14 Techie Things I Am Done Complaining About | You Should Too

I am fed up with people who bitch about technology and the social web all day long. People who complain about everything. And you know who I am talking about.

Me. [and if you thought I was talking about you, you're probably right too...]

But I am done. I am done complaining. Because I am realizing how great these things actually are, and while I appreciate that most of them are free, they are also making me a better businessman and a more intrepid marketer.

So, join me in appreciating these fine things. In fact, I am going to celebrate these every day. And thank my lucky stars that tools like this exist to help entrepreneurs like me…

1. I will no longer complain that Gmail is sometimes slow to send and receive emails. Come on, it is a “free” email service, that indexes emails and allows me to tag and easily find them when I need them. Even if the email dates from 14 months ago…

2. I will stop complaining that it takes YouTube a while to process videos. I mean, how dare they host my High Definition videos for free and provide another search engine where people can search and find information on me and my business…

3. I will stop whining that Vimeo takes 30 to 45 minutes to upload and process my “free” video uploads.

4. I will stop fussing about dropped cell calls. I can make calls, which sound pretty damn good, from my bed, from my car, from my radio studio, from the airport, etc… In fact, there is only one spot in all of Metro Atlanta where there is a vortex in the universe and I drop calls. But only one.

5. I will stop complaining that Google Docs isn’t 100% perfect. The fact that I virtually run my business using Google Docs for “free” notwithstanding…

6. And speaking of Google, I love seeing people fuss about Google Wave. Every day. ["too slow" is what I hear most] In fact, I hope they stop using it. Because I will have an unfair competitive advantage…

7. I will stop complaining that it takes FlipShare a long time to download my video clips, and an even longer time to process the “movies” that I make. I mean, really, I can produce a High Definition video clip, from a hand-held camera, in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee…

8. I will stop complaining that it takes GoDaddy a few minutes to accept changes to my Thesis WordPress websites. I mean, can you believe it takes 3 minutes for the changes to be reflected, instead of instantly?

9. I will stop complaining that Twitter sometimes has a system overload. I mean, it is quite frustrating that my ability to communicate with the entire world – for “free” – requires me to wait for sometimes almost 10 seconds…

10. And for those rare times when Twitter goes down? Don’t whine about it. Go create your own social network…

11. How dare Facebook have privacy issues. I mean, who do they think they are that I can connect – on a personal level – for “free” – with over 400 million people? The nerve….

12. I will stop fussing about my Blackberry, and how it occasionally operates very slowly and lethargically. Never mind that it has more computing power than Apollo 11, and that I can almost entirely run my business from this little thing…

13. I will stop complaining about how my GPS device, whether I am using my TomTom or my Blackberry, sometimes loses the satellite for a few minutes. I was much much happier when I had to pull over and unfold the map. That was so much more fun…

14. I will stop complaining about how Foursquare sometimes doesn’t let me “check-in” somewhere. You know…all these free social web apps are just getting more and more out of control… I just hope I don’t win the “whiner” badge…

I saw Chris Brogan give a presentation where he shared a story about his Trust Agents co-author Julien Smith, where Brogan said that whenever Julien meets a blogger, he greets them with “So what do you complain about?”

Julien is right. Us bloggers do complain about a lot of stuff. Even me. [I like to think that in my "complaining" I am trying to educate, trying to serve, trying to enlighten folks... but, you know...]

And I am not suggesting that our “reporting” isn’t important, and necessary. But I think we oftentimes go over the top. Sure, when a brand delivers poor service, for something you are paying good money for, I suppose it is fair to tell that story.

But to complain about technology that does amazing things – to complain about socialĀ  networks that do amazing things AND are free – to complain about the speed of things that weren’t even imaginable just a few years ago – is getting sillier and sillier. And I have been just as guilty as the next person…

So from here on out, I am celebrating these tools. And if you ever catch me fussin’? Call me on it…

[cartoon by @gapingvoid]

What Has Social Media Meant To Me, Or, How You Can Do This Too!

I still run across people who do not see value in investing time into social media. They say things like:

“I just don’t see any value in it.”

“It is not worth my time.”

“I started a blog yesterday. But I haven’t gotten any business yet. It clearly doesn’t work.”

“I need to focus on REAL marketing.”

“I don’t have time for fads.”

“My market doesn’t spend time in that space, so I don’t need to…”

In fact, the percentage of sales and small business folks NOT using social media is still pretty staggering. And I will continue to do my part to help educate these good folks on the possibilities. Before I continue that mission, here are a few things that have happened to me, ONLY because of my participation in blogging and the social web:

1. I’ve been approached about writing a book.

2. I’ve been asked to contribute bits to other’s books.

3. I’ve had my blog posts picked up by other blogs, exposing me and my writing to thousands of new readers.

4. I’ve met some amazing people, people I would not have met otherwise.

5. I’ve learned so much. Each day, I get exposed to new blogs, opening up a whole new world and opportunity for learning.

6. I have reconnected with old friends, people that I had thought were lost forever.

7. It enabled me to co-host a TweetUp that had 200 people in attendance, including people from five states and Canada! I’ve always been a connector – social media scaled it big time.

8. It has allowed me to connect with someone like Tom Peters.

9. I have been asked to guest blog. Often.

10. I have been able to strengthen my personal brand. Because in addition to my business writing, it has also given me an outlet to write about things I am passionate about, such at this and this.

11. And most importantly, from a business perspective, I have found and engaged new clients.

Key takeaway from this post: If I can do this, ANYONE can do this.

Seriously. Here is how it happened for me:

> I am not a particularly good writer, but I have been a pretty steady blogger since 2008. As a result, I do think my writing has improved.

> I make a real effort to share the work of others. And I plan to get better at this.

> I make an effort, by monitoring blogs I care about on my RSS reader, to comment on the published posts of others. I can do better at this too. And not a day passes where someone doesn’t express sincere gratitude for this, which, I don’t have to tell you, deepens the relationship…

> I am not worried about the raw numbers of followers. I used to worry about this, but I have forced myself to focus on the actual relationships. The impact of this change in thinking has been powerful.

> I am NO guru. Or expert. Or Jedi Master. I am still learning. Every day. And realize, every day, that I have MUCH more to learn.

> I have become a much better listener.

> I have been able to help A LOT more people.

> My sphere of influence is small compared to many others. But, the point is, I have a sphere of influence.

> This whole world of the social web is evolving. Constantly. The sooner you recognize this, the faster you will evolve with it. What works today, probably won’t work tomorrow.

> But that said, the importance of building relationships will NEVER change. Just the means of doing so. As soon as you understand this? I mean, really understand this? Social media will make sense to you.

I am just a guy, working from home, with a manageable book of clients, running a small little business. If someone like me can see real results from this investment, anyone can!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know…

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[cartoon by @gapingvoid]

31st Check-In | The Publix Foursquare Watch

So, I am going to play a little game…

I wrote the other day about my 30th Foursquare check-in at my local Publix supermarket. Comments I’ve received ranged from “I can’t believe a man has actually checked-in to a grocery store 30 times” to “you sure go to the store a lot.”

So, anyway… I am the Foursquare Mayor there. Which means, well, I can do and say anything I want [not really].

But I will be honest. I cannot believe there is a public, transparent online record that someone has been to a store 31 times – and this person has never been contacted. Even to say a simple “Thanks!”

So here is what I am going to do. I will write a short post for every Publix check-in of mine, until I finally get acknowledged. This isn’t meant to be mean-spirited. Rather, it is meant to educate and teach people about the possibilities with geolocation apps like Foursquare. As a demonstration of my goodwill, I will offer a free tip about how an enterprise like Publix can use Foursquare. I welcome input from the community about other ideas they may have.

This might be fun. We should learn a lot. And, well, I may be writing a lot of blog posts on this project… ;-)

Todd’s Publix Tip of the Day: One thing a store like Publix can do, is drive traffic to purchase a certain type of inventory. Let’s say you want to help people eat more healthy. For instance, you could offer people who check-in to Publix for the FIRST time on Foursquare, a free piece of fruit….

The Store: Publix Supermarket
[Store # 00033]
3605 Sandy Plains Road
Suite 200
Marietta GA 30066
770.578.6000

The Crickets Are Chirping At The Local Publix…

What prompted this post? I am the Mayor of my local Publix on Foursquare. Last night was my 30th check-in. 30th. Yes, 30 of them. But have I heard from them? No. In fact, it is so silent, you can hear the crickets chirping.

If you had a customer walk in the doors of your joint 30 times, wouldn’t you want to at least acknowledge them? [Answer: you better.] Hell, at this point, I’d love a message from the Publix manager saying, well, how about “thanks for your business – we appreciate you!”

I am spending time exploring Foursquare. I see value in it for my clients. And that’s largely why I spend time on the app, so that I can learn how to execute a geolocation strategy on their behalf.

For those still unsure about the personal value of this technology? Here is Todd’s preliminary list:

1. You can see what others have said about a place you are about to check-in to. Is the restaurant good? Is the service good? What should you buy? What should you avoid? What staffer should you ask for?

2. And obviously, more and more places are offering discounts and specials for their foursquared fans…

3. If you are lost in the middle of nowhere, or a visitor to a new town, you can initiate the check-in process on your smart phone, and see what’s nearby (then use #1 above and see what the locals are saying about it).

4. For me, the most important use of Foursquare is that it serves as an easy conversation starter. For instance, I also checked-in last night at the non-profit where I serve on the Board of Directors. Now, if someone wants to do business with me, they would go a long way towards establishing trust with me if they inquired and asked about my non-profit.

5. And lastly? I will admit, I like knowing what the people in my network are doing. It helps me keep a pulse on what’s happening in my community. And I like knowing what my friends are doing, and what they are interested in.

I say this is my preliminary list. Because I am sure I will uncover others.

But let’s get back to my local Publix. It boggles my mind that they wouldn’t acknowledge someone who has checked-in 30 times. And, honestly, I am not looking for some special or discount [hint: wine specials please!]

What I do think is important is some outreach –> “Thanks for your business! How can we serve you better? What are other ways to make this store more valuable to you? How can we win people over who are currently shopping at the Kroger across the street?”

That said, I do think rewarding loyal customers is important. Stripped down, Foursquare is a game. You compete for points, for badges, and for the title of Mayor. This spirit of competition could and should be fun. And memorable. And something to talk about…

And also, an important driver of business.

But you may ask, “well, since you have been there 30 times recently, do they really need to work to keep you coming back? You have already proven to be a good customer.” If I have to really answer that question…

“But there are only a million people on Foursquare…” Yes, and it is growing much faster than Twitter was at this stage of their development…so like Twitter, this geolocation concept is going to change the game.

“But not everyone has a smartphone…” Yeah, and nobody thought cars would sell, or motion pictures, or planes (who would want to fly across the country?), or televisions (and who on earth would ever have more than one television), or websites would be for everyone, or that email would be used as THE communication tool, and thank God I have all those long-playing records, cassettes, and compact discs in a box in my basement…

The point is, technology like geolocation is changing the game. Slowly perhaps, but surely. It is time to get in the game and figure out how to use it…

…or those crickets will be chirping permanently at your place of business.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

[cartoon by @gapingvoid]

5 Complacency Killers

You don’t need another damn blog post about…

…focusing on the little things.

…being remarkable.

…making your customers say “wow!”

Oh sure, I got inspired to write this post because of a “little thing that was a big deal” kinda thing at my local Starbucks. And true enough, it was the kind of little thing that shouldn’t be a big thing, but because OUTSTANDING customer service is so rare, it became a big thing…and a blog post.

Thinking on this topic, I realized just how complacent most employees in joints like a coffee shop can get. Just people, doing their job, watching the clock. They aren’t responsible for the marketing, you see, so they don’t really care.

That’s not to say they aren’t nice people, who I am sure, more often than not, put in a good, hard day’s work. But they are complacent. They are prematurely satisfied. Just because.

And this is what leads to mediocrity. This is what separates most small businesses from the truly great, remarkable, “talked about by everyone” kind of enterprises…

So, I put together a short list of 5 things every business should do, every day, to fight off and kill complacency dead, dead, dead:

1. Ask at least one customer, each day, what you can do to make the customer experience better.

2. Thank a customer in a public way, each day. Do this on Twitter, your Facebook fan page, your blog…just do it somewhere public.

3. Over the course of any given day, you perform a multitude of administrative tasks. As you are doing them, examine them closely, and determine if there are ways to do them better, do them more efficiently, and do them faster, to save time…time that now can be focused on improving the customer experience.

4. Walk around your place of business. Is it presentable and clean? It is one thing to be unorganized to the point of charming. It is quite another to be dirty. New places are clean and shiny. Remarkable places STAY clean and shiny. Complacent places get dirty and run down…

5. Empower employees to do surprising things for customers. This, of course, makes the customer’s day. This also, of course, makes the employee’s day…

5.5. Don’t know any innovative ways to empower your employees? Let them come up with ideas. And reward them for being creative. And if they do something on the spot to wow a customer and haven’t necessarily cleared it with you beforehand? Don’t punish them. You will kill their spirit.

Just a few ideas. To be executed daily. What do you think? What did I miss?

[image by @gapingvoid]

B2B And The Social Web – So What’s Your Excuse?

[UPDATE: This post was picked up by Social Media Today]

So I had yet another conversation with a gentleman about how the social web (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) just isn’t appropriate for B2B sales.

To which I replied with my standard professional, classy response to such a statement:

“Hooey.”

Let’s begin with one key assumption. I am not necessarily talking about companies like Dell that have sold seven figures worth of computers through Twitter.

I am talking about selling services, high-end consultative services, and high-price ticket orders such as manufacturing equipment and installation.

If I had a dollar for every sales guy who said “I will make no sales on Twitter,” I could retire and spend 24 hours a day blasting such characters…on Twitter.

Funny thing is, they are sort of right. And that’s WHERE they stop. And that’s WHY they stop. And that’s exactly why they WON’T ever sell anything on Twitter. Or anywhere on the social web for that matter…

Mail me one penny for every time you’ve heard this line: “The kind of people I sell to aren’t on social media.”

I hear this all the time. And while I want to get angry at these souls for feeling this way, I don’t. Because I know that they just don’t see it, just don’t believe it. Or, in many instances, aren’t willing to do the work necessary.

Many are looking for the easy way to make sales and generate revenue for the business. I hear people all the time who say they only get business from face-to-face networking or from word of mouth. But I ask, if you are legitimately getting business via these tactics, you’ve invested lots of love and care into building that referral network, yes?

It is no different on the social web. In fact, you do it to accomplish the same goals:

1. Establish trust.
2. Build relationships.
3. Demonstrate competence.
4. Educate.
5. Teach.
6. Learn.
7. Make friends.
8. Find alliance partners.
9. Find support partners.

So how do you start? How do you begin the process of building relationships?

1. Engage people on Twitter, start conversations. Here are some ways to start.
2. Use geolocation platforms such as Foursquare and Gowalla to start conversations.
3. Comment on relevant industry blog posts.
4. Listen and comment to relevant industry podcasts.
5. Monitor prospects and what they are doing/saying on Facebook. And engage.
6. Monitor prospects and see what groups they are participating in on LinkedIn. And engage.
7. Find meaningful conversations, and identify people you want to know, through strategic queries on Twitter Search.
8. Share other’s work. On whatever tool you want. By whatever means works for you.
9. Blog about your passion, your hobby (here’s mine). You will meet new people. These people could be prospects. Or know people who should be prospects.

These are just a few ideas. There are more. In fact, if you have other ideas, please share in the comments. And here’s the important piece of advice: don’t sell them.

Get to know them. Talk about music with them. Talk about sports. Where they had dinner. What books are they reading.

Talk about anything that matters to them – that isn’t BUSINESS related.

What’s going to happen?

They will learn to trust you. They will inquire about you. They will look you up online to find out more about you. You will meet up at an event somewhere and it will feel like you’ve known them for a long time. You will agree to have coffee. You will then learn ways to help them in some way perhaps. They will become, at the end of the day, your friend.

And don’t people like to do business with their friends? I’ve read that somewhere…

Before you go, remember these 7 keys to success:

1. Be consistent.
2. Be patient.
3. Be disciplined.
4. Remember that this process takes time.
5. Understand it won’t happen overnight. Or in a week. Or in a month. Probably longer.
6. Finally, recognize your competitors aren’t willing to put in that time. They spend their time making up excuses as to why this won’t work.
7. And when you win? Don’t gloat. Instead, teach others how it worked.

That’s when the book deal and speaking gigs come! ;-)

What do you think?

P.S. Important thing to remember (for those who read this far): Notice how this wasn’t a blog post about how to sell your high-end consulting services? This was a post about how to use the social web to make new friends and strengthen relationships. Once you do that, the selling is the easy part…

[photo from marfis75 on flickr]

Look Both Ways

I was out running this morning, and was approaching a driveway. From the other direction, I saw a fellow pedestrian approaching the same driveway. A car was pulling out, and nearly hit the lady as she was walking – the driver COMPLETELY oblivious to the fact she almost ran this person over.

In fact, I doubt the driver even realized this pedestrian was there. I wondered to myself if the driver probably rarely sees walkers and/or runners cross her driveway. Thus, doesn’t even think to look for them.

To be honest, our society doesn’t really cater to walkers and runners, at least in my northwest suburban Atlanta neighborhood. The roads are a lonely place for people like us. In fact, I am surprised there are still buttons we can push to get the crosswalk signal to let us through. The world is for vehicles now. We are in too much of a hurry.

We are just not conditioned to look for, to notice, and to hear, the things that aren’t out in the open and obvious…

And this concept got me thinking. What else are we missing? What else is there that we don’t even think to look for? How much life is happening, right before our eyes, and we are too focused on what we see right before us, that we miss out on the little things…important, little things that are on the periphery?

We teach our kids to “look both ways” when they are growing up. But I think it is a concept that us adults should remember too. And I am not just talking about crossing the street. I am talking about with how we live our life, how we market our business, and how we interact with other people.

How many people are asking for help, and because we aren’t looking, or listening, we miss great opportunities – to sell them business, to help them through a bad day, and to help them fight an important cause that would benefit the world?

We need to look both ways too. We need to open our eyes. Grow bigger ears. And most importantly, and probably most out of our comfort zone, look down the dark alleys we don’t normally want to look.

But that’s where the little gems are that can make a difference to you, your business, and to the people in your sphere of influence. [btw, "looking both ways" can increase your sphere of influence]

Here are some things to think about, and to look for, from the people you care about in your networked community. Just think about this when you are interacting with them down the road:

1. Every person has someone in their family who needs medical help. Offer them help and support.
2. Every person has a non-profit, a charity, or some cause they care about, and would love your help with.
3. Every business has a major problem they need help with, but is probably too proud to tell anyone about it. Ask.
4. Every local high school team needs a fan club, a means to support some innovative and creative young people capable of making a difference in the world. Mentor them.
5. Every little community has talent – innovators, artists, musicians, big thinkers – that have NOT been discovered. Discover them. You have to open your eyes to find them.
6. There are networking groups in EVERY community that need vibrant leadership, fresh blood, fresh ideas, to revitalize the group. Get in there and make a difference.
7. Get involved in local politics. Trust me, MOST citizens are NOT involved. It only takes a little organization and you can create a movement that will impact local politics. You can make a difference.
8. Your local community weekly newspaper needs fresh contributors. Get involved. You can add a whole new image to the paper.
9. You probably have a passion most don’t know about. Talk about it. Write about it. Blog about it. There are others who share your passion. Build a local movement.
10. Mentor children. They need it. Trust me.

These are just a few examples of the opportunities that exists. I am sure you can come up with dozens more. What am I missing?

We are all busy, leading crazy lives, and get focused on surviving day to day. Take a second, look around you, and you will soon be amazed and all the cool things around that you didn’t notice before.

Take notice. Make a difference. Find inner peace. Live an intrepid life. And you can start doing that by looking both ways…

[photo from andryone on flickr]

How To Leverage Big Things To Power Your Personal Brand

To those of you who have known me for most of my 40 years, the two words you would NEVER have used to describe me were “distance runner.”

Me included, especially the morning of Thanksgiving 2009, when I sat on my fat ass watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

That’s when I starting seeing tweets coming in from all my local twitter friends who were celebrating their finish in that morning’s Atlanta Thanksgiving Day marathon and half-marathons. I suddenly felt lazy, too comfortable, boring, and well, unchallenged. And I didn’t like it one bit.

On the spot, I decided that I too would compete in next year’s Thanksgiving Day half-marathon.

Long story short, I ultimately decided to run in a half-marathon much sooner, and just this past weekend, I completed my first at the Nashville Country Music Half-marathon. You can read about my journey HERE.

Trust me when I tell you that my performance will not go down in the annals of Olympic lore. Guinness won’t be calling anytime soon. But despite that, it was a most important personal accomplishment. And made me feel like I can accomplish most anything. Most satisfying were the endless notes of encouragement, support, well wishes, and compliments and expressions of “wow” and respect.

Which brings me to the point of this article. I can’t imagine that competing in this half-marathon didn’t have a powerful impact on my personal brand. I continue to be surprised at the people who come up to me at events and ask how the “marathon training” is going. What has this really gotten me?

a. Exposure to a whole new network of people.
b. New found respect in a market place niche.
c. A new way for people to talk about me and what I am up to.
d. A means to live up to my “intrepid” brand – demonstrating the accomplishment of a difficult physical task and pushing the envelope.
e. More opportunities to help and serve people.
f. A new way to start conversations with my community (you can never have enough).

Now, I am not writing this in the context of “Wow, look at me!” I am coming from this perspective: if an aging, knee and back-creeking, out-of-shape, overweight guy like me can accomplish this…ANYONE CAN.

That is my real message here…that YOU can set audacious goals…and use the story of your journey to power your personal brand.

Here are the lessons I learned from this experience, and the things I want you to think about and apply:

1. My big goal was to run a half-marathon. That said, I think most people were less interested in the actual task, and more respected that I set an intrepid goal, and accomplished it. You don’t have to run a half-marathon, but set a bold goal, and make it happen (and understand it is achieved in small, daily, easily-accomplished steps). The doing, is what earns respect.

2. While you don’t have to run a half-marathon, your goal needs to push the envelope. If your goal is easily attainable, it won’t mean much…to you, or your audience. Set a goal that is out of your comfort zone, and something you have NOT achieved before.

3. Without bragging, you have to tell your story. In my case, I wrote a specific blog about it. But people have to know about it, and why? Not because you are showing off, but because people are interested in what you do, and want to learn from your experience. To repeat – don’t gloat – teach. Share.

4. If you are sharing your story on the social web, be sure you are encouraging and participating in the conversation about your journey. People want to follow your story. And if you are engaging, they will want to personally question, challenge, and learn.

5. You will have bad days. Don’t be afraid to confront them publicly. That makes it real. That makes it human. And that makes it powerful, and something people will talk about – and remember.

6. Remember this key concept – you just can’t create a brand out of thin air. You have to earn it. You have to live it. You have to breathe it. In my case, I love having people know me as a distance runner. But I had to earn that. Decide what you want people to talk about and know about you. Then achieve it.

KEY TO SUCCESS –> Remember this quote:
If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today. | Lou Holtz

Lesson here? Don’t rest on your laurels. If you achieve your goal, don’t assume you can coast on the personal branding boost for long. You have done something remarkable, and people are talking.

This is NOW the time to leverage your new found gravitas, and make something BIGGER happen.

Now go to work.

Minimalist Marketing: Make It Simple To Buy From You

cash registerWe’ve all experienced it.

You went to a website, but didn’t take action. You read a sales brochure, but tossed it aside when you finished reading. Or you said “Let me get back to you!” after a sales person pitched you.

Why didn’t you take any action? Why didn’t you buy?

Well, there could be dozens of reasons. But one common reason might be the message – and message delivery – was too complicated. And you didn’t know how to proceed.

This happens all the time…

1. The potential buyer can’t find the “Buy Now” button on the website. There was too much crap on the website.
2. There isn’t an easily identifiable “call to action” on the brochure. All the “Pulitzer” prize-winning copy and photos, and design elements look great. But it is all clutter.
3. The seller didn’t make the simple ask. Oh sure, the seller said a lot of cool stuff, used a lot of big words, but never actually asked for the sale…

My co-host Stone Payton and I had Theo Jamison on our High Velocity Radio Show recently. She was speaking about some simple, yet profound and meaningful, actions a business could take that would have a dramatic and positive impact on their customer experience. I mean, seriously, these were simple and inexpensive ideas…

Stone said something like “and I bet the business said it was too simple to work, right? Only complicated solutions could possibly work.”

He’s right. Why do we make things so complicated in business? Process can be simple. Design can be simple. Systems can be simple. Sales can be simple.

We have a tendency to think that fancy design, bells + whistles, and flowing flowery language are impressive and make potential customers say “ohhhhhhh.”

But most of the time it clutters and confuses.

You have something to sell. It is something that people need. It can make their life better, their business better. So why do we insist on making it harder – and more complicated – for people to buy?

Minimalists strip away the clutter to focus on what matters, on what is most important. So, strip away all the clutter so that your customer can buy from you. Without having to crawl through a complicated maze of words, pics, buttons, ads, graphics and platitudes to do what they really want to do – become your customer.

What do you think?

[my original Minimalist Marketing post]
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[pic from borderfilms on flickr]

Minimalist Marketing: The Art Of Simple Storytelling

3143845327_9cb72f57ea_bPeople love a good story. Stories teach. Stories draw people in. Good stories make you stick around to see how it ends. More importantly, good stories are remembered. And MOST importantly, good stories are retold…

And yet, so many entrepreneurs fail to market themselves effectively with storytelling. Why do they fail at this? I happen to have a theory.

[And I am not talking about those who DO NOT use storytelling in their marketing.]

My theory is they are too exhausted from trying to tell too many stories. All at once. See, they are reaching for too broad a market, casting too large a net. And in the end, they will confuse the market – and exhaust themselves – and do a poor job targeting – and reaching – their core target audience.

A minimalist strips away all the clutter and excess, enabling them self to focus only on what matters most. As marketers, we need to apply the same principle to our message.

If we are telling too many stories, the message will be lost. Those we are fortunate enough to have listening to us will be confused.

This process is simple:

1. Identify your MAIN target market.
2. Determine the ONE message that will move that market to action.
3. Deliver your message – your story – to that market, free of clutter and distraction.

Simple.

What do you think?

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[The original post on Minimalist Marketing that inspired this series]
[photo by _marmota on flickr]