Category Archives: Marketing Tips

How Automation Tricks Save Me 100s of Hours a Month

Note: The first part of this post about my social marketing tip is mostly tongue in cheek. If you want to get to the meat of the automation tricks, head down to the bottom of the post. If you don’t mind reading a little bloomin humor (sorry, couldn’t help it), read on.

I often read about how the machines are going to replace everyone in the workforce and how bad this is for us. I think that we are overreacting.

One Neat Automation Trick

Yes, artificial intelligence seems like we are creating our nemesis from the show Terminator, but the fact of the matter is, we have no idea how to create an intelligence like ours. So, what are these fancy AI creations actually functioning as?

The End of Many Jobs Saves Me Time

Well, modern AI is just a better version of the machines we have been using for years to save time. AI systems are labor saving devices a lot like the ones we all use every day (and replace human labor in the process).

  • Dishwasher – This is one of my favorite industrial automation tools. Really. I went without one for so long, when we got a dishwasher in our new home, I calculated the time savings to me at about 1.75 hrs per day, every day of the month. So just this item alone saves me 37 hours a month.
  • Laundry Machine – Have you ever done laundry by hand? I spent 5 weeks in Mombasa, Kenya in 2004 at a YWAM base. We did all our laundry by hand. Time it took per machine sized load? 30 min, conservative estimate and that is just the washing part. At a conservative 4 loads per week for my family of four, using a washing machine saves my wife and I 60 hours of work each month.
  • Automobile – OK, I understand that people did not travel as far as before cars became the auto-motion of choice, so I will not include my commute to work. But, I will include my commute to the grocery store nearby because it is within walking distance (30 min), but I choose to drive it (5 min). So, since we go to two different stores about twice a week, that is a time savings of 400 min. or 6 hours and 40 minutes a month travel time. IF I did include my travel to work (10 Miles round trip) or my wife’s bimonthly trips to school (20 miles round trip), the time saved goes up significantly.
  • Search Algorithms – Now, I know you’re probably not one of the weird nerds who flipped open the encyclopedia at the dinner table to argue about whether Gengis Khan actually became a Christian in his old age, but my family was. I still remember that dinner table conversation because my mom was absolutely adamant that he had not, but our World Book Encyclopedia disagreed with her. So my brother won that conversation. Anyways, the time it takes to find something out nowadays has drastically decreased: you can say it to the AI on a modern phone and get an answer back from whatever page is on the top of Google in a matter of a few seconds. Or, if you’re particularly old-school, you can still type it in. Since I am a writer, automated search functions save me probably 10 hours of work a week researching my blogs.
  • Automatic Lights – Lights aren’t automatic, you say. You still have to flip the switch. Yes, but have you ever tried filling a lantern? Have you lived by the light of candles? Both of these are amazingly inefficient systems, especially if you are making the oil and the candles yourself. That was the pioneer way. The last time I made candles was in school, but it took about 20 minutes to create 6 by hand-dipping. You need at least 4 to read, so in order to make certain we have 4 hours of light a night, and assuming a burn rate of 1 every 2 hours, you need 8 per day or 240 candles total. Time to make them? 120 minutes or 2 hours (and that is if you have the ingredients warmed on an electric warmer, and does not include clean-up time).

So, I have counted up over 100 hours of time saved from these modern devices. See? Automation has already killed the hand-washer, the candlestick maker, the cart driver, the launder (well, no, it didn’t do that, but they definitely changed). And we are worried about the next innovations?

OK. Now that I’m done my silliness, here is the actual time-saving device I learned this week:

IFTTT – The One Neat Automation Trick I Learned Last Week

Pronounced ift (like gift, but without the g), IFTTT, IF This Then That, is an automated tool that allows you to create automatic responses to events in apps you control.

For example, I use IFTT to automate my social media marketing. I set events in my Google calendar titled “GroupPost.” I put a link to a Canva photo in the where file and what I want to say in my group in the Description box (I linked to a new Google Calendar I created specifically for Facebook Management). Then I set the post to repeat every week, or on the same date each month, or every other week.

In IFTTT, I create an applet (that’s what they call ’em) to send that post to my Facebook posting system (for my group I have to use Buffer). This allows me to create automatic posting of an activity on Facebook and set it up to repeat when I want it to.

For more reading on IFTTT, check out this Reddit thread or this article on 40 IFTTT Recipes at Buffer.

If you liked this and want more useful tips on marketing, content and automation, please join the free content marketing group, MyBloggingCommunity or sign up for more tips and tricks below.

 

How Do You Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader Through Content Marketing?

Other than blogging, I can’t think of any other ways to establish myself as an [industry]thought leader through content marketing. If you could give me some ideas on ways that I can really brand myself through my content that would be great. I think my biggest issue is not knowing where to begin. I know how to blog already but would like some other ideas that could really get my name out there to my particular market.

I’d love to help!

Thought Leader Through Content

They say content is king, but that is such a vague statement, what does it really mean? How are you, as a business owner, going to use content to establish yourself as someone others should take seriously?

To keep this as simple as possible, great business-focused content addresses a pain point in your customer’s lives.

Types of Content

thought leadership through content marketing

Still following the simple rule, there are three basic types of content you can produce online: visual, audio, and audio/visual. Visual content includes blogs, white papers, infographics, pictures, and brochures. Audio includes podcasts, live audio streaming, and radio spots repurposed online. Audio/visual includes live videos, advertisements, longer documentary segments, how to videos and other vlog formats.

Which one of these content types will establish you as an industry leader? Eventually, all of them. If you are just starting out, then there are two questions to ask about the type of content you should use: what are you comfortable with? and what does your audience use?

The comfort question is easiest, but understanding your audience can be more difficult. It can help if you ask your customers where they find business related questions. If you currently do not have a large client list, ask yourself three questions:

  • When does my customer research their business? Some people may do podcasts in the car during a commute, other people watch videos in the evenings or on weekends, others read blogs during their workday. Do you know what your target market does?
  • Where does my target customer access information? For example, a small healthcare provider may be researching issues on the fly all day via their phone. For this type of researcher, short and focused written content may be all they have time to read before they have to move on to the next patient. On the other hand, a contractor may be busy with tools all day and take specific times during the week to do research and online networking. For these, video might be a good format as they have to set aside time to interact with content anyways.
  • How can I get that information in front of the target customers? While you need to have your own channel for information (website, social pages, etc), you also need to get your brand on industry leader’s channels as well.

Places to Post Your Content

There is a tremendous amount of platforms available for getting your content out there. The following is a very partial list of places you can work your content magic:

  • On-Site Blogging – Yes, you need a website to post your own slides, videos, blogs, articles, and more on. This gives you control over your lead funnels and eases the creation of evergreen content. See my slideshare, Why Aren’t Ya Blogging?, for more information on creating a blog.
  • Guest Blogging – A guest blog is where you find someone in your industry and pitch them a story that you can write (or have a ghostwriter like myself write for you). Jill Stanton of Screw the Nine to Five has a great blog on guest-posting and if you want a place to practice your pitches, head on over to MyBloggingCommunity.com, a free Facebook group and throw us a pitch. We’ll give you some pointers on how to improve it.
  • Answering Questions on Quora  – I have not used this one, yet. But, Torchlite (Yes, I did just link to a competitor) has a great blog on how to use Quora to establish thought leadership.
  • Guest Interviewing on Relevant Webinars – This follows much of the same principles behind guest blogging, but with a focus on audio content.
  • Podcasting – Rather than writing out your story or your how-to, you can tell it to your audience via a voice recorder and upload it to a variety of sites including ITunes, Spreaker, SoundCloud, or a platform of your choice.
  • Facebook Live – This one just started taking off, but it is currently all the rage in Facebook’s ever changing algorithm ( as of March 2017). If you want to get good engagement on Facebook and increase your organic reach, plan to spend some time in front of a video camera broadcasting live to Facebook. Informal totally goes here, so don’t worry too much about what it looks like as what you want to say to your target client.
  • YouTube Videos – You can create these as live shots, even go live, but YouTube is a great resource for creating a unique video that showcases who you are, and what your business is about.
  • Twitter Authority – Twitter favors fast-paced engagement with your audience. With integrated photo and video sharing, it is also a great place to engage with more artistic forms of communication.
  • LinkedIn Authority – For many B2B marketers, LinkedIn is a great tool for publishing your content. You can create the posts on LinkedIn’s platform and link out to your site or just share your posts with others.
  • Facebook Groups – Be very careful about how to share your content in Facebook Groups (My mentor Wendy Maynard has a great resource for finding groups that have share rules)

These are just some of the resources that a savvy business leader like yourself can use to establish industry leadership with your content.

Have you found any content marketing platforms that work better than others? Ones that don’t work?

The Art of Marketing: Long Form Content vs Short Form Content

Content Marketing is like Dance

I love being married to this beautiful dancer (Follow her choreography at FRAME). She inspires so much of my marketing and content writing; I am spoiled.

Also, she’s beautiful, but sorry, where was I?

Long-Form Content vs Short-Form Content

I know many people discuss how long-form content is better. Long blogs get shared more, more traction, do better on search engines, and what not. On the other hand, I read a blog by Niel Patel the other day that showed some of the first page ranked sites for “content marketing” had around 500 words. It goes to show, the length of your content does not matter as much as your quality (that could be said about other things, too. Annyywaaayy, where was I?)

Creating Content. You need to have quality content if you want people to engage with it, respond to it, and share it. But, as my talented other half reminded me yesterday, long-form content takes a different attitude to create than short-form content.

She was talking about the difference between creating location-specific improv pieces and filming them, but it applies equally to blogging.

Creating Short-Form Content

Creating a short piece is relatively easy: you get inspiration, you define what you want, and you sit down and write it.

I can write a short article in under 15 minutes if I am in the zone, have a well-defined subject, and limit my points to 3.

Creating Long-Form Content

On the other hand, long-form content takes development of a creative habit. You must set aside space to create, space to warm up, space to just think, and space to do all of those at the same time.

My wife was speaking about the fact that some longer pieces she was working on this semester made her feel like she wasn’t getting as much done as when she was able to create small, short pieces every few weeks. But, then she reasoned through the fact that creating a longer piece requires more time, energy, and creative effort.

  • Developing an idea – Longer content has to have themes and development. You may be able to get away with a 15 point or more listicle once or twice, but if you want to develop really engaging long content, you have to think through your target market’s pain points and really explore them.
  • Crafting Edits –  Editing a short piece is easy: you look over it once for its flow and then you read it out loud (or in my case, you subvocalize it quickly). A longer marketing piece requires looking at it multiple times: does it come to a point, is the point well supported, are there enough breaks in the text, do the pictures and infographics argue the point on their own merits, does your individual voice come through, etc. Each of these questions could require a full edit, making your editing time increase dramatically.
  • Researching your point – I usually write a short, high-level blog with limited research. If it is a topic I am well-versed in, I won’t research it at all. On the other hand, if a long blog or whitepaper is going to be worth someone’s time to write or read, it requires original research.
  • Understanding your audience – A short article that misses its audience is a minor nuisance. A longer webpage or marketing brochure that misses its audience is evil. Don’t be evil. If you are going to write longer articles, take the time to understand who you are writing to.

These are just some of the issues you will face in creating a great long-form article, webpage, or landing page. If you want to get a complete checklist of what you need to create a long-form blog or article, please sign up for my weekly email coaching tips below, and I will send one to you stat!

3 Different Places to Share Your Blog

Customers, friends, and fans are always asking me how to drive traffic to increase blog views, and I love coming up with unique solutions that don’t involve paying advertisement money. Some people like to use money for traffic at first, but I have thrown away good money after bad enough online to know that you need a solid following and an understanding of your blog’s conversion before you drive traffic with paid ads.

share your blog
Get Heard in the Noise

That said, here are 4 quick places I am using to drive traffic to my blog.

  1. Local Facebook Groups – Many people use Facebook groups, but do you use ones that are focused on your location. I am part of many local groups that are smaller, but have great results when I share relevant content with them.
  2. Bloglovin – This is a fun reader that creates a social network around blogs. You can upload your blog there and you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
  3. Comment Sections – I know, links in comments are usually no-follow so they don’t help with SEO, but newsflash: comments on other people’s sites are written to other people. Go figure. If your comment is meaningful and relevant to their post, they and their readers will likely check you out. The WordPress dashboard is currently my #3 referrer after Facebook and search engines and ahead of #4, LinkedIn.

These are some ways I draw traffic. What are your favorite online tools for increasing blog views?

4 Art Forms Necessary to Deliver Your Marketing Messages

Video Courtesy of Rachel Lee Davis of Frame Charlotte. Follow her on YouTube and Facebook.

Every day that I am on this journey of learning and teaching the art of marketing, I learn and am inspired by the work of those around me. Rachel Lee Davis, my wife, is a great inspiration. She incorporates various art forms in her marketing and daily life, including painting, drawing, singing, dancing, and creating videos.

Video

Video is essential to any modern marketing system. While reading is not going to go anywhere, anytime soon, video is essential to presenting a full brand to your potential customers and current customers. Creating this is an art that can be very time consuming, but for an avid DIYer, using a simple screen recording software  joined with integrated video/audio from your laptop or mobile phone is often adequate to create good video.

I know, many video editors are going to jump on me with a list of the reasons that you need this, that, or the other, but learning an art you always start with what you have and grow as your skills grow. Yes, you should get professional artists to do your videos when you can, but do not let the lack of funds or tools keep you from using video to increase your marketing brand.

Also, if you are using a dinosaur of a desktop, like myself, you can still incorporate other people’s videos in your marketing mix. This blog is a case in point.

Here are some useful tools for doing video production for your business:

  • YouTube – The second largest search engine, a Google product, and the internet’s largest collection of cat videos, why are you not on YouTube yet?
  • Screen Cast O’Matic – Great free tool for creating videos from your desktop (you can remove the watermark by paying a monthly fee.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – There are many free software packages for editing videos, but I am not familiar with them because most of the video editing I have done is with the software in my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (Premiere Pro, After Effects).

Images

I have covered and will continue to cover images as part of the art of marketing, but here is a quick bullet point list of useful tools.

  • Canva – Useful tool for finding and limited editing of photos.
  • Pixabay – Great online community for uploading and downloading high quality photos. If you are a photographer, this kind of community can be a great place to get your name known and recycle photos you don’t use for other clients.
  • List of Tools from Sarah Arrow
  • Microsoft Snipping Tool – If you use Microsoft products, you have access to the snipping tool, a wonderful resource for taking images off your desktop and incorporating them in documents, blogs, pages, and more. Be forwarned, the resolution will not be as high as a camera.
  • Adobe PhotoShop – Photoshop is a huge program that can crash your computer if you are not careful. Photoshop is the standard for editing photos and a savvy business owner can easily cash-flow the $10/mo starting costs to get started with PhotoShop. Take it or leave it, I use it almost daily for resizing photos, editing out backgrounds, and more.

Writing

I hear from someone every day about how the internet is overwhelmed with writing (true), and how no one wants to look at writing anymore (false). I remember hearing in years past about how Jeff Bezos, Amazon, and the Kindle were going to be the end of physical books, but this February 2017 Financial Times article shows how wrong the people who called for the end of paper were: even Amazon is now investing in physical book stores.

Reading and writing has changed from THE method of communication 100 years ago to one of four methods that have all been in use in one form or another since the early 1900’s: audio, visual, video, and written. All four of these mass communication mediums have gone through major changes with the invention of the internet, social networks, and hand-held computers, but they are all still strong methods of communication.

Useful tools for improving and managing your online writing:

  • Workflowy: Great resource for taking notes.
  • Microsoft Office: Front of the pack since the 90’s.
  • Grammarly.com: Great tool for reviewing your grammar, spelling, and other technical writing issues. More than your typical grammar and spell check, Grammarly is constantly developing their algorithm to look for best uses of English, not just simple rules.

Audio

Video killed the radio star, and the internet killed the radio station, or so  most people think. Just like written content, audio is an essential part of the art of marketing, even in a completely online marketing platform. Just think, how many people listen to music, podcasts, and other audio systems (including local radio) while working.

When I am working, I do not have the time to watch video, and images are often distracting from my focused writing. But, I can quickly browse a written blog to determine if I want to use it as a resource and music, podcasts, or radio live-streamed online help me focus on my writing and ignore my coworkers.

Here are some useful tools for creating audio files and publishing them online.

  • Soundcloud: Sound Cloud is a great tool for publishing music and artistic audio.
  • Spreaker – My favorite podcast tool because of its easy price-point and live broadcasting features.

What are some tools you use for creating video, audio, visual, and written art in your marketing endeavors? Leave a comment letting me know some good tools!

 
Follow The Writers Cue on WordPress.com


 

Staying in Business Through the First 4 Years: How the Art of Marketing Keeps You in Business

Have you heard the oft-quoted meme that 90% of businesses fail within the first 3 years? Or 5 years? Or 2?

Have you heard that 75% of statistics are made up on the spot? (Get the joke?) Yeah, business failure is one of those statistics, but according to a blog I found reading other blogs yesterday, the real number  is 33% of small businesses will close due to failure in the first 6 years.

In a similar manner, the NY Times tells us that there are 10 reasons small businesses fail, including the math doesn’t add up (too small a market, etc.), poor management (lack of focus and vision), and being in a declining market.

Whether it is 90% of businesses who fail or 33% of businesses, starting a small business is hard. One of the hardest things  you could possibly do. To make it easier, I am going to show in this post how marketing helps your business survive.

Defining Marketing

This paragraph definition for marketing is one of many I found at Heidi Cohen’s site.

The one idea I want to take from this definition is in the middle of the post:

“However, since the emergence of digital media, … [marketing] has increasingly  become more about companies building deeper, more meaningful, and lasting relationships with the people that they want to buy their products and services.”

Marketing is about relationships.

This is what has inspired me to look at marketing as an art form, as a collaborative creative process. If you have ever played in a symphony, you realize that certain types of art require a collaborative creative process. Marketing is one of these arts.

Good marketing involves input from customers, from the public, from your business alliance partners, and more.

The Back of My Head, Making Music

So, an original definition of The Art of Marketing:

The art of marketing is a collaborative process using the best of design, content, and analytics tools to create a beautiful process where customers are served by a business.

The art of marketing uses the best design, content, and analytics to beautifully serve your customers. Tweet: The art of marketing uses the best design, content, and analytics to beautifully serve your customers. https://ctt.ec/9XxtU+

Now, there are two types of great artists: those who work from their art, and those who work for their art.

Johann Sebastian Bach worked from his art; as a worship leader and performer, he was constantly creating music for his patrons in order to earn an income. He did not become popular until long after he died, when his art was discovered by Felix Mendelssohn.

Vincent Van Gogh worked for his art. He painted because his image of the world demanded an outlet. His first successful art exhibit of 71 paintings was in 1901, 11 years after his death.

Neither of these great artists are the ideal we want in a wealth consumption world, but when it comes to keeping your business alive through the first 6 years, they are both inspirational.

Surviving Business

Surviving the first 6 years requires a dedication to your business that many other people will not understand. “I am going to be rich.” is not a statement that will keep you going. A marketing minded mission gives you the strength to continue working when customers cancel, when your emails get ignored, when no one visits your website for weeks.

All of these things may happen to you, and what will you do to keep going when they do? The marketing mindset helps get through mortal wounds of a profit-motive business.

  • “I cannot get clients.” – Consistent content creation is key to getting new clients. A marketing artist creates for the joy of creation and failure to acquire new clients is motive to find other solutions while continuing to work on your business. In the 10 years I have been learning marketing, I have worked at over 10 different jobs and business ideas, including giving maternity shots to over 7000 cows. If I can do that while practicing my art, what can you do to provide while your business grows?
  • “My clients don’t pay enough.” – Art understands different levels of involvement. Some people want to enjoy art, some people want to participate. Some patrons need a single small item, others want consistent new content. Combining art and business understands that diversity in customer levels is key to practice.
  • “I don’t have enough  products or services.” – Marketing is about finding the product mix that your customers need. Art is about creating for the joy of it. When you combine art and marketing, you will create out of habit and this problem will be reversed.
  • “I don’t know who my ideal client is.” – This is understandable if you are just starting out. As an artist, remember that your first client is yourself. I have heard many marketers say that you are not your own ideal client, and I disagree. Your first client is yourself, because if you do not enjoy what you do, why do you expect anyone else to?
  • “I don’t have ANY clients.” – Find something else to do. Seriously, if you have no clients, find some work to do and find a place where you can get paid to do your work. Online, I have found work at Freelancer, Thumbtack, Wyzant, and Blogmutt. Offline I have found work from my coworking spot, my church, family, and local music stores who needed teachers. Keep looking for a client until you find one, and you might learn something about your own aesthetic along the way.

The First 3 Years

Getting through the first 3 years of a business is going to be the hardest part. But, treating your marketing as an artist will help in all aspects of your business.  As such, here are the final 5 areas the art of marketing will help you grow your business through the first 3 years and beyond.

Plan to Fail

I once heard of an author who bought all the copies of his first book because he thought it was not fit to publish. I have seen master potters throw 3 to 5 pots, breaking them down each time, until they find one they like. It took me 4 years to realize I was a poor violinist, and another 4 to actually sound good.

Artists fail all the time.

In business, do not plan all your success on one product. This does not honor your target market, does not help you plan for a product lifecycle, and does not give you opportunities to succeed when you do fail.

If you plan at least 3 product lines (currently mine are writing, consulting, affiliate sales, full-service marketing, tutoring, and violin teaching), you can succeed financially even if you have a 66% failure rate.

Give Yourself Time

Do not start a business when you need income yesterday. Two of my business failures were because I tried relying on them to provide for my family too early. Here are some things you can do to give yourself time to start a business:

  • Get part time work – Many part time jobs are easy enough that you can think through your business while doing repetitive tasks.
  • Drastically cut costs – What can family, friends, and customers do to help you out? This is the point where bartering makes sense, and if you have to spend time living in your parent’s house or your brother’s spare room, that’s ok.
  • Learn to DIY – You don’t know how long it will take to find something that clicks. During that time, you might have to do a lot of menial tasks because you cannot afford to do otherwise.

Learning an art takes time, and you need to give yourself that time in your business. Make certain that you are actually making enough money to pay for your four walls (food, housing, transportation, clothes) before you cut the cord to your part or full-time job.

Test, Change, Test, Change

In marketing speak they call this split-testing (try out two variations of a marketing theme and keep the better one), in music it’s called woodshedding.

Again, you don’t know what will make your business successful, so practice many things and keep what works.

Build Collaborative Relationships

The vision of the solitary artist is as romantic as it is false.

Vincent Van Gogh would still be a moody artistic failure if it wasn’t for his sister-in-law’s belief in him, even after he died.

Handel’s Messiah never would have been performed without  the support of nearly one hundred other musicians: violinists, trumpeters, flutists, choral singers, operatic stars, and more.

The more your business grows, the more you will need collaborative relationships.

Focus on Your Art

Starting a business is not for everyone. Mike Rowe tried to work with his hands many times before he built a business empire in show business about people working with their hands. There are still many successful business people who work within other businesses, and there is no shame in that.

If you want to start a business, it has to be larger than your desire for financial or schedule freedom. Starting a business, growing a business, and keeping a business is a passion, you need passion to drive it.

For me, my marketing is my art, for a counselor it is the finished product of healthy children. For an inventory handling business, your art is happy clients enjoying your product.

The art of marketing is a great tool to ensure that your business continues now and in the future. If you do not have the time or energy to do your own marketing, why don’t you send me an email and see if I can help you with your business?

 

7 Attributes It Takes to Succeed in the Art of Marketing

Art is more than just a skill; it is a commitment to creative habits, to learning and crafting an aesthetic. I remember still towards the middle of my high school experience when I had to face the choice of whether I wanted to become a professional artist on the violin.

I had played violin since I was four and was one of the best student violinists in 100 miles, but I knew that I would have to be much better if I wanted to develop that into my lifelong profession.

I decided to keep it a hobby.

Qualities of an Artist

Although I did not commit then, I knew what it takes to succeed as a professional artist, as an innovative creator. Fast forward an indeterminate number of years later, I am committed to a different art.

This art includes design and composition, writing and performing. It also includes leadership, relational intelligence, mathematics, and writing skills.

But, the skills necessary for an artist are not as important as the character traits it takes to survive and thrive as an artist; hence the reason I did not succeed as a professional violinist (I still play and teach), I did not have a fundamental artist’s trait: passion.

So, here are 7 character attributes you will need to succeed as a marketer.

Passion for the People, Product and Process

When you are marketing, passion for the product does not cut it. There is such a tremendous learning curve for each marketing system, you get to learn about ideal customers (people), business partners (people), the process by which you get a product or service to the market (process and product). And without passion, why would you learn all that!?

Faith

As a Christian, I understand faith in something larger than myself, but even if you are not a theist, you still need to have faith that the world is not coming to an end tomorrow and that the universe is generally in your favor if you do the right activities. Also, you will need tremendous faith and trust in fellow humans, because marketing is all about understanding both your ideal customer (target market) and your co laborers in the marketing project.

Extroversion of Some Degree

Introverts can be marketers, but they will have to break out of their comfort zone substantially. Why? Because marketing is about getting the right products, services and brands in front of the right people at the right time so that they can enter into a relationship with that brand.

Marketing is about people. Yes we get to play with technical things in the dark of our living rooms, alone, after the kids have fallen asleep, but without people to look at our work, we will never be able to earn a living.

Resting

Rest. Another one of the attributes that I attribute to my Christianity, but there are many good reasons beyond religious ones to incorporate an attitude of rest into an artistic marketing mindset.

Did you hear when the CEO of Yahoo missed a major meeting with advertisers because she slept in? She is well known for saying that people who need 8 hours of sleep a night are wasting time.

This is silly. From an artistic mindset, rest helps you recover from work, get a new viewpoint on your creative process, helps your brain restart, and helps you incorporate diverse strands into the creation you are making.

An unrested artist creates factory products; this marketing, be different and rest.

A Learning/Teacher Heart

If you want to truly learn something, teach it to someone else. This truism is essential to marketing, because you will be constantly learning and teaching others. Marketing and sales are designed to creatively bring customers into relationships with a brand where commercial transactions take place. You cannot do that without understanding basic principles of teaching.

A Diligent Heart

I did not commit to violin because I knew that I would have to practice at least an hour a day and max out at 5. Every day except rest days. I did not want to commit to that, but it was necessary.

In the same way, I do commit to work on learning and practicing marketing an hour a day. When I am busy writing for clients, I still need to spend at least an hour learning and practicing.

Creative Habits

Like all arts, marketing and sales require persistent commitment to habits of creativity. Twyla Tharp, a dancer, has a great book called The Creative Habit. Look it up.

Is the Art of Marketing for Me?

If you are reading through these attributes and think, that sounds hard, it is.

The art of marketing is a commitment that takes significant amounts out of you, but if your passion for what you are marketing, who you are marketing, and why it is important is great enough, you will put up with any amount of labor to practice your art.

I still play violin, but I do not really practice. I also still sing, but I do not practice that either.

I do practice marketing

What art do you practice in your day? How do these attributes reflect on what you are passionate about you are doing? Please leave a comment!

Can You Afford Marketing?

Practice makes perfect, or so I learned from a nice young age: see the picture below.

How can we afford to learn marketing and practice it? This is a key question I bring to each of my clients and The Writer’s Cue. As business owners, practice is scary because it requires time and often money.

Dealing with the Costs of Practice

There are two major time issues we face when we are practicing the art of marketing. One, how much time does it take you as an individual (or your employees/contractors) to do various marketing projects? Two, how much time will it take for your marketing efforts to take root and produce an income for your business?

On the money end, you face the question of how much money will it take to reach the right number of leads? And the second is, how much money does it take to convert a lead into a customer? At various stages of the business cycle, this amount can be zero (you do it all), or can go up indefinitely.

You will face each of these questions in new ways as your business grows. If you do not face them regularly, you run the risk of overbudgeting both time and money in your marketing. As the sharks on Shark Tank often tell people, marketing is one of the easiest places to lose money in business.

Important Metrics 

In order to ask and answer these questions, you need to understand your cost to acquire a new customer and your lifetime value per customer. Break down your marketing metrics to a per customer cost so that you understand how much you have to earn per customer to just replace the costs of acquiring them.

Cost to acquire a new customer – Finding the right individual who needs your service/product, can afford it, and is ready to buy is an expensive proposition. You either spend the money to find them or the time. Carefully consider what marketing and sales you do, what you pay for, and how many customers you currently have. This shows the cost per customer and the hours you spend per customer.

$ Marketing / # Customers = Cost Per Customer

Time Marketing/ # Customers = Time Per Customer

Lifetime Value – This can be difficult to predict until you have been in business some time and have put tracking in place to understand your customer behavior. If you have not been in business at least 5 years or do not track your lifetime customer value, then look at your Yearly Customer Value.

Simple way to do this is to look at your yearly or total income and divide it by the number of customers.

$ Earned per Year or Total / #Customers = Value Per Customer

Can You Afford to Practice to Perfection?

Now, I know the math is getting a little much, but bear with me. Calculate your wage opportunity cost by taking the time per customer and multiply it by your worth when you are working on a product or service (your average pay per hour of labor for your business).

For example, you earn $50 an hour when someone is paying you and you spend 10 hours per customer on marketing: this means that your wage opportunity cost is $500 a customer.

Add your wage opportunity cost to your cost per customer that you spend and you know have a total cost of acquisition.

Subtract that from the value per customer.

Value Per Customer – Cost of Acquisition = Return on Investment (ROI)

If this number is positive, then your marketing is paying for itself, and you can afford to continue practicing.

If your ROI is negative, then you need to look carefully at how you can either increase the value of a customer to your business or decrease the cost of marketing it. You need to increase value while decreasing costs until the ROI is positive.

Once your ROI is positive, you can afford to practice your marketing, continue improving, and pursuing the ever-elusive goal of perfection!