can also be major annoyances when done the wrong way. An example of a bad use of automation is when company’s send out generic messages to new followers and fans thanking them for becoming a follower. While you might not think this is “bad”, some companies take the thank you message a step further by asking their new fans to take an immediate action in engaging with them by adding a link to their website, a product or additional social profile within the message. While this might not bother some people, it can turn others away. White Hat 5: Automation to Help Save Time Automation tools should be used to help you make the posting process done in less time. A service like IFTTT can make some social media management tasks easier, you should remember that interactions with fans and followers should come off as authentic, and not from a robot. Use it but be careful. It is social and sooner or later you need to interact. Larson Notes & Satire:  So are you I hot water? Are you a Black Hat, White Hat, Gray Hat or a Hat Of Many Colors, or do you just not know? Take it from a guy who knows all the Black Hat ways to do web promotion. The dirty little truth is these 5 Hats are just the tip of the iceberg as to what you should be working through. And, what you don’t know can hurt you. So you might want to think about your next step. We put it all together with a powerful knowledge and experience base. If you want your business to be more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2013-02-15 08:41:32 Should You Be Mobile? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D58B2E0E1F20B39AE040010AAB015435 Was doing some reading this morning at the kitchen table. >Expect 63% more people to be shopping on mobile devices during the next couple years >Already 51% of people feel very comfortable making purchases from their mobile devices >To people with mobile devices say the most important app features are: >36% access coupons >35% comparison shopping >31% customer reviews >28% make purchases >26% track shipping This leads me into asking should your company be doing mobile? B2B has been wondering about this I know but let’s take a closer look. Mobile site and email traffic continues to skyrocket. In May alone, GigaOm reported that there are 5.5 devices per household, and they see that increasing to as many as 8 by 2016. A recent study by Foolproof reported nearly half of consumers would not engage with a company if they had a poor mobile Web experience! And nearly 60% said they viewed a company as "being in touch" with them after having a positive mobile experience. Think about yourself. Look at your own thoughts and behavior, how likely are you to revisit a site after having a frustrating mobile experience with them, like “how dare they waste my time!” You are facing a huge challenge. Your customers are becoming more savvy about marketing then you are. Their lives are a blur of offline and online interactions with friends, fans, family and favorite brands. Now we are going to increase the challenge with people on their smart phones and tablets and they expect to do the exact same things on those devices that they are doing on their desktop, but with very different constraints. When you don't make it easy for consumers to complete an action guess what? They won't. Marketers are leaving impressions, clicks, conversions, sales on the table, lost somewhere in cyber space when they don't create a seamless mobile experience for them. By planning and designing the mobile experience, you can improve all your versions of your content including your desktop version. To do so, you the marketer need to understand the constraints smart phones and tablets put in place and really align your marketing strategies to their behavior. Let’s be honest here, every, yes EVERY channel has constraints. In email, you have rules for each mail client. In direct mail, you need to work in a more traditional structure to print what you want or do you, think variable data. Mobile, which is what we are talking about, makes viewing your web site and content to conform to a new set of limitations, rules and opportunities. By embracing these constraints, you can find explosive ways to talk to customers. In a network there are a substantial number of phones that are able to get on the 4G LTE network and amazing as it might seem, a mobile network is even faster at loading Web pages than some desktop computers. Most phones, however, are still on a 3G network, so they have slower loading times. And then (death warmed over) there are certain places (like that dead spot in the corner of house) where they just don't get service. Larson Notes & Satire:  Ok so you have a printing company. Maybe you have a small copy shop. Think of all those Brides out there shopping for Save-the-Date and Wedding announcements. You have a large web shop printing 100 page catalogs. That worried buyer, you know the person who graduated from college 3 years ago, is worried about getting them on time and tracks his shipment. Should I go on? That CFO who gets lost on his way to the press check? So you might want to think about your next step. We put it all together with a powerful knowledge and experience base. If you want your business to be more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans |http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-02-14 09:13:20 Improve Marketing Effectivenes http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CB17DF371C214229E040010AAB01454E Did you know that you can economize on your print marketing and increase your marketing effectiveness simultaneously? You might equate saving money with choosing less expensive paper or printing less, but it is about targeting and optimization. Here are ways you can save marketing dollars while actually improving your results. 1) Clean your database. Yes, get rid of all those dead end names, out of business companies, people who have lost or left their jobs. Throw them out. Then try to make sure all the addresses are correct both email and physical addresses. There is no sense spending the time emailing something to someone that has no chance of getting there. Even an email blast has a cost. As for mail? Mail, even if you print it yourself has a cost to print and mail it out but the name is not quite as important because it might go to the new person who took your old prospects place. When your mail gets to the place you want it to go, your response rates go up! What percentage of a direct mailing you do actually gets delivered? Do you have any idea? According to the United States Postal Service, 30% of all bulk mail never gets to its location because the addresses are undeliverable. So work hard to keep your mailing list up to date if you are going to use it, it is money you don’t waist. The USPS can and wants to help you. They don’t like all that junk mail they can’t deliver either. So they have a service called the United States Postal Service CASS certification to confirm that addresses in your list are deliverable. Run your list through the NCOA (National Change of Address) every six months and keep that list scrubbed. Next best thing you can do with your list is to break it down into segments. Not all prospects are created equal or should get the same message. Break down your database to pin point accuracy by targeting your message to different demographic groups within your larger target audience. This will not just decrease your print runs and postage but because your message is more relevant you will increase your response rates. 2) Divide in to target markets. By dividing your audience in to groups, you can speak to each more specifically. You might tailor your message by sic code. You might offer different products to businesses falling in to different levels of number of employees or sales. You might send different offers and incentives to current customers versus your past customers. If you don't have demographics that you can pull out of in your database, and they do really help, demographic direction is very cost-effective. Talk to us about adding different variables into your market segment that will help to increase the pointed direction you want your marketing to attack or be directed to. The tighter your direction and offer the better your return on investment (ROI) will be. Then think about your overall push. Be it direct mail, email blast or a telemarketing campaign, if you are still printing and mailing bulk if your email mail is not pointed if your telemarketing secret is one size fits all just to economize, it might be time to rethink. Get off the merry-go-round of marketing nonsense. Today's channels no matter what you are working in from Social Media Marketing to Direct Mail can be tailor made to fit your target. Offset and digital technologies let you print on demand (POD) and/or in time (JIT) so why not use that mentality in the rest of your marketing. As you do, your marketing gets stronger, your return goes up, you get more leads and you make more money. 3) Print on demand. A recent article, Target Marketing suggested evaluating the cost-effectiveness of POD models in the following categories: Generic documents with annual usage of less than 5,000 pieces More complex documents with annual usage of less than 1,000 pieces New pieces for which no shelf life or usage history has been established Items that change often Materials about to enter back-order status These are simple steps, but they can have profound results. Even in case you are in the rare minority of those not looking to economize on print marketing, keeping your database up to date, segmenting and targeting your marketing messages, and moving to a real-time stock and print management model ought to be part of the best practices of every company's marketing program. Larson Notes & Satire:  Clean database, dividing up your list to its proper demographics, then use it. Yes use it, run it hard and run it fast. That, if nothing else is what we do best. We use what you got and do it day in day out consistently. Now if there was a number 4 to that list that would be to be consistent. Outsource your marketing lead generation work to a company like ours and that is what you get. Day in day out consistency. We don’t get too busy. We don't  to run out on an appointment or any of the distractions that get in the way of self marketing or self prospecting so we don’t have time to do the work. We don’t get to busy to mail sort your direct mail piece and get it out. We get it done. Then 5. We know how to use the tools and the systems that make them work. We don’t have to learn on your time and your dollar. That college kid who works for an hour? You think he knows how to work social media and SEO for business? We already know what they only dream of knowing. So you might want to think about your next step. We put it all together with a powerful knowledge and experience base. If you want your business to be more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2013-02-07 09:03:26 Printers, Time To Do Or Die! http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CB17DF2E5E044229E040010AAB01454E In my career, of some 4 decades in the printing and communication industry, I worked long hours that would cause weaker men do drop. Had the pleasure of winning an award or 2 for my work. Yet I need to ask you, that is if you’re in any area of printing, advertising or communications what the heck are you doing? It use to be everyone was or wanted to be an art director. We use to say if we do it; the cost will be $30.00 per hour, if you watch $40.00, if you direct $50.00, and if you help $60.00. Now as if that was not bad enough everyone now owns their own computer which has some kind of graphic program on it so that designer who knows and understand how things get printed is no longer needed. Bad layout here we come. No typography needed so here come the rivers in the copy, poor character kerning, no ligatures, too much bold type and hyphenations on every other line. It started back in the 80’s with the birth of “the Mac” as in Apple not McDonald’s but with more widespread use of window based PC’s now everyone (thinks) they can design their own brochures, create their own websites, write great copy and a hard hitting headline. Printing and the graphic industry continues to change but in the wrong direction. The owners of a small business no longer care if the design of their printed piece is of high quality, if the stock is picked out to fit the need, if the images scanned come out all pixilated. 20# thank you! They created it so they will accept what they never would have if you did if for them. Now they are running it out of their very own office copier. High end quality work?  Disappearing. And if it does make it to a printer how many times does it need to be redesigned so that the poor quality of customer supplied “art” or should we say files are made to work. And can the printer charge for this extra work? No way. Nope the file fixing charges disappear. It happened to typesetters when they became service bureaus now its the printers that are getting wacked. Today you are earning less and working harder. It’s the truth and you know it! If you have been in the print industry as long as I have, then you know that the support staff has dwindled down to nothing. No more layout men, no more copy writers, no more proofreaders, no more NOTHING. We, you, me, your competitor are expected to know and be able to do everything at a high level. No more strippers, no more typesetters, the production schedulers, no more proofers. There is no money in the projects to have any of these specialists.  And that $20-$50 dollar an hour salaries you were able to pay out have gone too as low as $10-$15. It is no longer about working smarter it’s all about working harder and longer. To have any hope for profitability you and what staff you have managed to keep need to be multitasking your butts off because the idea of hiring any additional employees is just not going to happen. Everyone is doing the work of 4 or 5 no just people but different kinds of people and expected to not make any dumb stupid mistakes. Shall we ever talk about the competition which is driving both your gross earnings and profits down the abyss? So what is happening? Company "A" gives a price break to get a printing job for 20% less than your company is charging. So what do you do? You go down 25% and so the cycle continues. Then there is the graphic artist who is straight out of school working in their parent’s house with the Mac that there parents bought them not even thinking about equipment break down and the need to upgrade as they work are to try to get into the industry and is willing to work for $10.00 per hour. Kiss that work goodbye. And think of the poor sales person. If you are a commissioned sales person, you just lost 30% to 40% of your commission or more if your commission is based on job profit not overall cost. There is no profit! Then the fact that your printing company might have to lower the quality of work to get any profit at all. Quality has no bearing on a job, now it is all about getting project out as cost effectively, and as efficiently as possible. The Print Industry is dying or at least some parts of it are but it does not have to for you. It’s unfortunate but some parts of our industry are going to disappear and disappear very quickly like the typesetting industry 20 years ago in just a matter of 2-4 years. Even now look at the CD/DVD replication part of the industry. Half of what it was just 5 years ago and dying a slow painful death. We get a lot of our information online, no more books and pamphlets. Hello Nook! When is the last time you picked up a phone book to look for a telephone number? I still do but my sons and daughter hardly know what a phone book is. And 1st class mail? Email that letter! Then there is the push for a "paperless" office. No the print industry is not going to die out completely, many once profitable companies are going completely under or companies that I thought would never consider a merger are coming together. Read anything coming out of the industry associations and although they might not say it outwardly they are worried. State wide associations are moving to regional associations to keep enough of a membership going.  So what are you gong to do? Larson Notes & Satire:  Is there an answer? I think so. But the answer might not lie in print but a more board based idea of a Marketing and Communication company. As I see it, the one biggest move you can be making for your company is to become that total communication company that your key accounts want. They need it and they know it and what's more if you don’t provide it they will find it from the guy down the street. To do that you have 1 of 2 choices, You can go and hire the talent to do it yourself and I am sure that a number of you reading this will do that just that. That is the mentality of the printer and believe me I don't mean that in a bad way. We are individualists! But there is a second choice and that is to join with a synergistic company like ours with all the talent you need who will provide it at not exposure financially to you and wrap it up in a private label service package. And that my friend is the good news! If you want your business to be more, call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2013-02-01 09:07:00 Time To Add Services That Work http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D37CEBE00397FC8AE040010AAB01295B Yes it is time to add services that actually work! It use to be that all a good printing company had to do was continually invest in their people and their equipment. That was about all it took to stay competitive and increase productivity and quality. Even now companies should be making sure that they are continually investing in these important skill sets of: Technical skills Sales skills Customer management skills Purchasing skills Negotiation skills Social media skills Yet as good as having all these skills sets are they are no good without the right services in place. Skills without the services are worthless. You will not be able to push the envelope, to make things work and have a trained staff in place to hit the ground running and get superior results if you can’t put everything in place and ready to roll in perfection. Customers are not going to let you learn things on their dime. Customers are not going to let you train yourself and staff with the very lifeblood of their companies marketing at stake. The world does not have time to stop while you learn the new communication and marketing techniques. To change for the future printing companies need, yes I said need, not think about, adding services. Now that might not sound like something you want to be doing but to achieve sales growth and market share it is not an option. It is no longer enough to just put ink on paper. To roll off the perfect printed piece and smile. To have the perfect press check as you sip a cup of coffee with your client in the customer lounge. Print companies have to sell a complete value added services. You cannot sit back and do one part of the marketing/advertising package. More now than prerecession it is do it all or die a slow painful death. As a Printing company you had better be considering what your customers need. They understand the challenges that they face and you had better start. If you can’t, don’t or won’t produce solutions to overcome their marketing challenges they will go shopping for a supplier that will. Larson Notes & Satire:  So what’s a printing company to do? 1st you can begin by looking at some new services and try to decide what areas you can move into (with the least amount of pain). If you can’t do it alone you need to find a synergistic partner who will not steal your customers. 2nd review your key accounts, you know the 2 or 3 that make up 60% of your companies business. The ones that if you lose your company goes out of business. As ask them what other services they would want you to be offering them in a more holistic marketing attack. 3rd review your sales message. You need to be more inclusive of the all areas of the communication process to get your customers the kind or results they need in a way they expect. If it were my shop, I’d be looking at picking a synergistic partner with a history of blood and ink running though my veins that matches my values.   So where does that leave us? I have been around the block a few times. Been full time with my own company since 1975 as well as having grown up in the business working for my father’s company starting in 1966. Walking in to the smell of ink, the sound of the feeder grabbing each sheet of paper, the pounding of our Gordon as it die cut card stock. Yes I have a history, and what I hope is a more glorious future. If you want your business to be more call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2013-01-30 07:00:07 Don't Change, Expand http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D37D039C780E60E5E040010AAB012B7B No one wants to change.  Change is hard. Change is difficult. Change is scary. Changing is really one big pain in the neck for you and every one in your company. But then so is losing 10% of your business a year. Do that long enough and your entire company is no more. I read a blog this week but some printing “expert” that he thinks 20% of printing business are going to go under this year. I say NO! Why do I say no? Not just with some magic wand waving but because my company has a synergistic plan for you to use to white label expansion services your current key accounts need. So let’s not talk about change, even though that is what we are talking about, let’s talk about expansion. Expansion is fun, its exciting, it inspires the imagination Expansion will beat changing almost every day of the week. So instead of changing, let’s expand. The process of expansion is like building a bridge. Changing might make you think of a detour on a road but expansion is and becomes a structure we are building a new road to success.  We’re expanding the means for a greater influx of goods and ideas.  We’re expanding a way for people to engage you easier, faster and more completely. Change makes people get sweaty palms as they wonder where do I fit in.  But start to talk about expanding and they get excited. Everyone in the company gets up and moving in the same direction. Expansion is job security in an uncertain world. It’s company and market share growth.It is the possibility of a raise after a few years of nothing. So if you want to improve your printing business and your organization, don’t put yourself and your company in a position of change but one of expansion.  Make yourself the builder and savior of your company!  Talk about how you’re going to build, grow and expand on the strengths of your company's past and a new and exciting future as you move forward. Larson Notes & Satire:  No one has a crystal ball and can product the future. I have a guarded optimism for the United States and the World at large. I see commercial printing growing over the next 3 years at 2%-3% which will at the end still leave the industry at a -12% pre-recession level. That is not good enough for you or me! You need to take the time and address your customer’s entire communication problems, not just print. That takes time, talent and yes money. Or does it? That is the entire key to our white label services. We can offer you a complete behind the scenes communication and marketing system that you can sell and stay in control of.  Time yes, you still need to put in the time, but talent? We have it. Money? It is pretty much plug and play. We have your back covered. Everything is in place for you to, hitch your wagon up to. If you are going to survive in 2013 and the next year as well you need to have a deep relationship with your key accounts. You need to more into a deeper sense of consultative and team selling. Use us for what we can do that you don’t. We have a strategy for printers, advertising agencies, graphic artists, sign shops and other people in the graphic and creative community that takes them out of commodity selling mode. By using us with our white label services you become more that just a printer. You move away from being asked “can you sharpen your pencil” to a real problem solver. If you are stuck in stagnant sales growth, rising costs, price pressure maybe a little expansion is in your future for 2013. If you want your business to be more call us for an appointment. Howard Larson Larson & Associates\ Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws |http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-01-18 08:12:51 Put Telemarketing Into Your Bu http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=D37D03955B86BF8FE040010AAB012B75 Have you put together your business plan for the year? I hope so. If not it’s not too late. (If you need help we offer a Pick My Brain Service http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Pick_My_Brain ) In a way that is what a New Year is all about. A fresh start, a new beginning. Are you thinking of and planning out that spring or summer vacation? Do the same for your business. As a business owner planning is a key element so while you are in the process, why not take your telemarketing call center into consideration? Believe it or not, your telemarketer can actually do wonders in the planning, execution and implementation of that hot new promotion you’ve been thinking up. Ask yourself, who is going to do the promotion? Who will carry the torch? You sales staff is already strung out, your marketing team can only put the word out. But who is there left to reach out and grab the prospect and pull him into the offer. Your outsourced telemarketing team. Larson Notes & Satire:  Do we have a rabbit up our sleeves? No but your next customer might be up there. Yet we have a song on our lips and we are singing out. The question is, is it your song or your competition’s? “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-01-17 06:32:36 Whatâs A Small Printing Comp http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CB17DF0CF9B94229E040010AAB01454E The government classifies a small business as a company in the million dollar range.  For a printing company that is not a very good, accurate or even fair figure. It might be the governments but it is not reality in graphics. But then the government just goes and looks at raw numbers, then crunches them down without a thought to the real world and not what makes a certain industry or company. Have these guys in Washington ever done a day’s work in their collective lives? While the government may never come to understand the difference between small and midsize or even large you need to if you have not already done it.  The most critical difference is that different-sized businesses, in their industry need to approach working and competition in totally different ways. Up until 2006, many small printing business owners where fat and sassy. Life was good.  They could sit back crunch off impressions and produce to million of revenue.  The demand WAS there. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying it wasn’t competitive but those times just don’t match the pressures and climate of today. Today, the printing sector as a whole is in total dismay.  Technologies are pulling us in multiple directions, we are rethinking our marketing approach, our equipment purchases are directionless, as are the people we hire and the product and service we sell. Then there is the very idea on being competitive.  And that’s where the big difference between the little guys and the bigger “little” guys becomes apparent. If you have a big 0 million company maybe you can have a few strategists and business development on staff, people who can sit back and think about things on how the world of business works (or should work), people who can help guide a transitional paradigm shift, and there is a big paradigm shift going on for printers and related services. If you have this kind of person, these teams of experts are continuously looking for ways to streamline, refine and generate new business. The small printing business doesn’t have that luxury.  That might be a good thing or not. I mean really, since when has a small business person been afraid of hard work. You’re on your own. It’s your life’s work on the line and all those hours you spent working? You’re out there working your butt off just to keep your doors open. Then here I come along saying you need to be putting in more time to focus on redefining your company, and plotting a course for new and strategic growth. I see you having two options.  You can do all this plotting and positioning into a brave new world all on your own, and redefining your company by yourself.  Or, you can surround yourself with the kind of strategists (or better ones I would hope) that you’d find in a larger company.  People who can help you plot a new course. You’re not the same as a 0 million company.  But if you want to succeed in today’s more competitive marketplace, you need to find a way to act like one. Larson Notes & Satire:  We here at Larson & Associates have a new proposal for you. We have taken the time and effort to put a strategy together for printers, advertising agencies, graphic artists, sign shops and other people in the graphic and creative community that takes them out of commodity selling and become a value added communication marketer for your clients and customers. With a book of advisors to broaden your vision that can white label services that only the big guys can even start to think of for your accounts letting you become more that just a printer. We bring > New thoughts > New ideas > New perspectives > New services > New markets If you are stuck in stagnant sales growth, rising costs, price pressure on margins and you think you can exist on what is expected in growth for 2013 at 2.4% do what you have always done. But if you want more out of your business call us for an appointment. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-01-10 09:15:47 Looking In From The Outside http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C9BEBA362B192909E040010AAB01780B It is a luxury when you can look at things from 10 miles away. You are able to see things that when you’re right on top to them, in the thick of battle, you are not able to see, the old “can’t see the forest for the trees thing.” With that distance comes the possible of a realist look. When you are removed you can “tell it like it is.” Since 70% of my business comes out of printing and the graphic field I’ll be directing this right at YOU! > Printing has fallen 24.2% during the recession > 2007 thru 2010 sales have stabilized but have not been sustainable with peaks and valleys, surges and stops like city traffic. > Despite rising costs of nearly 60% prices in the industry are at or below year earlier costs. > The NAPL expects total commercial printing to increase in 2012 for the 1st time since 2007 at about .0.05% to 1.5% but that is still at over 20% of prerecession levels. And at even 1.5% grow we are losing. Printing and the printing business is not a pretty picture right now. Having grown up and been in and around the industry for my entire life, I’m sad, really sad about the present state of the industry.  People and friends have built up good, or what looks like good rock solid business, and in the blink of an eye, poof they are gone. Yes really it can happen that fast. Do you have 1 key account with over 25% of your business? Think about it. I have seen it in being a Typographer and then have seen it again in the CD/DVD multimedia industry. Now it is Printing Companies fighting the commodity service and online print shop battle. It gets played out over and over, and always in the same way. Just look at your financial reports. Read the numbers. I did too late before we realized things bad things were going back in 1990. We were losing money in accounts receivable. Sales were dropping as were profit margins. Sales staff was out of control, directionless and clueless. We were looking for something to grab onto but where clueless to what that was with no real long-term direction. You can be doing everything you can within your expertise, experience and ability but there comes a time when you need to step out of the box. So what is the problem? For each of you it can be different and played out differently. But it is there and it is quite real. If you stand pant and try to work your way out of this mess you will lose or at least most of you will. Why? Because it is a different world out there. Evolve with it or die. You can try to take control of what is happening but you cannot stop it. Do you feel the need to exert more control than you are now?  Adapt or die. It is very hard for a print shop or graphic studio owner. Most of you have built your businesses from the ground up, making all decisions and running the whole show.  Some of you are 2nd or 3rd generation printers and never saw this coming. So now ask what happens if you’re not in there, daily hands-on and running the show?  What if your people screw up?  Your company, your livelihood, your family’s livelihood, your employees’ livelihood – are all on the line. Times have indeed changed and now this kind of action might in reality be holding you and your business back.   Do you really know what’s best in today’s “global economy?  Are you stuck in the thought pattern that you know what is right, are you shutting out other possibilities and other great opportunities? You’re in “control-mode” at the moment. I did it 22 years ago and I’ll bet you are in the same mind set as I was.   Right now in this period of fast change / high stress, your peripheral vision literally disappears.  You lose sight of quite a bit of the world around you, and you have trouble remembering exactly what is happening. Maybe you’re not this bad, but I suspect that your problem-solving ability has shrunk as your open mindless to new ideas. Once you let go a bigger wider picture of what you and your company can become starts to evolve. The more you push the farther away you get pushed away. If you are able to become receptive to this new world we have in front of us and see the potential in it as to what you can do with what you now have, you will be amazed. I feel bad for printers and graphic artists.  I invite you to take a step back and look at some of our solutions to the way we see the reality of printing, communication and advertising.  I hope you will start to understand that you are welcome to join us in a printer and graphic friendly world, one where the Larson team will support you at every turn. Larson Notes & Satire:  Yes I feel your pain. I have been there. I have lived it. I (really) don’t want you to go through it. 2012 found me building a special alliance of a group of advisors to broadening the scope of a printing company. This team is bringing to the table new thoughts, new ideas, new perspectives and new markets to some of my current clients and the graphic community at large.  This wave of potential energy we have put together is something you need to hear about. There is an exciting buzz of calmness. There are areas I am not an expert, but in the power of the team, we are.  I let them do their thing using to their expertise so I can excel better in mine. It gives me the kind of flexibility I need to take a step back. Want to know more? Call us for an appointment. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2013-01-02 07:51:27 5 Numbers To Watch http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C80D85CC89EE4B9BE040010AAB01223E There are numbers and there are numbers. In social media marketing and email marketing only a few really matter. If watched correctly, these numbers will help you get better results and give you a targeted direction to push towards. 1. Time of day. Are you east coast, west coast? What industry are you in and your clients in? When do they check out their sites online? These are all important things you need to be watching. We slight adjustment you could be making huge increases in results. Or maybe you need an East Coast, Midwest and West Coast site for better timing penetration. 2. Open rate. If we are talking email this is paramount because it shows the interest and acceptance of your offering. There are three main factors that affect your open rates: subject line, the “from” line, and the pre-header. If you can any variations should be tested. Or try dividing your list up, no matter how small into test blasts and test some possible variables on a small scale. 3. Click rate. This might be the “Holies of Holies in the online marketing world. The single most important statistic in social and email marketing. The click of action. The single action of validation that says if your campaign is a success or not. This “Call to Action” will be the single grade that says if your online marketing effort is good or bad. You’ll get the most effective CTA when you follow the IOU principle. The “IOU” is a catchy way of remembering the basics: Your email must generate Interest, deliver a strong Offer, and provide a sense of Urgency. Without these 3 parts your chance of success can drop like a rock. 4. Click-to-open ratio. This number can be deceptive because it is sometimes used interchangeably with the click rate. When your click-to-open rate is low, that means the people who open your mail aren't actually clicking anything in it. They may look, but they don't buy. A weak CTA can also produce a low click-to-open rate. Watch this number close. It will give you a great sense of direction as to of what needs change. 5. Conversion rate. The conversion is the happy ending to the story. Your conversion rate is directly linked to the effectiveness of your CTA. Customers who aren't sure what they're clicking on will lead to low conversions, whereas a clear call-to-action will produce results. Sky high results! If you have gotten them this far you should be seeing double-digit conversion rates. If your rates are lower, go back to the beginning and start over or look at each element you are using in the campaign and make the necessary changes. Larson Notes & Satire:  If you watch your numbers, not mine, not your friends, maybe your competitions, you want to see numbers and ratios going up, because hopefully you are getting better, if not, call us, we can help   “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2012-12-31 12:00:35 Weâll Get You To The 20 http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CDEA6607F5A84EF0E040010AAB015F25 Sorry, I don’t care how much you push, how much you need that sale. Sometimes it is just not going to happen. Not just that but they don’t even want to talk to you. Sorry Charlie. Prospects don’t want to talk to a salesperson until they are somewhere 80% down the sales process. By then solutions and specifications on any projects and needs are already set. If you can attain the status as a member of their "team" in making buying decisions you have attained the Nirvana of Sales. To do this you have to become a trusted advisor looking out for THEIR interests and not yours even when the right choice is not your product of service. This is seldom achieved in the search for new accounts. So you as a marketer need to think. Oh ya, you really need to put on the old thinking cap on for this one. 1st you need to take an active role in the early stages of the buying process. 2nd you need to get access to all members in the purchasing process so you can understand their roles in the process but also the need and concerns. 3rd you need to have the skills to (I hate this word but) close the deal. Larson Notes & Satire:  Now we are called cold call experts. We fancy ourselves as new account acquisition specialists. We are the ones who can start the process be it at the 1 yard line or a short field at the 43 to get you down to the 20 yard line. Yes we will take you to the RED ZONE. Sometimes we can do it with a 40 yard pass, other times on the ground 3.8 yards at a time. But that is what we do. Each part of the process needs a special kind of person for the particular kind of selling needed. You don’t use a full back when a half back is better, or a wide end with a tight end over the middle is the right call. While you might have a Walter Payton or an Adrian Peterson to run it 95% of the time and get great results most sales people are just not that good.  BUT if we got you to the 20 yard line do you have a red zone offence to push it the other 20? “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2012-12-20 07:30:30 Price Of A New Customer http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C9BEB9F2410F2909E040010AAB01780B Do you know yours? If not why?  If I asked you how much a new account is worth to you. More so, what would you be willing to pay for a new account? You might come to me and ask, what do you charge? Fair question. But I might come back and ask what is it worth. If it doesn’t work for both of us, it doesn’t work. There is no right answer; there is only your answer. Larson Notes & Satire:  If I walked up to you with a stack of 25 contact sheets, everyone with a 100% guaranteed new customer that I could sell to you or your competitor, how much would you give me for them? $50? $100? $500? Do you know? Give me your number and I’ll tell you if we can make it happen. I dare you! “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2012-12-14 09:52:23 Directed Landing Page Content http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CB17DEE17B954229E040010AAB01454E Say what you got to say and get out! If you use or have ever thought about using a Landing Page for or part of a marketing campaign using less content is usually a better idea than packing it in. Yes less is more, if you want to keep them focused on an action you want them to take. This keeps your prospects focused directly in the key message. This means you elimination all the extra details and needless content. If it does not pertain to the campaign don’t put it in. Not extra links to other pages, NO fancy graphics and design. Facts just the facts. Larson Notes & Satire:  You want action. Then call for action. Keep it in plain sight, visible and understandable. Call us we can find you new customers. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out 2012-12-13 11:06:47 Email: Triggers To Up Your ROI http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CBCB2E89601755CEE040010AAB014D7D Whether you're a small business or an international company with lots of branches "People do business with the people they know, like and trust." And your success is based on building relationships. The larger your list of the 3 F’s (friends family and friends), the more daunting the task of sustaining one-on-one communication. Fortunately, today's online relationship marketing technologies give marketers the ability to join together the things they know about their 3F’s with the capability to automate specific types of messages that are based on a customer action.   With behavior-based marketing you can actually shorten the time and effort, while at the same time build trust, increase engagement and creating new possibilities. But, to do this, you must have some major elements in place to have success. Common Reference points According to the Direct Marketing Association's Email Experience Council, directed email campaigns have 96 percent higher open rates and 125 percent higher click through rates than other kinds of emails, yet sadly they only comprised 2.8 percent of the total email sent. The most common types are the "Welcome" emails you get that are sent right after your sign-up has been completed, and the "Thank you" email, sent when someone has just made a purchase. If you've at least got these kinds of customer communications automated, you’re at least on the right road!   But there are so many more functions you can automate. Things like like birthdays, anniversaries and abandoned shopping carts and the like. But what are some lesser-recognized opportunities that organizations can take advantage of?   Product Lifecycle Emails Using a campaign that involves the lifecycle of a product or service is a very powerful way to cross-sell and build a customer relationship.  "What is a lifecycle email campaign?" simply put, it is one that is based on predictable future as to the needs or desires of the prospect or customer, as shown by a previous action. This then activates a series of emails designed to be sent out at prescheduled intervals. These kinds of campaigns can also be based on certain behaviors or changes of status as well For your prospects that are not easily targeted, you can look at their data to better understand the way they wish to be communicated with. Ask yourself how do they want to hear from you and what do they want to hear? In looking at their unique preferences, share offers, competitions, events, product information and other details that will effectively elicit a response. Status Change Events Another often overlooked chance to touch your customer base revolves around changes they make. This could be one that indicates they have become even more attached to your brand, for example, if they started following you on Twitter. A change based on these types of actions taken is a great way for a relationship to build and follower retention. It shows your customer that you are listening to them and that you care respect them and what they like and, don’t like. In today's challenging economic climate, every customer matters. According to Adobe's 2012 report, "The ROI from Marketing to Existing Online Customers," 40 percent of revenue comes from returning or repeat purchasers, who represent only 8 percent of all visitors.    Keep consistency and frequency in mind: When done right a targeted campaign should seem perfectly natural. Make sure all of your data is integrated and up to date: When you make the choice to build a relationship with your customer this way, you need to keep your data up to date. If a customer suddenly receives something that makes no sense, it can totally take away any trust you've worked to build. Larson Notes & Satire:  If you work at it it will happen. As in all things it’s about being consistent. This kind of an email attack can only help you in that consistency. Keep it constant, keep it focused, keep it directed and you will get results. If you need help we could make you an email star! “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-12-12 10:00:45 Mail Now Before 2013 Postal Ra http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C9BEB9B624F22909E040010AAB01780B Yes it is best to Mail Now Before 2013 Postal Rates! As proposed to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the United States Postal Service®(USPS®) will be puttingin place an average increase in mailing of 2.5%. A 1st Class stamp will go up from from 45 cents up to 46 cents, an overall increase of about 4%. The implementation date for the new prices will be January 27, 2013. The PRC has approved the USPS rates for all classes of mail EXCEPT Standard Mail Flats. The PRC sent those rates hick requests back to the USPS, saying the proposed new rates did not provide adequate cost coverage for this mail. So, the USPS submitted new proposed rates for Standard Mail Flats. The new increase is of 2.617%, which is higher than the average increase for the rest of Standard Mail of 2.569% and higher than the CPI-U price cap of 2.570 percent. First-Class Mail  First-Class postage will increases by one penny, with remaining products increasing at about 2.5% except for parcels, which increase by almost 5% and International, which increases by almost 8%.  First-Class Mail Product Price Changes  Product % Change   Single-Piece Letters/Postcards  2.283% Persort Letters / Postcards 2.555%   Flats 2.675%  Parcels  4.971%   International 7.923%   Overall average 2.570%  Standard Mail  Standard Mail will now increase by give or take  2.569%, with higher increases for Parcels and Carrier Route mail. Non-profit Standard Mail rate discounts remain consistent with current discounts off of the regular rates.  Standard Mail Product Price Changes Product  % Change  Letters  2.722%   Flats 2.617%  Parcels  3.081%  High Density / Saturation Letters   2.207% High Density / Saturation Flats & Parcels  2.275%  Carrier Route 3.133%  Overall   2.569% Periodicals Mail  Periodicals Mail will see an overall increase of 2.56%. Non-profit and Classroom Periodicals will continue to receive a 5% discount off the regular postage rate, with a few exceptions regarding advertising weight. Periodicals Price Changes  Produce  % Change  Outside Country  2.546% Inside Country   2.911% Overall  5.560%  Package Services Mail  Package Services price increases are proposed at an overall 2.569% increase, with Parcels and Media and Library Mail seeing increases around 3.4%.  Package Services Price Changes   Product % Change  Alaska Bypass Service  3.000%  BPM Flats  0.002%   BPM Parcels 3.424%   Media & Library Mail 3.472%   Inbound Service Parcel Post 0.000%  Overall  2.569%  Shipping Services  Express Mail will increase by 5.8%, with the same zone structure for Retail, Commercial Base and Commercial Plus price categories. Retail prices will increase by around 6.5%, with Commercial Base prices increasing by 2% and Commercial Plus increasing by 1%. Express Mail International will see an overall 13.2% increase.  Priority Mail increases overall by 6.3%, with the existing structure of Retail, Commercial Base and Commercial Plus price categories maintained. Retail prices increase an average of 9 percent, while the Commercial Base prices increase an average of 3.7% and Commercial Plus prices by 3.8%. Priority Mail International will increase overall by 15.1%.  Parcel Select prices increase on average by 9%, with destination entered parcels at 8% for DDU entry, 4.9% for SCF entry, and 4.8% for NDC entry. Non-destination entered parcels see an average increase of 5.7%. Lightweight Parcel Select sees an increase of 9.8%; these were formerly known as Standard Mail commercial parcels. The Regional Ground category will be eliminated due to insufficient volume.  Parcel Return Service prices will increase overall by 4.8%.  First-Class Package Service prices will increase overall by 3%.   Parcel Post will be renamed Standard Post, and will increase an average of 21%.  Global Express Guaranteed will see price increases of 9.6%, while Priority Airmail increases by 1.9% and International Surface Airlift increases by 4.4%. Airmail M-bags increase by 7.3 %, while First-Class Package International Service increases by a whopping 58.6%.    Larson Notes & Satire:  Is mail in your future? If it is for the 1st week or 2 of January you might want to speed things up and get it out for the last week of December. It is not that the increase is much but it is still an increase. I love and support the USPS. I think it is one of the best deals on the face of the earth. And for a marketer I say: USE IT! “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”    Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2012-11-30 11:33:34 More Fans For Smaller Followin http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CB17DEBAB4E64229E040010AAB01454E  As companies get more Facebook fans for their company page there tends to be a drop off point where they reach a smaller and smaller part of their overall fan base. PageLever, which is a company that does Facebook analytics, found that as you gain a larger and larger group of fans the lower the reach any individual post has, on a percentage basis. If your company has a small group of fans of say less than 10,000 (don’t I wish I had that many people fanning my company) people you should be getting 20% or more hits on any given post you put out at almost any time of the day. But companies like Coca-Cola and Walmart, who have more than 1 million fans, are only going to get about 6% of them to see a post -- unless they pay.     When you start to run out of the 3Fs of friends, family and followers or the 3C’s of customers, contacts and competitors you start to drop. I guess I don’t have enough friends in my life. Larson Notes & Satire:  Can Facebook work? Yes. Can it work without paying? Yes. But then I need to ask what is or does the word work mean. On a normal day I am getting not 20%. I’m not seeing 10% but a mighty 9% of my fans see a normal post that I place in my Company’s Facebook fan page. Is this good or what? Well yes because of that 9% is quality and I have to face it my company is not a name that gets floated around the kitchen table. But then I’m not done yet because I go and take my post of 9% and pick up another 26% off of twitter, the grab that same post and while I’m at it grab another 19% off LinkedIn. This is how Social Media Marketing works or could be working. Don’t bet the house on just one channel but use a broad brush to paint your pathway. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2012-11-26 18:55:18 How People Are Sharing Content http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=CB17DEA6F32E4229E040010AAB01454E Share and share alike. We hit share buttons, we push content, we hit like links and yet despite all the ways to share things on the Web, the most popular way to share content is still good old fashioned copy/paste. Yes Control C / Control V.  In a study of some 17,000 publishers by 33 Across, 82% of content sharing is being done with copy and paste.       What happens after the content is copied/pasted? 33 Across also studied where people are sharing content. Number 1 is email followed by Facebook, and then Twitter. Despite the vast numbers of users of Facebook and Twitter, the most popular way to share content, is still copy/paste. Larson Notes & Satire:  If it is to be let it be. Copy/paste Control C/Control V. And Email? So make it easy for them. Embrace Email and email marketing so they can push and shove your links and content. It’s all good. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2012-11-19 18:04:59 Making Warm Leads Warmer http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C9BEB95A42B72909E040010AAB01780B I have always felt there are 3 parts to the buying cycle, awareness, evaluation and decision. Now I will not say that telesales or teleprospecting can’t make cool leads warm but now with the advent of Social Media Marketing a you don’t have to hand off a bunch of icy cold sales leads to the telemarketing staff. I know it’s getting colder outside but please now you can now refine them to be (at least) luke warm from the start and have a greater understanding of who they are actually calling. No longer does it fall or have to fall on the poor telemarketer to delve into finding out who is on the other end of the line, what they want, if they have even a remote interest,  they can (will) know. And with knowledge comes power. And power comes more clients and sales. Working with a more directed and powerful call to action can only help everyone in the world of finding my qualified leads. How powerful can it get? Give me a call at 847-991-1294 Larson Notes & Satire:  I have said for years that with the right list my job as a telemarketing gets very easy. How easy?  Very very easy. Normally I feel good if I get 1 action item every 40 minutes of work but I have see a good focused list giving an action item ever 15 minutes. People come to us to work miracles, to pull rabbits out of hats, to make clients appear out of thin air. We are the magic men who warm things up to make life easier for the rest of you. But if the magic doesn’t bring in enough revenue the rest doesn’t matter. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.       2012-11-12 18:03:06 Go Take A NAP http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C9BEB91CE3802909E040010AAB01780B Go Take A NAP Ya you heard me, go take a nap! Seems that marketers all over the place are trying to connect with customers and prospects. Social, web, mobile, email, direct mail, phone. Go take a nap. NAP is nothing less than Name, Address and phone number. If you’re into social media marketing you want the 3 F words working for you (friends, family, fans), lots of them. But to take it to the next level you want to take a NAP with them.   This kind of central information is the very foundation for business growth, off line and online. Whatever kind, this is base marketing information you need so you can have a consistent attack. You have to do this this day in and day out, over and over. After that you need to keep accurate and up-to-date.   Larson Notes & Satire:  We NAP all the time. We take naps for ourselves and we take NAP’s for our customers. Name, address and phone number. This is not marketing done from the hip but thought out planning to make your customer base strong and ever building. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1284 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2012-11-01 06:00:27 Social Media: Whatâs Importa http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C80D8461CF954B9BE040010AAB01223E What’s your most important Social Media site? In a survey it as shown that for B2B 30% LinkedIn 20% Blogging 19% Facebook 16% Twitter   8% YouTube   6% Customer Community   1% Google Social Media is starting to evolve as a major tool in a B2B marketer’s tool box. From what I am hearing 32% of marketers are “very” or “fully” engaged in marketing through social media channels. That is compared with 21% last year and to project we are expecting 53% next year. They are coming in kicking and screaming but they are coming as reluctant players, but here they are. So why are they on Social Media? 70% - Branding 58% Website traffic building 56% Product promotion 45% Search engine optimization 45% Competitive intelligence Where are they? 83% LinkedIn 80% Twitter 79% Facebook 60% YouTube 50% Blogging But when asked which channels they place the most importance, LinkedIn was #1 followed by Blogging. Larson Notes & Satire:  I put a high ranking on Blogging. I put a high ranking on any kind of content building. If you do it right you can have your posts stringing in to different SM sites as needed. If you need help we have experts doing it all the time for people. Getting back to SM. I found 1 key posting tool we have been using and getting results and that is (of all things) craigslist. Ya, lol, craigslist might be a place where you want to be marketing. Think about it. If you even think you can pick up a quick profitable customer over there, go for it. I know we do. On a side note spent the day at Graph Expo today, We will have some very interesting new services coming out of those meetings, so keep watching. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.       2012-10-09 07:59:41 Content Marketing & SEO http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C80D840684B14B9BE040010AAB01223E   There have been what we might call radical shifts in Search and the relationship to Content. Some of this is in part due to Social Media and some is from the Search Engines efforts to keep content found pertinent, fresh and timely. How many times have you done a search can come up with a page full of results for 3 years ago? I know I have.   To keep your experience personal search engines have come to understand content. Believe it or not through integration and monitoring of different social media sites SE’s are finding ways to keep up.   For you to stay at the peak performance level you need to not just acknowledge but totally embrace the idea of content as the new king of the internet.   1. Create a process to create: Have a process in place before you start any content Search Engine Strategy. Have all or as many as possible internal infrastructure in place from all key players who will be impacted.   2. Get a Grasp on what you want to say: What do you want to be saying to your customers and prospects? What are their needs, wants and desires? Then with matched content using keywords in your writing to address those issues, go for it.   3. Where should your content reside: You need to be posting where your customers and prospects are.  This could take some study of the social media sites to know where you need to go.   4. Build your online relationships: facebook, google+, linkedin, pinterest, merchantcircle, storeboard, etc. work your 3F’s.   5. Optimize your content: You need to make sure you are using solid content packed with key words and phrases. You need to be thinking SEO tactics when you construct your content. Links, embedded coding, back links to web site. If your content is addressing needs your clients and prospects have you are right on track to have a winner.   Larson Notes & Satire:  If you can share some of the personal you, but remember to use the right words to push you up the search engine ladder. For social media people love stories, but search engines could care less.     “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”     Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates   https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.       2012-09-17 17:56:13 Get The Telemarketing Bump http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C80D83B910AC4B9BE040010AAB01223E Say all you want about Direct Mail, speed, cost, etc.  vs. email but it remains a fact that the response rate for mail is so much better. According to a survey from the Direct Marketing Association the response rate for Direct Mail is 3.4%  and email marketing is only giving a mere 0.12%. The report was from an online survey of 481 respondents and was based off of data from 29billion emails and 2 billion online display ads. Those are facts from real live programs run by people who know what they are doing. Larson Notes & Satire:  There you have it. The costs are up but the payout huge. If you want more mileage out of your list, mail wins hands down. Now, just think if you do a combo of Mail and Telemarketing. Now nothing is for certain but when you put direct mail piece together with a telemarketing follow up I can almost guarantee you get a bump in your numbers by 5 to 8%. Now if Uncle Howard’s math in correct you could have a double digit program running. Put in some social media marketing into play and . . . “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.       2012-08-27 11:24:54 Social Media Heads up http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C64AA1E574EDDF99E040010AAB01644A Offer social proof on your website. While peer pressure is sometimes thought of as negative, in social media reviews & recommendations are more times than not a positive thing. On the web these can be displayed as customer testimonials to increase engagement and conversions. Your customer base will hopefully be able to relate to other customers and/or their comments, and get a good feeling on how effective your services or products are from someone how has used you or them. So, find some of the nicest things that consumers out there have said about you (and don't forget you can encourage them) and share it with the world.   Test email subject lines. Email marketing campaigns won’t be successful if emails aren’t just delivered but also opened, which is why it is important to use testing of subject lines for your email. One way that marketers can quickly test email subject lines is with www.subjectline.com . This is a free subject line scoring tool that can evaluate subject lines and provide you with scores, as well as deliverability and marketing tips and advice. All you need to do is take a little bit of time, 15 minutes or so, to sit down and create great powerful subject lines.   Generate a Fivesecondtest at www.fivesecondtest.com  for your site to assess its usability and its readability. When you don’t have the time to conduct user tests, this handy Web-based tool lets Web workers upload a screenshot of their Web page and then creates two different five-second user tests, one for memory and one for descriptive feedback. And, you know, it only takes five seconds. 1. Create a new test Upload a screenshot or mockup, set some questions you want answered and wait for the feedback to roll in!  2. Users complete your test Testers have five seconds to view your image and must then answer the questions you have set.  3. View your results We collect all of the responses for you, extract the frequent keywords and then present the data with beautiful graphs.   Insert dynamic meta descriptions into your HTML. Yes, meta descriptions and meta tags are not dead! One of the easiest ways to improve your search marketing efforts is to include useful, compelling meta descriptions on your Web pages. Just be sure that they are relevant to the page’s content and are captivating enough get a user to click on the search result.   Monitor keywords on Twitter. It is important to keep an eye on discussions that are relevant to your company. This can help your social media attack to make better connections with your audience, and you might ever pick up some content ideas. While there are lots of tools that can be used for monitoring social media mentions, two free Twitter-specific tools worth checking out are Monitter  http://www.monitter.com  and Twitterfall www.twitterfall.com Monitter is a real time twitter search tool that enables you to monitor a set of keywords on twitter. It also allows you to narrow the search to a particular geographic location, allowing you to find out what’s going on in a particular part of the world. To begin: just type a search term into the box above and click the “add column” button - or, if you prefer, click on the “Trending” link to load three columns with current twitter trends in them. And then there is Twitterfall Try one of the following: •Try adding a search to follow something you're interested in. •Add a list to follow specific groups of people. •Type in an address into the geolocation panel to see what people are talking about in that area. •Login to Twitter to view your timeline, mentions, or direct messages. Take a few minutes every hour or so to see who is using your keywords in the Twitterverse. Assess your forms. Does your email subscription form ask for unnecessary information? If so you may be scaring off possible customers. You really need to be removing any unnecessary information from your forms. The only information you need on a newsletter subscription form is a name and email address, especially because more targeted information can always be obtained at a later time. Fix up and customize your 404 page. Whenever a user is trying to reach a website’s page that is non-existent or missing, they are usually directed to a page where they’re informed that that specific page cannot be recalled by the HTTP server; this is what is called a 404 error page. You never want your visitors to land on one of these, but it can and does happen. When it does you need  to have a custom 404 page that will not only gives them some information, but also offers additional useful content and encourages them to continue exploring your awesome website. If your 404 page is uninformative and boring, take a little time to create one that will be a little more inviting? Adjust white space to improve readability. Finding the right balance between too much and too little open spaces can make your website read easier. Your text needs room to breathe so that your visitors can view it easier. Spend a few minutes looking over your website to make sure it's optimized for readability. Larson Notes & Satire:  Take a look at the sites we have gone out and listed here. Social Media is not a toy where you sit on the sidelines and watch what happens of dabble in it here and there. You are either a player or you lose. If you do each of these little exercises you are on your way. If you can monitor your key words at least a few times a day, you are looking good, very good. If you even do it once every other day you are ahead of the crowd. But If you can’t, talk to us. We can make it happen for you on a daily basis. But remember social media is an ongoing project, not a onetime event. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2012-08-15 06:58:22 Social Media Metrics Exposure http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=C2343AEF9CC61824E040A8C0AC007747 GM pulled of its ads from Facebook, this led many marketers to wonder if advertising on facebook or any social media site is a good thing. It is, and it isn’t. With 900 million (900,000,000) active users can you ignore facebook and all of social media? Is it worth paying for? Another good question.   In a study by Resolution Media and Kenshoo seperatly, they7 looked at the effectiveness of Facebook ads, these 2 companies analyzed global data of 65 billion (65,000,000,000) Facebook ad impressions and 20 million (20,000,000) Facebook ad clicks over a wide range of brands and categories. Now remember these are ad clicks and not what social media or even (in my humble opinion) how social media marketing should be used to get maximum exposure for you. What is the long term viability of facebook and social media advertising?   “Social media has quickly become one of the preferred channels for brands, and when done right, can foster meaningful relationships between brands and consumers in ways that were never before possible,” says Alan Osetek, president of Resolution Media. “The purpose of this study was to define what ‘doing it right’ means in terms of measureable actions and outcomes, and giving marketers a model for demonstrating effectiveness.”   The study showed that Sponsored Stories and Post Ads receive about double the click-through rate (CTR) of Social and Web Ads, which means that ads with social context resonate better with audience members likely due to a personal connection. Additionally, Post Ads draw more attention because they usually feature special offers and are larger than normal ads. I guess this is true because they did a study on it but, well I usually ignore those kinds of adds myself unless I see it and it really matters to me at that specific time.   The data also shows that higher CTR leads to lower average cost-per-click (CPC) rates, with Post Ads averaging a CPC of $0.24, Sponsored Stories averaging $0.46, Web Ads averaging $0.59 and Social Ads averaging the highest CPC at $0.78. But for advertisers that choose the cost-per-thousand (CPM) model, Sponsored Stories are the most expensive ad type – averaging a CPM of $0.31 compared to Web Ads that averaged the lowest CPM of $0.18. That could become a lot of money, couldn’t it? Hope you have deep pockets  for the start up. This might be more pricy than direct mail.   The study also showed a new metric called “Exposure Rate,” which measures targeted engagement on Facebook. This metric determines the percentage of the target audience that you are reaching out to and exposing your message to. High exposure rates correlate to a high CTR and conversion rates, with the ads that reached 76-100 percent of their intended audience also receiving an average CTR of .038 percent and conversion rate of 31.92%. In comparison, ads that only reached 0-25 percent of the intended audience resulted in an average CTR of 0.028% and a conversion rate of 11.81 percent. High exposure rates don’t guarantee success, you need to balance this metric with frequency and I might add time of day, to find the number of times the average Facebook user has been exposed to your ad. The study shows that there is a conversion rate drop-off of 32 percent when ads are shown to consumers more than six times. This means that the ad is being shown too frequently, your target will start to ignore it. Additionally, the CTR averaged 39 percent lower after the sixth impression.   One way that marketers can optimize exposure rate and frequency is by maintaining a CPC above the maximum recommended bid. This is because the study’s data showed that the exposure rate was higher for ads with CPCs that were greater than the maximum recommended bid, driving the average exposure rate up by 11.5 percent. Additionally, the data showed that frequency dropped when the CPC was above the maximum recommended bid, by an average of 1.7 exposures.   Larson Notes & Satire:  We all are not made of money and for most of us PFC makes no sense.  Social Media still comes down to the 3 F’s, family friends and fans.  Nothing else really matters. Keep your F’s safe, close, protected, happy and interacted. When “they” say “doing it right” what are they really saying? Do I hear spend money? In almost anything I read from street smart marketers and sales people it is interaction. Seems funny that my postings are getting an exposure rate of 12-18%. It does not seem to matter what time of the day it is, the % is almost always the same. Would PFC be a good thing? Then I need to really question paying a higher rate for CPC. Come on who is fooling who here? I’m not a big advocate of paying for clicks in the first place. Now it may have its place but does have its place but not as the center part of your marketing plan. Think long term, think organically. Then start thinking tri-channel. social, telemarketing, direct mail and watch your numbers really take off. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2012-07-06 05:58:07 SEO: 5 Tips to Bring O http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BC117608EC997E05E040A8C0AC00358A You have a website. You finally sat down wrote some content and got it up and running. Yea! It’s done. It’s up. Build it and people will come. Only if they can find it. You worked hard to get the words just right weaving in your key words soothe copy flows just right. Maybe put in some graphics. Now what?   A website is of little or no use if nobody can find it. Mastering the organic or natural search ranking has proven to be a fundamental part of the online marketing mix and should be part of yours.   Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) is setting your site up for increased visibility in organic searches and work and rework the content are important to hit the higher end of a search for prospect awareness and customer acquisition.   About 50% of people begin their search from the results of an organic search. 70% those people click on the organic listings before they click on a sponsored link. You know those listing in color (pink?) at the top of a search page.   So how can you up in the rankings and not land on page 43? Even if you get up to page 4 you’re lost because most people don’t even look that far back. 1. Create online WOM buzz about your site, product or service. Push out online press releases. There are distribution services on the Web that offer no-cost packages, sites such as PRlog.org, Free-press-release.com and others. Post a link on a news release to your social marketing sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.   2. Start an inbound link program. Set up a reciprocal link page. Start a blog roll (a listing of URLs on a blog, as opposed to a website) that contains links from industry sites that would be willing to swap links with your page, keeping in mind that relevance, rank and quality ia paramount when selecting linking partners. Search engines not only hate it but might black ball you for doing what they call link harvesting which is a collection of links from random websites that have no relevance to your site, so find link partners that have a similar or a working synergy to your business.   3. Create great content and a link back to your site. Look into putting original, useful, valuable and action related information with relevant high quality content directories such as eZinearticles.com, ArticlesBase.com and Goarticles.com. This is a great way to increase market awareness, as well as inbound links to your site. Keep your content targeted to the directory & the audience you want to attract. There is also a syndication opportunities, as third-party sites and people may come across your article when doing a Web search and republish your content on their own websites. 4. You web pages should be keyword-rich and related to your business. Make a list of your top 10 to 15 keywords and variations of those words and incorporate them into the copy on your site. Search engines crawl Web pages from top to bottom, so your strongest keywords should be in that order on your home page and sub-pages with the most relevant on the top, the least relevant on the bottom.   You'll want to do the same for your tag lines. Make sure your title and meta tags are unique and full of your keywords. And your alt tags/alt attributions (images) should have relevant descriptions, as well. It all counts when the search engines spider through your page.   5. List your site on any online directories and classified sites you can find by category, region or topic. The more the merrier and getting more push up the search engine page ladder. Some directories like Business.com have a small fee involved but there are many other directories and classified sites like Dmoz.org, Info.com, Superpages.com and Craigslist.org that are free and can be targeted by location and product or offer type.   Then before you start your SEO program, find out how many hits your site is getting now so you can measure both pre and post SEO hit numbers and statistics. You can upload a site counter which counts the number of visits to your website if you want, I find them sort of useless but it’s your site. You can get your site's traffic ranking at Alexa.com or Quantcast.com, or get your site's daily visit average from Google Analytics or another application Perhaps your host does it for you like mine does, then chart your weekly progress.   Larson Notes & Satire:  Now understand that natural organic search may take several months for a site to be optimized and gain in the search engines, so be patient. You will eventually see results. Don’t get trapped by the companies that go out and guarantee number one page ranking. Heck I can do that with my eyes closed. Give me your money and I’ll do it. But to get #1 page ranking takes time, energy and dare I say talent. It is a combination of all you do, from the front end to the back end of your page, to your url name, to any landing pages you set up, to your social media work to blogging, to everything you say and do on the web. That is why people come and throw their money at people and companies like mine. And if you do need a host and or web site we do that as well. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2012-06-08 07:50:58 The Rule of 40-40-20 http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BE9551DA340E8F10E040A8C0AC001FFE So you’re asking what the heck am I talking about. In marketing there is a rule of thumb that 40% of a targeted marketing program or a direct mail project should be n the list, 40% should be in the message and 20% in the creative. It is one of those things that history has shown us is a truism. It is like a lot of things in advertising, marketing and graphics people want to take short cuts. It happens all the time. (See yesterday’s blog) like when I want to add a mailing program with a telemarketing program. So in a mailing program when we talk 40-40-20 people ask why do I need great creative? I have 80% with the good list and a powerful offer. Well that might work in a solid telemarketing program but when ink hits the paper… it better look good. But why make a big stink over 20%? If the best you can do is put in a “REPLY NOW” tag, if everything in the page is so important that the whole piece is in a bold type face, try again. With the right deal the right target odds are you will get “good” results but is that what you’re about, good, when you could have great? Larson Notes & Satire:  one of the tag lines I use a lot reads: “Making good businesses great and great businesses even better” That is what we are about. Not just good enough, not making things great but making great even better. I am a big advocate of the 40-40-20. Yes I will do a 40-40 and leave the rest project and I know I will get blamed for less than stellar results, but in the 37 years of being in business that part has not changed. Clients cut corners when we don’t tell them or give the reasons why. Even when we do, they try to cut. So next time your thinking about a project, try Me. Blame me. After all I am from the city of big shoulders. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-06-07 07:42:49 Extend Your Reach and Make an http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BE9551D7853B8F10E040A8C0AC001FFE The Reach In the US there are over 149 million residences, businesses and PO Boxes throughout the country. Did you know that 98% of people residences and businesses, bring their mail in every day it is delivered and 77% sort through it immediately? That 15% of all consumers receive at least one catalog and 12% are receiving at least a letter of postcard or flyer from a company looks at and makes a purchase on that company’s web site? According to one survey of 6,400 online shoppers households that receive printed catalogs shop online more often and spend more time at a company’s web site regardless of age, income, region or education. The Impact Direct mail is over 52% of all mail in the United States The Direct Mail industry employs over 3.1 million people The global direct mail advertising services is forecast to reach $25 BILLION in 2015. On average those who receive a catalog spent 28% more and buy 28% more items than those who do not receive a catalog Direct order B2B Direct Marketing sales are projected to increase 5.4% over the next year. Larson Notes & Satire:  So why am I so excited about direct mail? The percentages and the numbers make if (still) a force to be reckoned with. Think about it double digit percentages? How you ignore it. Then you add in a few other channels and ….. And the growth? Looks like above GNP to me! I really don’t care of your B2B or B2C. This has to be one of your channels you are using.  In any comprehensive lead generation plan I put together I put in direct mail, (usually a postcard) Why? (Let me bang my head against the wall for a second), a direct mail program will net you 1% to 3% return. A telemarketing stand alone program should net you 1% to 3% return. Though in a little Social Media and you are going to be getting 12%-15% return. Most people and companies don’t do it because of the cost or perceived cost. Oh well, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.   “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-06-06 08:12:34 Myths of B2B Word of Mouth http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BC11760473977E05E040A8C0AC00358A Myth 1: WOM is not influential in B2B. Fact: WOM is the #1 influencer of B2B purchase decisions. Few B2B customers ever buy anything without first asking around about their experiences with the vendor and/or product. In a recent survey of B2B decision makers by Forrester Research, 84% of respondents said Word of Mouth recommendations influence their purchase decisions. While nearly all B2B companies have blogs, only 24% of respondents said they trust blogs. Other research firms also have found that WOM rules in B2B. 84% - WOM 60% - Salesperson 59% Web sites 58% Print publications 45% - In person events 43% - Analysts 43% - Social Media 41& - E-Mail 40% - Web events 30% - Interactive Media 24% - Blogs Myth 2: Business people are not active users of social media. Fact: Business people are first of all people and they are buyers and furthermore even more socially active than the average consumers. They buy things not just for themselves but for their businesses as well. Forrester recently surveyed B2B buyers to learn about their usage of social media. The results were off the charts. B2B buyers are nearly 20% more active creators of social media and twice as active consumers of social content. Based on the survey results, Forrester told B2B marketers: If you’re not using WOM/social as part of your marketing mix, you’re late to the party. Myth 3: Businesspeople don’t advocate companies and products. Fact: Businesspeople are more active Advocates of companies and products than consumers. Another myth that has pervaded B2B marketing is that businesspeople don’t advocate companies and products. Fact is, B2B executives are more active recommenders than the average consumer, according to a study conducted by WOM research from Keller Fay. The study showed that business executives have 118 WOM conversations weekly compared to 100 for consumers. On average, executives mentioned 102 brands times per week compared to 77 for consumers. In 61% of the WOM conversations, executives recommended a brand or product to a peer or colleague. 40% of B2B Buyers are Advocates. Myth 4: B2B companies only have a few Advocates. Fact: B2B companies have many Advocates. As B2B marketers know, within a single account there are multiple people who spread Word of Mouth. This includes end users, gate keepers, technical buyers, decision makers, and others. While some are more influential than others, all of these people are part of a Word of Mouth Community within any one account. At a single company, there may be 500 people who are part of a Word of Mouth community. Thus, a B2B company that has 100 customers may have a total Word of mouth community of 50,000 people (100 accounts x 500 people.) Assuming that 40% of these people are Advocates, the company could have 20,000 Advocates (40% of 50,000). This number is a large, highly influential, yet under-leveraged Virtual Sales force. By energizing their Advocates, a B2B companies can amplify positive Word of Mouth and drive qualified referral leads and sales in a continuous flow. Myth 5: The impact of Word of Mouth can’t be measured. Fact: The impact of Word of Mouth can be measured as precisely as any form of online marketing. There are dozens of tools that enable B2B marketers to measure the quantity and quality of Word of Mouth about their companies and products in the blogosphere and on social networks like Twitter. Advanced Word of Mouth analytics enable B2B marketers to go beyond measuring buzz to measuring business and marketing results. For example, advanced analytics track Advocate impact on open rates, click through rates, and conversion rates. These advanced analytics enable marketers to harness the proven power of Word of Mouth and track its impact as precisely as a PPC or email marketing campaign. Larson Notes & Satire:  There are many good ways to marketing a company and no one way works good all by itself.  If you can work 3 or 4 tools in tandem you will have a much better attack and you results will follow off the charts. Point is that most of us are not working our 3 f’s (family, friends and fans) hard enough. We don’t engage them, we don’t work with them, heck are we even telling them what they need to know to push us and our companies out to their spheres of influence. Now I never ask for or give recommendations to people or companies I know nothing about. I get enough requests from people asking for referrals that I have no knowledge of and I’ll be damned if I will recommend someone I know nothing about nor have I ever used their service of product. Make you one of my friends or fans? Yes that I will do but you need to earn the right to get more out of me. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-06-04 06:47:10 Why Housing Matters http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BE9551C909C38F10E040A8C0AC001FFE April Home Sales Shoot up. Sales of U.S. existing homes surged in April, according to the National Association of Realtors, which reported an increase of 3.4 percent from March levels and a 10 percent jump from April 2011.  All four regions of the country saw upticks in sales volume, and the median prices for homes sold was 7,400, an increase of more than 10 percent from the same month in 2011.  Also, sales of new homes improved in April to an annualized volume of 343,000 homes. That’s well below the peak of more than 1 million built during the real estate bubble, but it represents a 3.3-percent bump from March’s sales figures. According to the National Association of Home Builders, 100 of the country’s 360 markets that it indexes are now deemed “improving” markets. Only 12 markets were considered “improving” when the NAHB started the index last fall. •Permits. Permits for new single-family homes in April reached an annual rate of 715,000. More permits were issued in March (769,000), but April's number still is 23.7% more than in April 2011. •New construction. Ground was broken on nearly 30% more homes in April (717,000 annual rate) than in April 2011 (and 2% more than in March this year). YCharts.com puts the improvement in perspective with a graphic showing new housing starts since the crash began in 2007. •Homes completed. The number of finished homes is rising, too. Privately owned homes finished (651,000 annual rate) were up 10% over March and 20% over the same time last year. •Homebuilder confidence. New surveys show homebuilders more optimistic about their prospects than at any time in the last five years. Analysts follow builders' sentiment carefully, because their ground-level knowledge of their local markets is thought to predict housing health. Writes USA Today: Sales of existing homes. The number of transactions is growing. The National Association of Realtors reports that sales of existing homes rose 3.4% in April over March. They were also 10% higher than last year at the same time. As the US Housing Market shows signs of recovery it is time to rev up your marketing efforts towards this area. Why are new homeowners so important and desirable? They buy things. Not just buy but at a higher rate than other market segments. For large brands they buy more big ticket items like appliances and furniture. For the small business person this group more times than not have a loyalty to local businesses. So why does housing matter? They buy things. Larson Notes & Satire:  So consider this: 35% of new homeowners buy bedding 33% of new homeowners purchase lawn equipment, tools and hardware 50% of new homeowners purchase home decorations and accents 15% of new homeowners purchase computers, home security and automobiles Within the 1st few months > The average new homeowners spend more in the first 6 months than established residents spend in 2 years. > The average new homeowners spend more than 00 of purchases within the first four months of a more > Within several weeks nearly 60% of homeowners and 40% of renters purchase furniture > New homeowners establish 71 new business relationships with in the first few months of their move > 35% of new homeowners just had a new baby or are planning on it. Look at the things this group of people buy. Do you sell any of these things? If so, how do you attract them? Well we have our ways but one of the best is the new blanket zip code mailing by the US Postal service. Great deal with blanket coverage. Then you can go after making connections with relestate offices, agents and the like. Need help? Call us. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-1294 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.       2012-05-31 07:32:58 What Is Up With B2B Social Med http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BF13946FE0635282E040A8C0AC007207 As we move into May or 2012, I thought it might be nice to take a snap shot of what other B2B Marketers are doing in Social Media at the moment. Looking at the usage below, you will find no real changes in B2B SM Marketing. LinkedIn still rules with blogging and Facebook neck and neck. 30% - LinkedIn 20% - Blogging 19% - Facebook 16% - Twitter  8% - YouTube  6% - the 3 Fs (Friends, Followers, Family)  1% - Google+ B2B User Preferences LinkedIn is heads above everyone else, Facebook and Twitter (Blogging is not a SM site) virtually tied as alternative social media channels by b2b marketers. Then as you can see above YouTube, the 3 F’s, Then there are the other “guys” like Flickr, Digg,  Stumbleupon and Tumblr as favorite social channels.   No, most marketers engaged in SM are using a combination of several channels, there are clearly defined preferences. When b2b marketers were asked to choose the one most important method that they use for their social outreach), LinkedIn was the clear leader, chosen by 30% of respondents. Following it were blogging (20%), Facebook (19%) Twitter (16%) and YouTube (8%).   The Obstacles The biggest problem B2B marketers are facing when it comes to SM is (after the legal department) an overall lack of resources. 70% of Business Marketing Managers find this to be the major problem toward implementing a good solid social media marketing program. Other problems encountered are: 57% a poorly defined success metrics and key performance indicators.  44% a “lack of knowledge about social media” is holding them and their companies back. Management resistance, cited by 22%, may stem from the preceding three obstacles. Larson Notes & Satire:  As you all know I am working Facebook, then LinkedIn with some twitter. But with Ping.fm I can get a unified message to Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Plaxo, Google Buzz, Tumblr, Bebo, Flickr to name a few extras with one quick “PingIt” And, the faster the better “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.       2012-05-15 08:06:20 True Networking Costs http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BF13946018D85282E040A8C0AC007207 You want more leads, my prospects more customers. Who doesn’t?   So what do you do? Join a Chamber of Commerce? At Professional Industry Association?  Formal Networking Groups? Let’s look at the cost incurred by each.   They all have their place if you get work out of them, or do you just like being in a group for the fun of it? Me, I join for the money. Friends are a side benefit. Education a side befit as well.   So what are the “true” costs?   Chamber Of Commerce If you are the a-typical small business you open the doors to your business and trot off to join your local Chamber of Commerce.  Is it a wise investment? Well... It cost you say: $300.00 to join, then there are the 10 – 2 hour meetings a year at a cost of $20.00 plus time.  Join a committee? There is another 3 hours a month x 12. Then add in drive time or 1 hour a meeting and your “investment” is only $8400.00. If you don’t think your time is worth $100.00 an hour you might want to rethink your being in business. Total cost is $8700.00   Investment gap: If you pick up 5 clients at $1200.00 each, for $6000.00 in new business leaving a short fall of $2700.00   Professional Industry Association Another business normality is to go off and join a Professional Industry Association. Cost might only be $500, if you’re lucky. Then there are (again) the 10 meetings a year, most likely dinner meetings so the cost goes up to $30... a pop in a plus 2 hours or drive time (at least here in the Chicago area) and you have a $4500.00 nut to crack.   Investment gap: If you can pick up 2 clients out of a group like this you are doing good. There might be more prospects but the competition for them is greater. Yet the pay back is higher to say $2000.00 per customer for $4000.00. Result a short fall of $500.00 I hope you’re getting $500.00 in education.   Formal Networking Group The last of the big 3 in lead generation and referrals is the Formal Networking Group. These groups can be great as their sole purpose is the generation of business for their membership. Annual dues are $450.00 the weekly meeting and yes this is usually a weekly time investment is about 2 hours for time and a lunch cost of say $15.00. Out of pocket is $1200.00 for dues and lunches and time investment is $10,000.00 based on working 50 weeks a year, for a total of 11,200.00.   Investment gap: With the average sale being $1200.00 you need to get 10 new clients to break even.   Now the big picture cost if you did or do all three? Only $24,400.00   Now you can tell me, I write all this off for my business so it is a tax write off.  So the investment is only half that amount. Sure, ok but it is still money spent and it is out of pocket till you reclaim it back from Uncle Sam     Larson Notes & Satire:  Now just imagined if you took that money and put it into a targeted marketing plan? For $24,400.00 I could work wonders for you.   Give you a combo, Telesales, Direct Mail, Social Media Marketing plan.   If you choose to do a Larson Telemarketing Lead Generation Plan what is the pay back. Now mind you this is the stripped down bare bones program but if you were to give me $1200 a month or $14,000 a year, that would give you a program of 40 hours of concentrated Lead Generation work. And on the average that would give you a pay back of at least bare minimum 5 to 8 leads of which yes they are not customers yet but in 1 month that should be 20 to 32 leads or 240 to 384 leads a year. Do you feel lucky? Ask yourself what is your closing ratio? If you had that many leads could you would you fail? What is your closing ratio, all great sales people I know, know theirs. Good or bad, they know. 1 out of 10? 1 out of 5? Do you even know?   When they know their numbers they know what they need to accomplish number wise to hit the income figures they want to achieve. Numbers don’t lie, nor do ratios.   When we talk about what is truly cost effective or will give you the best payback, pick your path to your success.   “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”   Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Divison of US Telemarketing LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 630-358-4354 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2012-05-09 09:11:26 Are Trade Shows Back? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BC1175C982997E05E040A8C0AC00358A In a survey by the Center for Exhibition Industry, their CIRE index overall trade show activity grew by 2.7%. Considering this is after 3 consecutive years of reduction there was of course cause for general excitement in the industry. The index goes and scores 4 areas of performance. +2.7% - Net square feet +2.3% - Number of exhibitors +3.4% - Number of exhibitors +2.3% - Ad revenue The area of strongest growth were machinery and finished goods showing a very strong 11.2% growth, with the building, construction, home and repair category going down 5.3%. Does it make sense for you to make the trade show plunge? Are your prospects and customers there? Do you have the staff to work a booth? Do you have the money to put together a minor booth and stock it with necessary flyers and brochures? Larson Notes & Satire: Should your business be in or back into exhibiting shows? The do have a cost and it can be pricy. Chamber of Commerce shows might be within reach and you might only need 3 or 4 new accounts to break even, but when you jump to the major shows you better have a plan to make it cost effective. We at Larson have a service where we will go in and call all the attendees to invite them to your booth, we set up appointments for you while at the show so you have quality one on one time with the prospect (and your competition doesn’t) then after the show is all closed up, our post trade show calling service where we will call up all the business cards and badges scanned to see if they got the information they needed, to find out if they had any questions, if they need to see or talk to a sales rep again and above all else see it they are ready to talk to a sales rep to buy. If you don’t have a system for follow up you and I both know what will most likely happen. You will hand those leads to your staff; they will call the first 5. Get 5 no’s. Throw up their hands saying these leads are junk and stuff them into the top desk drawer never to see the light of day again. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix?  Call today and find out.       2012-04-23 06:59:32 Hot Leads Or Are They? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BA3206DD70A08CE1E040A8C0AC007358 What makes a lead hot or cold?   Your company might choose to score leads by assigning points, using rankings like A, B, C or D, or using terms like “hot,” “warm” or “cold,” but what exactly constitutes a qualified sales lead, and can your marketing and sales departments’ productivity, efficiency and synchronicity get better with a scoring system? Does quality lead scoring there are rules you need to decide upon such as:  â€¢What your ideal buyer profile is  â€¢What a prospect has to explicitly tell you in order to move forward in the buying cycle  â€¢What activities must be observed for a prospect to move forward in the buying cycle? If lead scoring methodology is shared between sales and marketing and a qualified ranking of those leads is made to determine their sales-readiness sales should go up with less wasted time for the sales staff. Leads can be scored based on interest they show in your business, place in the buying cycle, and their fit with your business.   The first step in lead scoring is determining your ideal target. Creating this perfect buyer profile requires sales and marketing to sit down together (now there is a new concept) and come together on the definition. Then you can use both an explicit and implicit scoring to create a picture of each lead’s value. Explicit scoring is based on the information the prospect tells you, whereas Implicit scoring is based on the information that you observe, or infer, such as their online behaviors.   Use this checklist as a starting point to identify the key demographics that are relevant to your organization, as well as the key behavior-based scores to consider. We have listed more than 50 explicit scores and more than 200 implicit scores to help you find the ideal scoring rules for your company.   How to use this checklist:   Check off the attributes you think should be included in your perfect customer. Next to each attribute mark whether it is critical, important, influential, or negative. Relationship scoring rules: Title Role Purchasing authority Number of direct reports Level of manager (to whom do they report?) Years of experience Specialties Type of email used (Gmail, corporate, Yahoo) Years at current position Designations/Certifications Honors and awards received Social network participation Social network connections Social network influence Public recommendations Affiliations - groups and associations Career interests Personal interests Degrees received Rankings/Stock Indexes: Fortune 500/Inc 500, etc Number of employees Company revenue Revenue growth (growing, declining, etc) Company financial viability Number of divisions Number of products sold (SKUs) Location Account type (Potential vs. Actual) Previous relationship Website traffic Website plug-ins Year founded Organizational structure (proprietorship, partnership, corporation) Geographic markets served Competitors Partners Fiscal year end Industry Product(s) purchased Complimentary technologies used (CRM, ESP, ERP, CMS, MRM, MA) Recycled count Lead source Did everyone on your Sales and Marketing team the same attributes? We all look at things from our own personal perspective. Discuss and see if you can come up with the perfect relationship as a team. 200+ Behavior-Based Scores to Consider: Budget defined (Monthly, Quarterly, Annually) Timeframe (Project completion deadline) City State Zip Country Phone area code Headquarters or satellite Location of branches Size of branches Customer Partner Competitor Prospect Investor Ex-customer Lost opportunity Website Sponsorship PPC Content syndication Online ad Surveys Search Activity Podcasts Online courses Videocasts Certifications Tradeshow Visited Completed Viewed results Participated in multiple surveys Searches for company name Searches for product name Searches other (scored on term) Search engine used Listened Listened multiple times Downloaded Subscribed Viewed information on Registered for Completed Registered for multiple Completed multiple Viewed Viewed multiple times Downloaded Viewed information on Registered for Received certification Received multiple certifications Attended Visited booth Watched demo Attended multiple tradeshows Livestreamed events Web pages Community Additional Behaviors Registered for Viewed Commented during Asked question during Reviewed follow-up recording Rated event Viewed landing page Fills out form on landing page Uses instant chat functionality Uses request a call back functionality Viewed - any Viewed - product specific Viewed - pricing Viewed - customers or reviews Viewed - multiple web pages Viewed - multiple web pages in 1 WK Shared via social sharing Browser used Submitted an idea Submitted multiple ideas Read about best practices Read about ideas Visit knowledge base Read about product information Asked a question Asked multiple questions Answered a question Answered multiple questions Shared a best practice Shared multiple best practices Roadshow/Seminar Microsites Registered Attended Attended multiple events Viewed Shared via social sharing Again ask did you all mark the same attributes? Discuss any that don’t match and figure out what really matters. There might be some major disagreements but you need to get on the same page! Bad Behaviors (Implicit data) Email unsubscribe Non-product web visit No website activity for a long period of time Change in purchase timeframe No progression in buying cycle Added to “Do Not Call” list Spam complaint Negative social media comment Declines contract/warranty renewal Career page Press room Investor page Leadership page While most action items give positive scores, there are actions that don’t. Don’t ignore these negative pieces of the sales and marketing process when building your model. You need to be honest with yourself. The only one you will be hurting if your not is yourself. If you this information to your advantage in conjunction with other scoring methods. Larson Notes & Satire: If you this information to your advantage in conjunction with other scoring methods you may as an individual have developed you will start to find areas of attack where your odds of winning are stacked in your favor. Being a cherry picker from way back I like to pick the low handing fruit. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix?  Call today and find out.       2012-04-17 07:17:12 5 Steps Of Effective Delegatio http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BA32067C2B9F8CE1E040A8C0AC007358 I have found in some 37 some odd years in business that there are 5 steps to better delegating and supervising that will bring you the kind of results you want to get your expectations met and successful results are achieved. Step One: The first step in delegation is to be totally clear about the results that you want to achieve out of the job or project. The more clarity YOU have the greater the direction you show with towards the results expected. The easier it is for you to select the right person to do the job. Step Two: The second step in this process is to select the best person based on their previously demonstrated ability and success at doing this kind of job. You want people all people to be successful so don’t set them up for failure. Never ever delegate an important task to a person who has never done that kind of project before. That is not to say you don’t want to push people into achieving a higher level to action that expands their abilities, but keep in mind their strong points and work into those when possible. It is essential that you delegate every task to the best person you have who you have total trust and belief in their ability to complete the task at a high level. Step Three: Third, explain to the person exactly what you want done, the results that you expect, the time schedule that you require, and the preferred method of working. You have probably already mastered the task you’re delegating out to so use your knowledge of the job at hand to help them help you. Taking the necessary time to teach and explain the best way to do the job based on your past experience is not only an excellent way to ensure that the job will be done the way you want and on schedule I might add, but when a similar job comes up you have a ready trained person do delegate out to, again. Step Four: Step four is to set up a schedule. The more important the task the more important it is to set up a schedule. Always build some slack into the timetable whenever possible. Then have a system to check on the progress of the task at regular intervals. Leave nothing to chance and you will be a happier owner or manager. Step Five: Step five is to inspect what you expect. Delegation is not abduction. You are not dropping and running. Just because you have assigned a task to another person does not mean that you are no longer accountable for the project at hand. That is why you are the person in charge. The more important the project, the more important it is that you keep on top of it. What task can you effectively delegate to someone else? Which one of your employees can handle the task efficiently? Larson Notes & Satire: My way or the highway. The hardest thing about delegation is the lack of control. As most of you know, I look for clones of me to work with. Ya, lots of little Me’s running around. I shudder at the thought. Now I do some things very well, other things, I would truly be best finding a trusted person to make a hand off to. Let them do for me what they do best. Use your strengths and find people to fill in your gaps. This makes others around you stronger and you even more larger than life. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix?  Call today and find out. ,       2012-03-14 06:48:14 75% of Ad Campaigns for New Ac http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=BA32740EE16B682FE040A8C0AC007BF7 No wonder we are getting so busy. 75% of all b2b marketers will be or are launching ad campaigns designed to focus on new account acquisition. That, of course, is our primary job. To find our customers new sales leads now. The remaining 25% is divided. 15% is on brand awareness and 10% for customer retention. 29% of would be marketers are increasing their 2012 budgets. In order to achieve their goal of finding more customers, marketers will but using a variety of on and offline ideas. The largest investment will be, of course, online. E-commerce is the fastest going demographic of customers and companies know that they need to reach this wellspring of potential income. 74% of marketers increased their online budgets this year. 41% increased event marketing and 36% their direct mail. For those of you who what to see where everyone else is spending keep reading but I will warn you, don’t use another companies marketing spending as a cookie cutter approach to creating your marketing planning and spending. Your company is, I am sure, not like theirs even if both companies are in the same market. Yet it is a good idea to look at what other companies are planning to see if you missed something and might want to tweek your plan. Spending Plans 2012 vs 2011 Marketing on outside websites   5.8% - Decrease 35.1% - Increase 31.7% - Same 27.4% - Do not use Direct Mail* 12.6% - Decrease 31.2% - Increase 38.1% - Same 18.1% - Do not use DR Radio   3.8% - Decrease   9.9% - Increase 11.8% - Same 74.5% - Do not use Direct Response Space (newspapers, magazines, etc)   9.6% - Decrease 18.6% - Increase 27.4% - Same 44.4% - Do not use Direct Response TV   3.8% - Decrease   7.7% - Increase 12.6% - Same 75.9% - Do not use E-Mail*   1.4% - Decrease 64.7% - Increase 30.1% - Same   3.8% - Do not use Inserts   7.2% - Decrease   9.0% - Increase 29.6% - Same 54.2% - Do not use Mobile Marketing via Web/apps   0.3% - Decrease 35.1% - Increase 15.3% - Same 49.3% - Do not use Mobile Marketing via text/SMS/phone   0.8% - Decrease 24.9% - Increase 15.6% - Same 58.7% - Do not use Search Engine Marketing*   3.8% - Decrease 51.0% - Increase 28.8% - Same 16.4% - Do not use Social Media Marketing*   3.0% - Decrease 63.0% - Increase 18.7% - Same 15.3% - Do not use Social Media Paid Marketing*   2.2% - Decrease 30.7% - Increase 21.6% - Same 45.5% - Do not use Telemarketing*   6.0% - Decrease 20.3% - Increase 25.2% - Same 48.5% - Do not use Webcasts   2.5% - Decrease 27.4% - Increase 20.3% - Same 49.8% - Do not use Marketing Technologies Planning 2012 vs 2011 Bar Code QR Codes, etc   1.1% - Decrease 25.1% - Increase 15.6% - Same 48.2% - Do not use Automated Response/Trigger Messages   0.8% - Decrease 39.2% - Increase 19.5% - Same 40.5% - Do not use Blogs*   0.8% - Decrease 45.5% - Increase 18.1% - Same 35.6% - Do not use Content Marketing*   0.8% - Decrease 62.2% - Increase 20.0% - Same 17.0% - Do not use GPS/Location Marketing   0.5% - Decrease 10.2% - Increase   9.0% - Same 80.3% - Do not use Loyalty Programs*   1.1% - Decrease 27.1% - Increase 21.4% - Same 50.4% - Do not use Mobile SMS   0.8% - Decrease 19.7% - Increase 11.3% - Same 68.2% - Do not use Mobile Optimized Website   0.5% - Decrease 37.8% - Increase 11.8% - Same 49.9% - Do not use Mobile apps   1.1% - Decrease 31.5% - Increase 11.5% - Same 55.9% - Do not use Personalization*   0.8% - Decrease 44.7% - Increase 23.3% - Same 31.2% - Do not use Personalized URLs (PURLs)*   1.7% - Decrease 24.4% - Increase 13.4% - Same 60.5% - Do not use Podcasts   1.4% - Decrease 16.4% - Increase 11.5% - Same 70.7% - Do not use Response Boosters*   1.6% - Decrease 12.3% - Increase 11.9% - Same 74.2% - Do not use Variable Data Printing*   0.8% - Decrease 16.4% - Increase 15.7% - Same 67.1% - Do not use Video   1.1% - Decrease 52.1% - Increase 13.2% - Same 33.6% - Do not use Webinars*   1.4% - Decrease 35.1% - Increase 16.4% - Same 47.1% - Do not use Delivery Use Methods 2012 vs 2011 Advertising on outside websites  56.2% - 2011 46.6% - 2012 Affiliate Marketing  40.8% - 2011 32.6% - 2012 Direct Mail*  69.0% - 2011 65.8% - 2012 DR Radio  15.1% - 2011 11.2% - 2012 Direct Response Space (magazine, newspapers, etc.)  29.3% - 2011 27.9% - 2012 Direct Response television  14.2% - 2011   9.3% - 2012 E-Mail*  86.3% - 2011 83.3% - 2012 Insert Media*  28.8% - 2011 23.3% - 2012 Mobile Marketing – Mobile Web Apps  31.8% - 2011 12.9% - 2012 Mobile Marketing – text/SMS/phone  24.9% - 2011 10.7% - 2012 Search Engine Marketing*  58.9% - 2011 46.8% - 2012 Search Engine Optimization*  66.8% - 2011 51.5% - 2012 Social Media Marketing*  67.4% - 2011 56.4% - 2012 Social Media Marketing – Paid Advertising*  34.8% - 2011 19.2% - 2012 Telemarketing*  35.6% - 2011 31.2% - 2012 Webcasts  34.2% - 2011 20.8% - 2012 *Designates primary Larson Service All this is not an open checkbook on spending by businesses. If you read between the lines you will be seeing a spending that takes into account careful consideration of what is happening in the economy. The major growth is where the traffic is highest and thus so is the return in advertising budget. Direct mail and E-mail continue to be the most used marketing channels used.  Both have a high return rate in both customer retention and new account acquisition. Social & Mobile are the big growth areas, not because of result but partly because they are new. Social Media Marketing will continue to be a time eater for most companies who don’t know how to keep a balance in monitoring and their legal department’s reluctance at possible bad exposure. Adding to the dilemma is the unknown ROI (Return on Investment) because they can’t keep records of what they are getting in response. So, when, where and how is the real question here. If you get into mobile you can expect to see 10% to 15% more hits on your web site and that is never a bad thing, for possible sales and for page ranking. Web and SEO Marketing You want to own the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo Search. Dominate that 1st and 2nd page that comes up in your key words for your organic search. Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (SEO) (SEM), content marketing, landing page creation, blogs, and social media marketing can all help you own that 1st and 2nd page. Can it happen? Oh yes! Can it happen for you and your business? I know it can if you want it bad enough. You can have 3, 4, 5 if not all the listings on the 1st page of an organic search and most people do not get past page 1 maybe page 2, but that’s it. What is “The Next Big Thing”? Bar codes, QR codes or maybe Web video? You tell me. Indications are that QR codes are finding their place in marketing but not as much as we were lead to believe at this time last year. Yes you will see more of them but it is more of an afterthought in marketing not a major piece of the puzzle. Larson Notes & Satire:  So what your next move?  I am betting that when the gurus of marketing do their mid-year surveys we are going to see some major swings as to what companies are doing and how they are changing their plans. The surveys we review where based off of 56% of companies less than $100,000. 16% of companies $100,000-$499,000, 5% of companies $500,000-$999,999, 10% companies 1million to $5 million, 7% over $5 million and 6% in I don’t know land. My guess is that these statistics are going to be in line with you, the kind of people and companies that are reading my blog here. So now you ask, where am I putting my efforts this year? Well my 3 legged stool attack remains intact. Telemarketing, Social Media and Direct mail, that my friend is not going to change, it is just too powerful. Then add in my blog and email staying deep penetration in our multilevel attack. The new big “spend” in money and time is in F2F networking. It has been a few years since I was out and about doing in your face networking and 2012 will see this area as the MAJOR push for me and that is not even on the charts is it? Considering it has brought in 2 new accounts all ready this year how can we knock success? When we look to hiring for 2012 we see a personal increase of 17 people in our telemarketing department at a minimum, and our web work will remain pretty steady with maybe 1 or 2 new hirers with support staff increasing 2 or 3. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix?  Call today and find out.     2012-03-13 06:28:28 10 Reasons To Use Social Media http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=B8C6AD52F648F7DDE040A8C0AC002503 Ok let’s go to the basics here. Social Media Marketing can work in bringing in new business. I know I have a number of new accounts that I can attribute entirely to my social media sites. But what are the top 10 reasons you might want to take a little bit of your time to putting your efforts into SM, or at least my top 10? 1. Cost Effective Most social media sites are free or have a free option to start with. Going in free is a good way to test the water and see if there is any action your company can take advantage of. If the site produces you can then belly up to the table and buy into more and a higher degree of exposure.   2. Reach Social Media allows you to reach a wider audience. Consumers and companies are increasingly more reliant on technology and social media. SM gives you a way to reach out to people who would not know about your company if you did not post up a few profile pages.   3. Connection  Social Media can allow you a more personal way to connect with your prospects and customer base. A traditional marketing campaign misses out on the back and forth communication your business can engage in with your target. Only telemarketing can give you that same hands on communication.   4. Timely  Social Media allows you to instantly send out information to your followers. As in a good well-crafted email SM is the best non offensive way to be “in their face”.  5. Flexibly Social Media gives you the kind of flexibility a real time promotion needs as you adapt it to needs and comments of your audience. It might seem too informal to tradition marketing or PR managers but it gets you to the very heart of your prospects needs, wants and desires 6. Promotions SM is an excellent way to run out a promotion to see what kind of fish are biting, today! You need to get the word out and get it out fast which is why your 4 F’s (followers, friends, fans and family) as so important. SM allows you to share more faster. 7. An Easier Referral WOM or Word of Mouth advertising or marketing is made more compact through Social Media. SM makes if vastly easier for your customers to share in your information with their 4F’s as you transform your WOM a more encompassing marketing attack. 8. Increased Wed Traffic This is fact, the more you promote your web page just on sheer weight of your postings you will get more people looking at your web page. And as we all know the more hits you get you 1, might get some sales and your site will seem more important to the Google spiders and you will get a better organic ranking. 9. Branding As you seek to establish who and what your company is or wants to be the messages, photos, links and videos you post on your pages  build an image of your company. Think before you post and you will create a consistent tone and message about who and what your company is. 10. Hiring As you grow you will need new people joining your company. Well, maybe yes and maybe no, but this will or can put you in front of new possible associates. They will know you, understand you and want to be part of what you are doing before they even contact you about working for your company.   Larson Notes & Satire:  Always go back to the basics every now and then. Basics can get you back to center so you can move forward. Yes, even I get on a target that leads to No-Wheresville. That is the time to look at what got you to where you are so you can get to where you need to be. It takes time, it takes patience, it you don’t have either one of those SM is just a play toy. I can tell you I have gotten business off of Social Media, (yes I to track every new customer as to how I got them). So I know this works but only if you work it. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-02-17 06:52:38 5 Things to Start Up Or Run A http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=B80054894BBBAB03E040A8C0AC000A25 It has been a dream of yours for years, starting or running your very own business. It is a dream that is shared by many people. Even with the economy in in the dumps there is never a good or a bad time to take the plunge I have 5 things you should consider to hit the ground running. When getting started, you will have a better idea upfront whether your plans will fly or not by answering these 5 simple questions. If you want to succeed, here they are.   To discover how to start, run, or manage your own business, start here.   1. Find Out What People Really Want  Go finger but all to many business owners don’t even think about this. Before starting out, find out what your customers or clients really want. What do you think they will buy, and buy it from you? Take a look around and see what other businesses in your industry are selling. Can you make enough of a change to make you unique or make it look new? Ask yourself how can you make it better, faster, less expensive? If you give people what they want, find ways to let them know and you should do fine.   2. Solve People's Problems  Look around you. Everywhere people are trying to solve problems, their problems. They could care less about your problems but I can tell you a secret, you solve their problems and your problems will go away as well.   3. Learn How Business Really Works  To be successful, it's a good idea to have basic business knowledge on the inner workings of a successfully run business.  Successful business owners learn about things like bookkeeping, advertising, and marketing and  sales and marketing, taxes and financial planning are also good things to know a little bit about.  I'm not talking about becoming an expert in all areas;  but a good foundation so you'll know if the business advice you're getting from the so called experts makes sense to youyou’re your business or not. It's your business. What can you learn and know can only help you to succeed.   4. Great Customer Service  Like I need to say anything? Great customer service is important to the success of your business. What you do after the sale is even more important than the initial sale. Decide upfront what your return and refund policies will be. Who much atomomy will your associates have in dealing with customers? How will you handle customer complaints? Once you find out what the lifetime value of a customer is, you will soon see it's in your best interest to keep them happy. Your customers and clients are the life-blood of your business Don't be afraid to try different and unusual ways of keeping their interest in you and your products or services. How can you improve your customer service today?  5. Don't Be Afraid to Start Small  Many of the large corporations you see today came out of very humble beginnings. You see them now as big companys, but most started as a small acorns growing into the Oak Trees they now are. Use all the resources you have at hand to bootstrap your business start-up. Today's most successful entrepreneurs went from adversity to success by being resourceful and using what they had with great care. Even if you feel you have nothing when you start out, if you can keep these 5 rules in mind and you will keep yourself out of most problems. One good idea lead to the nets bring you to business freedom.   Larson Notes & Satire:  Take some time to look around. Opportunities may be as right in front of your nose. Ask around. Be curious. Talk to people. All you need is one, just one good idea If possible find yourself a business mentor no matter how old you are. Seek out someone who has been where you are now and can help you discover how to start, run and manage a successful business.   “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-02-09 12:11:47 Watch Your Content http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=B60A3448D7EF07C9E040A8C0AC0078E4 In bringing in new customers you need to move away from thinking like you are in charge of your message. With the advent of Social Media Marketing you need to engage your prospects. If they don’t like it, you had better not like it.   So what is a poor marketer to do?   Ask yourself a few important questions: 1) What are you trying to say about your product or service that will help to influence the customer to buy from you and not your competition? 2) Can you help customers identify which of your products or services will fit their special needs? 3) In what way can you address unseen objectives that might stop the sales process? 4) Are there others out there in your network that can justify and validate your product or service? 5) What will keep you at the top of your customers mind as they go through the sales process? 6) In the fast paced world of today will let you gain customer loyalty 7) Keep your basic message consistent. Nothing ruins a good marketing campaign more than inconsistency. You might be tired of your message but for most of your target it is new.     Larson Notes & Satire:  Can your marketing program cut the mustard? Keep a clear message that moves with the customer in ways they need, not you. You don’t count.     “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.”   Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service!   Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates     https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-01-11 06:39:12 Decision Making For Today's Re http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C018A3F7C0B760E040A8C0AC004EE3 In today’s world of lead generation you need to take a hard look at how you are generating interest in your company. As dumb as it is, you might be surprised to find that some prospects are prompted to consider using you thru twitter posts, let alone longer blogs or facebook fan pages. As a B2B marketer I spent my time, aside from dong active lead gen, trying to figure out how a person (or company) makes a buying decision. Perhaps Hank Trisler said it best when he said “People buy on emotion and justify with facts.” Larson Notes & Satire:  I spend alto of time posting my successes. Why? Because if you are in a similar industry where I have had success and I post about it, you might start thinking, mmmmmmm they did it for XYZ Company, maybe they can do it for me. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.         2012-01-05 07:01:59 Donât Assume http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=B58E15F32BBE4536E040A8C0AC004B79 When looking over the potential of your company’s expansion never assume that a brand or company with higher awareness and exposure than yours is already under consideration. You might need to identify various audience segments and cross them off your leads list but in doing so you need to better understand when and where marketing functions can play a stronger nurturing roll in new account acquisition. In a report from McKinsey & Company it seems that the number of companies that come under consideration during an active evaluation for service expands rather than narrows as companies look for the best possibilities for what they really need. This change in thinking behavior from what was relevant even 2 years ago shows and creates a tremendous opportunity for marketers by allowing them (or you) the opportunity of more touch points to influence the all mighty customer. Larson Notes & Satire:  So yes you have more and greater opportunity to get new customers but remember you also have new and greater ways to lose customers. And remember it is easier to keep a customer that it is to go out and get a new one. Keep your defenses up high and controlling and keeping what you got, so you don’t have to get twice as many new accounts. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2012-01-04 08:03:59 14 Stats of 2011 http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB402171A1C550E040A8C0AC001F64 14 stats that mattered most for media and marketing in 2011. 1.) 50 million -- The big number from the Census everyone was talking about was the number of Hispanics, which crested this milestone for the first time. Later the Census and the New York Times found that even more people in the U.S. (51 million) are at or near the poverty line. 2.) 50% +1 -- Sometime this year the children being born in the U.S. tipped to majority-minority, according to Brookings Institute demographer William Frey. It'll take the population as a whole decades before the white population is not the majority, but the newborns are there now. Diversity marketing is in for a makeover. 3.) Half of kids under 8 (and 40% of 2- to 4-year-olds) have access to a smartphone, iPad or some other mobile media device. 4.) In October 2011 Facebookers in the U.S. spent 136,000 aggregate years on the site, according to Comscore. That's more time than… well, all of recorded history. 5.) The U.S. added just 11.2 million households between 2000 and 2010, the -- slowest household formation rate we've seen in a long time. This impacts industries like construction and any sort of household goods and services and is helping to keep the recovery slow. 6.) When asked all the reasons they subscribe to a local paper, 85% said local news, but nearly four in 10 said "habit," according to the Ad Age/Ipsos Observer American Consumer Survey. 7.) Nuclear families account for just one-fifth of all households but more than one-third (34%) of total consumer spending. Nationwide there are 1.3 million fewer of them in 2010 than there were in 2000. 8.) One in three consumers can't afford your product: The 2011 Discretionary Spend Report from Experian Simmons finds 34.5% of households have less than $7,000 to spend on non-essential goods. Just over half have less than $10,000 to spend on entertainment, education, personal care, clothing, furniture and more. 9.) How big is big? The big four agency holding companies have nearly twice the revenue of the next largest 46, $40.1 billion to $21.5 billion. 10.) Don't count out old media. Fifty-seven percent of millennials indicated in a study from OMD that TV was the first way they hear about products and services. 11.) Is this surprisingly low, or high? In a survey from Insight Express' Digital, 56% of mobile users admit to using their phones to text, call, etc. while on the throne. 12.) For the first time in American history there are now a million more females than males college graduates, according to the Census. 13.) In 2011: The twin birthrate is up 76% since 1980, reaching a new record of 33.2 per 1,000 in 2009 14.) The non-U.S. portion of P&G's measured-ad spending rocketed to 71% last year from 22% in 1986. Sixty-three percent of the company's revenue came from outside the U.S. in the year ended June 2011. Larson Notes & Satire:  What does all this mean to you? Look it over again. Where does your service or product fit in to the grand scheme of things?  Who do you sell to? Do you need to add Spanish to your company’s way of doing business? Would a 6 year old want to buy and if they tied how are you going to handle that? Do you take a new look at old media I.e. TV as a marketing tool? Do I hear cable? Should you be looking at selling overseas and does China fit or India? Selling to the “minority market? If so, which one? Again what does this all mean to you and your company? “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2011-12-16 07:53:34 Opportunity Selling http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C0186BAB38B760E040A8C0AC004EE3 Think about it. Why did you buy the last product or service you bought? Two things come to mind with that question. First off you bought or purchased, you were not sold, and second you must have had a reason to buy or at the start of the sales process, you must have had a reason or need to buy or at least have a need.   Every successful salesperson I work with has a few impeccable traits. They don’t get greedy, they don’t sell to people that don’t have a need and they find either the pain of not buying or the reason or the gain of why the prospect should buy. That need or gain or the pain of not in your opportunity is what makes you becoming the sales doctor you have become. What do you know about the industry you sell into that causes people the most pain and how can you become the Good Doctor? Knowing this there is only really one more part to the equation you need to keep doing and that is finding more people to talk to about helping them. Larson Notes & Satire:  Most sales people I talk to, do not like to do what I like to do, that is COLD CALLing people that they have never ever talked to before. But ask yourself, how are you going to sell more of what you sell if you don’t get yourself in front of more people who have a deep need for what you got to sell? We find that more and more sales people who what to be the good Sales Doctor want a leads company to get them in the door so they can to their “thing”. How ‘bout you? “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-12-15 07:53:18 Keep The Basics Upfront http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A251509B05D531BEE040A8C0AC007FE1 Why do you think that businesses are not getting the kind of results out of Social Media Marketing that they are expecting? Quite simply they are reacting rather that evolving. Social Media Marketing is too new to be totally understood. Every day there are new players entering the marketing in ways which we cannot imagine, and that is not to ever consider the plans of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as the look to secure their importance and the beach head they have established in SMM. I’m here to tell you to keep the basics of good selling and marketing at the forefront of your plans because even with new tools (and all there are, are tools) the old ways are still really the only way. The question you need to be asking yourself is, are you a reacting company or are you evolving? In the mad rush to “do” Social Media Marketing have you lost your way? Are you in a state of flux in the redefining of your goals from hard hitting working sales into retweets, getting more of the 3Fs, and just trying to be linked?  If you all you want to do is be linked up, go out and join your local Chamber of Commerce and they will be happy to shower you with love. Then sit back and see what happens. My bet is nothing. No knock on Chambers but yes, been there done that, and SMM is just the same thing only online. In many ways SMM is the same thing only online. Nothing really has been invented, just redefined to happen at the speed of cyber. What once took 1 month or 1 week, now can take 1 day or 1 hour, but the rejection is still there. As SMM evolves todays successful sales and marketing people are using techniques of earning their prospects purchases. They are using the new tools of Google, Facebook and blogs to answer their prospects needs and problems. Do I hear the word “probing”? When prospects understand their problems clearly they are more ready and willing to be excreted towards the answers you and your service/product provides. Larson Notes & Satire:  If I did not know any better this sounds like sales 101. Yes fans nothing new here only a new way of doing it. You still need to probe, probe, probe to find the needs and wants, the pain of not buying from you, your customers and prospects need to get an answer for. If you don’t know or understand the basics you will not understand selling and marketing in the new cyber world we are all expected to be working in. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates, a Division of US Telemarketing Group LLC Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-12-13 08:03:29 4 Degrees Of Separation http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40B4C122ED91E040A8C0AC001F60 According to Facebook there are now only 4 degrees of separation in the world. And you know they might be right. For years, there's been a theory that every person is only separated by six degrees, or relationships. I found it sometimes hard to believe when one year when not thinking hard I found that I was only 3 degrees of separation from the President of the United States. Like WOW! Then in comes Facebook, with its data of over 700 million people and their al their relationships and interconnections with friends. Facebook is saying we're all just four degrees of separation apart from people are around the world.   Larson Notes & Satire:  THAT does not do you any good if you don’t do anything with it. You need to be there, and everywhere all at once. It might be easier said than done but it is getting easier to be everywhere and anywhere all at the same time. Yes maybe you now can be 2, 3 or more places at the same time. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-11-28 06:53:53 Customers, Prospects, Engageme http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C01826CE53B760E040A8C0AC004EE3 As a lead generation – telemarketing company we are in a constant dilemma as we shift though and search for prospects, leads and customers for our clients. We are suppose to be the miracle workers, finding golden nuggets where normal sales people cant or aren’t able to. It’s a not nice world out there. We don’t always get want we want nor are we able to get the desired result we are looking for. That is why I love the rule of #2. The rule of number 2 states that every account is already owned by someone. Muhammad Ali after fighting Joe Frasier once said “You got to beat the champ, you don’t just trade punches you go to beat him.” The same holds true in sales. You got to beat the current supplier not just match his price or service.  You have got to be better; you got to beat the champ. In the land of Customers and Prospects maybe what we should expect more is engagements. Yes that might be lowering our expectations but we need a legitimate place to start the dialogue to becoming a customer. Don’t think I am trying to lower the bar on my work expectations. No, what I am saying is that we are going after the bull’s-eye but when we do find a company willing to start the engagement process that is not a lose. It is far better to have a prospect you are engaged and conversing with than no conversation at all. Your real problem is to be able to measure the level of conversation. As long as you are communication with the prospect you have or should have some level of progress along the sales cycle. And while there is no true gauge for measurement every marketing and sales program should have distinct goals. So what is a successful engagement? Is in increased sales? That would be nice and very trackable. Is it responses? Again very trackable and countable. As we move though the sales funnel we start to define more specifically if this is a quality lead or a “tire kicker”.  An email campaign, direct mail program, all help to keep you in front of and on the mind of the prospect. I would hope you are in for the long term and not a one close, one sale wonder. Email, direct mail, social media marketing are areas of engagement or continuing engagement. It is keeping the flow of conversation going until you not just bid on a job but get your first sale. The number of channels you can engage prospects is ever growing. Not just Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter but MerchantCircle, Storeboard and the ning sites to name a few more. It is getting more complemented in some ways which it is important you keep track of what works and what does not work. Larson Notes & Satire:  Telemarketing can only take you so far down the sales process.  Sure sometimes we get quote specs off a cold call right over the phone, we get appointments, but sorry more often than not we get companies in the ball game for them to do the job of closing the deal. We have created a program that some companies follow and some don’t. Their choice of course. Most sadly take only a part of the entire program so they don’t receive the full benefit. As stated best is a multichannel attack because one size or one approach does not fit all. Need help call us. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-11-22 07:27:32 Are You Yelping? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C00A5DBC59A3A8E040A8C0AC004DC4 I have been playing a little bit, a very little bit with Yelp. It is not my main push as a marketing tool that being a B2B company but still I play just in case I have a client that needs to be there. But how long will Yelp be around? Does it, can it make money? Well, it doesn't! At least, not yet. The company lost $7.6 million through the first nine months of the year on revenues of $59 million. They (industry experts) think if should become profitable, it will be due to advertising, specifically local advertising, which stands at at $40 million and is 70% of its total revenue through the first nine months of this year. Brand advertising stands at $13 million is 22% of revenue. And "other services," like Yelp Deals, remnant ads, and revenue from reservations is 9%, or $5.4 million. Here are the most important details: Revenue: $22 million in Q3 2011, up from $12.6 million in Q3 2010. Yearly revenue: Yelp brought in $47.7 million in revenue last year. It brought in $58.4 million in the first nine months this year, compared to $32.5 million in the first nine months last year. Profits: Yelp lost $3.8 million in Q3 2011, up from 2.9 million in Q3 2010. Yearly profits: Yelp lost $9.6 million last year and lost $7.6 million in the first nine months this year. Visitors: Yelp had 61 million monthly unique visitors as of the end of its third quarter. Reviews: Yelp has 22.4 million reviews on the site as of the end of its third quarter. Advertising: 71 percent of Yelp's revenue comes from local advertising, compared to 21 percent from brand advertising and 8 percent from "other services. "Google in particular is the most significant source of traffic to our website accounting for more than half of the visits to our website from Internet searches during the nine months ended September 30, 2011," the S-1 filing reads. CEO Jeremy Stoppelman owns 11.1 percent of Yelp. The company's investors own 61.1 percent of the company. Yelp has $23 million in cash, down from $27 million at the end of 2010. And here are some interesting tidbits: 42 percent of Yelp's customers are between the ages of 18 and 34, and 33 percent are between the ages of 35 and 59. 45 percent of Yelp's customers are college graduates. Nearly half of all reviews (23 percent each) are restaurant or store reviews. PayPal co-founder Max Levchin owns 13.8 percent of Yelp. Yelp has spent $4.4 million on infrastructure this year so far, up from $2.9 million in 2010. Yelp's business could be adversely affected by "earthquakes, fires, floods and other natural catastrophic events and to interruption by man-made problems such as computer viruses or terrorism." Yelp says it does not intend to pay dividends in the future. Yelp employees outside of Stoppelman only own 14 percent of the company. Stoppelman, his investors and Levchin own a collective 86 percent of the company. Yelp's employee with the second-highest ownership is chief operating officer Geoff Donaker at 1.6 percent. Larson Notes & Satire:  My yelp numbers are going up? Are my prospects there? Yes, prospects can be everywhere. It is all in how to touch them in a way they want to be touched. As Henry Ford once said, he knew half of every dollar he spent on advertising was wasted. He just didn't know which half. So where should you be advertising and marketing everywhere and anyway you can be 90% effective. The key is to be as effective in each area you are involved in so you own that channel. A multichannel attack works because one size or one approach does not fit all. Need help call us. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-11-21 07:47:12 Cold Calling Brings Relationsh http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41246ECA52BCE040A8C0AC001F5E With so much emphasis being focused on Social Media Marketing these days it is easy to under estimate the power of the phone for establishing deep long lasting customer relationships. What I think you need to remember is that of all the channels you can use for Marketing, Cold Calling is still one of the FEW ways if not the only way to be proactive in your marketing attack. Everything else waits for the prospect to contact you! With cold calling you go out and contact the prospect. In addition it is one of the only marketing tools that will give you an instant two way conversation with your prospect to allow you to secure a long lasting relationship. So here are 5 ways to set up and focus yourself on attaining desired cold calling results: 1. Define your criteria. In any sales and marketing attack you need to define your target as narrow as you can. The more specific the better. Narrow nitch yourself 2. Have a preset agenda. You need a road map to get where you want to go. If not a “script” have an outline of where you would like to guide the conversation towards. Use open ended questions (how many times have you heard that?) and pointed questions. Might as well find out if their needs are real and what their time table is on your product or service. 1 day, 1 week 1 month 1 year, ask and find out. 3) Keep it relevant. To be effective you need to be relevant to the prospect. If it’s not important to them they will not care. So before you pick up the phone ask yourself, Why am I calling and why should they want to hear about it. If you cannot answer this question, you might as well not even pick up the phone in the first place and go on making that paperclip chain. 4. Have a voicemail strategy. Ya sorry but you got to figure that at least 75% of your calls are going to voice mail. That is just the way it is. Have a 15 to 20 second voicemail advertisement ready to go. If they want it, if they need it, they will call back. 5. Integrate your marketing channels. As a standalone you can and will get activity off your telemarketing attack but… if you can put it together with a planned multichannel attack you up your odds of success. You give them ways to approach you that they might find more suited with their nature. Larson Notes & Satire:  Telemarketing works cold calling works that is why we do it. If it didn’t people would not pay us to pick up the phone on their behalf and make the calls. As stated best is a multichannel attack because one size or one approach does not fit all. Need help call us. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-11-18 08:15:37 Lead Gen: When Where How http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB42564C81423AE040A8C0AC001F5C You want new customers, I want new customers, everyone wants new customers. (Well not everyone, believe it or not but in some of my calls some owners tell me they don’t want any. Go figure.) Lead Generation is a game, cat and mouse, back and forth, win or lose, give and take. If you’re in it you want to be taking more than your giving, I would hope. And if you want your business to survive you need to win more than you lose. Even in losing you want to win. So how do you win in a mostly loosing game, and you will lose more that you win. 1) The Rule of #2. It’s ok to be number 2. Now you’re asking yourself if I have lost my mind. No its still there, I think. But let’s think about this. You out there going after a new account, which btw belongs to a competitor who wants to keep it. Now think further that you the owner or the account and 2 other competitors also want THAT account. Yet you would really like to have that account as a customer. Use the rule of #2, which is be the number 2 supplier (even if that does not get you any sales) so when #1 messes up (and we all mess up at one time or another) the account already knows you and your capabilities so you can take it over. 2) The Little Things: There is no magic formula in getting new accounts, no magic pill or secret potion or wand waving (sorry Harry Potter but there is no such thing as magic). It’s just doing a lot of little things right for a long long time. Then once you get a lead nurturing it till it grows up to be a real customer. 3) Don’t get tired of your message. As you’re out there in the land of self promotion you are going to get tired of saying the same thing over and over again and again. You might but guess what your prospect wont. To them, it is new and or you are being consistent which to me means you are a candidate for a reliable supplier. Just don’t lose faith in your message. You don’t change horses midstream. 4) They need to know you to buy from you.  You can’t play turtle, hiding in your shell and expect people to find you to buy from you. Fact is, if you’re not out there promoting yourself, people will not buy from you. Period, end of story! 5) Look for yourself. Are you a needle in the haystack? When was the last time, or first for that matter, that you did an online search for yourself, of for that matter did a keyword search for yourself? Well get cracking, if you can’t be found they can’t buy. And oh yes, don’t forget the power of the landing page. 6) Engage yourself in Social. This for the average to above average sales or marketer is no longer an option. The creation of a powerful Social presence centered around your marketing strategy will come back to pay major dividends. Work it right you make friends and money at the same time. 7) KISS. Yes, Keep It Simple Stupid. We all or so it seems, seem to go into the world of complex or industry jargon at times. Know your place. You need to be able to talk the talk yet at the same time, make it so everyone, even my 86 year old mother can understand. Larson Notes & Satire:  Two interesting things happened yesterday. First we got 2 new accounts, always exciting. One was thought Online and Social Media marketing the second from just sort of hanging around till the project dropped, which took 9 months.  Go figure. But what we do and say does work; you just need to have the consistent staying power. We are now getting 4 to 5 new prospects just from our online social marketing a week. At the same time we still use the “old way” to go out and find customers. Second is I got a cold call from a company who had down a “inspection” of my web site and were telling me how they could fix my errors and get me listed first on Google. After I got the guy to SHUT UP, I said yes my site age makeup errors but did he do a key word search because if he had done a keyword search he would have found out that I am listed 1st page on Google, Yahoo and Bing for my key word strings and if he could get me higher than 1st page we could talk wherein he went back into his canned speech on how our page had all kinds of errors and on and on and on. He did not listen nor did he care what I said or even wanted to pretend to listen. Now while I might care that my website has errors, fact is, it is coming up on page 1. Then 1 minute later a young lady, from the same company called saying the same thing. Told her I just talked to someone form their company, I am number 1 and get me OFF their call list NOW! Dare I say it was an Indian Company using auto dialers? If that is what you want, they do work cheep. At Larson & Associates we don’t work that way. We listen and respond to what the customer or prospect says. What is important to them is what is important to us. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-10-20 07:50:30 Better Phone Results http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C00A1C10BFA3A8E040A8C0AC004DC4 Getting more hits or sales off a telemarketing campaign can be difficult and daunting to say the least. It is somewhat a science in setting up a good campaign and then it becomes an art form. An art form you ask? Oh yes, only 7 percent the communication process is based on what's said. 38 percent is based on style of speech and 55 percent on body language. Basically you have 2 different ways to get a better ROI. First is to decrease the cost per order (CPO) and the second is to increase the amount of product of service ordered. To decrease CPO you can either lower the cost per lead or increase the conversion rates. Both of which can happen through practice. Most phone leads come from off line sources. List managers, SIC numbers, direct mail all play a pivotal role in your leads list. You can slide into web, and social media to get a different kind of lead but it still comes down to picking up the phone and making the call. Then there is your call team. There are 3 basic kinds of phone agents. There are assassins who burn off all the leads off the list that they don’t get. The prospect then hangs up saying nasty things about you and your mother. Next there are the order takers. These people can be great if all your company needs to do is present an idea or product they can’t live without, also good for inbound telemarketing campaigns. And last there is the Sales based call agent who can take the time to ask questions and find out what their needs and trigger points are. Put this together with a good script and solid need based questions and you have a winner. If you are out to sell more by increasing your revenue per order, you need more of the Sales based agents who can ask hard (or good) questions to cross sell your company.  Or do you need to do a transfer program where the lead is passed off to a sales expert who can answer all the hard questions and leave the telemarketer as a lead in person who does not need to know EVERYTHING about you, your company and your product or service. If you’re selling technically orientated services or products you can use the transfer to have a telemarketing agent, who is not as trained to make the initial call and them pass off the call to the sales agent with their knowledge and experience. Then look passed the initial sale to the repeat sale. You want that customer to have a good feeling on what happened so that the keep coming back for more, and yes, more is good Larson Notes & Satire:  We thrive on the transfer method of telemarketing. If we know 30% to 50% about you, your company and your product or service we usually have enough information to set up a call back with a more knowledgeable person on your staff. This is one of the best ways I know of to get a faster higher ROI out of your experienced sales staff. Use them for the hard stuff and use us for the easy things like making cold calls, with no call reluctance. Maybe that is why we get our clients into companies like Disney, Microsoft. We don’t care. We just pick up the phone and make the call. Next! “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-10-19 08:19:34 The Daily Deal http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C0152F2D9DAE67E040A8C0AC004EAB Is it the right thing to do? Does it work? Do people or your kind of clients respond? The daily deal has become one of the hottest marketing trends going on in marketing today. Thank you web and social media marketing. Heck we at Larson & Associates are using it. Groupon, LivingSocial, Larson, are all hammering the Daily Deal idea. If done right it can be a good thing as 74% of those using daily deals do make a profit, but that does leave 26% losing money. If they are doing their deals via Groupon or Livingsocial there are commission costs deeper than just the cost of the enticement. You can try to do it alone, but the drawback is exposure. Yes, location, location, location! Or is it exposure, exposure, exposure! So what makes the daily deal so exciting is the impulsiveness of the buyer. There it is, buy it or lose it. Do it now! As I see it the only real long term reason to push into the daily deal is to drive brand recognition and customer loyalty. Sure if you need some quick cash it can help as well but don’t we all want long term growth? Larson Notes & Satire:  Do you want a spike in your sales. Try a daily deal to find out. For today Larson has 2 going: The winning state of the day is Montana. If you have a company in Montana and sign up for a telemarketing pilot program (3 weeks minimum) of at least 15 hours a week minimum by 4:30 central time today 10/18/11 there will be no set up fee for your program. http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans Today's "Build Illinois" county is White County. If you have a company in White County Illinois and sign up for a telemarketing pilot program (3 weeks minimum) of at least 15 hours a week minimum by 4:30 central time today 10/18/11 there will be no set up fee for your program. http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans Both have bought in new accounts that I think we probably would not have gotten.   “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-10-18 07:08:32 Power Drive Your Search http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB423BF8E6423AE040A8C0AC001F5C We all understand how powerful it is to own the top spots in a key work search. The higher up you are usually means you are going to get some good quality hits on your site. On the same line of thought, a keyword search is one of the few chances where you have someone just stopping by (your web site) and basically saying “This is what I am looking to buy.” So some of my more aggressive customers have come to old Uncle Howard and asked, “How can I get more without killing my budget?” And to solve this problem I put a plan that wedded Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Marketing a little differently. First I had a landing page created for the project, packed with all those juicy key words in content, Meta tag key works and title. Then launching that I constructed a Social Media attack around that message basically pushing it into and through their Social Media world so when we were done, they actually owned the first page of a keyword search. Now it you push it to its logical conclusion you will use those same keywords and content in email, mobile to direct mail to yes your telemarketing attack and hammer those words home. Now add a pay of click? Larson Notes & Satire:  Can it be done? It already has. I have always preached that you need to work within your budget and your means to hold and work your media at near 100% efficiency. Do that day in and day out and you will control your position and your destiny. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-10-05 06:30:50 17 Laws Of Teamwork http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB423AA176423AE040A8C0AC001F5C 1) Law of significance – One is too small a number to achieve greatness 2) Law of the big picture – The goal is more important that the roll 3) Law of the niche – All players have a place where they add the most value 4) Law of Mount Everest – As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates 5) Law of the chain – The strength of the team is impacted by its weakest link 6) Law of the catalyst – Winning teams have players who make things happen 7) Law of the compass – Vision gives team members direction and confidence 8) Law of the bad apple – Rotten attitudes ruin a team 9) Law of accountability – Teammates must be able to count on each other when it counts 10) Law of the price tag – The team fails to reach its potential when it fails to pay the price 11) Law of the scoreboard – The team can make adjustments when it knows where it stands 12) Law of the bench – Great teams have depth 13) Law of identity – Shared values define the team 14) Law of communication – Interaction fuels action 15) Law of the edge – The difference between two equally talented teams is leadership 16) Law of high morale – When you’re winning nothing hurts 17) Law of dividends – Investing the tem compounds over time Larson Notes & Satire:  The buck might stop here but I want my team to stand at my side. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-10-04 08:44:40 Starting Anew: Social Media Ma http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C0150985C6AE67E040A8C0AC004EAB It seems to me that most would be marketers using Social Media; yes even the big dogs have a major challenge in getting it right. Now right can be a very ambiguous term in talking about Social Media Marketing because what is right for you is not right for me or anyone else. Then you throw in the big dogs into the mix. They clog up the screen with banner ads, sponsored ads, pay for clicks etc.  What the big dogs have that you might not have is money, time and people power to throw at it. But money and the amount of it you can throw at Social Media is not what it is about nor is it going to take you where you want to be. It’s not about the money but about the conversations and influence. You need to get yourself in front of the right people looking for that edge in branching out to the channels where these people are. When I start out a new plan for a customer I have them wipe the slate as clean as possible, most people have a Social Media presence of some kind so it is hard to start from scratch. I mean you don’t want to go losing all your current 4 F’s (family, friends, followers, fans) but what I do have is a 5 step plan. 1. As yourself why. Why do you want to do social media marketing? Why personally or as a company do you want to be suing this channel? What is your motivation for it? What do you expect to get? What are you willing to put into it, be it time or money? 2. Then ask who in your customer base is now out there using social media. A survey of engineers and industrial professionals showed that only 15% of those people had a twitter account and that those that didn’t, did not don’t plan on creating one. That being said, if your market is engineers, twitter is a useless tool for you as well might be any social media. So think, maybe this is not where you should be putting in your time and energy. 3. Next, open your ears and shut your mouth. At least for a little while. Then when you open your companies twitter account run some searches on key words and key terms. Start with your company’s name. Do a search on your name. Read blogs in your industry and your clients or prospects industry, and don’t forget to read the comments. 4. Now sit back and take it slow. Small steps are best. Comment on the blogs. Join an existing community group and offer some thoughts and advice if you can. Find and follow some key people on twitter and retweet their posts Post your own tweets with links to articles and information your clients will find useful. Start to become a trusted resource. 5. Once you have a good sense of what is out there in your area both your industry and your client’s and prospect’s industry (‘s) get more active. Launch a LinkedIn group (our LinkedIn group is "The Sales Lead Funnel”) or ning site of very your own. Create a Facebook fan page and a blog for your view points to be made and commented on. The more relevant you are to your target the more you and your company start to become the industry expert. Larson Notes & Satire:  I’ve been working Social Media as a lead souse for over 5 years now. That makes me an old timer. Am I an expert? Hardly. I don’t believe there are experts in this field. I feel there are only people that are working it better, are a little more advanced in using the technology, and pushing harder, that is until something changes. Now you ask, am I getting sales leads off of Social media? Yes, about 1 a day. Am I making sales off of those leads? You better believe it. If I wasn’t I would stop doing what I am doing. Now good is it for me? Let’s just say my currently my largest customer came off of Social Media Marketing. Could I put a program or run a Social Media Marketing program for you? Probably. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Want to be a Blogger but can’t write? Try our ghost blog writing service! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-10-03 08:13:35 Ladybug Keyword Search http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB422CAD1D423AE040A8C0AC001F5C Sesame Street: Ladybugs' Picnic Lyrics One two three Four five six Seven eight nine Ten eleven twelve Ladybugs Came to the ladybugs' picnic One two three Four five six Seven eight nine Ten eleven twelve And they all played games At the ladybugs' picnic They had twelve sacks so they ran sack races They fell on their backs and they fell on their faces The ladybugs 12 At the ladybugs' picnic They played jump rope but the rope it broke So they just sat around telling knock-knock jokes The ladybugs 12 At the ladybugs' picnic One two three Four five six Seven eight nine Ten eleven twelve And they chatted away At the ladybugs' picnic They talked about the high price of furniture and rugs And fire insurance for ladybugs The ladybugs 12 At the ladybugs' picnic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr8vUTm64h0 How many words does it take to get you to the top of a keyword search? The Ladybug keyword search picnic knew. What keywords does it take to get you where you want to be? How many ladybugs came to the picnic? Are you inviting people (though keyword strings) to your ladybug picnic? One, two, three, four five six? When people are doing an organic search for something the number of keywords they use is 23% - 1 word 24% - 2 words 20% - 3 words 14% - 4 words   8% - 5 words   5% - 6 words   2% - 7 words   4% - 8 words * Experian Hitwize January 2011 from a sample of 10 million US internet users. I can push myself up to the #1 spot in my target areas of the marketing with word strings; I now have it down to 3 words in a keyword search to get the #1 on Google, Yahoo and Bing. With met tag works, landing pages and the like, I can make magic happen on the web. Just because all the focus these days is on Social Media Marketing these days does not mean you can sit back and not pay any attention to Search Engine Optimization) (SEO). If you’re like me, and I’ll bet you are, the hardest thing you face in your business is differentiating yourself from the competition. It is hard to say the least, to stand out from the crowd. You can adjust your blog posts, develop web landing pages to go after specific markets, create your set of keywords, do a search engine submission, etc, etc, etc. If you want to get anywhere in organic natural search (still the best kind of online marketing in my mind), it takes time. Don’t expect any miracles in the first month. After posting your first set of keywords, playing with content and links, the doing an optimization you need to wait, sometimes as much as 30 days. In talking to Google (ok here it is tech time) they say they are using more that 200 signals with up to 50 variations to determine a websites ranking and that this algorithm is updated weekly! The good folks at Bing say that its algorithm looks at more than 1,000 signals and the emphasis is on newer signals such as social (see previous blog on Bing and Facebook working together). Of course Google is working with twitter to spider out those postings so what do we have? Looking at this from a Search Engine Marketers perspective with the introduction of social media content into the search engine rankings sort of steals the marketer’s ability to control their specific message and the companies or clients brand message. Or does it? Still you can’t cheat your way to the top. Sorry Social Media Friends, Followers and Fans it just doesn’t and isn’t happening (yet). You still have to go through the natural selection process to get ranked high. Keywords and solid content still rules. It might really pay to hire a writer well versed in web site content writing to help you. This is a specialty field of which the payback is usually more than worth the price, provided you have the funds to wait for a ROI of a few months. Now let’s get things even more confusing. To put in another clog in the system, there is Mobil Search. Another high interest area of the “new media” people. Don’t get me wrong, this is an important marketing tool and with more and more smartphones coming online this becomes a more important area. Google reported recently that there was a 400% increase in their “Click to call” feature and 1 out of 5 of those were Local Related clicks. How important is this? Just follow the money, Walgreens increased their mobile search budget by 300%. So where are we? Things are ever changing and there is and always will be new online marketing tools to use and play with but for now one thing remains the same, to come to the Ladybug picnic of Keyword search it takes 1, 2, 3 – 4, 5, 6 – 7, 8, 9 – 10, 11, 12 words at the ladybug search picnic. Larson Notes & Satire:  I was halfway into writing this blog when I took a moment to stop, save and go to my web site and play with my keywords. Yes, they needed a major overhaul. Now I sit and wait for the little spiders to come through and take a peak. Will they like what I just did? I’ll find out in a week or 2. Until then I’ll keep working the social media side trying to passively find some new customers while working the telemarketing side to actively hunt down some new accounts. Like everything else you need to put a multichannel attack into place if you can. Time, energy and money all come into play and as I have said in the past, it is better to work in only 1, 2 or 3 channels that you can work completely and hard, than 6 that you only work half heartily or every once in a while. Does it work? That’s why we help to “Make good businesses great and great businesses even better.” Want your very own blog but can’t or don’t have time to write it? Larson & Associates has the people who can write specifically for your business, call today! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-09-26 06:12:09 Facebook dominates SM http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4082B66DED91E040A8C0AC001F60 To show how thoroughly Facebook dominates the social networking landscape, comScore passed along this chart of time spent on various social networks. 90% of all time on social networks is spent on Facebook, with other social networks comprised of Myspace, Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, according to comScore. Larson Notes & Satire:  So where are you focused on when developing your Social Media marketing plan. If it does not include Facebook go rethink your plan. 90% is a lot of people. Now you may tell me that I don’t sell to consumers I sell to the B2B marketing place only. Guess what? So do I. And Guess what? The owners and executives and workers in those companies that you sell to are, unless I have going totally off the deep end, are people Does it work? Try it; you’ll (probably) like it. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2011-09-23 07:48:34 Telemarketing / Social Media M http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41FF3A0C423AE040A8C0AC001F5C Moving on to using telemarketing in combination with Social Media can be very powerful. Telemarketing is an old school marketing tactic.  Social Telemarketing is new, very new approach. When used together and done right it can combine the power of telemarketing for lead generation with information taken from your 3F connections on your social media sites. If you have ever picked up the phone and called a connection from Facebook, LinkedIn MerchantCircle or a Ning site or even just responded to a tweet you might be already starting or have an understanding of how powerful this marketing activity is or could be. Social & Telemarketing puts a structure around that concept, combines with professional telemarketing skills and practices, and broadens the range to monitor pretty much most conversations online! When telemarketing is done correctly it delivers results with a very superior return on investment (ROI). This will of course vary by industry, product or service, timing, and target audience but it is one of the best “attack” modes in marketing while most others are asking for the prospect to pick up the phone on their own volition.  The trick is to figure out where telemarketing will deliver the biggest bang for your buck.  The same is true for the combination of Social Media Marketing and Telemarketing. Keep in mind, a straight Telemarketing program goes out where you have a prospect data list of companies in a certain area, or industry matching a list in the best way possible.   Social Media Marketing and Telemarketing combines the power of telemarketing for lead generation with information and connections on your social media platforms. If you already pick up the phone to call a connection on LinkedIn or respond to a tweet you will already understand the powerful this activity can be. Social Media Marketing and Telemarketing puts the structure you need in a telemarketing program, and believe me you need to work in an orderly fashion to be any good at telemarketing into the free flowing concept of Social and the off-the-wall prospect controlled climate it sends you into. It combines telemarketing skills and practices, and takes them to a broader level to work and monitor conversations online! When you think about it, it’s no wonder that businesses are accepting the concept of Social Media Marketing and Telemarketing or at least are thinking that way on an individual level. The point is, it’s a winning combination you can afford not to engage in. It is more of a question of who, when and how someone is going to be doing this for your business and how you are going to integrate into your sales and marketing structure. The most typical challenges with Social Media Marketing and Telemarketing tend to be: •It’s not very practical to sit in front of a computer all day to monitor conversations. •Subscribing to social media monitoring tools is still a pricey for an individual license or for small volume of conversations. •Working through search results gotten without the use of social media monitoring takes up a lot of time that maybe should be spent in other places. •Even if there was an ideal alert for a telemarketing call, who wants to be the one to actually make the cold call! •Going though and actually calling the prospects on your 3F list checks still need to be done and they are still cold calls. Larson Notes & Satire:  Using Larson’s as your Telemarketing / Social Media Marketing provides you with a cost effective way of becoming a major player: • We are effective in social media monitoring • We can give you a lower cost than if done in house •We just happen to love cold calling! •We are professionals use to calling C-Suite executives in a professional way with an awareness of social media and high profile calling. • We can offer you support to let you integrate this information into sales and marketing processes and a CRM system •We can work with you to internal social media activities that are not suitable for calling. The benefits to you in using a Telemarketing / Social Media Marketing attack are: • You have access to immediate leads from highly targeted cold calling turning them into more qualified prospects •You can get a higher ROI (probably better than most other sales and marketing activities) • You can provide a quicker more timely response to prospects • You give out an increased brand awareness • You build upon the impression you have already made as one of their 3F’s. • You are working in a world of an ongoing sales pipeline of high quality leads The benefits of using the Telemarketing / Social Media Marketing combo over straight Telemarketing. •There are fewer barriers to getting through to the actual decision maker •You should get a more immediate rapport with better knowledge of their needs. • Your name is a known entity before the call is made. • You have fewer wrong numbers, out of date info, and less unqualified prospects. • The people are usually more receptive, friendly and positive! Seems that most Social Media Marketing encourages engagement, connections, relevant conversations, compelling offers, and there is an emphasis is on pulling people to you. In using the Telemarketing - Social Media Marketing combo you actually pick up the phone and talk to them!  It’s about going out in a positive way using a professional and appropriate medium to get to know them better. It’s also about being organized so you can take and integrate your Social information into a CRM system and start the real sales and marketing processes. Telemarketing Social Media Marketing is not about: • Using low skilled telemarketers who annoy people • Becoming a replacement for engaging people online • Becoming a quick win so you that you don’t have anything else with social media. Does it work? Plan your work and work your plan. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-09-06 07:27:58 Telemarketing / Direct Mail http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FD180EA0A44E040A8C0AC001F66 I view these two as the big 1-2 punch in a direct marketing campaign You might view Telemarketing as a separate method of getting sales leads, something that alone should solve the problem of prospecting, and many of my customers use it this way, some with good results and others not so good. Still for the best results telemarketing when combined with direct mailing is so hard hitting if you have the chance go for it. Each channel offers the prospect a different form of sensation, direct mailing appealing visually and telemarketing audibly. The combination of this strategy is a kind of delayed action audiovisual experience for the prospect and if used correctly, more powerful than an earthquake. As stated above many of the companies we at Larson work with rely only on the single form of telemarketing or some other channel in their marketing and/or advertising in acquiring prospective clients and sales leads, I think I can say that most B2B companies who use a mix of marketing channels for creating interest for their services and products, as our top 2 ROI accounts show blend different Telemarketing/Direct Mail strategies. When Direct mailing and Telemarketing are put together with one supporting the other we have worked past one of the main problems in a telemarketing only program, that being a problem in the lack of TRUST. It's not easy to get trust in someone who you've just got on phone for the first time. Regardless of the skill of the telemarketer in putting people at ease, first time calls on the phone have major limitations. You can't see the other guy and you might not have ever heard of his company. So trust goes way down and why, because people receive more than half of their information VISUALLY. On the phone while receiving a telemarketing call, they have the problem of not seeing the telemarketer, so we can't see if he looks honest and thus we can't truly trust this person. The main goal then of the telemarketer is to get the other person talking which will gradually build up trust in their mind toward the telemarketer themselves and the company doing the telemarketing. So creating trust with telemarketing with a direct mailing piece can have a greater effect. Then there is the use of telemarketing as an ongoing marketing attack channel which should not be a one-time event. If you want leads you need to be consistent in your attack. If your telemarketing campaign is done correctly, telemarketing has a repetitive effect creating interest and trust. Pushed out further this gradually increased attack can be cemented by working prospects between direct mailing and telemarketing, weaving the two channels together into a multi stream of contact. If done right the mailer should give the prospect one positive thought with a visual element and if the telemarketer works it right they should have a good solid connection. They should know you, and understand what you can do to help their company! You are no longer a stranger on the other end of the phone line no matter if is your 1st call or your 4th. The prospect has heard of your company, he has already formed a positive opinion about your company. You are proven to be real, the direct mailing is tangible evidence and things will start off at higher level of communication from the get go. And so your telemarketing direct mail attack progresses, month by month, in a planned out organized way. It might take a week, a month, or more... but who cares? If you plan your telemarketing & direct mailing attack right, it can only end one way, and with hundreds of ongoing communication cycles, it will soon start raining new clients! And that's the power when you combine direct mailing with telemarketing. There are a few ways to be doing this mix. Mail first, call second. Call first mail second and call mail call. They all have a way of hitting people at different levels. If you mail first it opens the way for your call. When the call comes in your can reference the letter or postcard giving your quick 20 second opening and . . . Send them out bulk rate. Zip coded for even less in postage but as stated a few blogs ago, your through rate is going to go down unless you have a very clean list, but unlike email if you have the wrong name odds are it will go to whoever too that persons place or job. If you call first and mail second, I use a paced out approach sending out mail as addresses are confirmed the mailing package is send. The mailing cost goes up but the through rate goes up as well so less in postage loss and direct mail content. If you go with the Wave mailing approach you send out 3 to 4 letters, then a call. The first letter is usually thrown in the bucket, but they at least will see your company name, the second they might think, I’ve heard of this place haven’t I? The third they might actually read it. Then the call. They know you, and they have heard good things about you. Why, because you told them ONLY good things. You can use a letter, a postcard the key is only that you mix them in a constant flow to pull them into you. Larson Notes & Satire:  Does this work? You bet ya it works. Of the companies that we do telemarketing work for, the 40% have a direct mail program. They get on the average a 66% better ROI that the straight telemarketing customers. Their numbers go from 4.54% up to 9.833%. Are those numbers you would want to see? “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-09-02 09:31:15 So Many Marketing Channels http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C009A0D8C2A3A8E040A8C0AC004DC4 It’s a mix and match world of Marketing with not only more and different choices than we had 10 years ago but new and different ways to use and mix them together. It is a mix and match world. So let me ask you, do you have a marketing attack plan, have you thought about what tools you want to be using and mixing and what their effect on each other is? http://www.larsonassociates.ws/marketing_tools For our part in this battle over the customer’s mind over the next few days I will be mixing and matching telemarketing, direct mail, social media marketing, e mail, TV, radio, blogs and a few others and try to find how they each can work with the other so we can all make better, more educated decisions on what to use. Your needs and choices are not going to be the same as the ones I need to make for my company and its growth. Direct marketing has always been tough and now more than ever everything is on the table, every dollar spent, every second used is questioned and is held accountable. We have the big 6 channels, telemarketing, direct mail, social media marketing, web marketing / SEM, TV and radio with a cast of smaller but possibly equally important channels for you to be incorporating and weaving in. You drive to work or home, do you have the radio on? You get home or to work, you check email, you listen to any voice messages the mail comes you scan though it to see what there is. The phone rings you pick it up. You sit back and turn on the news or a TV show. Banner ads come up on your browser as you do a web search. There are just so many ways to be touched with today’s marketing. And while we might not be able to pick the channels that are the cheapest or easiest for your customers, yours, not mine, you can determine how you want to blend them together to get the maximum ROI as you go along. Larson Notes & Satire:  I have said over and over my big 3 tools are telemarketing, direct mail and social media marketing. My social work might also include blogs if not add that. You need to figure it out for yourself of have someone like me do the figuring and implementation for you. But whatever you choose you need to pick your channels and use them to the utmost. I mean 95%-100% use. If not, back off that channel and use what you can use at a high level. Over the next few days and maybe weeks depending on the time I have Ill look at mixing and matching different channels and how they work or maybe don’t work together. I hope you enjoy it. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-09-01 06:19:57 Leads To Customers To Partners http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A251505F412031BEE040A8C0AC007FE1 If we go by the numbers; 39% of senior marketers use customer retention as a top area of business need 75% of senior marketers find lifecycle marketing programs better than traditional programs  6.7% expect to see growth in b2b marketing budgets 17% of b2b customers are satisfied with the online purchasing process 21.3% of a b2b’s budget is dedicated to product marketing Now let’s look on the other side of these numbers. To start 39% of marketers believe that customer retention is the top priority that they need to be dealing with. Behind that 64% of all people that responded in this Forrester Research study stated that the retention of customers and even targeting this group as probably the main way to really get the most impact and value out of any marketing they might do this year (2011). If in fact retention marketing is far and away on the minds of marketers why?  Could it be the economic recession? It is easier and less costly to keep a current customer than go out and find a new one. This is also as there has become a growing awareness that customers should be valued by their lifetime value to the company not as 1 or 2 sales and out. Fact is that once your company closes the sale, the work moves from client acquisition to client retention. Major difference in approach and you need real coordination between sales and marketing (if you’re that big [which many of my readers are not]). Content becomes critical with more newsletters, white papers, and other avenues of targeted content appeal. Larson Notes & Satire:  My company works on an “almost” no long term contract basis. I figure if you want to stop using us it’s for a good reason. The usual reason is that we have gotting you too many leads and you need to digest them for a while before you can start up again. But sometimes we are not doing a good job. Ya, it happens, and then you know it, I know it and we both really just want to end the relationship. Yet for those that have success with and using the Larson system of customer lead generation we want to help you grow from now until tomorrow. What is the lifetime of a Larson client, looking back if seems to be years, as they flow in and out of using our services. As for you, what could Larson’s be doing for you? Well to start with, how do you keep in contact with your past customers? Mail, phone, email, nothing. If you’re not there in front of their faces who will fill THAT void?  If you have customers in remote places we can keep you in touch with them. If you have a list of companies that you did business with a year or longer ago, we can make the call. These are companies that for the most part, know you and love you but for whatever reason you lost contact with. Reignite the flame. Bring them back into your list of happy currently happy customers. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-08-29 11:26:42 Need A Social Media Expert? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C009862301A3A8E040A8C0AC004DC4 After our blog of yesterday “Bing To Index Facebook” I have to ask the leading in question, Do you need a Social Media Expert on your staff or team? As Social Media grows as an accepted form or marketing, advertising and sales do you need a Social Media Expert? If you are a Social Media enthusiast you are probably jumping up and down saying Yes! Yes! Yes! If not, you’re sitting there thinking ya right. Social Media is a bunch of busy bodies sitting around with nothing else to do. I doubt if you even have to guess where I stand on this issue. Yes! No matter what side your on, pro or con I think that we can all agree that when a SM program fails it is because of 1 of 2 reasons, either the company went out and set up a Facebook pang with a twitter account in a loud voice declares “We are doing Social Media” and does not work to be established and noticed and makes no consorted effort to become a involved player or a company goes out and tries to buy their way to the top without any real strategy. Wrong platform, wrong content, and they push out there message thinking it works like traditional advertising does. Think again, Social Media heavy on the SOCIAL. I have found and seen that companies that are doing well in Social Media Marketing for the most part have a person or group of (excited) people who serve as the core to their program. This is a person or people who want to be using the social channels any way they can, tying to push the envelope to deliver the kind of INTERACTION MESSAGE that the F’s (friends, fans, followers) want to see, hear and interact with. Now the key question for me, Can this function or should this function be outsourced? IN some ways yes and others you better think about it. Using a company like mine can help you plan out your attack, organize it, putting together the strategy, policies and general education of your employees on what to do with this new tool. Some people say that what they, an outside source might not be able to do is actually speak for the company, but again I question that. In the Larson plan there is 1 person and1 person alone that works on any given account. They know you, love you, understand you. They can get so close that they are able to speak as “the company” would.  Then you need to trust them to do it. Can you? If you hold the leash too tight your Social Media will stagnate and stall. Larson Notes & Satire:  As a company I have for the last 13 years devoted myself to lead generation and the kind of advertising and marketing the gets customers to my clients FAST. Today, not tomorrow. They don’t have time to wait, and I don’t have the patience. So where does Social Media fit in? When we started at it was a little more each year, then the year became a little more each month and the month became a week and the week became a day. Will the day become an hour?  http://www.larsonassociates.ws/SocialMediaMarketing we are ready to serve you if you want us. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-08-25 07:15:26 Bing To Index Facebook http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FE3F1C8C550E040A8C0AC001F64 Bing has made an announcement that might prove to be a big hit, I mean a very big hit for those of us now are using Facebook as a Social Media Marketing tool and at the same time huge blow to Google’s dominance. Starting now, yes now, Bing is incorporating Facebook data into its search results. Been there and did some searches and yes it is up and running on the Bing search engine! So now if you search for something on Bing and you have activated Facebook results, you will see the pages, products and websites your friends (even their faces show up) like and recommend way up in results, no matter if that website normally ranks first second or heaven forbid, the last page on a search. Perhaps even more interesting is that these results will appear totally independent of any traditional and what we thought of as normal SEO practices. If your friends like it, it will appear on the first page. Magic? More than ever for companies engaged in Social Media Marketing “It's Not What you Know, but Who you Know”. Content is important but it is who you are rubbing elbows with that will be making a major difference. The more your business is visible on Facebook, the better chance of your website being Liked and your content, products and services  being pushed higher up on this new social search results. If your business has not been active in Social Media Marketing you better get it going. (A pause for a commercial message: At Larson’s we know what we are doing and we can get you going on a Social Media Marketing campaign, quickly, easily and completely) Yet, content is still King, long live the King. The only way a page will be Liked by the masses on Facebook is if it contains great content.  So don’t think you can park your content on the side and get all your friends to like you and you will be projected up onto the heaven of web search pages, the first page. It is still going to take work, lots of work. Varied content, blog posts, videos, images and audio, not to mention content that is optimized. And not to add more challenges but this does not kill off traditional SEO. Pages will still need to be "found" in order to be Liked from this new Bing button. Total strangers to your business can still influence search results, so SEO still matters. It's easy to see that Bing is relying, or are they hoping and praying on using Facebook for social search. You might think that, because it's focused only on Facebook, this news is not totally earth shaking, as Facebook goes past three-quarters of a billion users across the world, but, it is. At least to Bing. Consider now that Facebook users 750,000000,000 (looks more impressive when you type out all the zeros) of them now have a reason to use Bing rather than Google. Another interesting thought is that Facebook could technically block Google from indexing any or all of its content. This would and could kill Google’s need to heavy Facebook users. In the words of Bing: "At Bing, our mission is to help you make faster, more informed decisions. We designed a new way to experience search, focusing on great design, task completion, instant answers, and vertical categories like shopping and travel to help you make decisions faster. While we’ve made great strides in these areas, there is a huge opportunity for improvement. Today, search remains largely driven by facts and links – we think it’s time to change that. Research tells us that 90% of people seek advice from family and friends as part of the decision making process. This “Friend Effect” is apparent in most of our decisions and often outweighs other facts because people feel more confident, smarter and safer with the wisdom of their trusted circle. A movie critic may pan the latest summer block buster, but your friends say it’s the feel good movie of the year, so you ignore the critic and go (and wholeheartedly agree). Historically, search hasn’t incorporated this “Friend Effect” – and 80% of people will delay making a decision until they can get a friend’s stamp of approval. This decision delay, or period of time it takes to hunt down a friend for advice, can last anywhere from a few minutes to days, whether you’re waiting for a call back, text, email or tweet. Today, Bing is bringing the collective IQ of the Web together with the opinions of the people you trust most, to bring the “Friend Effect” to search. Starting today, you can receive personalized search results based on the opinions of your friends by simply signing into Facebook. New features make it easier to see what your Facebook friends “like” across the Web, incorporate the collective know-how of the Web into your search results, and begin adding a more conversational aspect to your searches. Decisions can now be made with more than facts, now the opinions of your trusted friends and the collective wisdom of the Web. You can quickly see what your friends like and are sharing. Find and connect with the right friends faster. Pick the brains of friends of who live where you’re traveling and share shopping lists with your own team of retail gurus. And, return the favor to your friends by liking more things on the Web. With one click you can let your network know that you like a brand, an article, a celebrity or even a place. Because we know the best decisions are not just fueled by facts, they require the opinions and recommendations of your friends." If you are a heavy social or local Social Networking person Google search results, while complete are now less relevant as my person search needs become more social and localized. How many online socialites are there?  Now you can start to understand why Google has been frantically trying to enter the social space with Google +1. Maybe, for once it's too little, too late for Google. Larson Notes & Satire:  Ill just let the above words set in and let you think on it for a while. If you are not hammering away at Social Media Marketing like we have (active since 2006) you better. I’ve been saying it over and over. Get involved in Social Media Marketing for your business, and then Google started doing “Real Time Search”. At that time the Larson web site http://www.larsonassociates.ws saw a 1000% weekly hit increase, yes you heard me 1000%. Now with this new Bing deal? http://www.larsonassociates.ws/SocialMediaMarketing we are ready to serve ourselves and you. Will we see another 1000% increase? That would be nice. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates     https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-08-24 09:58:24 Holiday Email Planning http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40460FA4ED91E040A8C0AC001F60 HO! HO! HO! Its’ that time of the year. Yes it’s time to start planning your holiday emailing. If you have been at this a while you already have a list of email addresses you can use. If not here are some holiday tips to get you in the right direction. Start with building your subscriber list with your Social Media F’s (you know, Friends, Fans, Followers) this might be your greatest resource in securing email address fast. IN addition it will cement your Social Media and your business marketing together giving you a maximum reach with your Social Media Marketing and (hopefully) fewer kick backs and spam digs on your account. If you are providing content that is worth their, your recipient’s interest with things such as educational tips, valuable coupons or time sensitive discounts you on the right track. At the same time, through Social Media alert your F’s that you have special offers heading their way and that they should be on the lookout for them. At the same time if you are hitting multiple Social Networks you should be tailoring your offer and content specifically for them. This is not print (like we talked about yesterday, and it is not as costly or difficult to change copy. Be flexible like the channel demands and always end with a call to action! Tell them what to do to BUY! At the same time you can be testing the format and different kinds of offers to see what entices your customers and prospects to take the action you want, do they want $10.00 a large purchase or does a 25% off grab their attention more? Give it a try. As for make-up and the visual aspects of your email, test where to put a call to action (buy) button, up, down, right, left? Color, red, green, blue, yellow, pink (?). Then clean up those navigation bars Make them visible and make sure they work!!! No I’m not kidding, check the links! Then as stated above, segment your target audience into categories, site you got them from, age, sex, geography. If you want to take this down deeper, take a look at the activity of your F’s on your list. At the active or inactive? Another step is to find out (dare I say ask) how often you’re F’s want you to contact them. Not that they can’t change their minds on how much email they want from you but at least you are engaging them and teaching them to talk to you. As with any marketing campaign the key word is always engagement. You want to have as many people as possible talking and interacting with you. Only in this way will your message, your brand, your offer(s), penetrate the marketing noise that bombards your customers and prospects. Larson Notes & Satire:  Start now friends. If holiday marketing is important to your business now is the time to get into gear. If it is Halloween your almost too late. Thanksgiving, run fast. Christmas, you have enough time if you start out as a good pace. It can get easier. If you started working on this a year ago, yes look back I did a blog like this about a year ago, you would already be working on what you need to be doing to have it all in place. Heck you might have made the Back to School blitzes that were going on in July and early August. Email does work. Its cheep so you’re ROI can be very good. But if done wrong, you will get a black eye to how not just your customers and prospects see you but how the search engines and internet providers see you has well. Do it wrong and you will end up with 2 black eyes. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-08-23 07:56:47 Profit Loss Of Direct Mail http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40421E47ED91E040A8C0AC001F60 Most of you know that direct mail is one of the 3 legs of a Larson Target Marketing Plan. If you have been following us for any length of time you know the 3 parts are Direct Mail, Social Media Marketing and Telemarketing. Most of my clients and maybe even you want to shy away from Direct Mail. I understand, there are (necessary) expenses involved. Yet it is or can be a crucial element to a complete program working on multi channels and levels. So let’s take a look at the P&L of a direct mail program. You need to start by measuring each individual marketing campaign as a unit not part of a monthly or quarterly figure. The application of overhead expenses depends on the nature of the marketing campaign and the elements you are using. You want to know is Response Rate %, Average Order Value, Sales Per Piece, Complete Costs, Cost of Order Fulfillment. It is in finding out or knowing these fugues that you can make educated choices on what is happening, what to do, what to change and how to get and make it better. By being able to analyze all the metrics you are able to implement the actions needed to either take corrective actions during the campaign or to take advantage of new markets that unfold as the campaign goes on. Average Unite Price and Average Order Value. The average unit price is calculated by dividing your gross sales by the number of orders. Response Rate and Service or Unites per order. This is a way for marketers to rapidly fix any P&L imbalances. You measure this by the total number of orders by the total number of mailed pieces.  If you add in current clients, they should be higher than if you only use new clients or prospects. Your Cost Of Goods or Services. As a main part of your success you need to be monitoring all the elements of your Cost of Goods and Services. These costs include things like, product/service costs, freight, shipping, mark downs, etc. Fulfillment Costs. These costs include everything that is involved with not just receiving a client’s orders and inquiries but shipping them out as well. Remember the costs of returns as well. Advertising / Production costs. In a direct mail or print campaign this can be the largest cost center. Creative costs, print costs, mailing costs. If you look at your response rate, as it goes up (or down) the % of the campaign as a % of sales goes up and down. This is the number that scares away most potential direct mailers from working on and with this channel. General Overhead. Can’t get away from running the company and the costs involved. Even if you did nothing these costs exist. Do you know what your break even is, if you do NOTHING? Rent, salaries, gas, water, electric, waist removal. Once you have identified all your costs you can start to go to work. As you do your first and them more campaigns you will start to have a personal company benchmark, until then you might be able to pull out competitors results or industry averages. With this benchmarking step you can evaluate your program and your current position. Larson Notes & Satire:  Start talking real numbers in sales. Don’t be using Monopoly money but real dollars that can make or (sorry to say) break your company. With knowledge comes power. If you’re going to jump into direct mail be smart about it. More and more the mail box is become empty. Why do you think the US Postal Service is losing money at such an alarming rate? No one is sending mail. This is why it has become, if for no other reason such a powerful channel you your overall marketing plan. If you do nothing else and have put a solid offer together you should expect 1.5% to 3% return. To me that is not good enough. All you need to do is put in a little telemarketing to call up each and every one of those mail recipients and your numbers should at the least double. You got to hammer down your attack and make it pay, else go and blow your money, your competition will be happy to see you waist your efforts. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-08-22 06:29:12 Are Likes A Positive ROI On Fa http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40C4078E52BCE040A8C0AC001F5E While ROI can be hard to calculate on and in Social Media, one of the top ways people and companies are doing it is by the 3 Fs, friends, fans and followers.  With over 500 million people going in and out of Facebook alone it is a sizable place where you need to be in your Social Media Marketing attack, no matter if your B2B or B2C. You are betting that your biggest fans are going to become your biggest marketer proponents in social media. That being said the more “LIKES” you get the more your sphere of influence becomes. In addition “Likes” are valuable because they help you get to know who your best customers are as well as who your best influencers are and (here is the biggie) what they want to see out of your postings for your company. The more they “like” the more you and your company get sent out into the Wild World of the Social Media world. If you start to offer specialty coupons or discounts you can see how your promotions work out in real time. You can figure out transactional data like order history, time of day, kinds or promotions that work in Social Media. The possibilities are endless. If you keep up the attack posting information, promotions, special “fan” deals you should not only see monetary increases to your bottom line but see a better longer ROI in a shorter amount of time. Larson Notes & Satire:  Ok so it might not be all rosy in the land of Social Media Marketing, at least as much as you want it to be. Sad truth is that 3% to 10% of your fan base is going to opt out and or make your posts “hidden” at a minimum. So make sure you are relevant and inspiring each and every day! Real ROI is about sales. It is about your Friends, Fans and Followers taking action of some kind on your behalf. You don’t want to be spinning your wheels; you need to dig in and cash in. you need action, you NEED sales! In and of themselves Fans and their Likes do not make for a strong ROI, but it is a start. Without them you have already lost the battle. The more of the 3F’s the merrier. If you haven’t started call us, and we can make it happen for you. If you have already dipped your toe into the Social Media Marketing world, and need a push, again call us and we can help take you to the next level. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-08-17 07:32:54 Social Media ROI http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C0172F94AEB760E040A8C0AC004EE3 I have been spending way too much time pondering and thinking, reading and studying about Social Media and ROI. But then I am spending time, more time than it is worth (maybe) on this marketing channel. So where is the pay back? Where is MY ROI? Is it the 3 F’s (fans, friends, followers)?  Is it the number of calls or emails of interesting in your product of service? Is it the number of actual sales? In all my studying and real time experience, it is or has become all of the above.  Yes the more exposure the more hits the more hits the more prospect inquiries the more inquiries the more sales. Makes sense doesn’t it? To my simple mind it does. Now it seems that most marketers want to put a hard number on what this site is doing this for me or how that site gave me this hit, and while that is important and should be kept track of I tend to look at it as how many hits am I getting in my overall Social Media Marketing efforts. I am in over or on 100 sites some I work some I do nothing with unless I get an inquiry. I try to set them up on automatic postings and getting an email saying I got a reply as much as possible. Is it working? Sometimes. That being said a report I read somewhere said that over 70% of respondents expect that they will be able to tie in Social Media Marketing into some form of ROI. To date another report said that as of now only 40% of respondents can put a ROI number on their efforts now. For me I still say the best strategy is to put your ROI in terms of what it is doing to your sales funnel. Yes I still believe in the sales funnel. Silly me huh? Last May Facebook introduced their version of an ads dashboard which shows not just the number of people who clicked on a “sponsored” ad but how it compares with its potential reach. Pretty neat. It also lets marketers look at the clicks as compared with the number of connections or those actually taking action on the click. So maybe there is progress being made. Or not. Larson Notes & Satire:  Yes friends throw that Social Media Mud! The more mud you throw the more is going to find a wall to stick on! As I said above I am on some 100 or more sites and growing (found a new one yesterday) and with each new week I am getting more inquiries about my serves directly from my Social Media Marketing efforts. Not as many as I should get or deserve to get but it has seen a marked improvement. That does not mean I am abandoning telemarketing and direct mail. No not at all, I am ADDING to my already well oiled machine of multichannel marketing attack methods. If you can handle it the more channels the merrier. Just remember if you’re going to add do it well or don’t do it. If you can’t do it with at least a 90% proficiency level drop it our outsource it to someone like me. If not you are only wasting your time! “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-08-16 08:09:42 Reach Out And Call http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41A4CB48423AE040A8C0AC001F5C We have more marketing choices than ever before. Yes, there is mail, there is email, there is SEO, there is Social Media, but don’t underestimate the phone. You can twit all you want, you can blast away you can fill a mail box but until you talk to the prospect and sell something nothing is going to happen. It can be their dime or yours but some way shape of form someone has to reach out and make the connection. Those businesses and marketers who put all their eggs in one basket, who fail to put together a well balanced multi-channel attack will miss out on connecting with some their prospects. Systems that want prospects to opt in to receive content can help a marketing harvest names and numbers, if they opt in. Systems that ask and ask and ask, but give back almost nothing. Social media might be a wonderful thing (jury is still out) but until you pick up the phone and actually speak to the prospect you will never know. In one survey put together by Rasorfish an interactive agency, people are STILL more inclined at a when they want something to go to a company’s actual web site or make a connection over the phone and talk to a rep. Larson Notes & Satire:  Telemarketing, telesales call it what you want, that is the main focus of how we help companies attract new clients. Sure we do mail, we do social media marketing, we can email blast, we get involved in SEO but in telemarketing we can go out and get the prospect rather than sitting back and waiting, hoping that they will call us. Now between you and me, I’d rather be more proactive in my sales rather than reactive. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-08-15 06:47:26 The Cost Of Bad Leads http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A25150446C0931BEE040A8C0AC007FE1 Leads, can’t live without them and for some companies can’t live with them. What you ask. Can’t live with leads? Oh yes my friend that is if the leads come with a high cost. If you are a company looking to expand you might be looking at buying leads. If you go this route you need to keep in mind several things. If you go to the US Census you will find that every year there are about 600,000 new businesses created and there are about 600,000 businesses that fail. In addition there has been a 33% turnover rate in jobs and employment of the more than 40 million jobs listed and that (are you sitting down) 6,000 people change jobs every hour! Put that in the same area as the study done by “The Sales & Marketing Institute” it was bout that 70.8% of collected businesses cards had 1 or more changes within 12 months. If you just go and buy a list, even a good list, you can almost figure that 10% of the information is incorrect. If you were doing a straight direct mail piece at a cost of $0.75 to $1.50 of say 1000 pieces you are going to lose between at a minimum $75.00 to $150.00 of your costs up front. So think about your looses before you start and you won’t be surprised. But then think, that is why there are companies that can keep you out of trouble in this area. You might pay the same price but you will get more and better results. Larson Notes & Satire:  Normally we don’t do a flat out direct mail program. At Larson’s we have a program that we normally put our clients though. Telemarketing-Direct Mail-Social Media Marketing. We get not only good results but results that are higher than normal. Call or email us to find out more. “We don’t sell lists, we find customers.” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-07-28 08:37:13 Is It Worth You Doing It? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C013E33811AE67E040A8C0AC004EAB Average ratio is 60 to 1 / calls to sales 1 of 10 cold calls leads to prospect appointment 1 of 6 appointments leads to sale Most experts agree that it takes at least 5 ‘touches’ to finalize 80% of  sales.  The general statistics go something like this: - 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact (touch).  These are usually people who have already done their research and know exactly what they want; - 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact; - 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact; - 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact; - 80% of sales are made on the 5th contact. The above are industry standards. So how can you get the odds more in your favor? First off you need to be aggressive. That does not mean the traditional agressivenss associated with a telemarketer that brow beats you into submission or the classic “Used Car Salesman” idea. If you go in with a multiple touch, multichannel approach you will not cork someone off. How you construct your program will make all the difference on how fast your lead generation program will start producing. Now while I use telemarketing as the main core of my programs. We also put in place SEO . direct mail, email blasts, social media marketing strategies, blogs, to name a few.  In this way we can lower the odds of engagement. And getting a lead from ground zero to happy customer in the shortest amount of time possible, based on your sales cycle, of course. Larson Notes & Satire:  We need sales, we need them now! How many salespeople have hear that cry out of the mouth of their sales manager? What do you do? It’s like a street drag race. Your stopped at a stop sign. Engines poised and ready, the light turns green, you pop the clutch and go……….  It can be done but like the drag race it takes a lot of energy to go from ZERO to 60 in 5 seconds. So ask yourself should you be outsourcing this service? Think about it. “HeyLittle Cobra” by the Rip Cords: Hey, Little Cobra, don't you know you're gonna to shut 'em down I took my Cobra down to the track, hitched to the back of my Cadillac, Everyone was there just a waiting for me There were plenty of Stingrays and XKEs, Spring little Cobra getting ready to strike Spring Little Cobra with all your might Spring little Cobra getting ready to strike Spring Little Cobra with all your might Hey, Little Cobra, don't you know you are going to shut them down When the flag went down, you could hear rubber burn, The Stingray pulled me going into the turn I hung a big shift, and I got into high, When I when I flew by the Stingray, I waved bye bye. Spring little Cobra getting ready to strike Spring Little Cobra with all your might Spring little Cobra getting ready to strike Spring Little Cobra with all your might Hey, Little Cobra, Don't you know you are going to shut 'em down Around the turn into the straight away I was blowing off everything that got in my way, Stingrays and Jags were so far behind I took my Cobra out of gear and let it coast to the line. Spring little Cobra getting ready to strike Spring Little Cobra with all your might Spring little Cobra getting ready to strike Spring Little Cobra with all your might Hey, Little Cobra, Don't you know you are going to shut 'em down Shut'em down, shut'em down, shut'em down... Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-06-29 09:00:07 Itâs Really In The Outbound http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C01691126DB760E040A8C0AC004EE3 How many emails, how many sales calls do I get by online web guys, SEO experts, get 2000 leads on line in a day people? Every week they hit me with their offers of more and more leads. It is wonderful to be loved. Now I admit my web site is nothing to write home about but it is getting the job done, people are finding it, reading it and some are reacting and even becoming clients. And as much as these wonderful people want to help they don’t seem to understand that in some categories with the help of landing pages I come up #1. Include that with my #1 status in a local search and well . . . But hold on a second, let’s look at this a moment. Seems these we will make you #1 on Google guys are doing, can it be, OUTBOUND MARKETING. Oh MY Gosh, say it ain’t so! They are selling me “inbound marketing”, using “outbound marketing” techniques. Don’t get me wrong here; I don’t want to be misunderstood. Having a marketing strategy of being found is good and being 1st on a Google search is a beautiful thing but it just does not create enough volume. We, you and I, need a certain number of leads which can then be converted into a certain number of sales to stay in business. Inbound leads only make up a small percentage of those needed prospects. To get it done you need to implement two key elements, predictive prospecting and an outbound marketing plan. When you need to find who would buy from you. You can find names but who out of the 1000’s of names you can collect are real prospects? Here is my way of finding top prospects, the same way I do it for my clients. I ask them to tell me 2 different things. 1st who are their top 10 customers. 2nd what kind of work is most profitable for them to do. If you can tell me that I can compile a list of the best possible prospects that will fit your business.  Once you have this list of golden leads you are already down the path of easier closes because you know this kind of prospect and you already know you can help them with what you are now doing. Be lazy my friend. The 2nd part is you need to go out and get proactive about prospecting, which is why many companies call us. It can be telemarketing, cold calling, direct mail, email blasts, but it is about pushing, yes pushing yourself in front to the prospect to talk to them, let them know you exist to help them in your specialty. Do it right you will find this the fastest way to find selling opportunities. Unless you are lucky most people do things and buy from the same companies they have worked with before. As Muhammad Ali once said, “You Got To Beat The Champ”. To beat him you have to go after him, not just trade online punches. A special mention here of Social Media needs to be made. Singularly it is an important channel for you to be working. If you are paying attention to your 3 F’s (friends, followers, fans) you can send out targeted messages and get instant feedback which you respond to. Remember Social Media Marketing is about being social and that means you need to be there to socialize and become a known factor in your area of expertise, the expert in your field. It your listening your 3F’s will tell you everything you need to know to sell them.   Larson Notes & Satire:  Be lazy my friends. Outbound Marketing is becoming a lost art. Sales people and even marketing professionals want to take the easy road to lead gen and prospecting, but the easy road is not the lazy way to do it. I strongly urge you to be proactive with both your inbound and your outbound marketing / sales work. Get 1st page in Google, twitter your way to the top, find your Facebook fan feeding frenzy that is all fine and wonderful but take a hint if you want to be “found” you need to be seen and the best way that I know of is in outbound sales and marketing. Don’t wait from them. Even if your 1st page Google, if they don’t search they won’t find you. Create a balanced sustainable attack for long term success. Together inbound/outbound marketing can deliver you the best and most leads possible. Be lazy, stay lazy my friends. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-06-28 07:02:57 Steps To Better Leads http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4014A5FF72DDE040A8C0AC001F6C I don’t know too many companies that went out for business because they did not have enough sales.  And in those sales there are 3 kinds all important but all different. 1) The One Time Sale. 2) The Repeat Customer 3) The New Customer For today I will focus on finding the New Customer. In the process you will find The one time sale but isn’t what we want the new customer that becomes a repeat customer? Those are the bread and butter of a company. The ones you can “go to the bank” with. It is an unfortunate fact that sales people now are under “quota” at an alarming rate. From what I’m hearing almost 50% of all sales people will be below expectations. In my humble opinion, as if anyone cares, this is due to first off the economy and second, fewer leads to sell to. So what are the some solid steps you can be taking to rectify this problem? 1st Define your market. Sit down and identify your 5 most profitable accounts. Figure out what kind of companies they are. Find the largest grouping of those industries and picking the largest industry first, create your basic lead list. 2nd Decide in your own company what is the definition of a lead. Don’t get trapped into your definition being ONLY those with budget, authority, need, and a time frame, broaden your scope. As important as these are as a whole there are glaring areas where need (or any of these singularly) might trump the buying process. 3rd Agree on expectations. Sales and marketing need to agree on what is a qualified lead or not. Your salespeople should know the kind of lead they can work with and convert and then marketing needs to be able to get them that targeted prospect. Measuring results should help you to pin point what you need to be even more successful. 4th Reports and how often. What do you measure? Cost per lead, cost per opportunity, cost per sale? Having good controls is important but don’t make it stifling to the overall process. 5th Fewer but better = better. Time is money so when looking at your lead gen program providing your sales staff with fewer but a more qualified leads list is more cost effective for them and they should love you for it. If you only look at and demand numbers that is what you will get. 6th Long term leads. I don’t care what you sell; some companies that DO buy what you sell are not ready to buy for their reasons. Don’t ignore these people. If you have a list of 2500 prospects and out of those 50 become “quick” sales there might be another 50 long term sales. In working these people you can in essence double your sales 6 months to a year down the road. 7th Hit them with a multi channel attack. This one is my personal favorite. You got to hit them in all kinds of different ways at all kinds of different times because different people respond to different channels of communication. The so called trick is to know what media to use, when to use it and how often.  As John Wannamaker once said "I know that half my advertising budget is working, I just don't know which half." You need to be where they are, not where you want to be. I suggest you use a series of multichannel touches over a period of time to educate, stimulate and give the buyer name recognition of your company. 8th Create offers based off of what you already know on needs and benefits. Remember people but for their reasons not yours. Go back and look over your offers. You needs might want to include the fear or pain of not buying or using your service. 9th Set up a realistic action plan with deadlines. Make people accountable for actions and when those actions need to be completed. If there is no end date there is no compelling reason to do the action by the time it needs to be done except for a person’s own reasons. If everyone on the team know where they fit in and how they will be held accountable you start to from a cohesive unit and plan of attract   Larson Notes & Satire: So you take a company like mine. This is what we do for companies. Some like to dump the whole thing in our laps, most like to do some and have us to a piece, either way to do it right we need to be a key player on their team. The more we are integrated into their action plan the more impute we can give them. As most of you know our main focus is on the telemarketing aspects with some entries into social media marketing and direct mail. We don’t have it all down right and after 36 years of sales, marketing and advertising we still don’t have it perfected but if there is any one key to the door of perpetual prospects and customer sales or all kinds it is found in one work, persistence. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2011-06-27 07:52:31 Getting More Out Of Your Leads http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C0166AED6DB760E040A8C0AC004EE3 If you want to get more value in the leads you collect, you need to be consistent. Day in and day out you need to keep in close effective content. You need to speak to the ones you need to talk to when and how they want to be talked at. Be relative, action oriented to get to where you and your potential customer need to be. If you have their best interests at heart you are doing them a service. You become a trusted advisor. Earn and keep that trust. Larson Notes & Satire: Now I have my way of working, and it works pretty darn good for me. After all I have been in business for over 36 years, so I must be doing something right. For me the key is pack in the leads and find people I want to work with. Now I think I am a pretty likable guy and I want to work with (almost) everyone. The other key is consistency. Do what you say and say what you do. I get my leads just like I get leads for my customers, so I figure if I can find and sell them, well I should be able to find and sell for them. Does that make any sense? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-06-17 08:15:27 ROI in Social? Just Show Me Th http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=A4C013B4E2EEAE67E040A8C0AC004EAB They pour in, more and more each day. Marketers that want to or are using Social Media Marketing. They hear about it. They think that this is the ticket to help their sluggish sales. (The Larson Lead Generation Team could set them straight on getting more sales but they aren’t asking good old Uncle Howie) So guess again. A large percentage of professional marketers, 58% find that not being able to get a handle on the metrics of Social Media as a major problem. Is it? Most (75%) don’t even try. And if they can’t measure it they seem to not be able to understand it. For those few that do, the key metrics was listing to the Social buzz (61%), Branding (61%) Customer feedback (53%). SEO (52%), Lead generation (51%), and product or event generation (50%). As for what is most important to these same marketers? 26% LinkedIn 20% Twitter 20% Facebook 14% Community 13% Blogging* *Larson voted blogging Just remember these are B2B marketers not B2C so LinkedIn is going to be more important. Larson Notes & Satire: As for ROI off of Social Media? There is only one yes one figure that makes any real difference SALES! Better ROI off of Social Media? We here at Larson's are going to be making special landing pages for each of the Big 4 sites we work. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and MerchantCircle to track the hits coming into our web site. Is this perfect? No. But it might give us a better handle on where our hits are coming from. If you have a better idea I would love to hear about it. Last week our unique hits took a 33% spike in activity. I am thinking this is off of Twitter but I cannot be sure. At the same time we got 1 new account. Now that is what I really like to track, sales! Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-06-16 09:32:12 Making More Out Facebook http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB435642E24932E040A8C0AC001F58 With 500 million users a business should not sit back ignore Facebook. Are you?   And if you are out there, you might be asking yourself, now what?   I talked a few weeks ago about the collection of the 3 F words “friends” “fans” and “followers” . You did that right? Good!   Now, as you work to further enhance your businesses Facebook base by collecting all those “friends” “fans” and “followers”,  working at making it a positive experience for them to connect with you. Yet at the same time I believe you need to consider using some SEO practices.   First, your name. I know mine is rather bad with http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans but then I am me and I don’t care. ( lol ) Really I do. I am pushing the Larson name as my brand so really that is just want I want to do. Yes, I want you to talk about Larson & Associates around your kitchen table.   After your name work on your “about” and “info” sections. You want to incorporate the key words or what you are trying to attract like I do with Telemarketing and Telesales. If you make and sell cookies, use the word cookies or chocolate chip cookies, or if in insurance use the word insurance or benefits provider.   Next in the “info” section get copy happy. This is a very crawlable part of your page and you want it to be full of what you want to attract!   Remember when it comes to text, copy and links more content usually equals more value to the search spiders. Pages that have lots of copy and content are thought of to be more valuable and rated higher in and by the search engines. So think about adding more tabs other than the “info” and “about” mentioned above. Adding more copy heavy tab sections will or should benefit your pages ratio of text and help your ranking. As long as you keep it “White Hat” you will be ok.   Then remember this is a part of the Social Media Marketing world and you need to be posting regularly and things that your “friends” “fans” and “followers” find relevant. You want not just gobs of “friends” “fans” and “followers” but you want there page views and comments as well.   Then tie it all together. Search Engines DO view the number of links that point to a page as a major criteria of ranking a page. To do that make sure your Facebook page and your non-Facebook pages are linked together as much and as often as possible. The more links your page has pointing to it from other sources the better it is.   Larson Notes & Satire:  Show me the love. It’s not just sports athletes that want you to show your love, its businesses as well. See me, fan me, comment me and I will thank you.   If you need help in making your page more attractable to the Search Engine Spiders give us a call. We have ways to get things done.     Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates     https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate   P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-05-25 07:59:11 LinkedIn Went Public (yesterda http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB423329FF55F0E040A8C0AC001F5A LinkedIn hit the public market yesterday looking to raise 4 million. Seems like they did alright as the stock went from an opening of up to 2.70 to end at .25. ) For the record NONE of Uncle Howie’s money was used) for what many people call an online rolodex that is not too bad. This gives LinkedIn a Profit to Earnings ratio of 554. Now compare that to the average ratios of say Apple which is 15. Yet I like where LinkedIn is standing as how they plan to make money. How much the stock is worth is another question So, what exactly is LinkedIn's business? Now that is a good question, that is aside from an online rolodex? For me (http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates ) it is a B2B Social Media Marketing App that has given me some rather nice connections but I have not hit “gold” there yet, but there is “color” so I keep panning for gold on the site. Last year it generated 3 million in revenue through the first nine months of the year from three categories: recruiting, advertising, and subscriptions. The bulk of the revenue comes from recruiting, or in LinkedIn's phrasing, "hiring solutions." If you have ever tried to post a job opening you have come across this asking for money feature. I guess it takes in more money than I might have thought, but then I can see lots of head hunters in my list of “friends” and in the groups I am in. Basic Description: LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site intended for professionals. When users join, they create a profile that summarizes their professional expertise and accomplishments. LinkedIn was officially founded in May 2003 by Reid Hoffman and founding team members from PayPal and Socialnet.com (Allen Blue, Eric Ly, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Lee Hower, Konstantin Guericke, Stephen Beitzel, David Eves, Ian McNish, Yan Pujante, and Chris Saccheri). Its current CEO is Jeff Weiner, was previously a Yahoo executive. According to its Web site, LinkedIn has over 80 million members in over 200 countries. The site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Company Background: Founder Reid Hoffman, previously CEO of LinkedIn, is now Chairman of the Board. Dipchand Nishar is Vice President of Products. LinkedIn is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with offices in Omaha, Chicago, New York and London. It is funded by Greylock, Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and the European Founders Fund. LinkedIn reached profitability in March 2006. On June 17, 2008, Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and other venture capital firms purchased a 5% stake in the company for million, giving the company a post-money valuation of approximately billion. In June 2010, LinkedIn announced it would be opening up a European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. On July 28, 2010, Tiger Global Management LLC purchased a 1% stake in the company at a valuation of approximately billion. On August 4, 2010, LinkedIn announced Mspoke acquisition. This is the company's first acquisition for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition aims to help LinkedIn users do more than just find a job, increase users' activity and improve its 1% premium subscription ratio. Membership: With 80 million users, LinkedIn is ahead of its competitors Viadeo (http://www.viadeo.com/profile/00218n8vjhv1ydda/en/?readOnly=true&ga_from=Fu:/tableaudebord/compte/index.jsp;Fb%3Atopmenu%3BFe%3AL2%2Bdrop_see%3B  just found it so just listed myself) (30 million) and XING (https://www.xing.com/profile/Howard_Larson but don’t work the site) (9 million). The membership on LinkedIn grows by a new member every second or so.  About half of the members are in the United States and 11 million are from Europe. With 3 million users, India is the fastest-growing country as of 2009. The Netherlands has the highest adoption rate per capita outside the US at 30%. LinkedIn recently reached 4 million users in UK and 1 million in Spain. Main Features: The purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. The people in the list are called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. This list of connections can then be used in a number of ways: > A contact network is built up consisting of their direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections). This can be used to gain an introduction to someone a person wishes to know through a mutual, trusted contact. It can then be used to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in one's contact network. > Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates. > Job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them. > Users can post their own photos and view photos of others to aid in identification. Users can now follow different companies and can get notification about the new joining and offers available. > Users can save (i.e. bookmark) jobs which they would like to apply for. > The "gated-access approach" (where contact with any professional requires either a preexisting relationship or the intervention of a contact of theirs) is intended to build trust among the service's users. LinkedIn participates in EU's International Safe Harbor Privacy Principles. LinkedIn also allows users to research companies with which they may be interested in working. When typing the name of a given company in the search box, statistics about the company are provided. These may include the ratio of female to male employees, the percentage of the most common titles/positions held within the company, the location of the company's headquarters and offices, or a list of present and former employees. The feature LinkedIn Answers, similar to Yahoo! Answers, allows users to ask questions for the community to answer. This feature is free and the main difference from the latter is that questions are potentially more business-oriented, and the identity of the people asking and answering questions is known. The searchable LinkedIn Groups (my personal favorite feature) feature allows users to establish new business relationships by joining alumni, industry, or professional and other relevant groups. LinkedIn groups can be created in any subjects and by any member of LinkedIn. Some groups are specialized groups dealing with a narrow domain or industry whereas others are very broad and generic in nature. Another LinkedIn feature is LinkedIn Polls. A mobile version of the site was launched in February 2008 which gives access to a reduced feature set over a mobile phone. The mobile service is available in six languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. In mid-2008, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn DirectAds as a form of sponsored advertising. In October, 2008, LinkedIn revealed plans to opening its social network of 30 million professionals globally as a potential sample for business-to-business research. And, in doing so it's testing a potential social-network revenue model-research that to some appears more promising than advertising. In October, 2008, LinkedIn enabled an "applications platform" that allows other online services to be embedded within a member's profile page. For example, among the initial applications were an Amazon Reading List that allows LinkedIn members to display books they are reading, a connection to Tripit, and a Six Apart, WordPress and TypePad application that allows members to display their latest blog postings within their LinkedIn profile. In November, 2010, LinkedIn allowed businesses to list products and services on company profile pages; it also permitted LinkedIn members to "recommend" products and services and write reviews. Larson Notes & Satire:  Well that is the scoop on LinkedIn. So are you going to have 1 scoop or 2, or are you just on a diet? Did you / are you going to buy stock? As for me? You do what you want with your money but I am going to keep investing my company. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2011-05-20 07:19:39 5 Not New Ways To Tap Social M http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB422087BC55F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Social Media is like the wind. It blows here and there. You really can’t control it. You can’t tell it where to blow. Can’t tell it how softly or how hard. If you have ever flow an airplane or at the lease flown in one, you need to realize that 99% of the time you are not headed to the exact spot you want to be going to. No really, you are always or seemingly off course yet, 99.9% of the time you get to the airport you want to arrive at, safe and on-time, and hopefully your baggage does as well. That is sort of the way Social Media and Social Media Marketing works. Each day the channel(s) of Social Media Marketing get blow around then BAM, some new app hits the Cloud world and we are all scrambling to figure out how to access it better and faster. So let’s look at a few simple basics 1: Know your goals and objectives. It is so important in this ever changing online marketing world where it is so easy to get blown well off the course to know and remember where you are going, not necessarily how you are going to get there. Then ask how is Social Media Marketing helping (or dare I say hindering) you in your efforts to get there? We are talking everything here form desired results, to over all broad brush strategy, to specifics such as software and organization structure to take you to the next level. 2: Think quality not quantity. I am the first to say don’t get all wrapped up in the numbers game. The 3 F’s I talked about 2 blogs ago. You want quality in those numbers but how do you find quality? Numbers. The more you have the better chance you will find the people you need to connect with. Yet when you are looking for connections of Friends Followers and Fans search out the kind that will buy what you do. 3: Build and work an attractive compelling interaction page. Make and use a page that is interactively social, after all that is what we are here for. Don’t talk at your F’s talk with them. 4: Social Media is your (new) Marketing Tool. Starbucks, Dell Computers, Coleman are using Facebook as a tool for finding out quickly what their users and fans want and like. So should you. 5: Use the tools. They might be analytics but put any kind of data about customer behavior and preferences to good use in your companies marketing attack. Create and use polls. Then balance your results off of one a professional organization like Forrester might have run. Are your results similar of different? Why and what does that mean, to you? Larson Notes & Satire:  the 3 F’s: What do they want and Where are they and When do you get to interact with them And How do they want this interaction and Why do they want to interact with you and Who the heck are they? The answer is Blowing in the Wind Is this springtime a gentle breezes or a raging tornado? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.     2011-05-13 07:14:48 Marketing In A Backwards World http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41127D2D423AE040A8C0AC001F5C You have a great service or product. Who cares? You have wonderful customer service. As if I cared. You on time delivery is impeccable. So what? Sorry Charlie but for today’s marker you need to be bottom up, and I don’t mean a stiff drink although if you’re doing it backwards which is (traditionally correct) you might need one. In today’s creasy world with all the new and changing marketing channels you need to sit down with your strategy team and first decide which tools you are going to use to achieve the results you need and want.  People, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Tools. These 5 words need to be the focus and order your marketing now needs to be done in. It’s a very Social world and people come first. Remember my last blog, the 3 F words, Friends, Followers, Fans. If you do this right you can put a plan together that you can tweak and change but won’t have to totally abandon later on. You start with your audience which are your 3F’s. What are their needs wants and goals? Does your company fit into what they want? Yes it is all about them. If you choose to ignore them, it your sites give no motivation to what they want, you get put on the sideline. You sites need to be showing how you can help your prospects your 3F’s achieve their goals, needs and wants. If you can do that you might just get to achieve yours. You still want to educate them. You still want to answer their questions. You want to walk with Rudyard Kipling’s 6 honest serving men: “I keep six honest serving men, (They taught me all I knew) Their names are What and Where and When And How and Why and Who.” If you do your site becomes more valuable. Rudyard knew why back then so maybe we should all take a hint. Enter Social Media Marketing. Now you have the tools to keep customers and prospects engaged. If you are or can use bottom up thinking and engagement you will not be missing the opportunities that are right in front of you. Good content, consistent content is important, but more so is engagement. Larson Notes & Satire:  the 3 F’s: What do they want and Where are they and When do you get to interact with them And How do they want this interaction and Why do they want to interact with you and Who the heck are they? Now take some time and think about it. Preferable with a pencil and pad of paper. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-05-12 12:23:27 Friends, Followers, Fans http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB431A26794932E040A8C0AC001F58 The 3 F words, Friends, Followers, Fans. Do they mean anything or affect your business at all? Last count my Facebook Fan Page had 232 fans. On LinkedIn I was standing at 613 and on MerchantCircle 1504 Connections, and Twitter at a massive 3106 and all growing. Does it do any good? Does it bring me business? Sales? Qualified leads? The biggest thing on Social Media is for companies to go around and collect the 3 F’s. Some of them count the ROI on Social Media by how many F’s they have collected. Those of us that have been in the Social Media world for a while, know better, but still keep our eye on what is happening and changing with our numbers. It’s like, you never know who can or could turn into the bedrock account. Why do I still do it? Eyeballs. I want more eyeballs on me. I want to be seen, not for myself gratification and ego but because the more eyeballs that are seeing me and my posts get a better shot I have at striking a cord that would make them want to buy some of what I sell. Now, let’s be honest here just between you and me. The numbers game is simple, comfortable and so very countable. Yet research shows that fewer than 20% or your fans, my fans, every ones fans that go and “like”a page ever return to it. Ouch. Again, when I think about it, if I am honest with myself, I’ll take that 20%. If I could take that 20% to to the bank with 46.6 fans active on my page it would be a happy day with a better than not chance to get them become money paying customers. Some say likes are useless hits and wasted page views and an overall drain on resources. Again I disagree. I have my pages out there for all to see. I have no secret stuff. So what is the loss? ZERO! There is no harm in spiking up your numbers of F’s. Just be ready to nurture them if all those companies and people decide to get active. Larson Notes & Satire: When dealing with the 3 F’s think about the nurturing that you might want to be putting into it. Use the comments as places of interaction. Take those shares and engage your now broader audience. Remember this is Social Media Marketing so you need to be heavy on the SOCIAL …please. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-05-10 12:06:50 Is Your Direct Marketing a Dis http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB42FFAEE54932E040A8C0AC001F58 Do you settle for too little, talk about yourself too much or rely on outdated and inaccurate data? 1) Channels: Most companies and marketers rely way too much on standalone channels that aren't focused on demand, that are not asking for a call to action. As a direct marketer needs to be committed to a well disciplined, programmed, result oriented approach while building a multichannel marketing attack. 2) Results: What kind of results are you willing to accept? If you only accept a 1%-to-2% response rate because that is the industry average you are making a big mistake. NO really if you want to be like everyone else and just as good as everyone else, ok be happy, but think about it, in what other part of your business do you accept 98-99% waist? You need to be expecting, getting, and insisting on double-digit response rates for you program. 3) Social media: As a marketer you are probably spending too much time talking about yourself and not taking enough time engaging in conversation with your friends, fans, prospects and customers. The main point of social media is to be social to be able to create a dialogue with people quickly putting aside the self-serving side of marketing. 4) Segmentation: As a Marketers I doubt if you are getting down into your lists deeply enough. Unless you are using a large enough segment of people or prospects you don’t have enough hits to know if you are on or off in your attack. Then again the smaller the nitch or audience the more pointed the message. This can work to your advantage. It is harder to create content for any particular audience but you can start using your experience and jargon words and knowledge if you are narrow enough. 5) Content: Are you one of the guilty ones who’s arrogance sticks out like a sore thumb? Are you one to the one’s that when it comes to creating relevant content you get lost in your own rhetoric and press releases? You need to be more humble about yourself and a little more engaging towards customers so they can tell you what they consider to be relevant and important to them! Get rid of the I’s and Me’s.  6) Metrics: What do you measure? We should to be more focused on sales conversions, not lead creation. What good is a lead anyway? Try taking a lead to the bank? Lead creation is part of our job as a direct marketers but the real thing to be measuring is sales conversions. 7) Lead conversion: Marketers spend too much time focused on the wrong people. Here is where you need a sales person. A blood hound. The person who initially responds to you is more often not than not, NOT the buyer. But marketers go after them as if they were the VP of purchasing. Turn that lead over to your sale people they have a way to get to the heart of the matter quickly and fast.  That is after all their job specialty. 8) Lead nurturing: The problem in more companies is a lack of focus. Marketers spend too much time and money on lead acquisition instead of nurturing existing customers. I have been told (I don’t remember from who) that 66% of your advertising budget should be directed at existing customers, who already know you and love you. Thank about it. Do you only get excited about your customers at the end of their contract?  Customers will and should go with the company that has been good to them not just at signing time and sending a required Christmas card but all though the year. 9) Value: You need to improve how they demonstrate to the “Suites” in your company on the value of direct marketing. If you are the “Suite” take a step back from what you’re doing and ask yourself “Prove it!” Then using hard data write down the proofs and facts on paper. And you can only accomplish this with insight that can only come from hard data. Numbers don’t like. Larson Notes & Satire: 9 things here and I know I left out lots of important things to really make your marketing hum. I guess you will just have to keep reading from time to time to find what I missed putting down.  Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-05-04 10:04:24 Lessons From The Social Media http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41F27BE255F0E040A8C0AC001F5A I am one of the lucky ones. I have been in some form of marketing and advertising all my life and did not let all that get in my way of grabbing hold of Social Media Marketing and doing it as if it were a traditional marketing/advertising channel. Not so easy. Many of my comrades-in-arms cannot make the leap from formal channel advertising to informal. But it is here, Social Media Marketing and it is here as a major player in many companies, be it B2C or B2B, be a player of a bystander. More that even in traditional Marketing SM is dog-eat-dog out here and its tough eating dog! Social Medial Marketing is a living entity; it’s alive and changing almost daily. Clubs, groups, organizations, fans, prospects, clients, people all listening and making comments and responding to more marketing stimuli that ever before. In as much as SM is making us change something my father once told me still rings true, “you need to know the rules to know how to break them”.  Yes, you heard me right, break them. So consider this, Social Media is in essence one big “Focus Group”. Here you can test to your heart’s desire, ideas, slogans, new products. Yes, test, test, test! Message Testing: If social media is about conversation test your companies “conversations”. The major difference between traditional marketing and social marketing are really quite clearly drawn. Traditional marketing does not talk directly with the target person and it cannot talk back in real time.  So for Social Media Marketing I suggest that you make a message map that outlines the “message” and then keeps track of the direct messages to that “message”. When on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Merchant Circle, keep careful track of the flow of conversation revolving around what you have floated out.  If you get an increase in hits, likes, of feedback of any kind make a careful note pro and con. What should you be measuring? a) Likes on Facebook b) Retweets on twitter c) Comments on your social network and/or blogs d) fans/friends/followers grown in actual numbers or % e) Average times spent on your blog site Time Testing: When do you get the best results? Early am? Mid morning? Afternoon or evening or during the middle of the night? The experts will be telling you that am’s are best but they are not you nor do they represent your company. So, what is best for you and the kind of customers you want to attract? Again, test your posts! You might find out that 75% of your sales come on a Thursday. You might want to look or think about why? Are they getter ready for the weekend, or do they need to make a decision on a purchase before the end of the week? Why, why, why? Next consider time zones. If you sell to multiple time zones like I do, from the Eastern Time zone to the pacific, keep track of that as well. You could be surprised on who is buying from you and where which will lead to why. Social Media Ads: It could be Facebook, LinkedIn or Merchant Circle, but there are proprietary advertising products that you can take advantage of. Depending on what your over all objects are doing a focused marketing could pay off in spades. If you have assembled your fans and friends with any kind of care. This is similar to a pay-for-click situation so there might be a cost.  Promotions, Contests, Surveys: These are ways to create a call for action.  The idea again is to create a buzz around you and your company. Again test and measure and decide what you are trying to really achieve with each action. Be it an increase in your friend or fan size, feedback response, whatever? Just have a plan. See above (in Message Testing) for what you should be looking for. Sales: Ya Sales. Sales are how we keep (real) score, isn’t it? At least that is how I keep score. If you’re not getting sales from your efforts change or go to something that starts to generate sales for your company. Different kinds of social media messaging drive sales. You can be blunt and straightforward in your buy requests of you can use the more subtle message. Either way it all comes down to needing, wanting people to buy something. Leads must lead to sales! Larson Notes & Satire: Need help we are here to help you make money for your business all you need to do is call 847-991-0488. In many ways social media marketing is the most extreme channel you can be using. On line, in your face marketing! I love it. (Ya, I’m an in your face kind of guy, what can I say.) Innovation abounds or can at every turn in your Social Media Marketing experience. Opportunity knocks and many times only once. When it does you need to be ready to spring into action, and that might require some old school tools like a business card and company brochure, and oh yes, we do those too. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-04-28 08:56:37 Low Ball Pricing? Donât Go T http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40F77942423AE040A8C0AC001F5C It is a common strategy for small businesses is to undercut the competition by charging lower prices. Especially true for new businesses, those looking to expand quickly or those who see sales deteration and loss. Don’t do it! Think about it. If every graphic artist charges $100 an hour, you figure you'll gobble up the business by charging $50 an hour. Don’t do it! Charging low prices or "low-balling," as it is commonly known is a terrible business strategy for service businesses Why? There are quite a few reasons really. First, the thinking that a lower price makes you more attractive to clients is not totally true. Sure, some clients are price buyers and your low price will draw them in but I will tell you now, they will leave you just as fast! You really want to find clients who do not buy based on price but a value in the service you offer. These (other) clients value other things such as quality, reliability, speed, customer service, expertise, track record, and reputation and are quite frankly, willing to pay for it. Fact is, your low price might be perceived of as signal that you do NOT deliver the kind of service that they are looking for and need. They might start to think that you will do anything for any old project and that you and your services are probably garbage. For these kinds of clients the low price sends them packing! This is a fact! Direct marketers have shown in split tests of price and service, that a low price for a product or service often loses and is less profitable than higher prices, which generate more orders and sales. Low prices, it seems create a perception in the client's mind of low value and poor service. Second, low price attracts a less desirable clientele, the price buyer. You really want the kind of clients who value good work and excellent timely service and don't mind paying for it. Price buyers are the least profitable clients to work for and I know this for a fact based on past experience, finding them also the most demanding and difficult to please. They don’t value you or your service and think even with your lower price, that you are charging them too much money. Third, in a service business, time is money.  Time is all you really have. The less you charge, the less money you make and the less profitable your business. Think about it. Given the choice, wouldn't you rather work for $100 an hour instead of $50 an hour put in another way or earn $200,000 a year instead of $50,000 a year? So now if low-balling is such a bad pricing strategy, where should your pricing fall in relation to your competition? A general rule of thumb for setting service fees is that your price should fall in the middle of the top third. Yes TOP third! So if the lower third of service firms in your trade charge $30 to $75 an hour, the middle range charges $75 to $125, and the highest-paid charge $125 to $175 you should aim for $135 to $150 an hour. Why? Well, first, those in the lowest third are the low-ballers. They will only be project based customers going from low price to low price on every project, and by the way, you will need to quote or bid out on every project.  The middle range isn't totally bad. Might be the kind of company that needs to watch its penny’s more than others. There are some good clients in this group. Ones that will stick with you over the long run. Yet, this middle price strategy can create a perception of mediocrity. Is that how you want to be seen and known in your marketplace? Nothing wrong with being here but judge it on who the actual client is. So given all that, you should charge somewhere in the top third. In the example given above, we would charge somewhere between $135 to $150 per hour. Yet why not go all the way and charge the max in our case $175 an hour? Well, if you go here, to the maximum price, your fee becomes a major concern to your clients. It stretches their finances to the limit, and they begin to feel like you're trying to take them for every penny they have. At the same time, almost all your competitors cost less than you so you are being hammered by price concerns or price objections at every turn. By backing off just that little bit, you can still maintain a solid price structure but not have that be the biggest concern in the client's mind. Larson Notes & Satire: If you can get it I guess go for it, I myself would love to work for $300 an hour and only work say 4 hours a day rather than 100 and work for 9 hours. You need to find the right balance for you. Don’t just go steal your competition’s pricings and think it will work for you. You are not them and they not you. You have different hidden costs then they do and vice versa. Use what you can leverage to your best advantage and, don’t ignore the other things but, well don’t mention them unless they become an issue then, be ready to have an answer to whatever that might be.  And oh ya, if you think you are going to charge good old Uncle Howie any $175 an hour, think again. I am a reseller and I need to have some markup room. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-04-27 08:35:23 How Do You Score Your Social M http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41D3BE3A55F0E040A8C0AC001F5A So how do the “pros” score their social media efforts? Today's top marketers are starting factor social interactions into their lead scoring. Why? Because that is where the action is! These conversations often can indicate buying signals and   behavior and allow marketers to bring leads to a sale or the sales department faster, and beating out the competition that is using traditional lead scoring or dare I say no lead scoring at all. So what is sales ready behavior? It could be a tweet about you or your product, a comment left on a blog, a question posting on LinkedIn, or any other online posting outside of your website. The key is to have a system in place that can see this data and put the appropriate score to this information. In order to score social media interactions properly, you must implement some data capture processes: 1. Use a social media monitoring tool. There are free tools like Salesforce for Twitter, or more options like Radian6. Or you can simply manually enter your data. 2. Then get the data from your social media monitoring into the CRM system so the comments or activity can be used in lead scoring for future sales activity. 3. Then start to study and understand how these interactions in social media affect the actual buying process and sales cycle. Create scores to reflect these different activities. Like other behaviors, all social media interactions are not equal and should not be scored equally. Some actions should receive higher scores others lower. Do they mention your company, your competition, or that they are looking to buy. Sort it out and keep track of what and how you need to score it. Others that probably need lower scores are actions such as retweets or posts without content. Now the sales attack, but how can you email or contact these people if all you have is their Twitter IDs or a Facebook pages link? You can't, but you can send an alert over to sales so a rep can start to do their thing be it with social media or a phone call. That is what a missionary sales and lead generation is all about (Need help in this area contact us here at Larson & Associates 847-991-0488 www.larsonassociates.ws and we can help you in this area.) All of this doesn't have to take a lot of manual work. Social media lead scoring can happen automatically on sentiment, topic or general keywords used, automating the scoring program or you can go manual. Whatever floats your boat. So start prioritizing your leads not just by company or behavior, but by pertinent information. Larson Notes & Satire:  It really comes down to sales and what you sell but you got to start somewhere to know what is happening out there. To that I can only say test, test, test and the start all over again. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-04-21 09:55:20 Landing Page Optimization http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41C6CFC655F0E040A8C0AC001F5A The term “optimization” which these days is getting close to becoming not only overused and burnt out even meaningless due to its overuse still maintains some value that marketers and Web masters still must understand and apply. It is crucial to understand the meaning of the word as we have come to define it. For support of an optimization program you need to be doing content testing and audience targeting. The effective combination of these two core areas of direct digital marketing functions brings out success. Yet, however, many organizations have taken a divide and conquer approach to the roles and responsibilities of testing and targeting. As these organizational silos take shape, production speeds slow and landing pages are drained of their real effectiveness. In a good approach to a landing page optimization you want to constantly be doing “data,” “testing,” and “targeting” of all areas involved. The data, at the top filters down to each function. The data is important because the data must constantly feed the content testing and the audience targeting. Your Landing Page Optimization Starts with Data. The ideal data for landing page optimization is a universal profile management system. This kind of system is designed to do two things: 1st, it stores valuable data points like customer data & purchasing history. 2nd, it captures behavioral information like browsing patterns on a page, keyword or banner click entry points to the landing page. This combination of information on your site visitors and the behavioral information helps you to build unique segments and lay a foundation for testing and targeting strategies. Test and Target in Tandem. Once the data is setup the optimization process can start. The most important thing to understand in a good landing page optimization is that testing and targeting must work together. When launching a landing page optimization, your strategy should begin with an initial testing of the content that may identify a real need on what to target. Your ability to be flexible and being able to easily add testing or targeting data to the landing page is important to be able to meet your conversion targets and adapt to the constantly changing prospect and customer. Selecting Landing Page Optimization Software. Like anything else in software, optimization tools and software can run from that of a low cost solution and simplicity to high costs and complexity. It is easy to love Google because they offer helpful tools for free. But it is important to understand that free also means a trade off somewhere. In the case of Google Optimizer, the trade off is a free testing tool for one that is incapable of targeting. Low (or no) cost tools are tempting, but the combination of testing and targeting is mandatory for true landing page optimization success. Yet something is better than nothing. At the other end of the spectrum, many tools that provide both testing and targeting cost a ton of money and time. The right optimization software probably really falls in the middle where reasonable cost meets up with a full set of features. Extend Landing Page Optimization by Learning From Other Channels. While the optimization principles here are primarily within the context of landing pages, they also apply to the different functions of digital marketing. Good optimization set up and practices in email, mobile, blog, social and website improves the overall online marketing campaign performance. But remember that cross channel optimization adds valuable hit points that can be leveraged to create better landing page exposure, and we really want exposure. Remember also that landing pages are just one part of your digital online marketing strategy. The data that powers them, and the data they record, must connect to a database that focuses on the site visitors and coordinates the experience across the entire direct digital marketing landscape. Achieving Optimized Landing Pages. A successful landing page creates two outcomes for marketers. The landing page hit leads to either a lead for other marketing programs to nurture and develop or an immediate transaction, yes a sale or at least a start to the sales process. Optimization is the best and most proven approach for achieving either outcome, whether a transaction happens immediately or must be nurtured for several months. Once a database is properly configured, develop a landing page strategy that is not set to the limitations of specialty silos. Avoid silos and prevent trading off testing in favor of targeting. The end result of applying a defined landing page optimization strategy is a more coordinated experience that improves conversion rates and performance. Larson Notes & Satire:  What market or markets do you go after? Do you sell different product lines or service areas? If you do you what to be thinking about each one having its own landing page. Yes, each one. It takes a little time, a little effort but it does make a difference. Now me, one of the things we do is specialize on industries like printers ( http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Printing_Telesales ) and advertising agencies and graphic studios ( http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Telesales_for_Ad_Agencies ) so I have individual pages set up for those to where I can place wording that those industries would appreciate and use. Yes I use some jargon on those pages. So they get found on a specialty key word search and so the people in those industries know I know and understand them. And when you think about it, don’t you want to use a vendor that understands you and where you are coming from? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-04-18 08:33:16 Every Channel Has Its Problems http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41B188E455F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Cross-channel, multi-channel, mixed channels, some channels, part-time channels, no channels. It’s ok to scream or pull your hair out. It is one creasy marketing world out there. When all is said and done all good marketing is starts with listening to your customers and prospects. It is not about you and your products and services. Hardly! It’s not about you at all. How you talk (or sell) to your clients and prospects is not as important as how they want to be talked to. Larson Notes & Satire:  I hate white papers. Why? Because when I want to look at one I need to give the company all my information. Then some not well informed sales person calls me up trying to sell me something when they don’t know a single thing about my company and don’t really care. They just know I requested a certain “white paper” they sent it and now they want to sell me a product that goes along with that white paper. Makes me turn red. It seems I am a growing part of society in my dislike of white papers. As I usually bypass the papers so too are a good 66% of other people just like me. I figure that I will give away information as I have been doing for years. If you like my ideas and practices and are not able to implement them for yourself you will hire me and my firm to do lead generation for you in all the various ways we can do it and work in. I have repeatedly told you what my company’s sales and marketing plans are. I follow the Vince Lombardi plan where he reportedly said that he could give any team the Packers were playing his play book and still beat them, because it came down not to the plays made but in the execution. Yes to achieve perfect execution. That will get you the results you want The philosophy of giving and sharing has worked for 36 years and I think I it works just fine, now. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-04-13 08:21:18 The Difference Between Metrics http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB419C991455F0E040A8C0AC001F5A A funny thought hit me as I sat down to work today. Almost every article I read in some of the journals and scanned though in my email account talked about small business yet they talked as if small business had all the elements of a large business. It was frightening to think on how they were trying to talk to small business. By that I mean the articles assumed that (even as a small business) I had a marketing director, a sales director, and IT director, a financial director, a purchasing director, a comptroller . . .  should I go on? I assume that when I am talking to small businesses even the ones with sales up to 2 million, you the owner or sales manager wear 2, 3 or more different hats. That being said what really is the difference between Metrics and Analytics. We hear these words bantered around all the time but what the heck at they and what do they mean to MY business. Marketing Metrics are all the descriptive measurements such as number of leads, number of sales, and number of prospects in the sales pipeline Marketing analytics is the data to see patterns that allow you to predict outcomes and to create a marketing strategy. It is not about the sheer numbers but how you use the numbers or could use the numbers so you can take the “proper” action. Now just so you don’t think I’m going “Egghead” on you. I still believe that Marketing is an Art and not a science. But there is nothing wrong with knowing the numbers to you can devise the best marketing and sales attack you can. Also calm yourself into thinking everyone is doing Analytics. They aren’t and if they are I personally think most of them don’t know want to do with the data anyway. In an ITSMS member survey only half the companies are doing any kind of formal analytics and we are talking some major companies in this group. The ones with layers of management. Now the Big Dogs seem to want you to think that to be effective here you need to have a sophisticated management team in place and statistical analysis skills. I say no! The writes of all these articles and studies work for the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Cisco and have layers or management that take them so far away from the pulse of the customer that they are immune by what is really coming down on the street. They make good products but as a small business I don't know how much hands-on marketing advice I would be taking from them. So what can analytics do for you? 1) Help you to develop new promotions 2) Have a new way to look at target customers and patters 3) Help to predict how well your promotion should do 4) Help predict future buying patterns 5) Let you see possible new markets Larson Notes & Satire:  Been reading a few things on the art of selling to woman and the art of selling to men. Have started to put thoughts down for a couple of blogs in this direction.  I love being in the trenches with my associates. Yes I work in my ivory tower and sit in the famed ebony throne but don’t think that I am not down there working my butt of keeping a solid feeling for my customers and what my associates are facing every day. This last week I went to a networking group, a seminar, got a short video taken and still had time to get down and dirty with some work. That is why I am so angry when I was going though reading about what all the big Muckety Mucks though I as a small business should be doing. What does a $100,000,000 dollar company really know about me? Case in point, I got a phone call from a certain Social Media company wanting to set up a phone appointment to get Uncle Howie to spend some money on them. I initially said ok. I mean I love Social Media Marketing and think it is great for promotion. They then went and forwarded me information to set the stage of the meeting. It was a whole big spiel about what they had done for American Express. My company has nothing in common with AE. And there they were telling, no trying to show me how they could do the same wonderful things they did for AE for my company? I did the only thing a nice person like me could do. I stopped that appointment and told them I did not want to waste their time. I was really thinking about my time, but I am a nice person. What does this have to do with Metrics or Analytics? Know your numbers, but also know how to feel your numbers so you can make an educated guess on what to do next. Yes I said guess. I am still a Right Brain kind of person. I still do things by gut feeling more than by fact, but knowing what the Left Brainers are doing never hurts. Marketing is still an art more than a science. Still there is nothing wrong with practicing a little alchemy. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-04-08 09:11:15 Multichannel Is Always Better http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4196F26355F0E040A8C0AC001F5A When in doubt, whenever possible go multichannel. When you can make it both high tech/low tech, do it. When the possibility exists put in on-line/off-line. Now first I’m going to tell you if you can’t be at a minimum 85% effective in using a certain kind of marketing tool stay away of it, you are just wasting your money and more importantly your time. But then I am going to tell you if you are hitting the same marketing base with different kinds of marketing tools and channels your need of effectiveness in their usage goes down by 2.5-5% per channel. So maybe, just maybe if you are using 4 or 5 different marketing tools you only need to be 70-75% effective in their use. Maybe. Second, the old adage I am going to throw out at you is that you need 7-9 seen touches to a prospect to make a sale. This figure has been around since in got into advertising back in the 70’s but still holds true? Now you seem to need at least 21 to 28 touches in a two to three month period to make a sale.  Don’t faint. You just need to be using the Big Fish in the little pond method. Focus your attack. Narrow your nitch. Drive your pitch. You can do it. Then multichannel them to death, nicely! Telemarketing, Direct Mail, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Landing Pages, Blogs, classified ads. Need ideas see http://www.larsonassociates.ws/marketing_tools you can do it. You got to do it and do it all, well. How well? Penetratingly well. I push direct mail and telemarketing not just because my company does that as a service but because it works and it is a direct and seen (or heard) approach to be heard above the clutter. Yes those mail boxes are sitting there empty, fill them. People are sitting out there waiting for your marketing piece to land in their box so give it to them. Let your message can be seen and read in your words not that of an exclusive Social Media Marketing chat. And telemarketing, if done right, is not high pressure offensive, it works in a high touch, very friendly account selling  way that nothing else can give except for an individual sales person. Online marketing, search engine marketing, are still needed and important so don’t stop what you’re doing there but people want touchy, feely, hearing as well. Then need and want access to you. If you go exclusively online, well, I think we all are feeling how the online channels are getting over saturated. I can’t tell you the number of emails I delete without reading. I can’t count that high. As companies stated pounding out more emails and they will (you have heard the “constant contact” ads on radio haven’t you?) it’s going to get more cluttered as companies look for cheaper ways to market) As for SEM (search engine marketing) it is just as dog eat dog. My own hits have been going up and down like a yoyo. You can do pay for clicks but when you pull the money plug you disappear so driving your site up in the search engines is the best (think Landing Page here) to get a long term key word natural or universal search. Marketing is a game of chess. Will you go to check, or checkmate? Larson Notes & Satire:  It’s all about finding what works for you, your business, your customers and your prospects. You are unique. Is your marketing plan unique to you or did you read and take it out of a book you loaded from the library? Take the time to sit back uninterrupted and do some brainstorming. Let your mind fly and get those great ideas out of your head and down on to paper. Then IMPLEMENT. You have got to implement! If you don’t apply what you have “created” you have already lost. Yet there is a way out. . . If you can’t do it, if you aren’t able to implement your ideas, if you don’t have the time to do it, don’t be ashamed to pick up the phone and dial 847-991-0488 and talk to us. That is what companies like mine are out here for. To help your business become great! Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-04-07 07:05:11 Implementing Marketing Integra http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB401285AF72DDE040A8C0AC001F6C You want to do it, Integrated Marketing. It sounds like it is the right way to go about doing a good strategic synergistic marketing plan but what do I do? You might want to start out by not getting lost in doing a Situation analysis, establishing Marketing objectives and putting together your Marketing budget. At this point you would most likely be pulling your analysis ideas, and money out of thin air like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. But isn’t that what you are doing anyway. If you’re a small business I expect that is your plan. Open the check book, look at how much money is in there and go spend some of it. If you are really serious keep reading. To implement a good solid Marketing Integration plan you need to shack up your entire organization thinking on what you want to achieve and have the message, one message, a consistent thought patter permeate down through the ranks. So grab a chain and sit down at the kitchen table, pour yourself a good hot cup of coffee and . . .  1st start by establishing your strategic goals and set financial projections in each product or service you have. Then pick which marketing channels using both direct and indirect, online and off line, you are going to use. Remember less used at a high level of involvement is better than more used a lesser amount. 2nd, make a list of all customers, prospects and other leads you have. How did you find them, How are you touching them in your on-going follow up now? 3rd, capture and assess all the data you have. 4th, Find the gaps in your system. Where do your customers and prospects get lost or fall out? Then put plans together for sales and marketing that address customer selection, acquisition, retention and growth initiatives. Draw these out (on paper) and prioritize your tactics on importance and roll out, with detailed steps to responsibilities, budgetary obligations and timing. 5th is to plan and start roll out (if you are a large company with a big budget you would do a test market at this point rather than a complete roll out) the offers of your campaign. Keep track of any results in real time and pounce on any results in a prescribed manor. 6th Push any results to your bottom line and assess performance of all marketing channels used. Identify correlation between them while identifying the gaps you find in implementation. Go back re-plan, re-budget and reload your timing gun while comparing them to your ROI projections you set out in your initial goals. Factor in any inconsistencies that you might have experienced. 7th re-launch plan towards your reworked plan pushing towards a higher level of expectation with the knowledge you have achieved and gained. Larson Notes & Satire:  Sometimes I look at this stuff and think what is really new here except a new buzz word for Marketing Directors and People to start throwing around to cloud good marketing practices in fog of jargon. Good marketing with a solid plan is the same. So what is new here? To be honest I am not sure. All Marketing Integration is, is really taking the marketing process and the marketing message and permeating it throughout your organization. New? Hardly. Back in the ‘80s I went and had company business cards printed up for every one of my employees, even Hank the janitor. They might not have completely understood what was happening. I don’t know if I did either, but just for fun they would pass them out to their friends and acquaintances and low and behold for a period of 4 years straight we picked up 1 new account a week. This “Integration” stuff is about getting your consistent message out to all your employees to all your marketing channels to all your customers and prospects to everyone knows and understand what you and your company is all about. What I can say is that if you sit down with a cup of coffee (ok tea if you must) and plan out your marketing and define the results you want to achieve you stand a better than average chance to succeed and isn’t that why we are in business? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-04-01 09:24:23 Powering Your Marketing Integr http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB426706404932E040A8C0AC001F58 Ok first off what is Marketing Integration? According to Wikipedia Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, functions and sources within a company into a seamless program that maximizes the impact on consumers and other end users at a minimal cost. A marketing plan will consist on the following: 1. Situation analysis 2. Marketing objectives 3. Marketing budget You have to understand what the consumer's wants and needs are. This might or might not be what your wants and needs to sell are. You need to be understanding to the fact that consumer's costs are to be a cost competitive solution to satisfy their needs or wants. It is using a variety of channels working together in harmony to present a unified message with the ability to give feedback and make communication a two-way street. It is a strategy aimed at unifying different marketing methods and tactics such as mass marketing, one-to-one marketing, social media marketing, telemarketing and direct marketing with an objective being to complement and reinforce the market impact of each used channel, and to employ the market data generated by these efforts in product development, pricing, distribution, customer service. So you are using 3 or more marketing channels. Wonderful, now let’s get them integrated and working syngeriously. Integrated Marketing is not just grabbing some marketing tools out of the box and start using them but rather a strategy and implantation plan to coordinate each task in harmony with the other to construct your efforts like the construction of a building. It’s not a series of efforts that once you do them you cross them off the list of things you’ve done, but rather a series of unified efforts of vision, branding, positioning internal coordination and customer communication to propel your efforts better. 1st start by working internally with your own people. If you are big enough to have multiple customer touch points, everyone needs to be on the same page in being able to communicate your companies brand and its desired position in the customer’s mind. 2nd is to leverage your marketing consistently. If you can create a single point of attack message you want to get across to your market you stand a better chance of winning. Have 1 core message and have all channels tie into this one single message. 3rd part to this plan of attack is to standardize the customer experience. Ya, we can’t leave out the customer in all this, they are, after all, the reason we are doing all this marketing stuff, aren’t they? So take the time to evaluate your company’s core message and service / product offerings so at the times of interaction you control the conversation. Work to keep yourself consistent at every level of your company. 4th part of our attack is to consolidate your data. The can be no fiefdoms. Everyone MUST have access to what is happening so they have a part ownership in what is going on. There is no private sales information, there is no secret marketing stuff, there is no privy purchasing knowledge, it’s all for one and one for all. If you make this BIG step you and your company can find greater insights into all the parts of your customer’s experience 5th is to look for ways to be putting social median marketing to work for your company. Online social media marketing has not just captured the interest of consumers but some companies as well. Poke around and find where you fit in best and exploit the knowledge you find out. You can be improving your prospects and customers experience with you. If you keep your eyes open, get your team working as one and pulling in the same direction. But you are still the boss and it all starts at the top. Larson Notes & Satire:  Yesterday I pulled out a statistic that most marketers are only working Social Media 6 hours or less a week. That in my mind does not cut the mustard. SM is where the people, your prospects, your customers are right now. I don’t care if you are B2B or B2C they are out there on line now. Now I have been training for a marathon all winter long, and I’m going to tell you there were some days this winter where I just did not want to go out into the cold and run. Then I would think about all the other runners out there who are choosing not to run  today and my race and training plan and how doing it now and my competition not running only makes me that much better and them that little farther behind. The same is true with Marketing. Each step you take that your competition does not makes you that much more visible. And in marketing being visible is a good thing. If you think that in a key word search there are only 10 listings on the first page and if you have 1 of those that is 1/10th of the page “real estate”! Get 2 (which when using a good Social Media marketing campaign is not as impossible as it might sound and you start to OWN 1/5th or more of a page. Now the more consistent your message and ALL your sites, your web site and your social media sites the more 1st, 2nd and 3rd page ownership you will start to own. Just this morning when I did a key word search on just one word “telemarketing” for the very first time my site came up on the 1st page in the local search section! Am I excited or what? Yes like “oh ya baby, its working!” Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-03-31 08:34:23 The World of Social Media Mark http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB42DD17AA09FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Let’s start with the statistics to set the stage. 65% - Marketers who have been using Social Media for 1 month or less 14% - Businesses who outsource any part of their Social Media Marketing   9% - Marketers that are saying they are planning to decrease the use of MySpace 6 Hours – Average number of hours per week the majority of marketers are suing Social Media 85% - Marketers who say exposure is the best benefit of Social Media Ok we have set the stage with our props. The pros will tell you it is hard to get a firm number on their ROI with social media efforts that is why they don’t know what to do with it. So they turn to things like Alterian, Bazaarvoice, Radian6 among others to tell them what is happening. While these tools are helpful you can also be paying upwards of $600 a month. If that is what you need to know what is happening in your Social Media network and your Social Media Marketing I don’t think you are very social. Yet if you need numbers to show the “Shirts” I guess you need to do it.  You can measure how online reviews affect you, how influential your blog is. This lets them target their overall message in their marketing which can produce higher sales.  It can difference the kinds of hits and sales coming for different sources such as a blog, twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. In Constant Contact (I am told) there is a “Social Media Stats” program that was stated last September to all users to track where emails are being posted in the social media world. Alterian even offers a service that will tag and sort “relevant” social media information. The old days (1 year ago) the idea was just getting people to collect information that was coming back at them, now? Now we seem to be demanding mountains of data so we can make sound decisions. We need information to make a decision. Is this the next evolution in Social Media Marketing? Do we need to do a business analyst to tell us “This is what we should do.”? I live and die by gut instinct. If you’re not quick on your feet you will get passed. Sometimes it has worked out, other times, not. But I know quickly if I have made a good choice or not. Larson Notes & Satire:  If you are Daddy Warbucks, and have deep pockets I guess you can do all this statically programming stuff. Uncle Howie’s pockets are not that deep and I am not in that club. The fact I’m Norwegian can make a penny cry has nothing to do with it. I have 2 reports on what kind of marketing efforts companies are planning on using and where the money is going to be going this year sitting in my stack of stuff.  Some I agree with, some I don’t. I guess I should put them out in a blog for you. Ya think? If you have been reading or watching me you know I operate Marketing with a “Seat Of My Pants” philosophy and use information requests, proposals and sales as my ROI criteria and count. I know how many hits, both unique and multi, my web site got yesterday or a month ago. I can also tell you, once I peak in my files how many proposals I did last week or a year ago and how many sales that translated into. When I saw that the “Big Dogs” are spending all of 6 hours in and on their Social Media Market and world I clapped my hands and clicked my heals! Talk about getting lost in the shuffle. I started leaving MySpace over a year ago in favor of Facebook. Keep running boys!  And as for exposure being the best use of Social Media Marketing, forget it, exposure is nice but I want to sell something. Bye bye boys. . . This is my pond and the water I’m swimming is (still) just fine. If you need to go on and spend that money on those fancy programs. Get all your stactical analysis done. For me, I got myself and my staff racking over the Social Media world keeping the world safe for us here in the Land Of Larson. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-03-30 08:39:26 Howâs Your Key Word Usage? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4171DA0D55F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Using different words that mean the same thing can make your web page or blog post more interesting for readers and followers. It can also help you from making search engines think your site is all about some random overused term. I can across this (and quite a few other tools in my work the in the last week. This tool, the Keyword Analysis Tool helps you take a look at your use and possible under or over use of any given word or words. Just provide the tool with a URL, and it'll return a list of the most commonly used words on the page. Look them over, and you should be able to see if you're using terms that aren't keywords too often. Just go to http://www.webmaster-toolkit.com/keyword-analysis-tool.shtml and enter in your web site. Now I don’t know about you but every time I do one of these little exercises I not only learn something but then I actually apply some of what I learned and guess what? My site gets better and stronger. I found words that I want stronger and maybe some words that I don’t really care about that are over powering some of the others. Larson Notes & Satire:  I have lots of tricks up my sleeve. Not that I’m a web Houdini or anything but as most of you know my web site is noting to really write home about. So why do I keep it? It is a work in progress to see just how high I can get a two bit web site up in the rankings. It is a work in progress to show how with a small budget I can go up against the big dogs with all their big time web developers, search engine optimization programs and (compared to mine) massive marketing budgets and blow them out of my pond. Ya, I want to be the Big Fish in my Little Pond. I don’t need an ocean of customers or leads but I will be the one who takes out the biggest catch out of my pond. I figure that if I can do it my way for me, I can do it for my guerrilla loving marketing customers. You want to own your fishing hole? Then call me! Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2011-03-29 08:34:21 Effect Of Universal Search Pla http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB402AB8B552BCE040A8C0AC001F5E Local search, natural search, paid search, pushing your web site to get higher and higher, that’s what it’s all about. In working towards higher rankings on this level will if nothing else decrease the overall visibility of your competition. The more you “own” of the search page ranking pages the less there will be for other companies web sites. Do I need to tell you who their loss of visibility is a good thing? Additionally your ad and blog copy can start to be pushed up getting you greater resonance and more responses or at the least web hits. So what can you be doing to get yourself up there. Or should I say what more can you be doing? Knowing full well that I talked about this in my last blog, lets really put the pedal to the metal and move forward A) Examine Yourself.  Check your overall online self in how you come up in the engines NOW. To get where you want to be you got to know where you are starting. If you don’t how will you know if you are making advances in and on the web? B) Keep Your Eyes Open. Make sure that you appear on the keywords that your target audience use or would use to find a company like yours. C) Keep Your Ears Open. Listen and pay attention to what and how your target marketing audience is talking to and about you and your industry. The more you know the better chance you have in applying what you are hearing into your over all marking. D) Test It. The more we think we know the more we find out how little we actually do know.  So test, test, test and tweak that copy and those key words till you see or start to see movement. Then do it again. Larson Notes & Satire:  Universal search has opened up huge opportunities to you as a marketer as well as for your customers and prospects. Use it or you will lose it. Grind yourself up or at least work at getting up there of be prepared to fall in the search rankings even more than you are now. If you’re smart you will push your set to the top, if not, well it’s like a dog pile, and you will end up at the bottom. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-03-25 09:08:29 Positioning Yourself For The T http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB42BC7AE309FFE040A8C0AC001F56 That coveted top search position, so tantalizing makes my mouth water. Now with universal search including images, product links, shopping links, social media commentary, video, news outlets to name a few of the new searchable items in the last 9 months, Web searches and ranking has become more complex when going for a higher listing what is a search engine marketer suppose to do? I would suspect that most of us underleverage our abilities in the area of natural search marketing. Without optimizing your site in some way shape or form you don’t stand a chance. Point is Goggles algorithms have become so dependent on off-site promotions that what you are doing away from your main site such as your Social Media Sites has become even more important in regard to Universal Search. Now I might not need to be telling you this but it never hurts to hear it again. Start with the basics such as finding out how your customers and prospects are now finding you and talking about you. And make sure your site is fully optimized to play into this action. After that I have 5 handy dandy tips for you. 1. Get tagged and named. Web sites are getting more and more complex and larger. Again images, video, auto posting capabilities. Doing such things as making sure your fines are named and not numbered. Now you do know that the Search Engine Spiders can’t see your fancy images and videos right? So you also know you need to tag or name them in a way that is relevant to both the search engine needs and what you actually have posted. 2. Your Outreach. Reach out and touch someone is a slogan that rings as true today as it did for MaBell way back when. You have a better chance to capturing that top spot if you go viral. Ya blogging starts to become critical. Your blog other blogs, you need to let people know that you have pics and videos out there. But in the necessary back links that are relevant to help with search engine rankings, but make sure it is relevant. Be a good neighbor and don’t force feed yourself and posts. 3. Be Newsworthy.  News any news is a big part of universal search content. Not just the earth shacking kind we have just seen in Japan but softer kind, the kind that said you launched a new service or introduced a new product or open up a new social media page. This too is newsworthy. Try a press release both in traditional print as well as some of the online press release sites. All this helps you get seen and found. 4. Keep working Social.  Social Media plays a very important roll in search and has since about last June (2010) when real time search came into being. Social Media’s roll in universal search in very important. Get yourself the object of a big twitter feed and you might move up a few pages. The more twits the higher you go. You might want to try posting a video on not just YouTube but try BrightCove, Viddler or Vimeo.com, and I would do this even if you are hosting the video on your own site. 5. Get Local. More than 20% of the searches on Google revolve around some sort of localized search. So get local. You have multiple locations? List them. Let people know where your brick and mortar is. Remember it is game of moving up and down in the engines. Learn to play and play well and you to up. Don’t learn or play good, you go down. Larson Notes & Satire:  The search engines can be very remarkable. They don’t care about your race, creed or color. They don’t care how big or small your company is, they care about 1 thing: How well you feed them information in a way they like. Ya it’s all about them, not you! It’s me me me but in the way for them them them! You want to be rated high, then do it their way or it’s the bye bye on the highway . So hand spoon them your information. This is your time to shine. To tell your story as you need it to be told. The louder you can get the more ears will hear about you. So SHOUT it out! Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.       2011-03-23 11:54:27 Where are your Back Links (and http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4022C7E252BCE040A8C0AC001F5E As a piggyback from yesterdays blog today’s [post is a Free SEO Tool called Backlink Analyzer for search engine optimization. The SearchBliss Backlink Analyzer will report the total backlinks for your website and list the top (up to 100) URLs by value linking to your site. It’s like putting your kid’s pictures up on your refrigerator or office wall but now it’s your business that you want decorating search engines walls and offices with awards and certificates, people like to spotlight their achievements. Backlink Analyzer will let you do that in terms of connections. Just feed this tool a URL, and it'll attempt to determine the number of backlinks the sites received. Then, it will highlight up to 100 of the most valuable URLs that link to the site, letting you see your accomplishments. Go to; http://www.searchbliss.com/seo-tools/backlinks-report.asp Enter your web site URL in the little box and find out where your site links to. On my site We Found 389 Backlinks Top URLs Linking To www.larsonassociates.ws: I will not list out the top 100 here but try it and see how many backlinks you come up with Then for fun I hit the link for Social Bookmark & Blog Search Checker and got Site: www.larsonassociates.ws Engine Incoming Links del.icio.us: 0 Diigo: 0 Google Blog Search: 140 IceRocket: 9   Total: 149 With a score of 149 that did not bode well considering they score blogs out at Limited Presence 0 - 500   Average Presence 501 - 1,000 Above Avg. Presence 1.001 - 5,000   Contender 5,001 - 10,000 Player 10,001 - 50,000   900 lb. Gorilla 50,001 + Then I did the Search Engine Saturation Checker another Free SEO Tool. Search engine saturation simply refers to the number of pages a given search engine has in its index for your website domain. Site: www.larsonassociates.ws Engine Indexed Pages Google:  51 Bing (MSN):  12 Yahoo!:  32 Total: 95 Larson Notes & Satire:  There is work to be done! SEO is a game. To get higher ranking all you need to do is learn how to play the game. If you don’t want to do it yourself we are more than happy to play the game for you, we find it fun and exhilarating, especially when we win! Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.        2011-03-18 07:44:10 Watch Your Back. . . Links http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41497E0555F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Social Networks Backlink Checker is a Free SEO Tool for search engine optimization. Social networks have become important part any SEO campaign. Check any website's back links on the major social networks with this SEO tool, including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and more for free At the most basic level, search engines try to find results that are useful to real people. For that reason, social signals of linked in sites are starting to carry more importance. So if you want to see if people using social networks like your site(s), consider using this Social Networks Backlink Checker tool. The Social Networks Backlink Checker takes a URL and tries to determine how many incoming links it's received from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, StumbleUpon. Then you can gauge whether you need to increase your social media marketing efforts. Simply go to: http://www.searchbliss.com/seo-tools/social-backlink-check.asp Enter your URL (Website) in the little box with the access code and you get your results. Here is how I came up: Site: www.larsonassociates.ws Network Incoming Links Twitter:  70 Facebook:  578 Myspace:  0 LinkedIn:  726 StumbleUpon:  0   Larson Notes & Satire:  I can handle that. Was very happy with Facebook, very pleased with LinkedIn but on Twitter? Well I guess I have not been working that as much. As for MySpace, well I have almost abandoned it. And StubmleUpon? I expected at least 1 incoming link but I think that would have been to one of my blogs so. . . Taking this to its logical conclusion I need to pound harder so on the Social Media site I have more links out there and more links should mean a higher ranking and a higher ranking should mean more hits on my site and more hits on my site should mean more customers, right? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2011-03-17 08:26:43 What Is a Rumor Worth? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB421CB5014932E040A8C0AC001F58 Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through The Grapevine Ooh, I bet you're wondering how I knew About you're plans to make me blue With some other guy that you knew before. Between the two of us guys You know I love you more. It took me by surprise I must say, When I found out yesterday. Don't you know that... I heard it through the grapevine Not much longer would you be mine. Oh I heard it through the grapevine, Oh and I'm just about to lose my mind. Honey, honey yeah. I know that a man ain't supposed to cry, But these tears I can't hold inside. Losin' you would end my life you see, Cause you mean that much to me. You could have told me yourself That you love someone else. Instead... I heard it through the grapevine Not much longer would you be mine. Oh I heard it through the grapevine, Oh and I'm just about to lose my mind. Honey, honey yeah. People say believe half of what you see, Son, and none of what you hear. I can't help bein' confused If it's true please tell me dear? Do you plan to let me go For the other guy you loved before? Don't you know... I heard it through the grapevine Not much longer would you be mine. Oh I heard it through the grapevine, Oh and I'm just about to lose my mind. Honey, honey yeah. As a rational human being we need to have an understanding of the social and business world around us. Add that to the combustible world of Social Media and Social Media Marketing and you as a business owner and or marketer face an ambiguous blanked threat from situations that you have no, yes NO control over. People say things. Post things, regardless of their validly or not and away they go. . .  flying at the speed of light across the world wide web! Good or bad rumors affect you and your business. So what, if anything can you do? 1) Strengthen your key influencers. Keep them close, safe and informed. What is said from a close friend or family member has or weight than that of an unknown person to push the good or help you to down play the bad 2) Immediacy of influencer action. Rumors more often than not take hold in your close knot groups and neighborhoods. Keep your home base safe and informed. 3) The number of sources. The more people in a given network who believe in a rumor the more likely that someone else is going to believe it. Using these 3 components of the Rumor Mill, we can start to see how a rumor can spread based on varying motivations for spreading it. Good or bad, people talk and repost. So what can you do? First: develop a trust with your clients, friends and followers. The more you are trusted the more you can squelch negative rumors and push forward positive ones. So how do you get trust? Try keeping your word, giving regular communication and keep yourself going in one stead direction. Be who you are and you should have no problem with this. Second: If you keep a regular channel of information flowing you are more likely than not to limit any uncertainty and anxiety over rumors that are circling around you. Third: Keep an ear to the wind. Use search alerts that search for your name being circulated online. Google yourself, you and your company, a couple of times a day.  Be proactive Forth: Be fast on your feet. Quickly confirm good rumors or squish bad rumors and steal the thunder of those who would benefit from people in your Social World hearing it. Fifth: Always be ready to rebut and dispute a false rumor. That is where a so called neutral third party friend or follower comes in handy as your Lone Ranger or White Knight. Larson Notes & Satire:  Was Marvin talking about his girlfriend or his customer? If you can hear about a customer looking to take their work to a different company before they do or before they really get into active conversation with the other company you stand a much better chance of righting the wrong of what happened. It makes no difference if the wrong was real or perceived. To the customer it is real and that is what counts Take me and AT&T. Hint hint. I spend a lot of money to Ma Bell. They should be licking my boots. Funny how they don’t seem to care after they have my yearly contract under their belt. Enter new phone system and internet provider. A new communication company here in the Land Of Larson? Well I can’t say yes and I can’t say no, but …. If I could save you up to 66% on your communication bill would you be interested? Ok see how that happens? This is going to be a very fun year in the Land Of Larson. The tip of the iceberg has only started to hit the ship! If you are my competition I would start to be worried. The kid is on his game and moving in the right direction with new products and services?  I was looking at getting into Video E-Mails. Another rumor? I wonder. Did I or didn't I? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-03-15 09:35:02 Cross-Browser Website Compatib http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB412CC32C55F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Found this little tool today from Gomez (www.gomez.com ). It has always been a problem that you make a site then cast it out there and you have no idea who will look at it or on what browser they will take a peek at your site. Heck I still have a machine running windows 98 for special purposes. Your customers and prospects are accessing your Website using different versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome and you have no control at all. Now you can be a little more proactive and take a look at how your site will look on any number of platforms fast and easily at: http://www.gomez.com/cross-browser-website-compatibility-test/tm-22-feb/ Enjoy Larson Notes & Satire: It’s pretty good but it is not perfect. My site came up looking good on Safari 2.0.2, Macintosh OSX 10.4, Internet Explorer 6.0, Windows XP, Firefox 3.6.10, Windows Vista, but on Chrome & Windows 7, it showed a “no show”. I called it up on my machine using my Chrome browser and bingo there it was all nice and pretty or as pretty as my site can look. Yet when putting together a new page or when I get around to a remake or a new site on a different platform and place now I have a tool to look at it in multiple screens. So how did your site do? All good to go? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-03-08 11:41:25 Saving Your Social Media Marke http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4270A55809FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Was Simon & Garfunkel’s song “A Hazy Shade Of Winter” a song made to describe Social Media Marketing? “Time, Time, Time, see what's become of me While I looked around for my possibilities. I was so hard to please. Look around, Leaves are brown, And the sky is a hazy shade of winter. Hear the Salvation Army band. Down by the riverside's Bound to be a better ride Than what you've got planned. Carry your cup in your hand. And look around. Leaves are brown. And the sky is a hazy shade of winter. Hang on to your hopes, my friend. That's an easy thing to say, But if your hopes should pass away Simply pretend that you can build them again. Look around, The grass is high, The fields are ripe, It's the springtime of my life. Seasons change with the scenery; Weaving time in a tapestry. Won't you stop and remember me At any convenient time? Seasons change with the scenery; Weaving time in a tapestry. Won't you stop and remember me At any convenient time? Funny how my memory skips Looking over manuscripts Of unpublished rhyme. Drinking my vodka and lime, I look around, Leaves are brown, And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.” Seems like today the talk on the street is how to revive an almost non-existent Social Marketing Campaign or how to save a dying one. For the most part marketers and entrepreneurs have gotten the content for their Front pages down correctly, they have and are producing more than enough content and useful information about their companies and they have set up the sites for good search engine optimization but they are still missing that key element for social media marketing. They, you, we, I, are just not being SOCIAL. With content on the internet growing at over 50% a year if you are relying on Search Engines only it’s just not going to happen. You can’t just publish and hope it will work its way up to the top of Google, yahoo or bing. You need to get out your soap box, get up and start proclaiming your message. Soap Box 1: Start a newsletter. Start working with your existing audience. This is the easiest and most assessable group of people you have. With a delivery of monthly or more often, biweekly or weekly are not out of the question if it is a value option for the reader. Give them good solid content not just a bunch of gobblity gook advertisements about yourself. Soap Box 2: Engage your key influencers. I’ll bet you that you have at least one or two major bloggers in your list of followers. You already have 1 here with me. Now the idea is to reach out to these key Social Media Players and get really personal. Ask to meet them or for a phone appointment. Comment on their blogs. Compliment them on their work, offer to republish something they wrote and posted, (some “experts” say if you need to offer to pay a licensing fee or something to that effect, Larson says forget that stuff. You are giving them a FREE outlet to your followers and that should be more than enough of a payback) If you can get them excited about you and what you are trying to do, they will send people your way with a number of online possibilities. Soap Box 3: Let them in. Tear down the walls of hindrance. Ya drop the registration forms. Why they don’t work. If I see a white paper that I want I might take a peek, If I have to fill out a form the first thing that comes into my head is, “Ok if I do this I will either get a sales call from the company which I probably don’t want or I will get emails from them till the end of time. So I don’t down load, I don’t read and I don’t find out how good your company is. It is a fact over 50% of people leave a sight when a registration form appears so I am not alone. This blatant abandonment is a loss of possible referrals, retwitts or reposts to you. If I were you I would be thinking of ways to encourage people to though your name and content all over the web. Those that want what you do, will then find and come to you! Soap Box 4: Invite comments. Try to have your blogs be through provoking and response generating. Fill it with feedback, ideas and questions that beg for your readers to make comments. Try to address each and every comment. You want to control the flow but not stymie the thread. Then go one step farther and use twitter Facebook and LinkedIn to repost the best of the best. Soap Box 5: Be Responsive. When a post or request for input brings you fruit thank whoever it is. If you are unable to (again) respond to each and every comment, at least acknowledge the thread or open discussion. Again use twitter Facebook and LinkedIn to repost the best posts. Soap Box 6: Repackage and reuse. You can publish podcasts or video versions of your blog entries or put a few past posts together that have a synergy between them into a new post. Again give people a way to have some ownership in what you are doing. Show your expertise in how you handle the threads. Larson Notes & Satire: Time time time, so put time on your side, these are ways to maximize your time and even mu7litlpy your time buy getting action and reposts. This could be any of the seasons for your Social Media Marketing, winter, spring, summer or fall. It is all what you make of it; you are in charge of what you do and can’t do in The Social Media arena. It is all up to you, unless you go out and hire a Social Media Marketing Company (like Larson could be doing for you). But if you hide yourself under a wall of fear and not let in the full scope of what this Channel can bring you are only cutting off your own nose. Stand up. Get up on that Social Media Soap Box and start engaging. Hire a brass band and blow your horn! Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-03-07 09:16:32 20% of your customers are drai http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB42622E2609FFE040A8C0AC001F56 20% of your customers are eating up your profits by 80%. The old Pareto’s 80/20 rule does tend to hold true more often than not.  The bottom 20% of your customers or even prospects are the people who are costing you more money to service than what they spend with you. They might be killing your business. Now let’s take that down to creating or buying a list of prospects. You don't want to just buy a list when 20% of the names will be automatically unprofitable. Think about it. You don’t have the time or money to be wasting, do you? You want, no need to understand who your best customers are so you can go out and find more just like them. There are ways to do this, be it on your own or by using a list manager. If you start to take this approach it will start to force you to think differently. Consider: What if you changed your sales incentives to be aimed at only closing deals only with those kinds or accounts that  have the same needs, desirers and structures of your now most profitable accounts rather than closing any and every deal that falls on your desk? If you did this, you can start the shift to a mindset of going after the perfect customer. Coming out of a direct marketing company where it's easy to build a list of names, we need to refine those efforts and not get into the Oscar Olsen syndrome of “good enough”. Don’t do the same old again and again. If you want to run a meat market marketing attack, go down to Bob the butcher’s Meat Market, if you want to be going out and  running  through a cycle every two or three months of acquiring new names and pushing them out through the funnel system, go on. For my money I want and need more bang for my buck. Larson Notes & Satire: When you are wearing your marketing hat you need to get more. More visibility and more action. This means using databases in every conceivable ways possible on every channel you can work with at 95% and above. That does not mean you just in dabble in direct mail or email. Mix it up, shack and bake baby, ad in a secret ingredient. Mix in telemarketing, digital advertising, dare a say go out and buy a key word if you can identify those high value customers and plan your entire advertising campaign accordingly, you might actually get higher ROI. And this in turn can contribute to the success of interactive marketing by using customer knowledge to create relevant email, deliver real-time offers in online and off line channels. Did I say plan out your advertising and marketing? Now that’s going to hurt! All you fly by the seat of your pants marketers out there, you are not Procter and Gamble who have more money to through at advertising in one day that any of us have in 5 years so “choose wisely”. It’s only your company and your life.   Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!    2011-03-04 07:58:46 Finding Your Sites Key Word Ra http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FC22ED1C298E040A8C0AC001F62 How good are your key word search rankings? It gets a little tiring to go though and test your site's ranking, one keyword or search engine at a time, isn’t? Here is a little thing I found a few days ago and have been playing around with called Keyword Envy and it addresses that issue in a very significant way by helping you find out how well you are doing much more efficiently by using all major search engines This tool will measure a URL against up to five different search terms at a time, and will also check it on Google Canada, Google UK, Yahoo, Bing, and Ask in addition to good old Google. http://www.keywordenvy.com/ Well I did it and talk about a slap in the face. Ouch! In one word string I came up NUMBER 1 but the rest of the word stings I really would like to be hitting (at least in the top 100 searches) nothing, nada, zip, goose egg! I guess I have some major work to do. Then what reading level is your site? I have done this a few times and well mine keeps coming up at a college level. Should I change it? I have thought about it but then I think, no, I am saying what I want to say in the way I want to say it and going after the people I want. I have a few other pages that I need to elevate the words and word usage but I want my site at a higher level, not because I am stuck up but because I want to target a higher level of buyer. So see how your sites words are constructed and the effect you are having on visitors in Readability Test: http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php#readingresults This tool takes a URL and (at its most basic level) sees how frequently you're using long words. Then it'll pop out several scores to indicate whether you should bring the level of discussion in the direction of "The Cat in the Hat" so as not to lose people. Larson Notes & Satire: You got to know what you got if you are going to change it to where you want it to be. I know (at least my front page is doing what I want. Word usage wise) but as for my key word search. Well I am going to have to do some major playing and restructuring. But it’s a game I intend to win. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-03-02 12:15:00 Social Word Of Mouth? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4110F94755F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Think about it, WOM or Word Of Mouth advertising has been around forever. And what better medium and channel than to Social Media to harness WOM. It’s the ham and eggs of advertising. It doesn’t make any difference if your technical orientated, nitch specific, a shopping B2C or a Manufacturing B2B. You should be collecting the kind of followers that need and want and understand what you do and sell. You can be almost sure that in your collection of friends and followers there is at least 1 if not more people that need to tell everyone the latest news and gossip about you, your brother or your latest Blue Duggers. These WOM wonders are the virtual influencers of your world. Give them something to talk about. They are asking, no begging you to say something good, new and juicy for them to spread around. They are your hidden virtual marketing team. Your online hidden sales force but how can you put any muscle to this online power house? 1) Find the influencers. There are processes and software (especially on Twitter but also MerchantCircle and Facebook if you’re watching. If you find and locate the leaders of discussions and repostings you stand a greater chance of yours getting retwitted or posted or whatever. Research people as to who does the most retwitting and thoroughly understand who they are and what they cover and topics they like. Then develop a relationship with them online.   2) Listen to them. Ya shut your mouth and listen. You need to listen and understand these top influencers. Track and monitor their online discussions. See if they are positive people or come off as negative or just plain vanilla neutral. Not everyone posts and reposts equally. 3) Find and make your advocates. Some of your best social media WOM marketing examples just simply begin with a company (person) giving a group of influencers previews to their product or service and simply asked them to tell their networks what their ideas and thoughts were and are. You will get great feedback and everyone loves to get the inside scoop first, don’t they? 4) Give them a forum or soap box. You have gone and provided them with the information on you and your company’s product or service, now give them the keys to door. Give them a megaphone. Make them special. How many times have I been a featured person in a Ning? And what do you think I do. I post it on my Facebook fan page http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans which flows into my twitter account which flows into my LinkedIn account and bingo their site is all over my social media sites. Larson Notes & Satire: Your one person, only one. So am I no matter how bad I want to clone myself it’s just not going to happen. Yet WOM can seemingly make more of you and really get you into new places fast and some you would never get into without out help. People like to help. They really do. There are bullies out there in cyber land. People who have no reason to be in a social network site because they are just not social. All they do is push their way in and take over. Or if you choose to disagree with them they blast you into submission. These you should avoid. But the good ones? Embrace them and run with it. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-02-28 07:18:27 Why Are You Doing Social Media http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4107BBF255F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Why are you involved in Social Media & Social Media Marketing? To pass the time away or to promote and make money for your business? I’m here for the money. If I pick up a friend or two, wonderful but show me the money. Social Media Marketing can produce spectacular results in more way than 1 but it needs to be carefully crafted and planned out sooner or later or it becomes a black hole of time and possibly money. If you can develop a disciplined approach to your social media marketing you can reap in the promising rewards that are out there seemingly just beyond your reach. The key is engaging people at the critical touch points of the buying cycle; you know the critical spots you engage people in when they are thinking about your product or service. So when you sit down how can you get all this done and done in a way that lets you touch people in the way that want to be touched? 1) Get your audience right. If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times: Go narrow nitch. If you try to be everything to everybody you will be no one to yourself. Look at your top 5 to 10 customers. Who are they, what are they and why do they buy from you? 2) What makes this group of people buy? What is special and unique that makes this kind of person buy? What triggers them to open up the check book? Emotion? Relevance? Originally? Need? 3) What is the 1 most important touch point? Of all those things what is the 1 most important point of why they buy? Go narrow my friend as narrow as you can. You can’t sell to the entire world but you can sell to those who need what you got. 4) Measure, monitor and do it again. Go on and tally up the numbers. From unique hit numbers to actual sales. Use some of that gray muscle up there in your head.  Larson Notes & Satire: Setting your tag line right Special Site Only Coupons. Special Site promotions. Whatever the mind can conceive you can do on your site. Push it, push it hard. Find what works for you as fast as possible and leave the rest and push hard in that direction. You can’t and don’t want to be everything to everybody. Think of the inventory or the service line you would need to be providing? Ouch! Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-25 07:55:02 Driving Your Social Strategy http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB423A8FDA09FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Social Media has come. We know what Facebook is doing number wise, Likewise twitter, LinkedIn, MerchantCircle and others. Social Media is now established enough that it is considered an actual channel in marketing programs be it so all over the place so that is hard to get a real handle on it. To establish your Social Media marketing and presence requires an execution of some tired and true practices to get you credibility and trust. This is your investment not so much in dollars (unless you enlist a company like mine to do it for you) but an investment in time. The key ideas that you need to be following to help you to create this social presence are reciprocity of and open relationship, keeping relevant and commitment to the long term of the site. When someone chooses (and is a choice), chooses to listen and follow you they are doing it with a certain expectation of what to expect from you. For you to stay on topic and relevant to them. If you digress into other areas you are going to lose them. So stay consistent above all else. Going out and sticking up a profile page does not make you social either. You need to interact on a regular basis to become a “topical” expert in your field, a go to person. So now what? 1) Interact. Don’t blast your friends with your emails about what YOU want. Enable a sharing attitude of your content throughout your channels. 2) Advertise. Yes you can advertise on and through social media but do it topically. Know your Social Media Place. Social Media by its very nature is supposed to drive people to action. Take a roll in that action. 3) Segmentation. If you are in different topical Social Media sites recognize that and stay on topic. If you are in a board based site, expound, if a narrow nitch site, so narrow, but again stay on topic of who and what you are and can provide. Larson Notes & Satire:  So are you ready, really ready to get involved in Social media or should you be hiring me to do it for you: http://www.larsonassociates.ws/SocialMediaMarketing . I am not what I call an expert. I am an active user that puts forth the effort to be engaged in Social Media. If flows and new things are always happening. Because we are actively involved we can implement quickly trends that are working for us into our clients programs. You can be doing the same thing. But you got to be active and be a player. There are few mistakes in Social Media except 1 and that is sitting around doing nothing. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3rd our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-24 07:34:52 12 Steps To Your Success http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4207DD2909FFE040A8C0AC001F56 If you are an entrepreneur, by choice or by necessity, I have a short list of important characteristics for you to look at, measure yourself and strive to become. Anyone can be a successful entrepreneur. I really believe that, if I can, you can. It might take hard work, determination and unwavering persistence in the face of real and perceived hardship but you can become a success as an independent. Here are the essential entrepreneurial qualities that anyone who is interested in great success should work on: 1. Independence. No more guaranteed paycheck. No more guaranteed anything. This is the most common denominator or all entrepreneurs. We are an independent cuss of people. We tend to want control of our future. We are the captain of our ship, the Grand Poobah of the Lodge, the Head Honcho, the buck stops here guy.  We chose to become our own boss instead of working a 9 to 5 job. Now we get to work a 6 to 7 job and smile about it. We have a strong sense of independence and will keep moving forward with a purpose to accomplish something great and meaningful our own lives. 2. Visionary. An entrepreneur has a vision for the future, their future. This vision is for both short term and long term. The accomplishment of greatness rests on their great ideas and accomplishments that are out there sitting to be achieved. We are the ones who paint a canvas of a future, our future. You might call us dreamers but we put those dreams into action. 3. Persistence. Churchill said it best. “Never give up… never give up… never give up.” A very important quality of a successful entrepreneur is the persistence to continue pursuing a goal despite setbacks, despite obstacles, despite nay sayers.  We might encounter road bumps along the way but at least we have a road map to our personal success and our personal persistence is demonstrated with our personal action which is followed up by even more action. . We “Never give up.” It's just not in our nature. 4. Determination. If persistence needed a friend, that would be determination. Determination is the inner drive and mindset that pushes you forward that drives you over the top. Determined is not being stubborn it’s the self motivation to claw your way to success when everyone and yes sometimes it seems like everyone is against you, claw you way to achieve your goals. 5. Creativity. Entrepreneurs tend to be curious and inquisitive.  As a group we know that the name of the game is not just to fit in, but to stand out. We want to be seen. Creativity is a skill that can be learned and developed. We all have the ability to be creative and think outside the box but as a group we tend to do that more than others. 6. Honesty. Winning and keeping customers is all about being known, liked and trusted, heavy on the trust! This has always been an important characteristic of success. If you are honest with yourself and with others you have mastered this one major ingredient to becoming a great entrepreneur. 7. Self-Confidence. As a group we believe in what they are capable of. Self-confidence is built on wins, tiny wins over and over until we are capable of almost anything we put our minds to.  This keeps leading to bigger and bigger wins and is the fuel to momentum. A successful entrepreneur goes after what they want with a strong desire and sense of self worth that supports their efforts and their determination. 8. Risk-taking. We realize that loss and failure are part of any business possibility. An entrepreneur is always ready to make calculated risks and face whatever consequences those risks might have. We know that to win some they have to lose some, but loosing is a life experience to learn from and not do again and again and again. 9. Tolerance. We have the courage to face failure and start again no matter who, what, when, where and how we face life. The qualities of a successful entrepreneur include never giving up, never panicking in the face of obstacles and in picking up the pieces and continuing the journey even if failure momentarily sometimes gets in the way. 10. Perseverance. We never stop moving forward. I am not saying attack, attack, attack but when we know what they want and see what we can achieve in any given situation, we know why they want it will do whatever it takes! We do not give up! There can be no real success without perseverance. 11. Commitment. An entrepreneur will not achieve success if we give up at the first sign of hard work. A 100% Commitment is absolutely essential and that means a willingness to do whatever it takes for the long haul to achieve our goals, not letting the nay sayers have their way. Doing whatever it takes includes all the things we would rather not do or don’t like to do. Not just what we want and like to do. 12. Organization. An entrepreneur knows the value of being organized. Systems, resources, time management and action plans are all part of the organizational process and are vital for success. Being organized both mentally and physically is a skill that needs to be cultivated in order to make significant progress. 13. And don't forget your significant other. They are so important to keep in your mind and heart. Let them come with you. Larson Notes & Satire:  All of these qualities don't mean a thing unless you take action! To think a thing does not make it happen thinking is only the beginning!  You must take action and you must keep taking action! Yes you need to believe but without action there is nothing but your thoughts. Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? This checklist is full of some of the best qualities and characteristics for you to check were you stand. If you can rate yourself at 8 (on a scale of 1-10) or better on these traits then you can absolutely be a success in business. This is only the start to a world of self determination and entepreneurmentship, It’s not always pretty being the main Person but if you what to live by your rules and can handle the pressure, and there is big time pressure, do it. You will or might make mistakes and you need to be ready to fight thought those mistakes. It’s not always pretty; in fact it can be ugly.  If this is not for you, you can go back and find someone who will heir you for all your good qualities. You aren’t a failure if you can’t make a go at running your own company. It’s just another way to live. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011. 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3d our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-14 08:57:57 Twitter 140 Letters Of Power http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FBE7F32C298E040A8C0AC001F62 Twitter, what good is it. 140 letters or do you say characters? At any rate that is not a lot of ability to get your point across, is it? Say you need a very special kind to dooger for a piece of equipment and don’t know where to get it. Tweet it out there and let the power of micro social media do its work. From your friends and followers you will get places to buy it, order it or another approach you might not have even though of and find you don’t even need it. And this can happen in the span of minutes and seconds rather than hours or needed to go to your one key supplier and take to their customer service desk. Now if you look at my desk top it tends to get a little cluttered (like my desk) they tell me it’s a sign of genius and I believe them. I have my email account up. My Facebook, LinkedIn MerchantCircle and twitter all open. Scanning them once every 30 min to see if there is anything important I need to act on. Because twitter messages are 140 characters or less there are people out there reading them all the time. You can use this. They are reading them on their PC’s as well as their phones. As a result of this mini message you can push out or grab in small bits of information. To date Twitter has (only) 7% of the US population, 12 years old and over. That translates out to about 17 million users. That is much smaller than Facebook and its whooping 41% or the US population but the people using Twitter can be valuable because they tend to be more educated and more affluent then the population at large. 30% of Twitter users have a college degree, compared to 27% of the population as a whole. Additionally 51% of the Twitter users are out there following companies. Like I do. Now the fun. A somewhat new way a company or retailer can connect with its customers on twitter is to host a Twitter party. Yes you heard me a Twitter party; this is a party-like dialogue within Twitter for a set amount of time. The attendees use a hash mark, say something like:  #LarsonLeads . Attendees use this “hash tag” as the search term to the conversation thread. You the host keep the tweets flowing by salting the conversation with questions and comments that revolve around the conversation and comments. As you keep customers and prospects engaged weaving in giveaways and tweet only specials, online coupons. Some of the larger Twitter Parties can range upwards of over 700, so we are not talking small here friends. This is big stuff and has netted some companies upwards of over $7,000 for one hour of work. Then there is the aftermath where you have gained new followers you might have never had before. Again it is a building process. Many companies are able to do these parties on their slow days or slow times of the day, making them more profitable. If Twitter boots customer and prospect awareness it is working for many companies. I’m talking about actual sales, not “involvement”. Sales that translates to real money, something to base your ROI on, real numbers that would make your banker smile. Larson Notes & Satire:  Twitter is a unique online platform that lets you show off to prospects exactly who you are in bite size pieces. If you do it successfully you will be successful. What are the demographics of a Twitter Person? College Degree  30% - Twitter 27% General population Advanced Degree 17% - Twitter 11% General population Household incomes of over $100,000 13% - Twitter 10% General population So you tell me. Do those sound like the kinds of customers you want to have? Remember our 3 new programs for 2011. 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3d our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-11 07:26:04 What Could You Do With A Faceb http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41F027D409FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Do you have a Facebook fan page? No? Why not? Stop right where you are and go make one. I am of course assuming that you are on Facebook. How do you actually get people to like your page? I started with my friends (yes I have friends) who were or had a business related connection with me. Then I started posing my fan page in various places like social media sites and as a link of my email signature line, again all business oriented of course. If you are selling in the B2C world you might want to start using it on all your emails. So you have a fan page with a few followers The first thing you want to do is you want to start to create an offer Facebook. That they can only get on your Facebook Fan Page. What you are doing is to create exclusive Facebook content. To be used by your Facebook fans. If you are also on YouTube or if you are also on Twitter (we are going to talk about Twitter parties in another blog) the same thing can be applied, but for the Facebook content here are a couple of things you can do:  Give specific discounts for your fans. These discounts will only come up for your fans and they can use it if they are fans. You can track it that way. Have fan-only giveaways by running an unofficial contest through your Facebook page and you will give away merchandise. Have fans submit pictures or videos. Set the guidelines for the contest and have the fans create content for your site. Once they do then you go out there and pick a winner, based of course on the criteria that you set up. Have exclusive stories, video clips, and things that you mentioned just on Facebook. You won't post it anywhere else so for them to get it they will actually have to come to your Facebook Fan Page.  The more that your content ends up getting liked then of course the more people are going to be watching that or looking at it and it gets passed around. You are in essence making Facebook your own little VIP club room and we know everybody wants to be treated like a VIP.   So go on and create your Facebook (VIP) Fan page today. Larson Notes & Satire:  This for me will be the next frontier. Now that I have most of my different social media sites up to have enough followers rather than do social media wide specials I am going to work on exclusives. See which one gives me the most bang for my time and maybe push a few hard earned Larson Dollars in that direction. No use giving money to a Social Media site that does not produce, but it if does. . . Remember our 3 new programs for 2011. 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3d our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-09 11:40:24 4 Steps To Better Relationship http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41EA75B909FFE040A8C0AC001F56 As in the past not much has really changed. You never know where you will meet your next customer. It could be anywhere from the barber shop to standing in line to get a cup of coffee somewhere. How you choose to begin that relationship with this new contact and future customer does have an impact on how well you well and can stay connected with them. The world of social media opens up an ever increasing way for you to meet people. Rather than at the barber or the coffee shop it can now be twitter or Facebook. So you want to be a Social Media Business success? Follow these steps to get the necessary information to nurture your relationships and find customers First thing is to just relax. Take it slow. I really don’t care what kind of business you are in. There is no real rush. Believe me. If you are in business to stay in business for a long long time, just relax. If you want to establish long term customers you need to do things one step at a time. Do them completely and thoroughly and if you’re like me, you can’t do this fast and on the fly. So again sit down have a cup of coffee. Let’s look at it this way, you need to act online as you would as if you were meeting people F2F. If you exchange an online business card, if you email back and forth a few times, your LinkedIn connections, you need to treat them as if they are real people because guess what? They are real people. Each one is an individual who could and can become a customer. The next step could be to invite these new prospects to receive your email or join your Facebook fan club. The idea is to get them involved with you. Side note here is that if your sales cycle is 1 month or 18 months don’t think that just because this is online that it will shirk to half the time and go down to 15 days or 9 months. As in all your sales your cycle was created over time and the channel you are choosing to work in for your marketing is not going to change that. Second thing is to use the information you are collecting wisely and keep it clean. Housecleaning might seem like a never ending task (and it is) but if you want to have data you can use keeping it clean and up to date is a primary task. What you are achieving here is making your database a prospecting pool to work though your sales cycle as you would any sales prospect. Next and here is where most people mess up, contact people in the way that they want to be contacted. That’s right if you really want to connect you will contact them as they wish not as you wish. IN this kind of contact (which takes work) you start to stand out from the crowd and become a valued connection. The more value you are the closer you become to being on the “short” list. Why not be so bold as to actually ask how someone who you have exchanged a few threads with would really like to be contacted. Talk about finding a way to get noticed! As in all sales you need to know when and how to ask for the sale. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you have online interaction you have a done deal. You wouldn’t think that if they were in your office of store so why do you think that if they are in your online office or store? If you do, shame on you! Like any kind of sale you need to know when and how to close it. Use your sales skills. If all this seems like a lot of work, your right, it is. Success does not and has never come easy for a sales person. We are not selling snake oil here where everyone with a slick tongue and a golden throat and sell anything to anybody. So as you march down the online marketing social media path, you might just want to remember that behind all those names are real people. Larson Notes & Satire:  I started with the request for you to sit down and have a cup of coffee. Now the fun starts. Stop collecting all those names and followers for a day or two and digest what you already have. Find those nuggets you have already laying on the ground. Now go on and read “Acres of Diamonds” it’s a good book. Remember our 3 new programs for 2011. 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3d our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-08 07:47:49 Is Your Social Media A Boost O http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40CE579A55F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Social Media is fun. Going out there doing all this marketing stuff. Getting your name out there. Collecting all sorts of friends and fans. Oh how we get all excited when we pick up someone new on our followers. So how many paying customers do you have or have gotten though your SM efforts? Larson Social Media Score Card Merchants Circle (1066 followers) – 3 customers gained Linked-in (516 connections) – 2 customers gained Facebook (129 fans) – 0 customers gained Twitter (3012 followers) – 1 customers gained All others – 0 So you’re wondering if Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other sites are where you should invest your precious time? I have started focusing more time on Facebook, but still my main focus is MerchantCircle and LinkedIn. For me right now Facebook and Twitter are filler sites. But with the mass power of those two I cannot afford to avoid them. So as always when I do one of these little social media pieces the main question is always how should you approach it? Now don’t think I know what I am doing because I am totally blind, as all experts are. Sorry all you experts but we all have ideas and approaches and anyone who wants to be called an expert is a bit too egotistical for me. I have had too many experts telling me how to do what I am doing and wanting to pick my pocket. Sure they all have good ideas. Ideas and action items you could be doing for yourself if you want to and have the time. If you don’t, maybe you need to hire and expert. We here at Larson write blogs for 2 other companies that don’t have the time to do it themselves. We also monitor social media sites for 3 companies to keep them in constant touch with their fans and friends. So what could you be doing? I can only tell you what I do then do what you need to do for yourself and your company. I start with a posting to get my day started. I get it placed on Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Then I sit down and write my blog, usually daily but sometimes it goes to every other day or so due to time. My bong is the bedrock of my Social Media attack. Each blog take an hour or so of actual writing, but that does not count the research and development of the piece which might be another hour. I usually have about 4 or 5 ideas going through my mind at any given time. After posting my blog on a few sites. 8 right now, I usually scan though some of the LinkIn Groups I am in to see if there are any pertant discussions I would get involved in. Most are just meaningless chest puffing and I stay out of those. If I am being mean cruel and harsh so be it, but most online chatter is just that, with 95% meaningless to my or any businesses real grown or personal development. If I offending anyone, I am sorry, but this is after all how I see things as I sit on the ebony thrown up in the ivory tower. Though out the day I will put out some of the successes that I or my team has had in securing appointment or leads for our clients on twitter which feeds into my LinkedIn account. I will go back and post another Facebook thought about noon. Right now the theme is phone skills. The most important thing you can do is to just get involved. The key is as in all marketing, be consistent with your time and your message. When you post something pertant to you and your company, 1st it appears (with Facebook) on their front page and if they just happen to “like it” all their friends can then see what you have said as it then appears on their walls and  they might become a fan of your company. (The power of social media Word of Mouth). That is about as automatic as you can get in sharing your message as you can get right now. One brief note on e-blastings your friends on any Social Media site. Make it good if not your just another spammer and you will have just gone down 10 pints in my book. What is important to you might not be important to me. Your caucuses are not important to me Keep that in mind next time you want to send out a blast. Larson Notes & Satire:  If you want me to help you. Sure I will, for a fee. I am about as expert as you are going to find out here in Web World. I don’t know all the fancy programming. But I know people who do. The key is and if I lose a customer so be it. You can do all this social media stuff yourself. It takes time to bring it all together and make it work and keeping it working but if you are consistent it can and does bring results. Now remember I am a B2B company not a B2C company so where I am and what I do is geared for that kind of customer and sale. If you are B2C you are going to need to do things a little different. Either way the key is constancy Remember our 3 new programs for 2011. 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3d our Virtual Business Consulting Program Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-07 07:51:56 Experience Use It Or Waste It http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41723EE94932E040A8C0AC001F58 Experience is the best teacher. I have been told that since I don’t remember when. Then in the 80’s I learned the law of learning from other peoples experience. Nice but possible? So let’s look at experience. Experience can be good if: 1. It has prepared you for today’s challenges. 2. It has made you comfortable with needed changes. 3. It has opened you up to welcoming new changes. 4. It has opened your eyes up to be able to look for new competitive advantages you can make. 5. You change wrong or bad habits before they become habits. 6. You keep learning how to simplify things and not complicate your life. 7. You can apply your experience to current events in a positive way 8. You can use experience to lift you up to new and greater heights. Experiences are the building blocks that allow use to create our own future. If you can lean and discern the different experiences you have the good and get bad, you can lay a solid foundation to build your life and business upon. With good initiative and intuition you can be your own person not waiting for someone else to show you the way. Those of us who learn to make calibrated steady disciplined use of our experiences seem to move forward. Yet there is a bad side of experience. Experience can be bad if: 1. Your skills are out of date. (Get cracking, life does not stand still for anyone) 2. You have locked yourself into bad habits. (Don’t be concerned about your appearance. It is all about substance) 3. You are resistant to change of any kind. (Don’t get trapped into what has not worked before. Change happens. Go with it) 4. You keep reliving the “Go old days”. (These are the good old days. Live in the now.) 5. You are afraid of making a mistake. (That is what experience is a compounding of action, both good and bad.) 6. You are applying old worn out solutions to new problems. (That is not using experience that is reliving the past.) 7. You are wasting time and energy on regrets of life. (The past is over, down, Period) 8. You dwell on past accomplishments. (I have a wall of awards; it hangs up on my wall and looks all pretty. I have a wall of medals and trophies but I want more. Is that bad?) 9. You follow the wrong people. (You need to be the lead dog, the front runner.) Now I am not saying we don’t have bad experiences or that all bad experiences are to be considered bad. When you are having one or two, stop take a deep breath, suck it up, learn the lesson and go baby go! Deal with it. Don’t blame anyone for it. Make some solid choices. As you do consider: 1. If I continue to do this what will the consequences be? 2. What am I leaning that I can apply to right myself? Minimizing bad experiences and Maximizing good ones. Experiences are the foundation to build yourself up. Each experience can serve as a building block to the next. What you do with it is the mortar between. Larson Notes & Satire:  Everyone once in a while it happens. Someone wants me to mentor them. Why? How should I know? I can tell them of life and life’s experiences from my perspective, which I do. I can have them go through various excursuses that might reveal their answers but what I cannot do is make that choice and make those actions for them. I have always believed that each of us has all the tools we need for each challenge life thoughts at us. It is already in us to make the right decision. Look into yourself for the answers don’t look at me. I am me, unique and sometimes obnoxious. You’re you. If you want my help you might not like the answer(s). Why? Because I will make you think. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-02-04 08:10:44 Direct Mail Keeps Getting Bett http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB403D86B5423AE040A8C0AC001F5C I’ve been kicking around advertising a long time. I have seen technology become obsolete with the new and better, although sometimes I wonder if new is really better. I have seen things start to happen faster, and site back up here in the ivory tower and wonder if faster is better. Sometimes a walk to the coffee shop rather than driving can get my head working on overtime then a sip of a delightful cup of “Joe” then the walk back and I have more ideas than I can handle. I can’t do that driving in the city. Give me a good 200 mile ride and it will have the same effect on my mind but local, no way. But don’t let my longevity fool you into thinking I am clinging to the old ways of making things happen. Sure my company uses a lot of old technology and old ideas and old marketing tools. But ask yourself if you know too many other advertising or marketing companies that are working the Social Media world harder. Ask yourself if you know too many other advertising and marketing companies that work the web harder. So why direct mail? In the early days of web marketing (rolling on the floor with laughter as I think, ya the early days what, 10 years ago? 5 years?) there was the promise of this new channel pushing out all the old marketing ideas and tools as people flooded to only online marketing , online newspapers and catalogs. So as everyone moved into the wide world of the web good old Larson’s moved more and more into telemarketing and direct mail while setting ourselves up in Social Media Marketing with our first entry on MerchantCircle in September of 2006 http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates . Why because that is where the action was and still is. We did not make a big splash back then we moved in sort of slowly like a gun fighter riding into town in an old Clint Eastwood movie. Head straight but eyes always moving. So as everyone rushed or rushes into Social Media and the web we sort of slowly road in and sauntered up to the bar, ordered a drink (of telemarketing) then downing that another (of direct mail) looking over the room a third of shot (blogging). Slowing calculating as we lean against the bar our head straight, our eyes always moving. Looking. Watching. As email and email blasts and email marketing rose up my mail box got emptier and emptier, but my email address got so full I did not read it all. As this happened I found that I, and those of my clients that were sticking with (good old) direct mail were seeing higher rations, better results and a stronger ROI. As each of our mailing pieces competed with fewer and fewer other items in the box, they were seen and read more and more resulting in more and more action. One client of ours using direct mail has seen their performance in this channel go up 250% over the last 2 years. From 2% upwards of 5% return. In working the account we are finding that direct mail is becoming a stronger more viable channel to funnel valuable marketing dollars to. With variable data we can improve the levels of personalization and relevance to increase response rates even higher. I have been pushing direct mail hard over the last year not because my company is involved in it, but because it works. Learn how to use direct mail while in harmony with your digital, web and social media marketing. Mix it up with the speed of light and you might surprise yourself. Larson Notes & Satire:  Am I old? You  bet ya. Just ask my kids. I guess that is one of the reasons I still run races. I still place in the top 10% in the open race category. That is with all those 20 and 30 year olds the high school and college runners. 9 times out of 10 I will be in the top 3 in my age group in any given race. The longer the race, the less their speed and my knowledge becomes important. Therein lies the difference between a 1 mile run and a full marathon. Age has its benefits and one of those is the knowledge of seeing the past as we move into the future. My company has a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, 1 year and 5 year goal on where I want it to be. The last year was not nice to most of use and I did need to revise things slightly but after revision I still hit my numbers. It is sort of funny the requests I get from people that really have no idea on who I am. They are clues about what I want my company to be doing or where I want it go. They tell me how they can do this and that for me. How my web site stinks, which it does, but don’t know that in one of my targeted markers I place 1st page in Google, Yahoo and Bing, how I post too many links with my twitter messages which I do, but I get responses they have no knowledge of.  How I do everything wrong and they do everything right and how they could fix my business. They know what THEY want but are totally clueless about me. (big sigh) Don’t let my old graying blond hair fool you. When you want to do something for me shoot straight. Know me and my company, because guess what, I think I should be helping you and not the other way around. And oh ya, don’t every take yourself too seriously, I know I don’t. We have 3 programs that you might be interested in. 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3d our Virtual Business Consulting Program, All designed to help small to medium size business thrive and prosper without picking your pocket. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!      2011-02-03 08:42:02 So You Want A Facebook Ad? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40BEFA3055F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Let’s not just pick on Facebook let’s add in any kind of Social Media site. Keep your checkbook closed and your credit cards tight in your wallet. If your thinking of advertising in and though Facebook plan carefully not just in the add and the target but the back end follow up and service. As you do keep in mind that Facebook users are far more likely to click on ads for entertainment, media sites, and blogs than for other kinds of ads. This chart from a recent Webtrends survey of more than 11,000 Facebook advertisements measures click through rates (red) and cost per click (blue) for different categories of ads. There's a huge jump in click through rates for the last two categories -- Media & Entertainment and Tabloids & Blogs. In other words, stuff that's fun to discuss with friends. Health care ads are the least successful, followed -- somewhat surprisingly -- by ads for Internet and software products.   Maybe that fits you but not me. I’m putting together my Facebook Fan group http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans to go after a more B2B market but with only 126 fans it’s not there yet. Yet if your B2C and fit in the higher areas of media and entertainment you might not lose your shirt or if you have big enough pockets, go for it. Keep in mind there are more social media sites aside from Facebook. If you’re B2C they might be your best bet right now but that could change in a month. Literally that fast. If you’re B2B you might want to look over sites like MerchantCircle http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates or LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates which are more business orientated. The key is to go where your customers are! Larson Notes & Satire:  No one picks Uncle Howie’s pocket. Yelp called me once and tried to get me to spend money on them, trying to show (show? No tell) me how successful they were with American Express. Well good for American Express but what do they have in common with Larson & Associates your premier Telesales Service for small business? It is funny how the delightful young lady could not answer that? Don’t worry I was nice to her. But remember Cash is king. If you have it people will try to get you to spend it, on them. If you need help with your business or marketing plan so you don’t get raked over the coals call us and we will set you up with a Larson planning expert or for long term we can put you on a consultant planning program. We have 3 programs that you might be interested in. 1st is our Virtual Sales Manager Program. 2nd our Sales Function Outsourcing Program 3d our Virtual Business Consulting Program, All designed to help small to medium size business thrive and prosper without picking your pocket. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-02-02 08:13:58 The Reverse Funnel System http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FF6893552BCE040A8C0AC001F5E To start out I am NOT talking about The Reverse Funnel System (RFS) that is a Pyramid scheme or Multi-level marketing device originated by Ty Coughlin and his company, InnerCircle. I am talking about a sales system like the funnel system I talked about Friday in which we turn the funnel upside down than tell or sell to one person who tells their friends who tell their friends etc until you funnel opening which is upside down is literally pouring out people. You can call it The Reverse Funnel System, WOM or Word of Mouth, of the Evangelism System. Whatever you want to call it the basic idea is that your marketing message grows as it filters down your friend and follower system.   With a more traditional marketing attack loyalty is attributed to the buyer.  That makes sense doesn’t it? The person who buys from you is the one who you want to reward. We went out and just kept finding more and more buyers buy going out and filtering out more and more prospects. With this “system” if we can call it that we don’t focus so much on the buyer as much as the person who has the greatest ability to “influence” others. The average consumer and prospect might ignore your marketing message but with the value of the evangelist speaking out in favor of you and your service/product you have an advocate out here on review sites, message boards and social media sites singing your praises. If you are an e-commerce marketer who wants to capitalize on the out spoken influential group of people consider these points of action: 1st Keep it simple. Create content that is easy to copy paste so it easily be but into blogs, Facebook and other social media pages. 2nd Leverage the emotional connection between the evangelist and your brand. What this actually means to you the online marketer is that when a buyer and your band connect they will have a genuine love of speaking out. This essential emotional quality is going to help with your retention, cross selling and additional acquisition of finding more customers. 3rd Content is king.! If you’re going to go on t and leverage yourself with interaction and connections between consumers who are proactive and searching for more service/product information and you have brand advocates and evangelists pushing your message out to the far reaches of the internet. Keeping fresh and updated content on your pages and blogs is essential. No one likes stale crackers. 4th Connect your social media efforts with some other kind of marketing channel. Email, direct mail, telemarketing. When two (or more) channels are combined you stand an even greater chance of making stronger more lasting connections with your potential prospects. 5th Reward and recognize your evangelists. A good customer should not be identified solely by their purchases and your company reward system. Find ways to publically thank them. You might see me doing this in my blog and Facebook fan page where I will bring out other social media sites that have giving one of my blogs recognition or a person who has spoken out on my behalf. Larson Notes & Satire:  Funnel or revere funnel it’s all about reaching out and touching prospects. The more prospects that are touched the better the odds of making a sale. And isn’t making a sale what we are in business to do? That and make a profit? Can you Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge ? Need help in pouring in new sales leads into your sales funnel. That is what we here at Larson’s do. Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-01-31 06:59:53 The Sales Funnel & Reverse Fun http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4151A3764932E040A8C0AC001F58   After yesterday you might start to think I am not in favor of quick fast growth. Quite the contrary that is way I made 2011 the year of doubling your sales. I just don’t want you going bankrupt from lack of cash in the process or if you do run out of money at least know why. So let’s look at my friend the sales funnel. Some gurus of sales have said the funnel is dead, it leaks, and it’s just no good anymore. I disagree, you can put the funnel upright or you can put the funnel upside down (the reverse funnel) and still win sales, or if you have two funnels you can put them end to end and like wow, stand back baby, it’s time to watch the after burners in your sales efforts. The idea of the funnel for those of you not familiar with it is to put lots and lots of prospects in the top and work those names though your sales process and sales cycle and as you go forward (as the funnel gets smaller) you get a better and higher quality prospect which eventually comes out the bottom of the funnel. To get customers out the bottom you need to be pouring in names in the top. There is a system to it. The Sales Funnel selling process consists of the following steps: 1. Total Prospects 2. Total Company Currant Customers 3. Unqualified Prospects 4. Inital Communications 5. First Contact & Discussion 6. Proposal Development 7. Presentaton(s) 8. Prospects Evaluations 9. Negoations 10. Verbal Commitments 11. Written Agreement 12. Product Service Delivery 13. Payment Received 14. Follow-up action plan   An alternate but similar series of steps is as follows as a company might be entering into a new field or launching a new product or service. 1. New Opportunity 2. Initial Communication 3. Fact Finding 4. Develop Solution 5. Propose Solution 6. Solution Evaluation 7. Negotiation 8. Sales Order 9. Account Maintenance By using the sales funnel, and by quantifying the number of prospects at each stage of the process, you can... 1. Manage the prospects 2. Manage your customers 3. Manage the sales pipeline more effectively 4. Control the sales pipeline 5. Improve the sales productivity 6. Improve the conversion rate 7. Increase the sales Now for those who like to read here is the entire process all written down for you. If you don’t like to read just take the numbered points of action and work them out for yourself. 1. Total Prospects 2. Total Company Currant Customers Prospecting refers to identifying and developing a list of potential clients. Sales people go and get the names of prospects from a variety of sources including trade shows, commercially-available databases or mail lists, company sales records and in-house databases, public records, referrals, directories, social media and any other source possible. Prospecting activities should be structured so that they identify only potential clients who fit the profile of the best possible client and are willing, able, and authorized to buy the product or service. Once prospecting is started, it then is up to the sales professional to qualify those prospects to further identify possible customers and screen out poor leads. 3. Unqualified Prospects 4. Inital Communications Before engaging in the actual personal selling process, you must first analyze all the information you have available about a prospect to better understand as much about the prospect as possible. During the Pre-approach phase of the personal selling process, you try to understand the prospect's current needs, current use of competitor’s brands and feelings about all available brands and products on the market, as well as identify key decision makers, review account histories (if any), assess product needs, plan/create a sales presentation to address the identified and likely concerns of the prospect, and set call objectives. You also want to develop an overall strategy for the sales process during this phase, keeping in mind that the strategy may have to be readjusted as you learn more about the prospect. 5. First Contact & Discussion 6. Proposal Development This is the time of actual contact you have with the prospect. This is the point of the selling process where the you meet the prospect, and make your initial introduction, establish some kind of rapport which will set the foundation of the relationship, asking open-ended questions to learn more about the prospects needs. 7. Presentaton(s) During the presentation portion of the selling process, you get to tell a product "story" in a way that speaks directly to the identified needs and wants of the prospect. Making your presentation customized is the key component of this step. At this point in the process, prospects are often allowed to hold and/or inspect the product and the sales professional may also actually demonstrate the product. Audio visual presentations may be incorporated such as slide presentations or product videos and this is usually when sales brochures or booklets are presented to the prospect. You should strive to let the prospect do most of the talking during the presentation and address the needs of the prospect as fully as possible by showing that he or she truly understands and cares about the needs of the prospect. Overcoming Objections You then seek out your prospects' objections in order to try to address and overcome them. When prospects offer objections, it often signals that they need and want to hear more in order to make a fully-informed decision. If objections are not uncovered and identified, you cannot effectively manage them. Uncovering objections, asking clarifying questions, and overcoming objections is a critical part of training for professional sellers and is a skill area that must be continually developed because there will always be objections. Trust me when I tell you that as soon as you finds a way to successfully handle "all" your prospects' objections, someone will find a new, unanticipated objection-- if for no other reason than to test you. 8. Prospects Evaluations 9. Negoations 10. Verbal Commitments Although technically "closing" a sale happens when products or services are delivered to the customer's satisfaction and payment is received, for the purposes of our discussion I will define closing as asking for the order and adequately addressing any final objections or obstacles. There are many closing techniques as well as many ways to ask trial closing questions. A trail question might take the form of, "Now that I've addressed your concerns, what other questions do you have that might stop you from starting up with us?" Closing does not always mean that you literally asks for the order, it could be asking the prospect how many they would like, what color they would prefer, when they would like to take delivery, etc. Too many sales professions are either weak or too aggressive when it comes to closing. If you are closing a sale, be sure to ask for the order. If the prospect gives an answer other than "yes", it may be a good opportunity to identify new objections and continue selling. 11. Written Agreement 12. Product Service Delivery 13. Payment Received 14. Follow-up action plan Follow-up is an often overlooked but important part of the selling process. After an order is received, it is in the best interest of everyone involved for you to follow-up with the new customer to make sure the product was received in the proper condition, at the right time, installed properly, proper training delivered, and that the entire process was acceptable to the customer. This is a critical step in creating customer satisfaction and building long-term relationships. If they experienced any problems you can intervene and become a customer advocate to ensure 100% satisfaction. Good follow-up can also lead to uncovering new needs, additional purchases, and also referrals and testimonials which can be used as sales tools.   Larson Notes & Satire:  Sitting back having a long sip off good hot black coffee. . . I’ll talk about the reverse funnel next week. This was quiet enough for one day. But hint, hint. . .  the reverse funnel involves referrals and social media marketing. So are you still game to double your business this year. Do you want to do it? Can you do it? Do you have the mental fortitude to do it? The blog above can give you a rough idea if you can do it. Can you Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge ? Need help in pouring in new sales leads into your sales funnel. That is what we here at Larson’s do. Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-01-28 07:21:55 Can You Afford To Grow? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41B0252609FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Can You Afford To Grow? No I’m not kidding. Can you afford to grow? You might be asking “Can you afford not to grow” but there is a price to grow and it is not in sales the true measure of possible growth is found in your cash flow and your profit margin. Sales are nice and profits are nicer, but a business from the one man army to the fortune 500 live and die by cash flow. I have been talking about growth and doubling your business this year and it is a nice thought to have a business or your personal sales twice the size it is right now, isn’t it, but can you afford to do it? Rolling up my sleeves let’s get serious and get our heads out of the sales growth clouds today. How can you afford and grow in sanely. How can your plan for growth and determine the amount of ADDITIONAL cash you will need, and yes my friend you will need cash to grow. Start by asking the right questions: 1) How much is it and over what time frame? 2) What is my gross margin? 3) How much overhead will you need to add to achieve this goal? 4) How long will it take you to get paid? If you can answer these 4 questions you can make an educated guess as to whether you can afford to grow (and how fast) or not. Example. Let us say you want to grow $500,000 this year. Your gross margin is 30% and you don’t expect any change because of the new business except that you will need to add $50,000 in overhead expenses for commissions, bookkeeping, personnel etc. Additionally you expect your average return on account receivables to hold steady at 35 days. Start by figuring out the cost of goods sold on the new business. Since your gross margin is 30% that comes to: $350,000, add in the extra overhead you need to make it happen ($50,000) and you end up with $400,000 in new SPENDING. To keep this simple we will then divide this up by the number of days in the period (you could do this by month, quarter or whatever) which in our case here is 365 days and you find out that the cost of this new business is $1096 dollars a day. If you did not lose your teeth on that one pick yourself up off the floor and then multiply that number by the number of days that it takes you to collect your money witch in our example is 35. So we end up with $1096 x 35 = $38,360.00 This is only a rough formula to show you what you might need but any kind of forecasting is rough at best. But you need a tool to show you the numbers in black and white. Now with the economy starting to expand you don’t want to be truing down business so what can you do? 1) Reduce your collection time. 2) Extend your payables by a week or so (best to talk to your suppliers and let them know what is going on so they can support you in this.) It does mean more business for them, so they might go along with it if they feel you know what you’re doing. 3) Borrow money. I am not anti bank but I don’t like to borrow money. If you go that route you need to add in the interest rate against what your gross margin is. 4) Borrow against receivables with an asset lender. Did this once, hated it; you lose total control of your receivables but no red tape and can get money very fast. Again they have their place in the world of business but they are the place of last result I would go to. 5) Angels. Friends, relatives who know you and love you who would float you a short term loan. Larson Notes & Satire:  So are you still game to double your business this year. Can you afford to do it? Do you want to do it? The blog above can give you a rough idea if you can do it. Can you Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge ? As for me here at Larson’s we spent all last year ramping up so we could double our sales. Now it’s time to put the pedal to the meddle and go for it. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-01-27 07:20:21 The Critical Mass Of Social Me http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41AB057909FFE040A8C0AC001F56  Yesterday was more about quality then it was about sheer volume. Deal with it. Yet there are times when you just need more mud on the wall. You need numbers lots of numbers. And somewhere that critical mass of people and businesses exist, and its right at your door step, enter Social Media. With a greater presence of activity in Social Media networks you can quickly find the numbers you may be missing. Starting with blogs to videos to tips of the day to effective pointed content you can start to engage the critical mass of people you might just need. You need to be thinking well past the just your front page and be active with the hundreds upon thousands of people. Now for the key idea: If you want to be successful in social media marketing you need to get your followers to get passionate and inspired enough to become advocates and ambassadors of your company, product and brand. We, or at least I did, see this with my friend Dee Gerrish and her Goldendoodle Fans United over on Facebook. Even if they are not big time buyers their influence can proved you with a grater reach to most likely an entirely new group of potential customers. When I think of all my friends that are not Dee’s friends that are now reading about her Goldendoodle’s, well, you get the picture. Well done Dee! After you identify who these prospects and customers are build programs to learn how they might use your product. Then expose them, in a good way, to the new products you can be offering them. Attempt to generate feedback on your online posts Start a visible conversation with your followers and their friends. Keep asking them to “bring a friend” and grow your visibility larger and larger. As the instigator and influencer of your marketing stream you stay in control even within the open platform of Social Media. Larson Notes & Satire:  Think of social media not as something you can control so much but as a vehicle for empowering your ability of word of mouth marketing to a greater, faster level than ever before imagined. With fresh content. A unique look at things. You can together with your other marketing channels leverage your marketing strategy better then superman ever could. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, look up on the screen is a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s . . .  Me. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-01-26 07:00:19 Getting Better Prospects http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FF1B29452BCE040A8C0AC001F5E Here we are in the information age where data rains down from the heavens filling our lives with more information that we would have ever dreamed of and I need to ask you, Do you have any idea what you’re doing? No really do you have a plan in place for 2011? It’s not too late to get one going. First sit down and outline your goals for the year. Ya all of them! Are you looking for more quality or more quantity? Are you looking for more prospects or more customers? If you want sheer quantity you might want to put more effort into social media. You can get lots of action and names but are they qualified? If you want more quality you might want to be looking at the more traditional direct marketing ideas in your plan. You will get more meaningful data and have greater control. So where to start? Well right there in your own customer list. Start out by profiling your existing customers matching it against other databases you can obtain. Use things like SIC numbers, employee size, sales size. This is the footprint of your best possible prospect. Next thing to do is using more traditional marketing channels such as direct mail, e-mail, and telemarketing you will generate a higher conversion rate when used in combination. Using past marketing experience you might have some secret information as to how this kind of prospect likes to be contacted. Ok, here is the time to use it. Contact them as experience says they like to be contacted to. Offer a deal, give a sense of urgency and let it roll. Larson Notes & Satire:  I’m not going to say much here today. I think I said what I wanted to in the main part of today’s blog. There are rules to advertising and marketing. Do you need to always follow the rules? No. But you need to know the rules so when you break them you can consciously be aware of what you did and why. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-01-25 07:00:27 Success On LinkedIn http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB41A0F57B09FFE040A8C0AC001F56 So much has been written about Facebook and Twitter that one of the keys to online social media success, LinkedIn, sort of gets lost in the dust. Yet if you are looking to really work the business side of Social Media and want to get in front of the right kind of people who are there for business LinkedIn is the tool. Neilson called LinkedIn “The world’s largest audience of affluent, influential professionals.” LinkedIn population comes from more than 200 countries and territories; it is more highly educated, with over 80% having at least a bachelor or graduate degree. The average household income of a LinkedIn user is $108,000 per year and more that 20% of LinkedIn users are senior level executives and managers with 60% of those being decision makers at their respective companies or have direct influence over the buying decision. So how do you take advantage of LinkedIn? 1) Don’t wait for your prospects to come to you. Of the 80 million professionals on LinkedIn only a few consistently are gaining clients and projects from the site. Seems most people have a profile page and only a few connections. They are not out there actively seeking new prospects, joint venture partners and referral sources. It seems they keep asking the one question over and over: “Why should I be on this website?” One of your top and I mean top priorities is to always be out there to get new clients. The only want to be doing this is to go out and look for the kind of customers you want. Aside from letting you network with the best and smartest people out there, you can be building real networks with these people that can have a trickledown effect into new connections that will bring in new business. But you can’t stand on the side lines and be a lurker. You need to get active. 2) Start to be engaging. If you want to be notices by possible prospects you need to take the nest step and stop out of the shadows and be seen. Show them you are worthy to be working with them. How you ask:  a) Update your status message at least daily. No not stupid stuff like I’m taking the garbage out, but real business related items that are attractive to them. Like asking pertinent questions or display an industry answer or project you are working on.  b) State debates within LinkedIn groups. I’m pretty good at this one being a devil’s advocate. Stir the pot and have some fun. Flash a bit of your expertise and display your knowledge.  c) Be out there consistently providing tips, tools, resources, videos, articles and linked channels. Be the person people look to for the answers.  d) Answer questions on the boards within the different groups you belong to. Again this is a way to be out there to demonstrate your knowledge as an expert in your field.  e) Be the host of some kind of monthly event. An online teleseminar or get a f2f networking group going out of your LinkedIn followers. Remember you are the focal point in all this and you are marketing yourself as the go-to-guy that everyone wants to be friends with. As you become more and more valuable, not an irritant, you will be building a strong relationship with the people you want to become your customers.  f) Have a complete profile page. Should not have to say this but I do. 3) Take advantage of LinkedIn groups. Did you know that LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups? IN these groups you can network, join in conversations, show prospects you have answers to their questions and problems. Most people don’t seem to utilize the group tool in order to get themselves out in front of prospects. Yet those that do often make a few mistakes:  a) They become a member of a group but don’t participate. Come on now, how can you expect prospects to find you if you don’t take the time to do a posting or two? You have got to stand up and be noticed.  b) They join groups where there are all similar members to themselves. That does you allot of good doesn’t it. You might want to be in some industry groups just to get and keep a pulse on the industry but really you’re not going to find any customers in a group of your peers. You might find an employee but not a customer. 4) Go out and create a LinkedIn Group. Go on and create your own community on LinkedIn. Then you are in charge of who and what is posted, you are in charge of the fairness of the posting and keeping any disputes on your groups board down to a minimum. So yes there is a responsibility to owning and running a group but on the up side, many people almost religiously check out what is being said on the LinkedIn groups they belong to. 5) You should be consistently creating and distributing content. I belong to 48 LinkedIn groups. It was 50 but needed to make some holes in my 50 so I deleted some with duplicate members or ones that were not active or only had my competition. Just think of the people I am able to get in front of? Like wow, if each group only had 100 members that would be 5000 people, and I can tell you a few of those groups have members in the over 2,000 range. 6) Hook up your Twitter and your Facebook fan page to your LinkedIn account and get even more activity. Timeliness and activity will go a long way to being seen on LinkedIn. You don’t want to be obnoxious about it but you to want to keep your name at the top of the posting list. Taking in your posts off your other social media business sites can only help you do more for less. So let me ask you, nicely, are you taking advantage of all the various networking and relationship building and business growth opportunities and tools on LinkedIn? Larson Notes & Satire:  Last May my web site hits starting to go off the charts. I mean really up in the over 1000% increase in weekly unique visitor hits. Why? I attribute it to 2 things. First off was Google giving its search engine access to real time search and second my 6 years or working social media marketing. I try to claim my company name on every site I find. I then start out lurking for a little bit to get the flow of the site, then doing some pointed posts of blogging to the site to see what the general feeling is of the members. If I find that I like it or I fine that it has a good number of prospects I “set up camp” and work to become a valued member of the site. Over the years I have joined and dropped out of a few sites that became a waste of time while adding in others. The ones I am working hard right now are: http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson http://chicagosblackbusinessnetwork.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson http://mylinkingpowerforum.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson http://melrosebestbuyfamilyoutlet.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson http://www.tsusellersnetwork.com/profile/HowardLarson Why, because I like them. It might change in a week or two or three. Social media is like the waves of the ocean and you need to move as the tide moves in and out. Yet in all the sites there is one key ingredient and that is “be consistent with your message” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-01-24 06:36:33 Rules Of Mailing Engagement http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4131369E4932E040A8C0AC001F58 To get the most out of a direct mail campaign it only makes sense to manage it to produce a maximum response. Yes how many times in the mad rush to meet some real or imaginary deadline. When we do that to ourselves we only end up using limited resources and not having your front and back end set up to get the best in ROI possible. So when reviewing the last few direct mail programs I have put together for clients I came up with a few rules to be a basic guide to get the biggest bang for my clients buck: Rule 1: Know What You Want. Just because you do have a marketing plan, you do have a marketing plan don’t you; I won’t even ask right now if it IS written down. Again just because you have a marketing plan and goals does not mean that everyone knows the baseline of expected results from any part of your plan. Then even if you have a lowest denominator or expected results is it based off of facts or just a simple assumption? Did I say a guess? So can you answer these 3 questions? a) How many people or companies are you trying to talk to? b) How many people or companies responded in your last 1 or 2 campaigns? If this is your 1st do your best. c) Did each of your last 1 or 2 campaigns let you grow as you wanted or anticipated? Rule 2: Know what you want to happen. You need a plan not just a plan of action but a plan that gives you direction. Why are you doing a direct mail attack? What are your expectations? What is your anticipated response rate? What are your revenue goals and how will you track it? So 3 basic questions to ask yourself are:  a) What is the revenue goal for the campaign? You might call it revenue per address, revenue for area, revenue per customer type. But you need a monetary goal.  b) What are the profiles of the customers you are targeting? Are you going after the “usual suspects?” or are you venturing out into uncharted waters? Can you pinpoint the top people or companies in your data base? My suggestion is to divide your list up into the parts, 1) Those who do not spend on a regular basis or in larger dollar amounts. 2) Those who do spend on a regular basis or large dollar amounts. 3) The rest.  c) What can you offer each of these groups to tickle their interest enough to take action and respond? If all you have done with your customer list is to segment it out by spending patterns you are really only half way there. I take my hat off to you if you have done that because 75% or small and medium size businesses don’t even to that but now do yourself a favor and go the rest of the way. Some customers might have different credit cards for buying different items to better manage their spending. Others will break down for you in different ways perhaps by geography. Point is the more you can profile your customers or prospects the better off you are. Rule 3: Zip+4 and More. This is one of the easiest ways to get into the socio-geographic profiling methods you can use. As you take and study your customer base you might just find that certain areas buy more than others. In a quest to greater understanding of your market the more that one certain zip code buys from you the more you want to penetrate into it. This is not brain surgery. Taking what you already know about a customer or an area and applying that information into your marketing attack is only common sense. How you talk to this group as a whole can help you to talk to them as individuals as to who and what they are, after all they do live in the same general area.  a) Factor analysis. In using the key vafiable of a socio-graphic indicatkion and taking those results into yoru database you can emblilish your now existing data  b) Cluster your analysis. Focus in on the groups that now exist in yoru database. What is the same about them? What do they all share in some way? Do you care what characteristics they share or is it meaningless to your company?  c) Discrimination analysis. Find the different factors that separate the group. Again does it make a difference or not? Does it help you in the prediction of their buying habits or not? When you then take that information with Zip+4 postal information you might be able to narrow down the possibility of new customers. We have seen cases of a dirct mail campaign going from under a 0.5% resoponce rate up to over 3.5% Might this give rise to you using variable data for geographic market segmentation? Larson Notes & Satire:  Ya ya I’m a mean heartless business person looking to take money out of your pocket. Maybe, but maybe not. It costs me money, more money than I take in to run a marketing campaign on a one shot deal or to push out a telemarketing campaign on a 3 week trial basis. You might think I am a picking your pocket but think again. I put and most companies (unless you’re a lawyer that seems to charge for even sharpening a pencil) have a given about of non chargeable time and effort to take in a new account. Go on and think about it or retrace your actions and steps when you get a new customer. What do you do to get their account set up that you don’t or can’t bill for? So don’t tell me I am stealing your money for a 3 or 4 week telesales program. I want you not for 4 weeks as a customer but for life! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-01-21 08:34:10 What Is G4 & Do You Care http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB418F92C509FFE040A8C0AC001F56  People Don't Know 4G Is, And They Don't Care What 4G Is Here's some interesting charts from Nielsen on what consumers think about when they hear the phrase "4G." Nielsen polled 2,131 people about 4G. Of that, 893 said they understood what 4G is. But when pressed further, only 54% of that really knew what it meant (super fast wireless). 27% of the people polled think it's the latest version of the iPhone. Regardless of whether or not they can define it, so far they don't care about 4G wireless. Only 29% of the people polled said they were planning on buying a 4G phone in the next year.         Good news for Apple, which (probably) doesn't plan on releasing a phone that runs on a 4G network this year. Bad news for other phone makers looking to gain an edge by offering a 4G compatible handset. That said, once the carriers start marketing 4G even more, we assume more people will want a 4G phone. Does it make much difference if you have G4 or G3. Then again is G2 still hanging around? As we move more and more into mobile marketing it might start to make a difference but then, should I be paying more to have you market to me?   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates   2011-01-20 12:34:38 The Road to Prosperity http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40946E2055F0E040A8C0AC001F5A You want the secret to increasing your sales in this wonderful economy? Be different than your competition. Challenge every idea you have ever heard. Be an innovator. Be audacious. Stand out from the crowd and be seen as well as heard! Get your head on and launch that new business, create that new product or service that disrupts the competition. Just remember ideas are cheap. It’s the application of the ideas that is the hard part. There are 3 primary things you will need to innovate and prosper; those being ideas, talent and capital. Over the past couple of years almost everything has been focused on capital. Hoarding your cash, managing your cash flow, working within your budget. Yes this is very important but so is the need for you to continue to invest in research and development as well as marketing. You can’t or shouldn’t put this part of your business on hold completely. You might need to have a retreat and get away from everything to be able to listen to the market so you know where to focus yourself. And when you more, invest in products for the long time and then keep them in front of customer’s noses so they have enough time to decide to buy what you are offering. Don’t get into any decision for the quick buck. As for marketing be as aggressive as you can. I know I need to do an update and do a few additions but here are 122 marketing ideas you can use. I use them, you should also.  http://www.larsonassociates.ws/marketing_tools Some have a cost some don’t, most fall in-between. My point here is that you don’t want to disappear. Customers are hard enough to come by even in a good economic cycle. The last thing you want to go and do is make them nervous as to how you are doing. If you can, increase your exposure, widen your communication channels and create an aura of confidence. So perhaps now more that ever it is time to consider the entire concept of direct mail and maybe ask what would be the purpose to use this channel, what would we be trying to do if you used direct mail who do you want to target with a mailing piece and what are the ways we could integrate it with the kinds of online channels we are now using? Even as we push harder into the digital world of the web, social media marketing email marketing, blogs, video, mobile don’t overlook what could be sitting right at your doorstep or your customer’s doorstep or should we say their mail boxes. As I showed 2 days ago, people, ya people like you and I trust the printed ink on paper word more than they see and read online. Use that to your advantage. Larson Notes & Satire:  When do you do your best thinking? Mine these days happens to be at 5:10 in the morning. I am in the process of getting ready to run in a marathon this spring with my son. Now a marathon is not something you take lightly. You don’t just go lace up your “sneakers” and go run. It takes months, even for me, months to get my body and mind physically ready for the challenge in all ways so also the growth of a good business. It is not just 1 thing, it might be 1 more thing but it is not just 1 thing. That 1 thing might be what you need push your entire business over the edge into double digit growth. As you know, at least I think you know, I am pushing triple digit growth for the year 2011 with the Larson Challenge http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge to double the size of your business. Join in, it’s free and no purchase is necessary. So in your quiet time ask yourself, what is that 1 thing you need? If you’re not doing direct mail marketing, even as little as a direct mail post card, think about it. Direct mail is durable, less disposable and more sensory that anything else out there. You want to be attention to yourself send out a mailing to those increasingly empty mailboxes. Now I know you think of us here at Larson’s as the company of the melodious voices that pound the phones as a group of trained telemarketing professionals but don’t think that we don’t have the resources to put it all together for you. As a 36 year Chicago Ad and Graphics Professional I know how to make it happen. I can only say use me, so many times. Go on make me work, I dare you. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!     2011-01-19 08:15:30 Why Not Use The Cheapest Print http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4123382B4932E040A8C0AC001F58 We are in a recession or are we. I guess right now it all depends on the person perspective of you. Your business and your micro economic outlook. No matter. The fact is that we are all trying to produce more with less of an advertising budget. With that in mind it can be very tempting to just go out and buy your printing, anything from business cards to that new brochure to a hot little direct mail piece, from the printer with the lowest cost, right? Well you might be able to save a few bucks up front but is it cost effective? Well. . .  most likely not. If you are one of those who expect your printer to be doing more than just putting ink down on paper buying cheep makes no sense. If your printer has not evolved into a marketing consultant who works with you from their area of experience and knowledge to create the right kind of printed piece for what you want to get done, you are getting short changed no matter what the price. If you are doing a direct mail piece, your printer should be able to get the most out of your project, and I am not talking about the most copies. If you’re planning on doing a new brochure your printer should be able to consult with you on the latest trends and practices to help make your brochure stand out from the competition. Your printer should be able to evaluate your objectives and your target audience and market and then suggest what you might want to have happen on that printed page. Those little things like size, color, n umber of folds, kind of paper stock, estimated postage costs, etc. Maybe you can be cross channeling your new brochure or mailer into other kinds of media like a blog, a social media push or a special web promotion. If your printer is as good as he should be he is at the forefront of what is happening in the world of advertising. They should be working with you to help you to target new areas to attract new customers. If you are not using variable data your printer might be able to help you with their valuable insights on when and how to use this technology to make it even more relevant to your prospects or present customers. This kind of technology might help to keep you relevant. You should only need to communicate with them on what the goals and timing of your project is and they should be able to help you get the highest ROI possible. If they can’t, go fish. Larson Notes & Satire:  Printing is just one part of what should be in your marketing attack but it can be the anchor or the glue that keeps it all together. No other medium is a grounded as the printed piece. Yes it might have some upfront costs that keeps you from using it, but that is why more and more people trust printing. You can’t sit down and punch out a quickie. Think about it. Any electronic medium can be done with almost zero out of pocket cost except for your time and energy and of course your computer and software. But a mailer or a brochure? Not so easy to do for a time only expense. You have to spend some money to make it, produce it and then to send it out. So maybe you need to ask yourself? Are you a real business, a hobby business or just throwing some mud on the wall to see what sticks kind of business? Do things right and you can sit back in your chair and toast your competition: ah yes “Here’s mud in your eye!” Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever!   2011-01-18 06:18:00 Trust In Ink On Paper http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4180552009FFE040A8C0AC001F56  In all its technical savvy and the ability to push your message out at the press of a key, customers, prospects and consumers still seem to favor and trust the printed word. If you have a few dollars to spend on advertising you might want to keep this in mind. People still prefer things that are printed more than not. So where and what kind of print advertising should you be doing? Some of that has to do with the kind of business you have and the product/service you are selling but: When it comes to Direct Mail: 61% - will recall seeing or receiving your piece. 66% - Will consider another purchase (if directed toward current customers) 70% - Positive spin if it is targeted to the interests of the recipient 78% - Felt the company was interested in building a good relationship 68% - Helped make a purchasing decision in favor to the sending company 74% - Found print more appealing that other kinds of ads When it comes to Magazine Ads 84% - Read the ads when in print (This goes down to 72% if an online advertisement) 54% - Influenced the buying decision 47% - Pushed the customer to get more information online 20% - Trusted the marketer   Larson Notes & Satire:  I have in the past put ads in trade magazines. I have done classified ads a few times. And it can pull in a new account or two. I think that more than new account selling Ads be it trade magazines or consumer if you are B2C cement in existing customers rather than going out to find new ones. When I what new, the best way I have seen is to start with a telemarketing attack with a direct mail interwoven in at the same time. It works. Now most of my customers don’t want to go full boat, but you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink. But then what works for me might not work for you. Anyway it’s your company. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-01-17 07:47:10 Leverage Customer Data http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB401BF94D423AE040A8C0AC001F5C How many times have you bought something from a company only to receive a week or so later a promotion on the exact same item you just bought? You aren’t alone.  If you are a company that is doing that you are just plain dumb. Sorry to be so blunt but you are. You are not only wasting valuable resources of time and money in misaligned marketing but you are driving your customers away from you. You are telling them “I don’t know you or want to take good care of you.” Now if you took and looked at what they are buying and send out promotions in line with what might complement their latest purchase then you’re on target, and if your business is too big to watch out for this huge mistake there is software available to help you in this. Yet, here are a few helpful hints to help you leverage that data, employ some analytics and start some insightful marketing that keep you on track. 1. Prioritize data. Data even the basic data is gold when you start to apply it to your marketing, strategies campaigns and tactics. It can provide a big upward movement in the kinds of results you get. Cross platforming it from sales to marketing to IT to customer service thru finance will make sure that you company is all taking the same thing to each customer. 2. Make it accessible. Many companies have customer data that is collected but it is “owned” by the salesman or the marketing department or finance. You need to all be on the same page. This data needs to be accessible to everyone in your company. Therein lies my case for not having sales people on 100% commission. 3. Keep it updated. Keeping data updated is everyone’s responsibility. It is not sales or finance that needs to keep things updated. Everyone needs to be working on the file. 4. Analyze it. After you set up a practice of keeping your customer data updated and clean you need to look at it and analyze it. As much as we might want to be trite and say, statics can lie, data doesn’t. If you don’t look at what you have collected on your customers with the intent to sell them more of what they need (note that I said need) they will buy from somewhere else. 5. Test measure and improve. Using your data is not enough. You need to be testing different offers, different ideas measuring the success against what is or was business as usual. As you get in results or non-results you need to be keeping track of that so you can do better next time. Larson Notes & Satire:  How many times has it happened that you place a call to order something or make a change on one of your accounts, you give the nice lady or gentleman your phone number, your account and all pertinent data only to be transferred over to the person in the company that can solve your problem only to have to give that person the exact same data? That really busts my chops. Like what’s wrong with these guys? At they dumb or something? I just gave “you” that information.  So if you are going to do something, do it. Inaction is worse than anything you can do. These days even a poor marketing attack that is consistent is better than no marketing attack. You sit in the sidelines, that is what you will do. Sit on the sidelines. You want to play with the big kids, step out and make it happen. Beat them at their own game by selling to your customers over and over again and again with things that they need, that you know they need because of what they bought from you in the past. It’s not all that hard if you have your eyes open Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year and get listed on our web site @ http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larson_Challenge . Email us your company name and web address to get listed. Make this year your best ever! 2011-01-14 07:50:26 Boosting Electronic Marketing http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40FF1DF24932E040A8C0AC001F58 You’re doing an electronic newsletter or you send out email marketing or blasts. So how do you measure the impact of your social media marketing on your electronic or email newsletter marketing? Are these two forms of multichannel marketing even compatible. Should you care or should you expect more than you’re getting? Social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MerchantCircle and Twitter are great ways to push your social Media marketing onto your electronic or email marketing to get an even stronger longer lasting use of your marketing effort. Start with putting your Social media links into your electronic marketing because they are like little magical friend and customer finders.  With the viral nature of social media your influence grows exponentially. It is a fact that social sharing increases audience exposure by a factor 3 to 5 times over a simple Forward to Friend request. Now the measurement side of the equation. Measuring how social media affects your email or electronic marketing isn't all that difficult because most email service providers offer social sharing-tracking as part of their metrics and reporting function. The key is increasing social sharing, growing your audience and measuring how that growth leads to increased sales. And I can only say the sales aspect is what is should be all about, not the sheer number of fiends you collect So here are ways to make it happen: 1. Reinforce the opportunity to sign up. It may seem strange to be putting a sign-up link in an email that is going out to people who have already opted into your emails, but keep in mind that if what you write and say is any good it will be or might be forwarded and that is where the pay off comes. When the email is shared you now have a new audience to sign up for your mailings or to become a follower of your social media marketing efforts. 2. Build up your call to action. Because ESPs track only the first impression when an email is shared, give all recipients a reason to connect with you directly by including a call to action. The call might be to download a white paper, enter a contest, etc. Use your head on what kind of action you could be asking for.  At this point is always a good idea to use a unique URLs or special landing page to help you track where your new recipients are coming. If you need help in this area contact us and we can help you in this regard. I have been producing custom landing pages for customers for over 12 years. 3. Offer incentives. One company offered a gift to subscribers who shared content and got 10 friends to sign up for their newsletter. Their newsletter is now growing by double digits, and so are their sales.   4. Design your emails for multiple platforms and multiple hardware options. These days you have no idea how, when or where your email or newsletter is going to be read. Different browsers were a problem in the past. Now, differing kinds of hardware from computers to iphones and everything in-between. 5. Tailor special emails to your high end social media contacts. Let them know what is happing and let them in on new products and services early and often. 6. Once you get a new member to sign up, monitor each lead source as it moves through the sales pipeline so you can determine what's working and where to allocate future efforts and not when an actual sale occurs, how, when and why so you duplicate the effort and can improve on what you are doing. If you understand your sales cycle from start to finish you can predict with a certain amount of accuracy when they will make their 1st and subsequent purchases. Larson Notes & Satire:  Each kind of marketing you use can and should be tied together. Nothing should be a standalone activity. Why waste the effort of what your spending good time and money to achieve a one shot wonder. You need more bang for the buck. That means cross marketing yourself and all your efforts. Why do something that will get you one look when one thing might be able to get you a half dozen looks? It takes 7 to 9 touches to make a customer. People only see about 1 out of every 3 or 4 outreaches you make. That means it can take anywhere from 27 to 32 sales and marketing outreaches to find and make a customer. I never said marketing was for the weak of heart. If you’re not in it for the long haul don’t waste your time and money. This is one of the many different ways to get multiple looks off your marketing. In actuality there are hundreds of tricks to get people and friends of people to look at you in all different kinds of ways. I ways suggest to my telesales customers that they use a direct mail piece to boost what I am doing on the phones. I always suggest that my customers be sure to have not just their telephone number on the piece mailed (and you would be surprised at the number of direct mail pieces that go out without a phone number on it) but that have their web site and email address on it as well, another big thing that is forgotten. But if you just remember to keep your eye on the target, the sale and this is a road to get one nothing else matters. Does it? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. Take the Larson Challenge to double your sales this year! 2011-01-11 07:52:43 Get On Facebook NOW! http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40E3A4E64932E040A8C0AC001F58 Have you made your Facebook Fan Page Yet? http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans If not why not? Its quick, it’s easy, it’s free and now Bing is indexing it. I have been telling you to get a Fan page. Maybe not as much as some of my other advice but since the advent of Facebook Fan pages I have been pushing their use. Now your participation on Facebook was no longer optional but we can almost say it’s mandatory. If you’re not on Facebook you need to be playing catch up. Bing announced an expansion of its partnership with Facebook and it’s a huge.  Bing will be enhancing its search engine results with Facebook Likes. When you search for information on Bing, with “Liked Results” you will now see which of your Facebook friends liked that same result listing. Bing will also be enhancing its index with Facebook profile search. By pulling in your Facebook friends, Bing is essentially narrowing down your list to those included in your own social graph. Bing is even enabling users to take action and add the friend directly or send them a message. Now before you start to worry about the Facebook’s privacy which is always suspect, Bing’s “Liked Results” will only be surfacing content that is specifically designated as “public” and linked to a person’s Facebook friends. This will only be the same information anyone could access by viewing their Facebook network directly, except and here is the biggie, it adds greater importance by being presented along with traditional Bing search results. For all you keep it secret people you the User will also be notified when the feature goes live and have an opportunity to disable the functionality if they so choose. The features are start rolling out as I write with full features expected over the next few weeks – it will initially only be available in the U.S. Larson Notes & Satire:  If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, don’t say or post anything on the web that you would not want your mother to see. As for this new Bing launch, you might say, its only Bing, most searches are down with Google. Ok, maybe but do you think for one minute that Google is going to stand by the sidelines and let Bing get one up on them? I don’t. Aside from that Facebook is basically free in cost. I’ll say that you can get into some paid marketing if your business warrants it, but you don’t have to and like any Social Media site if you place your web link on it, it is another link that can be aiming people to and at your web site, which I might add all the search engines like. If you don’t, it’s no skin off my teeth but every one of my web customers is on Facebook not to mention a few other key Social Media sites and even if I am not a competitor of yours, one of them probably is. Be seen, be found. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2011-01-06 08:12:20 Faster New Year Sales http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40DF32724932E040A8C0AC001F58 By all accounts I am reading GNP in the Sates will be going up 2.6 up to 5%. Better than going down 2.6 to 5%, but is that good enough? Not for me and it should not be good enough for you either. I dare you. No I double dare you to join in with me to make this the year you more than double your business. No matter that my state is going to raise my income tax by 66.66% and that will cost people their jobs mark my words. But this is not about how the state or any government runs their, sorry, OUR government. It is about how I run my business. So in order to run it you need a plan. Here are 5 steps you can use to get yourself ready. It is never too late to do your sales planning and forecasting: 1. Assess All Your Business Relationships. Divide your customers up into 3 groups, the top 20%, the second 20%, the bottom 60%. Hopefully by this time you have been able to establish a strong working relationship with your top 20. Hopefully these companies and people have come to rely on you for the service or produ8cts you provide them. Now, sit down with your staff and ask what products or services you are already offering that can piggyback on the coat tails of services to that which you are giving to your top 20. Next look at your second set of 20. Are you getting all the business you should be from them from your existing sales line? If not get cracking. Work to build your relationships with this second group with the goal so selling them more and pushing them up into the top 20. At the same time, while we are having fun, maybe you need to fire your bad customers. They are probably sucking the life blood out of your company, in valuable time and resources. 2. Put some sales training money into your budget. Sometimes you need to spend in order to get. So put some money into your budget. Now before you start to spend a dime of that money, sit down and get real. Maybe some of that sales staff are not the people you need. Ok swallow hard, admit your mistakes and let them go. If is much easier to train and motivate people who want to be doing what needs to be done. I am not saying let go the people who don’t say what you want to hear. Maybe they are saying what you need to hear. I am saying let go the people who are not there for the good of you, the company, themselves and each other. Sales is teamwork. Look at pro sports they are always trading to build a better team. And in case it did not cross your mind, get yourself some training also. All good things start at the top. 3. Get value out of new hires faster. Have you heard the new buzzword? It’s called “onboarding” Onboarding is all about getting new hires up to speed faster.  If you can put together a step-by-step process to your sales training you can take part in the benefits of this thought process. It is really about staring early, creating the right network and getting them out working. When I heard this I did kind of laugh because this sounded pretty old school but some companies and people don’t think like I do and need to have a 2 month formal program. Ouch! Talk about a money and time waster. So what is it? Well First it is about starting early. You need to recruit for cultural, experience and skill set. Then you need a fit to your company’s corporate culture. Yes even a 1 person company has a culture. This is or should be part of the interview process. Second find or create the right network. You need to be meeting the right people at the right time. In person or online. Makes no difference. Third. Get those sales people working. Ok sounds really dumb but no reason to put a 1 to 3 month training course in place. This is me talking and I don’t know what I am doing so you may choose not to listen and I will not take offence but I would put them in real life working conditions, almost immediately. I am not saying sink or swim! What I am saying that in hitting the “road” and getting out in front of real prospects they will learn faster and quicker and how things in your company work, both on the inside and the outside and how the whole process form sale to delivery actually work. Stand by your salesperson, but remember that they need to feel a since of contribution to the company. That is why they are in sales. Forth is the need for standards and accountability. What is the definition of success in your company? When you fail to set standards for your staff or even yourself you have no benchmark to hit. No standard of excellence. How do you know what is good and bad if you don’t or aren’t able to put it down on a piece of paper. When a sales person is or hits 80% of the sales goal or expectation don’t baby them and say that they are making “good progress” or “gosh you almost hit it” Fact is they missed the mark! Or did you fail them? You need manage your sales people in real time. Not quarterly like an accountant but daily or at the worst weekly! Their failure is your failure. Fifth is the myth of a paycheck. I don’t care what your sales competition is, although I have very definite opinions on the matter which I will at this time keep to myself, but no matter if you are 100% salary or 100% commission or any combination in between. Truth is a sales person or many of them will adjust their standard of living to what they are bringing in or what I call “The Oscar Syndrome” which is that’s “Good Enough”. NO NO NO! It’s not good enough. Do be a settle for kind of Owner of Manager. People, your people what to be the best. They are begging to be the best and it is your job as an owner or manager to let them or help them achieve their true potential. Larson Notes & Satire:  Join me in taking the Larson Challenge to grow your business by 150% or more. I am going to do it. It is down on paper on how I am going to achieve it. I wrote it, now I need to read it daily and then (the hardest part) implement it on a daily no hourly basis! If I can do it, you can too. 12 Days Of Christmas, no partridge in a pear tree or a couple of turtle doves. No 8 maids milking some cows in your conference room (unless you’re from Wisconsin) or 12 drummers drumming though your office just our 12 Days Of Xmas Telemarketing Special Get 12% more calling time at no extra charge to any 2 month program 12/26/10 thru 1/6/11 / only 1 award per day. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2011-01-05 08:24:49 A Job For The New Year http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40CB32954932E040A8C0AC001F58 My last blog of the year. My head has been going all over the place on what to write. Predictions. Heck I’m no expert. I have been reading experts predictions in the papers and magazines for the last month. You don’t need me to tell you what to expect in 2011. Well in scanning over the various papers and magazines in my stack of stuff, maybe you do, but not today. Today is about jobs and job creation. Unemployment is down. Yes it is and that is a good thing, but is it? From up in the Ivory Tower I see 3.6 million people in the States alone who have just dropped out of searching for a job. Yet I see the GPA growing at 2.6 up to 5%. So what should happen over the next year in your businesses? Are you really going to gown and take charge of your business and your life? Or are you going to stand on the sidelines hoping the government is going to do something about the mess we are in? The choice is yours and no one else’s. Even your significant other cannot make this choice for you. Larson Notes & Satire:  Personally I would always tell you to consult with your significant other. I know I do much better when Mrs. Larson is going in the same way I am. I am not saying that I rubber stamp everything she says and wants or she does the same to me but if we are pulling in the same direction using our unique differences we are going to get there much faster that if we are pulling at opposite directions. Take loans, be them business, personal or credit cards. I hate paying interest. I mean I hate it with a passion! I am not against banks and the reason they charge interest although credit card interest rates are WAY TO HIGH,  which is why my goal is to have every loan paid off, except my mortgage (which is tax deductable) by the end of 2011. At the same time 2 “Little Larson’s” will be graduating from College this spring, yes the proud Papa here. Now to the real topic, JOBS. This country, this wonderful world of ours needs jobs and job growth and job creation. I plan to do my part by growing my business carefully and in the context of my business plan and at the same time create the opportunity for at a minimum 6 people working in new positions by the end of 2011 in the Land of Larson. Now what are 6 positions to what I believe is 7.2 million Americans that are out of work? A drop in the bucket. But in taking on the responsibility of 7 people and I do take it as a responsibility to them and their family to maintain them and grow with them and keep a safe, happy, non stressful working atmosphere, I will by my best guess be providing another 18 to 54 jobs at client companies which will equal between 25 to 61 jobs. Now we are talking aren’t we?  And those are private sector jobs. No tax dollars used to support them. My 2011 business plan has a lot more ideas in it. Some are not for public consumption. Yes I have some secret stuff to unleash at my competition. (HA HA HA (that was an evil laugh))  Other ideas will come out publically as the New Year comes in. Come with me for the ride. I know where I am going. Lead, follow or get the heck out of the way. As for me, I would rather be leading. So for now have a wonderful New Year’s Weekend. Be safe and with the advent of 2011 let’s all be in control of our own lives, and live to the fullest in God’s blessings and abundant grace! 12 Days Of Christmas, no partridge in a pear tree or a couple of turtle doves. No 8 maids milking some cows in your conference room (unless you’re from Wisconsin) or 12 drummers drumming though your office just our 12 Days Of Xmas Telemarketing Special Get 12% more calling time at no extra charge to any 2 month program 12/26/10 thru 1/6/11 / only 1 award per day. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-31 12:29:10 Mail The Multichannel Powerhou http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40C5386A4932E040A8C0AC001F58 You know how I feel about direct mail. I love it. One of the big 3 channels I suggest each of my customers add (Telemarketing, Direct Mail, Web Marketing) or get involved in when embarking on a marketing attack. Despite the cost of postage, which when put into perspective is really quite a bargain. Despite the bad rap that paper gets which by the way is a renewable resource. Paper companies do plant trees, quite a few of them as a matter of fact. Developments in variable data which is just starting to trickle down to mainstream marketing you can send out highly targeted messages to your customers and prospects. Mail as an effective channel has lead of all companies Google to use it. Who’d of thought? And don’t thing the NHL has stopped sending out a catalog or two. Go Black Hawks! To keep things inline and on target these companies are using some sort of a CRM system to help them control the whole program. It keeps their message relevant and directed as they profile what a certain customer who want to buy on their next trip in to the company web site. Think green, because the more targeted your message the less waste there is. And the less waste the lower the cost of the program. Yes going green can be a cost savings benefit to a company. When constructing your mailing you want to have the most relevant message you can get to the market you’re going after.  Talk to the people your sending to, not at them. Having a big January sale? Might be a bit late for January so start thinking February. With fewer and fewer things going out in the mail try a postcard reminder to invite your customers to the sale. Need more activity on your online store? Send out a mailing with your web address. You might get a big surprise. Larson Notes & Satire:  Mail gives a lift to sales. Does it really matter to you if they buy in person or off your web site? A sale is a sale is a sale no matter how it happens. Now, I never do a big mass mailing. That is not the nature of my business. It has not been in my companies marketing plan for 25 years. I use a trickle direct mail attack to hold up our telemarketing attack. But, I will tell you that we are now looking at big mailings up here in the Ivory Tower. It has long been a question here on how big to grow my company. Do I don’t really want to become big? I remember the days of 37 employees and not getting a vacation. Yet when I look out into the Land of Larson I see people, good people that need employment. People that don’t wish to be taking a check from the government. Then I look and see companies that could use our services, companies that need a push to grow faster and stronger. Is this my destiny in life? Am I a greedy capitalist or am I a giver of hope? Would a mass mail piece find those good companies that need what I do and bring them into the Land of Larson faster than the slow growth plan we have been using? As I look back on 2010 I can say that the growth we predicted a year ago has become reality. Well we are 1½ months behind in projections. A doubling of gross sales is not a bad thing. There were bumps along the way but in and of itself 2010 was a good year. The trickle direct mail plan we have been using was very targeted and very effective. 2011? The plan is to triple gross sales? With a few tweaks (no not twits, well maybe) I know we could push that up to 6x growth, but that would mean I would probably need to go trot off to the bank for a loan and I am not a lover of borrowing money for a non-capital equipment expenditure. (Note to self: need to do a piece on loans and interest) So many questions at this time of the year, but it is the answers that give us hope. 12 Days Of Christmas, no partridge in a pear tree or a couple of turtle doves. No 8 maids milking some cows in your conference room (unless you’re from Wisconsin) or 12 drummers drumming though your office just our 12 Days Of Xmas Telemarketing Special Get 12% more calling time at no extra charge to any 2 month program 12/26/10 thru 1/6/11 / only 1 award per day. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-30 07:52:23 The Power To Survive http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40BFBF584932E040A8C0AC001F58 Here we are at the end of the year. Been an interesting ride for sure. So was this the year you started your business because you became a causality of long term unemployment? Or was this the year you took your hobby business full time because your significant other lost their job or got their hours cut? If so welcome to the world of the full time self employed. Whether you’re a one person army or have found the means to go out and hire some people be it as employees or as independent associates. So not what you are among “Us” do you have what it takes to last. To pass the tests of time and business? If you are this far you have probably gone though the attorney and accountant thing. Just remember that at attorneys and accounts are there to advice you as to your liability and exposure not necessarily as qualified business advisors to dictate where you should take the chance on a project or not. You might have gone as far as hiring a designer to put a corporate identify together of business cards, letterhead and envelope. Maybe got yourself an honest web designer. Maybe you have constructed a business plan. Remember this does not have to be an elaborate document. Unless you’re trotting off to the bank for a loan a 1st or 2nd time business plan is your road map for your business and does not have to be a 44 page document. Maybe you have gotten the answers to the burning question of who is going to buy my stuff. I have yet to see a company that is selling enough stuff go out of business. If you’re like most new businesses or if you have been hit hard by the recession and are sort of starting over, your long on time and short on cash. So you need to answer as honestly as you can “How long can you hold on” and “How much are you willing to risk?” Yes sport fans life as a business owner is not all wine and dine roses with a fat bank account. It can be sleepless nights, holding your pay check so others can get paid, its praying the bank renews your load and doesn’t call it in. Ok so if you are still with me take a giant step back and take a deep breath. Clear your head. Now what do you need to become a self-sustaining business? What is your true minimum money need figure. You may want 0,000 but you might only need ,000. Keep in mind that as a self-employed person there are things like self-employment tax there is paying your own health insurance. There are day to day business expenses marketing expenses, phone and communication expenses, the base cost of your goods or services, your fixed business costs such as rent, gas, electric, garbage, etc. So go on and do the math what is your break even figure? Let’s say you’re a consultant.  I am picking this because it is relatively easy with no cost of goods to calculate in. Now you are planning on working a 40 hour week, with a couple weeks off for vacation. Ok 50 x 40 = 2000 right? And your goal is to take in 0,000. Well if Mrs. Yant in math class taught me anything it’s that 0,000 / 2000 = 100 an hour. But enter Dr. O’Leary in business 110 at college. He taught be that all those wonderful 2000 hours are not billable. He taught me that probably 1/3 (I have found a way to get it down to 1/6 but don’t tell him) is not billable. So what I am telling you is that you might actually lose 1/3 of your billing time. That is give or take 700 hours. Trotting back to Mrs. Yant 2000 – 700 = 1300 and now I need to be making 3.85 an hour. Doable? Too many start ups don’t really understand the kind of start up money involved. Working capital necessary to get your business into the profit stage. Larson Notes & Satire:  I’m on your side, really. I want you to succeed. I have had the privilege and fun of starting up 3 companies. And worked with a few others of which some made it and some didn’t. Those that didn’t usually had a management problem and a cash flow problem. Talk about putting a marriage though the ringer. Dang I love my wife. There can be long hard nights sitting at the kitchen table debating about going out and getting a real job (one where you get a wage weather there is work and money in the bank or not) to taking that one more step for yourself, sometimes when all there is, is a wing and a prayer, sheer hope in the future and the dream. Belief goes a long way, but belief needs a shot or reality every so often. So hold on to your dream and hold on to those who love you. Family, friends those are the people who will get you though the rough patches. Your banker, attorney, CPA, the utility companies, your land lord or your suppliers, use them for who and what they are. But your wife, your family your friends hold them close. Keep your base support strong and you can make it to your dream. 12 Days Of Christmas, no partridge in a pear tree or a couple of turtle doves. No 8 maids milking some cows in your conference room (unless you’re from Wisconsin) or 12 drummers drumming though your office just our 12 Days Of Xmas Telemarketing Special Get 12% more calling time at no extra charge to any 2 month program 12/26/10 thru 1/6/11 / only 1 award per day. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a 5.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-29 08:18:26 5 Things About Direct Marketin http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FB99039C550E040A8C0AC001F64 There are insider secrets in every industry or what I call the hidden flaw. Every industry has one or two hidden insider flaws that you only can grasp by being in the industry and doping or witnessing the problems attached to it. The same is true about Direct Marketing. Now marketing is one of those things that “everyone” is an expert at. So people go out and market their businesses without any help at all. Sure you can do it, but like a friend of mine who I was trying to guide through the pitfalls of online marketing was all to impulsive and spent way too much money on a well know Web Hosting site and got no return on his investment because he also was talked into extra bells and whistles that they could do for him. $500 to $1000 dollars later he still did not have a web site that conveyed his message. So here are 5 handy hints for those of you who want to go it alone. There are more but this is all you’re getting in this blog. 1) Your List will make or break your campaign. The quality of your list will directly make your direct marketing campaign. I have seen campaigns we have done fall flat on their faces because of poor list quality. First make sure your list is clean. I don’t care if it is an email or a snail mail campaign. Second target yourself into as narrow of a niche as you can. The more focused the more pointed the better. This is one case where profiling is a good thing. 2) It is not easy. Many people; dabble in direct marking and squander their money. There are things like understanding your market, understanding the different channels you could be using, understanding the postal regulations. 3) Your call to action. If you’re going to direct market yourself you need to ask for action or in sales we call it ask for the order. Don’t ever assume the prospect knows how to get a hold of you, tell them and give them multiple ways. Some like to call, some like me to email, some like to mail in cards. Give them the power to contact you in their favorite way. Don’t assume that just because you think something is a good thing, the prospect is, tell them why it is so good. Remember people buy for their reasons not yours. 4) Consider the channel your using. In direct marketing we have many tools or weapons we can and could be using. Postcards, fliers, email, Social Media, SEO SMM pay for click, classified ads, letters and card decks. All these are wonderful choices but so also is the distinct possibility that the greater the number of choices the better chance you have in making the wrong choices on what to use. 5) Sell the benefits not the features. Your customer is a lot more interested in how your product of service is going to help them with a certain problem than all the wonderful long detained descriptive features of what you are offering. Appeal to their emotions. People buy on emotions and justify with facts.   Larson Notes & Satire:  Now this will not make you an expert by any means. Even the pros make mistakes. If we all hit the nail in the head each that would be too easy. Unless you have an unlimited budget to though at the problem each dollar you spend needs to be productive. I guess that is why I like to work with small and medium sized businesses. It keeps me and my team sharp, very very sharp. It’s sort of funny (not) but I was working with a large account that did not really care how we spent their money. We were so frugal with our expenditures on their behalf that we got fired. We were so bent on passionate to stretch their marketing dollars that they could not handle the pressure of trying to make every dollar work. Live and learn. 12 Days Of Christmas, no partridge in a pear tree or a couple of turtle doves. No 8 maids milking some cows in your conference room (unless you’re from Wisconsin) or 12 drummers drumming though your office just our 12 Days Of Xmas Telemarketing Special Get 12% more calling time at no extra charge to any 2 month program 12/26/10 thru 1/6/11 / only 1 award per day. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out.   2010-12-28 08:45:15 Social Traditional Media Marke http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4049225755F0E040A8C0AC001F5A Unless you’re a Newbie Business Social Media Marketing should be done in additional to what you are doing now that is working, not pulling the plug on what is successful to get on the newest and the latest. I am not a the kind of guy that is going to tell you if it aint broke don’t fix it. It is fun to tinker. Tweak this and that. See what happens and what doesn’t. What we call traditional marketing can in fact be helping your Social Media Marketing. What? you say. Hold the line while I get off. What can traditional marketing do to help SMM? Isn’t it the other way around? Well...yes... and no. The fact is your traditional marketing channels can be helping your SMM to work better, faster and broader. If you are using telemarketing (now I ask you how low teck can you get than the telephone, my kids would rather text than talk on a phone.) you can ask the customer or prospect to tell you what brought them to find you. A Site, a Blog, A tweet? In the combination of telemarketing and Social Media you can have a positive impact on your lead generation and nurturing efforts. When making that phone contact one of the most valuable and relevant pieces of information you can have to share is what is provided in the conversations posted on the different Social Media Sites you share together. Yes I am telling you to shake and mix your Social Media Marketing and your Traditional Marketing practices together. Yes James Bond had it right, Shaken not stirred. By talking about relative up-to-date information that was just posted you really start to connect at an even high level. Ya push the bar higher and higher till no one except you can get over it! Larson Notes & Satire:  In your businesses marketing you are always looking, well maybe you aren’t but I am, looking to expand my market. So you stumbled into the world of Social Media and Social Media Marketing and all these so called experts are telling you to do this and that, what to do and what not to do. Stop, Look, Listen. Most (and I mean most not all) of these people know what they are talking about and they can keep you out of trouble, at least some trouble. Technologically they got good stuff to share on getting your page set up but after that, they are not you and cannot put your personal stamp of individuality into your marketing and business. There is only 1 you so remember they are talking and acting from their viewpoint. I guarantee that no one is sitting up here with me in the Ivory Tower looking out at the Land Of Larson with me. I am unique, you are unique, they are unique and what works for them, or me might not work for you and your business. If you use what you got in your marketing, if you use your social media to reach out with relevant up to date conversational interests you will begin to more your prospects from the top of the funnel lower down toward into the customer part of the process. And it is the sale and the number of sales that is important, not the number of online “friends’ you have. 12 Days Of Christmas, no partridge in a pear tree or a couple of turtle doves. No 8 maids milking some cows in your conference room (unless you’re from Wisconsin) or 12 drummers drumming though your office just our 12 Days Of Xmas Telemarketing Special Get 12% more calling time at no extra charge to any 2 month program 12/26/10 thru 1/6/11 / only 1 award per day. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. 2010-12-27 08:08:29 Get Personal http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40A4320A4932E040A8C0AC001F58 Getting and keeping a personal marketing campaign is if nothing else the one key element that Social Media Marketing should have taught us over the course of the last year. Your customers and prospects want to be seen, noticed and appreciated for being their own unique self. Social Media allows us to do that in a very one on one way. Can the same be true of the other forms of advertising and marketing? If you know me and what I push it is and has been Telemarketing-Direct Mail and Social Media / Web Site Marketing. The personalizing of print can become closer to reality with the advent of variable data and profiling to make the right offer to the right demographic group. Telemarketing, can you get much more personal other than a face to face sales call? But what about the rest? Web, mobile, video print, radio? The primary point of your marketing campaign is to keep a consistent message in line with who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. Consistency of message, consistency of creative, consistence of content, consistency of look, consistency of feel. If there is just one element that is missing that would be real-time tracking and analytics for each campaign or element of your campaign that you have. Larson Notes & Satire:  So now I have to be real with people? Oh no! I have to talk to them like they matter? If I have learned one thing in life, that would be to not live a lie. Be who I am every time, all the time. That might not make me politically correct, but guess what. If you are around me long enough you’re going to know who I feel about things. Everything. Even the nasty taboo things like religion and politics. But you will also know that I don’t care what race, creed or color you are. Look at me, I’m a graying blond who was lucky enough to marry a better woman than I probably deserve. Getting back to marketing just be real and personal. I got an email from a “friend” on one the Social Media sites pushing their product on me. That’s ok I’m more than open to being hit on. In fact I love it because I can see and feel your technique to see if I want to borrow any elements from it. Sad thing was that what they were offering was in direct competition with one of the elements my company does. Worse yet, it came across as if they had not even read my profile page let alone even gazed at my web site. Oh no, someone did not do any homework on a prospect, ME. Now if you want to get into old Uncle Howie’s wallet you had better hit old Uncle Howie’s buttons one my needs, wants and desires. As for me and my company I sell one thing and only one thing, new customers and qualified leads to deserving companies. We make good companies great and great companies even better. Does your company deserve to be a Larson customer? Maybe for Christmas, Santa will give you a Larson Lead Generating Program. Just for you, no partridge in a pear tree or a couple of turtle doves. No 8 maids milking some cows in your conference room (unless you’re from Wisconsin) or 12 drummers drumming though your office just our 12 Days Of Xmas Telemarketing Special Get 12% more calling time at no extra charge to any 2 month program 12/26/10 thru 1/6/11 / only 1 award per day. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-12-24 07:44:41 Stressed-Out Prospects And Cus http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40FA82E509FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Is it the time of year, or the prolonged recession, squeezed cash flow? When you make that sales call or appointment is it any wonder you find that your prospect in a rather negative mood. The overwhelming stress a business owner or anyone working is under is at an all time high. Sadly these negative emotions cause people to make what is a bad situation even worse. Quick off the cuff decisions. Illogical buying. If you are losing customers I have to ask YOU. Are you listening to your customers or prospects? What is their voice tone? Are they angry? Frustrated? Combative when you make a sales call be it on the phone or in person? Enter speech analytics for helping in this area. With the use of speech analytics you can pick up on key words and tones such as a competitor’s name, a key product or service need. YOU pick up on the level of their voice the speed of their words. As you work your sales craft be aware that there are signs that you can be picking up on, if you only listen. Larson Notes & Satire: 85% of my companies work is telesales. All we have to go on is the art of active speech engagement. We have done the mirroring routine with clients and prospects, we have done the councilor deal, we have done the patient listen to my story time, we have been the news reporter, all in the name of getting the sale or appointment for ourselves or our client customers. I don’t think these or other techniques we use are for want to trick people into buying from us. Heavens no, I am always looking for a win-win relationship. If what I have does not fit your need I don’t want to sell it to you. I got fired by a customer this last summer because we were not pushy enough for them. No big deal, if they did not fire me I would have fired them. I have created what seems to be a rather unique Leads Generation Company. I get results by not being an ugly pushy telemarketer. We don’t try to sound like a telemarketing when we make calls for companies. We sound like . . . a normal person. So if you’re stressed out and I make a sales call on you, go on and dump your bucket. Tell me stories about your kids. Tell me your pain and at the end if I can help diminish your anxiety I will ask for the sale or appointment, but only because what I have will, work! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-23 07:17:58 Adwords Is Overpriced if . . . http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB408E491F4932E040A8C0AC001F58 I keep getting these cards and letters from Google trying to get me to try Adwords (Please note how an internet company is using direct mail.) So far with offers of $75.00 and $100.00 in enticements I have not bitten to go that direction. Though it is very tempting Adwords was not in my 2010 marketing plan and to date it is not in my 2011 marketing plan. Now remember I review my plan monthly so that could change but right now it is a no. Yet, to go out and buy key words rather than making a natural organic search work, which I might add that I have, is tempting. So I ask you does Adwords make sense or is it a dollar drain in my marketing budget? Adwords is overpriced if you don’t have a good business model. If your business is loosy goosy in who you are targeting from your products and service offerings to your pricing to your overall marketing to your customer service you will miss your target because you don’t have a target to hit. You need to be William Tell or Robin Hood to hit your target and be one of the top 5 companies in your industry. You need to focus and refine yourself down to the pure reflection of your offering. The biggest problem is going to be what we call, your back end. If you’re willing, to probably loose money or able to only break even at best for the first go round as you work out the bugs, go on and jump in. Adwords is overpriced if you have a poor cash flow. Even if you have put together the best business model possible you might lose with Adwords if you have a tight, slow of conservative cash flow. If you could use the goggle enticement of $100 and maybe put in another $100 or your own money and get back $300 or $400 in profit wouldn’t that be nice. Unless you’re in a onetime transaction business and you’re lucky this is not going to happen. You could be looking at 6 to 12 even longer for the revenue streams to catch up to your monetary outlay. The longer the sales cycle the longer the cash flow drain. So let me ask you can you prime the Adwords well to get it started? Adwords is overpriced if you don’t test. In marketing you want to test everything you can. For small business testing is not an option sometimes. Really, I know. As much as you might want and need to test, there are times that your budget is so small that it would be eaten up by the test alone so you need to make your test your outlay of your attack. As many of you know I have just started my “official” training for a Spring Marathon. It is 19 weeks away but it is time to start ramping up my mileage so by the time February and March roll around I am up to speed and mileage targets to be ready on April 30th.  Same too with Adwords. Start with a landing page or better yet 3 landing pages. Test those pages out with the appropriate words. Now remember this is not a test of one of your pages against another. Each of your top ad groups need their own test and you need to get your Marketing funnel or in this case vacuum working to achieve success in all areas and product lines. For most of you, pick out 1 and only 1 product and service to work with and concentrate your limited marketing monies on that 1 item alone. Adwords is overpriced if you’re fighting for top position. Sometimes you just can’t afford to be the Big Dog in the marketing. To achieve that cost per click top spot might cost more that you can, would or even should afford. Don’t get into an ego bid for a word or word sting. There are times it is really just not worth it. If you are not tracking your ROI ego can take over from logic and make you bid for words that are too pricy. Call for your friendly Bean Counter or Mr. Spock from Star Trek to get you logically back on track. Pay only what is logical and what you can afford. Real success is when you pay only what you can afford when looking at your cash, your cash flow and margin. Adwords is overpriced if you have a bad account structure. Let’s pretend you have a good business model, an excellent cash flow and have experience with other kinds or marketing and advertising. It is easy to be making mistakes with any kind of advertising and or marketing. The problem with mistakes in using Adwords is that a word or word group might contain too many of your competition, a word might not hit your target. A word might not be relevant for you. Adwords is overpriced if you don’t understand the usage of Negative keywords. Never heard of negative keywords? A sometimes hidden secret is to use Negative keywords in your Adwords attack, Say you have a furniture store selling Night Stands. Guess what, you might show up in searches for One Night Stands! Oh my yes. The fix in this case is to use the negative keyword “One” so it gets filtered out of your Word traffic. You can be saving upwards of 33% by entering the right Negative Keywords. And that is a lot of money. Larson Notes & Satire: Dare I say that this is only the tip of the iceberg for using Adwords. Use them wrong and you’re going down baby, just as hard as the Titanic, only maybe even faster! So if you get that letter for the good folks at Google you might want to put it on the side and let it gather a little dust. Don’t get me wrong Adwords are a good thing for some companies but are they a good thing for your company? I wish I knew. While with a $100 coupon from Google might let you get started with no experience at all, if you’re going to go it alone do your homework. The real key is that you can become competent if you have the time and recourses. Success paying for words is a moving target like all web work and success. The better you get at it the more your overall price for using Adwords will or should go down. My thoughts are to refined your organic key word search to the best you can, then look at Adwords. But then, what do I really know? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-20 08:12:10 From Disorder Comes Order(s) http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40D8503109FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Even if we did not have this little recessionary bump in the economy we would have had a boat load or heavy waves trying to capsize your (business) boat. The twin waves of globalization and technological advancement would have made you look at new ways of doing things. . Globalization: Companies are being “encouraged” to buy anywhere in the world where they can get the best price. A few years ago the last US shirt manufacturer closed its doors (at least as far as I know) and moved its entire manufacturing out of the United States. That right one typhoon in the Pacific and you might go (literally) shirtless! Why, labor costs. Now of course all those out of work short makers can’t afford to buy the cheaper shirts, but if you have a job I guess you can. Technology: As we march into information saturation we all know the advancement of what the internet is doing. We are seeing Google and Yahoo, Intel and Dell all pushing to be the newest and best. Opening up their corporate wallets to gobble up what they see as the next better mousetrap of communication. People, you and I can push into Social Media and talk to real people where ever they are about what is important to them in regard to our service or product. Bloggers are out there making comments about business issues. Then there are all the new LAWS that governments are putting in place to get what they think is their cut of the take. (Larson prediction: there will be a National Sales tax on internet transactions) So how in this mad world do you keep up? You need to systemically, and I do mean get yourself in order, to be able to monitor the outside influences that can and will affect your business. This goes well beyond what in years past you did. You need to be able to look at the negatives to be reactionary and the positives to be proactive and make life difficult for your competition. You need to be moving away from the Harvard Business School of contingency planning and into the realm of Bootstrap picture planning. You need to be thinking, if this happens then I do? Then list out your options and take each option and go through the process of what happens if… You need to be flexible and fast on your feet. Most of you reading this are small business and don’t have layers of bureaucracy to work through. The important thing is to be able to work quickly and decisively to any opportunity or bump in your market. So how is this craziness affection the customer or prospect? Go out and walk, no run though you’re nearest Mall. Aside from the fact they are empty. (I was out last night) the customers are moving to lower priced offerings. Less and less loyalty. National boarders are making less and less of a difference. Next there is less and less discretionary purchasing going on. It the old one works they are not buying a new one. So what do you do? You need to make your customers feel more comfortable and secure about buying from you. If we pick on the car industry and you have a prospect looking at a car, you might say, ok, if prices go down in the next 6 months, we will refund the difference, or as some have done, if you lose your job, we will suspend the interest of your car payments or take the car back. So what are your marketing options? The ones I am going with for 2011 are Telemarketing, Direct mail, classified ads, Web SEM and Social Media Marketing including blogs.  I have always liked the combination of telemarketing and direct mail. I guess that is why when I reinvented my company those to weapons of your marketing arsenal where the 2 areas I pushed into. Why? Because they work. Over the last couple of years I have seen the importance of a solid Web SEM and Social Media Marketing plan and attack which is why I have pushed hard into this area. This is and for the next year my 3 pronged attack for myself and my primary customers. That leads us to predictive analysis. Yes I am telling you to do selective profiling. Filter out the non-buyers and go after the high probability prospects, harder. Ya go on and rate your prospects. It’s alright, really. No one is looking at your behind the scenes activity. Besides you only have so much time to devote to sales and marketing so be selective. As now as we advance on to Christmas and the Georgian New Year what is the biggest challenge and mistake you face? Your advertising budget. Shrink, stay the same, expand. Is what you’re doing working? Would we gain more by looking at other areas? Would we gain market share by lowering price or should we increase service? You should not be thinking short term but long term. This recession will not last forever so you need to plan for the life after recession. To answer these and other burning questions you need to be looking deeper into your sales areas and sales and profit numbers. If you need to save money, figure out what products are not performing up to projections and/or even costing you money to provide. Are there geographical areas that are non-productive? Are there customers you should let go of? Today is Friday so over the weekend take an hour or two or three and ponder over your and your company’s future. Larson Notes & Satire: Where is my competition? India. Philippines. Anywhere cheep. What can they give what I do and can, each and every time? Telemarketing with what we call “ZERO” accent. Technology, like wow, I am running as fast as I can to keep up and try everything I can to keep myself and my handful of social media clients at the forefront of getting found on the web and in their respective Social Media outlets. Business is not like running a marathon. Not anymore. It’s more like running a 5000 meter (5K) race. You need to go long but so some surges when the opportunity presents its self. Be it to fend off a competitor or to put some distance behind you and your competition when the timing it right. Have you ever seen a 3 legged stool wobble? I haven’t. I don’t think it can. I am not saying be like me and do as I do. I am unique. Isn’t that a good thing that there is only one of me? What I do works for me as I sit up in my ivory tower looking down on the snow covered grassy yard of my business I see green. The green of spring and the green of money as I work my craft to make my customers money. I am not cheap. Don’t want to be. You want cheap find an Indian or Pilipino (and I am not knocking the work of Indian and Philippine companies here) but what I will tell you as much as they might try their people will not sound like an American, they can’t. As much as they might want to act in Social Media like an American, again, sorry but they don’t know the local terms. You want to market to Chicago and the Midwest. I’ll give you Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Detroit. You want the south; I’ll give you Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis and Miami You want the North East? I’ll give you New York, Boston, Philly, even Buffalo. West, you got it with Phoenix, Denver, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle. Texas? I am there as well, Dallas and fixing problems in Houston. Web Marketing, Social Media marketing come to us! Why because we are a player in that arena not a bystander company that is playing catch up to figure out what’s happening. We do everything wrong yet we get excellent results. Just ask the pro’s we are terrible at what we do, or are they just now as PRO as they want you to think they are. We got some big ambitious plans for next year. We are thinking not just 3 months ahead but 3.5 years. Are you? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a 5.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-17 07:37:01 Your Image Counts http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FE97856423AE040A8C0AC001F5C You’re out there on the web, in the mail, face to face, handing out business cards at networking events, doing whatever it takes to find that elusive customer. Start by protecting your base. Ya, make sure what got already is secure. Keep your name, your company, your brand secure in the eyes of your current customers and prospects. This is your bread and butter. This is what is putting the bacon on the table. Don’t lose track of what you got. Love them, kiss their babies, take them out to breakfast and or lunch. As you start on an expansion phase in your business you will need to put in extra time. Why extra, so you keep your base secure. You will need to need to keep a hard eye on social and twitter talk. If someone reaches out, you need to be there to answer. If you get a referral you need to be there to make the connection. If you get slammed you need to answer the attack. A new blog, a new social media site to keep track of, going out and reading and posting onto other blogs, reading and then answering forum questions in some to the social media sites you are already in, starting a newsletter (online or print), putting the final touches to a new brochure or completing and sending out that mailer you have been talking about forever. All good ways to protect your image and your territory. Expand your personal expertise. You can increase the total value of you and your companies brand by finding every and I mean every opportunity within your present area of skill and knowledge. You know things that other people don’t. You really do. Let people know you are willing to share your knowledge with then in return you might get some good exposure as an expert in your field. If you can dominate the area of knowledge in and on the different Social Media sites you’re involved in one and a time, you will own that area, you will be known as the resident expert. People will turn and come to you for your knowledge. Just make sure that you have customers or prospects and that your target market is in and on the site or you will be just wasting your time. Just spinning your wheels in a Chicago show drift. Boost your visibility. As your reach out, touching people at their level you will be increasing your overall visibility. Work for a Big Dog company; ask the powers that be if you can produce your own personal product and services blog. If you are in a small company ask your boss, and more times than not they will jump for joy, heaping lavish praise on you for being so proactive and taking something off their plate. I know I would. Larson Notes & Satire: Remember the higher up on the visibility ladder you go the more of your butt is exposed. If you’re ready to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, step out and make it happen. The world is filled with so many people who talk talk talk then do nothing. I’d rather see a person do do do and not toot their own horn about it. Nothing wrong with talking if you are a doer.  Just don’t be an empty potato sack. You toot people will see, they will stand up and notice that you are a doer, a winner, a succeeded. If you can push your self to do one more thing a day your ahead of the competaion. Now just think, if you did one more thing before you started work in the morning, one more thing at lunch time, and one more thing before you sign off for the day, where would your business and career go? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-15 07:58:43 Web Ranking: More Than a Good http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40C72CC909FFE040A8C0AC001F56 In the “Old Days” we would do a SES (Search Engine Submission) on a site once every 15 and/or 30 days and get a company listed higher up on the Search Engines. It worked, and it worked quite well. But now it’s not your father’s SEO. New things such as Google’s caffeine are changing the way Search Engines do business. News, paid advertising, shopping coupons feeds, and of course Social Media all are playing a larger, bigger role in ranking. There are Basic Search Starting Points to be aware of. A few things that have traditional giving consistent Search Engine Optimization Strong content, good keyword density, keywords in title and meta tags (Don’t believe people when they way meta tags don’t count anymore) link building (both inbound and outbound). As it sits today from up in my ivory tower looking down on the snow filled landscape of my office window, there is nothing more important in today’s SEO that a good Social Media presence. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Merchant Circle, Nings, Yelp, can and do play a major part in what happens to your Web Sites rankings. But it is not just a matter of throwing up your shingle and twitting away. Social Media and SEO marketing can strengthen each other or destroy what you are trying to do.  A solid Social Media campaign engages and interacts with your friends and fans that improves your over all organic listings and strengthens your inbound linking possibilities. If you set your Social Media profiles up correctly, you need to pay attention to use your key words as well as making this a source of inbound links to your Web Site. Additionally if you do it right, your Social Media sites start to crowd out your competition in a key word search page Now there is a beautiful thing, less room for your competition, and let me tell you it is a major coup when you own 4.5 or 6 or the whole first page of a key word organic search. As we push to get to the top so too are the Search Engines looking at even more changes. Your sites history, change activity, site hits. As scary as it is, no two searches from any given 2 or 3 computers will produce the same results. Yet, if you keep using good basic SEO concepts you will have some success. If you go into hyper drive with your work in this area you can (and will) get top rankings. I can only use myself as an example. In fighting the Big Dog Telemarketing Companies my site with certain key word stings such as “Telesales for printers” gets top ranking in Yahoo, Google and Bing. What is your target market, narrow nitch it and go out own it! Larson Notes & Satire: Now that I said this let me tell you something else. Things are going to change. No I have no hot line into the board room of Google, Yahoo or Bing. They are not telling me what is coming down. I am reactionary like everyone else, just trying to keep on top of the wave. Yes get out those old Beach Boy albums and play a few surfer songs. Ride the waves baby! Now if you think I am too nonchalant about this, don’t mistake my words. I take it very seriously but keep in mind to win I also treat it as a game, a game I am winning and intend to keep on winning. I may knock on your door and ask if you want to play. If you want to play with me (and I will take your money) I will get you results if you do it my way or you can do it yourself. Either way Just Do It! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-14 07:53:02 How Much Should You Expect? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4067E44A4932E040A8C0AC001F58 If there is any danger in delving into the world of Social Media Marketing it is expecting too much. Once you have allocated the time and the effort necessary to get involved, how much and how fast of a payback do you anticipate getting? Social Media Marketing (heavy on the social, light on the marketing please) is about trying to engage with the customer in conversations that are important to them in regards to your product or service. If there is any insight I can give you here, it is that you need to keep your other working channels of marketing going forward and use Social Media for the interaction tool it is. Use the tools that are made to hammer home your message hammering away. Be Lars the Carpenter and swing that hammer hard! Keep your direct mail, keep your email campaign, Keep that telemarketing program in place and support it, back it up with your high touch Social Media Marketing program. Each touch makes a difference. Hard core marketing to find and grab their attention and High touch to sooth their pain. By mixing your tools up and using them in the way they are meant to be used you will find the real ROI of Social Media going up to become cost effective and cost justifiable. Larson Notes & Satire: You can’t sit the in your ivory tower and beat on people all the time. As easy as hammering your message home is, and it is much easier than stepping down into the masses to actually interact and talk to your customers and would-be customers. Interaction takes work, honesty, trustworthiness and integrity. If you are not true to your words when you get out of your tower and have to talk to people you might find yourself on the front line of criticism. I know I have. I know I have a way of working both in and out of Social Media. If you have followed me for any length of time you know I am hammering my message out there, at times inappropriately but then if you say something to me, via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Email or whatever, I stop and respond and we can have a good conversation. Again if you know me, I am not politically correct, I speak my mind, I am highly opinionated, but will fight tooth and nail to preserve you and I, the right to our individual feelings and beliefs. If I annihilate you from becoming my customer, well it is probably just as well because you would not last long as a Larson customer. Either you would fire me or I would fire you, and yes I do fire customers! The point is when you hire Larson & Associates as your marketing company you are really hiring me and my ideas no matter who in the Larson team is working on your account, you are getting my way of thinking and my doing things. I am a capitalist and business is business. Business with a heart? Well. . . . . see me on February 14th. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.      2010-12-13 07:45:39 Marketing to the Littles http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB405719F44932E040A8C0AC001F58 The small and medium size business marketing place is huge. I mean large. I’m saying gigantic. Just how big compared to their big business brother? Micro / 1-4 employees / 13,231,562 businesses / 75% of total / 27,884,651 contact names / 43% or total Small A / 5-9 employees / 1,943,132 businesses / 11% of total / 6,886,895 contact names / 10% of total Small B / 10-19 employees / 1,247,580 businesses / 7% of total / 5,865,649 contact names / 9% of total Medium / 20-99 employees / 1,089,625 businesses / 6% of total / 12,797,020 contact names / 20% of total Large / 100+ employees / 207,493 businesses / 1% of total / 11,788,517 contact names / 18% of total Point blank, if you go after the smaller market you are aiming at 62% or all businesses. So what is a good plan of attack? In this blog I give you 4 areas to look at. 1) Know the Purchasing Dynamics. There are big differences in how you need to look at a small micro (1-4) vers a mid (20-99) sized company. The micro businesses are usually hand to mouth businesses living from invoice to invoice. There are lots of them, but cash flow can be a problem in the segment. Cash, COD or prepayment is a good thing. Their appetites for services and products is small and you need to test your offers with lots and lots of these small (schools) of fish. You need to keep a very narrow nitch to avoid confusing this market on what you are offering. The Midsized are a different animal, they have people specific titles such as purchasing manager, marketing manager, sales manager, office manager. This makes a totally different kind of attach and message you might have to be using. The ones in between? It’s a mixed bag of where and how they are growing and what the owners business since is. 2) Know your company and the best prospects for you. Know thy self. If you know yourself the hunting ground you pick will or should be filled with the kinds of prospects you want to be in front of. This is not as hard as you might think. Look at who is buying from you now and good find more of them. This analyses should show you types, sizes, what they buy and how much. If you track yourself you will also know transition level and marketing penetration. Turn to the SIC codes and employee size that have in the past given you the most return. If you understand the makeup of the kind of customer you now have be it micro, small a, b or mid, you can target your limited resources. Success really comes down to: 40% - list 20% - consistency 20% - offer 20% - the rest 3) Know how to mix and match marketing channels. Not every product or service works in each and every marketing channel. Phone. Email. Mail, moble apts, SEM, pay for click, etc, etc, etc. want a list of marketing tools go to http://www.larsonassociates.ws/marketing_tools . I have found that the 3 most potent marketing tools are: Telemarketing Direct Mail E-Mail The big guys will be telling you, you need a mix of 60% direct mail, 20% e-mail and 20% telemarketing. Well. . .  they are not you and working in your budget. We at Larson sort of go 50% telemarketing, 5% E-mail, 5% direct mail, 30% Social Media Marketing, 5% Web site, 5% the rest. Heavy on the sweat equity and low on the cash outlay. You need to do what works for you, not me nor anyone else. It takes a little time and experminatioin to figure this out but it is well worth the effort. When you get down to ROI, count your pennies carefully. Friend and followers are not hard cash and cash in king in business. Want to be the homecoming king or queen of your Social Media Site go find yourself a bucket full of friends. What to eat at the Ritz, go find yourself a pail of paying customers. 4) Analyze your results and make adjustments. Analyze, analyze, analyze, measure, measure, measure, adjust, adjust, adjust! One of the most common traps is to fall in love with what you are doing. Now don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying change things because YOU are getting boarded with them. YOU DON’T COUNT (here). What matters is what your prospects and customers think and say. You might post your message 1234 times, you might make 8365 phone calls, you might send out 4532 post card mailings. You are so tired of hearing yourself saying the same thing time and time again, but guess what, your prospect, each one, has only heard it ONCE maybe twice. Yes that’s right, it is new to them. Brand spanking new! Concentrate on sales, orders, and cross-selling. Look at that. If those numbers take a dive, then and only then make a change. Larson Notes & Satire: I do the same thing day after day, week after week. Call, mailing, blogging. Why because it works. It works because I do in as completely as I can! 95-100% of 3 things is much better than 66% of 10 things. Now if you can land a big company account beware. The money can be good. The rewards high, but beware, if any 1 account is more than 20% of your work load get out there and narrow the gap. You need to be in a position where no one company is holding you or could hold you hostage if they pull the account, at least get it down to only 45%. Don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself. I have done a lot of sleepless nights worrying over that big account. No more. Spread them out and sleep at night. I’m not saying that I would turn down a big account. Well maybe I am. If a large company came to me and begged me to take on a telemarketing program needing say, 20 to 40 seats, I would either not do it or I would outsource it to a (trusted) friend in the business. Ya you heard me, I don’t want to be that big! I like being small. I have no aspirations of a 100 person company. I did once and guess what I worked 60 hours a week and never got a vacation.  I have no desire to have my face on Forbes or INC magazine. I like me and where my company is and what we do for small to midsized companies. I guess I want some quality in my life and not the headaches. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-12-10 08:35:10 Being Small â Big Advantage http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB407FB82009FFE040A8C0AC001F56 As a small business I, you have a distinct disadvantage with it comes to competing against the Big Dogs. For us, every single customer is crucial to our success. Every sale is paramount in the survival of our business. Our customers know this and for that very reason they often choose a small business over a larger counterpoint. They want the special kind of treatment a small business can give. The lack of layers makes it a fast paced world of opportunity. In a Gallup poll 66% of responses in the US said that have “supreme” confidence in small business. Sit back and smile because the Big Dogs have only a 19% confidence rating. Confidence. Yes they, the average buyer and customer on the street trusts small business. When there is a problem most likely in a small business you can go right to the “man” and not get headed off by a middle manager who can’t make decisions. As a small business I can afford to have any bad decisions on customer relations happening. The buck and the phone calls come to and stop at my desk. I am sure you do the same. Now it is a fact that some customers can not be satisfied no matter what you do. Ok, accept it and fire them. Yes fire a customer that is hurting your business. Fire them and go out and find one that will love you and your business for what you can do for them. Bad customers will kill you. So just do it and get it over with. They are going to stop using your business anyway once they find out they can’t push you around. Be that Big Fish in a Little Pond. Larson Notes & Satire: Good customer service is what transcends businesses and industries. No products, no marketing efforts, No advertising campaign can take you past a bad customer service reputation. It’s your repudiation. It’s your valued word. It’s your trustworthiness. The Big Dogs are you handing this marketing position of the mind of the customer on a silver platter, all you have to do us be true to your word and follow though. Be that Big Fish in the Little Pond. Fill it up so no one else fits. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-12-02 08:22:39 Getting In The Customerâs Mi http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FEFEB3355F0E040A8C0AC001F5A The idea of having a business is to sell stuff. Now who do you sell to? People. People buy things, and the way to a customer’s wallet or check book is through their mind. You need to be targeting messages to your targeted market segment buy putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. (I’m a size 10.5). Right or wrong in today’s world if a customer or prospect stops hearing from you their first thought is that you have gone out of business. So a key point here is to not disappear or ever stop marketing. I’m not saying this because I have a marketing company here and do this for people and companies but because it is a fact! So start standing OUT! So what would I do? 1st start by empowering comparative shoppers. What? Ya, put the power in the hands of the comparative shopper. What are you afraid of? Remember yesterday’s blog? You can’t sit back being afraid of talking about what makes you and your product/service the best of the best! You are in control if you initiate the conversation. Talk about what makes your service/product the best choice while providing objective positive (never ever bash a competitor, only you look bad).  2nd Challenge your customers to buy smarter! Give the customer (your) reasons to open up their check book and buy from you. You need to know your market and your customer but don’t be shy. Ask them to not only buy, but if it is (really) in their best interest ask them to buy more. 3rd Show genuine gratitude. Don’t be bashful, that is only good if you are asking Snow White out for a date. Let the customer know in no uncertain terms that you appreciate their business. Tell them; write them thank you notes, phone calls. This small but personal action can make all the difference for the next sale. 4th Reward customer loyalty. There are many ways to do this. Give them a “secret sale”, preferred customer rewards, customer appreciation events, customer only coupons. Let them know just how important they are to you. 5th Show confidence in our company and its products and services. Reinforce credibility. Kill any rumors. Position you and your company as the lead in your service niche. 6th Share the (good) news. No matter if it is about your company, you, the people you have working with you, crow a little. Put a little Peter Pan magic out there and stand up and crow the news out. With all the negative news filling out heads hearing a little good from where ever it comes from is almost always welcome. Unless, of course you’re Captain Hook. 7th Ask how you can help. Engage the customer? What does that mean? Talk to them. Ask about their special needs. Ask what the most challenging issue in their business is and find out how you can ease their pain. Use surveys both mailed and online, call them up and ask, use your social media tools to get responses. 8th Knows how to say, UffDa (or do you say Opps?) Mistakes happen, yes even here at the invincible perfect Larson & Associates. When they do know how to say I’m sorry. 9th Find ways to give value added services that don’t cost you. Use those surveys and reviews you have been sending out and receiving. There are probably some golden nuggets in those forms. Read them and act on them. Become an innovator. Value added or ever a new product or service might be in line for you. 10th Comfort First time buyers. When someone buys for the first time from you give them a follow up call, send them a “good choice” thank you note. Don’t disappear just because you made the sale. If you lucky to be adding new customers in this economy don’t take them for granted. Reassure them and thank them. 11th Update and inform the customer. They are now part of your family of loyal (we hope) happy customers. Make them feel the part. 12th Segment your customers for relevance. Different customers buy form you for different reasons and or products. Cut them into product lists so you can send them information on what is important to them and not someone else. If Joe and Mary buy Red Doogers and Tom, Sally and Rodger like Orange, group them together so you can use the same marketing message for the right people and not be sending out information that has no meaning for them. That only shows how you DON’T know your customer now what you know. Larson Notes & Satire: You need to get and own your market segment in only 1 place. The customers mind. No one really cares if you are on the 1st page of a Google or yahoo search, although it is fun to brag about (type in telesales for printers and see how high Larson & Associates is today). It is not about buying up all the key words to get up on top of a search. It is about the customer buying from you, and you alone. There is no second place. Once their money is spent it’s gone. The mind of the customer is where you want your company to be. Now think about it, when you think of telemarketing, lead generation, target marketing, web marketing, who do you think I want you to think of when you have money to spend on these kind of services? That’s right Me! I want you to think of Larson & Associates. Not because I’m greedy but because I believe in my heart I can give you the most bang for your buck. I truly believe I can give you a bigger payback than my competition. Do you believe that you can do the same for your customers and prospects? If you can say yes, go out and do it. It you can’t rethink, reengineer your company. You can be the best at whatever you want to be. Be the Big Fish in the Little Pond. Come on in, the waters fine. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-12-01 08:48:08 The Personality Of Business http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB40752CD209FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Your company, your brand, your product, your service has a very distinct personality and more times than not that personality is you! Your personality is how customers perceive you for better or in some cases for worse. Your average advertiser / marketer has been getting away with selling only a great product or a fantastic service and leaving out the personality behind the brand. So where do you stand. Do you manage your company’s image and perception? Does your customer’s and prospect’s perception match the kind of personality you want them to have and see? 1) You are selling to people not businesses. Maybe all of us B2B people should start saying B2P the P standing for people. It is true that the buyer might not be buying from you for themselves, but they do have their own agenda to consider. Who they are, how they work? Who they answer to? Know the individual behind the invoice. Remember to tune in to WIIFM radio station “What’s In It For Me”. 2) Are you really any different? Are you really any different than anyone else? Ah, reality time. You need to differentiate yourself from all the other Dooger Companies out there. 24 hour shipping? All too common. 98% of all items in stock, pardon me while I go to sleep. You must and I stress the must, find that one then that makes you, you, that makes your company the reason they need to buy from you and not Joe Smith. 3) Do you and your customer speak the same language? Drop the jargon if it is inappropriate. Speak customerese and don’t sound all to technician if it is not appropriate. You might be selling Blue Doogers but if the customer calls it a blue paper clip holder, guess what you better be calling it. You vocabulary should be your customers vocabulary. Talk their language! 4) What is the emotional reason to buy from you? Hank Trisler said it. People buy on emotion and justify with facts! Do you make life simpler? Do you let them look good to their boss? Do they get that benefit or a good ego rub while getting a more efficient and productive service or product? 5) Find every contact point and make it an opportunity to reinforce your brands message. Make sure that once you create your one of a kind position that you can push it though in your entire marketing campaign on every channel that you are using, telemarketing, direct mail, e-mail, letters, faxes, social media messages, web site, pay for click, Examine every touch point that you have with your customers and prospects and make it a magic moment. Larson Notes & Satire: Right or wrong, I am the face (or voice) of my company I define who and what my company stands for. In defining and redefining your brand you need to be vigilant to the consistency and relevance to your target market. Say what you want to say and do what you need to do. It is constant and ever moving. You can’t just plan out your year in December and expect it to work the entire year. Sure I now have my yearly plan for 2011 laid out. I know the direction I want to go in, but will it change? Probably. How often will I be reviewing it? At a minimum every 2 weeks Most likely 26 times in the next 12 months? Always remember a well rounded complete marketing plan will be targeted at the individual in a company not to the company itself. As you communicate across all your marketing channels remember: “Customers buy for their reasons not yours.” Now you need new customers? Call us and I’ll put a program together for you that will fit you, your company and your customers and prospects. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-11-30 08:13:32 The Law of the Customer http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB403ABFC709FFE040A8C0AC001F56 By Brian Tracy The customer always acts to satisfy his or her interests by seeking the very most and best at the lowest price possible. Customers practice economic calculation in their choices. They seek to minimize their purchases and to minimize their costs, or outlays. Customers always attempt to get the things they want the fastest and easiest way possible, right now, at the lower possible price. This is not a problem. This is merely a fact of business life. Customers want the very most for the very least, and they will buy from whomever they feel can best give it to them. http://www.briantracy.com Larson Notes & Satire: All my customers get 1 thing no one else can give them: ME. Yep that’s right I am unique. There is only 1 me as much as I might want to clone myself; it’s just not going to happen. If they go anywhere else they can’t have a piece of me. If the decide that I am of no value to them, well, then, maybe my company is of no value to them and we should part ways. Then again if they try to push the cost of my services down to far, they will not get me either. I, we do things here that most normal people don’t want to do and don’t like to do. We are the Doctor of Cold Call Pain. For the most part we make cold calls to companies for companies and their sales people. We get slammed, we get told off, I have heard every excuse that has ever come to the mind of man for why they will not talk to me, we dial and make the calls that no one wants to make. If it was easy I would not have a job. If it was fun (well I think its fun) we would all be making cold calls to have a bit of enjoyment. I never have see a company go out of business because of too few (profitable) sales. And that is what we give, leads and customers, can a company ever have enough? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.     2010-11-19 08:20:35 Why Mail? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB402EC07D09FFE040A8C0AC001F56 Email vs. Snail Mail? Is there a choice? Should there be a choice? What is the right marketing vehicle for your company? Do you even care? The average email open rate that I have been reading lately is 22.1%, which means that 77.9% are deleted without even a look, and that does not count the ones that are kicked back with bad addresses. Blanked out. Poof, gone never to return to the light of a computer screen. If that was a Snail Mail piece it would be like sending out blank cards or letters. Blank as in nothing printed on them, except an enticing headline, maybe. The big e-mailers want to go out and shout about how cost effective email is in comparison to Snail Mail. Ok shout away, but I will tell you that even as they are throwing my postcard mailer into the bucket they will see my company name, they might glance at my headline, so that the next time I send them something, and there will be a next time, they might dig a little deeper into the message I am sending them, so that on the 3rd or 4th piece of mail I have sent to them they might even start to understand what it is I do. Mail, E-mail, it is not the cost, but the success that really matters. Larson Notes & Satire: I mail. I email. I phone. I place classified ads. I do what works. Is mail dead? I don’t think so. As each or our e-mail in boxes gets cluttered up, we scan though more and more deleting at will. Yet, each day my mail box gets a few pieces dropped into it by my mailman. And with the unclutteredness of it, I do look at every piece, and read at least the postcard mailers, (I am partial to post card mailers) the envelope & letter pieces might get opened but if they are too wordy I’ll see what they are talking about and usually, unless it is really enticing, it hits but bucket, but guess what? I did look and skim though their message. You don’t get that with email. E-mail has a place in the sales and marketing world. Use each tool for what it does best. But don’t tell me Direct Mail is dead. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-11-17 07:04:33 Link With Influencers http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FBAD4FF52BCE040A8C0AC001F5E So there you are out there on the vast world of Social Media all alone. To continue on yesterdays linking thoughts to get your web page listed higher up in the Search Engines. Ask yourself, who are the people in your TARGET market that have the most influence? Don’t mess with people in your industry, not that you should not follow people of knowledge in your industry or profession but they are NOT going to buy anything from you. You need to attach yourself to the people who are in your target. If you can start to target and get a conversation going with these key influencers, if you can start to create a dialog with them, if you can gain their trust as a knowledgeable trustworthy person they will gradually open you up to their following though retweets, friend requests and sending your message with appropriate links! The key here is trust. If they trust you and you have something of value to give to their friends and followers they will gradually give you access. It won’t be overnight, it takes time, much more time than money, but more that even that it takes a real honesty and sincerity. Larson Notes & Satire: Who are you? Really who the heck are you and why should I want to be following you? Any why should I use my good name for you? If I do that what you do and say is a direct influence on me! Are you honest with yourself and your brand? Can you walk the straight and narrow talk, all the time, every time? Think about that the next time you get a stray recommend me on LinkedIn or MerchantCircle. Should you say a good thing about someone who you don’t know? What you say can and does make a difference on you, as well as the person you are recommending. Now my company sells leads so I am not going to go out and give you a lead for fun, but I might, if you give me reason, recommend your business as a quality place or person to do business with. And if I do, don’t fail me! I can undo my good favorable recommendation. Don’t believe me? Just ask me why I will not drink Dr. Pepper, why I will not stay in a Motel 6, or I will never buy or install an American Standard Faucet in mine or any home improvement project I EVER work on.  If you talk the talk make sure you can walk the walk. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-11-16 07:34:47 SEO Generation For Links http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB3FB5F858ED91E040A8C0AC001F60 There is no question that the incoming link to a website from some other site is gold. In starting a SEO-Linking strategy the first thing to do is to link all of your businesses social profiles together aiming at your website. This will help your name and your “brand” in taking and holding onto the search results of pages in a brand name search and or even a market oriented search. After placing your link on your social media home pages you need to put your links into your content of ALL forum answers and blogs and blog answers. Search Engines are weighing these links higher in value almost as we speak. Social Media is built on the prediction of sharing and talking about things of value. A well optimized posting by you can attack or push you into new networks if your blog or post gets linked into them, further helping in the linking process in an indirect but equally powerful way. The added benefit in all this is that long (whatever the definition of long is these days) after you have posed something it might be winding though the endless labyrinth of social media sites unknown to you and your circle of followers and friends. Larson Notes & Satire: With the advent of real time search getting hooked up right with your links and pushing your links out into the world of retweets and aimed pushes to your social media sites can be resounding. As short lived as it might or might not be, you can get elevated up in short order with a properly optimized blog or post. Links and keywords. Then all you need to do is make the sale. Need help call us. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-11-15 06:59:24 Saturation Mail http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=94AB4014FD3F09FFE040A8C0AC001F56 A saturation mailing can be a valuable tool when you are looking to reach a broad based audience in a local area. “Carrier route saturation” is a class of Standard Male offered by the US Postal Service to marketers who are looking to hit on virtually every address in a zip code. A beauty parlor might saturate a single carrier route while a big box store might hit on everyone in an entire zip code. There is no exact figure but if you do a saturation mailing you can usually get 5 cents to 6 cents per piece lower on your mailing! Not too shabby. In order to qualify for the rate, automation guidelines must be followed in regard to sorting, bar coding, packaging and tagging. The mailing must also include at least 75% OF ALL addresses (including commercial) or 90% or all residential addresses in the carrier route of the mailing. To get in on this there are a few things that must be followed. I would contact your postmaster for all the details. Addresses may be eliminated down to 75% to 90% penetration level. You can do this by taking out current customers and or removal of addresses that are most likely not to respond. (See your direct mail expert for help if you need it). Assuming that distance is important to you in securing a customer, you need to understand distance and buying preferences. When figuring out your ideal buying structure you need to take a random saturation out to 20 miles or so, in lager metro areas like Chicago you might want to tighten that down to 10 miles or less. In finding the results this random mailing you need to quantify the response and distance in terms that can be translated into a factor which when put into a model or response possibilities you can target harder to build a saturation model unique to your business. Then armed with your unique distance and saturation and target gain factors you can then determine the best mix of saturation in a targeted mailing that is right for you. You might find that you want to hit all carrier routes inside of 5 miles. Those addresses 6-8 miles out 9 out of 10 carrier routes. In the 9 to 10 mile range 8 out of 10 and so on. If geography matters to your business direct mail saturation might be the ticket to increased customers for your business. Larson Notes & Satire: I like mail. I like it better than email. Even if they toss it in the bucket they need to look at it as they do. They will see your name, your address, your logo. With email one click and your gone! Being B2B I don’t do saturation mail as in geography but I do use mail in a saturation way to target my market in geography, that being by state and business listing. One of my company’s goals is to have a customer in each of the lower 48 states. Right now I have targeted Florida, Texas, Colorado and Washington State as my next states to penetrate. All I need to do is get the right SIC number target the right sized company and down load my list. Now when I attack it is more that a mailing, it is a phone call or 2 or 3 followed by a mailing than another 2 to 3 phone calls followed by a mailing till I reach my goal. Does it work? It works for me, will it work for you? That is what you need to figure out. Of course that is the same way I work with my clients to find them new business. I use what I sell. (Another interesting concept, do you use or follow what you sell? Think about it.) It’s not my way or the highway. Each of us and our businesses are unique. There is no right way and wrong way, there is only a way and no way. Doing something, anything is a way. To sit and do nothing is the no way to going about things.  Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-11-12 08:04:18 The Synergistic Web Site http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1B3BF592F073E040A8C0AC000B2B In an online marketing plan and attack your main website is your base of attack. It contains the elements of what your company is, what it sells and what its primary goal of service/products are. Yet if your site is lost in the great abyss of the 38th page of a google key word search what effect can it have on your overall companies marketing and sales attack? 3 things: 1) Explain to the world who and what you are 2) Be there for people and companies you give your URL to and actually send them to. 3) A stable message to send your Social Media followers to. As competitive as the internet is, you need to have some kind of control over your own destiny, and at the same time keep up with the current state of web marketing opportunities. In using a synergistic approach to your attack you can develop and promote your “brand” as 1 Web Design Development > Use good graphic and layout techniques to achieve a visually appealing website. > Use up to date programming to ensure that all the parts of your design and elements work in harmony. > Get the best in website optimization to ensure you get the maximum in conversion of all potential visitors. Content Development > Use the writers and copywriters to develop your content. > Use photographers and graphic designers to create great design elements and have the knowledge to coordinate them to work in harmony. > If you are using audio and or video use a higher end developer Website Marketing > SEO – Search Engine Optimization - Don’t overlook it! If you want to be rated higher in the search engines with a key word (or word string) organic search it takes time, patience and knowledge to get you up there. > SEM – Search Engine Marketing – pay-per-click, banner ads, and other paying ways to get seen on a search. Sometimes you need that extra kick to get seen. Don’t do it alone, or as I say: “It’s your money.” > Use a Social Media Professional to leverage the power of all the different social networks and other social media tools to get seen and listed. Implementation Nothing happens until you put things into action. Development, promotion planning means nothing unless you do something about it. Bring your team into a synergistic force. Get them talking and working in harmony. Don’t let them get into little turf wars. If that happens there is only 1 looser, YOU. Larson Notes & Satire: Oh where of where is your website? When was the last time, or 1st for that matter that you did a key word search for it? When was the last time, or 1st that you asked a friend to do a key word search for you site? Seek and ye shall find? Yes with a little help from your friends. Now am I a pro at all this stuff? No way, but I have one trick up my sleeve, I have friends and associates that are. At Larson & Associates we focus on implementation not necessarily perfection. If you don’t like it, don’t use us. But guess what, our web site is getting over 400% more hits this year than a year ago. And our sales? Ha ha, sales up in double digits in THIS Economy! We get things done! We are doers not procrastinators. We get things as good as we can and go! If you are going to sit around waiting to be perfect you will starve. Better to be 75% perfect and implement than to sit around and wait another 5 months for everything to be perfect and miss the market. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-11-09 08:36:57 Social Media Is Free, Right? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC19A9828FA694E040A8C0AC000B23 Facebook is free. Twitter is free. MerchantCircle is free. Foursquare is free. LinkedIn is free. Heck Social Media is all free! Right? What’s your time worth? 2 cents? One of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking that Social media is free. Every second you are on the clock is ticking. If your there for fun, go on and let the good times roll, but if you are there to make a buck or two, you had better buckle down and get smart. If you start to blog on a regular basis that is the cost of your time? If you or you have a marketing person or team monitoring unfiltered posts, who is paying for the time that is spent as they let the screen roll down looking or searching for posts about you, your company or your industry. Taking time to track is very costly if you put any value on your time. So what are the real costs? Start with the opportunity to the business of just listening analyzing, participating and collaborating in the different networks. It takes careful planning to roll out a solid program. Creating a twitter presence is easy. Participating, responding and building a brand presence is where the real work is. The actual setting up of the account is nothing. Same with LinkedIn, Facebook, MerchantCircle, the Nings, MySpace and all the others. The work really starts once your page is up, running and out there. Set a time limit to do things in Social Media. Create your balance of activities not your best friends. Finally make a social media program for your company where you have certain times of the day where you work at it.  Like the old adage: Plan your work and work your plan. Larson Notes & Satire: Social Media can eat you alive. You can go on to do one little post and 87 minutes later you are finally signing off. That is not because the sites are so hard to navigate but because you flitter from conversations that might not fit in with the task at hand. If your blogging, blog. If you’re answering a group post, answer it, and only do that. Do not stray from the task at hand. There is a cost and the cost can be the time you need to build your business by using a tool that you started using to build your business.  So what about me? Blog: 1-3 hours a day Facebook: 30 minutes a day Twitter: 15 minutes MerchantCircle: 30 minutes a day LinkedIn: 30 minutes a day Nings: 1 hour a day Other: 1 hour a day Total: 5-7 hours Cost: $150.00 to $840.00 a day So is there a cost? You tell me. Now the question is what is my ROI? That my friend is for another blog. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-11-05 07:26:24 Do You Need A Custom Landing P http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1958D9CF79E3E040A8C0AC000B25 Does your company sell different products to different customer bases? Do you do event marketing? Do you need segmentation of your market to narrow down the needs of each niche you serve? Are you going to hold a special webinar? Welcome to the world of the customized landing page. Whatever you got, if you can narrow down the target to the service, product or event, even if you have made a dedicated page within your current website, it’s not good enough! The creation of a special landing page can not hurt, but help in so many ways. If your offer is from an email, direct mail piece, telesales message; you need to make sure that the prospect sees what you want them to see quickly, easily and fast in 1 click. 2 clicks are 1 click too many. 3 clicks and your dead. In creating a specialized landing page you can focus on that 1 target. Key words can be used. Your H1 title line can talk about it. Your Meta tag key words and description can yell out to the little Google spiders saying here I am, here I am! In addition it allows you the chance to test marketing your service, product or even without a website remake. If you just remember the basics on making a web page, good navigation, readable text, nice clear images. Larson Notes & Satire: I have not talked too much about landing pages for a while. But these little things are really an untapped. It can take you right to the top in your targeted market without compromising the more broad based nature of your website. It really narrows down the clicks your targets need to hit to get to you. 1 click and they are there. Doesn’t get much easier for them to buy or sign up. Add in a link to the home page of your company web site or any other page that makes more sense for them to hit with their 2nd click and make it happen. Quick, easy, fast, that is what people want on the web. Make it hard and you lose them. Make yourself easy and accessible and you win. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-29 07:49:12 Website Check Up http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1977236EA694E040A8C0AC000B23 How is your website doing? Are you getting enough activity? Enough hits? The sales you were expecting off of it? Ask yourself these questions and then decide if you need an upgrade of your site. 1. Does your home page clearly say what your company does and the kind of customer you want or serve? 2. Do you use an easy conversational tone in your copy? 3. Do you offer useful content in addition to your product and service information? 4. Is your website optimized for the best possible ranking in the search engines? 5. Are you always updating your websites copy? 6. Do all the pages of your website have an offer that they can’t refuse? 7. Do your action requests talk to the customer at all the different stages to the buying process? 8. Is your phone number on each and every page of your website? 9. If you have them, are your online forms short and asking for only the needed information, not a bunch of junk? (i.e. name, company name, address, phone number, email address?) 10. Do you have a process in place so your website inquiries get followed up on quickly? If your keeping score give yourself a point for each yes you can answer to. If you are a 6 or below you had better get to work on your site. You’re missing some web action. Larson Notes & Satire: It seems every day I am doing something to help get my site ranking higher and higher. Post a blog. Do an online key word string search. Ask people to look for my site or got to it and give it a hit. Website rankings don’t come by accident, but hard work. You can pay for clicks or pay to get in the pink area of a word search. But I am not talking about that. I am talking about getting you up there with no, zero money. It can be done. And just in case you want a little help in finding quick places to improve on go to http://www.pearanalytics.com . PearAnalytics is a tool which is easy to use, and provides fast results concerning important SEO factors. Unlike most tools you can find to help you, PearAnalytics provides solutions to improving these factors in seconds at no cost. If you need help call me and I will charge you to do it. I am only telling you, if you have the time and the patience you can do it all on your own. But it does take perseverance. If I can do it, anyone can. Today on Google in a keyword sting of “telesales for printers” one of my sites was the 1, 2 and 3 listings. Go on see for yourself. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-28 09:53:17 Hitting On The Rich http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC196FB7A1A694E040A8C0AC000B23 As we slowly recover from this wonderful fun recession we all might want to look at selling more to the “rich”. They are out there. But who are they? 66% are women 20% are minorities 68% are married couples 56% of those households earn over 250,000 21% purchased from a catalog 12 or more times a year 10.5% growth in households of 250,000 in income and above Top 4 wealthiest areas in the United States 118,509 – Los Alamos NM 107,499 – San Jose / Santa Clara CA 100,141 – Bridgeport / Stamford / Norwalk, Conn $ 94,599 – Washington DC / Arlington VA $ 92,020 – Bolder CO Selling to the affluent is changing as is and has the economy. As a marketer you will find a fierce fight for those dollars. Not only is there more competition for their purchasing but the affluent households are looking for value over status. Of that the very top 2% of all this group of people has actually increased their spending 40% from the 3rd quarter of 2009. And studies show that these wealthy Americans do consistently respond to mail and catalogs. Do you have a product or service that the wealthy need or want? Larson Notes & Satire: Selling to the rich. Be it the 5 areas targeted above or areas where you live that have enclaves of wealthy people. You know where they are. If not get the census report and it will help you find them. So ask yourself do you really have a product to sell to them? If so 1. Target the right price point for your product. These people, at least most of them are not rich because they go out on buying binges. They are smart and they are thrifty. 2. Target consumer attributes that are relevant to the product. Yes that’s right; again it falls on you to target the right product into the right demographic profile. Yes you can profile here. This is marketing not airport surveillance and that is what we do. Lol. 3. Have a good website where those prospects can go to get more information or actually buy your product or service. Is your site easy to navigate? Does the shopping cart work easily? Help them to buy. 4. Have multiple ways for the prospect to contact you off your mailer. As stated above, web site, but also phone number, email address and maybe even a return card or envelope. Don’t think that people are going to buy from you because you’re such a nice person. You will starve if you sit and wait. Grasp your future! Be the driver of your life Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates hhttps://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a 5.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-27 08:03:00 Blog Writing Secrets http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1961F9BBA694E040A8C0AC000B23 You can be writing your own blog. It is really quite simple, just sit down and write as if you were speaking. Really it is just that easy. No more procrastination. No more sweaty hands. No more using large, 8 syllable words.  Just relax and write. Write as if you were talking to a close friend Writing the way you talk does not give you permission to write bad. What it does is help keep you focused to be a better more productive focused writer. Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to end all the insecurities and avoid sounding like a complete idiot: 1. Imagine your talking with a friend. Write like you are having a good conversation with your best buddy. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your chosen topic of the day to a close friend who is sitting next to you. If you were having a conversation with your friend, what words would you use? What would you talk about first?  What questions would they ask you? 2. Record yourself. Not sure what you sound like, try recording yourself. If you talk to on the phone regularly, record the call and listen to it later (Be sure to check the laws in your state first. Some states require you get the other party’s permission before you record). 3. Take a deep breath, relax, take a sip of coffee, and just be yourself. When you write the way you talk, you can’t help but put your personality into the piece. Weave in a couple of  good, topical, personal stories and you’re on your way. 4. Use the same words that you normally use. If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more apt to use common, everyday words that you would normally use. Words people understand and don’t need to run to the dictionary to look up. Use the KISS method, Keep It Simple Stupid. That way your writing is simple and clear. If the average person needs to get a dictionary out to know what you’re trying to say, then you need a different word. 5. Toss out the rule book and just start writing. Yes there are rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation. I don’t know if I have ever met an English teacher that liked me. Just keep focused on getting your points across, and don’t worry about anything else. Once you’ve done that, go back reread and fix what doesn’t sound right. After you’ve done that, hit save and  leave it till morning, come back and look at it again. A freash head cleared out might find some additional changes to make. 6. Find a friend. Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds readable and like you? Get a friend to read it, and let them be critical. 7. Read what you wrote out loud. When you read it aloud you will find all those awkward sentences that you sort of skim over when you just read it to yourself. You will find yourself stumbling over words and sentences that don’t quite fit together So go ahead, as the Nike slogan says, “Just Do It!” Larson Notes & Satire: It is really that simple. No English major, no degree in composition. If you are an avid reader of mine, you know I don’t follow any rules real when I blog. I have a basic outline and then, I think it and write it. It is sort of obvious isn’t it? Outside of keeping on my chosen target of blogging about marketing and advertising I just let it flow. But here I am writing and blogging away and there you are reading. And at the same time my web site is getting a record number of hits and I have been able to hire a new person this month so… Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a 5.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-25 08:19:08 The Power To Last http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1925AFE179E3E040A8C0AC000B25 Unemployed? Over 50? Under skilled? Are you one of the new unemployed people out there? Good work ethic, but no job future for whatever reason? You history filled with life skills but no one wants the hire you for your knowledge? Join the club. No not the Mickey Mouse Club but the Club of Self Employment. To this wonderful group of business people from all you new comers or soon to be members we have those who already took the plunge as a New Business Owner or a Small business person already making their own personal mark in the world of economic self sufficiency. We are the backbone of the world! Now ask yourself if you have the staying power to make it as a small business owner or an entrepreneur? What do I mean by that? Many if not most of all business owners have not done the research about what is involved to launch and make their business self sustaining. They have not sat down pencil and paper in hand to calculate out what they need to make it work, for them. Let’s start with you. Yes you! It’s ok to be selfish right now. You’re not out to save the world here, you’re here to save your families economic vitality. What do you need to exist? You might want to make 200,000 dollars a year but once you kick out cable (yes cable is a luxury) the 4 meals out at restaurants a week (sorry restaurant owner friends but you too are a luxury at times) you might only need 50,000 a year. Big difference. That will pay your mortgage, your utilities; keep food on the table and gas in the car. But let’s stay on your figure of 200,000 or maybe I should up it to 250,000 so you’re in the upper income of those people they want to raise taxes on. Let’s go back to you earning 200,000 a year. If you are going to work 40 hours a week and take 2 weeks of vacation that will give you 2,000 hours to work.  If you want that 200,000 and you need to charge 200 an hour and you will make your goal. BUT not all your time is billable. You need to market, sell, research, empty the waist basket and all those other business owner kind of things. I would guess you will spend up to 1 third of your time doing those non-billable kinds of things, cutting off 700 hours or work. Now you need to bill out not 0 an hour but 5 an hour to make your goal. If we are only taking 50,000 you only need to bill out 28.50 an hour and that is doable. Yes? That is if you can keep you billing time filled up. Did you become unemployed because your past employer had the work to need you? Think before you jump.   Larson Notes & Satire: As part of what I do, is I consult with small or would be business owners or owners who what to take their businesses up the next level. You know like add an employee or more from that spare room in the house to an office. Business is full of hard decisions and small business people and entrepreneurs are hungry for success and will take plunges with their businesses which might not be in the best interest of their businesses. I can think of one owner who I was talking with who is excessive compulsive. I kept telling him to slow down and think first before spending or getting into any long or short term contract. He is one of the lucky ones. He only lost 1200 - 3000 on a bad web hosting web / building decision. It could have been much worse had he signed a 3 year lease for an office on what he thought was a viable business. You can start and build your own business. Just think before you spend. For more information on the Larson system see PSS below. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://businesswarfare.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson http://pacerrunners.ning.com https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a 125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-21 07:17:52 Marketing Comes in 2 Kinds Acq http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1B076318CF71E040A8C0AC000B2D There really are 2 sides to any marketing program the gaining of new customers (acquisition) and the keeping of the customers you now have (retention). To pull back or drop spending on either side of the marketing equation can put your company’s new client or client retention program in a total tailspin. In a down economy, and it is down, I don’t care if the experts said the recession ended months ago. It is still not nice out there. I know it and you know it. Let’s face the fact that new clients are the very lifeblood of your company’s existence. If you cut off your companies push to get new customers you will go out of business. The customers you have will slowly disappear some faster than others but it happens. In a down market like this one it is really one of the better times to get in customers. In past recessions and this one is no different than the others, companies tend to pull back on their over all sales and marketing attack. Less time, less money, fewer resources, resulting in less competition in trying to acquiring new customers, or even holding on to the ones they have. If you are short on marketing dollars yourself I would put them into retention marketing. Keep what you already have. It’s easier and cheaper to do. A rewards program, a good guy discount, a F2F visit at their location (do people still to real F2F sales appointments? Just kidding). As for new accounts, get smart. Use predictive modeling to find the best nitch. Use some analytic techniques to target your marketing spending. If you can target down to the best kind of customer you will have less marketing leakage and get the best bang for your buck. Larson Notes & Satire: If done right, this stuff works. How do I know? Because that is what we do here at Larson’s. When you work on a no contract basis like my company does, it is succeed or loose. Yes you read that right; I do not obligate my clients into long term contracts. I found I did not like long term deals when I was on the receiving side, so I don’t do it to other’s when, like now I am on the giving (of contracts) side. I do have one kind of long term deal floating around out there but that is a % of actual sale situation only and you need to meet special criteria to be eligible. We are hitting accounts all over the place, phone, mail, email, Social Media, SEO, SEM, web site, linking, classified ads. Even with all I am using here there are hundreds out there that we are not using for whatever reason. I have a firm belief that you start with 2 marketing tools and utilize them at 100% efficacy then add a 3rd and bringing that up to snuff and so on. I have found that the most any one person can master and work at one time is probably 5 or 6, even me. After that even I seek help from other professionals. Just remember, it really does not matter if you’re using 1 marketing tool or 10. The key is utilization efficiency at or near 100%.  Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-20 08:39:55 Social Media Marketing Up For http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1918E9B279E3E040A8C0AC000B25 Tight budgets but still wanting to do something, more small businesses are turning to Social Media for a greater part of their marketing. Does that surprise you? I have said before in a past blog that the new Sweat equity in many businesses has become Social Media (Marketing). I would think that if you are reading this blog you are already most likely engaged in some sort of Social Media / Social Media Marketing. Despite budget cuts, small businesses are doing what they can to make things happen. With the resiliency of being a Small Businesses owner, we are all adopting and implementing the free side (except for time to learn and implement) of online marketing tools that social media marketing affords us. During the 2nd quarter for the very first time since the Merchant Confidence Index was started, Social Media was listing as the top channel to be used by businesses with over 50% of all businesses now using some form of Social Media Marketing. The next closest channel coming in at number 2 was e-mail marketing which was top marketing tool for small business in the 1st quarter. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Nings, MerchantCircle combining in with local based sites like Yelp and Foursquare and video sharing sites like YouTube are finding ways into the Small Business marketing plan. If you have the time and the tenacity to be a player in Social Media it can pay off, but it does take time. . .  lots of time. Larson Notes & Satire: Each week I find new ways to make Social Media work. I find ways to make it work for me and a small handful of select companies that want me to do it for them. It has helped to make my web site 1st page google and yahoo in the two keyword string natural searches of “telesales for printers” and telemarketing for printers”. I figure if I can do it for myself, I can do the same kind of thing and get the same kind of results for other small businesses, and I do. I like nothing more that going after the “Big Dogs” and getting them to put their tails between their legs when one of my small business client’s web sites goes up higher than theirs on a key word search. It’s sort of like when a new client hires me on to do telemarketing for them in a new city. I’m sitting there rubbing my hands together in joy, wanting to blow the competition’s drawers off for not hiring me first when they had the chance. Those are the kinds of goals that make my work fun and enjoyable. It really does make work a heck of a lot more fun! But back to Social Media, there are all kinds of ways to be getting Social Media to work, aside from pushing up your web site in the rankings. There is the posting on forums and other peoples blogs (that’s right you don’t have to write the blog yourself to get exposure just post a good related comment) to attract followers who can then become a loyal customer. It takes time and it takes an approach where you have to keep a long term one track mind in your marketing attack, but it does work. People seem to like people who don’t go changing their minds about things ideas and topics every other month. So consistency is a key here.   Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-19 07:50:59 What Is Important in Social Me http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17C0F97041CDE040A8C0AC000B27 Twits, posts, blogs, followers, friends can make you head spin with working in the confines of Social Media. As a marketer working in this channel you already know you can’t ignore inbound marketing. The latest stats show that 980% of consumers are using some kind of social media that as we go along the time spent on those channels such as twitter, LinkIn, MySpace and Facebook is growing. As this grass roots channel develops we have 3 angels of the triangle working to take advantage of it. 1st is the channels themselves, the Twitters, Facebook, MySpace, LinkIn, MerchantCircle, Nings. Now the Ning people have already shot themselves in the foot with the changes they made this year. I know I ended my companies Ning site this summer as well as countless other nings. As for the others… they are trying to figure out who they are, and what the countless people involved in them are there for. I wonder it Twitter and Facebook really understand what they have and what, we the user want out of them. Then there are the companies themselves. There are ones like me with my little fan club http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans  with only 47 fans in it. As if they should care compared to ones like Walgreens, Craftsman and Duncan Donuts with thousands upon thousands of fans. As a business I have with each approach from the sites, and yes I even said this directly to a Yelp sales representative, I don’t relate to the kind of company that American Express (she was quoting  me statistics from what they did for American Express, as if my company can even start to act like they do), if Yelp can get me 1, just 1 new customer I will put some marketing money in your direction, but until I can get an actual paying customer out of the site the const from me and my company will continue to only be my time, which is costly enough. Impressions, visits, reach, followers are important statistics but they are not a very important business metrics. For social media to really be taken in by your business as a viable channel yet needs to demonstrate how it responds and how it is relevant to the bottom line. Yes, social media should be judged on not awareness metrics but it must be measured as to what it is doing for your bottom line. If there is no follower/friend conversion to a sale, no matter how filled up you might think your sales pipeline is because of it, it is a total waste of time, effort and if you do spend any dollars on it, money.  Larson Notes & Satire: If you are tracking, you can evaluate the real effectiveness of all the channels you are involved in. It still comes down to the bottom line, friends and followers are good and nice but you need a pay back of some kind. That payback can be sales, and I would rate that the number 1 payback but it can also be in the form of information of creating an online board of directors or experts for your business, a way to test new product or service ideas, to find new employees, open new markets. The more you engage in conversations and build relationships will be the key to unlocking Social Media doors. Are you knocking on the “right” door? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-18 07:40:32 What Can Mail Do For Lead Gene http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17B2715F41CDE040A8C0AC000B27 What can Mail or E-Mail really do for your companies lead generation? They both have a place in a multichannel marketing attack. Mail of either kind paves the way for increasing the response rate to double that of a single channel marketing attack. What you might use depends on your target and if they respond to electronic or ground mail Looking at telemarketing studies where an email or direct mail piece was sent prior to the phone calls in an outbound telemarketing program being made, actual response rates can double by sending. Did I say double? Did I say double? Yes actual conversion rates went from 1-2.5% to up to 2-5% and even higher in some programs. If we put in another mailing in the middle of a Larson wave telemarketing campaign and we start to get to the WOW stage in action. Mail is a conversation opener. It gives a starting point that a cold call sometimes needs to break the ice. Most Appointments are not going to happen out of an email or a mailing piece alone but add in a phone call (or 2 or 3 or 4?) and things start to get very interesting. Add into that a post mailing piece and…. You start to strengthen the other efforts and you can get results in the 10% and higher category depending on the target, the offer and the need. And any of you who have actually talked to me have heard me say that I do leave Voice Messages in a telemarketing attack. Yes I do, I figure that I took the time to call, I am going to say something and leave a message and I do get call backs. A mailing piece is an excellent way to hammer in my voice message, to provide yet another touch. Larson Notes & Satire: Most of my customers only want me and my staff for our melodious voices. We can and do get results. Sadly they cut themselves off of hitting real pay dirt. “There’s gold in them hills” when doing a multichannel cold call prospecting program. But like any good prospector, the more tools you have, a pick, a hammer, a drill, dynamite, the faster and greater the work. Add in some heavy equipment like a pay loader and you really start to more some rock. Each element of an attack in the complete Larson Marketing plan has a purpose and supports the others. There is a cost, but the pay off? Well if a telesales campaign netted 1-2.5% (2-5% with the long term Larson plan) but one with mail and/or email thrown in would get you 4-10% you work out the numbers with your product or service? What is that worth to your company? Time to stop, have a sip of coffee. Mmm, Ahhh. Ok, now, can you answer me this question, what is a customer worth to your business a year? Now can answer me this, how long does an average customer keep buying from your business? So for every new customer you get you will earn that much a year.  Now tell me what I can do to help you make that kind of money. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-10-15 07:57:18 CDs, DVDs Continue To Boost Di http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1BA10161DFA7E040A8C0AC000B29 Putting a disc into a direct mail piece is an effective way to entice consumers to open it, according to research sponsored by industry group DiscMail Direct and the Direct Marketing Association. The study, released in full at this week's DMA 2010 Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco, found that 91% of respondents said they would rather open a mailer that contains a DVD or CD. The study found that almost three-quarters (73%) of the more than 800 consumer respondents said they actually played the discs on their computer. The study also revealed that 59% of respondents believe a DVD is more secure than e-mail, and 85% prefer receiving a DVD or CD rather than an e-mail, indicating that consumer attitudes are still positive for disc media. Larson Notes & Satire: I few short years ago I was moving over $40,000 of CD/DVDs though my business. Most to that was CD catalogs with a few music CDs thrown in for fun with a couple of small recording studios. As my (personal) block of clients posted their catalogs on line, as the band width of the internet increased allowing larger files to move across. My B2B CD work shrank. Yes we still do CD’s and DVD duplication/replication here at Larson’s. I use to be out there pushing multimedia work day in and day out. I use to push out these kinds of studies out all the time but have backed off for a few years but this one came flying across my desk today, so I though, heck why not push some CD’s today! When I saw the number 91% I fell off my chair. You show me anything that is that high and I want my customers to be taking a look at it, to find a way to use it, to find a way to get a targeted package into the hands of their customers and prospects. If it still works that well, you need to take a second look, like I am, into the usefulness of this kind of advertising & marketing medium. If you want to talk CDs or DVDs, we’re talking. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-14 07:28:46 Using Latent Semantic Indexing http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18E7B66579E3E040A8C0AC000B25 Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords will boost your SEO, improving your search results page rank, when used in conjunction with your primary search term(s). While Latent Semantic Indexing is a rather intimidating term, it is really pretty simple. Simply put, LSI words are those which are commonly related to the keyword phrase that you have targeted for your article or post. Google’s search engine uses the presence of these words within your article to determine its relevance to the search term used. You can be using as many as 20 to 30 of these related keywords within your post to get your page (s) improved with your search engine page rank. You can also and should use these words within your articles, your meta tags, and image tags. An example of using related terms would be like, when talking about Search Engine Marketing the three letters "SEM" which most if not all of you know what it means but I can also used various other anchor text combinations to make the linkage data appear slightly less manipulative. Instead of using search engine marketing or SEM in all the links some of them may use phrases like: search engine optimization SEO search engine submission SES search engine placement SEP search engine positioning search engine promotion search engine ranking Assuming that you have chosen a primary keyword phrase for your page or blog, you then include that phrase into your title. Then you work it into your first and last paragraphs, finally using Latent Semantic Index words throughout the remainder of your post. There are many ways to come up with lists of these related LSI words. Just sit down make a list of all of the words that you can think of that hook into your page or articles key word and primary point which are related to the search term used. Now mix your Anchor Text. Latent semantic indexing (or similar technologies) can also be used to look at the link profile of your website. If all your links are heavy in a few particular phrases and light on other similar phrases then your site may not rank as well. Simple huh?  Larson Notes & Satire: Weaving in words like this is not a Black Hat way of doing web ranking work; it is White Hat for those of you worried about getting black balled by the search engines. You really need to be creative when using this technique. IN the hands of a Word Master, which I am not, it is totally amazing what can be done, said and accomplished. It takes planning to be able to sit down and write out all those key word combinations but…. Again there are tricks of the trade. Next week my web site will have a new page added to it, that being a new page for our Search Engine Marketing and in the next month the plan is to put on 4 more pages after that. As said the first new page being added will be for Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Web Site Creation, Web Hosting The 2nd page will be for direct mail and the 3rd will be for our growing consulting business. Originally I was going to push out the Direct Mail page to strengthen our post card and wave mailing work but decided to go with pushing SEM and SEO first as I saw a greater need with my friends, followers and prospects. The other service pages will be a page for our Blog writing and one for Social Media Network Marketing. I feel that this package of services will work well for both our current customers as well as the growing base of prospects in finding them new customers FAST! We have some bright new talent here at Larson & Associates in out telesales / telemarketing area as well as on the Web Design side we are very excited to start putting to greater use and highlighting their talents. With our site hitting top page in the key word string “telesales for printers” in Google, Yahoo and Bing and “telemarketing for printers” now showing up anywhere from 1 to page 8 depending on the day. My feeling is that if I can do it for myself I can do the same for my clients as well, as together we go after the “Big Dogs”! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://businesswarfare.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-12 07:02:55 Small Business & Credit Act http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18E1ED8B79E3E040A8C0AC000B25 Well it passed; yes the “Small Business & Credit Act” passed the house. So what does that mean to you? Good question. The House’s intent is to pump in up to 30 Billion in capital to small banks that would led the leveraged funds out to as much as $300 Billion in credit to small business who then would grow and produce needed goods, services and jobs. Don’t start jumping up and down or when you walk into your band say “Where’s the money” It’s not there, yet if ever. It’s going to take some time, maybe a long long time for the money to surface up to “We The People”. 1st the banks need to apply and quality for the program. Then (this is almost too funny for words) the regulations for the program are NOT WRITTEN YET by the Federal Banking Regulators as well as the US Department of the Treasury which are the overseers of the program.   And still, if you don’t have any credit, if you don’t have the collateral or a positive cash flow, no bank I have ever heard of is going to lend you money. It’s just not going not happen. But let’s look at the other side of the bill, the side I like and we, you and I can use. The legislation doubles up to $500,000 the amount of purchased assets a small business can write off in 2010 and 2011. If you can buy a piece of equipment you can now write up to $500,000 of it off this year and another $500,000 next year. The amount of 1st year depreciation a business can claim on a new car goes up to $11,060 and $11,160 for vans and trucks. The deduction for new business start up expenses is doubling from $5,000 to $10,000. I’m sure there are more goodies in the bill. I just need to do a little more research and reading and taking to my CPA about it.  Larson Notes & Satire: I am a little excited here since one of my target markets is consulting with people thinking of starting their own businesses.  In addition most of my work comes from small business so again I like to see tax deductions. Tax deductions are something we can all use. As for borrowing money? I don’t like it unless absolutely necessary. Buying a major piece of equipment or a building yes. But hedging your bets on your business growth? Getting a loan for operational expenses? Go rethink your business plan. I see it as putting you under the 8-Ball to business growth. Sometimes you need to borrow, but I am a sweat equity kind of guy, small slow steady growth. But if you have the big dream and need to grow fast and hard now, do it. If you are in technology and if you don’t move fast it will become outdated, more fast! But remember these are loans you need to pay back, not grants which don’t. If you are out of work and are thinking of starting your own business up, I will set up a free phone appointment for you. This is business planning and marketing NOT financial. If you are “Small Business” (whatever that is) Ill make you the same offer. I also have a service where (for a fee of course) I will do a monthly appointment with you to help you guide your business. Interested? Just ask. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-11 07:16:53 Short Course On SEO (Search En http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17999D2741CDE040A8C0AC000B27 I was reading a paper today and came across a quote buy Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Player Patrick Sharp who in talking about the Stanley Cup said “You can’t win the Stanley Cup in October. It is a process, and you.ve got to get better as the season goes on. You’ve got to keep building.” As I read what he said I thought to myself, this sounds just like SEO. Putting together a winning SEO program is much the same as winning the Stanley Cup. It is a building process, of learning and growing over the course of the “season”. Now many “professionals” seem to want to make this all mysterious and secretive so I have broken it down to the simplest way I can do demystify the act of Search Engine Optimization. 1) Find keywords.   Pick a list of words relevant to your business.  Think about which words are most likely to get people to do what you want them to do (convert into leads) and focus on those words.  Then pick one word (or phrase) to use on one page of your site.  2) Put keywords in Page Title. The Page Title is one of the most important things that Google and other search engines evaluate to determine what is on a web page.  Put your keyword or phrase in the title, keep it short.  3) Put keywords in Page URL. Google and other search engines also use the text of the URL of the page to determine the content of the web page.  You should use your keyword or phrase in the URL of the web page - either the folder/directory structure or the HTML file / page name itself. 4) Put keywords in Meta Data. While the page metadata (Page Description and Keywords) are not nearly as important as they used to be, they still count.  Take advantage of them by putting your keyword or phrase there.  The description should be readable by a person and make sense and the keyword metadata should focus on your keyword or phrase - do not make it long, less is more.  5) Put keywords in your H1 text. The H1 text is usually the title of an article or some larger bold text at the top of your page.  Google and the smaller search engines can see this and they put extra importance on the words in the H1 text.  Make sure your keyword or phrase is there. 6) Use keywords in the page content. Putting the keyword in your page content also signals to search engines that the page is actually about the keyword and should show up in search results.  We have heard from "experts" that you should use your keyword anywhere from 4-6 times to 10-12 times.  Our advice is to just write naturally. 7) Monitor your rank. Give the search engines some time to do their thing (couple days) and then keep checking your rank to see what happened and track your progress.  Larson Notes & Satire: This is as simple as it gets. Now the only choice you need to make is to do it yourself of to contract out to us here at Larson’s to do it for you. Just kidding, NOT! You can go out and find places that will guarantee you 1st place in a search. Ok, I can do that for you. You want 1st place? This is what they guarantee: 1st place if you type your name or your company’s name. Ya right, that will bring in new customers won’t it. What will that get you? Not much in the way of new business I’m afraid. But if you’re in business for the long-hall, if you in business to make it a moving, growing entity, you need to be able to do a key word search or word string to get you on the 1st page of Google, Yahoo or Bing! That is what you want! I can say this because I did it for my company. I now have the  word string of “telesales for printers” to bring my web site up 1st!  (go on and try it, I dare you). Yep there I am, see, I made number one and I am working hard to keep it that way while at the same time working to get myself elevated in and with other key word stings. The complete secret might be a little more than only the 7 steps listed above, but you do those you are well on your way. It took me 13 months with a brand new site and a new URL to do it. Now, do you want the same search position for your company? Just say the word. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-08 06:53:51 What Should You Measure And Wh http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC179522A641CDE040A8C0AC000B27 At different times and different parts or a prospects sales cycle, you want to be looking at different things for different reasons. It our wonderful economy right now you probably want to be measuring the number of web hits you are getting, the number of actual inquiries and responses you are getting, the number of qualified leads you are taking in as well as the number of close and LOST sales. (Yes I do could my lost sales as well as N0’s as a good thing). What you need to be looking at in these or categories you pick out for yourself is not the actual number but the % of improvement you are seeing as well as actual dollars in sales up or down. Whatever you are using as a marketing sales tool should be measured. If you’re going to spend good time and money on something you need to know if it is worth the investment. I don’t care if it is online or off line. SEO, email mail marketing, blogs, direct mail, trade shows, billboards, you need to know. Larson Notes & Satire: As you develop your business you get to understand that certain things mean things and have a direct correlation to another. If you know that for every 10 visits to your web site will equal 1 sale worth $500.00 in 4 weeks all you need to look at is your web hits and you can project your sales in a months from now. Sorry all you web analytic gurus out there it is not that complicated unless you need to report or show reports to some higher up “suite” and need fancy charts and graphs. If you have a running shoe store and you know that in every local race you will sell 1 pair of shoes for every 100 runners preregistered in a race you sponsor, you can predict your future sales. These are what you might call your companies “magic numbers”. Once you find out and learn what your magic numbers are for your company the sooner you can use web metrics and other marketing measurement tools to build your business. Some might call this gut instinct. Maybe but it is that feeling that propels almost all entrepreneurs to greatness. Oh ya, in case you are thinking that is the road to smallness, don’t believe it. There are some multimillion dollar companies out there run but the gut of the owner. They just also know how to delegate. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-07 07:51:23 Why Know Your ROI? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18DD55EFA694E040A8C0AC000B23 ROI or Return On Investment, has gotten more “press” lately than one might have ever imagined, but that is what has happened because of the Social Media Marketing phenomena. So now how can you use ROI in figuring out if you should be involved in Social Media Marketing or not? Let’s start with the value of a customer. Let’s say a typical customer spends 10,000 a year, and is your client for 5 years. If your profit margin is 20% the average new customer is worth 10,000. Once we know that we can plug in the conversion rates to figure out the value of a website visitor, a twitter follower, a webcast registrant a Social Media friend or any other kind of internet hit. So if we say that your twitter posts bring you 5000 monthly visitors and you can convert 50 or them to a customer, that is worth 50,000 a year to your business. If a SEO can bring you 1,000 new visitors and you have a conversion ratio of 0.3% you just got $30,000 a year in value. If you spent less than that you have a positive ROI. Larson Notes & Satire: Life should be so easy. But if you have a clear idea of what it costs you to get those needed hits, you can start to understand if you should take the time, outsource the program or bring in a person to do it internally. So why aren’t more businesses using these very simple kinds of tools? 1st they don’t know the value of a customer. Take the time to fix that problem! Second, start to use the tools of web analytics. Third, set up custom URL or Landing pages so you know where people are coming from, be it Natural Search, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the Social Media sites you’re in. Does it take some time? Yes. Does it take some effort? A little. Is it worth it? You decide. Better yet. Contract the project out with us. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a 5.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-06 07:50:25 Using Real-Time Search http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1AE39BA65878E040A8C0AC000B31 Now more than ever people rely on Social Networks; Twitter, Facebook and others for news. As this was trend happening it became evident that the major search engines were not keeping pace with the market’s need for real-time news, real-time search. So the Yahoos, Bings and Googles in an attempt to catch up with the wave of need, started to give us Real Time search. They are now going in to the various Social Networking sites spidering them and giving them time and results with a key word organic search. It could be a simple twit post you just did or the head line of your blog. Now ¼ of the top 20 sites found in an organic search are from Social Networking. A study from Oneupweb said that over 47% of people that are looking for information are viewing both real-time and sites from a SEO program. As this new wave of Search evolves there are things you need to remember. If you Tweet and want to stand out, tweet things that compel your followers and readers to click though to your web site. 2nd, don’t spam or do anything that looks like a piece of SPAM. If you schedule your tweets or blog postings you might want to think how you time them out. If they are scheduled going out once or twice an hour, stop and think again. That will put up the blog flags and get you black balled. And lastly remember this is social so start or get involved in a conversation. If you want to be engaging, the more up front you are in the world of real time Social Networking and the Online Social Community the more your comments will be retwitted or reposted. And believe me exposure is what it’s all about. Thinking about what you are doing before doing will get your Tweets, your blogs out to more people and as you are engaging your comments will appear in more and more search results.   Larson Notes & Satire: Keep your eyes open anytime you start to get aggressive in Social Media. ABM, Always Be Monitoring. Watch out for what is being said. Make sure it is what you want it to be. Be sure that you’re putting your best face out there for your fans, friends and audience. The results can be fast both good and bad, and they can leave a long lasting impression. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-10-05 09:26:49 What Analytics Can NOT Do http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18A47D5279E3E040A8C0AC000B25 When talking to companies, people and clients on web presence the subject of Analytics almost always comes up. Seems everyone wants to know ROI or what a given response rate is. Seems funny that in the same breath they don’t seem to care, well they do but don’t have ways to track it unless it is an online shopping cart, how many actual sales they made off the web. So were on earth do we start? Well 1st you need to know that although Web Analytics should serve as a primary tool for evaluating your web marketing effectiveness, remember it is only a tool and as a tool you  need a human mind to analyze the Analytics. Analytics can measure engagement and time on a page, the number of views and the time spent on a page. But what it cannot do is measure the quality of that visit or the impact that your page had on the prospect. Analytics cannot give us any idea on how your products or service post was thought about or how it is being talked about on the various Social Media venues of twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. For you to identify criteria for becoming a multi-channel marketer, who is cross marketing yourself, you still need street smarts for quick tactical decision making on individual campaigns to allocate your resources to the right places. Larson Notes & Satire: Do you know how many hits your web site had last week? I do. Do you know how many web hits your site had last Monday? I do. But more important I know how many sales I had last week. I know that too. There is analyzing and over analyzing to save your butt. I guess I might rely on gut instinct more than I should but I like it that way. When I revamped my company I made a decision I did not want to be huge and not in total control. Gut instinct works better that way and I like my gut just the way it is. Am I micro managing? You bet ya, I am. I have my targets and goals just like the big dogs, but when I need to make hard choices I make them within 5 minutes and don’t have to go to a committee or board. Ya I’m that Big Dog in the little junk yard. I am the Grand Poobar of my company with Fred and Barney working for me. I know my numbers online and off line and I know my actual sales numbers and where those sales came from and that, to me, is even more important. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-10-01 08:54:45 Job Or Start-Up? What Is Best? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC189F01E779E3E040A8C0AC000B25 I have been doing a lot of reading the last couple of months on start-ups? Why you ask when you already have a company. Well yes but each day is a new day with new challenges and second I have a small company. Yes my company is small and after once having a lager 37 person company (small by some standards) with over a million in sales company I like it this way. Third, people around me, friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, are out of work, and are thinking of starting a company up or buying one if they can’t get a job. And forth, one of the two in a married couple was working and the “other” person sort of had a hobby business which is now thrust into the main bread winner income source. Any of this sound like you? I am going to address this from the point of view that you are out of work, and can’t find a job. The best choice you might really have, especially if you are over 50, is to consider starting up your own company. Start with what kind of company you need to have, Sole proprietor, Partnership, Sub Chapter S, Corporation? These choices all have tax and liability ramifications. So do some home work. Now is the time to seek out a CPA and a Business Attorney. Yes this is one time I’ll feed you to the sharks. Think about money. Budgeting, cash flow projections, budgeting, your personal needs. Think about your lowest cost denominator, your base cash needs. I mean strip down EVERY non essential expenditure. What is the base you need to go “one more round”? Know this might come in handy? And (sorry guys) your base needs is not Cable TV and dinner out at Ditka’s, it is food on the table and a roof over your head. Do you need an office or will a spare room or corner in the kitchen work for now? Other areas the attorney can pre-help are contracts, dispute resolution, employment issues or 1099 workers if you are thinking about using independent contractors. Leases, trademarks, etc. Finances. Start by assuming that money and finances will be a problem. There are no federal grants for Start-Ups. Banks don’t loan to Start-Ups. Investors are rarely interested in a Start-Up. Family members? Investor groups? Family members are probably working hard to keep themselves afloat and as for investor groups? Again not for a Start-Up. Then ask yourself what are you selling? Who will buy it? Why would a prospective customer buy from me? Then going one step farther, where are you going to find all these customers. How will you reach them, find them? As you answer these simple questions the answers to the tools you will need to deliver your marketing message will come up as well. Knowing who and where your prospects are makes reaching out and “touching” them a matter of matching your marketing and sales techniques and tools to your marketing and prospects. Business cards, letterhead, envelopes, web site (if needed) info kits, mailers, newspaper ads or classified ads, online ads, social media marketing, door hangers, selling parties. Larson Notes & Satire: I’m going to stop here, for now. This topic is too big and too individualist to put in a simple little blog. First, I’ll tell you this though, as a start up, don’t let your emotions lead you into any hasty decision that will make it even more difficult for you to achieve your real goal. Second, make sure you understand what cash flow is, and where the cash is going to come from. Third, think about sales ratios not about gross sale numbers. Forth, think long term. If you just want to patch over dry spell till you find a job, forget it. It is a waste of your time and money. Go get a part time job at McDonalds or Menards until you find a full time gig. Fifth. Your focus and your disciple are more important than anything else including perceived opportunities. Sixth, when looking at a business, competition is good; it’s easier to beat the competition than to educate the market place, Seventh If you’re a first time owner, it is better to do a Start-Up then to buy a business. Eighth, your first business plan should be simple and written for you not a group of investors and 2 pagers max! And ninth your time is more valuable than your money. Spend wisely. I will take individual questions at larsonassoc1983@yahoo.com at no charge. This is only advice, I am NOT an attorney, and I am not an accountant. Any advice you get or use from me is at your own risk. I am only a business person that has made most to the mistakes a person can make and keep making new ones daily. But for fore warned, if you use this "service" I will be posting some or the questions and answers anonymously to a new blog which I feel can help others. No names, specific facts or figures will ever be posted. So your secrets will be quite safe. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-30 07:26:18 Merchandising Yourself On The http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18ADC659A694E040A8C0AC000B23 This is NOT about driving people to your web site or your online store. It IS about what you should be doing once they are there. For this little blog I don’t care how you got the customer to your web site, be it typing your web address, key word search, pay for click, a link from your Social Media site, a reciprocal link, banner ad. I don’t care. What I do care about is what they find once they arrive on your site. 1st, and your should have done this when you set up your site, is to know who your intended customer is and prethink their needs and wants. As a business it is JOB 1 to find the products and services of your target market. You either have it or you don’t. If you don’t, change your products or services OR if you don’t, change your target market to one that does. You need to think about what they have bought in the past and who they bought it from. Then you can start to have them buying from you. 2nd, understand you are selling more than a great product or service; you are really selling a solution. They have a need or pain and you are the great healer of that pain. So ask what is that pain, for me it is finding companies sales leads and companies that buy what they sell. What is yours? 3rd, Mix and match your products and services into a suite of services. I have a page on my site dedicated to that task, although I looked at it and I think I need to rework it. But, what are yours? Are you a plumber? If you’re fixing a sink, why not show new kitchen designs, if you sell closet shelving, why not show bedroom design. If you sell lamp shades, why not offer lighting design? 4th, Now sit down and take a breath. It is time checkup on yourself. It is a good idea to take the necessary time to search for your products or services in a key word search and then once your find your site (if you do) click though it to see how user friendly it really is, for you! If it is not friendly for you, think of your poor unsuspecting customer. Then ask a trusted friend who will be bluntly honest with you to do the same thing. And when they criticize your site, LISTEN. 5th, you need to prethink your customers. No one really goes to your site for fun; they go there to buy something. You might want to create buying categories such as “hard to shop for husbands” or “for the baseball creasy person” or “cooking 101” “even “the complete marathoner”. You can do the same for pricing, having inexpensive, mid range and high end areas on your site. The key is to make yourself accessible for the customer to find what they want in the way they want. Larson Notes & Satire: I don’t care what I want. Well I do, but not in that way. If I make my customer happy, I’m happy. If they buy from me, my reward is a sale and that makes me happy, and I hope it makes my customer happy with the service or product they have just contracted out for. There is saying which I am almost sure you heard in one way shape of form “Walk a mile in your customers shoes”. Know them better than they know themselves. Pre think what is happening. With Christmas right around the corner do you realize that the stores decided last January and February what you would be buying this year? Oh yes, all the big Christmas merchandising shows happen in January and February. The buyers came, looked about bought, back then! Do what they do. Look at what is happening and prethink your business position. Pre think your merchandising. If you do this better than the competition (and can get the word out better than the competition) people will not only find you but buy more from you. Why? Because you fulfill their need. Remember the Mickey Mouse Club closing: MIC, see you real soon, KEY, why because we like you….. and did you come back the next day? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-28 07:57:09 Want To Be Engaging? Cross-Cha http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC189636AFA694E040A8C0AC000B23 As a person engaged heavily in Social Media Marketing I find it hard to track and do go tracking of ROI. There are tools that can track some of your activity but not all. If you want to go out and track all your sites, all your customers, all your prospects, all in one place I have 2 words for you; Good Luck! All marketers actively maintain and growing in Social Media need to find a way to tie all their followers, friends and contacts out of Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, MerchantCircle, Nings, etc together We need the ability to find who are the most socially connected, and of those who have the most far reaching tentacles into your target market. Quantity is not quality! Conversations with prospects or current customers, your content is your best way and road to engaging them in and beyond the confines of only 1 networking site. Your are not just talking to them one on one but in many cases you are talking to their entire network of followers all at the same time. (Do I see a reverse funnel here?) As any good marketer knows building relations and creating a trust are the bedrock of your efforts of engagement. As Social Media grows your ability to connect with your prospect in an open and relevant conversation opens up more possibilities in a scalable electronic conversation of transparency. Larson Notes & Satire: It is no longer good enough to be creative in your advertising and marketing attack. OMG now you have to be real and honest. If not, you will get blasted in the deep reaching world of Social Media. More than one company has felt the wrath of Social Media Justice. Heck I have my own digs with Dr. Pepper and Motel 6 going not to mention American Standard. So what can you do? Be open, be honest, be engaging and be as transparent as you can. If you though Pinocchio’s nose got big when he told a lie, Go on and see what happens in a Social Media context. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-24 08:46:58 Ongoing Conversation To Engage http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC189032FAA694E040A8C0AC000B23 If you are lucky enough to be en a thriving and engage social networking group you need to be part to the conversation to grasp a hold of your share to the potential sales. By being engaged you help to create brand loyalty.  This form or WOM (word of mouth) marketing can really drive your sales once you cross over to the reverse funnel syndrome. Yet there are a few basic pattern flows you need to be following. You need to have a long term commitment to the community you are engaging in and are involved in. You are not there not to be one hit wonder one a one month flash in the pan. You’re there to build relationships with your audience and your friends. You can do things like exclusive coupons to those who are in the group and have “friended” you and other site promotions but you need to keep building your base by giving value to their reason for having you as their friend, and this value can only come in the way of good content and good conversation. In the channel of Social Media Marketing your community is not a campaign. This is not TV or radio where you are talking at your audience. In Social Media you are marketing WITH your audience. Your efforts in customer relationships are the community’s responsibility as a whole, not yours alone. As you cross “platform” into possible different clubs and groups within the community you will be engaged in and with different people promoting different “agendas”. Respond in kind. Don’t be a Social Media bully. The members will shut you down if the Monitor doesn’t do it first. Your Branding, your PR, your Customer Service all become points of value to this Social Media community. Your digital community will take time to care and nurture but in the end can be well worth the effort in evolving friends and sales. Larson Notes & Satire: Now I am not saying to be totally mercenary and not be friends with those you are involved with on Social Media sites. After all we CAN sell to our friends, can’t we? Yet, by being committed, offering ongoing value and involving others into the conversation, you can go a long way to helping your brand to bring in positive results and benefits. Look at me; will your business even have need of a telesales company? For 95% of you, probably not. BUT I’ll bet my bottom dollar that your business printer or graphic studio could use my services. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-23 07:40:24 What Happens After Facebook an http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18842BD4A694E040A8C0AC000B23 Yes there is more to Social Media Marketing than Facebook, Twitter and yes nings. Marketers who think that their social media needs are covered with Twitter and Facebook are only part of the way into what Social Media can achieve. In only a few short years the tools of Web2.0 have penetrated life on the web as some would never expected. You as a business owner and marketer need to find your special way to get your message out and your message heard using this new way of prospect penetration. Starting with your web site as the fist “touch point” of your company’s exposure. You need to build up form that base. As part of a social online community you should be building and channeling your message directly into and around your company web site. The primary object is to create a rewarding experience for your prospect as well as your client. In the drive point everything you can BACK to your web site. Link link link and give online value. Larson Notes & Satire: If you look at what I got going Social Media wise; I link my Facebook Fan page http://www.facebook.com/LarsonAndAssociatesFans into my twitter page https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate which feeds into my LinkedIn account. http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates .  Depending on what I want I can add any comment long that line to list to 1 or all 3. As for the nings and MerchantCircle these are mainly to feed into my web site and with the links build up my sites rankings. So now you’re wondering what value can I give? I in this case can be you or me. Well look at me. Here I am an old school target marketing / telesales company, why would anyone want to keep going back to MY site? Funny you should ask. Now the first page is well, pretty standard, www.larsonassociates.ws . And when I look at it so is the second page http://www.larsonassociates.ws/attack which outlines what we do. But that is where we start to differentiate. The 3rd page http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Printing_Telesales targets our primary target base that being printers. It is not till you get to page 6 http://www.larsonassociates.ws/marketing_tools that there is a real reason after you read the front pagers to keep coming back because page 6 has 122 marketing weapons. I think I need to add a few more but I will look into that later. Page 7 http://www.larsonassociates.ws/blogs are blogs that have gotten featured somewhere, heck even here with links to the respective site that featured it. This page is always changing. And finally on page 10 we have the total Larson Blog http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog . I was using Google Blog spot http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com as my official blog but finally got one actually on the web site. Still post the same material to the Google Blog as I have some loyal readers there.   Now if I can give people a reason to keep company back to my B2B site you surely can. If you can’t think of anything give me a call. I know I can come up with an idea or two or three, but it will cost you. Lol. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-21 07:00:20 Handling The Sales Objection http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1750CB0B41CDE040A8C0AC000B27 You want them, you really do, the SALES OJECTION. Embrace the objections of your prospects and customers. This is how you know they are involved in the buying process and that the sale is moving forward. You need to get your head on and looking forward. Every day on the job you hear the same old objections. You hear them but do you do anything about them? They are the stepping stone to bringing you more business. Objections confirm the need or the desire for your product or service to the customer and help you decide on the next step(s) you need take. It's your responses to the objections that help make or break their buying decision. This is the reason the responses to your top objections you hear most often should not only be written down but so to should the answers. Plan and prepare yourself to help more the customer though the buying process. Then when asked you can be ready and not fumbling around your head looking for the answers. Then, pause as if you are reflecting on the question. This shows an overall respect for the customer and for the objection that validates the customer's concern. Once you have all these questions and answers writing down, practice the delivery of each response. Get genuine feedback, make appropriate changes and then practice the delivery of your responses until they sound natural and responsive not a well rehearsed push-back. Selling is about helping your prospects and customers solve a problem. If you sell this way, everyone is a winner. Larson Notes & Satire: Embrace the objection. Let it flow with you and though you. Sort of like the Force in Star Wars. You are moving within that higher sales realm. You are not at war with your customers. When I’m selling I am now consultant to them in my area of expertise. I have attained a status where I am a trusted advisor. With that status comes great responsibility. Now your whole object with your customer is to advice what is best for them, no matter what. If your service or product is not the best one, you need to be (bluntly) honest with them and more importantly yourself and step back and make the right decision.   If you can do that, you will make more sales for a longer period of time then you can even begin to dream of. Need sales help? This is why we started up our “Virtual Sales Manager” and our “Outsource The Sales Department” services.  (B2B only) Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-16 07:09:39 Supporting Your Brand On Socia http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18629ED3A694E040A8C0AC000B23 Here we are, trying to work our way though a wide world of web confusion. Everyone claiming to be an expert who can grab a mouse and a keyboard and get online. You want a solid following in your Social Media Marketing efforts? Ok, try this; realize that the broadcast approach is no long as relevant as it once was. Even E-Mail needs to be keyed in and tailored to the recipient or it gets dumped into the spam box. Not just your group of friends and followers but the entire group of members is there looking over your involvement. These are not just names on a screen but real people. My suggestion is that you focus on acquiring the data of people who are interested in your brand, your service, your product, your company. Don’t be shy. Directly ask for contact information to engage in a solid pointed conversation. It needs to be real and relevant and work across all platforms you are engaged with. And as you do it all funnels down to this: I you are asking people so sign up to be your friend or follower, then you need to make the most of that opportunity by using the engagement to give them a value proportion on what you can to for them. Larson Notes & Satire: It is not about you. It is all about them. It always has been. Even before the web. Before social media, it was about them. Whenever you engage in any kind of sales or marketing effort it is about the customer. If you can solve their problem, take away their pain, help make them happy, they will love you and buy from you. Marketing and sales is not about what is good for you. The customer, the buyer could care less about what you need. They care what is important to them at that very minute. Business is not about being concerned about what you want out of life, but what other people, who happen to be your target market need and want. Get this straight and as a result you will get what you want 10 times over. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-15 07:27:12 Bakerâs Dozen For Better E-C http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC18482D1E79E3E040A8C0AC000B25 1) Put some pop into your merchandising. Online merchandising must be sure to have your content in place completely to make up for the fact that your products are not actually in front of a person for them to touch and feel. You need to make a connection with the prospect/customer. Start slow if you need to adding one product at a time and making the necessary content complete. If that means you only post 25 products out of a possible 10,000 so be it but if you do it right maybe you can do better than online conversion rates that sit at 2%-3%. 2) Opening the doors! When you open up your online store it is similar to opening up a new location to a Brick and Mortar store. When you roll out new products or a special sale it is the same as you do in a physical location. If you done marketing it out to people they will not find you. As a “store” owner you would not just sit back and hope people to walk in your doors. You would do a little research, develop a plan to reach customers through a variety of marketing and advertising channels available, the same is needed for your online store. You need to get the word out, build awareness and attract your customers with targeted on and off line media that pulls them into your online store, you know things like search and social media marketing efforts. 3) Pay the price to win. Getting paid has gotten more interesting over the last few years. Talk about options? Lol.  It is no longer a credit card only world. Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover card, then add in PayPal, an online check payment and with all this you need to have a secure site so your customer’s information does not get stolen. Fun, huh? If you don’t do what is necessary on the back end you will lose customers faster than you will ever believe, and with the advent of Social Media your reputation will bottom out faster that ever imaginable. 4) E-Mail? Yes? E-Mail can and should be sued to send out your market messages, your coupons your specials, your introduction of new products all helping to build a loyal online customer base. E-Mail can run from attracting shoppers and customers with timely relevant offers keeping them informed on other possible other products that fit in with what they have already purchased. Use it as a marketing channel to connect, attract, engage, and serve your customers, not pushing them away. 5) Integrate your data. Blend your data from online and offline together. Your goal is to get to know your customer and be able to communicate with them across all channels of attack be it social media, direct mail, email to coupons. If you are listening to what your customers are saying and watching what they are dong you have a better chance to communicate in a way they want to hear from you. You become a valued service provider rather than a marketing blaster. 6) Tag thoroughly. If you use them properly ALT tags will tell the search engines what is in the content of your phones and or video and this is very effective and important. If your are selling bread makers and you just say “bread machine” your just another bread machine on line, but is you go the distance and put in an ALT tag describing the model number you will be more successful. The more specific you are the better off you are 7) Paid Search can work. A customer looking for a specific product or service will start with a search so you need to meet them where they are looking. Now I will grant you that some people will not look at you just because you did a paid search. (Google, Yahoo and Bing have an idea for you on that problem if you want to talk to me) but still in and of itself a paid search can reach your targeted audience with pinpoint accuracy that you can’t get another way. 8) Getting URL’s that are search friendly. I don’t care what you sell or do, if you have a URL that is search friendly you can drive up your web page big time. Search engines tend to have difficulties with longer, complicated URL’s that simple short ones. Likewise getting a URL with your product or service name can booster your chances of a higher ranking. 9) Make your site easy to navigate and search. If your site is easy to use, this can be one of your greatest assets and tools. More sales and abandoned shopping carts happen because of poorly designed web site that any other reason. And if you’re not sure about your site, go on it and buy something. If you can’t navigate it, you can bet your bottom dollar your customers can’t either. 10) Put Social Media into place. Social Media is there to help you if you help others. It brings you closer to your potential customers than you might (really) what to be. If you’re out there, listening to what people are saying about not only you but about your (kind) of product of service you can circumnavigate the conversation and work with it to bring you new customers. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MerchantCircle, Nings etc. they are all there for you to use so sit down and become a major player not a player. 11) Reviews. Review can and do have a major impact on sales. They can be good or bad and they can change overnight. If someone goes and says this bread machine burnt my bread you need to explain but at the same time if you get a review that says this bread machine lets me wake up every morning to the smell and taste of wonderful fresh bread. Run with it! 12) Stop shopping cart abandonment. Sometimes customers put things in a shopping cart to just consider them for purchase. You need to keep marketing in the shopping cart, Do something like putting a picture in the cart so they can “see” what they are buying. You can trigger a follow up email on what they put in their cart, of offer a live chat option as they wonder down the aisle for customers that have things sitting in a cart. The idea is to keep connected at all times 13) Use analytic tools. You need to know what is going on. Use the tools that are out there for you. Who, What, When and How. Web analytics are the difference between knowing and guessing whet to put your marketing dollars. Only 1 out of 5 companies have a strategy in using web analytics. Try this, of all the items you can be monitoring, measure only a couple critical parts of the metrics. Don’t go nuts with over analyzing Larson Notes & Satire: Now sit back and take a deep breath. Heck why not sit back and have a cup of coffee with that deep breath. I know that is how I like to take my deep breaths. You don’t need to put all this into place today, even if you might feel you should have done it yesterday. Every day I think of things and want to be doing finding ways to be making improvements to my own marketing plan. Don’t think I’m doing all this stuff or that I am doing it right. In writing this blog today I as usual found areas that I need to improve on and put into place. I mean REALLY need to put into place and improve on. Marketing and more so web marketing is a process, it’s the great experiment of you verse your competition and yes winner does take “all” the sales but you can get better the more you’re in the game. And if you need help, heck, you could even call a company like mine. I’ll be happy to take your money to do things that from the most part you could be doing for yourself, if you have the time to do them. I’ll even buy you a cup of coffee as you breathe a sigh of relief. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-14 08:59:07 Hard Ball Marketing http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC173F10DB41CDE040A8C0AC000B27 There seems to be a glimmer hope out there for our economy. So do you jump in head first and go creasy? You might just want to keep in mind that we aren’t out of the woods just yet.  As a businesses that has weathered the storm the storm so far, you have not done it out of sheer luck.  Marketing requires a certain amount of careful planning and calculation.  There are several things to keep in mind when putting into place any marketing strategy. Customer Retention – Remember that when the economy gets tight, companies are going to start looking for places to cut back.  This could include eliminating the need for you, or attempting to find a less expensive alternative to you.  You as a business owner or marketing pro need to strut your stuff a little as to the reasons why you’re worth it.  The flip coin is that this also gives you an opportunity to reach new customers who may be looking for alternatives to a competitor. Avoid Excess – During difficult periods, people like to be reminded of the good old days.  When the customer must be monitoring his budget, a business that comes across as excessive may only serve to alienate a customer rather than attract one. The key is moderation in all things. People are being more judicious with their money, and a business must be careful not to come across as irresponsible during tough times. Use Your Available Resources – While the opportunity for speedy growth might not seem quite so present, you need reexamine all of the resources you have at your disposal.  Options that may have been previously overlooked or disregarded may look pretty good right now.  This holds especially true for the less digital methods of marketing such as direct mail, newspaper ads and participation in local events.  People like knowing that there are human beings behind a business, and the push to support small local businesses risen since the start of the current recession. By being mindful of the circumstances of the average person, almost any business can find the means to stay afloat in today’s marketplace.  By using simple ideas, we can push through the tough times and find a better world waiting for us on the other side. Larson Notes & Satire: Everything and I mean everything needs to be under the microscope, Can you or your business afford to be Mr. or Ms. nice guy? If there is no payback what are you doing it for? Think about it. Its only your business that is at stake. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-10 09:40:44 Check Your Backlinks http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC184234F9A694E040A8C0AC000B23 Visibility on search engines is easy to measure, and can provide some insight towards improving traffic. This little Backlink checker tool that was forwarded to me  (http://www.searchbliss.com/seo-tools/popularity.asp ) that will help you find out how your site needs to improve. It is fun going though your site to find all the errors First you can check your links that are going back to your page. Mine list  out at: Site: larsonassociates.ws Engine Incoming Links All the Web:  3 Google/AOL:  1 Yahoo!/AltaVista/Fast:  293 Total: 297   Limited Presence 0 - 1,000   Average Presence 1,001 - 5,000   Above Avg. Presence 5,001 - 20,000   Contender 20,001 - 100,000   Player 100,001 - 500,000   900 lb. Gorilla 500,001 Next you can do a Search Saturation Check for your site. Search engine saturation simply refers to the number of pages a given search engine has in its index for your website domain. Mine came up at: Site: larsonassociates.ws Engine Indexed Pages All the Web:  13 Google/AOL/HotBot:  24 Bing (MSN):  11 Yahoo!/AltaVista/Fast:  13 Total: 61 Next you can do a Blog Search Check for your site, Checking  your website's backlinks in the major blog search engines and social bookmarking sites. Again mine came up with: Engine Incoming Links del.icio.us: 0 Diigo: 0 Google Blog Search: 53 IceRocket: 14 Total: 67 Next on the list is a Google Backlinks Checker. What is the Google Back Links Checker? Google backlinks simply refers to the number of out going links to your website domain from other websites indexed by Google. The results on Google's data centers will vary during their back link updates until their main index (www.google.com) is updated. Mine came up with goose eggs: Google Data Centers Backward Links www.google.com 0 72.14.203.99 0 72.14.203.104 0 66.102.9.99 0 66.102.7.104 0 66.102.11.104 0 66.102.9.147 0 66.102.9.104 0 And the last tool in this little site is a Monitor for your Search Engine Ranking You can monitor any website's ranking on Google, Yahoo! and Bing using multiple keywords and phrases. Only the first 50 results in the SERPs (search engine result pages) on Google, Yahoo! and Bing will be checked for search engine placement. Keyword: telesales for printers Google 4 Yahoo 1 Bing 1 Keyword Density Analyzer Analyze and check any website's keyword density. Easily check and analyze your website's keyword density with this free tool. The website's title tag, meta tags, page text, link text, and images alt tags will be analyzed. Search Engine Submitter. Instantly submit your website URL for free to the selected search engines listed below. (see site) I use a different tool to do this but it is here. Google Dance Tool Check your website's keyword ranking in Google and several Google data centers for changes in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Website: larsonassociates.ws Keywords: telesales for printers Google Domain Status www.google.com Page 1 Domain Name Suggestions for "telesales for printers" Meta Tags Check for "telesales for printers" Find Back Links using "telesales for printers" Blog Search Check for "larsonassociates.ws" Google Backlinks Check for "larsonassociates.ws" SEO Domain Name Ideas and Suggestions Tool. If you Are you looking to register the perfect domain name for SEO? Find available domains for free using our SEO domain name suggestion tool. All domain name ideas are generated from your keywords and are available for registration. I got: Available Domain Names TelesalesForGovernorPrinters.com TelesalesForGovernorPrinters.org TelesalesForGovernorPrinters.net TelesalesForKidsPrinters.com TelesalesForCollegePrinters.com TelesalesForHirePrinters.com TelesalesTipsForPrinters.com TelesalesForChristPrinters.com TelesalesForKidsPrinters.org TelesalesForKidsPrinters.net TelesalesForCollegePrinters.org TelesalesForHirePrinters.org TelesalesForCollegePrinters.net TelesalesForHirePrinters.net Telesales-For-Kids-Printers.com TelesalesTipsForPrinters.org TelesalesForChristPrinters.org TelesalesTipsForPrinters.net Telesales-For-College-Printers.com TelesalesForChristPrinters.net Telesales-For-Hire-Printers.com TelesalesForCharityPrinters.com Meta Tags Check for "telesales for printers" Title and Meta Tags Title: Larson & Associates Keyword/Phrase NOT Found! Total Words in Title Tag: 3 WARNING: 3 Words is TOO FEW, Try no less than 4 for good results. Description: Targeted telemarketing company A telemarketing company that knows understands and puts into practice targeted marketing programs designed to get new customers and build sales fast We make good companies great and great companies even better with telemarketing and targeted direct mail programs Our focus is Printers Advertising Agencies Graphic Studios Advertising Specialties Trade Show Booth Builder Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic and creative and related industries We know you we understand you we can sell you Keyword/Phrase NOT Found! Total Words in Description Meta Tag: 80 WARNING: 80 Words is TOO MANY, Try no more than 35 for good results. Keywords: Telemarketing Outbound Telemarketing printing sales leads outbound telemarketing service us telemarketing company outsourced sales force business growth Target Marketing Target Marketing Service direct mail programs Wave Mailing Programs Target Marketing Attack direct mail Guerrilla Marketing b2b marketing sales outsourcing Chicago United States Illinois Palatine chicagoland chicago metro New account acquisition nitch marketing Advertising Telesales Postcards Fulfillment B2B business two business Trade Show Call Back Orphan Account Selling List Procurement Multimedia Development Search Engine Submission Web site optimization Web Site Design virtual sales manager Keyword/Phrase NOT Found! Total Words in Keyword Meta Tag: 83 WARNING: 83 Words is TOO MANY, Try no more than 50 for good results. Keyword Ranking Check Verify your website's keyword ranking with the Internet's Top Search Engines and Directories using this free keyword verification service. Site to verify: larsonassociates.ws Keyword/Phrase: telesales for printers Engine Status All the Web: Page 1 AltaVista: Page 1 Google/AOL/HotBot: Page 1 Bing (MSN): Page 1 Yahoo!: Page 1   Larson Notes & Satire: To me web ranking and scratching my way up the totem pole of web ranking on yahoo, google and bing is a game. A game I am learning to play well.  I always find mistakes I am making so I can fix them to get better and higher (like my meta tags) Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-09 12:02:28 Biggest Business Worry http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1827B7C279E3E040A8C0AC000B25 41% - Higher taxes 34% - Higher cost of raw materials 25% - Higher cost of energy *Poll by plastics today Larson Notes & Satire: As if business needs to worry about things other than sales, cost of labor, cost of material, taxes or worse yet fees that can be arbitrarily placed on a business or a person. Taxes make products more expensive, taxes make raw material more expensive, taxes make energy more expensive. Taxes suck the very life blood out of society so someone hundreds and/or thousands of miles away can decide what is best for your money. Personally I don’t know if I want to give up the right to decide how my money (let alone time and energy) should be spent. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-09-08 07:35:34 Sales Lessons From Baseball http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC181F96DDA694E040A8C0AC000B23 Baseball, I remember the first time I went to a game. Going through a dark tunnel opening up to w wide green field. This was as good as it gets. The big leagues. It’s about individual efforts and the team. 1) A baseball team is made up of individual players who know how to play together.  2) Every great baseball player started out as a beginner. 3) Every Major Leaguer started out in the minors 4) All Pros are coachable 5) Baseball players warm up and practice before every game 6) Baseball players learn the fundamentals until they are automatic 7) All baseball players go through slumps 8) All baseball players make errors 9) All baseball players LOVE the game The down side 1) Very few baseball players make it to the big leagues 2) Very few baseball players can lead 3) Very few baseball players can hit a home run or get that clutch hit 4) Errors in judgment can cost you your career 5) Cheaters do eventually get caught 6) There is not prize for second place 7) For fans to be loyal to the team the team needs to bed loyal to the fans Larson Notes & Satire: To succeed in baseball or sales you need to believe not just in yourself but in your teammates, you have to believe you and your team will win. You need to believe in your coach and your leadership. So ask yourself Who are you playing for? Are you a winner? How much do you practice a day? How much of you is in the game? Where is your loyalty? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-09-03 07:18:53 Manage Your Online Reputation http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1B08A341F073E040A8C0AC000B2B If you’re now looking at what is being said about you or your company, maybe you had better start. In minutes your reputation can be built up of torn down without you knowing it. Somehow you need to develop a way to monitor your reputation in real time. Most of what we are doing is reaction management to what is being said. The idea is to be proactive. We see this in some of the recalls in product lines with companies puling items off before the government does. Better to face the music than to have it stuffed down your throat. So is a Marketing Manager or Staff now supposed to be adding social Media monitoring to their responsibilities? This idea is new and growing. JetBlue has a staff of 10 monitoring SM talk. If you’re like me, you don’t have 10 people to though at the task. Heck if you’re like me you don’t have 2 people to devote to online monitoring. Hootsuite Is the Social Media Dashboard! Rather than being a social network, HootSuite allows you to connect to multiple social networks from one website. HootSuite helps organizations use the social web to launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audience, and distribute targeted messages across multiple channels. Using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard, teams can collaboratively schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Wordpress and other social networks via web, desktop or mobile platforms plus track campaign results and industry trends to rapidly adjust tactics.   Twazzup A dashboard program that monitors Twitter, Twazzup will tell you every time your keywords are mentioned in a tweet. It will also categorize your results by link popularity, contributors, tagging clouds and users. Unique features like avatar mouse-overs that give more details about that user’s relevant tweets make Twazzup a surprisingly powerful and valuable social media monitoring tool. Buzzlogic Here’s a nice tool that has a marketing emphasis, showing stats for feedback on your products and reader statistics. Buzzlogic sports tools intended to help you build more powerful and influential relationships and to track competing products. Buzzlogic is a proprietary conversational Advertising utility that all social marketers should try. Scoutlabs While some social media monitoring tools can get quite complicated to use, Scoutlabs uses a simple, user-friendly interface that delivers very powerful information to social marketers that can help them track the performance of their brands. One unique feature allows users to superposition graphs to help analyze trends in accumulated data. The dashboard is easy to setup and features a composite Buzz rating that helps you check your results at a glance. Special categories for online sentiment, mentions, and quotes help you drill down to give you an in-depth understanding of your data. Tweetdeck One way to monitor your performance in social media is by using an integrated browser client that will show you every time your target phrases are mentioned. Tweetdeck unifies Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace to give you a convenient way to use and monitor social media. What’s nice is that when your keywords are referenced, you have an easy way to quickly respond without having to leave the program. Reputation Defender Created for the specific purpose of helping you preserve and restore your reputation in social media, Reputation Defender offers a robust monitoring service that will help you keep track of your children, your privacy, and your brand. A feature called MyEdge helps you deal with the results that Google serves up about you. Socialmention This is a tracker that will show user-defined statistics for your keywords over a thirty day period. It is a free program, but it doesn’t allow for storing historical data or some other premium features most pay monitoring sites offer. There is a convenient display that shows every relevant hashtag, post ranking, source, user, and keyword. Brandwatch This mid-level priced service is a powerful monitoring tool that is known for having top reporting features and an automated sentiment feature. Special tools for marketing, agencies, PR and reputation, and brand management make this an indispensible tool for monitoring your performance in social media. radian6 radian6 features an incredible Engagement console that lets you listen, engage, and plan in one handy desktop application. Monitor the performance of all your brands, services, and keywords across every social network platform simultaneously. This is the powerful solution that will propel your business to the next level. For example, radian6 does not limit itself to the major social media platforms: it extends performance searching to include blogs, forums, photo and video sites, comments, and millions of other sites on the Web. radian6 aggregates data from all across the Internet, filters and segments it, and reports and charts it for you based on a host of user definable and selectable metrics. Alterian SM2 With marketing agencies in mind when SM2 was designed, you get relevant performance data from social media platforms that helps you make the most out of your marketing time and money. Find out who’s happy and who’s mad about you, your company, and your products. Gauge the effectiveness of your social media marketing and use the information to design your next campaign. Special features of SM2 include a custom workflow tool, language and geographic filters, as well real time alerts. Try the free version or pay by the volume of results. Addict-o-matic Addict-o-matic gathers information about your keywords or brands from across the Web, including Flickr, YouTube, Digg, Google Blogs, as well as all the traditional social media platforms. When you visit the Addict-o-matic Web page, you get to instantly create a page that shows all the relevant information to your search terms from up to twenty five content providers and aggregators. This one tool gives you comprehensive information that will be invaluable for monitoring your performance in social media.   Larson Notes & Satire: Check them out. Do a test drive on them if you can. Some cost, some don’t. Some have free starter deals the idea is to enjoy the game and pick what works for you. Let’s have some FUN! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-02 07:23:27 Searching For Copies Of Your W http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1B5B9876DFA7E040A8C0AC000B29 I found this little web site yesterday called Copyscape witch searches for copies of your page on the web.  (http://www.copyscape.com/ ) so I tried it out. My search showed: Howard Larson's Page - TeamCircle Business Community ... A telemarketing & marketing studio ... understands and puts into practice guerrilla marketing and ... and advertising techniques for our ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other ... Larson & Associates - Target Marketing & Telesales for New Account ... larsonassoc1975@yahoo.com http://www. larsonassociates.ws ... http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson Larson and Associates Marketing Blog ... . understands and puts into practice guerrilla marketing and advertising ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic ... Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals ... http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com/ Larson & Associates, Palatine IL 60067 ... An advertising & marketing studio that knows, understands and puts into practice guerrilla marketing and advertising techniques for our clients to achieve ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic ... http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Larson.And.Associates.847-991-0488 Howard Larson's Page - BusinessIIBusiness ... A direct advertising & marketing studio that knows, understands and puts into practice guerrilla marketing and advertising techniques for our clients to ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic ... http://www.businessiibusiness.com/profile/HowardLarson Howard Larson - LinkedIn ... A direct advertising & marketing studio that knows, understands and puts into practice guerrilla marketing and advertising techniques for our clients to ... Our focused industries we excel in are Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shop and ... http://www.linkedin.com/in/larsonassociates Howard Larson's Page - MyLinkingPowerForum.com ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic ... http://mylinkingpowerforum.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson Howard Larson's Page - CHICAGO'S BLACK BUSINESS NETWORK ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic ... http://chicagosblackbusinessnetwork.ning.com/profile/ HowardLarson?xg_source=activity Internet NetNews ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic ... http://www.ecademy.com/module.php?mod=extprofile&uid=69521&all=3 Are you a White Hat? - Larson & Associates, Palatine ... Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other ... http://www.merchantcircle.com/blogs/Larson.And.Associates.847-991-0488/ 2010/8/Are-you-a-White-Hat-/602135 Business Details ... This is telesales and target marketing put together. It is not advertising, not marketing, not telemarketing, not a manufactures rep service, ... http://www.palatine.il.us/business/details.aspx?BusinessId=79 Only top 10 results shown. See more results with a Premium account. Get plagiarism alerts with Copysentry. It was very interested in that I revisited one of my sites I needed to fix the content on. Try it and see what your web site comes up with. Mine was all Me! Larson Notes & Satire: Yes, yes the devious me. What is next? Only because your my close “friends". I will take a look at the sites of my competition to see all the sites they are on or listed in then take a peek at not only there sites but there meta tag page as well and see what makes them higher then my page. I really would like to get 1st page ranking on the single key word “telesales” then go to work on “telemarketing”. Yes, in a way this is a game for me, but with real life consequences. Let’s have some FUN! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-09-01 07:18:24 5 Rules of Social Media Engage http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1B596AFBDFA7E040A8C0AC000B29 Social media can give you a huge marketing opportunity, but most companies struggle with their company’s social strategy, that is if they even have a marketing strategy at all. But in SM this is more because the rules are rather foggy. Marketers need to understand engaging with consumers and not worry about negative publicity. They're not sure how to start conversations and manage comments. Successful SM programs don't have to be a problem. Start with sitting down and setting clear goals. This includes putting a face on the brand or company. People buy from people not logos! Make your program fun and relevant, and guide your followers into a buy option to tactical postings and conversation on solving a problem. Design your program to use minimal time and valuable resources to maximize ROI. Visitors to your Social Media site should be invited to ask questions about your company and services. Feed this into Facebook and Twitter, optimize for major search engines and linked back to your company's Social Media site(s). For companies that want to maximize their social media ROI, I recommend 5 basic rules for Social Media Marketing engagement: 1) Take charge. Build a sense of community and humanize your brand by engaging customers. 2) Help consumers out. Enlist the help of your company’s experts or customers to provide useful information about your products & services. Loyal customers are your best advocates. 3) Utilize automation. A social media program doesn't need to bust your time or money budget. Make it efficient and workable. 4) Connect the program together. Integrate social media tactics with the rest of your marketing plan, including brand, PR, search, videos and promotions. 5) Measure results. In addition to counting followers, fans and tweets, be sure to track Web visitors and conversions from social media channels and above all sales Your brand can be positioned to take in a good ROI from social media if you take control of the online dialogue and design a program that is engaging, relevant, workable and measurable. Larson Notes & Satire: Social media can work if you work it right. You need to follow your instincts and not always the experts. They might know how it works for them, but they are not you. You and your company are unique and you need to put your personal stamp on your SM marketing. The experts might be able to help you string it all together so you need to do less hands on work with interlinking but in the end it has to be your words and your engagement that makes the real difference. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-31 07:03:45 Working Multiple Channels Is N http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17193A5941CDE040A8C0AC000B27 The number of marketing channels you have available to you has grown and is still growing. As you look out over the horizon of your world, you’re going to see all kinds of ways to push your business. As great as that might seem don’t get caught in the being everywhere and spinning your wheels in the abyss of too many marketing tools you are trying to use all at the same time. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Being everywhere is not a strategy, it is insanity. As you start to expand, you need information on your customers. You need to know what the perfect buyer behavior is, so you can be where they are. You should start with 1 easily worked channel you can keep track of. Once you get a handle of that one, go to two and so on. Rarely should a small business go over 5 channels to work and watch. Going that high only is setting yourself up for failure because you can’t work that many marketing tools at 90% or above efficiency. It is always better to work fewer channels at maximum efficiency rather that spreading yourself out too thin. By following this conservative approach of adding one channel at a time and working it into your program slowly you can yield bigger benefits Larson Notes & Satire: I know you’re in a rush. We all are, Sales are down, you have a new idea to bring to the market, or you have all these new (marketing) toys you want to try. STOP! Unless you have an infinite amount of time (and sometimes money) to devote into Advertising and Marketing, be it mail, telesales, classified ads, blog, web site optimization, social media marketing.  If you look at the Larson plan, I started very narrow with telemarketing, then direct mail, after that expanded into my first Social Media marketing experience at MerchantCircle. After that we moved out into a web site, then stared spreading out into other Social Media channels (infact everyone I could find), then contracted that number down to 9 that I am actively working after I found what was working and what was not. Result, I am now getting at least 1 lead a week directly off of social media and my web site hits are up in triple figures. While this might not seem like a lot to you, in my little part of the world, this is big stuff, because not only are these leads directly in my niche but I don’t want to be the biggest telesales, target marketing company in the world, only the best. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://businesswarfare.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-30 07:55:33 Social Media Does Have A Cost http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1AE1899E71D1E040A8C0AC000B2F Time and money, money and time, which is the biggest cost of Social Media (SM). If you have not allocated your resources you had better sit down and do it. Social Media can eat up time faster than a dog eating a steak. If you have not allocated money, there are more Social Media sites out there you can buy into that will not put back a single dime in your wallet. Choose wisely. Now I have adjusted my schedule to work in social media marketing and networking, so I am not eaten alive. But what is the justification? I view social media as a way for client and prospect outreach as a way to shine in ways we can help them. I have often talked about nitch marketing and that is what I try to do with my social media outreach. Heck, if everyone of my friends told there printers about my business and what I could do for them in finding them new customers and solid leads I would be a very happy camper right now with about 6 – 10 more people working for me. So keep in mind that even in free there is a cost. The cost of time and that can never be gotten back. Larson Notes & Satire: A couple of days ago a site owner asked me to call him. I did, and for the next 27 minutes he beat on me how I should pay him money (not much but money is money) to be on his site which I had never gotten a single sale from. He told me how I did not have enough friends, how spamming peoples email boxes in a ning site was a good way to communicate, how my blogs were a worthless effort to market, how on his site no one read or looked at the front page. Well sorry Charlie, not going back to your ning page. You and your membership will now lose any insight my old graying blond head chooses to share. And for most of my readers all I am doing is sharing knowledge, I know most of you will probably not become customers and that’s ok. My reward, my payback is in the writing down my ideas and thoughts, which is a very powerful way for me to learn. That is why I do this. Most of you who are reading this know me, I am a B2B telesales and target marketer and do some web work for a couple of B2Cs. And if that is not bad enough if you’re not into graphics or printing even if you’re B2B might not be the best marketer for you at least in telesales work. Getting your web site up and doing some blog writing are a different story where I might be able to help you or anyone. As for money for Social Media, I have set a strict policy to not pay any money, until in using a site for free brings me a customer, then I allocate some money in that direction, because then, I know there are people there who will use me and buy from me. Until that time, it is just a fishing trip. So what’s in it for me? My biggest payback for the work I do in providing free information and thoughts is that my web site would not be on the first page of the Google search for the key word string “telesales for printers” if it was not for all my SM work and blogging. Thank you all my friend and readers. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-27 06:31:06 Taming The Social Media Animal http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC170BD80C41CDE040A8C0AC000B27 No matter that there is a chance at massive exposure of your business in the world of Social Media, the brand building power of getting friended or retweeted, the ROI possibility of a Social Media marketing campaign. Many companies question the value of time involved in a social online presence. Many feel over whelmed by all the choices that are out there. Some are strapped in my thinking that they need a marketing person to be working with them. As a business person you have at your finger tips a vast variety of tactics to work with. The key is to narrow your choices down to 3 or at the most 4. Work your skills at this limited number. Perhaps Facebook, Twitter, MerchantCircle, Yelp and one or two ning sites. If worked in harmony you can get one post flying though 2, 3 or even all your sites with one posting. Pounding out your message, tactfully, non-spamfully. Businesses can get the desired ROI through targeted messaging and community building. The key here is that it is social and you need to have some kind of involvement. Be it once an hour or once a day or even once a week. You need to make your presence known. So 1st, realize that existing and potential customers are already participating in and on the social media platforms, 2nd, that your competition is already out there hitting on your market. If you get there 2nd or 3rd, you will have to fight to be the expert in your area of expertise and that is a war that might not be winnable. The first one to a position in a customers or prospects mind is usually the winner. It is your choice to have a social media presence or not. Sales can and do happen for small businesses. Through strategic planning, messaging and implementation of your social marketing drive, you will get results. Larson Notes & Satire: Next month will mark 4 years of my social media marketing presence. I started with Merchants Circle and grew from there. I have gotten a few customers along the way, not as many as I might have hoped for, but I’ll take what I can get. I have staked out my territory and grew from there. I went out stacked my niche and kept narrowing it down and down and down, till my company is on a massive growth mode. We are a telesales & target marketing company that mainly specializes in graphic and printing companies. Now, you tell me, who am I? That is what Social Media Marketing is all about. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-26 06:34:57 Dos and Donâts of Picking A http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17EA2A06A694E040A8C0AC000B23 Every business yours, mine, are all looking for more ways to grow our businesses.  Thus we need to find ways to generate more solid leads. If so, you might want to consider telesales. Telesales allows you a chance for your business to get more leads using the telephone. Seems that quite often businesses find themselves in a difficult situation as they search for the right person to perform this part of their marketing attack. It can be a hard when an inexperienced and unscrupulous freelance telesales company or person can ruin your company and your brand reputation so quickly that there'll be no more room for make amends, not to mention the possibility of a very long-term damage. You do not want this to happen to your business, right? By picking an expert telesales company, you will never run into these horror stories. Outsourcing the work to skilled and inexpensive telesales firm will give you a piece of mind that you can be sure they will be able to use proven telesales techniques, be results-driven, and get you the results you want. As a business owner using a telesales services, you need to observe the do's and don'ts of the business. The mistakes made by most telesales companies can be avoided by doing an a little research prior the actual telesales roll out. In telesales, timing is everything. The downside of the business is when telemarketers do not know the exact right time to make the call. Being a B2B telesales company we here at Larson & Associates don’t need to worry so much about the do not call list, but we do need to know how to be tactfully and respectfully “aggressive”. This is an art not a science. If you are a B2C company and going into telesales, always observe the laws surrounding this business to avoid being in a problematic situation with the law. These laws are made specifically to regulate the phone calls made by these service providers. One of the major complaints would have to be calling too early in the morning or too late in the evening. Also, check the do not call registry and have these numbers removed from your list of prospect. Ethically speaking, good business practice requires you follow the law to the letter, avoid people who do not want to receive calls, and market only to a certain group of people who are truly interested with what you're selling; if not all of your efforts will be wasted, both time and money. Make sure that the company you pick observes these standards and that they pay close attention to the details. So, there you go, you have the basics of a sound telemarketing service practice. It is up to you to utilize and outsource your telemarketing needs to a third-party ethical telemarketing firm to save you up on time and effort as well as earn you more money to keep your business rolling. Larson Notes & Satire: When picking a telesales company ask questions, lots of questions. It is questions that made us go after printers and other graphic companies. We know the industry with 35 years of experience. Now I am not saying I won’t take on other projects in other industries, except for B2C of course, but if you are in graphics, I know you and I can sell you! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-25 06:28:37 Getting Your Online Talk Hooke http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17D4C19B79E3E040A8C0AC000B25 At least for this year and into next if you want to be getting more activity you will need to find ways to coordinate your online social network marketing conversations to mesh with your social media and online presence. As we go farther down the path of real time search, what you say, how often you say it and how you get other people to say it starts to become more important. On this side of the computer screen we call it WOM or World Of Mouth Marketing on the other side of the screen we can call it chatter marketing. Chatter might be your URL, it could be sharing images or videos, but it could have larger consequences for you. It could be making the key words that work on your web site better than the competition, the talk of the social media site you have a major presence in, As a result the key word strings you need to get found in an organic search start to become the norm for your group of friends. It’s true. As the chatter builds and if done right key word stings can be manipulated to bring your web site more hits and thus higher SE ratings. Larson Notes & Satire: Think about it. Me, the big fish in My little pond! I have a little telesales company that has niched itself to work with printers and other graphic companies. I don’t have a big 100 seat bullpen of people banging out calls. What I do have is a very good, dedicated staff of great people making targeted calls for discriminating printing and graphic companies who what more sales faster. Now if I went head to head online against the big telemarketing companies I will lose. Well maybe not but let’s not go there. Their site will probably be rated higher in the search engines and on a key word search, but if I use the key word string “telesales for printers” bingo I win! First page and the #4 listing brings up http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Printing_Telesales . The second page the number 4th search line or the 14th search line over all comes up with http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Larson.And.Associates.847-991-0488 . Me again! Heck even my twitter page twitter.com/larsonassociate comes up on page 6. Go on try it, I dare you to see if I’m right! So what do I need to do? Stop using the key word telemarketing in my conversations and start using the key word telesales. Then I get you all to start saying telesales. Easier said than done but, if it gets me on page 1 and page 2 of a key word organic search. I’ll do what I got to do! Now can you do the same thing? I’ll bet you can. If not I’m sure I can find a company that could figure it out for you, and if it gets you on page 1 of a keyword organic search what is that worth? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-24 06:14:52 Clone Your Top Customer To Gro http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17CC1087A694E040A8C0AC000B23 Want to grow? Want to grow fast? Want to grow profitability? Ok, just clone your best customers. Most companies have an understanding of the value of keeping a current customer over having to go out and find new ones. But even in the best of companies there is still an attrition issues. New people come in; something goes wrong, company closes. Some of these issues are totally out of your control. So what’s a poor business person suppose to do? Focus on YOUR BEST CUSTOMER(S). To have the greatest impact on your bottom line the fastest with new accounts look at your top 1 to 5 customers. These top 5 should be your company’s greatest asset (after your personal). You know them, you understand them, and you know how to service them. You should know and understand their needs as a group and this should be nothing new to you or your staff, so working with a new account just like those top 5 should be a piece of cake. After you indentify these key account points go out and find companies just like those, it is easier than it might sound. Using good old SIC numbers you can identify companies in a certain industry. Data banks can pin point companies in terms of location, company size, by sales and or employees. Once you find them, you can almost bet they are having the same issues as your top 5. And armed with that information you should have a way to solve their problems. Larson Notes & Satire: Pain and pleasure. If you understand the issues of your top 5 you know what are their pleasure points and work into them. On the same note you know what is bringing them the most pain. You can be the band-aid. Heal their wounds and bring them joy. You already know how. We did this here at Larson & Associates and guess what? It worked. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-20 07:02:50 Should You Expand Your Product http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17BA059E79E3E040A8C0AC000B25 Things are getting better. At least I think so. But is it nice out in the land of business development and sales expansion? I don’t think so. As a business owner you start to wonder is it a good time to broaden our product line or go into other areas of services to attract a wider measure of companies or people to my business? Diversification might look like a good way to go, but is it? As a testament to narrow niching my own company to grow faster, companies will find that by sticking to their core capabilities and knowledge base they will expand even faster in today’s market place. People are begging to find the magic elixir and if you become an expert you can be perceived as that “Magic Man”. If you go down the road of diversification and add core competencies or products you can (and will) become distracted. Your company’s vision will lose its way. You might find yourself supporting less revenue bearing services or products just because you now have to, when the real muscle of your business, your core competencies are ready to roll, robustly. By the time this “Great Recession” is really over companies will find that the new markets they might have tried to get into have not even gotten starting and are still a drain on your company’s recourses or time and money. Really, stop, look, listen. Unless your service or product has become obsolete, having and staying in your niche a totally lost cause because it doesn’t exist anymore, you need to think. Becoming an expert in your nitch in an ever crowded broad based market gets you now where. Don’t become weak and dull. You need to stay strong, and become sharp, like the edge of a knife Larson Notes & Satire: A year ago last June I was not a happy camper. Sales were down; getting new customers was a real struggle. I was looking for ways to expand into other markets, other service areas I could be doing. Then I got, out of the blue, a phone call from an old friend. He wanted to use Me and My company, just because I would and I could do cold calls and I knew and understood the printing business better than other telemarketing companies. I said yes, of course. We needed the project. Then I took the pause that refreshes, if he needs this help and came to me because I have a special knowledge, why not others? BINGO! In 1 week I narrowed my marketing attack down to a narrow niche of printers and other graphic related companies. Why? Because we know you, and we can sell you better than the competition! I can’t say, yet, the rest is history, but sales are up 75% over a year ago. There is still work to do, but life is good and getting better. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-19 06:59:09 Quality In Your Marketing http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1AFBF6E1F073E040A8C0AC000B2B How long is your sales cycle? How many people or companies are in your marketing nitch? Looking at the B2B world, as a posed to the B2C side of business, Sales cycles are probably longer, there is more limited brand recognition. Trying to keep that sales funnel full and running can be a nightmare for the B2B Marketing Manager. So what can you do to keep you from walking round with your tale between your legs? 1) Project Your Target Sale: B2B sales cycles are extended and dare right complicated. As the size of the company goes down the more confusing it gets because you are working with fewer bells and whistles and dollars to keep you on track and headed in the right direction. Prospects might be less familiar with you. Lots of times your entire marketing campaign is working in a hodge podge of erratic disjointed efforts that you hope can come together as one message. Stop, sit down and take a deep breath, Your marketing needs to be put together like a classic dance, a beautiful tango, filled with passion and love and you go on till the music has stopped. Most people don’t stop dancing until the song has ended, so too you’re marketing. Your prospects need to worm up to you over a period of time. They need to feel comfortable with you before starting the buying cycle. The question is how long is that cycle going to be? 2) Give More Than You Take: Instead of asking for the sale give your prospects something of value, first! If you are having quality interactions, posting value in your interactions and blogs, it your content is specific and helpful you are on the right track. Using and posting content marketing to educate your prospects about what is important to them (that you can help of solve for them) and giving a solution helps to take your prospects down the decision path, not the yellow brick road. 3) Short Is Good: Try to keep your content short as opposed to long. Even if your service or product is a completed sale KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid! The experts say no more than 45 lines (please don’t count the lines in my blog) and no graphics unless they hammer home a key point. 4) Have Measureable and Meaningful Objectives: No fluff, no embellishing, get to the point, quickly and directly. Then measure what you have done. There are more marketing automation tools out there, and many are free for the looking. Find them, down load them, and use them. 5) Ready, Fire, Aim. No!: Prospects are precious. They are not a throw away commodity. You don’t have time or money to mess up your message.   You can run a split program if your list is big enough or your pockets have enough money or you can post two different marketing messages on different SM networking sites and wee which one gets the better pull. 6) The Customer Isn’t Always Right: Two things come to mind. The first by my sales mentor Hank Trisler, The customer might not always be right but they are still the customer, and the right customer is always right. You as a marketing need to know the difference between a right customer and a wrong customer. That is where nitching yourself as tight as you can helps you know the difference.  Know your ideal customer. You want as few duds to go to your sales team as possible. There time is important also. They might see fewer leads but over the long run, they will have to work less and gain more, faster. Larson Notes & Satire: There are a lot of things I could be saying here, but I will keep is short and simple. If you want to get your company growing with increasing your sales, keep yourself focused and remember that not every prospect is really a customer. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-18 07:05:58 Should your Business Use a Tel http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1B405877DFA7E040A8C0AC000B29 Telemarketers charge you money to do something most people & business owners think they know how to do themselves. Telemarketers can make and some take a large volume of calls on your company’s behalf. Then there is the question of doing it as in in-house function or outsourcing it all. Like everything, there is a good side and a bad side to making the decision as to whether to establish telemarketing in-house, or to trust it to an outsourced telemarketer. Being a telemarketer this blog will focus for the most part on the outbound telemarketing. Telemarketers, make different types of phone calls to generate sales, appointments of leads for your business. They can do direct sales, making leads, schedule appointments, verify information, and conduct research and surveys, it all depends on your business and what you need done at a given time. When considering outsourcing as a service, it is always good to look at the Call Center as an extension of you and your business; after all, they will be dealing with your customers who should have no idea that you have chosen to outsource (if they even know what that means) to a telemarketer. The following are factors to think about in developing and choosing a telemarketing division for your business: Outsource, Of Course: The orchestration of a large, in-house telemarketing division for your company can be a huge investment. You would have to consider hiring new employees, finding space, providing furniture and other resources, and not to mention the beginning and on-going training that would have to be provided in order for the venture to hopefully become a success. Many businesses decide to outsource just to avoid the time and money it would take to establish their own telemarketing department. Telemarketer providers can very easily handle a rapid or slower period of growth. They will have the resources ready to take on more people if the time of year or the growth of your business becomes a factor. A Call Center will bring with them their experience (which you cannot put a price on- especially if your business has no prior experience in telemarketing). They can help with creating lists, scripts, running tests, and managing campaigns. In addition, the outsourcing firm will most likely have the hardware, software, manpower, and afore mentioned expertise to nicely complement your business. Then there is a good chance they have prior experience in dealing with a company like yours so they will know what works and what doesn’t work on the phone. The Calm before the Search: Before jumping into the partnership with a Telemarketing firm, there are several things to consider. There are plenty of companies out here and you need to find the one that will make the best match for you and your business. Think about what you want your main objectives to be and what you want them to achieve with your program. Choose a firm with successful experience in dealing with other businesses in your industry; this way, they will not only have the prior success on their side, but can help with the development of the campaign. You will need to properly estimate what your expected call volume will be. You would not want to come up with a number that is too high or too low to reflect what the reality will be; if so, the Telemarketer can handle the number of calls you need to have. In coming up with your number consider any peaks or valleys in calls that may deal with special sales, time of year, holidays, trade shows, new equipment, company growth, etc. Like we work mainly with printers advertising companies, sign shops and other graphic companies, most, telemarketers have special areas of expertise whether it is in business type, technology, retail, education, etc., so you may want to see what will make for the best match for your company. Offshore?: Many businesses have made the decision to adopt call centers that are located offshore (based out of the United States). Many companies have decided that off shoring is a solid business decision mainly because it has a low cost; but the legality and ethics of the situation have recently made their way into American headlines. As stated, it could be cheaper, dollar wise, to use an offshore call center, but is it in the long run? Rates can be as much as 25% lower than using a call center in the U.S. that is a complete replica. To reiterate, the ethics of the situation come into play because many businesses (whether they knew or not) have been tied in with some illegal activity in regards to not staying faithful to the laws upheld here in America. Industry and customer perception may come into play and going offshore will leave any company susceptible to negative reactions. Communication issues can be a factor if you decide to outsource to offshore. Telemarketers with heavy accents may find it more difficult to have a conversation with your customers or they might just not like it knowing that you went out of the country. Usually, these places will have a formulaic script set up to make sure there is little communication breakdown, but this may be good or bad depending on the nature of your business. There are places such as Canada and the Caribbean Islands where you can still find some discounted benefits and where you will might find the communication issue not to be a problem but watch out people have a way of picking up accents and language more than you might want to think. Which Telemarketer: Obviously, you need to keep your bottom line in mind while picking your telemarketing company. Depending on expected volume, the impending pricing may vary. The outsourced firm may charge your company per minute or per dedicated representative for instance. Pricing is very important, but don’t forget to remember that most likely your customers will make no distinction between your company and the voice on the other end of the line; your customers will think that they are dealing directly with your company, so finding a firm that will handle your calls with the same passion and desire for success should be something to be heavily considered despite the cost. Experience as a company and in your particular field is something that should matter to you. This is a partnership, so you want to hire the best people for the job. You should look at the prior successes and reputations of any firms. As said before Telemarketers that have worked with your industry before can help you put together a more successful campaign and can help you foresee any problems that may arise during the course of the program before they happen. Pricing: It has been mentioned that several factors will pour into just how much this campaign will cost your company. You have to consider the volume of calls, where the outsourced company is located, the type of project, technology needed, the expertise of the Telemarketer, etc. Many large telemarketing companies ask for a minimum work order. The minimum can range from 1,000 to 10,000 persons per project or will charge per call or number of calls per hour, which can range from $25 to $60 per hour. How the outsourced company goes about paying their own employees will affect how they will in turn charge you. Some companies will offer commission to their workers, so the base hourly rate will most likely be lower (but higher if they do not offer commission). Other fees to consider involve initial set up costs (that could be in the several thousand), along with additional training, programming, reporting fees, etc., which leads into the next point. Make sure that all fees and stipulations are clear before starting out with any outsourced firm. Depending on how successful your company becomes (or does not become) there may be additional fees due to your company’s straying away from the initial projections and project roll out. A non-disclosure clause in the initial contract is highly recommended, so this way they cannot take your company’s proprietary information along with them if they wind up working for one of your competitors (especially if the outsourced company specializes in your industry). Tips to Get Rich:  An outsourced firm that offers sales commissions to their Telemarketers should be more attractive because their workers are more likely going to be more highly motivated, and that is what you want your workers to be. - The structure of a good script should not be overlooked. If the outsourced firm has worked in your industry on similar campaigns, then they can definitely help you orchestrate a successful one. - If the nature of the calls warrants a callback, outsourced firms (if they are running an inbound program) usually offer an 800 number to set you up with. DO NOT take them up on this offer because it is much cheaper for you to establish your own. This way if things go sour, you do not have to worry about setting up another number (which can become confusing for clients and customers); you can simply use the same number while engaged in business with another provider. Larson Notes & Satire: We are all different in how we handle and give our services. If you are thinking about doing some outsourcing of telemarketing or any kind of sales give me a call. I will be happy to answer your questions. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-08-17 05:53:26 Are you a White Hat? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17B4F2AAA694E040A8C0AC000B23 Search engine optimization, in as much as there are 2 sides to every issue, there are two hat colors to SEO, as with all things in life has a good, wholesome, fair and right way of doing things and a bad, unfair, downright bad way of doing things. To describe the two SEO methodologies the terms “White Hat” and “Black Hat” SEO have come about. We are a white hat (for the most part) here at Larson’s believing that while black hat SEO techniques might have some short term positive effect, the long term implications can and will be disastrous for your website and in the long run, for your business. As in all things it is good to know the enemy. So today, I’ll take a look at the top 5 black hat & the top 5 white hat SEO techniques to help you decide whether you or the SEO firm you’re using uses tactics that are potentially harmful to your business website and could either get you “kicked” out of their directories or elevate your site safely. After the black hat techniques we’ll take a look at the top 5 white hat SEO techniques that I believe and have found with my own site that have been having a positive effect on my search position without putting your business website at risk. Top 5 Black Hat SEO Techniques 1. Hidden Content: At the top of our list of black hat SEO techniques is hidden content. Ooooooo... hidden content you say? Yes! Hidden content comes in many guises but the basic principle is that within the code for the site there will be content stuffed with keywords, this content will not be visible to the end user of the site. There are a few ways to do this. One way of doing this is by using comment tags. Comment tags look like this; <!– Comment Tag –> The real purpose of comment tags is for developers to add in useful reminders within their code explaining what that piece of code does. Here’s an example of the comment tag being used correctly, <!– Start of the Main Content –> Here’s an example of a comment tag being used incorrectly in a bid to promote a hypothetical page targeting search engine optimization, <!—Search engine optimization, SEO, professional search engine optimization company, spamming search engines –> Another popular way of hiding content is the use of the <noscript> tag. The <noscript> tag should be used to inform a user that a script is being used but their browser either doesn’t support the script language used or they have that function turned off. Here’s an example of the <noscript> tag being used correctly, <script type=”text/javascript”> <!– document.write(“Hello World!”) //–> </script> <noscript>Your browser does not support JavaScript!</noscript> Here’s an example of the <noscript> tag being used as a black hat SEO technique again in a bid to promote a hypothetical page but this time targeting shoe store. <noscript> Imaginary Shoe Store to sell shoes which are very affordable so if you want buy shoes call our shoe store because we are the best shoe store in the world </noscript> Other HMTL tags misused in similar ways include the <noframes> tag and hidden inputs in forms. Content can also be hidden from the end user by using CSS, excessively small text and colored text on the same colored background of text with no color. All of these techniques are frowned upon by search engines and if detected can mean your website will be penalized or banned. And yes they do ban sites out of their engines! To the untrained eye it can be very difficult to spot the use of some of these techniques. 2. Meta Keyword Stuffing: There are two Meta tags that are generally used to inform search engines of the content on the page. They reside between the <head> tag of a page and when used incorrectly they can alert a search engine that a site is using spam techniques in an attempt to improve its ranking. Meta Description The meta description should be used to describe the content of your page honestly and concisely and be 1 or 2 sentences, 3 at most. Here’s an example of the Meta description being used in the correct manner, <meta name="description" Content="Targeted telemarketing company. A telemarketing company that knows, understands and puts into practice targeted marketing programs designed to get new customers and build sales, fast. We make good companies great and great companies even better with telemarketing and targeted direct mail programs. Our focus is Printers, Advertising Agencies, Graphic Studios, Advertising Specialties, Trade Show Booth Builder, Sign Shops and other businesses in graphic and creative and related industries. We know you, we understand you, we can sell you! " /> Here’s an example of the Meta description tag being used incorrectly for a page promoting a telemarketing company called “MadeUp”, <meta name=”description” content=”MadeUp telemarketing website is the best MadeUp telemarketing website, our telemarketing is better than any telemarketing, great telemarketing, the best telemarketing, visit use us for telemarketing” /> 3. Meta Keywords: Meta Keywords should be a list of words that inform of the main focus of the page. Meta keywords have been so misused in the past that there are few if any search engines that take any heed of them. Here’s an example of the Meta keywords being used in the correct manner, <meta name="keywords" Content="Telemarketing, Outbound Telemarketing, printing sales leads, outbound telemarketing service, us telemarketing company, outsourced sales force,  business growth,  Target Marketing, Target Marketing Service, direct mail programs, Wave Mailing Programs, Target Marketing Attack,  direct mail, Guerrilla Marketing, b2b marketing, sales outsourcing, Chicago, United States, Illinois. Palatine, chicagoland, chicago metro, New account acquisition, nitch marketing, Advertising, Telesales,  Postcards, Fulfillment, B2B, business two business, Trade Show Call Back, Orphan Account Selling, List Procurement, Multimedia Development, Search Engine Submission, Web site optimization, Web Site Design, virtual sales manager" />  Here’s an example of the Meta keywords tag being used incorrectly for a page promoting the telemarketing company again called “MadeUp telemarketing”, <meta name=”keywords” content=”Telemarketing, telemarketing marketing , tele, tele-marketing, fast telemarketing, junk calls, phone ,phone sales, telephone sales, phoning, calling, MadeUp telemarketing, outbound calling ,inbound calling, sales, large account sales, big account telesales ,small account telesales ,best telemarketing, great telemarketing, exclusive telemarketing plans, day time telemarketing, phoning, calling, sales call, sales-call”> 4. Doorway or Gateway Pages: Doorway or Gateway pages are pages designed for search engines and not for the end user. They are basically fake pages that are stuffed with content and highly optimized for 1 or 2 keywords that link to a target or landing page. The end user never sees these pages because they are automatically redirected to the target page. Off-the-shelf SEO software often encourages the use of gateway pages as do SEO firms that don’t know what they’re talking about. Search engine spiders are being enhanced continually to detect these pages and will get ignored or worse still, flag your site up as being spam and ban you all together. It was once a very “white hat” to use Gateway pages in your SEO practice because the different engines acted and searched differently and needed a page that would optimize well with the way their engines spiders went though the content of a page to optimize it. Not so much anymore, you don’t need a different landing page for Google, Yahoo or Bing anymore. 5. Link Farming: In the real world if you were to build your house in a bad neighborhood then your house would be affected by its surroundings. The same is true of the virtual world. Link farms or free for all (FFA) pages have no other purposes than to list links of unrelated websites. They won’t provide you with any traffic and you run the risk of having your site banned for participating. Don’t participate in link farming. You may get a quick bump but you will receive a bad landing getting kicked off the search engines as a spam site or at best only getting downgraded in the search engines. Top 5 White Hat SEO Techniques   1. Quality Content: When we first started looking at SEO as a separate entity to website build there was one phrase that we would continually hear, “content is King”, and it’s true. There is nothing more valuable you can do to optimize your site for search engines than offer unique well written content. A search engines aim is to serve up what it believes to be the most appropriate website for any given search to the end user. Imagine we are the end user and we are searching for a telemarketing company in the United States. We go to our favorite search engine and search for the phrase “telemarketing company in the United States”.  (If you’re looking for Larson in this search, I am sure we are out there but on what page I have no idea. More on word stings to get found later) In this imaginary scenario let’s assume there are only 2 websites that target that phrase, Website 1: Website 1 consists of a single page with 3 paragraphs of text. The text tells us that the company does telemarketing work, is in the United States and gives us a phone number to call. Website 2: Website 2 contains 30 plus pages all focusing on various telemarketing functions that we can hire, costs and technical explanations of how telemarketing can work for your business. Which website do you think the search engine is likely to offer to the user first? It’s a rather obvious example but it illustrates the importance of good content so your priority should be good quality content. 2. Use Structural (Semantic) Mark Up and Separate Content from Presentation: Semantically structuring your mark up helps search engines understand the content of your webpage which is of course a good thing. Making proper use of heading elements is essential because search engines give more weight to the content within the heading elements. Using CSS to separate the design elements from the content makes for much leaner code and makes it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for, which is content. Remember content is king! 3. Titles and Meta Data: Providing pages with proper titles and Meta data is essential. As discussed in the top 5 black hat SEO techniques section the meta description and meta keywords elements have been so misused in the past that Search Engines now regard them as less important, it’s still important to use them and use them, just use them properly. Titles however still carry a lot of weight and when we think of semantic mark up it is obvious why. The title of anything is a declaration as to what the content might be, so make sure your page titles are a true representation of the content of the page. 4. Keyword Research and Effective Keyword Use: Create your website with keywords and key phrases in mind. Research keywords and key phrases you think people might use to find your site. Single words are not always the most effective target, try multi-word phrases that are much more specific to your product/service and you’ll be targeting end users that are much more likely to want what you are offering. Besides going after a one word “keyword” although it might be the holy grail of SEO is not the best to start out for your initial SEO marketing plan. Use the keywords and key phrases you’ve identified effectively throughout your website. Assign each page 2-3 of the keywords you’ve identified and use the keywords throughout all the important elements of the page. Those are, • Title • Meta Description • Meta Keywords • Heading Elements <H1> <H2> <H3> • Text • Alt Tag • Title Tag • Links 5. Quality Inbound Links: Having inbound links to your website can be likened to having a vote for the good but there are good links and bad links so therefore votes for the good and votes that are bad. Good links are links from other web pages that are regarded highly by the search engines and are contextually relevant to the content of your page. Bad links are links from web pages that aren’t regarded highly or potentially banned by search engines and have no relevance to the content of your page. For example; Imagine we have a website that sells telephones. Link A: Link on the homepage of the American Marketing website. = Good Link B: Link on Eddies Bar appreciation links page = Bad The amount of quality inbound links to your site therefore have some relevance on how high up the search engine your site is placed. When sourcing links you should be thinking of quality over quantity and deep linking to pages within your website not just the home page. Larson Notes & Satire: To the untrained eye, identifying if your site is potentially at risk from black hat techniques can be difficult. When in doubt don’t do it. Went you need help, find someone who might know what they are doing. Mmmmmm, I wonder who that could be? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-16 07:52:10 7 Ways to Boost Your Web Site http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17988EE479E3E040A8C0AC000B25 There are many simple ways to boost your rankings in search engines so that more people will visit your web site. Some search engine optimization (SEO) methods are out-dated and others are just plain shady. We will discuss seven of the best organic “white-hat” methods of SEO: things you can do for free to achieve higher search rankings (rather than paid options such as pay-per-click advertising). For those of you who don’t know “white hat” methods are nice, good, wholesome, fair and right ways of doing things and ate ones the Googles, Yahoos and the Bings of the world approve of. “Black Hat” methods are the bad, unfair, downright naughty way of doing things. Note to self: write a blog on White hat and Black hat ideas. 1) KEYWORDS: Choose and Use your keywords wisely!  It is extremely important to research what keywords are best to use on your web site. Google Ad Words can provide a very good keyword research tool that will show you the amount of competition for particular keywords and phrases. It is best to choose keywords that are searched frequently, while at the same time avoiding so of the competition in your market nitch. These keywords should be relevant, and applicable to your page content. Good keywords in the domain name, page titles, headings, and alt text are helpful, but should not be overused. Overuse can cause your site to be flagged as spam, and get you booted out of the search engine! 2) METATAGS: Utilizing key tags in the head section of your web pages can greatly change how well a site ranks in search engines. It is important to always include a different page title for every page of your site, with a unique page description with a meta tag description, which summarizes the page content. The description metadata is very important for search rankings, and should utilize the keywords for that specific page while never being identical on any of your other pages. 3) SITE STRUCTURE: Some of the highly ranked sites have innovative technology, which requires advanced programmers. If your site has web apps that offer software type functionality in a web site, then you have an obvious advantage. However, simple SEO techniques such as utilizing Google Webmaster Tools can do wonders to raise your SEO score. Many free tools are available to generate XML sitemaps (an index of your web site, in XML format which you can submit to search engines to help direct their crawling of your site. 4)  INTERNAL LINKS: Websites indirectly tell the search engines which pages are most important for visitors (and for which keywords) by having more internal links to those pages on their site (links within a site to other pages on the site). Placing the keywords of the target page in the link that points to that page will also help. You may make use of the “no follow” tag on links that are not important for SEO purposes (such as the legal disclaimer) to help search engines direct visitors to other more important pages. 5) EXTERNAL LINKS: One of the largest factors in SEO is to have quality links from related websites (with similar keywords) pointing at your site. For example, if Facebook were to post a link to your site on their homepage, then you would see a huge spike in visitors. Having quality links from high-ranking sites will boost your site towards the top of search engine results. Probably the best method to earn quality links is to offer quality content that people truly want. Posting content on the social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. can boost your visitors and inbound links. Just make sure you check and fix the site for any broken links on a regular basis. 6) CONTENT: As stated previously, the best way to attract visitors and quality inbound links is with good content that people want to consume. Updating page content on a regular basis tells search engines that they need to frequently visit your site for new stuff, and lets visitors know they can expect new content once in a while. Static pages that change once a year will not drive people to come back to your site frequently. However, integrating a blog with regular posts (http://www.larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog ) is an excellent way to drive visitors to your site to find new content. Unique and original content that people like will attract visitors and get you needed inbound links, as well as get the attention of the search engines. Simple isn’t it? Have quality content… get quality results. Dud. 7) INTERACTIVE MEDIA: Studies show that computer users prefer video and other impressive multimedia. You-Tube and Hulu are popular sites with streaming video, and Internet users spend hours playing interactive games on Facebook. Many prefer watching a video tutorial than studying a book – and enjoy streaming a TV show with one commercial to regular TV shows with twelve. People tend to link to media fast, so use media to your advantage. Larson Notes & Satire: So how do you stack up? How many of the big 7 are you using? I would guess I’m a 5.5 on a 7 point scale. I am slowly seeing my site raise up in both the rankings, and popularity (hits). I view it as I work in process, Where my marketing plan and my business plan and my sales plan all start to come together to being in qualified leads to become customers, and isn’t that what it is all really about, turning leads into sales? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-08-13 07:23:36 Real Real-Time SEO http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC179D3978A694E040A8C0AC000B23 Ok let’s get real about real-time search engine optimization. For just over a year now Goggle has been mixing social media content into its regular search results. If you do a key word search on something that is a current event you will see some SM sites popping up as the story unwinds. Well now Yahoo and Bing have jumped into the foray and now are doing real-time search. So if real-time was not important a month ago, well guess what, now it is! The BP oil spill, the Toyota recalls, the postal increases, unemployment, foreclosures, healthcare all were and are being played out in real-time search. So now I ask you, can you afford not to be working harder at your Social Media Marketing? If you are hammering out your message in a timely fashion they will find you. There are 2 sides to the web, each running parallel to each other. One is the web world we all know and love where you post your site and it gets found. The other is one that keeps pace with what is happing in the world NOW. With the crawler-based logarithms pairing down though human driven social media useful content, reputation and timely ideas are picked up. This is a big move from the way search engines were looking at content. When you stop and think that 40% of all search quires have an element of time attached to them, the Search Company’s had to come to the realization that they needed to keep up as well. I mean when you want airline ticket prices to Arizona today you don’t want prices form a month ago. Who wants unemployment figures form a year ago? No, you want current up-to-date figures. When you what the scores of yesterdays baseball games you don’t want to see the scores from August 11, 2009, do you? Besides the White Sox won yesterday so bring it on! You might want to move away from your Web Analytic reports and see how the search engine results actually come out when you do the key word searches. You might find some interesting patterns coming up. I know I do some keyword searches on myself every week, just for fun. So you want to beef up your SM to get you into the real-time search game? First you need to investigate the environment to see it there is any justification for you to be doing it in your related field. Then see what is flying around about the kind of service or product you supply, does it fit? If you think it is worth it, then check for the freshness of your content. If for example you’re in the lawn business you might what to hammer in some seasonal terms to spike the interest of the crawlers. (No not night crawlers, well maybe yes, but not the kind I want to use to go fishing) Be ready to grab a hold of any opportunity that presents itself. Now even though this is real-time search with a NOW kind of thinking, you need a long-term plan. You can mold your message around special moments in time, but you need to be marketing continuously in the social media movement, interacting, and responding to the communities, on a regular bases for you to have any long lasting results. Real-time search needs real time commitment. It use to all be about links, links in, links out, reciprocal links (links are still important and if you have a site and want to trade links with me let me know) but now it’s about the socialness of what is important to your customers, your prospects and the world at large Larson Notes & Satire: It is sort of funny, or maybe it’s not, but about the same time that Yahoo and Bing started doing real-time search, my web site hits started going off the charts. I’m talking going up 900% in hits off the charts. I worked out a growth plan for the year and amazing enough I am right on target. I worked out my marketing plan or reformatted it a year ago this month and have held true to the plan and the budget I set for it. I redid my companies positioning structure 14 months ago and am gaining in the exact target base I want to be in. So I have and will stay on my plan and course of action. I will be a Big fish in a Little pond. It’s a sound strategy is working and working very well ty. If your strategy is not working see my p.s. offer below. 30 minutes of Me, for free. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-12 06:59:37 B2B ROT (Return On Tweet) http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1AEFF9A7CF71E040A8C0AC000B2D Out of nearly 400 US Business Marketers 66% said that they are satisfied with the ROI of their twittering. The amazing thing is that 70% of these marketers spend only 30 minutes or less a day on twitter. 4 out of 5 marketers also said that they could not directly attribute any revenue to the micro-blogging site. Some think that the effectiveness and relevance of twitter will fade over time but they are still out there pushing out their businesses messages. To the enthusiasts that are heavy twitters, they find that 20% attribute very tangible results and more than 1/3rd are more than satisfied with the return. Funny (not) how these successful Twitter marketers are more optimistic about Twitter’s future. Not surprising, it was found that those marketers who are generating revenue thru Twitter are and get more active. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Some say (see below under Notes and satire) that Twitter is now more effective at driving traffic to a web site than SEM (search engine marketing). If that is true, how can you put a value on pushing out those tweets? Half the people twit only once every other day, and quite a few are found to only be on twitter once a week. So if you’re not a daily twitter you’re not alone. The most interesting thing, or is it, is that very few people are reporting that they had a way to do any kind of ROI on Twitter. Yes it’s the old guestament calculation.  * Twitter in B2B Marketing May 12-May 24, 592 completed surveys, Zoomerang Larson Notes & Satire: Well I am one of those 34% of the people how do not like my ROI of tweeting. Not that I’ll stop mind you, but I want some return. But then, (this is the pause that refreshens) my web site hits are up over 900% over the last 5 weeks. Could this be attributed to twitter and posting my web site URL out there 12 or more times a day? I do know it’s not from keyword search because I’m so low unless I do a key word string or at least 4 words picked carefully in a word search I am so far back it’s not funny. Since real-time search started happening about a year ago (now yahoo and bing are doing some real-time search, not just google) the web game has started changing. Granted I’m not on the first 3 pages of an organic search, but somewhere someone is finding me and hitting on me. Or is it my blogging. You are reading this so you know I blog, yet, but my blogging has been down a little (from 5 blogs a week to maybe 3) over the last 2 months but is it just that it is catching up with my past efforts? Whatever it is, I must be doing something right and the even better thing is that is starting to translate into sales. Real sales! Yes money! And as good capitalist, I don’t keep score buy how many hits my web site gets or the number or retweets my follows give me or the number for “friends” & “followers” I have (not that that is not important) but by the number of sales I earn and the dollar amount of those sales in a given week or month. So again I ask myself, am I happy with the ROI from twitter, I just don’t know, I just don’t know but just don’t ask me to stop what I’m doing. See me at https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate . Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-11 06:27:28 Online Marketing Automation http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC1790D75FA694E040A8C0AC000B23 Online Marketing Success (1 to 5 with 5 being the most important) Click-through rate 1 – 5% 2 – 12% 3 – 30% 4 – 41% 5 – 12% Web traffic hits 1 – 5% 2 – 16% 3 – 32% 4 – 36% 5 – 12% Marketing qualified Leads 1 – 1% 2 – 3% 3 – 15% 4 – 41% 5 – 40% Revenue  1 – 2% 2 – 2% 3 – 10% 4 – 26% 5 – 61% Source: B to B Analytics Survey and the Web Analytics Association 2010 Did not like what I saw out of this survey. I like the revenue number because without money nothing happens, but that is (to me) more a sales function but if I had an online store and shopping cart attached it would become much more important so keep in mind my perspective. In my company I expect marketing to be bringing in qualified leads to my sales department. If that means web site hits then get hitting. Bring me the Frank Thomas, Willie Mays and Mark McGwire of the Web! Online nothing happens without a hit. So after all is said and done I have to give my highest score to Web site hits. Automation priorities for Marketing 4.4 – Lead management 4.2 - CRM 4.0 – Campaign management 4.0 – Database marketing 3.1 - Social media metrics 2.8 – Marketing asset management 2.5 – Marketing resource management * Source: IDC’s Technology Marketing Barometer, IDC 2010 If you had to pick out want to automate and you could not do it all what would you really pick? I have to agree with the finding and rate Lead management tops integrated into a CRM system. Larson Notes & Satire: Some things can and should be put on auto other items on the marketer’s plate should be done manual to keep a good solid hands on feel. Of course I like to get in and get my hands dirty so always lean more to the side of hands on non-automatic but there is a time and place like... maybe some automation is not a bad thing after all, and just to more analytical studying of the results. Yes the old dog can learn new tricks, like fetch, maybe? Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-10 06:37:13 Marketing to Sales Handoff? http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17816FE579E3E040A8C0AC000B25 Marketing Department Goals (1 to 5 with 5 being the most important) To Raise Awareness 1 – 0% 2 – 5% 3 – 15% 4 – 38% 5 – 40% To serve as voice of the company 1 – 2% 2 – 9% 3 – 25% 4 – 34% 5 – 31% To drive qualified Leads 1 – 1% 2 – 2% 3 – 12% 4 – 33% 5 – 52% To nurture leads  1 – 3% 2 – 11% 3 – 27% 4 – 38% 5 – 21% Source: B to B Analytics Survey and the Web Analytics Association 2010 I think the big question here is; are you a Marketing oriented person with sales tendencies or a Sales oriented person with marketing tendencies? Marketing to Sales handoff 58% - Involvement never ends but the type and volume of engagement changes 16% - Once leads have been qualified and scored 10% - Once a program has started to generate leads   8% - Once a lead has been nurtured and shows strong buying intent   5% - Once the ad, tactic or program goes live or has been deployed   3% - Once a sale has been completed   1% - Other * Source: 2010 Outlook: Marketing Priorities and Plans The age old question of when a marketing department should hand off the lead to the sales department has not ended with the advent of Social Media Marketing but rather intensified it Larson Notes & Satire: So are you the sales guy or the marketing person? Whichever way you lean is how you will probable rate the above functions. As an owner, marketing never stops but serves as a function of being in qualified sales leads to the sales department for them to close on. The two are not separate but must be joined at the hip to propel the companies close deals. If you are letting them operate in a dysfunctional way you are losing valuable synergy. My feeling is that marketing should be handing off the lead to sales ASAP so they can do what they do best, being the prospect into the fold as a customer. In every business there is a sales cycle. The sooner you get the prospect into that cycle the better. Another key point here is that Marketing’s function is not to close sales but to get the word out and make awareness. Marketing can still push out to a prospect even while sales is working on them, but there needs to be a hand off. There can be 3 parts to your marketing attach, presales marketing, during-sales marketing and after-sales marketing. If your marketing people and your sales people are talking to each other they can complement each other and make life a whole lot easier for each other. If they don’t talk, you got a message nightmare that can be giving out 5 or 6 messages at the same time to the same people. To this I have only 2 words: Good Luck! Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes.   2010-08-09 06:20:06 The Measurement of Social Medi http://larsonassociates.ws/Larsonssalesmarketingblog&p=87FC17798E77A694E040A8C0AC000B23 1) Community Growth: Just home many members are you adding each and every month or week? Heck you can even ask yourself how many new members are you adding a day! You can ask what this number is when you compare the numbers of web site hits or forum post comment s or views. Are you getting enough and are you creating an individual benchmark for yourself? 2) Content Rating: Do you measure how effective a given article of post is based on the number of “thumbs ups”, comments, views, retwitter, a link to it on twitter or getting it featured on a Ning site? This is gold in getting new views and new followers. 3) Traffic: Page views are not top dog with all the traffic and pass though’s going on but it is still important to measure the kind of traffic and his your site is getting. 4) Call deflection: In support instances if customers and prospects are brave enough to stick their online necks out and be bold enough to answer a question or deflect a criticism you need to reward them 5) Sentiment: Avid online SMer’s are working on how to make and work with both positive as well as negative posts and conversations. Outside of the time that it takes to sift though social media content to date it doesn’t hurt to do it once in a while (weekly perhaps) Yet, the largest consensus that I have found is that sentiment analysis is still in is infancy and has a long way to go from being an automated process. That being said, someone might have and put forward a solution next week, or even as soon as today. Such is the rate of SM change. Larson Notes & Satire: Most “experts” are in agreement that to date establishing a standardized matrix of community can work in sites with a standardized purpose. But not free falling sites like Facebook. Idea generation, supporting and so called emergencies have a greater tendency to spike hits and activity rather than give back long term (over a month) residuals. When posting anything remember your customers and prospects might not always like what you have to say. Heavens knows I have said a few things online that have gotten my virtual butt kicked. But ask yourself, was what I posted (or is what I’m going to post) helpful? Did I solve a problem? When tracking hits remember to watch out for the bot attacks. It might seem like a lot of hits are pounding on you but those little bots come and go. Keep a close eye on comments and thumbs ups, not the counter. Some of your customers and prospects will view your site as a question solver and will look at it for questions they will NEVER call up and ask your customer service people. And always keep an eye out for your online reputation. Once something is out there it can drag you down. The scary part is it might now happen immediately. It something is posted today, some negative detractor might find it 6 months from now and act and talk about it like it is current news. Howard Larson Larson & Associates Target Marketing & Telesales Professionals for new account acquisition Making good businesses great and great businesses even better 847-991-0488 howard@larsonassociates.ws http://www.larsonassociates.ws http://larsonassociates.blogspot.com http://member.merchantcircle.com/larsonassociates http://teamcircle.ning.com/profile/HowardLarson https://twitter.com/LarsonAssociate P.S. We make telesales for small business affordable by offering programs down to only 15 hours a week. Maybe you could add telesales into your marketing mix call today and find out. P.P.S. An American Company, marketing American Companies! Call or email to get an appointment to pick my brain (a $125.00 value) for 30 minutes. 2010-08-06 07:38:16