Ask For Advice Before Asking For Help

Anyone that’s heard me speak or read my ebooks knows that I believe marketing strategy is far more important to SMBs than marketing tactics.

I also believe that asking for advice before asking for help is far more important for any business especially small to midsize businesses.

You thought you knew what your marketing needed. You hired a specialist company to create it for you. Then once it was complete and operating you discovered it wasn’t what you really needed. Then what you really discovered is you’re not as clear about your needs as you thought.

Where Did You Go Wrong?

Many business owners discover it’s not always best to hire a specialist who gives you what you asked for. It’s often more helpful to start by hiring people who will ask you good questions, to help you determine what you really need.

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know.

The solution is simple. Ask for advice before asking for help. Hire a strategist or an advisor before you hire a specialist. A strategist will challenge your assumptions and create clarity on needs and priorities before everyone leaps into action. I’m not saying there’s no room for specialists. I’m just tired of tactics first and strategy to the rescue.

A Specialist’s Job Is To Skillfully Do What You Ask

Specialists often assume you know what you need. It’s not their job to second guess you, even though you may be:

  • making decisions based on assumptions
  • unclear on requirements and options
  • unsure about the order of operations
  • unfamiliar with how to direct your specialists
  • unable to evaluate their work, or
  • unaware of the long-term costs and implications of your project

A Strategist’s Job, By Contrast, Is To Ask Why

Job one for a strategist is to understand your situation, constraints, needs and success criteria. They challenge assumptions, clarify requirements, help determine the order of operations, direct specialists, evaluate success and work within the context of long-term costs and plans.

It’s obvious why we hire specialists to complete tasks and projects. There is immediate gratification and the perception of progress. Strategists are likely to challenge assumptions and send us back to a point we thought we were past, potentially delaying our progress.  Strategists can be frustrating to deal with as they tend to make us think before we act and make choices based on information and facts over emotion and desire. They can be annoyingly dispassionate, logical and methodical. Which is exactly why you should consider hiring them and how they create value.

Measure Twice And Cut Once

Think about it. “if you hardly have the means to invest in a solution once, where will you find the resources to do it again?”

I’ve come to see strategists as insurance against impulsiveness and inexperience. I also find their fees typically add between 10 and 20% to my project costs, in exchange for saving me the lost time and expense of starting over. The more often I repeat the mistake of leaping into action, the more often I seek consulting before I invest in new initiatives. I hope you will do the same.

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm in Chesterfield, VA. We help small to midsize businesses create marketing plans and growth processes that generate leads and close sales.

What Your Marketing Consultant Won’t Tell You About Generating Leads

Lead generation is a numbers game and a momentum game.

Generally speaking there is NO one magic way to generate a tons of leads. 

IMG_1519Granted, for some businesses there are more effective ways, but on the whole long-term effective lead generation comes down to a combination of networking, advertising, public relations and referrals – the lead generation quadro as I like to call them.

It’s my belief that you need to employ all four approaches in order to generate the right kind of know, like and trust building that will attract your ideal customers.

3 Things Your Marketing Consultant Won’t Tell You About Generating Leads

1. While lead generation used to consist of broadcasting messages, it must now rely heavily on creating the right content, delivered to the right person, at the right time.

2. Active lead generation now comes about through multiple touches initiated through multiple channels.

3. There is rarely one dependable way to generate all of the leads a business might require to meet objectives. It’s the careful blending of four legs: networking, advertising, public relations and referral generation that creates the repetition, credibility and control needed to get a prospect motivated enough to pick up the phone or schedule an appointment. 

SECRET SAUCE: The key to making this blended approach work, however, is the commitment to valuable, educational content distribution.

  • Networking that integrates educational content gets conversation.
  • Advertising that promotes educational content gets viewed.
  • PR generated by way of educational content gets shared.
  • Referrals made by way of educational content gets action.

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm based in Chesterfield, VA. We help small to midsize businesses get the strategy right so marketing tactics get results.

How To Define High Payoff Activities on LinkedIn for Business Owners

Living inside the bubble of the social media world, it’s easy to forget that many business owners still don’t know how to reconcile social media into their highest payoff activities routine.

I’m currently working with a CEO of a very successful organization on the basics of social media and it is a great reminder that focusing on tactics without an organized strategy is still the greatest source of frustration for many business owners and executives.

Yes, you eventually must get around to embracing certain tactics and tools specifically related to social media, but the key to determining both still lies in tying your high payoff actions to meeting your stated marketing and business objectives.

Every business is different, but generally the 3 LinkedIn highest payoff activities are things that fall into the strategic work of strategic partner creation, building brand awareness, and delivering value first over building relationships.

1. Strategic Partner Creation

To me, this is perhaps the most potent and most underutilized LinkedIn high payoff activity of all.

Strategic partnerships have a tendency to multiply quickly. If you can associate your brand with the right three or four partners, you can develop a kind of momentum that attracts many more.

This is a high payoff activity that should not be seen as a nice bonus left up to chance. This is an activity that must be an essential part of your LinkedIn planning. Maintain a short list of attractive strategic partners at all time and go to work on building a plan to recruit, introduce and amplify a mutually beneficial program of relationship and community building with these partners.

2. Build Brand Awareness

We’re living in a highly- connected world where the customer is online (mainly through mobile devices). This enables instant access to information 24/7, and offers multiple channels for formulating opinions, sharing, and influencing others via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Quora, and more. Traditional one-way blasting of messages no longer builds brand awareness. Prospects and customers expect more; they want to engage with their brands, they want to “talk back” and even challenge companies with questions and comments.

For small business owners LinkedIn offers a great way to meet new people, share your ideas, and build brand awareness. Find a local group related to your industry, come up with an educational discussion topic you can talk confidently on, and begin building brand awareness. If you don’t yet have the level of expertise required to start a discussion, commenting can be just as helpful.

3. Relationship Building with a Business Case First

Many business owners may not believe this but we don’t need more relationships! Things have flipped around. I’m not saying that relationship building isn’t essential, I’m saying, today you must prove your value, make a business case for why a prospect should take your LinkedIn connection request, before you earn the permission to go deeper.

Test this out – did you wake up today with the hope that you would meet a new business owner or salesperson hoping to come tell you about their products. My guess is no, but you may have woken up today and thought, “I sure need to figure out how to get more from my marketing efforts.”

So now you might actually be receptive to an article written by someone that addresses that very subject. And upon reading that article you might start thinking – “I wonder what it would be like if this person consulted with our business?”

Perhaps your next move might be to Google the author of that piece and jump on over to LinkedIn to see what others are saying about him.

You may indeed move to email to invite her to answer a specific question you have and that may very well lead to a meeting where you walk through a case study of a business just like yours getting the precise result you’re hoping for.

At this point you may be convinced that this person has the experience and talent to help your meet your objectives.

Once that conclusion is drawn you may become very interested in a full-blown relationship.

Relationships for relationship sake or, worse, as a tool to convince someone to buy from you, are a thing of the past and have little place in a world driven by technology connection points.

You must work to earn the opportunity to connect by providing business value early on. You must figure out how to connect others, share insights, prove that time spent with you will be worth it.

Here’s a real LinkedIn testimonial that showcases why time spent with me will be worth it:

“There are certain special people who come into our lives bringing the ability to look at issues just a bit differently. They are able to come at issues with a 90-degrees different perspective. In the course of doing that, they challenge our assumptions and change our perspectives. Patrick McFadden is one of these special people. Give yourself a gift and spend 30-minutes exploring your world through Patrick’s creative mind. You will find your time well spent.

-R Rushton (“Rush”) Paul, J.D., SPHR, HR Consulting | Leadership Development | Executive Coaching | Executive Search

You need to think in terms of delivering value first and building relationship as a product of that.

Lead Generation Is About Being Found

Traditional lead generation tactics: directory advertising, trade show participation, half page print ads, are quickly (or almost completely) loosing appeal with small business owners. There are two very good reasons for this decline:

path

  1. Traditional methods are some of the most expensive.
  2. Traditional methods are proving less effective in terms of lead generation.

Technology has made the phone directory mobile. There is no need to travel to the trade show because the interactive demo is on YouTube, blogs, search engines and social media sites. All the product information, answers and reviews one could ever consume are delivered without ever leaving home.

Small businesses must change the way they think about and approach lead generation. They must think more in terms of being found and less in terms of finding. People are still looking for solutions, trying out new services and buying things they want, they’ve just changed how they go about doing it.

So, in order to generate leads and be found you must put yourself in the path of people who are learning about, asking about, and shopping about in your industry. You must create an obvious choice web presence or hub of information for your business and then create portals, online and offline that lead people to your hub.

The key to making this blended approach work, however, is the commitment to valuable, educational content distribution.

  1. Networking that integrates educational content gets conversation.
  2. Advertising that promotes educational content gets viewed.
  3. PR generated by way of educational content gets shared.
  4. Referrals made by way of educational content gets action.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying your lead generation must be done exclusively online, and I am also not say don’t use advertising – what I am saying is that your online presence is the hub of education and that your online and offline advertising, public relations, networking and referral processes must utilize this new reality to its fullest.

One can think of it as lighting candles along dark paths so that weary travelers can discover the company in the dark.

  • Those candles are the educational content in networking and social media hubs like BNI, Chamber of Commerce, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – gentle guides of introduction.
  • They are the PR efforts and articles, written to illuminate one’s expertise.
  • They are the blog posts, designed to attract surfers looking for the way.
  • They are the strategic partnerships, alignments that evoke trust.
  • They are the online seminars or conferences, providing interactive discussions with customers and prospects.
  • They are the community building events, places where candles can be re-lit and shared.

You can no longer sit back, dump an offer in the mail and start working the phones. You’ve got to build your inbound marketing machine and start taking advantage of the power of information, networking, trust, connection, and community to generate leads.

3 Proven Ways to Generate More Leads

If you’ve read my content, then you know I’m a strategy over tactics marketing consultant, but sometimes you just need some new ideas and tactics.

proven-to-work

B2B lead generation seems to be a mystery to many business owners and marketers. Just do a Google search on the topic and you’ll find advice that’s not helpful.

There are two reasons for this, in my opinion:

  1. Business owners and marketers are searching for that killer (shotgun) lead tactic that will help rain down all the leads they could ever dream of.
  2. Business owners and marketers fail to realize that successful B2B lead generation is made up of activities that are very hard to quantify and pin down.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of three B2B lead generation practices that must be used in some combination to guide the act of building a steady stream of highly qualified leads.

No matter if you run a marketing department tasked with generating leads or you’re an individual business owner trying to fill the lead gap, this is your plan of action.

1. Small Cluster Direct Mail

I know we all want to do that blast thing and have it rain leads, but the more personal you can get the better. You will receive far greater results targeting 50 or 100 ideal prospects a month and reaching out with a personalized letter outlining one highly actionable idea than any other form of mass communication out there.

For example, imagine getting a personal letter that included a statement like this: “We’ve found over the years that our customers want to know how to generate more leads. We’ve also found that one of the most effective ways to actually do this is [fill in your killer tactic here]. If you would like to receive more tips like this or learn how to more fully employ this idea, please download our how to guide here [your URL].”

2. Relevant Warm Calling

I would never advocate cold calling, although plenty of people still do it. The problem is that the notion of cold implies dumb calling. I still get calls today from people who start off by saying, “Hey, I would like to come by and sit down for 30 minutes to learn more about what you do and see if there are any synergies.”

Picking up the phone and connecting after thoroughly researching relevant and personalized discussion topics is how you create warm calls.

You can begin to inject this idea into other lead generation elements as well. For example, if you have a webinar sign-up form, start asking for phone numbers. You don’t have to make it mandatory, but try reaching out to a few that provide the number simply as a way to make sure they have what they need, offer to answer questions about the event or even send them a tool for note taking.

3. Smart Networking

If you want to make networking pay, you have to look at it as a tool for connecting others rather than getting connected. Instead of reaching into LinkedIn to see who you can connect with, reach into your existing network and find a handful of people who need to meet some shining stars in your network.

When you view networking as your opportunity to build bridges that help others, guess what happens? You become a lead magnet.

Yes, this takes time and effort and it can be hard to quantify right off the bat, but building lead momentum isn’t for those who are afraid of work.

Question: What proven lead generation tactic is in your combination?

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm in Chesterfield, VA. We help small to midsize businesses create marketing plans and growth processes that generate leads and close sales.

Build Your Obvious Choice Web Presence

No longer is it enough to build a Website and expect to compete these days. Prospects, even those that are looking to do business locally, turn to search engines to find every kind of business and solve every kind of problem.

WebPresence

Today’s small businesses need to approach the internet with a mindset that’s focused on creating the largest presence—digital footprint—possible in order to stand out, and show up, when a prospect goes poking for a solution.

The internet now represents the center of the marketing world. Most marketing decisions must start and end there. Today’s small business must view its marketing strategies and tactics with a mindset on growing an online presence that makes them the obvious choice and facilitates most of the offline transactional functions that drive sales and service.

The Foundational Elements of an Obvious Choice Web Presence

  • Building an online listening station (Google Alerts, Twitter List, HootSuite and SproutSocial)
  • Optimizing brand assets in sharing services (eBooks, Seminars, SlideShare, YouTube, and Newsletters)
  • Claiming valuable social media real estate (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Claiming valuable local network real estate, (Google Business Page, Bing Business Page, Yellow Page Listing)
  • Participating in ratings and review sites,  (Yelp!, MerchantCircle and
    CitySearch)
  • Maximizing social media activity (Posting education content that links back to your website)

All businesses, regardless of industry, have become what I like refer to as O2O (online
to offline) businesses. Their primary marketing objectives are focused on driving people
online to drive them offline.

This is how you begin to make your content strategy pay. This is how you begin to activate the informing and educating elements of your Marketing Process.

In that effort, the online presence has significantly heightened responsibilities:

  • While advertising was used primarily to create a sale or enhance an image, it
    must now be used to create awareness for your website, online media assets
    and content.
  • While SEO has traditionally been about optimizing web page copy by targeting
    keyword phrases in certain frequencies and densities, it must now rely on crafting
    content so compelling that other people want to promote it by linking to it or
    sharing it, which increases your trust and authority and helps the pages you want
    to rank well for certain keywords.
  • While lead generation used to consist of broadcasting messages, it must now
    rely heavily on creating the right content, delivered to the right person, at the right time.
  • While lead conversion often consisted of multiple sales calls to supply
    information, it must now support online information gathering with value delivery.
  • While referrals used to be a simple matter of passing a name along, referrals
    now rely heavily on an organization’s online reputation, ratings and reviews.
  • While physical store location has always mattered, now the online location for the local business has become a life and death matter.

If you are still looking at marketing efforts in a linear way – with online tactics falling
somewhere in line – it’s essential that you change this view entirely. Today’s business
owner must build a marketing strategy with the online engagement at the center. Only
then can small businesses create a strong foundation that will carry the company’s
marketing efforts into the next decade.

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm in Chesterfield, VA. We help small to midsize businesses create marketing plans and growth processes that generate leads and close sales.

Do Offline Marketing Tactics Still Work?

During recent conversations with local business owners I’ve been discussing ways to use online tools to drive more offline sales. That upward to 90% of our prospects are going online to search for products and services they intend to acquire offline locally. Smart marketers must adapt to this behavior by employing tools that make it easier for local shoppers to engage once they find you online in their town.

Postman delivering mail

All businesses, regardless of industry, have become what I call O2O businesses – their primary marketing objectives are focused on driving people online to drive them offline and in that effort the online core web presence has significantly heightened responsibilities.

Then a local business owner asked, “Do offline marketing tactics still work?”

Absolutely, they do! In fact, the best innovation is to take proven offline marketing strategies to the online world.

Here are five offline marketing tactics that work and don’t require a big marketing budget.

1. Employ Offline Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is a generic term for the use of unconventional marketing strategies, and because online marketing channels are so narrowly structured, offline is the best arena to flex your small business’s guerrilla marketing muscle. So, starting now, ignore what you know about marketing channels, and let your inner child out to play.

Offline guerrilla marketing ideas:

  • Leave sticky notes in random places (bars, coffee shops).
  • Use chalk to advertise promotions on a sidewalk.
  • “Accidentally” leave a branded pen at the bank.
  • Donate branded bookmarks to your local library.
  • Use sticky notes to create temporary images on buildings, cars, etc.

2. Strategically Leave Business Cards

This is one offline guerrilla marketing strategy that I want to talk about specifically. It’s more of a necessity than an option. If you run a small business, you must have business cards and dole them out! Don’t just share them when you first meet someone new. Strategically leave them everywhere.

Places to leave business cards:

  • Leave a business card with your tip at a restaurant.
  • See a public bulletin board? Put up a business card.
  • Go to the library and place business cards in books related to your business.
  • When you see a contest fish bowl asking for business cards, drop yours in. Always.

3. Get Face-to-Face Testimonials 

The best time to get a testimonial is when you’re standing face-to-face with a client and he or she tells you what a great job you have done. (Learn to take advantage of this opportunity.)

Purchase a two-column business card holder and ask your happy client to give you two business cards. Ask the client to write a brief testimonial on the back of one card, and then place one with the testimonial facing up and the other next to it.

This little collection of cards will become your ales trophy case and will lend instant credibility to your claims.

4. Donate Gift Certificates or Products as Prizes

By offering your product or service as the prize for a local contest, you can build visibility for your business while showing your commitment to the community.

If your business provides computer repairs, for example, you could donate a gift certificate for a 2-hour repair to a local non-profit organization. The organization may announce your branded prize to a room full of sponsors. Your business could also be listed in various publications, such as the organization’s website, newsletter, or even a press release.

5. Speak at Events

Professional events offer a great way to meet new people, share your ideas, and build brand awareness. They’re even more effective if you speak at them. Find a local event related to your industry, come up with an educational topic you can speak on, and volunteer. If you don’t yet have the level of clout required to speak at an event, attending events can be just as helpful.

Remember, you don’t have to adopt all of these offline marketing strategies. Just try one. Write a promotion on a couple sticky notes, and put them in your pocket for the day. Who knows what could happen.

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm in Richmond, VA. We help small to midsize businesses create marketing plans and growth processes that generate leads and close sales.

The Return On Investment (ROI) of Social Networking

I have conversations on a daily basis with business owners about marketing and unavoidably this question always comes up, “What is the ROI of social networking?” I get emails from frustrated marketers who want to get more active with social networking, but can’t convince the boss that it’s worth it.

My response to the Return On Investment (ROI) roadblock is this:

“How does your boss measure the ROI of attending local Chamber of Commerce events, participating in Trade Associations, and dropping in on networking luncheons?”

Done correctly, social networking on sites like LinkedIn is really no different – you don’t measure participation based on direct sales, you measure success based on:

  • identifying one potential strategic partner,
  • acquiring one actionable bit of advice, or
  • striking up a conversation or two that may eventually lead to developing a new customer.

That sounds like a set of solid networking objectives doesn’t it?

Of course this thought process assumes that you have identified a set of objectives for your offline networking, which often is not the case. I’ve talked about this time and time again,“marketing without goals is the noise before the failure” and networking is a function of marketing.

But, with all that being said, my primary point here is that you need to align online networking with face-to-face networking and then create a set of objectives and subsequent strategies and tactics to get the most from both. But, job one is to get your mind around social networking as, just that, networking.

Now, with job one out of the way, you’ve also got to tackle something I mentioned earlier –“done correctly, social networking on sites like LinkedIn is really no different” – this is where the boss is really coming from when they say there’s no Return On Investment. So many people see social networking as a 24/7, hang out all day excuse for a job – and it can easily become that if you don’t identify and state objectives. On the other hand, you could as easily hang out at every at every networking event or meetup, join unrelated trade groups, and sponsor the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention club. (which would only be good if you sell pet weight loss services or products)

By identifying and clearly stating your objectives for social network participation (objectives not unlike those of participating in your local Chamber) you can more easily identify the networks that make sense, the type of engagement you need to create, and, most importantly, how much time and energy you can afford to invest to reach your objectives.

When you take a strategic approach to all forms of networking the Return On Investment allusion becomes much clearer.

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant at Indispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm in Richmond, VA. We help small to midsize businesses create marketing action plans and growth processes that generate leads and close sales.

How to Craft an Speaking Presentation Proposal That Can’t Be Refused

A few years ago, I submitted my first presentation to a premier conference.

I’d love to tell you I knocked it out the park, but my presentation proposal was denied. I personally couldn’t believe it. I knew the content was great and I was a good fit. I was baffled.

Determined as I was, I made sure that in the future I would change my presentation proposal to something that couldn’t be refused.

Since using this presentation proposal outline I’ve landed some huge opportunities to speak at premier conferences and expos.

Here’s of an example how to craft a presentation proposal that can’t be refused.

Title: 7 Steps to Small Business Success in Chesterfield County

Note: Your title is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective presentation proposal reader. Without a compelling promise that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist. So, from a can’t be refused standpoint, writing great titles is critical.

Visual Aid: Images are steroids for your title

Note: Let’s face it, writing great titles is hard. (Worth the effort, but still. Hard.) A great image can give your title a big boost. The image might be beautiful, odd, heartwarming, instructive or just curiosity-provoking, as long as it makes the proposal reader want to read that first line of your presentation.

Quick Summary

In today’s world, it’s difficult for Chesterfield County business owners to get the marketing momentum they need without a marketing plan and marketing process.Thankfully, it’s never been easier. In this presentation, I discuss how to create a strong marketing foundation to build your brand, develop a core point of differentiation, and the secret to getting marketing done.

Presentation Outline

Using examples from my own experience as well as relevant case studies, I explain that building a small business marketing process involves seven steps:

  1. Goals Before Strategy. Strategy Over Tactics. Until you can specifically define the results you want to achieve, or the primary reason you are marketing that supports your overall business goals, your business will fall prey to the “fire, aim,ready” marketing syndrome. Secondly, I believe marketing strategy is far more important to Chesterfield County small businesses than marketing tactics.
  2. Embrace the I.E.S. Marketing Touchpoints. The I.E.S. Marketing Touchpoints suggests that there’s a logical progression through which every customer comes to be informed about who you are and what you do and educated about the value you offer and what makes your company different. Once that occurs, the customer then decides to be sold in which they buy and refer.
  3. Create a Content Road Map. Today is more about being found—earning attention—and less about going out and hunting. In today’s marketing world the currency of being relevant and found is content. Prospective clients are not waiting to be sold to — they’re proactively gathering information when they search and soliciting peer recommendations. The mistake many Chesterfield County businesses make is that even if they create content, they don’t make it part of their overall strategy
  4. Build an Obvious Choice Web Presence. All Chesterfield County businesses, regardless of industry, have become what I like refer to as O2O (online to offline) businesses. Their primary marketing objectives are focused on driving people online to drive them offline.
  5. Operate a 4 Leg Lead Generation. There is rarely one dependable way to generate all of the leads a Chesterfield County business might require to meet objectives. It’s the careful blending of four legs: networking, advertising, public relations and referrals that creates the repetition, credibility and control needed to get a prospect motivated enough to pick up the phone or schedule an appointment.
  6. Make Lead Conversion a Process. The lack of an “on purpose approach” to selling is the biggest weakness for most Chesterfield County businesses. The focus of marketing is almost always on generating more leads. While leads are important, the obsession with generating them consumes a significant amount of time and resources.
  7. Live, Breath, and Sleep by the Calendar. It’s tough to get around to marketing, We get it. You didn’t start your business because you were dying to get your hands dirty with blogging, copywriting, and selling. But you soon found out that your business would die if you did not. So, what to do? The secret to getting marketing done is to make it a habit. Or, if we may roughly paraphrase Aristotle – “We are what we repeatedly do. Marketing, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Ideal Audience

Chesterfield County business owners with 15-100 employees and no internal marketing department. They have typically been in business for over 5 years. These businesses are outwardly successful and have done very little marketing. They have begun to feel . constrained due to this lack of marketing.

Possible Formats

This presentation can be delivered as a keynote, workshop, or half-day seminar. Keynotes can range from 30–70 minutes, depending on your needs. The ideal keynote length is one hour.

Intended Outcomes

  • Audience members will be convinced that building a marketing process is not only necessary but necessary to reach growth goals.
  • Audience members will have a framework that will enable them to think strategically about marketing in the age of web and social media engagement.
  • Audience members will leave with practical, actionable steps they can implement immediately.

Topic Authority

Patrick McFadden is known as the Small Business Marketer with the Heart of a Teacher.

Patrick McFadden is a marketing consultant, speaker and owner of Indispensable Marketing.

He is the creator of the Indispensable Marketing Process and frequently consults with small and mid-sized businesses helping them create marketing plans and organized marketing processes for steady growth.

He is a featured marketing contributor to Manta, Business2Community, American Express OPENForum and is a popular presenter of workshops for organizations across the U.S.

About the Author: Patrick McFadden is the owner and marketing consultant atIndispensable Marketing, a strategic marketing firm based in Chesterfield, VA. We help small to midsize businesses get the strategy right so marketing tactics get results.

7 Hidden Benefits of Indispensable Marketing

Companies like Amazon and Google are known for the extraordinary benefits they offer customers. Although you may not have that kind of budget or the resources, you can get just as creative—for less.

hidden-benefit

Introducing the “Hidden Benefit”

The “hidden benefit” is the reason behind the reason people are interested in a product, service, or idea.

Let’s take small business owners, for instance. Every small business owner wants more leads and sales, but the reason why they want more leads and sales will vary.

They might want more leads and sales to:

  • To grow from their home office to an offsite location
  • To hire locals in the community
  • Help their family pay for future expenses
  • Spread a new idea that they believe will change the world
  • Become a recognized brand and sale the business

Really, we could list dozens more. Where “normal” benefits tend to be the same across an entire topic or industry, hidden benefits are much more personal. You’ll typically find a different one for every type of customer you want to attract to your business.

How to Find the Hidden Benefit

So, how do you guess which hidden benefit might motivate your prospect?

Well, you can’t. There are too many possibilities to make an accurate guess.

The only way to know for sure is to interact with your target market:

  • When prospective customers leave comments, email them and ask follow-up questions that uncover details they didn’t want to discuss in public.
  • Give away free consultations, where you dig into the problems your target market are having.
  • Go to conferences and listen to what questions attendees ask, and then buy them a drink afterward to find out more about their individual situation.

It’s work, but it’s worth it. The hidden benefit allows you to create content that you know will resonate with your target market. You’ll be inside their heads.

Here are the 7 hidden benefits we’ve discovered:

Indispensable Marketing helps you focus on your Ideal Client.

There is always a market out there that is just waiting for someone to service it. Not only are they waiting, they are willing to pay a premium to be serviced by someone who operates just like you. They value what you have to offer, they enjoy your relationship approach to customer service and they readily refer their friends and colleagues as a token of their appreciation. Sound like fairy-tale land? When you intentionally choose a market with a specific need or problem and then show them why you deserve their trust, it’s not only possible, it’s inevitable.

Indispensable Marketing gets prospects to call you.

By creating advertising and lead-generation promotions that allow the prospect to move gently along the know, like, and trust path at their own pace, Indispensable marketers entice fully-qualified prospects to contact them.

Indispensable Marketing has the ease of a process.

By working in the confines of a process, creating fixed steps, documenting and duplicating each step, the Indispensable Marketer is able to quickly build the essential foundational components. The focus then moves to operating and enhancing the process. That’s where the real magic lies.

Indispensable Marketing makes your staff more effective and efficient.

Your staff will thank you for including them in the marketing process and giving them tools to become immediately successful in their jobs. The payoff in terms of effectiveness and efficiency is sometimes stunning.

Indispensable Marketing permits you to charge a premium for your products and services.

When you become the obvious choice for a service, product or market, your customers are not only willing to pay a premium, they expect to do so. In fact, you will be surprised to learn that the greatest challenge can sometimes be charging enough to align with the perceived value!

Indispensable Marketing allows you to create predictable sales forecasts.

Because of the process approach to lead generation and lead conversion at the core of the Indispensable Marketing process, business owners can create and test successful promotions and expect predictable results when they increase the scale of such promotions.

Indispensable Marketing makes your business more valuable.

Nothing makes a business more attractive to a potential buyer than documented processes and predictable marketing results. The primary constraint on most small businesses is the “rainmaking” status of the owner. The Indispensable Marketing process presents a way to transfer that status to others. A potential buyer must feel confident that the business can operate without the current owner before any serious consideration can be given.

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