Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

March 15, 2010

Anyone for a game of ‘telephone-tag’?

Our colleague and associate Merlyn Sanchez of SMART Business Owners wrote these excellent tips for leaving an effective voicemail.  The article can also be read directly on her blog.


In this over-connected, cell phone to the ear, Web 2.0 world, it would seem inconceivable that it can be near impossible to reach someone. However, it’s more likely that your phone call will go to voice mail rather than to a human being!
So, what do you do when you encounter someone’s voice mail?  Many business owners and sales people tell me there’s no point in leaving a message because they’ll never get return call.  What they really mean is, “I can’t sell them anything via voice mail”.
Well, they probably weren’t going to buy anything even if you did reach them!  Without an objective and a plan, you’re just one more person vying for attention.  And since you haven’t developed a relationship, you’re very easy to ignore.
Here are some tips on how to leave an effective voice mail message:
1. Define the objective of your call. Is it a follow up to a networking event? Or are you returning the prospect’s call or email requesting information on your product or service?  Is it a “keep in touch” call where the purpose is to keep the relationship moving forward?
2. Prepare a script. You want to make sure that you make it clear why you’re calling, how you can be reached, and let them know when you’ll be following up if you don’t hear from them. This will help prevent stuttering or losing your train of thought.  There’s nothing worse than those rambling messages that you wish you could erase!
3. Make sure that you’re easy to reach. Leave them your office number and cell phone number.  And make sure to check your voice mail messages (it could be embarrassing if you don’t!)
4. Repeat your key information. Introduce yourself at the beginning and the end of your message and include your phone numbers.  Speak clearly and slowly enough for someone to be able to take down your information without having to replay your message several times.
5. Don’t give up! It may take several tries and a few rounds of telephone tag to finally reach your client or prospect.  So don’t be discouraged.

By the same token, learn when you’re being avoided and leave a message that lets the other person “bow out gracefully”.  Just ask them to respond if they’re no longer interested in hearing from you. This usually works best if you use email since there’s no fear that they may actually reach you if they call.  Inject a little humor and make it clear that there are no hard feelings.  It’ll go a long way to demonstrate that you are both persistent and considerate.
Every contact you have with someone is a potential to create or further a relationship.  Don’t miss an opportunity to get your message across in an effective and powerful way.

March 8, 2010

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March 7, 2010

Have you met the ‘Goop Guy’?

Every now and then we run an article from a guest author, and today we are delighted to re-print ‘The Goop Guy’ written by Robert Middleton, one of our colleagues and associates.  As you read it, have a think about the principles involved and how they relate to your business and the way you do your marketing – then please add your comments at the end!


Imagine sitting in the middle of a swanky shopping center, a male

cosmetologist hovering over you, with goop slathered all over your

face. Not a pretty picture. But that was me on Friday.

How in the world did I get into such a situation?

Well, it started innocently enough. I was in San Francisco for Mac-

World and stopped by the upscale downtown mall to pick up a few

shirts at Nordstrom’s and find a Valentine’s day gift for my wife.

As I was wandering aimlessly through the mall, I noticed a number

of young girls handing out a sample drink of some sort. I was

thirsty, so I grabbed a dixie cup of the elixer and gulped it down.

Before I could blink he was talking to me. I say “he” because I

don’t think I ever got his name. He was totally focused on me for

the next half hour.

Have you heard of the goji berry? he asked innocently enough.

Well, no I hadn’t. Oh yes, it’s one of the world’s most powerful

antioxidants, and the company he worked for, “The Secret of the

Himalayas,” was the purveyor of all things goji berry.

Before I could blink he was was looking at my hands and

commenting on how dry they were and asking what I used to

moisturize them. Me, I’m a guy. We don’t think about that kind of

stuff. But before I knew it, I was rubbing my hands with an exotic

product called Hunza Apricot Treatment.

It felt kind of like wet sand. I rubbed it in and then he rinsed my

hands ever-so-delicately with a spray bottle. Next was Body Butter,

a light moisturizer that smelled like coconut and apricot.

How did my hands feel now? he implored seductively.

Well, by this time I thought this was pretty nice stuff and would

make a nice Valentine’s gift for my wife. I was sold. OK, now let

me outta here.

Not so quick!!

The Body Better was followed by by the exotic Goji Peel, then

another moisturizer and toner which he proceeded to rub into my

wrist as he regaled me with the superior qualities of these

sublimely divine body products.

OK, OK, enough already! I’l take the Apricot Treatment, the Body

Butter and the Goji Peel. My wife would be happy and I could get

back to MacWorld.

But wait, he was willing to give me the dispenser of special

moisturizer for only $50 and throw in the toner for free. How could

I possibly say no to that? I pulled out my credit card and $240 of

my new-found products were wrapped up and ready to go.

But just one more little thing.

He looked soulfully into my eyes and asked me what I was doing

for those bags so strategically placed beneath them. Bags? I have

bags under my eyes? Apparently so.

And before I knew it I was sitting on a stool being slathered with

eye goop. By now I was having fun. This guy was such a

consummate salesman I couldn’t believe the path he was taking

me down.

Here I am, a guy, considering goop to put under my eyes every

day! When would it all end? Then I realized it. It would never end.

As long as he had my attention he would continue to sell.

Then he showed me the prices. $175 for the eye rejuvenator and

$275 for the collagen cream. Yeah, how on earth did we live before

collagen? And don’t forget the mask that was now spread over the

right side of my face.

He gently wiped off everything with delicately moisturized cotton

puffs and then had me look in the mirror. Did I notice the

difference? Well, actually I did. My right eye was now definitely less

baggier than my right one. Wow, this stuff works!

But at that price? You gotta be kidding me!

But suddenly I learned that, for a very limited time, and just for

me, he could give me the first two products for a greatly reduced

price and throw in the third for free.

Well, I finally got ahold of my senses and thought… There is no

friggin’ way I’ll use this eye stuff for more than a few days, feel like

an idiot and regret my purchase. My sanity took the upper hand

and I told him firmly, thank you, but no.

An average salesperson would have moved on. But not Goop Guy. I

think he used about five more closes (don’t you care about your

eyes? was the most heart-rending) before I took off.

Nevertheless, as I gathered my bags and walked away and down

the escalator to freedom, I looked back and still saw him enticing

me back to his parlor of lotions and potions, never really giving up

until I was completely out of sight.

My only regret was that I hadn’t pulled out my Flip Video and

recorded him in action. It was in my pocket, but as I contemplated

returning, I knew I probably wouldn’t get away without buying

that damn eye goop.


The Bottom Line:  If most Independent Professionals

had one tenth of the focus, persistence and charm of this guy,

they’d be making ten times the income. No, you really don’t have

to manipulate, but certainly you’d know exactly what to say to

make your services compelling and valuable. You’d have a great

answer to every single question your prospects asked, and always

have another way to move the sale forward, no matter what.


© Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit
Robert’s web site at www.actionplan.com for additional
marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional
service businesses

February 3, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 5 of 5

Today we address the 5th in our series of the Five Top Ezine Publishing Guidelines. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, please pick up the links from our archive in the sidebar on the right of the screen.

5. Communicate with a frequency your readers expect

How often you send your email newsletter depends on how much content you include. Perhaps you send a ‘daily tip’ that is short and to the point, or you send a longer article only once a month. Either way it is best to set the expectations of your readers upfront and then stick to it.

Why? So that you keep on the radar of your prospects (which your readers ultimately are), and so that they can look forward to receiving your emails and are more likely to read them. Whatever you do, be sure not to send emails so frequently that you get on their nerves, or so infrequently that they forget who you are!

There you have it.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on this series – even adding any top tips that you follow as an email marketer.  And if you’ve enjoyed this series of short articles and would enjoy reading more like them, please sign up for our e-zine The Marketing Edge.  We practice what we preach – promise!

February 2, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 4

Yesterday we discussed the third golden rule of email marketing. So far we have addressed ethical vs unethical ways of adding names to your mailing list, making it as easy as one click to be taken off a list (no haggling), and not using your own email programme or mail-merge to send your broadcasts.  Today, ethical list building tip number four is:

4. Only send relevant, useful information

Why? If the articles and information you send out are not directly related to your core business, it will do nothing other than damage your credibility rather than position you as an expert in your field. Sending information on dress and grooming are appropriate if you are an image consultant, not an accountant.

Also, if you make a habit of sending low value gumpf you will quickly irritate your readers, see your unsubscribe rates soar, and risk being marked as a spammer.

Not exactly rocket science, is it?

Tomorrow we’ll look at the 5th and final ‘top tip’ in this series.

February 1, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 3

Last week we began our series of top tips for being a responsible, ethical, reputable email marketer. If you aren’t bothered about your reputation, or getting marked as a spammer, then stop reading – this is not for you (or perhaps you REALLY ought to be reading on….).

3. Use an automated ethical list-management service

What does that mean? It means that you don’t send your newsletter out via a distribution list in Outlook. Internet Service Providers are clamping down on this form of mass mailing, and if this is how you operate you will quickly find yourself being blacklisted as a spammer.

It also means that you don’t give your email marketing business to list managers that allow (and even encourage) dodgy list-building techniques or flout the previous two rules.

Personally we use – and highly recommend – Aweber for this very reason. They are very strict about adhering to email marketing best practices. They also refuse to do business with clients that don’t.

I Heart AWeber.com
Check back tomorrow for tip number 4.

January 29, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 2

Yesterday we addressed the first and foremost rule that responsible e-marketers follow. If you do any form of email marketing (newsletters, ezines, mailshots – call them what you like) then you are in the right place: Read on!

2. Make unsubscribing easy!

Why? Because your subscribers are entitled to change their minds about receiving your messages, and should have their wishes respected. They should not need to explain why, nor have to beg or plead to have you honour their request.

How do you make the process quick and painless? By having a simple, one-click unsubscribe link in your message – that removes the email address completely from your database.

Dishonest e-marketers make it virtually impossible for subscribers to remove themselves. They do things like creating separate lists for each individual broadcast so that when a reader clicks the unsubscribe link they are only removed from the current mailing and not future ones. Or they insist that you log in to their system to change your preferences, but you have never created an account to log in to!

E-marketers with integrity will never employ such cowboy tactics.

Check back on Monday for our third tip.

January 28, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 1

Over the next few days we’ll be exploring the top 5 ezine publishing guidelines that you need to follow as a reputable, ethical e-marketer. If you missed our previous post/s you can read them here. Today we look at tip number 1:

1. Only add subscribers with their permission!

Why? Well, a major reason for having an ezine or email newsletter at all is to position you as an expert in your field, to demonstrate your services, and enhance your credibility. You ruin it all by growing your subscriber base without their consent.

Additionally, people who actually want (and have asked) to hear from you are qualified prospects and are more likely to buy from you eventually. It is a complete sham to have a database of hundreds or even thousands of recipients that don’t want what you have to offer, never read your newsletters, and possibly even have your messages land straight in a junkmail folder.

How do you ensure you have their permission? By using what is known as ‘confirmed (or verified) opt-in’. This not only makes certain that every name on your mailing list has given you permission to send them your newsletters, serves to validate the email addresses you hold, and also prevents third parties from adding subscribers without their knowledge.

By definition then you would not add people to your mailing list simply because you picked up their card while networking. Neither would you mine the Yellow Pages or Chamber of Commerce member list to increase your subscriber numbers.

Responsible e-marketers regard this as standard practice.

Check back tomorrow for tip number 2.

January 27, 2010

Are you building a massive email list?

Ezines (or email newsletters) are a great way of showcasing your knowledge and positioning you as a credible expert in your field. They also allow you to stay on the radar of qualified prospects in a low-key, non-threatening way. They are low cost, created with ease, and delivered at the exact date and time that you determine.

It’s little wonder then that so many businesses are following the trend to build massive mailing lists.

Are you?

Read on over the next few days to learn the five top ezine publishing guidelines. If you don’t follow them, at best you’ll be ruining your reputation, at worst you’ll be breaking the law!  Check back tomorrow for tip number 1.

Are you sick of spam?

Like almost every email user (and that’s prettymuch everyone these days!) you probably get plenty of email newsletters landing in your inbox on a daily basis. But how many did you actually sign up to yourself?

If you’re anything like us you are probably receiving a wide variety of newsletters, offers, sales pitches, and local business announcements that you never requested.

Worse still is that if you don’t actually appreciate receiving them you probably can’t even have yourself removed from the mailing lists, can you?

It’s bad enough when you are the victim… But what if you are the perpetrator?

Over the next few days we’ll be sharing five of the top guidelines that ezine publishers need to adhere to – check back tomorrow for tip number one and make sure that you start getting it right!

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