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Features vs Benefits in Small Business Marketing

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We can get so caught up in all the details of what we do that it’s often hard to see our businesses from the outside as customers and potential customers. It’s that “too much knowledge” thing. Our brains naturally fill in blanks to create a … Keep reading…

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Leads or List-building… Decisions, Decisions

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It’s so easy to get distracted when doing our own marketing work. Even when we have a plan and the supporting processes in place, losing focus is a daily challenge. Recently while masterminding with a friend, we were reviewing an email automation that she’s been … Keep reading…

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Everything is Scheduled

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“Everything is scheduled” is one of the most common messages I send to clients. Then I go check it off on my workflow and… onto the next thing. It feels like erasing my mental whiteboard, clearing space for more. Scheduling marketing tasks in advance has … Keep reading…

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Get to Know Your Contacts Better

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This post was going to be titled “What You Need to Know About Segmenting” but that sure didn’t seem like a good reason for you to open and read. Even I tend to avoid articles making use of those marketing concept words. Segmenting is a … Keep reading…

Are You Working Your Assets Off?

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We don’t often think of all that hard marketing work we do as creating assets. But that’s most assuredly what we’re doing. Marketing assets include anything you use to promote your products, services and brand. Here’s a simple exercise that will make you feel good … Keep reading…

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Consistency Comes from Having a Process

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Late in the ’90s, after an intense SAP implementation with my employer at the time in Toronto, I spent the better part of a year working with all of the different business groups to document and improve on their process workflows. This meant travelling to … Keep reading…

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One Word for 2021

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When 2020 arrived, I had recently split with my husband of 17 years, sold our family home, and moved into a new apartment. The problem was that during the year of getting the house ready and sold, I turned away work. And I started the … Keep reading…

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Easy Solutions to Complex Problems?

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“For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” – Henry L. Mencken – Henry was not a small business owner. Instead, he was a journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar who penned that quote a hundred years ago. … Keep reading…

Avoid Marketing Emergencies by Planning Backwards

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I’ve joked to friends that no one ever needs to reach me in a hot rush because there are no marketing emergencies. In fact, there are some things that might constitute an “emergency” (Sheldon quotes), such as a website going down or an app not … Keep reading…

Testing Theories: Marketing Experimentation

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Advice is one thing but thought and research are still necessary. Theory is another thing (I’m all for it) but experimentation is where the rubber hits the road (and many other analogies). Now is a good time to try new things and figure out what … Keep reading…

That was a Great Conversation But…

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Imagine you’ve just gotten off the phone from a lively conversation with a prospect that lasted an hour. Your purpose in having the call was to build a new business relationship or build on an established one. You both discovered you have much in common … Keep reading…

What First, How Second

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Buying or subscribing to a software application is never the solution to a problem. But it can certainly be part of the solution… or not. It’s all about the process. An app can help streamline a process. Likewise, it can overcomplicate a process. It’s all … Keep reading…

How Planning for Failure Can Help Ensure You Don’t Fail

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We all want things we’re working on to be successful. Nobody ever plans to fail… but wait, planning for failure can be a useful exercise. The term ‘premortem’ comes to us from the field of project management. According to the Harvard Business Review: “A premortem … Keep reading…

What Are Your Small Business Blogging Goals?

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If your answer to the title of this post is “increase sales”, you’ve got that part right. But you should also realize that there’s no direct path from one to the other. You don’t start a blog and immediately make more sales – although I … Keep reading…

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How to Make Smart Marketing Decisions

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Small business owners can spend a lot of time and money on marketing initiatives. Sometimes we’re successful and sometimes not so much. I think of marketing as an experiment because – really – there are no magic bullets. There are best practices, there is good … Keep reading…

What Are You NOT?

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Every small business owner struggles with their messaging from time to time and this is especially true when developing content for a new or refreshed website. I – and you – can sit and make a long list of words and phrases that describe the … Keep reading…

Using Lists to Embrace Change

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Many small business owners didn’t start their careers as small business owners. And the road each of us took to get here is quite different. But one thing is fairly common – we’re finding ways to earn a living doing work we love. Often that … Keep reading…

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What’s Your Value Proposition? Really.

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The words that make my heart sing are only sometimes the same words that make my potential clients’ hearts sing. And I’ve learned that I can be quite wrong about what I think is the value I bring to each relationship. For instance, nagging can … Keep reading…

Email Newsletters – Develop Your Strategy First

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The process of starting an email newsletter for your small business involves focusing on these aspects: strategy, tactics and tools. It makes sense to approach them in a logical order from high-level thinking through to detailed work. Strategy First This is where you consider that your … Keep reading…

Who Are You Marketing To?

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You know those workshops you go to where the instructor puts you on the spot right at the start by asking you to describe your target market? I’m one of those instructors. And I do it because a discussion about target markets is a critical … Keep reading…

6 Lessons Learned from Prepping for the Social Media Day Halifax Conference

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If you attended Social Media Day Halifax 2018 on Friday, I sure hope you enjoyed yourself and learned lots. I know I did! And not all my learning was from the presenters and sessions. Here are a few examples from the event-organizing side of things. … Keep reading…

Long Term Planning for Your Small Business Blog

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While teaching a blogging class to small business folk recently, we were doing an exercise to get us thinking about our blogging strategies beyond the next post or the next month. We posted flip chart sheets around the walls and together filled in all the … Keep reading…

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Are You Ready to Start a Newsletter for Your Small Business?

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An email newsletter is a well-proven way to provide value to your customers and contacts. But the competition for space in people’s inboxes is fierce. If you’re going to invest time and money in email marketing, you’ll need to step out strong. Your first message … Keep reading…

Is Planning Becoming Passé?

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“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower Planning is a noble task, full of focus and good intention. It’s always been one of my favourite things to do. Now I hear about the newest trend: the ‘anti business plan’ entrepreneur. Here’s a … Keep reading…