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Belfast Business Startup Case Study

Exodus is a Northern Ireland based Digital Marketing, Advertising & Recruitment Agency and in this case study look at what they did for a new plumbing company with no track record or customer testimonials to build on.

Belfast Business Startup Case Study

THIS Startup Recipe Took My First Company from 0 to 600 Customers in 5 Months Discover the secrets of how I trained completely green, non-tech savvy individuals to drive online traffic to an offline business! Once you finish reading, let me know if you’d like to do same for yours.

If yo wold like to talk to us about providing some content and a solution like this for you contracting operation please contact us and lets have a conversation about your situation.

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A Good Article On Tracking Local Search Results

I’ve been emphasizing the importance of writing content with Local Search in mind with the contractors I’ve been talking to recently but the next step, and perhaps just as important is tracking the results of your efforts (or our efforts if you’re working with us here). This afternoon I discovered this new article on the RemodelersAdvantage.com website: The Secret to Understanding Local Web Traffic and Why It Is So Important

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Maybe the Most Valuable Book Out There on Understanding People

 Book Yourself Solid IllustratedSo I am reading and listening to an updated revised version of marketing guru Michael Port’s excellent book “Book Yourself Solid Illustrated: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling” and in it at one point he says/writes:

”When I’m asked “What are the best marketing and sales books ever write?” my answer is always the same: “Besides my books?” Kidding. In all seriousness, my answer is , just one: Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships, by Daniel Goleman, a popular science writer. We absolutly need to draw on social neuroscience research to learn how to market and sell professional services. At its core social intelligence is a person’s ability to understand his or her environment and react in a way that creates successful relationships. And successful relationships ensure successful direct outreach.”

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human RelationshipsHe might very well be right about Daniel Goleman’s Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human RelationshipsI heard that passage by Michael Port and I since I had some credits to use in my Audible.com account I thought I would check and see if it was there. I have read Goleman’s other books and recalled reading and listening to his book Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence  thinking it was a great book and Social Intelligence didn’t disappoint me in any way and I think that I may have to put it on the top of my list too as one of the most important business books ever (and books about understanding the lives we live too).

Almost as soon as I started listening to the book I went to Amazon ordered and downloaded the Kindle version so I could sync the two modes of “reading” the book via Whispersync and highlight the important passages in the the text for my future reference.

This is one of those books that I will have to read/listen to several times just to make sure I am gleaning as much as I possibly can from it.

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Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.

I’ve been re-reading and re-listening to my Seth Godin book and audio book library these last few weeks and one of the reoccurring themes Seth talks about over and over again is the vital importance of being “remarkable” and is the fundamental concept in his book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (a brown cow isn’t remarkable, a purple cow is so you remember it and talk about it).

And today when I was searching for an old Inc magazine article on the Inc web site I ran across another article I thought was interesting an apropos regarding being “remarkable.” In ask Robert Stephens (Stephens is the founder of Geek Squad, a tech-support company that was acquired by Best Buy in 2002) Stephens answers t a question put to him:

“I want to generate buzz about my executive search firm among potential clients. What is the best way to boost word-of-mouth marketing?”

Stephens reply is a great one and I give you this link so you can read it on the Inc site but towards the end he said something that really caught my attention:

Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.

So I’m thinking of now here in 2010 and beyond how can builders and remodelers stand out from the crowd by being remarkable?

For some suggesting on how to get unstuck and moving on the road to becoming remarkable a quick list of things to consider read Seth Godin post on his blog: Seth’s Blog: How to be remarkable. In fact subscribe to his blog and read it religiously, go out and search for his videos on YouTube, Vimeo and wherever else they may be and watch them and and buy his books and audio-books. The guy is a master.

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ReWork, Crush It, Linchpin & The 4 Hour Workweek (again)

I’ve been tracking the upcoming release of the book ReWork by the folks at 37Signals.com and today on their blog they published REWORK Trailer 1: Staying Late

After looking at that trailer I clicked through to Amazon to per-order my copy and I found Amazon had one of those ‘people who bought this book also bought‘ groupings that I thought would be a great one.

ReWorkCrush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your PassionLinchpin: Are You IndispensableThe 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content

ReWork

We have of course ReWork form the people at 37 Signals which is a collection of essays where they discuss the business & management philosophies at the core of 37signals’ success (a full list of the essays can be found here). For anyone who doesn’t recognize the name 37signals they are the developers behind the online project management tools Basecamp®, Highrise®, Backpack®, and Campfire and if you read their blog you would know why this is a book to look forward to. One of my favorite marketing authors Seth Godin (who’s new book I will get to in a minute) had this to say about ReWork:

This book will make you uncomfortable.

Depending on what you do all day, it might make you extremely uncomfortable.

That’s a very good thing, because you deserve it. We all do.

Jason and David have broken all the rules and won. Again and again they’ve demonstrated that the regular way isn’t necessarily the right way. They just don’t say it, they do it. And they do it better than just about anyone has any right to expect.

This book is short, fast, sharp and ready to make a difference. It takes no prisoners, spares no quarter and gives you no place to hide, all at the same time.

There, my review is almost as long as the first chapter of the book. I can’t imagine what possible excuse you can dream up for not buying this book for every single person you work with, right now.

Stop reading the review. Buy the book

Crush It

And it was that journey onto the Amazon site that pointed out another book to me that piques my curiosity, Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vaynerchuk (wikipedia) in case you haven’t heard him or heard of him is the voice of Wine Library TV: Gary Vaynerchuk’s daily wine video blog. As I read the Amazon page on Vaynerchuk’s new book I read a bunch of things that attracted me but the clincher was:

Learn: Why storytelling is the most important business concept in the current marketplace.

That harkens back again to my attraction to the message in Seth Godin’s classic book All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World. which I wrote about here back in August of 2005 which in a nutshell was telling authentic genuine stories are at the heart of great marketing and . . . and our belief in those stories makes them true. I truly enjoy watching the passionate and excited stories that Vaynerchuk tells us about wine in his video podcasts (and I don’t even drink!) so I want to hear what he has to say on the subject

Linchpin

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable is the latest from Seth Godin and whenever Seth Godin talks (writes) listen. It looks to me as though with Linchpin we get Godin’s takes on personal branding. How to be a indispensable member of a tribe (Tribes, was Godin last book) . A linchpin is the person that hold things together and keeps a group or organization on an even keel and working together. A linchpin is that indispensable member an organization.

The Four Hour Work Week Expanded and Updated

I wrote about the original 4-Hour Workweek a while back in my post on Relative Income and the book has now been revised, expanded, updated, and republished as The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

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Branding: the symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a particular product or company

Mark Hayward from a blog article on Self Branding

"Branding can be described as the symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a particular product or company.

Effective branding serves to create assumptions, excitement, associations, and expectations that are ingrained in consumers and generated with the mere mention of a company and its goods or services (think GOOGLE, NIKE, Jet Blue)."

In the article I quoted from he talking self branding in a context of making money just writing a blog but the comments and ‘rules‘ of branding ring true no matter what your product is.

One of the superficial shallow things I often see in the online construction forums I sometimes frequent is the chant of branding, branding, branding, focus on you brand with little to no substance or discussion of just what a brand is or how effective branding is accomplished.

We’ll be introducing our own online forum here perhaps even sometime later this week to hopefully get the real discussion on branding underway,

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Neil Patel on: The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Personal Branding

Neil Patel and Internet marketing consultant very effectively visually illustrates The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Personal Branding Open The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Personal Branding in a new window.

For the past few years whenever I talk about branding with other contractors I try to emphasize something a quote I picked up on regarding Branding in a Remodeling Magazine article two years ago (Brand Aid Open Brand Aid in a new window Remodeling Magazine
October 1, 2005):

“It’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room,”

I think a lot of contractors instead confuse Branding with hype and what is in essence self-aggrandizing blatant self-promotion and the lesson we get from Neil Patel’s illustration is that your pitching that message over and over again isn’t really Branding but is instead what we call Advertising. Hyping to a client what a "great" contractor your are (a great lover) doesn’t really come off as authentic and genuine when it’s coming out of your own mouth.

However when that potential client hears that message coming from someone else it it does comes off as authentic and genuine and strikes a cord and helps build your Brand.

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Why Starbucks Coffee Is Cheap?

There’s an interesting article in Reuben Swartz’s Dollars and Sense: The Pricing Blog entitled:
Why Starbucks Coffee Is Cheap that presents a rational and explains that "if caffeine is what you want, and you want it in volume, Starbucks is your low-cost provider".

While that may be true as far as ‘pricing’ is concerned in the total realm of "caffeine providers" which includes Coke, Pepsi, Red Bull and amongst others is that really what people"buy" when they go to Starbucks? I drink nothing but de-caf regardless of whether it’s soda or coffee but I still prefer Starbucks and my local cappuccino bar to the coffee from my local delis, bagel shops and other establishments. The Experience Economy

So what am I buying and what am I paying for?

It’s the "Experience" I get. If Caffeine is a commodity and as long as the consumer views it that way then Starbucks is one of the low cost providers (I think the delis and bagel shops beat them there and are the ultimate bottom line leader in the low price for caffeine category) when compared to buying Coke, Pepsi or some energy drink. But in their book The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage
author Pine and Gilmore describe something different that often goes on and certainly takes place for me when I buy my coffee in that I’m buying the ambiance and "eatertainment" as the authors describe it of the cappuccino bar. In fact I’m not only not buying the caffeine I’m also probably not really buying the coffee either. I buy my coffee in Starbucks and my local shop, Perks, because of the experience it gives me. I’m buying it there for the way it makes me feel.

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Seth Godin on The Top Five Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When They Market

I just discovered that Seth Godin one of my favorite all time authors and lecturers on business marketing and branding wrote what he calls a "riff" over on the WorkHappy.net: Killer Resources for Entrepreneurs bog site called The Top Five Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When They Market .

All five are great points but in particular I like:

#5 Failure to measure. All this is worthless if you don’t test and measure relentlessly. Do what works. Kill what doesn’t. Repeat.

I think it amazing how often (maybe 99%of the time) that contractors make no effort at all to research and really track what works for them in the way of marketing.

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Seth Godin and his book All Marketers Are Liars

All Marketers Are LiarsIn my opinion Seth Godin is one of the most important thinkers and teachers in the world of business today and I’m sure I’m not alone in that thinking. A couple of weeks ago I bought his book All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World and think it’s one of the most important and insightful books on marketing I’ve ever read. I was so thrilled in reading it I then used up one of my book credits with Audible.com so that I could then re-read the book via my iPod as I worked.

Seth Godin’s general philosophy on marketing is based three main premises:

  • The end of the TV-Industrial complex means that marketers no longer have the power to command the attention of anyone they choose. The consumer is taking control of how and who they will let market to them. (and even if you never been a part of the “TV-Industrial complex” the effect of that change still applies to you!)
  • In a market place where consumers have so much power marketers must now show respect to their audience and the means no spam (un-wanted marketing), no deceit, and you must live up to the promises your brand makes.
  • And to spread the word about your product in this new marketing environment you need to spread the word of your product expressed as an “idea” and in order to spread that idea that idea has to be remarkable. Godin then goes on to to describe the people who talk about your “idea” and spread the word as “sneezers” and the “idea” they are spreading is the “idea virus”

With All Marketers Are Liars Godin then “riffs” ( a typical Seth Godin expression) and expands on the third point telling us that one of the ways our message can spread is to tell it as a story and if we tell the story right people will then believe and then because they believe the story we have then been telling become true. Don’t talk about the features and benefits of your product or service. Instead tell a story that fits into your audiences world view and that people will intuitively want to believe. People will then share that story with other friends with similar world views thereby spreading your message. People buy into the way the story makes them feel and that is what they pass on to others.

Other books by Seth Godin

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