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The Keys to Success in All Content Marketing & Business

Yesterday, I was honored to have an article featured in Peter Bowerman’s newsletter – the Well-Fed E-Pub. You can see the current and every issue here. I just received a response to my article on Content Marketing 101 from a writer who is looking to make the plunge into freelance writing.

She mentioned that she didn’t have the courage or the time to make the plunge yet. In my response, I mentioned to her that it does take a whole lot of guts and time to make it as a freelance writer. It takes faith and planning.

And then I realized those two keys are universal to content marketing and business. You have to have faith in your content (and your business) and you have to plan.

Content without faith or, more appropriately belief, falls flat. It doesn’t have a purpose. If you don’t believe it, then why would your audience?

The greater issue here is that you have to believe in your business whether you sell your writing (as I do) or a gadget. Belief in your product, your message and even your content are the keys to success.

Planning allows you to pour that belief into your business, your content and your clients/customers. When you plan, you think from a place of conviction and the content that stems from that is believable and engaging.

I’d like to thank that writer for reminding me of the two keys to success in all content marketing and business. Good luck to you. I hope you find your courage and time because you’ll be great when you do.

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Do You Value Your Customers Above All Else?

Central Market customer service.

Maybe it’s the books I’m reading. Maybe it’s my close work with great business owners, but one thing I’ve noticed lately is a core concept for any business, especially in marketing.

We have to value our customers. Go out of our way to deliver beyond their expectations. And this starts with our words.

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

The words you use in your marketing should match your service.

I was wiring some money to my broke little sister for my mother at a local grocery store. The store has signs everywhere that say their focus is on getting us out the door faster. While I appreciate speed, I also appreciate customer service. That means I do not want to overhear your conversation with the other clerk about how bad your schedule is. I want you to focus on the task at hand. It’s what you’re paid to do. Please don’t advertise that you’re all about serving me (the customer) and then talk about your schedule issues. How shallow.

Doing the right thing is always the best policy.

I’ve been working on this project where he said, she said information has been circulated on how to maximize results. The bottom line is that we should always seek the truth and share it with our customers. Even if the project is delayed, direction changes, etc. Transparency always in the end.

A customer has a choice to do business with you.

We switched our cable and Internet provider recently because we had experienced bad service for so long with the only show in town. All we got was put on hold, a long wait for repairs and no discount for our trouble.

The new service was installed this past Monday. The technician installed it in all of our rooms, programmed the remotes and even left channel guides for us. The tell-all level of service is that the provided us a router for the Internet and set it up to make sure all was well. And we get it for a lower cost than we did with the other company.

I chose to end my relationship with the other provider because I’d had it up to here with their poor service. What really gets me is that instead of working on their service; they have been running a major ad campaign around how great their service is. Plus, they run specials all the time to attract new customers but send me bills saying my costs are going up.

We all have an obligation to never get to this point with our customers because they do have a choice. Valuing our customers ensures they will never have to use that choice.

What are you doing to show you value your customers?

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Being Nice Pays Off

I have a very big family – nine siblings to be exact. And in this family, if you’d like a favor, you ask nicely.

I’m working on a project that requires me to reach out to unknown people. I’ve received many really nice responses from several bloggers. I’ve also received some not-so-nice responses.

These not-so-nice responses have included links to blog posts about how to pitch a blogger. I understand that people get inundated with requests. A simple, “No, thank you,” works well. A link to a post you wrote ranting about people like me is rather unprofessional.

I personally think it pays to be nice. What are your thoughts? Do we play nice or try to correct others with links?

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Toddler Marketing Tales – Deleting the Unnecessary Words

I’ve written about my little girl before on the Always Communicate Brilliantly blog. And, I have to say, she gives me some of the most brilliant ideas.

She likes to wake her dad up in the mornings with an announcement. Yesterday, I got her dressed and told her, “Tell him he needs to get up out of bed so he can take you to school.” She repeated much more eloquently, “Daddy, Get up. Take me to school.”

So, here I am to share three brilliant kernels of wisdom I learned from a two-year-old princess:

  1. Clean up your language. Clean up all the extra words you don’t need. You don’t need the “so” or the “really” or the “hopefully.” Especially not the hopefully. (Yes, I read my Strunk & White Elements of Style.)
  2. Keep it simple. Simple words have a stronger meaning. They resonate.
  3. Give direction. If you want your copy to instruct, sell or provide value, you need to give it a job. Just like my sweet pea said, “Get up and take action.”

Does your content pass the clean, simple and action-oriented test? If not, let’s talk about how to improve it.

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The Worst Sales Call of All Time

I just overheard the worst sales call of all time.

My husband is a financial planner who specializes in helping his clients protect their families, mortgages and provide for final expenses.

The caller was a lead generation company that was looking for providers in his working area. He gets these calls on a regular basis, but this one actually sounded interesting.

They were asking him a list of screening questions such as the percentage and volume of sales derived from final expense policies. Well, he’s not that into these policies and focuses more on the mortgage side. However, he’s an opportunist that is always looking for new growth areas. So, to get the caller to the point, he revealed that about 10 percent of his business is final expense.

The Insult

The caller then moved to his next bullet, which went something like this, “We’re really looking for agents making $50-$75K a year on these policies. Do you know anyone?”

That’s when I saw the call shifting focus. The opportunist husband heard the big number and wanted to know more about the lead system.

His first question was simple, “Who are your carriers?” The caller’s response, “All I do is book appointments for the CEO.” Huh?

Second question, “How do you generate the leads?” The caller’s response, “I don’t know. We cover that in the next call.” I smell a scam.

Third question, “What’s your commission structure?” The caller’s response “I don’t know. I’m just supposed to set the interview.” Seriously?

The Formula for the Worst Sales Call Ever

Welcome to the worst sales call of all time. Why was it so?

Not enough information – If your screener can’t answer simple questions (carriers, lead generation efforts and starting commissions), you have no business wasting a prospect’s time.

Alienating the prospect – “We’re looking for agents making $50-$75K a year on these policies. You don’t qualify, so we want your list.” Excuse me, but you just insulted me and tried to move into my network. Not happening.

The prospect gives you a lesson in sales – My husband is a really nice guy. He counseled the guy on how to conduct these calls and what information he needed to gather before calling anyone else.

What’s the worst sales call you’ve ever received?

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Launching a Weekly Newsletter

I’m getting ready to launch my How to Communicate Brilliantly in a Minute e-newsletter in a week or so. Sign up here.

The content will feature a short how-to or tip on how to foster brilliance as a thought leader. The goal is to make it a minute read and link to a more in-depth blog post.