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Don’t Be a Mashochist: How to Make 2014 Your Best Year Ever

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Fun at Times Square

Not as comfortable as it looks…

To bring in the New Year I did the unthinkable…went to Times Square to watch the ball drop. After 10 hours of huddling with strangers in below freezing temperatures, suffering through wind burn (woke up the following morning with my face hurting)…and suffering even more through waiting to pee for 9 hours (TMI?), we finally saw the big crystal ball drop to signal the arrival of 2014. 

Truth is, we had an opportunity to skip the waiting, hop into a car and get escorted to the performance stage a few hours before midnight.

But I concluded that it wouldn’t be the full experience. And that the suffering just adds to the reward in the end. I know…it’s masochistic.

But we made it through. And my girlfriend can cross it off her bucket list.

One thing that’s not very enjoyable, however, is suffering through marketing failure. And that’s because it usually lasts much longer than 10 hours. You have to be a real masochist to enjoy that. 

To avoid the failures, and to bring in consistent leads and sales, spend the beginning of the year focusing on your marketing funnel.

Here are five elements to focus on to avoid the suffering and make 2014 your best marketing year ever…

1. Start with Your Customer

I assume that you know what you’re selling.

But just as important is figuring out who you are selling it to.

Marketing to everyone is akin to marketing to no one.
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Identify exactly who you want to target and how what you are selling is going to benefit them.

It’s not impossible to be successful without this. But is sure does make things easier. And allows you to charge more. Why? Because…

People pay more for custom.

You can market accounting services. Or you can market accounting services for car dealerships. Who is the car dealer more likely to hire? Who is the car dealer going to be willing to pay more?

This is one of the reasons that I launched an SEO service specifically for the Cleveland area along with my general SEO service.

Not only is it easier to rank for a specific city term, but it’s also my hometown. Even though I live in NYC now, I go back pretty often. And I still love the place (more so now that I’m gone ironically). Plus, I’d much rather chew over another terrible Browns season with a Cleveland client (there’s always next year!).

Saddest Sports Fan Ever…

2. Look at Your Website…

What does it tell you? Is it just an online brochure? That’s not what you need.

What you need is a lead generator. Something that is going to get your ideal prospects to raise their hand and tell you they are interested. For that you need a few elements…

3. Set up Lead Collection…and Follow Up

See all the forms around this blog? First thing you need to know is that you absolutely have to put your email address in there…like right now.

Second thing you should know is that you should have them all over your website as well. Use a service like Aweber to collect prospect information. Then follow up with them.

They may not be ready to buy from you now. But when they are shopping around for different services and you are the company that followed up with them, you’re guaranteed to stand out.

If you don’t have an autoresponder account, go get one at Aweber or GetResponse or the like. This will fundamentally change your marketing. 

Depending on the nature of your business you can completely automate your follow up sequence of emails. Or you can send broadcasts whenever you have something to say (which is what I tend to do). Either way, this is a must.

4. Tweak Your Copy

Copywriting is gold. Whether you are marketing online or off, good copy can make drastic improvements to your bottom line.

You should always test and tweak your copy because even the most marginal improvements in conversion percentage can have a huge impact on your bottom line in the long run.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to be a professional copywriter to be effective in most industries because most small businesses (actually, even most large ones) don’t really pay enough attention to this (if any at all).

There are some amazing resources out there to get you from zero to competent. And competent is often enough (assuming you’re in the make money online industry).

Here are two places to get you to a point of competency (and beyond):

Dan Kennedy’s ” The Ultimate Sales’ Letter”. This book outlines the copywriting process. So it is great for use as a blue print.

The Cult of Copy. This is probably my favorite group on Facebook. It’s full of some really smart people sharing some really great info. And the iron-clad no-spam policy from “cult leader” Colin Theriot ensures that you’re not going to see all the annoying updates you often see in other groups.

No matter your marketing channel, online or off, copywriting is an invaluable skill to have. 

5. Choose Your Marketing Channel

Speaking of marketing channel…decide how your’e going to get people to your website and into your marketing funnel in the first place.

It could be social media. Social can work.

It could be SEO. It’s not dead…far from it.

IT could be paid traffic. Ads are an amazing way to generate leads if you know what you’re doing.

And there’s always offline. Still alive and kicking!

Heck, even cold prospecting can work (if you know how to do it).

Ideally you want to cover all your basis and use an integrated approach. But you have to start somewhere. Don’t every listen to a marketer that tells you that his method is the only that works and everything else old and dead. That’s a sure sign that they are selling you snake oil.

There are many methods, all of which can work if done properly. Figure out where your customers are and go get them.

For the Seriously Inclined

The absolute best way to make 2014 your best year ever? Get outside help. Even if you know what you are doing, having an outside perspective can be absolutely priceless.

And if you need a major overhaul, then even more so.

I’m not saying that you have to seek assistance from me. But you could certainly do a lot worse :). And if that is something that interests you, then shoot me an email with “Marketing in 2014″ in the subject line.

Here’s to a healthy and wealthy 2014!

Or, in the words of my friend Dino Dogan, “let’s make 2014 our prison bitch.”

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