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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Understand As Much As You Can #atozchallenge

Listen, Understand, Act
Listen, Understand, Act (Photo credit: highersights)

           Often we may make mistakes or go into something with inadequate preparation because we don't understand what we're dealing with.  Looking inward to understand ourselves and looking outward to understand the marketplace and the world in general can help us to avoid wasting a lot of time, effort, and money.   Observing and absorbing as much as we are able will arm us for readiness when we are called to action.

           My biggest mistakes in the past have been relying on my own intuition and taste.   I've gotten excited about  a project and jumped right in without fully doing the research to find out how much of a need there was for the product I was promoting or if I was promoting it in the best way.  Groping my way blindly through promotion has been a recipe for big failure.   Just because I believe in my big dream doesn't mean that everyone else will care about it.

          It's important to understand that not everyone likes what you like and if there is not a strong market in place ready to receive what you have to offer, you will have to create that market yourself or adapt what you have for the market that is there.  Promotion is often an experiment. You've probably heard the term "test market".   That's what you might have to start with.

         We can't be expected to know everything there is about marketing and promotion.  And even when we think we know something, we find out that what we thought we knew doesn't work in every case.  The best we can do is use the knowledge we have and what knowledge we can gain from others.  Every promotion is part of a learning process.  

          If you fail, gain an understanding of the reasons for your failure.  And when you succeed take notice of what worked to gain an understanding of things to do when you are ready to promote again.  Business is rarely an absolute sure thing.    If you understand as much as you can about what you are doing, then you have a better chance of finishing a winner.

          Do you do careful research before starting something that is new to you?     Have you had a time when what you believed strongly in did not turn out the way you anticipated?    What advice would you give to someone who is ready to start promoting something?  

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Try Harder #atozchallenge

Business Success
Business Success (Photo credit: Augur Marketing)

         Throughout this A to Z series I've read a number of comments that essentially have said something similar to "I'm scared", "I don't have the skill to do that", "I couldn't do this on my own", "I don't know anyone who could help me", "I can't afford to do this",  "I don't think I could do this", and so on. Self-defeating excuses like this call for a push to try harder.

        I understand that it might be easier for me or someone else to make the suggestions than for you to actually attempt some of the suggestions I've offered during the April Challenge.  Isn't that often the case?  Sayin' ain't the same as doin'.   Nevertheless if you aren't at least trying to do something then nothing is apt to be the result.

         Only you know for sure whether or not you've tried hard enough. Be honest in your self-assessment.  In the end it's your promotion and you are the one who has the most to benefit.   If you've tried a promotional tactic and it didn't work then you need to be brutally honest with yourself.   Did you give it your all?  Could you have done more?   Should you try again and this time try harder?

          Never starting is worse than giving up.  Believe in yourself.   Turn off the negativity and the excuses.

           Try your best and always try harder.   And then when that doesn't work, try again or try something new.  Your success is ultimately your own responsibility. How badly do you want that success?

          Do you tend to give up easily?    Are you persistent in trying to reach a goal?   Who do you think is most responsible in helping you attain success?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Stand By to Stand In #atozchallenge

Regional Conference
Regional Conference (Photo credit: Earthworm)

         A few years ago I noticed in the newspaper that a major national event was occurring in my area.  This was the first I had ever heard of this event and it was only a couple weeks away.  Since it had to do with blogging and social media I was interested in going.  However tickets were rather expensive so I wasn't sure that I could afford to go.

          Intent on finding a way to attend, I did some research and discovered that the event was going to include a number seminars and presentations.  Earlier that year was the first big A to Z Challenge and since I was keen on trying to promote the upcoming Challenge I thought that A to Z might be of interest to those attending the social media event.   An idea came to me.

          I contacted some of the organizers of the event to let them know that I would be happy to stand in for any no shows that were on their lineup if they would provide me with show passes.   They declined on my offer to fill in since they had it all covered, but they sent me the passes.

         At the event I was able to make a number of contacts that have proven useful to me, to meet several bloggers, and to pick up some cool swag at the booths.    I didn't make the mark I had hoped to, but I at least established a foothold.

         There have been a number of times in my life when I've seen an opening that needed to be filled and have offered my services to help out.   This action has never hurt me and has sometimes helped in big ways.  When I stand by in readiness to fill a slot that needs filling, I can step in to use what I've prepared for and become a hero in the eyes of others.  This is a promotional opportunity that is worth jumping on when it's available to you.

         Contact the places where you could benefit from promotional exposure for you or your product and let them know about your abilities, your proximity to them, and your willingness to be on call if they ever needed you.   If you're a writer you can contact libraries, senior citizen centers, educational facilities, or civic organizations to have them put your name on their files in case your services are ever needed.  

          Be sure to have a presentation prepared in case you are contacted.   Keep a power-point program on a portable drive if you use this type of medium.  Have a presentation kit in readiness with any materials that you might need.   Once you have the show put together, rehearsed, and ready to take to the public you might even be emboldened to be the main attraction on your own without being just a fill-in.

        Take advantage of no shows.  Be willing to stand in for others.  This willingness can create a good name for you and help you in your promotions.

          Have you ever stood in for a no-show?    Have you ever conducted an event where a featured guest did not show up and if so how did you handle the situation?   What rewards have come to you by stepping up to the plate when someone else wasn't able to fulfill their obligations?  

Battle of the Bands Result

       The result of last week's Battle of the Bands (click on the link if you don't know what I'm referring to) is really not too much of a surprise.  Between the two versions of the song "Message in a Bottle" John Mayer managed to win 6 votes from those of you who were either not big Police fans and just preferred the more mellow sound.    I had to vote for the version by the Police because it's the one I liked since it first came out and though Mayer does a fine job his version just doesn't beat the original for me.  All votes counted, the Police win with 17 votes.

       To recap:   John Mayer 6 and Police 17.

Next Battle of the Bands will be on Thursday May 1st.  Please join me for that one.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Road Trippin' Promotion #atozchallenge

Travel (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn 

           Road trippin' promotion may not be for you if you don't want to or can't travel, but it's a concept that can work if you put some good planning and creative thought behind it.  This marketing method can be done in many different ways so it all depends on what resources you have to work with and who you have to work with you.

            What I'm talking about is taking your promotion on the road to bring it directly to a wider audience.  Staying within your own community can severely limit your ability to reach out to customers on a face to face basis.  For example, if you're an author, a tour of book signings and speaking engagements can have a lot of impact on your sales numbers.   When you manage to get onsite engagements it can be easier to secure radio, television, or other media interview slots.  Making your rounds geographically in person gives you some real marketing advantages.

           The ideal situation is to have an agent or marketing rep who can set up all of this for you--something that most of us don't have.   So how can you do something like this?  Travel is an expensive proposition when you factor in transportation, accommodations, food, and anything else you require while on the road.  How can the average person do something like this?

          With relatively modest means a person can take to the road on their own.  Put a tour plan together that entails visiting places that might be open to letting you set up a table, speak to a group, or participate in a special event.  It's best to check out possibilities on the internet or other resources and contact people ahead of time.  Start with a 100 mile radius from your home to test your abilities and the market.  If things go well you can widen your circle.   You can set up a schedule for fixed period like a week or two or just experiment with weekends.

         Another possible approach is to squeeze some promotional time into travel that you were planning to do anyway.   This may not appeal to everyone, but usually there is some down time during a vacation that can easily be used for promotional work.   Especially if you're driving and not in too much of a hurry, you can discover small shops that might be an ideal outlet for your product.   The hotel where you're staying might work.  And don't forget restaurants.  See what people are willing to do to help you.  You might be surprised.

        An author friend of mine tells the story of when he was flying somewhere and he left cheap promotional copies of his book on every seat in the plane.  That didn't work so well, but if he had focused on people whom he saw reading and struck up a conversation with them leaving them a book or even a bookmark he might have gained a few new readers.  Gumption and opportunity is the key.  If you've got 'em then use 'em.

       There is so much more that I could say about putting travel and promotion together, but I need to keep this blog post relatively short.  I realize that this is a method that might not work or appeal to all of you, but if you like traveling and have something to promote you might want to brainstorm on this concept.  It might be easier and more fun than you think.   Dreaming about it won't hurt.  Putting a road trippin' promotion plan into action might be just the thing you need to kick off sales in a big way and have fun traveling at the same time.

        It's bold but it is workable.

          Do you like to travel?   Can you organize trip details well?    Do you mind mixing business with pleasure?    

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