Why sign up to an inactive blog?

Let’s get real. this post, written in march of 2013 is the first new post on this site since early 2011. It’s not that I don’t like this blog, or that I’m not interested in the subject matter, but rather that it is a busy life and other activities have taken priority.

Despite the great and obvious inactivity of this blog, there has been a steady stream of new signups to the site. I regularly get email notifications that some new user has signed up to this site.

But why? What does this accomplish?

I’ve heard of “comment spam” and indeed there’s a fair amount of junk comments submitted, like “hey, your post really said it well. I learned a lot from it.” from “bonerpillemporium.com” Well great. but really what is the point? why do people do this? Does someone actually make money this way?

Great moment in good service prompts loyalty and gratitude

Recently this blog spilled electronic ink on the importance of giving good service (see http://marketingandprlab.com/service-matters/ ).

And just today, I had what looked and felt like really good service from a company on which I rely  — the web hosting company, Hostgator, which makes this website visible.

What happened was this: I tried to surf over to here, Marketing and PR Lab. Instead of seeing this page, I got “page load error” and “website can’t be found” messages, and in two different browsers.

I was on a conference call at the time and so could not telephone the support line. Instead, I sent a quick cry-for-help email to Hostgator’s support dept.

Six minutes later I received an email acknowledging receipt of my message and assigning a case number.

After another six minutes a support staffer sent a second email reporting that they identified the problem, fixed it, that my site should be visible again, and to

Please check to confirm.
If you have any questions, just let us know.

In fact the site was up and running again. It was really a relief to get such a quick response and resolution. While it is certainly possible that an outage could last longer, this treatment really inspires confidence. What a difference from the company discussed in “service matters” (below), who lost a sale by being so very unresponsive.

So, as a thank-you for Hostgator’s good service, I’m posting a little banner link of theirs here, in this post, right below. They’ve been good. I appreciate it, and, if you’re looking for a good web host, hostgator should be considered.

Service Matters

Or should the title simply be “Duh!”?

Such a one-syllable title might be fun, but, channeling my inner editor, it’s probably not quite enough information to really work as a title.

However obvious the statement, service matters, this may seem, – good service is good business, good service makes customers happy, so they’ll come back for more and tell their friends that your business is good to do business with – occasionally life steps in to dramatize that what should not have to be said, has to be said; that the obvious needs to be belabored; and what should go without saying sometimes just doesn’t go without saying and has to be said.

Like one or another of Tony Soprano’s crew used to say, “I’m just saying….”

I’m just saying:  Service matters. Paying attention matters. Not being attentive can make you lose sales and kill your business.

Why belabor the obvious now? Here’s what happened:

Continue reading

Fail Faster to Build Business

That’s what one enterprising, charismatic and smart entrepreneur I met in St. Louis in November ’08 says to do. It’s part of her business model.

Stacy Karacostas, a marketing expert and coach, and prime mover at Success-Stream.com :  Come up with a bunch of ideas for possible business activities — i.e., things that either generate revenue and profit, like a product or service, or generate business, or at least traffic to your website.

Try them out, and if they work, great, and if they don’t, get away from it and move on to something else quickly.

“Fail Faster” and move on quickly is reminiscent of the words of literary (not business) giant, Samuel Beckett, who, in his short book, Worstward Ho! wrote:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

I think that inherent in the “fail faster” strategy is the hope and plan, also, to fail better.

Related to this strategy of failing faster to find your way to things that work and profit is trying faster.

So for example, as part of her marketing coaching business (Stacy helps small businesses, entrepreneurs, and consultants build their business through better, savvier marketing), she dreamed up several topics, with the key points to speak about to live audiences. She publicized her availability as a speaker on her website, and as organizations contacted her to speak on one topic or another, she’d develop the detailed speech and presentation. The topics that got no calls never got beyond the title, main idea, and key points.

Bottom line: one path to success: Fail faster, Fail better.

3 Things to Do Starting Today to Boost Your Business in the Bad Economy

In challenging times like these, where there seems to be no dispute that the economy is in recession, and it is the the worst recession since the 1930s, with bad news all around, it can be pretty overwhelming and even paralyzing for entrepreneurs and business owners.

So, how to keep going in an environment like this? What are some things to do to build and grow a business even when things look and feel bad as bad as they do now? Here are three things to jump on:

1.     Ramp up your marketing.

Many businesses try to economize as business starts to dry up in a slow-down by cutting back on their marketing budgets. This is a false economy: if customers are slowing down or dropping away, you need to work harder to find that “starving crowd,” as the late Gary Halbert called it, the people who are hungry for your products or services. Bottom line: Market more. Market better.

2.     Bring back old customers for new sales.

Many businesses devote all their marketing energy to get a new customer to make a new sale. Don’t forget about the customers you already have. When you persuade a prospect to buy, you’ve overcome the toughest part – bridging the trust gap to make that sale.

With that gap bridged, go forth and, over time, make a second, a third, a fourth sale and more. This can work if you’ve treated your customers well and can do the creative business thinking needed to imagine and create new things or services your customer needs and wants.

I learned the following core concept from marketing maven Dan Kennedy: Don’t get a customer to make a sale; instead, make a sale to get a customer. Think long-term: That person who just bought your product or service for the first time it is, or should be just the beginning. Develop a relationship for life.

3.     Make your marketing materials current and topical.

Talk about what’s on your customers’ minds: Before Valentines’ Day, steal their hearts, before St Patrick’s Day, go shamrock green; before Tax Day … you get the idea.

And, now, with our historically awful economy, with the financial and car company bailouts and the “stimulus package” on everyone’s mind, it’s probably a good idea to craft your message to address these huge issues.

For example, one enterprising seller of sex toys and dirty movies is running radio ads that tell listeners to “stimulate your package” with their sexy products.

Continue reading

“Pretty Good” is Better than “Better than Pretty Good”

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1910, G.K. Chesterton wrote, “If a thing is worth doing , it is worth doing badly.”

More recently, marketing expert and business-development coach, Adam Urbanski, took that bit of contrarian bluster and retooled it to rally his students, and push them to get going, get things done, and stop delaying their plans to start, build, or grow their businesses.

Where many worried about not knowing everything and needing their web page, their sales letter, their newsletter to be absolutely perfect, Adam encouraged them not to get tripped up by paralyzing perfectionism, when he said, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly at first.”

Build Your Business By Doing A Lot of Different Things All at Once

Combine that with the idea that in making a business go, grow, survive and then thrive, a business owner should do a lot things, and do them quickly, in marketing, management and generally, everything, a lot of things should be done at once, and rapidly. This wisdom – or at least, theory – says, don’t just do a newsletter, do direct mail, a website and build an email list.

Continue reading

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ricochet Relationship-Building Online for Business

Back in the old days your business needed a website, and that was it. That was then. Now, sophisticated, technology-savvy marketers tell us that just a website is not enough anymore.

They might even say, this is not your grandfather’s internet (though for this to approach some version of literal truth, we’d have lifespans nearly as short as that of fruit flies).

There seems to be a trend among internet entrepreneurs which suggests not only do you need a website, but you need a blog too.

The theory goes something like this: Your website is where you do business. You describe your goods or services or both on your website, you have your credentials, and the other stuff that might reasonably go onto a website devoted to being a business or promoting one that is off line. Much of it though is relatively static.

Continue reading