Ready for a Strong 2009… Regardless of the Economy?

I recently learned that I’d made a bit of a faux pas. I used the word “recession” in an article I was asked to write for the newsletter that Zig Ziglar sends out every week.

It was an honest mistake. I wasn’t aware of his personal — and consequently, their corporate — policy to simply not use that word. It really got me thinking. After all, Zig has been responsible for mentoring and coaching thousands (tens of thousands? more?) of successful people to the top of their game.

So… from here on out, I’m dropping the word. It might seem like a silly or symbolic move, but I had already decided months ago that we — that is me (David Johnson) and my company (Epiphany Marketing) — weren’t participating in it.

So… we officially renamed the event that I’m privileged to be a part of next week with my good friend, Tom Ziglar. It’s new title is:

How to Attract Customers at Low Cost in this Tough Economy

Ziglar Webinar: How to Attract Customers at Low Cost in this Tough Economy
Ziglar Webinar: How to Attract Customers at Low Cost in this Tough Economy

And perhaps a better title would be, “in any economy.” The fact of the matter is that we’ve systemized some processes that any business can use — after all, it’s the very process we’ve used an honed for years in our consulting work — to bring in a steady stream of new prospects, clients and customers.

Sound good? You can do it.

In fact, the Ziglar organization has been kind enough to permit me to invite you to next week’s event.

Go watch the video clip of Zig Ziglar, Tom Ziglar and yours truly, then register. But do it quickly — the space won’t last long!

I’ll see you there next week!

The End of the China Price

When faced with significant economic pressure, American consumers and businesses tend to take action in a very predictable manner:

They do what’s in their own best interests.

Interestingly enough, that doesn’t always mean that they buy the products or services that cost the least. In fact, it is our prediction that in the months (and years) to come, a significant trend will emerge that will leave much of big business sailing off like the Titanic in the direction of the iceberg… unable to change course quickly enough.

The trend?

Buying on real value.

Real value is the opposite of the “China price.” Real value is what we look for when we realize that funds are severely limited, that the probability of increased spending power in the future is low, and that what we purchase today (or this quarter, or this fiscal year) needs to last.

Businesses that understand this trend have the opportunity to act purposefully now — before it gains steam. And it will gain steam. 2009 and 2010 will see significant increases in mortgage defaults and foreclosures, further pressuring the housing market. The global economic crisis will create significant instability in the global supply chain. This will threaten the low prices for the cheap, disposable, planned-obsolescence goods that are the bread and butter of big-box retailers. We’ve already seen this happen with Best Buy and Circuit City, where the goods are non-essentials. But it will move to Wal-Mart when we realize that the toys, household items, furniture — and yes, even clothing — that we purchase may need to last a lot longer than China intends them to last.

And the same thing will occur in the business-to-business world as well. Long term value will begin to outrank short-term utility and low cost.

This isn’t a short-term shift. This is going to be a fundamental swing of the pendulum. The old mentality: solve the problem as quick as possible with little regard for the future… and do it cheaply. This created the “China Price” and the credit boom. Remember your grandma and her shoebox full of cash? Remember how she wouldn’t part with money for anything? Watch for a modern version of it to arise.

What does it all add up to?

Significant opportunity for local, small business. Now is the time to ramp up value. Build products and services that provide significant long-term return on investment — even if it changes your ability to sell for the lowest price. Retrain your salespeople and refocus your marketing message to demonstrate long-term value. Don’t gloss over the immediate benefit, but make sure you’re justifying what you’re asking your customers to spend.

But don’t confuse this new way of thinking for some sort of gimmick. If necessary, go back to the drawing board and retool your products and services. The market is going to expose the charlatans and reward those who are authentically creating value. If you’re concerned that you’ve built your house on sand, now’s the time to find some valuable footing and pour concrete.

That, my friends, is the most valuable New Year’s Resolution your business can make.

How to Get Results Now in Your Marketing

Once question I’ve been asked frequently by friends and business associates is this: “How are you able to help your clients increase revenues when none of our marketing efforts seem to be working as well as they used to work?”

There’s no short, simple answer to this question. And about a year ago, I sat down and tried to figure out the best way to help show our clients, colleagues and friends with small businesses how to put all of this into practice. What resulted was a 12-week marketing training program that we implemented for the first time early this year.

Before getting into more detail, I want to mention that we’re taking the major highlights of this process and presenting them in Sarasota in a half-day seminar on September 27th. Visit Results Now Marketing to find out all about it.

The results have been nothing short of mind-boggling.  Instead of us actually providing services to these businesspeople, we’re simply showing them the process we use. It’s a strategic process, which means that it is transferable and can be adapted to just about any business.

One company put the techniques to work for them and, after having a website for 7 years that never made it anywhere near the top of the search engines, they put a brand new website on the front page of Google (for actual searches that their potential customers would run) in just a matter of a couple of weeks!

(They did it!  We simply showed them how!)

That’s just the beginning… some of the strategies we show have multiplied the revenues in some of our clients within a matter of a few months.

I want to show you how as well. Join us on September 27th for Results Now Marketing in Sarasota.

Have An Epiphany In Your Marketing

With so much talk of recession… and some actual slowdowns — some of them serious, especially within certain industries — businesses have a tendency to cut back in areas that can make matters worse.

Marketing is at the top of the list.

If you know me, then you know that I’m not in favor of untracked, unmeasurable and expensive advertising anyway.  So, don’t get too upset if you think I’m thinking mainly of advertising… I’m not.  What I’m referring to are the systems in your business that produce new prospects and/or customers on a regular basis.

You do have some of those, don’t you?

If not, then the time has come for you to put some in place.  And fast!  If you do, then it’s important that you proceed with caution if you’re eyeing them in your budget.

2 Big Announcements

First… we are happy to unveil a shiny new blog site that just launched. It is focused on small business marketing and already has a few posts on it (some of which were gleaned from other publications for which we’ve written).  This reflects the renewed focus in our business: Epiphany Marketing.

Secondly… there are a couple of big things coming in the next few weeks.  So, this is an announcement about our coming announcements!  But there will be some significant new opportunities for you as a business person to learn how to use applied strategy along with some free and low-cost technology to make sure that your future customers find you instead of someone else.  It’s going to be big!

Here’s a hint: there will be something happening in Sarasota.

If you’re one of our many readers from across the US and around the world… not to worry, we’ve got something coming for you, too.  Keep your eyes glued to this spot… and the new marketing blog, too!

Finally… Small Business Marketing Made Simple

As most of our faithful readers know, this company was founded as a marketing consultancy. Marketing strategy is and always been our core competency. And, although we’ve done quite a bit of strategic work over the years that has been focused more at leadership and overall performance, in the last 24 months or so, we’ve been doing more strategic marketing work than ever before.

In fact, the work we’ve been doing has been so effective and is in such high demand — particularly among small business owners — that we’ve been forced to bring a shift to our business. Here’s an idea of what I mean:

V. Daniel Kassicieh, D.O. of Sarasota Neurology“When David told me that I could start using the internet as a primary method for marketing my Neurology practice and obtaining new patients, I didn’t believe him. I did not understand the power of the Internet in reaching thousands of people daily with information about my business and services we provide. However, having prior experience of working with Dave, where he made outrageous claims that I didn’t believe, I proceeded with designing a completely new website and blog site.

His predictions came true, where now my Internet presence is responsible for a large number of new referrals. The initial investment cost of the project was rapidly recouped and as an ongoing service, my website has added significant revenue to my annual bottom line. Within 6 months of implementation, I was ranked on the top four pages of Google. Almost 50% of my new patients were (and are) coming in after finding me on the web. I was a busy physician when I started down this road – but I was able to use the techniques he showed me to make my business even more successful. With the excellent response to the website, I have been able to cut our yellow pages advertising budget by fifty percent. David is a skilled IT person and is very knowledgeable about marketing and creative uses of the Internet.”

– V. Daniel Kassicieh, D.O., founder of Sarasota Neurology, P.A.

One client (with a well-established business) multiplied revenues by a factor of 5 just last year alone!

We’re having such tremendous results that we recognize the need to share what we know. The good news is that any business person can implement these strategies right away.

So… I have 2 critical announcements to make.

  1. Effective January 1, 2008, we have no longer been offering any consulting services not related to marketing. The epiphanyconsulting.net site will be redesigned (when we have time) to reflect that change.
  2. We are formally announcing that we are not accepting new Epiphany Marketing clients at this time. The EpiphanyMarketing.com site has already been changed to reflect this fact. We will continue to evaluate new strategic marketing projects only from existing clients and Epiphany Marketing subscribers on a first-come, first-served basis.
  3. This means that the best way to access what we know is to participate in one of our training programs. A new round of these is starting up shortly.

Consider this your personal invitation to join me and my good friend (and client) Michael Pink on a conference call this Thursday or Friday. There are currently 4 time slots to choose from, but a couple of them are already nearly full (we can only accommodate 200 callers on each call), because Michael has been inviting people through his blog. We will consider adding additional slots if these fill up completely.

Here’s where to go sign up for these important calls.

I look forward to talking with you very soon!

Winning in the New Economy

China. India. The increasing decline of the dollar. A globally integrated economy like never before in the history of the earth.

These are some of the signs of the kind of large-scale sweeping change that is not only coming… but is here today.

Evidence of this includes the recent trillion-dollar single-day losses on global equity markets due to the fraudulent trading activity of one 31-year-old French futures trader. Thankfully, it was Martin Luther King Day here in the U.S., and our equity markets were closed. The Federal Reserve jumped in with the largest emergency rate cut in 26 years, and followed it up with another large cut at its regular meeting the following week.

What does all of this mean to business leaders — particularly small-business entrepreneurs? How do we navigate the unfamiliar waters we now find ourselves in?

All of these topics and more are the subject of an event taking place at the end of this month called, “Winning in the New Economy.” The list of speakers reads like a virtual roster of Epiphany Consulting business partners and clients. Included in the lineup are Eric Beck, founder of the Total Integration Program, my good friend Jeff Timpanaro of Oberata Consulting in Houston, Blain Wease of Provincial Development in Nashville, TN, and Juan and Sharon Restrepo of REIPtheRewards.com and Home Rescue Solutions here in Florida.

The event is being held at the exclusive Pelican Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida and will be a mixture of keynote-style sessions and workshop-style sessions. You should expect to finish the day with a working strategy in hand, well-equipped to chart out a course for the future even through the murky waters of change.

All the details, including online registration, are available at the event website.

By the way, if you’re interested in hearing more about it, Eric Beck was my special guest co-host today on the Friday Wrapup Podcast. We talked quite a bit about the transitions we’re all facing and the identity crisis it seems to have created on multiple levels. Hear the “Identity Crisis” episode here.

Congratulations to Sarasota-based Copytalk

Copytalk, LLC, the developers of a dictation service for mobile professionals, received the 2007 Industry of the Year Award from the Economic Development Council of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. The company is another shining example of the high level of innovation that exists within the Sarasota area.

I’ve actually had the opportunity to work with the company’s dictation service after recommending it to several clients in the past. It’s a great service for sales professionals, financial consultants, or anyone else who conducts meetings — whether face-to-face, by phone, or virtually — and needs to maintain notes or remember to take action based upon the results of those meetings.

How Copytalk Works

It’s really quite simple: you walk out of a meeting, and you dial a number. You talk. It listens. A short time later, an e-mail arrives in your inbox — or the inbox of the person(s) you specify — and your notes are typed and ready to be pasted into your CRM, personal information manager, customer/prospect database, or even printed and filed (does anyone still do that?). I’m not sure about what all the technology is behind the curtain, but I think Copytalk has some elves that listen to your message and do all the typing.

If you’ve never invested in dictation services before, the monthly fee can seem a little high. However, when you consider the lost opportunity cost of missing an important detail in a meeting — you know… the sort of detail that you remember 5 minutes after the meeting, but can’t begin to conjure up just one hour (or one meeting) later — it can easily pay for itself the first day of the month. My clients who have used the service have experienced significant improvements in productivity, effectiveness, and the overall quality of the service they in turn provide to their own customers and prospects.

The company was founded in 2000 and, by all appearances, has been experiencing steady growth ever since.

“The selection of a business to be honored as Industry of the Year is a difficult process,” said Nancy Engel, Executive Director of the EDC. “Our judges were looking for a balance of sustained company growth, adding new professional jobs for our workforce, contributions to the community, and likelihood for continued growth and expansion. Copytalk stood out as far exceeding our expectations in each of those areas. We are very fortunate to have Copytalk in our community and look forward to their continued success.”

Congratulations, Copytalk, on this well-deserved recognition!

Update: Selling Armor on eBay

We told you previously about the armor we listed on eBay. This isn’t necessarily all that unique — people sell interesting things on eBay every day. What was unique was using a proven platform such as a blog in order to promote the listing.

How’d we do?

Well, we’re happy to report that the auction ended last night. We’ve already been in communication with the buyer (a “mate” from the land down under — howdy, Dan, if you’re reading this!). He seems like a great guy. We’ll be shipping his new purchase out to him tomorrow.

More interestingly, however, are the results we managed to achieve on our search keywords. We got into the top 10 (read: 1st page) of results for these words: antique armor cuirass. Here’s some photographic proof for those of you from Missouri:

Google Search Results July 8, 2007

The lesson? If you’re trying to get noticed, you can’t beat a nicely-placed business blog. From an internet marketing standpoint, this is nearly magical. If you have a business and you aren’t blogging, you’re missing out on a phenomenal opportunity to communicate with your existing and future customers.

For those of you wondering about our traffic, I don’t have any other armor auctions to compare things to, so I can’t speak intelligently to that. But on the blog site itself here, we had a significant spike in traffic looking for armor. Ironically, much of it seems to have come from Digg!

Get busy blogging!

And, by the way, we happen to specialize in getting you off to the right start. Contact us today! 😉

If you can’t wait, here’s a great article we just found from the folks that put together the snazzy new design for Michelle Malkin’s blog.

Are You Getting Noticed?

Why do small businesses build websites, anyway?

I’ve come to believe that most of them (the businesses) are suffering from dysfunctional strategy.  Perhaps hypo-strategy is a better way to look at it — a sort of neglect where it comes to developing any overall business philosophy or vision.

Why would I say this?

Most small business websites do just about everything except what they should be doing.

Continue reading “Are You Getting Noticed?”