Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to Manage your Time & Increase Sales

Today, I'm sharing with you a formula I've given the sales staff at the radio stations I work with.

If you are not in sales, you may stop reading and go play on Facebook.

(Yeah, I'm being sarcastic, because no matter what your title is in your company, you are a representative of your company and thus you are part of the marketing and as such are an influence in the companies reputation and ultimately sales.)

In the radio business, nearly any business could benefit from a radio advertising campaign that is handled properly. Radio advertising is an inexpensive way to reach lots of people and you can pick and choose both the message of the ad, and the audience. The formula for success is easy to determine.

In my 7 years with this group of stations, we have never had a problem with the radio programming side of the business. The area that we have difficulty is in generating revenue which is done by the sales department.

Some say sales is a numbers game. Which is true. The numbers I use are: 50, 30, 15, 10.

The first step is to have a list of prospective clients.

I have a list of 50 with me at all times. This is called filling the funnel. The purpose is to either kick them out of the funnel, or convert them into a paying, advertising partner= a client.

Once I have someone on that list, I have 30 days to start the process of moving them thru the funnel. If they don't have the money, can't find the money, or are not willing to sit down and discuss how I can help them grow; they get kicked off the list and I add someone else.

If they don't become a client in 30 days, but I see potential, then I may keep them on the list for another 30 days. But during the second 30 days, we have to be moving forward in the process.

At the end of the second 30 days, they are off my list because they are either a paying client, or the process has stopped and I need to move on. There are a few exceptions, between 10 and 15 that I will keep on my list for another 30 days, because we are moving forward, but I will not allow a business to stay on my list for more than a total of 90 days (3 x 30).

The next two numbers are face to face appointments. I want to schedule 15 face to face meetings per week with businesses on my list of 50. I expect 10 of those meetings to come to fruition each week.

By having this simple set of numbers as a way to organize my time, I am never at a loss for something to do that will result in increased sales.

As you look at your workload and the requirements of your work, what numbers will work for you?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Advertising Options

In 2008 I wrote the following, do you agree?

Predictions for Future Advertising Options

As I write this on the eve of April Fools Day 2008, this is no joke. And you'd be foolish to ignore what is going on now and in the near future.

  1. Daily Newspapers have seen a steep decline over the past 10 years and staffing cuts will continue in the newsrooms as they adjust financially to a loss of subscribers to their print editions. Communities that had two papers will be lucky to have one. The smart ones are looking for alternative sources of revenue.
  2. Specialty Newspapers, such as the free shoppers guides, or weekly news alternatives won't be hit as hard as their big brothers, since they already have smaller staffs and their readers are looking for information that the advertisements provide.
  3. Magazines. Depends on their overhead and structure of their publication. The strong specialty magazines can survive, but look for the news magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and the like to be propped up by their parent companies, and then reduced or eliminated within 20 years. Specialty Mags have a chance to survive, if they are loyal to their readers.
  4. Radio stations that offer unique programming that includes local content will survive even though the competition for listeners will continue to heat up when internet accessibility is available in the vehicles we drive. This is why it is so important that stations have what is known as "on-line streaming" via their websites NOW, to train listeners to listen over the internet. Those that don't offer local content and internet listenability, will fail.
  5. Television. The broadcast outlets are in the midst of a government imposed transformation as the deadline to switch to digital broadcasting is less than a year away. The writers strike lead to innovative programming from the networks and viewers also looked to other forms of entertainment from other sources.
  6. Yellow Pages. I'd be surprised if they are around in 5 years in this country. Most of the businesses I've talked to over the years complain that they "have to" be in the book. Now, the Yellow Pages are being replaced by Google and other local search engines. I would never recommend a new business advertise in the Yellow Pages, and those that still do, start reducing and phasing out your YP advertising and move the money to where the people are looking for you.
And that is the key to all of this. You need to re-think:
  1. Where are my customers?
  2. What advertising mediums reach my customers and potential customers now?
  3. What can I do to be there when they are looking for me?
What about the future? There is one Advertising Option that I did not mention in the list above:
  1. Outdoor Billboards. Yep. This is one form of advertising that is not being replaced by the internet. But you have to understand what the pro's and con's of a Billboard campaign are.
And then there is the one form of advertising that it seems everyone is talking about, The Internet. We are still learning how to use the Internet to effectively reach customers, and it will be a trial and error process as technology improves.

Spam email is not the way to use the internet for advertising. But just because you have a website, that's not enough. You also need to direct people to your place on the web. And that's where all the traditional media can help.

I mentioned smart newspaper publishers are looking for alternatives to generate revenue. So are smart broadcast outlets, smart magazines, etc. They have websites that you can advertise on to drive your potential customers to you and your website.

Despite these predictions many of the traditional advertising options can still work for you today and some may work for the rest of your life, but the next 10 years will be nothing like the previous 50 years. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Time to put away my crystal ball. Your comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Big Picture, Little Details

Last week, I met with a client and shared with her my area of expertise.

It sounds simple: Big Picture, Little Details.

I've discovered over the years that there are lot's of guru's and experts who are totally sold on what they are good at and they will try and sell you on their expertise.

On one hand, I'm glad they are passionate about what they are good at, it should help them in their quest to be the best.

But I've been told that my approach is more insightful, less sales oriented and more customer oriented. That's on purpose.

I like to examine two parts of your marketing:

1. You
2. Your customer

And the key is to find or create the bridge between #1 & #2.

That Bridge is a relationship. A Human Relationship, which leads to a Business Relationship.

You need to be honest about You. You need to know your limitations and also the areas in which you shine.

You also need to know what drives your customers, and potential customers to spend money with you.

Too often I've seen a lack of understanding of this second part, which is what keeps a business from flourishing. And yes, sometimes a business has difficulty with the first part and they don't know who they are yet.

But these are all considerations that you need to factor in before decide what advertising option you should spend money on. It's the Big Picture.

One day, I'll go into some of the Little Details. In the meantime, if you are in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area, and need help, contact me at Scott@ScLoHo.net

Monday, January 11, 2010

Media Merge

Recently I made a prediction for Smart Marketers in 2010.

Let's start with...

The Question
What is your prediction for how brand marketers will create and distribute their own content in 2010?

It was asked by Joe Pulizzi and my answer appears on page 34 of the resulting publication which you can view here:

ScLoHo (Scott Howard)
Smart Marketers will be the ones who understand and use Twitter and Facebook with hyperlinks to pull potential clients to their websites and blogs.

Smart Marketers will understand the power of real conversations via Twitter and Facebook and use these as communication tools, not just P. R. machines.

Smart Marketers will insist that their Marketing Messages are using Social Media, Traditional websites, and Traditional Media in a cross-platform culture that includes everything from SmartPhones to HDTV screens.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Social vs.Traditional Media

Last week I was at a Social Media Influencers lunch in Indianapolis.

I was nominated for one of the awards and thought it would be fun to go, which it was.

However, I see a disconnect between those who are in the internet/social media business and those that are in the traditional media business.

See, I also serve on the Board of Directors for the American Advertising Federation/Fort Wayne; and in that role have gained a reputation as the social media guy.

Which I find a bit interesting since, I am in the radio business and my fellow board members are mostly in the advertising agency business, which should be leading the way into social media for their clients. But it's not that simple.

My interest in social media is because of my personality, my curiosity, and my passion, and that has led me to learn, explore, examine, teach and help others with this social media thing. I also like to look at the big picture from a consumers view point which helps me to provide a unique viewpoint for my clients.

My hope and desire is that the social media folks and the traditional media folks will stop competing or ignoring each other and start working together. And this is happening more and more.

Here's how and why we need both:

Television, Radio, Billboards and even Print are still being watched, listened to, and read more than most social media sites.

The leaders on the web are Facebook and Google. But instead of dumping advertising dollars into these two websites AND abandoning traditional media, you need to do both and fine tune it for the future.

If you are using traditional media, start including social media contacts within the ads. Use social media as a communication tool and customer service tool. If you need guidance or help, contact me at Scott at ScLoHo.net.