Ep. 151 – Why Content Marketing Matters

SIBP-Blog-NEW-3What is it about content marketing that makes it so compelling and effective? Is it purely a function of the way we consume media, or is there a generational shift at work? And what does it mean for how customers relate to brands?

In today’s episode of the Success In Business podcast, host and coach Tom Ryan answers some of these questions using both the hard data about how it works, and the deeper common knowledge about the effectiveness of storytelling. As always, Tom is joined in this discussion by co-host and producer Jason Pyles. Continue reading

Ep. 150 – What Is Content Marketing?

SIBP-Blog-NEW-1The way businesses connect with customers is constantly changing. There’s no better example of this than the current move towards using “content marketing” to reach those customers directly. Content marketing is a big deal, particularly in a world where social media has become a primary marketing channel, but is it really that different from traditional marketing and advertising?

As host and business coach Tom Ryan explains, “If you don’t get onboard the content marketing train, you’re going to be left at the station.” As always, Tom is joined in this discussion by co-host and producer Jason Pyles. Continue reading

Getting Started With Professionalization, Part 2: Sales, Service and Marketing

IMG_2329When people ask me about which process in their business they should professionalize first, I inevitably tell them to start with sales. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m a big believer in sales, and it’s no coincidence that I tend to give it the highest priority. A refined and professional sales process is an asset that will deliver great returns for your over and over again throughout the life of the business.

Why start with sales? Because it’s hard to uproot and replace an entrenched sales system — even one that doesn’t work very well — and every day you wait, the more difficult it becomes. If there’s one thing you want to get right as early as possible, it’s sales. Continue reading

Ep. 103 – A Less Effective E-mail for Turbo-Thruster

SIB-Blog-4A few days ago, Tom Ryan received an unsolicited investment pitch through LinkedIn. This was no mere spam message; it was a train wreck. The message was so incomprehensibly bad that stuck with him for days. Here, in a few short lines, was nearly every mistake business marketers should avoid in their communications.

The message also presented a great opportunity for a “teachable moment.” In this episode, Tom and co-host Jason Pyles (an experienced copywriter in his own right) break down everything not to do when sending out a blind email like this one. Continue reading

Getting the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollars: Finding Media/Goal Alignment

SIBP-1When you’re spending money on advertising, you want every dollar you spend to yield the maximum return. Unless you’re seriously invested in building brand awareness, chances are that result will ultimately be measured in new leads and increased sales. It’s not enough for someone to see your ad and like it, they need to be inspired to buy.

Here’s where a lot of newcomers to advertising make a big misstep: It’s not just about the ad itself. It’s also about the media the ad is running on. If you want to see great results, the media (also called the channel in this context) needs to match the message. Continue reading

Getting the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollars: The Toddler Stress-Test

"But ... why?" Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

“But … why?” Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/

As a business coach, one of the most common frustrations I hear is that advertising just doesn’t deliver the right results. This often comes from a deeply rooted misconception of how advertising works. It’s not enough to simply create an ad and buy some air time, impressions or space on a page. The ads need to be created with a specific purpose in mind.

For any advertising campaign to be truly effective, it needs to be in complete alignment with your business goals. To get the results you want, you need to know what those results are. I’m not talking about a specific number of leads generated or a target number of conversions. I’m talking about the fundamental actions you want the person watching, listening or reading the ad to take. Continue reading

Getting the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollars: The Power Of The Call-To-Action

Empire CarpetIf you’ve ever lived in the Chicagoland area, like I have, chances are that you know this telephone number by heart: 588-2300. What’s so special about that number? It’s the number of Empire Carpet (now Empire Today), which has been etched permanently into my memory by their jingle-filled commercials.

In time, I may forget many of my experiences as an entrepreneur and business coach. I might forget the names of people I’ve worked with, or even the finer details of big events in my life. But as long as I live, I’ll never forget those seven digits. Continue reading

Getting the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollars: The Value of A/B Testing

IMG_2329Successful business decisions are rarely the ones with the most dramatic results. While the steep growth curves can be fun while they last, most of the day-to-day trends that can make or break a company come from smaller trends and decisions. No place is this more true than with advertising, where even a seemingly marginal difference in response rates can have huge results over the life of a campaign.

With so many options — from old-media ad buys in TV, radio and print to the various online and email campaigns of new-media — you could easily find yourself with a range of channels with conversion rates separated by a mere fraction of a percent. And even when you find the right channel, how do you know if you’re getting the best response? How can you truly know what kind of advertising works best for your company? Continue reading

Getting the Most Out of Your Advertising Dollars: Old Vs. New Media

SIBP-1When you’re running a startup or a small business, every dollar counts. This is particularly true when it comes to your marketing budget. There have never been more ways to reach potential customers, and there have never been more companies vying for your advertising dollar. Between old media advertising (print, TV and radio) and new media advertising (online display ads, AdWords, video marketing), it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options.

It’s also easier than ever to get lost in the weeds. So let’s take a step back, and talk about the fundamental problem that advertising aims to solve. For most companies, the deeper question really isn’t “What’s the best way to spend my advertising budget?,” but rather “How can I drive more sales to my business?” Continue reading

Ep. 074 – An Interview with Brian Walker, Part 4: Brand Narrative and Messaging

SIB-Blog-2Brand perception is a huge factor in a startup’s long-term success, and getting that brand narrative right isn’t something you want to rush. As AE Marketing Group founder Brian Walker recalls, his company didn’t even have a website for most of their first year of business, opting instead to build the fundamentals of their business over their online messaging.

But does that mean that your online branding isn’t important? Hardly! In part four of this five-part interview, host Tom Ryan and co-host Jason Pyles talk with Brian about seeking out customer feedback, knowing when to “fire” a customer, the importance of your brand’s online reputation, and much more. Continue reading