Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Building Client and Referral Communities by John Jantsch

This is a reprint of an article by John Jantsch

Two of the most important words in the marketing world are Content and Contact. I think the best lead generation is done by providing tons of great content-the best lead conversion is done by providing the right kind of contact. Put content and contact together and you not only have a powerful business building strategy, you have a customer loyalty and referral generating machine.

In my opinion, the best way for small business owners to take advantage of the craving for content and contact is to form communities around products, services and ideas. I think this idea is really at the heart of the unreal growth of social communities like LinkedIn and Facebook. People are desperately looking to connect.

Helping people connect in business terms may not be exactly the same as helping teenagers connect online, but the principles bare a striking similarity. The following examples illustrate some easy ways to help prospects and clients gain a deeper connection with your organization.
It’s just lunch

I have experienced some pretty fascinating results every time I have brought groups of clients together, even to share lunch. Business owners are starved for contact with their peers-the daily grind just makes this too hard to find. Facilitating this is a great service that any business can offer.

Peer to peer education
Current clients are probably more prepared to explain the value of your service to a prospect, including the limitations. Hold "focus groups" made up of several existing clients and several prospects. Let the current clients explain, in a non selling environment, what your service has meant to them, what could be better, how to get more from it. Sit back and learn.

Natural word of mouth marketing
When you deepen a relationship with a client by opening up your contacts and clients to them, you will find that they will begin to naturally (not sales motivated) talk about what you do that matters to them. You cannot purchase that kind of conversation.

Resource director

Bringing client or other resources together and allowing your clients and prospects to take advantage of those resources is a great way to build community and loyalty. Hosting lunches or even teleseminars with other leading experts is a great example of this type of community building.

Referral communities
What if you put together a group of like minded businesses, all focused on the same target audience, and you created a local online community, including a blog that each member of the referral group contributed to. This group could easily generate and educate leads in a way that would allow everyone to win. A semi-formal referral and co marketing strategy is that you would need to make this take off locally.

Creating client and referral communities is very satisfying way to build a business. The pressure that some business owners feel from the need to sell is virtually eliminated. Any business or independent professional that takes community building on as a primary marketing strategy and then sticks with it, can dominate an industry.
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John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award winning blogger and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide.

He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small business marketing system. You can find more information by visiting

Monday, November 24, 2008

4 Online Marketing Tips

1. Social Networking - Social networking is the rage right now and more and more people are using social networking sites to connect and build business relationships. There are many out there and they can be addictive and time-consuming. I suggest joining LinkedIn and Facebook and perhaps one more specific to your industry. Create an effective profile and start building relationships.

2. Blogging for Business - Again, more and more businesses are blogging. Yes, it can be time consuming. By scheduling a regular time to blog, you can increase traffic to your website and connect with your target market.

3. Ezines - Create an email newsletter and send it out regularly. Too often businesses are not consistent with this and lose subscribers. Commit to sending your newsletter out on a consistent schedule and you'll build credibility.

4. Articles - If you write an article for every newsletter you publish, you can then submit it to article directories and increase exposure for your business even more. This helps get more web site traffic and higher search engine rankings.

What other online marketing tips have you used?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Building Loyal Customer Relationships Online

Building customer relationships is key to word-of-mouth referrals. Once your clients trust you and believe in your services, they willingly promote your business to people they know. So what are some ways you can build loyal customer relationships online?

One way is to write articles and give away some of your information. Give your prospects a reason to trust you by giving them something of value for free. Then watch them line up to purchase your services. You can also give them a free report, e-book, video, or audio to download when they sign up for your newsletter. Once your prospect learns more about you and your business in this manner, the more likely they are to feel a sense of trust in what you have to offer.

No one wants to get continuous sales pitches about why they should buy from you. However, prospects love to get tips, advice, and information. Communicate valuable information to prospects and build their trust in your expertise. Find out what your prospects want and then create marketing messages that appeal to those wants.

Repeat customers spend more than new customers. So stay in touch and give your customers something of value. Send a coupon or a notice of a special event. Send tips or a special report with information they can use. Keep in touch with your customers and they will be back.

What have you done to build your customer relationships online?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Give It Away

Do you want more customers? Consider giving them something for free. HotMail did this and attracted more than ten million customers for its free email service. Now it is supported by advertising. By ending each free email from the sender with an offer for free email for the recipient, HotMail used the ultimate in word-of-mouth advertising.

Yes, there will be those who sign up for your freebie and then you'll never hear from them again. But many will be impressed by your quality, service and commitment and they will become lifelong customers.

Do you do business with companies that gave you something for free? Why not make a list of things you could give away for free and then give it a try. It could be as simple as creating a free report that you give prospects when they sign up for your newsletter.

What can you give away?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Marketing Your Book

More and more authors are looking for ways to market their books using the internet. There are several strategies that can be used: online press releases, blogs, virtual book tours. Many authors are utilizing the services of a virtual assistant to help them with their online marketing.

One more resource to add to your list as an author is Indie Seminars. This seminar was created to assist authors in moving forward with their business. Successful authors will speaking and presenting workshops at the seminar March 28, 2009 in the Greater Sacramento area. For Early Bird Specials, Register Before Midnight 31 December 2008.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Show a Little Kindness

Thursday is World Kindness Day. You can learn more about it here.

My question is, why don't we show kindness all the time? Why do we need to choose a specific day? Shouldn't our nature be to do what's kind to begin with?

I suggest we take some time to think about how we can show kindness each and every day. Go ahead and do something special on November 13th to show kindness. Then make it your resolve to do something kind every day.

What act of kindness will you do today?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Build Your Referral Network

I recently read a great post by Realtor Phil Greely at Biznik. He talks about specific steps to take to build your referral network. Read his article
An Approach System to Build your Referral Network.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Winner of the e-book Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business

On Monday my blog was a stop on Rita Cartwright's virtual book tour. One of our visitors was chosen at random to receive a complimentary copy of her e-book, Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business.

And the winner is.....John Furst. John gave us permission to publish his review of the book.

"The e-book gives a complete introduction to the various techniques for advertising your business on the Internet. And the resource section provides you with all the links you need to get started quickly. The beautiful thing about the way you have structured the e-book is that you can subsequently publish e-books that go in depth
with every chapter. Thanks for the gift. I appreciate it." - John

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank you for joining me for Rita's virtual book tour

I want to thank those of you who participated Monday in Rita's virtual book tour as she promoted her new e-book, Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business. I had visitors both at this blog and my other blog, Awesome Assistant (Sue Canfield) Virtual Support Services.

We hope to host more authors as virtual book touring becomes more well known.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Rita J. Cartwright

Rita recently released her e-book, Online Marketing Tools for Today's Small Business, and is taking a virtual book tour. Today, she's stopped by my blog.

SC: Why did you write this book?
RC: My goal was to create a handbook, which entrepreneurs and small business owners can refer to when they are searching for online marketing tools and/or new marketing ideas. I wrote it for new entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as for those who have been in business a while.

SC: Tell me about yourself
RC: I’m originally from Arizona and now reside in California. I earned my bachelor’s degree (with Magna Cum Laude honors) from Arizona State University when I was 44 years old. After graduation, I couldn’t find a job; therefore, I decided to start my own business offering online word processing services, which was 6 years ago. At that time, I was not aware of the virtual assistant industry, which I am now a member of. So, I guess you can say I was ahead of the curve.

SC: What qualifies you to write this book?
RC: Approximately 2 years ago, I started maintaining a blog and writing articles in order to implement the article marketing strategy. (I talk about using this strategy as a marketing tool in my e-book.) Also, while attending college, I learned how to write. I had to write. I remember my English professor saying I should be a writer, because he thought I had the skills. I didn’t take him serious. I was just trying to get through college.

In regards to the subject matter, my background and education in marketing and my experience from operating an online business provide me with the necessary qualifications to write this e-book on the topic of online marketing tools.

SC: How long have you been an entrepreneur?
RC: I have been an entrepreneur since October 2002. Although I started out as a small business owner, I have become an entrepreneur. There are differences between entrepreneurs and small business owners. In fact, I wrote an article on the differences. It is titled, “Are There Any Differences Between an Entrepreneur and a Small Business Owner?” Ezine Articles is one of the article banks where you can find it.

SC: What is the e-book about?
RC: This e-book contains information on various online marketing tools, along with some examples and in-depth descriptions of the tools. There is also a resource section that lists websites where you can find the online marketing tools, including “live” links to the websites. The resource section will save your readers a lot of time in Internet research when they are searching for information on online marketing tools.

SC: What do you want the readers to get out of this e-book?
RC: I wanted to provide those readers, who have a shoestring marketing budget, with information they can use in their online marketing plan or, at least, generate new marketing ideas. Most entrepreneurs and small business owners do not have a large marketing budget. The marketing tools I discuss costs little to no money.

SC: Can we look for more books from you in the future?
RC: Yes. One of my clients, who is a coach of Christian leaders, and I are currently working together on an e-book. It will be geared towards Christian leaders and Christian virtual assistants. So be on the lookout for that in the near future.

SC: How can the readers contact you if they have any questions?
RC: Your readers can reach me at 760-631-1335 or toll free at 866-651-3073 or send me an e-mail at

SC: How much does your e-book costs?
RC: Only $3.98.

SC: Where can the readers purchase your e-book?
RC They can click here to purchase it.

SC: Rita, thank you for stopping by my blog on your tour.
RC: You are very welcome. Thank you, Sue, for having me.

Rita J. Cartwright
is a Virtual Assistant and owner of RJ's Word Processing Services and has been in business since 2002. In 1998, she received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Marketing from Arizona State University with a minor in Spanish. She is also a member of Virtual Assistant Networking Association and Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. In order to offer her clients quality service, Rita continues to enhance her skills through various teleseminars and webinars, as well as network online and offline with fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Rita’s background in marketing and experience in conducting her business online qualify her to write an e-book on the topic of various marketing tools and strategies. Having to operate on a shoestring marketing budget, provided her with necessary knowledge and skills, which were required in order to implement these same strategies into her online marketing plan. For more information on RJ’s Word Processing Services and Rita, please click here.

Summary of e-book: Entrepreneurs and small business owners in any industry can use this e-book as a reference guide. Whenever you need fresh online marketing ideas or need online marketing information, you can refer back to this e-book. Nowadays, we are so overwhelmed with information, Rita wanted to simplify the search for online marketing techniques by organizing some of that information together into one location, her e-book. Pick up your copy today at the low price of $3.98.