Free Marketing Advice - 2018

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Instinctively your answer may be something that describes the nuts and bolts of the products or services you provide each day.

But now try a different answer. It applies to all of us. We are all in the CUSTOMER SERVICE business. Do an inferior job in the eyes of your customer and then figure out how to keep afloat with one less customer.

Here are some things to think about before you open for business tomorrow. Do a self-critique from the perspective of the customer:

  • When the phone rings, does a live voice answer? And does the voice sound welcoming and helpful? It’s important that it does. How many times have you run into an endless series of prompts? Good formula for hanging up and never calling back.

Many of my Marketing Morsels are just recommended ideas. No apologies. They are based on experience and they work.

This month I’m changing it up with a real example of a Client project (described here with permission). The client is Christman’s Funeral Home, Lebanon.

Every one of us is a “prospect”. But how do we choose who gets the business? Family traditions come in to play of course. But what else affects your thinking?

Bottom line – You want to be comfortable with your choice, and trust that your Supervisor is approachable, a good listener, and has the professional skills to handle every detail of the service.

Knock wood, my client list is the most active since 2010.

One reason - my experience as a “PR guy” continues to pay dividends. One of the keys to PR success is to find a way to turn the facts into a story. For instance, you just read that the king and the queen died (I made that up). But dig below the surface and you discover that the queen died of grief after the king died. That’s the story.

Your story has to catch the attention of your key target audience – the reporter. The reporter is always looking for NEWS. So make what you write newsworthy and reader-focused.

Now that you have a story, here are a few tips to move it along.

Anyone worth his or her salt in the marketing arena knows what a SWOT analysis is (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). It’s a tried and true exercise that you should put you and your business through at least annually.

Put your brainstorm hat on (no bad ideas) and have at it. Strengths are the characteristics that give your business an advantage over others.

Weaknesses are the opposite, but help you identify areas of improvement. Opportunities and Threats identify elements in the environment you can either exploit or face up to adjustments.

When it comes to marketing, there so many strategies to employ for your business, it’s hard to latch onto an approach that grabs people and brings them into fans of who you are and what to do.

I happen to be a big fan of Purpose Driven Marketing. There is a higher purpose built into your business model. One of my favorite examples is Tom’s Shoes (Tom stands for “tomorrow”). For every pair of canvas shoes they sell, they give away a pair of canvas shoes to a child in need in a third world country. Tom’s arranges for customers to travel with their shoe ambassadors and actually distribute the shoes to the children.

So if people here are in the market for a new pair of Canvas shoes, where do they buy them? Tom’s is marketing for the purpose, but they are successfully marketing too.

My business this year is in a renaissance for PR assignments, including working with some brand new clients. So how do I attack a PR assignment and get stories published? Sharing some tips:

1. Always call the document a News Release (as opposed to a Press Release). You are releasing news.

2. Critique your work before sending it out. Ask yourself:

  1. Is this really news?
  2. Does my headline and first sentence pique the interest of the reporter? Desired reaction - “This looks interesting. I think I’ll do something with this story”.

Let’s start tour June Morsel with my favorite definition of Brand from marketing expert Marty Neumeier “Brand is someone else’s gut feeling about who you are and what you do”.

Simple. Meaningful.

Meaningful, because it puts your brain in a perspective to understand how the people most important to your business behave as they approach a decision to deal with you. Ask yourself – what are they thinking as they weigh options to make a purchase, and what leads them to decide it’s your product or service that satisfies their need. When you have this understanding, the next step is to communicate all your messages in those terms (e.g. I understand what you need and I specifically have it for you).

Our May Morsel starts with an important question. How do you construct your business mission? Do you think about it terms of what product or service you provide to your customer (product-focused)?

Or do you focus on the customer needs you fulfill, and then articulate the mission from that perspective (marketfocused)?

Big reveal…always be marketfocused in your thinking.

Here’s an example from the text I use when I teach marketing:

If Home Depot executives were all product-focused they would define their business as “We sell tools and home repair and improvement items”.

My return to the classroom to teach a new group of students the value of understanding the Principles of Marketing, whether it’s your profession or not, is my focus for April

The text I use is one I picked for the course. Marketing: An Introduction by Gary Armstrong and Philip Kotler. It was marketing guru Kotler that attracted me to the book in the first place.

In the preface, the authors identify five major customer value and engagement themes, the foundation on which we build any marketing platform. Here they are:

We know the old saying, “March comes in like a Lion, and goes out like a Lamb”.

For our March Morsel we focus on the beginning of the message with three important tips for you to take a hard look at the state of your most important marketing tool, your website. Challenge yourself to make it more of a useful action tool than ever before.

Tip #1. Use an Inbound Marketing strategy – Inbound is “pull” marketing. Start with the keywords you use. Do you use your business as the keyword resource? Maybe that’s ok to a point, but attack it from another angle. Find out from your visitors what words they input the search engine to find you in the first place. These visitor-generated words are your best keywords.

On February 4th, the nation stops and pays rapt attention to “the Big Game”, 100 million viewers strong. I won’t talk about the actual football game, considering I’m a Patriots fan making a living in Eagles country.


What can we as, largely, small business owners learn from the big time marketing strategists responsible for shelling out $5 million plus to expose their products and services for a mere 30 seconds?


1. Aggressive brand building – one shot at a big audience, sure. But it’s part of a multi-faceted strategy that generates exposure before, during and after the event itself (Lesson: Be visible, sustainable, and know your audience)

Cyber Monday.

It’s still fresh in our minds. And it raises the question of what’s the difference between effective copy and effective copy for your website?

I’ve done both…so let me share some thoughts with you.

First put on your web visitor hat. Why have you clicked? What do you hope to find? How much time can you spend? Not much is usually the answer.

Time efficiency means word efficiency. There is more of a sense of urgency attached to web copy strategy. Attention-getting writing is still the norm, but you are more restricted when it comes to creating creative lead-ins for web copy. Get to the point quickly.

SkyLimit Marketing

SkyLimit Marketing
19 Springhouse Drive
Myerstown, PA 17067

Tel:  (717) 269-0288
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