Tag Archives: marketing


By Gail Z. Martin

Many people resist integrating online PR and marketing into their promotional mix because they see themselves as “local” businesses. Yet online PR and marketing can be intensely local, depending on how the strategy is focused.

True, your company may not be interested in wooing customers that are thousands of miles away, or perhaps you’re unable to provide your service or product long-distance due to licensing restrictions or the tangible nature of what you’re selling. But don’t forget—the people in your local area go online every day to get information, and when your business is absent, you’ve taken yourself out of their decision-making process.

Creating a local-intensive online PR and marketing presence requires focus. It also requires understanding how to use online PR and marketing tools to reach a geographically defined audience. In addition, it requires that your content and online activities all underscore the local nature of your business in a way that converts the people in your geographic target area into customers.

(Excerpted from the brand new book 30 Days to Online PR and Marketing Success: The 30 Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Blogging to Grab Headlines and Get Clients by Gail Z. Martin)


Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing

Swimming Against the Tide

By Gail Z. Martin

When I was at the beach a few weeks ago, I had the chance to take my chair out into the surf and watch the waves come in around me.  I love to feel the water swell up over my feet and legs, and watch it glimmer in the sun as it rushes back out.

As I watched the sun make patterns in the surf, I noticed the small silver fish who were swept in with the water.  I love to see these little minnows swirl around my ankles when I walk in the surf, but I noticed that they were doing something curious.

They were struggling mightily against the tide.  Not only where they fighting the entire power of the ocean, but the tide was struggling to save their lives.  The fish only knew to swim onward, but “onward” would have mean beaching themselves in the sun to die.  And I realized that I know a lot of business owners like those fish.

How many people do you know who are committed to moving “onward” but who aren’t really paying attention to what would happen if they arrived at their supposed destination?

I know people who want to be famous, or who want to build a national franchise, or who want to land a huge national contract.  There’s nothing wrong with those dreams, but it’s important to understand where your version of “onward” is taking you.  Like the minnows, you might succeed in fighting the tide only to end up beached in the sun.

Here are some things to ask yourself, to avoid ending up like those minnows:

  • Why do I want this?  (Is it to impress other people, or for a valid business reason)
  • How will my life have to change to make this happen?  What might be the stress points or ramifications of those changes?
  • Can my support structure handle the stress?  (Your marriage, your family, your employees, and others to who depend on you.)
  • Have I laid a foundation sturdy enough to support  the level of success I’m seeking?  (Many people achieve their goal only to lose what they’ve gained because they didn’t lay a proper foundation capable of sustaining the activities required to maintain success.)
  • What will it take to strengthen my personal and professional support structures to lay a solid foundation for the success I seek?  What can I begin doing immediately to start to make that happen?  How long will it take to achieve?
  • When I achieve my goal, what then?
  • At what point will I be satisfied?  (Warning—if you really believe that “too much is not enough”, you are headed for trouble.  Dream big, but know when you’ve reached a point of sustainability that permits both personal and professional satisfaction.

We Americans love the rebels that swim against the tide.  But before you invest enormous energy in fighting the power of the tides pulling on you, take a few moments to make sure that you’re headed for a healthy destination.  Let go of the compulsion to move “onward” for the sake of moving, and chart your own course and speed.

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Filed under Dreams, Gail Z. Martin

Marketing Lessons from the Garden

By Gail Z. Martin

Does your marketing have blossom end rot?  My tomatoes did.  And I tried to fix them the same way I see business owners tackle marketing that isn’t working.  I tried to figure it out on my own, while throwing out tomatoes that got a gray, yucky fungus on the bottom.  I guessed at what was wrong, but it took me far too long to research my situation and find an expert to help.  I often run into business owners who put up with marketing that isn’t getting results, but they resist researching their options, finding an expert, and investing a little money in a solution.  Instead, they keep limping along on their own, still disappointed in their results.

Or is your marketing wilting?  Some people are natural gardeners.  I’m not one of them.  My garden reminds me of the benefits of consistency, because when I forget to water my plants for a day or two (or three), they wilt.  I know a lot of business owners in the same boat when it comes to marketing.  They get enthusiastic and invest money, time and energy into their marketing—for a while.  Then they get busy and the marketing goes on the back burner.  It begins to wilt.  When the business owner notices it again, the marketing is just a shadow of itself—and not producing nearly the results it could if well cared for.

If you’re marketing isn’t fulfilling expectations, take a cue from my garden experience and see if expert advice, investing in the right solution and making a consistent effort won’t turn your marketing around and make it bloom!

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Seasons and Cycles

By Gail Z. Martin

The world around us is a place of seasons and cycles.  Spring, summer, fall and winter come with reassuring regularity.  The moon moves through its phases month after month.  Tides rise and fall with predictability.  We plan our lives according to the seasons and cycles around us.

Business also has cycles.  Every industry has its own variation of a sales cycle or a  product lifecycle.  Some businesses, such as those in the travel and tourism industry, may be very attuned to the physical seasons.  Ski in the winter, go to the beach in the summer.  Or, a business may be governed by more arbitrary cycles.  Accountants are busy before April 15.  Retailers gear up for back-to-school and the holiday rush.  Other companies are driven by budget cycles or annual proposals.

Business owners are not immune to seasons and cycles.  Think about the past year.  Were there predictable periods when you knew you would be overworked or stressed out?  How about periods where you could anticipate a chance to get caught up or catch your breath?  Now think about how the seasons and cycles may affect your decision making and your accessibility as a manager, or your vision as an entrepreneur.  During the crazy season, you may be moving as fast as you can, but are stress and fatigue hurting your mood, temper or decision-making ability?  Are you as good a boss during the peak times as you are during the less crazed periods where you have more time to listen and the opportunity to deliberate on an answer?  Does your stress radiate throughout the organization, hindering everyone else’s productivity and dampening the office mood?

When you stop to notice how business cycles and seasonal demand affect us as entrepreneurs, we see that we may have our own  personal “hurricane season”  with moody tempests or a “La Nina” firestorm due to frayed nerves and an over-extended calendar.

Once you understand and recognize your own personal seasons and cycles, you can start to take measures to keep storm season from becoming a disaster.  Don’t be afraid to delegate more in order to give yourself breathing room.  Get temporary help or interns.  Make time even in the busiest seasons to take care of yourself with healthy food, enough sleep, exercise, and short relaxation breaks.  Making a conscious effort to manage your storm season can have a huge positive impact, not just on your personal wellbeing, but on the mood and productivity of everyone who depends on you.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Strategy

Break or Take a Break

By Gail Z. Martin

I was behind someone in line a few days ago and couldn’t help hearing part of his conversation with his companion.  What caught my attention was the man’s comment that he hadn’t had a vacation in fifteen years.

Wow.  While I’m sure this man was proud of his diligence and hard work, I couldn’t help wondering how badly burnout might be affecting the value of his output.  In my experience, you either break or you learn to take a break.

Now I know that with some of the ups and downs of the economy, “staycations” have replaced vacations for many people.  The point isn’t about leaving town, staying in a hotel, or going somewhere exotic.  For me, the essential point is to step away from the swift current of your busy life for even a day, an afternoon, a weekend and rest, relax and refresh yourself.

Some people like to brag that they are so essential, their business couldn’t last a few days without them.  Usually, this means they have avoided developing procedures and delegating trivia, or that they have made themselves the roadblock, either out of a love of being important or the need to micromanage.  Eventually, the stress catches up and the business is forced to do without them while the indispensable manager recovers from a heart attack or other stress-related ailment.

Other people have never learned how to relax.  Maybe they were told that it was bad not to be active every minute–“idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  American culture has the unfortunate habit of undervaluing rest and restoration and overvaluing activity for activity’s sake.  If that’s your hang-up, let it go.

When we allow ourselves to take a break, wonderful things happen that actually enhance future productivity.  By taking a step away from the normal flow of things, we often gain new and valuable perspective.  By resting, we preserve our health and prevent a longer, possibly destructive interruption due to illness.  When we move outside our normal routine to go somewhere new, do something different or have a new experience, we become open to unexamined possibilities.  And when our break frees up time for us to nurture our family and close friendships, we preserve the relationships that support us and enable us to do our best work.

This summer, make a commitment to yourself to take a break at regular intervals and see what new possibilities emerge.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Social Media

Who are your market makers?

By Gail Z. Martin

I owe a debt to a friend of mine, Chia-li Chen, for coining the phrase “market makers” (you can listen to her this month on my Shared Dreams podcast at (www.SharedDreamsPodcast.com).  It’s a brilliant phrase, and a brilliant idea.

“Market makers” are the partners who help you reach a wider audience than you would have otherwise been able to meet.  They are the event promoters who invite you to speak at a national conference, the large corporation that  buy a quantity of your book as an incentive prize, or maybe the corporate website that hosts you on a teleseminar for all of their clients.

Who are your market makers?

Sometimes, people stumble into market makers, but most of the time, it’s intentional.  It comes from having a clear idea of who your ideal client is, and where you can find them in clusters.  Market makers also help you accelerate your growth by connecting with you to lots of your ideal prospects, instead of you having to find those prospects one at a time.

How do you know a market maker when you see it?  Think about the companies that serve your ideal clients, who provide complementary—not competing—services, and that are organized enough so that affiliation with them creates scalable growth for you.  What companies would be a great fit for you as a speaker or for your books?   What organizations could hire you over and over again to consult or speak, or provide large orders of product?

Then it’s up to you to network your way in front of decision makers with a great win-win proposal.  When there’s a good match, both sides will clearly see the benefit.

Who are your market makers?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Strategy

In Murder and Marketing, Intent Counts for Everything

By Gail Z. Martin

If you’ve ever watched a detective story on TV, you know that (at least on television), when it comes to murder, it’s not just a matter of figuring out who did the deed, but also determining the intent behind the deed.

That’s one thing that murder and marketing have in common. Intent means everything.

For your marketing to be effective, it’s not just what you do, but why you do it and what effect you mean for your actions to achieve. Too many business owners flail around, wasting time and effort, with a “throw something against the wall and see if it sticks” approach to marketing. They have no clear intent, so the marketing achieves no clear outcome.

You can do better than that.

Sit in a quiet place for 30 minutes with a piece of paper and no distractions. Write down your intentions for your business this year. Begin each sentence with “I intend”. Your intentions can be to hit a revenue goal, enter a new market, hire staff, re-work your strategy, move to a new building, gain a specific number of new clients, attract a specific type of new client—it’s up to you, just be specific. Don’t say “I intend to get more clients.” Instead, say “I intend to attract five more ideal clients at the $1000/month level.” See the difference?

On the next day, take another uninterrupted 30 minutes. Review your list of intentions. Now think about how you’ll need to make some changes in your marketing to align your marketing efforts with what’s necessary to achieve your intentions.

Maybe you’ll need to do more personal networking. Perhaps you’ll need to re-work your schedule to permit for more travel, more time spent finally writing that book you’ve meant to write, etc. Maybe you need to hire a coach to help you gain new skills or revise your strategy. Make sure you state each action as an intention, beginning every sentence with “I intend.” Make it specific, and add a time-frame for each intention.

Creating a killer marketing strategy isn’t hard—if you’re clear about your intention.

If your marketing strategy were against the law, would there be enough evidence of your intentions to convict you?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Marketing

Clear Vision makes the Difference for Online Marketing

By Gail Z. Martin

What, specifically, is your vision for your online marketing? If you don’t have clear intentions for your online marketing, it probably isn’t working as hard for you as it could.

Online marketing includes your web site, any paid ads you run online such as banner ads or Facebook ads, your presence on blogs and podcasts, online press releases, web videos and audios you’ve created, teleseminars and online events—everything about you on the web.

Does your online presence tell a consistent story? Do all the pieces reinforce your position as an expert? Are you showing yourself in your best light?

In order to have a clear intention for your online marketing, you need to focus on your top business goal and your #1 target audience.

Everything you do should support achieving your top business goal by successfully connecting with your #1 target audience in a way that moves your audience to take strategic action.

What is the action you want your audience to take? Do you want them to move down your sales funnel from free download to expensive consulting product? Do you want them to sign up for an upcoming event? Are you hoping they’ll invite you to speak? It’s OK to want all of those things, but you’ll need a carefully structured online effort to reach multiple audiences with multiple goals.
Start simple. If your #1 target audience did just one thing to make the biggest impact on your bottom line to help you achieve your top goal, what would it be? Once you know, align all of your online marketing efforts toward encouraging your audience to take that single action.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Social Media

Does Your Web Site Have 20/20 Vision?

By Gail Z. Martin

Does your web site have a clear focus on communicating with your ideal client, or is your focus a little fuzzy?

Can you see your statement of intention in your web site—its design, content, and wording? If not, your focus is probably fuzzy, and your target audience is probably not getting a clear message.

Start with a clear statement of intention. Who do you want to attract to your web site? What do you want them to do when they reach your site? What impression of you do you want them to carry away? How often do you want them to return?

When your intentions for your web site are clear in your own mind, you can view your site with fresh focus and new eyes. Imagine that you are one of your ideal prospects. Look at your home page. What does it say to you? Does it offer value or promise to help you solve your most pressing concern? Are there no-risk ways to get to know the expert (you) better—such as a free downloadable article or ebook? What is on the site that will improve your (the prospect’s) life?

Now that you’ve had a chance to take a 20/20 look at your web site with fresh eyes and clear intentions, what changes will you make?

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Marketing, Sales

Social Media Success Begins with Clear Intention

By Gail Z. Martin
When you log onto Facebook for your business, do you have a clear intention in your mind of what you hope to achieve?

Without a clear intention, you’re likely to lose your way. Facebook and other social media sites are full of distractions, from comments by old friends to videos of cute kittens. If you’re not completely sure what your mission is when you log onto Facebook to promote your business, you can drift, dawdle, and find that you’ve wasted several hours.

The key to having a clear intention is to keep your top business goal in mind. Next, remind yourself who your key target audience . That audience will help you achieve your goal, and that’s who you’re on social media to meet.

Go armed with content that you’ve already written that targets the needs, interests and concerns of your target audience. Provide tips, ideas and expert suggestions that showcase your expertise and, most importantly, provide something of value for your target audience.

Take the time to make a personal connection to just two of your current friends. Comment on one of their recent posts, ask a question, share an interesting link. Then invite 5 – 10 people to friend you and “like” your fan page by selecting people who are part of one of Facebook’s many groups dedicated to a topic that relates to your expertise.

With a clear intention, your time on Facebook will translate into a stream of new prospects and qualified traffic to your web site.

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Filed under Gail Z. Martin, Intentions, Social Media