6 Things to Buy More Time. For You.

time pressed 1This is my mental six point checklist.
Of late I’ve been feeling really (multiply by 1000) time pressed.
It’s easy to be distracted by an overwhelming feeling of, “but I’ve still got so much to do.” Before descending into a frustrating rant of “but I’ve got no time to do everything”. Before stomping off in a grump…because, well, there’s just so much to do.
On top of eating, and sleeping.
It’s much easier to be brutal and eliminate what doesn’t need to be done. Either just park or toss. The choice is ours to make.
BTW – The biggest lesson for me – is #1 learning the art of saying no.

Stand Out From the Crowd. Own Your USP.

purple
“When you meet someone, you need to have a super power. If you don’t, you’re just another handshake. Don’t say, “Hi, I’m Don, I’m from Cleveland.” Instead, try, “Hi, I’m Don, I tell stories that spread.” It’s not about touting yourself or coming on too strong. It’s about making the introduction meaningful. If I don’t know your superpower, then I don’t know how you can help me (or I can help you).
” – Seth Godin
Seth’s quote sum’s up perfectly what fancy marketing peeps love to call – the USP. The Unique Selling Point. Or, Unique Selling Proposition.
It’s the one “thing” that makes you stand out, and tower above a crowded competitive market space chock full of similar goodies.
Having a strong proposition; a unique point of difference that rings true, gives you an edge allowing you to own the space you’re going to occupy.
Put simply…A Unique Selling Point is a feature or characteristic of that makes it stand out in a tight competitive market place. The USP, is all about the X-Factor delivered in a short, sweet, and savvy one line statement.
Having a well defined USP makes your offering more exclusive, valuable, and appealing to potential customers.
Invoking curiosity, a USP will be one of the critical factors in motivating a potential customer to find out more about your special “super power.” And, to make the ultimate choice – to choose you. And, not one of your competitors.
It’s all about the unique benefit. The thing that helps solve a problem

WHAT A USP DOES

  • Focus: Focuses on wants and desires
  • Indentifies: Drills down to identify what a customer wants
  • Problem Solving: A USP solves a problem – by delivering and fulfilling the wants and desire of your customers. Existing, and potential.
  • Listens: It answers the question we all ask, “what’s in it for me?”
  • Talks Your Language: By translating features into benefits, a strong identifiable USP positively communicates in a way you understand.

A USP always delivers on its promise.

A USP IS NOT

  • Your business mission statement
  • Some meaningless sappy slogan
  • A loud in your face sales pitch
  • A personal over inflated ego balloon. “Look at me. I’m the biggest. Really, I’m the best in the world.”
  • Insincere. “We really care. More than others.”

A USP is not all things to all people.

A USP IS….fascintating and remarkable. And, captivates the truth in a captivating way.

  • Short, but incredibly sweet
  • And, best summed up in a fascinating one-liner
  • It’s the headline
  • Attention grabbing
  • It’s authentic and resonates
  • Captivating enough to invoke curiosity. Motivates people to ask:
    I have to find out more
    I have to have this
    This is exactly what I’m looking for
    Sounds interesting. How can I get more info…
    I’ll visit the website
    I must connect via social media
    When can I see you?
    Can I make an appointment?

3 examples of USP’s I love that have stood the test of time…
M & M’s –  “Melts in your mouth. Not in your hand.”
DeBeers – “A diamond is forever.”
FedEx – “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

Invest time in identifying and establishing your USP. Ask yourself time and time again what it about me (my product, service) that’s different and unique.
Write a list of features, benefits, and everything you can thing of…drill down to identify the one thing that raises the bar, and positions you (yourself, product, service) sky high above the rest. Today, tomorrow, and in years to come.
What’s your USP. Your super power?

A special thanks to Seth Godin for sharing his super power(s).

Marketing 4P’s. Made Simple.

building foundationBack in my show business marketing days I was once called a marketing “Generalist” by a marketing “Specialist.”
At the time, his declaration had me baffled. I thought my skill set was specialized, or at the very least, special. Otherwise, why hire me?
As a new day dawned, so did the realization my job and skills weren’t specific to one marketing discipline.
Generally speaking, my job and skills encompassed bits and pieces of the 4 P’s of marketing  – commonly known as the marketing mix.
The 4P’s of Marketing
1. P:  Product
2. P:  Price
3. P:  Placement
4. P:  Promotion
The brainchild of Marketer E. Jerome McCarthy, his 4P’s has been around since, well 1960. And, still relevant today they form a critical foundation in determining what your business, or service offers.
A 4P’s Snapshot  
1. PRODUCT
The intangible service, or tangible product, the “thing” you want, need, or desire to buy.
2. PRICE
What you’ll pay. What you’re prepared to pay. 
Setting the right price for your product is no easy walk in the park. And takes into account a multitude of factors including, production costs, advertising, expenses, time & expertise, staff, overheads, profit, break-even etc etc…it’s complex, and dependent on the type of product offered.
What you’re prepared to pay is the other side of the price equation.
Only in very rare circumstances is it ok to price above and beyond what your market will pay.
Rare diamonds, precious jewels, artwork painted by the masters…. fit into this rare, aspirational, and you’ll need more than a ton of money category.
Perceived value is what the customer is prepared to pay.
Think about how many times you’ve put something back because it’ll rip your budget to shreds, or there’s a cheaper comparable option you’d rather buy.
In most cases, you’ll only pay what you are prepared to pay. What you think is fair and reasonable to pay.
It’s reaching a happy “win-win” price point for the buyer, and seller.
3. PROMOTION
Communication. Spreading the word. Telling people about your product.
– Advertising – a controlled paid, or unpaid (contra) message
– Public Relations
– Sales Promotion
– Personal Spruiking (shameless self marketing)
– Precious word of mouth
– Social Media
4. PLACE
In another word, distribution.
Where people can buy, access, or find out more about your product or service.

Using, and understanding the 4P’s as the foundation of marketing will definitely:
– shape any marketing plan
– help define your product
– communicate, spread the word, tell others…about what you’re offering

Generally speaking that is!

Newbie Writer. 5 Unanswered Sales Questions.

question markAs a newbie, or is it newbee writer?…These are five questions I’m still pondering.
These questions seem so easy to ask, yet are really complex to answer. Especially if you’re an independent author starting from scratch without the grunt of a Publisher’s marketing and distribution power
It can all seem daunting. Even impossible.
But as impossible is entirely possible, with a little thought, planning, strategic thinking, and by embracing marketing…I believe over time I’ll have some answers.
These questions make me think.
And if I want to become a commercially successful writer, in which I can give up my day/night job and write for a living, then I have to think about the questions posed.
Otherwise, I’m writing for love. Only.
Are you pondering the same questions. Better still, do you have similar questions? Answers even?
Please share!

Is Your Elevator Pitch Going Up or Down?

elevator‘Good Morning, going up? So tell me, what do you do?’
‘I’m a writer by day, and waitress by night. I write modern day romance fiction, and e-publish on Amazon Kindle. To date, I’ve written two e-books including Love in the Vines. I’m now busy re-writing the first draft of the sequel, Love Entwined. I write from home. Waitressing, and working shifts at an urban food lovers market gets me out of the house, and keeps me social!’
Elevator buddy responds. ‘Oh sounds fantastic. So romantic, like you’re living the New York dream!…so where can I check out your e-book? It’s an e-book right?’
A person did make the NY dream comment, as I’m living all the way in little ol’ New Zealand, all I could was sigh, and say…if only, if only. 
That’s the current version of my elevator pitch – a short summary, lasting between 30 seconds to two minutes defining what you, and or, what your products and services do.
I must’ve been too distracted listening to the music to even consider counting…but apparently the average elevator ride is 30 seconds to two minutes too long.
Hence the term – “The Elevator Pitch.” Interesting soundbites of information relevant to the what do you do question.
It works on this scenario – one morning, you’re in the elevator busy minding your own business, when someone randomly asks you…”What do you do?” By the time you hear the ping of the doors opening again you’ve delivered a pitch perfect simple, yet stylishly confident summary of what it is that you do.
While listening, your audience of one or more will be thinking, what’s in it for me, and, am I interested in this new information?
1. There’s nothing in it for me. Interest will be feigned, and you’ll probably hear a polite “that’s nice.”
2. I’m listening. This is interesting. What’s in it for me? What’s the value promised? What value will I experience by associating with this person, their products, and or services. Now interested, and curious, the process of plying you for more information will begin.
The third scenario, the planting of the subliminal seed, is not so obvious.
3. I’m not interested now. But, I’ll file away this new information “just in case” I need to access it in the future.
Now of course, it goes without saying, the pitch is not confined to small spaces going up or down! It’s a must-have marketing tool to be used time and time again whenever you’re asked the age old question of “what do you do?”
This question, opens a small window of opportunity to “pitch” “sell” “talk about” to a captive audience about what is special and valuable about what you do.
The “do” encompasses anything from your profession, hobby, ideas, passion, dreams, career, services, products, events…..
Do you have your elevator pitch ready to use at a moment’s notice? If you do, great! Now might be a good time to review, tweak, update it, or as a refresher, practice reciting it.
If you don’t have one, or are having trouble condensing it down to juicy sound bites, these questions may help to shape what it is you want to say.
– What is it that you think you do?
– Now think about the one thing you do most of the time, and really well.
– What is unique about this one thing?
– What makes what you do so special to you?
– How, and why do you do it?
– What is the main reason other people are interested in what you do?
– In one short sentence describe the value – the feel good factor, and the common sense factor.
Now, tell me again, what do you do?

Do a Webinar.

Webinars have helped my ideas to grow. Fact.

Having recently completed my first semester at the E-Book University with the writing and publishing of Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat – it’s time to share the love. Credit needs to be given to the sources who inspired and motivated me into a state of self belief – I too could become a writer and even better, a published author.

Now a fully fledged choir member I’m going to sing the praises of webinars. Costing nothing more than your time, I’ve now done at least ten online web seminars. Every single one of them has provided motivation, inspiration and practical know-how to help me achieve my writing goals.

In this early stage of my life my way, my participation in webinars has been one of the most critical and valuable tools to help me achieve my goals.

The last time I opened my marketing/training/on-going education budget wallet, a cloud of moths flew out. By doing selected and free webinars I have definitely accelerated my writing, content, the importance of marketing planning and how-to education. Not forgetting too, the motivation gained from listening to people share their success stories. Plus, they’ve helped me sort through the clutter of what-to-do breaking down the process into bite size chunks.

Webinars are the one thing I can afford and can’t afford not to do. Sure, some come attached with a sales pitch, others don’t. At the end of the day this doesn’t bother me. It’s up to me as to whether I take up the offer or not.

Rewind back half a year or so I didn’t even know what a webinar was. At that time I was interested in learning more about the world of blogging. A friend recommended Darren Rowse from Problogger and his highly regarded resource –  Build a Better Blog in 31 Days. With my copy downloaded I got to work studying. His practical useful information helped me build an understanding on what it takes to build, maintain and work at having a blog. Along the way I joined his mailing list.

From there I was invited to join a number of webinars. Going beyond blogging his webinars showcased ordinary people turning their ideas and passions into successful online enterprises.

Fascinating and inspirational they all gave me a little more faith and confidence in my own vision.

If they could do it. I could do it too.

Webinars have encouraged and given me practical how-to-do-it tips on writing, e-publishing vs traditional publishing and marketing. Now having completed a few I noticed a thread of common touch points worth sharing. After trawling through my notes and, as a starting point I’ve whittled the pages down to:

Ten common themes from digital marketing/e-book webinars:

  1. Success doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Build it and they will come. Find your community and influencers
  3. Be authentic. It’s much easier to write something you’re passionate about.
  4. The power of writing a good marketing plan.
  5. Judge content on quality not quality. Engage a great editor.
  6. Measure content by what’s promised in the title.
  7. Think big and go for it. Best Seller Mindset, not mediocre.
  8. Engage reader straight away. Connective writing = emotional connection.
  9. Don’t tell the reader what to think. Let them come to their own conclusions.
  10. Chapters can be great PR hooks. Think twitter 140 characters.

Four Webinar Legends who changed my way of thinking:

Darren Rowse
Brilliant, international, down-to-earth webinars featuring real people achieving extraordinary online success. He’s upfront. If there’s going to be a sales pitch he’ll let you know.

Daniel Hall
His how-to-publish a Kindle e-book webinar was the first to give me a practical step by step guide. After his webinar my mindset changed from maybe to, I’m going to do this. Daniel gives you plenty of warning about his sales pitch.

Steve Harrison
The marketing publicity PR guru of the Best Seller Blue Print fame associated with Chicken Soup for the Soul best selling author, Jack Canfield. His knowledge shared was invaluable. You can’t help but come away feeling like a winner! Leaving his webinar I’m more than convinced I’m on the successful writer with a plan expressway!  Sure there’s a sales pitch. The product is top notch.

Lewis Howes
His social media and digital marketing webinars are educational often featuring people who excel in their chosen area and command the big bucks when presenting at industry related conferences. I always come away from his webinars wearing a different thinking cap. His Facebook marketing webinar was genius. Definitely dynamic he always has a sales pitch.

My Life My Way take away for Do A Webinar “Listen, learn, do and share.”

Click here to view Minnie Moo. Only $US4.99 – available for most e-book formats. Thanks!   Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat