Become a unicorn…

It has dawned on me that I am becoming more and more important to most of those in the world I wish to deal with and it even appears to apply to the world at large as the days go on. Is this also happening to you?

Every time I try to make a phone call I am answered by a voice assuring me that I am a very valued caller and my persona is of unbounded value to those I am trying to contact. My ego is further boosted by being advised that whatever I wish to do or want is taken very seriously. However, my feelings are very quickly deflated when advised that there is nobody free to take my call and I should wait. Wait, but for how long? A minute or so perhaps but surely not until the battery on my cordless phone goes flat? And that indeed has been the case on two occasions.

In every business I have ever operated, the first edict was that a phone should never ring more than seven times. The target was to answer each call by the third ring. Answer machines were only allowed to cut in after normal business hours when the last person had left the office. No, dear reader, this is not my rant of frustration but the underlying mantra to marketing and selling techniques. I suspect that there are some of you who are probably asking, how old is this bloke? he is really out of touch with the world of today!

I did ask myself that question and set out on a trawling expedition to see how marketing had changed. Was I really wrong? And to complete my rhetorical chatter, I can assure you that nothing has changed over the years. We have moved from an analogue to a digital world but that just changes the tools and media. The art, skill and psychology has not moved one iota. I have actually quoted verbatim, major sources just to convince you.

The first thing I ever learnt about selling was to know your market and then be different to all your competitors. That advice was given by Zig Ziegler, the man who was once known as the $1,000,000 salesman and a highly regarded sales trainer.

One of his many memorable quotes was: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” So, be different. Stand out from the crowd. Be a unicorn in a herd of donkeys. Be original and quirky and uniquely represent your business through advertising and marketing. Show everyone not only why your business is awesome, but why it is head-and-shoulders above everyone else.

You could try the following now: answer the phone under seven rings (can’t do a smiley); take a controversial stand on an issue or trend that affects your industry; don’t just parrot ‘best practices’; produce original data that other businesses will want to cite; take the time to create a striking About Us page that showcases your unique mission statement and staff. The digital age has brought an Aladdin’s cave of wondrous options.

Despite its undeniable benefits I’ll be the first to admit, social media to me is hard and irritating. Especially when you are trying to juggle Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram and Pinterest and Google+ and Twitter. Unless you use the tools I mentioned in a previous article, it’s hard to tell if it even works at all! Having a presence across channels is great but I’ve found it is more effective to choose one channel that your customers are most present on to pursue.

For example, if your customers are constantly tagging your location or handle in Instagram posts but rarely retweeting you on Twitter, invest more time in Instagram, which is conveniently easy to share on Facebook as well. If you are a creative designer, you may want to look into Pinterest where a half-life on Pinterest is substantially longer than any other channel.

Simple things to do include analysing your current social media presence: where are you seeing the highest engagement? Sign up for some social tools! Hootsuite and Buffer will link up to your social accounts, allowing you to schedule posts for the future. Mention helps you monitor keywords, and Feedly is a pliable RSS reader so you can stay informed. These can alleviate a lot of stress and are tools further to those I listed some months ago.

As the most widely used search engine, Google has a surplus of offerings that can help your business. As part of an initiative that started in 2015, Google ran Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map in order to get local businesses online. According to BCG report, The Connected World, businesses that have an online presence grow 40 percent faster than those that don’t.  If you missed the boat, now is time to correct that.

By creating a Google My Business account, you can take control of the information about your business, such as hours of operation, address, phone number and website. Now, with the new local search ads, your business can appear on the Google Maps app or website. So get a Google My Business account. And Google your business to check out the information already there, and see what you can do to improve it.

To help you further the web is awash with tools to help you develop strategies. Visual Website Optimizer has a free landing page analyser tool that reviews and evaluates your landing page based on answers to 21 questions. Provide answers about your landing page, with questions inquiring about the number of offers on your landing page, the availability of product screenshots, landing page length, and more.

While the tool asks you to input your URL, it seems like most of the tool’s assessment stems from your answers to the 21 ‘yes or no’ questions. After answering the questions, you’ll get an overall grade, plus a score on specific areas that relate to overall landing page greatness.

Even though Zig Ziegler used the word ‘motivation’ in his quote, you can substitute it with any other word that determines your outcome; mediocrity or success are determined by the amount of effort you put into growing your venture.

My hints will give you a solid starting point.

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