The Fatal Attraction of Spaghetti Marketing 101

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SPAGHETTI MARKETING 101

It might look like a scene out of Fatal Attraction, but this is a marketing scene happening in start-up businesses every day. Boiling the life out of your ideas and flinging marketing ideas against the wall without a structured master plan will end in you burning out your audience.

Two years ago, I had a client who wanted to try everything. He wouldn’t listen to sound advice that works. He didn’t want to work on a structured business plan. He didn’t want to build a marketing plan. His budget changed by the week. He was excited about every idea that came to him in the middle of the night. We developed a following but he quickly discovered that throwing spaghetti at a wall does not work long-term. His followers started to disappear. His subscribers started to unsubscribe. And it seemed as though it was capitalism at its worst. With the audience disappearing, the discounts seemed desperate and last-ditch effort to grow his revenue rather than deliver on value to potential customers.

“Give me your money!” That was his constant approach. It didn’t work.

Finally, when the audience disappeared, we discussed a re-design of his website and a complete re-launch. We did it methodically after creating a business development plan and a marketing plan.

If you really want to be in the game, you have to create structured plans. You have to be willing to listen to your team or they shouldn’t be on your team. If you’re not serving the audience or losing your followers and subscribers, there’s a reason.

STOP.

Re-evaluate your marketing approach and examine your analytics, review statistics and conversion rates, track what worked and what failed. Then, you must be willing to readjust in order to rebuild. Remember, there’s more than one way to do marketing. Collaboration can lead to success.

Never react with an instant NO to new ideas.

My client finally listened and we built a base, rebuilt organically on top of that base, and people noticed. It was quieter. His assets were more colorful with a thoughtful, pleasing approach instead of screaming at the audience with exclamation marks. It wasn’t all about discounts that seemed to be like an infomercial yelling at his customers to give him more money. As a result, his quieter authority grew over time. He interacted with his audience, asked for feedback, and incorporated changes into his plan.

What changed from his first creation compared to his second re-launch?

He boiled away spaghetti marketing and started listening to alternative approaches. He was a leader who wouldn’t get out of his own way. Sometimes, we need to listen to everyone from the receptionist to the janitor so we can do a better job meeting the needs of the audience. If you’re unwilling to receive feedback from your audience, it shows.

What value are you offering me?

What can your product do for me?

Why do you care about me?

Tell me why I need to believe in you.

The personal pronouns you use in your marketing matter far more than discounts. Connect with your audience in a personal way.

The discounts he had offered were fickle at best. None of the end dates stuck – they were always continued endlessly. He saw it as a way to make money fast. But it backfired. And it cost him business and respect.

The consumer audience is smart. If you’re in it only to boost your bottom line revenue, the audience will know and reject the offering instantly.

With only seconds to capture a potential customer, your website, social media accounts, and emails should be original and on point. Now is not the time to guess or repeat the same message over and over again without stellar results.

The value you deliver today will be appreciated tomorrow. Most importantly, show that you value your client’s time.

Email your subscribers with new content; don’t eblast or ebomb them every single day. Personally, I’ve unsubscribed from 12 eblast lists in the last 30 days. Why?

With the first group, I didn’t subscribe and they added my email to their list without permission. Be familiar with the law and compliance. Furthermore, always seek permission before you add an email to your list.

With the second group, they’ve sent me too many emails that start with “oops, I made a mistake.” Their mistake was trying to make me click two days in a row on the same pitch to give them money. That’s what I call a scam.

Finally, the third reason I unsubscribed was because the emails didn’t offer me new information but only seemed to clutter and spam my email account. Do you want to be perceived as SPAM? If your email marketing approach is being viewed as spam or junk mail demanding money from potential clients, it’s not working. You’re now demeaning your product and your company’s reputation.

Oftentimes, less is more: fewer emails with new content have a more positive impact over time. Put an effort into every message you send to your followers and subscribers.

In every job from a journalist to a marketer, I’ve been a storyteller. Take them back to the story. What is the story of your company? What is the story of your product? What is your story? Tell me a powerful story and make me a believer. Stories connect more than ever today but deliver it inside of a real, structured master marketing plan.

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve witnessed in starting up a new business is not putting pen to paper with an overall plan that your team can see. I can’t say it enough: write it down so the entire team climbs aboard the same train.

MASTER PLAN: Start with a solid one-year master plan that you develop with a team approach:

  • MISSION: Establish the company’s vision and mission with your marketing team.
  • BRANDING: Become an influencer to establish and expand the company’s footprint in your industry.
  • BUSINESS PLAN: Design a one-year business plan with your team listing goal markers. WRITE IT DOWN and distribute to your team.
  • MARKETING PLAN: Create a detailed step-by-step marketing plan with your team but infuse some fun into it. WRITE IT DOWN and distribute to your team.
  • MARKETING BUDGET: Detail a marketing and advertising budget with your team and show exactly where you plan to invest money. WRITE IT DOWN and distribute to your team.
  • EVENT SCHEDULES and AD CAMPAIGNS: Create event schedules and ad campaigns with your team that

    focuson topics and storytelling. WRITE IT DOWN and distribute to your team.

  • EDITORIAL CALENDAR: Create an editorial calendar for the entire year.
  • PRESS RELEASES: Schedule press releases at regular intervals using keywords. If the press releases aren’t appearing in Google Alerts, re-evaluate the way you’re releasing information.
  • TESTIMONIALS: Query your current customers for honest feedback and testimonials. Feature those testimonials on your website.
  • EMAIL LISTS: Email once a month or once a week only with original content. Query your email list audience at regular intervals.
  • ANALYSIS: Review your written business development plan and marketing plan. Analyze what has been working and what has failed.
  • READJUST: Listen to your audience, listen to your entire team, and be willing to readjust.

If you’re not willing to listen or alter the plan along the way, your back tire is going to spinning in the mud. To get movement and traction, you need to take structured actions instead of reactions by the day. Remember, history will repeat itself if you don’t make needed changes that focus on an organized, structured strong plan.

Now, have fun marketing!

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5 Reasons to Invest Money in Your Entrepreneurial Business

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SHOW A PROFIT

“You need to spend money to make money.”

– Playwright Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254 – 184 BC)

The playwright Plautus was most likely referencing the theatre with this quote, but it’s true to your own business, no matter its size. You must spend money to make money. Any business that doesn’t invest in its team and marketing assets will only hurt its bottom line profit.

Invest in Your Team and It Will Show in the End Product

If you want to play in the world of entrepreneurship and business, you have to look the part to build a start-up. No one will take you seriously if you don’t provide the quality of expertise you pretend to offer. That applies to every niche and attempting to build a footprint in every industry. Every element from marketing to design matters to the audience. Perception of authenticity is critical.

5 Reasons to Invest Money in Your Business

It doesn’t cost a fortune to create a successful entrepreneurial business. If you’re smart and savvy about your investments, you’ll see profit instead of losses. But you must invest money to show profits.

  1. Professionalism. It’s professional to pay your team. Do not barter or attempt to trade services with friends or new potential clients to deliver the bare minimum in results. This is weak and embarrassing. Word travels quickly. If you have no capital to invest in your own business, no one will want to be in business with you either. Set a budget and pay for all professional services rendered or consider getting a day job while you save money to invest. Either be professional or don’t start yet.
  2. Audience Respects Advertising Dollars. During the start-up of your business, you need to set a budget to invest money in advertising. Find your audience. Do your research. Meet them in their environment and gain their respect. Build early clientele by word-of-mouth and then start investing in advertisements. Do not use kickbacks, referral fees, or any other shady (potentially illegal) technique to build clientele. Build your business the respectable way.
  3. Clients Want an Original Experience. Invest in an original experience for your clients. Set a budget so website specialists or consultants can help you create and execute your vision. When a potential client sees an offering of a special experience, they’ll want to be a part of that experience. They want to belong to something extraordinary and life-changing.
  4. Pay for Training or Pay for Your Team to Be Trained. This is the reason bigger businesses have on-going training programs for their employees. But smaller businesses need to invest in training to remain competitive. It is important to either take professional-grade training or pay for your team to be trained in using professional programs. Potential clients notice a novice and won’t engage in your business.
  5. New Products Offer New Potential. Invest in changing the business offering to grow your audience. With every expansion or addition of a new product, give it a new name with a heightened experience. Maybe you add a new product, a VIP offering, or a Master Class to help clients. Always consider the market and get feedback from the customer. What do they need? What do they want? Consider how your business can answer those needs. Adjust your offer and deliver.

Start-ups are very difficult. The truth is that most start-ups fail for a variety of reasons. Lack of capital investment is one of the biggest reasons start-ups fail. Investing and reinvesting profits are critical to finding success.

If you do your research, develop a service or product that the market needs, invest in your business, and adhere to a budget, you may show a profit and find success. Every stepping stone, no matter how small, can lead to a bigger stone and potentially a mountain of success. Think positively. Be smart and proactive. And most importantly, invest financially in your business.

Job Search: 75% of Applicant Resumes Thrown Out by Computer

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ONLINE JOB SEARCHES LAST MONTHS TO YEARS

If you’re unemployed, a job search that lasts many months to a year is a critical financial disaster. You might be forced to live on credit cards or ask relatives for help. Even worse, you may end up homeless.

Think it can’t happen to you? Guess again. It’s happening to professionals in every age group in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Many of them are college-educated professionals who want to work and refuse to apply for food stamps, welfare, or public assistance. They have hope to be hired full-time.

When you start researching the job market, you quickly discover it might not be your skills or experience. Most likely, it’s a computer game that you’re losing.

When you consider that studies (Forbes) show 75% of resumes are automatically thrown out by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) due to keywords and formatting, it’s incredible how much control the ATS has over employment.

When you can no longer receive unemployment benefits, you’re not even counted as unemployed. So the unemployment statistics aren’t telling the truth about the crisis of employment in today’s world.

A huge section of the unemployed will never know why they’re losing the game of employment. Eventually, they give up on getting a job. It seems like an easy option to give up but it’s the worst option. When submitting your online resume results in no response, no interview, and no job offer, it becomes frustrating but it’s not the end of the hunt.

FREELANCING CAN BE LIKE FREE FALLING WITHOUT GUARANTEED INCOME

Applicants, who are struggling in getting a full-time job, turn to working freelance or taking several part-time jobs on Craigslist. But Craigslist jobs are often a crapshoot. Sometimes you’re paid on Craigslist jobs; sometimes you’re not. You’re working without an employment agreement. There’s no contract and no guaranteed paycheck. Even if you’re promised a regular paycheck, sometimes that doesn’t materialize. Instead, you find yourself being paid less than minimum wage. You’re not even reimbursed for travel fees on the job or out-of-pocket expenses.

“Can you drive across town, pick this up for me, and pay for it? I’ll reimburse you later.” Later never arrives. “And about your paycheck. It’s in the mail.”

It may be illegal, but if you signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) about the company’s business practices just to get the job, good luck in getting any remuneration. Those NDA requirements are becoming more common on Craigslist jobs, too. If you don’t sign upfront and agree to keep your mouth shut about illegal business practices, you won’t get the job.

BY 2020, 40% OF AMERICANS WILL BE FREELANCE 

The Intuit 2020 Report predicts 40% of Americans workers will be freelance by the year 2020. That statistic was from a few years ago, so the statistic has probably increased and more than half of American workers will be “entrepreneurs” working freelance soon. Sadly, most of them will fail in their entrepreneurial attempt. It’s hard to make a living freelance unless you have a solid business plan, solid skills, an incredible sales funnel on your website, and a steady stream of paying clients plus money to invest in advertising.

Instead of relying on tiny, random paychecks, you want a real job that provides a steady paycheck and benefits. So don’t give up.

CORPORATE HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENTS AND RESUMES

In talking with many Human Resource representatives and hiring managers, they all agree on one thing: they are overwhelmed with bad resumes and only a handful of the thousands of resumes are actually reviewed by a human. This is the reason they use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software to save time and weed out candidates who don’t seem qualified on paper. If some of the good candidates are deleted due to poor formatting, so be it. They don’t care. That’s not their concern. Hiring the best candidate is their only goal so they can move to the next job opening or finish other work.

JOB BOARD INDUSTRY

The job board industry needs a good stir. Applicants sometimes spend hours resubmitting and retyping all of their resume information into a single online job application. Then they receive silence.

Applying for employment through the old job board industry leads to so many questions that go unanswered. Was the resume rejected by a computer? Did a human review the resume? Does the job even exist? Was the job already filled internally? Was this job posting just a way to fulfill a requirement to advertise a job? Am I wasting my time on the job boards? If you’re spending weeks to months applying for jobs without even a phone call interview, you’ve answered your own question.

CRAIGSLIST GLUT OF RESUMES

Even Craigslist employers tell me they receive 200+ resumes in the first hours a job posting online, even if it’s an unpaid position, but few of the resumes stand out. They select a few people to interview and delete the rest from their inbox. Craigslist does not use the ATS, so they rely on looking at the subject lines to decide whether they’ll click to open the cover letter and resume. Craigslist employers say each online resume email they open only receives a scroll that lasts a few seconds. Their goal is to fill the job quickly with the most qualified warm body.

The worst part about Craigslist jobs is working without an employment contract or agreement. Oftentimes Craigslist jobs are postings from smaller companies so it’s unpredictable and often short-term. Lots of individuals, small companies, and big companies advertise for unpaid interns on Craigslist. Don’t do it. HR hiring managers will tell you not to list those unpaid internships on your resume because they don’t consider them to be real work experience. Unless you’re a college student, unpaid internships in your 30’s – 50’s are a complete waste of time even for re-training purposes. Furthermore, many of those unpaid internships are illegal because you are doing the work of what would be full-time paid employees. It’s a way for a company to not pay you for your work and retain a higher profit for the business.

Other Craigslist employers have told me that many job listings aren’t all real as lots of listings are simply used to promote a company or startup that needs more clients and paying customers.

HOW MANY APPLICATIONS TO GET A JOB OFFER?

Once you enter the job search arena, everyone else is more than willing to share a statistic to prepare you for failure. They’ll tell you: For every 100 applications you fill out online, you will get 10 interviews (phone, video, or in-person), and only 1 job offer. That may be the rule of thumb they hope for, but I think the stat is outdated due to the ATS. Honestly, I think the statistic is far worse, especially for people who don’t know how to format their resume properly. There are so many people who have struggled for years with no interviews, despite the fact that they’re spending an enormous amount of time applying for jobs and they have a rich work history.

Bottom line: good candidates are being left behind as a result of the ATS.

There may be discouraging hiring statistics, but you can start getting interviews. Everyone who has ever volunteered or worked in a paying job has skills, but it’s all in the display and wording of your resume.

5 WAYS TO GET JOB INTERVIEWS IN DAYS OR WEEKS: RESEARCH AND EMBRACE JOB INDUSTRY DISRUPTERS

The businesses that are disrupting any industry are actually helping everyone by exposing the truth and leading to a fast track of information.

  1. RESEARCH ATS. Do your research on the current ATS systems and find out what kind of resume formatting the computer will accept. For example, I don’t recommend you use a resume format in PDF even if the online system says it will accept PDF. I also don’t advise using columns, tables, colors, pictures, or icons. The paragraph and bullet point approaches work, but don’t indent them. Use of keywords is also critical and every resume must be tailored to fit the job description. Be careful where you do your research online because a lot of the resume information on paid and free websites is completely outdated. If the resume looks too fancy or hard to read, you’re wasting your money.
  2. REZI.io Fast track your employment by visit Rezi.io for resume tips and templates that apply to recent college graduates and applicants of any age. It was created for students, but it applies to ALL ages. Rezi offers resume formats that beat the ATS. Follow Rezi on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Rezi has disrupted the job search and resume industry. Be smart and get started with Rezi.
  3. JOBSCAN.co Visit Jobscan.co for resume templates and a free ATS scan. Find out how your resume rates when compared to the jobs you’re applying. You’ll be given a percentage to see how you match the job description. How will the computer rank your resume for a real HR department? Will you be kicked out of the system or will your resume be seen? If you receive a low-percentage match, you’ll want to work on your resume. JobScan has disrupted the ATS software and job search industry.
  4. ZipRECRUITER.com Submit your application to jobs on ZipRecruiter.com. Create a resume that the computer can read and accept. Many of my clients have experienced the highest success rate through ZipRecruiter’s one-click apply that doesn’t eliminate candidates with an ATS system. ZipRecruiter also notifies you when an employer has read your resume and if they read your resume a second time. That feedback is critical to the application process. ZipRecruiter has disrupted the stale job board industry and they’re helping applicants get hired.
  5. PERSONALITY TESTS. Do your research before taking online personality tests that are required as part of the online application process. In most of the tests, there are only two correct answers amongst a sea of vague multiple-choice answers. Always choose Strongly Agree or Strongly Disagree. Any other answer will be an incorrect answer and your personality will fail at getting you an interview.

The job search is one big, elaborate computer game. It’s time to play the game to win. Use action words on your resume, use keywords, and access the best information in today’s market.

When you get a job using the above advice, send me an email through Bloom Grow Media. I’d love to hear your success story. My goal is to get people hired. Everyone who wants to work should be able to break through the system and be offered a job.