Have you ever had a short period of time where you felt like everything was coming together? Your message was on point, opportunities were flowing and the future was bright!
This weekend I met three entrepreneurs that showed me why I’m in this game to help business start, grow, thrive and change their communities forever through their businesses. I have to admit, my wheels are spinning, my heart is pumping and business is exciting!
I’ll share the story of my encounter with a local franchise owner of Interstate Batteries in Lancaster, PA. In no way did Grant, the owner of a local Interstate Battery Franchise, know I was going to write this article this morning nor have I received any kind of compensation. I’m sharing my experience with him and his company as an illustration of what I want to share with you today.
I was having a problem with my car starting and since I was an Electrician’s Mate in the Navy I knew exactly what the problem was, but that didn’t mean I was going to tell Grant. I wanted to see how he would respond to me and help me.
I have an Interstate Battery in my car and I’ve always loved their products and the company. They are just a fabulous organization and I love what they stand for!
From the moment I looked up the site and contacted Grant he was not only friendly but extremely helpful.
So, I took the car over to the store and he spent the time to run the diagnostics and shared with me exactly what happened to the battery.
As he was doing the diagnostics we got into a great conversation when he brought up my favorite question;
“What do you do?”
Oh, how I LOVE that question!!!!!
Before I knew it, as he was bending over checking out my car, he heard every word I said in agreement about the reasons businesses struggle due to cash flow and eventually goes out of business. It’s a problem we can solve for those business owners who are open to ideas and solutions that are new to them or maybe even uncomfortable due to unfamiliarity.
Grant shared with me his experience as the leader of a large business but decided it was time recently to move on from corporate. So, he trained his replacement, left that business and bought an Interstate Battery Franchise here in Lancaster.
He has been allowed by corporate to use the web and experiment with what works to drive business to his store.
He explained some of what he is doing but more importantly what is behind what he is doing and it’s impressive.
Many confuse online marketing and think it’s a fast track to prospects, customers and cash. Grant gets it that that’s not the way it works.
The truth is the internet is way to full and competitive for that now. It takes hard work, consistency, and the 7 rules I’m going to share with you in order to bridge the gap between failure, mediocrity and success.
Without delay, here are the 7 reasons businesses are wildly successful in online marketing…
#1 – They Intimately Know Their Business and Their Customers
They know exactly what their customers want and need and what they are willing to pay in order to get it. Because Interstate Battery products can be on the higher end of quality they can cost a little more in some instances. But they also understand that their customers are smart and know that by paying a little more they are getting a longer life in their battery as well as a fantastic warranty.
They are not in the business of selling batteries. In my opinion, they are in the business of making life more enjoyable for those who use batteries to power their cars, laptops, phones, wireless devices, toys and more.
Nothing is more frustrating that replacing a battery that doesn’t last.
But there is more! Interstate Batteries has a unique corporate culture. Want to know what it is? Here it is straight from their website:
“It’s being Outrageously Dependable® in all we do. From treating our team members and customers with Golden Rule behavior to going above and beyond in every customer experience, our culture sets us apart and provides a tremendous competitive advantage.”
They know their business and they know their customers. Can you say the same in your business?
Has your business developed a culture from your personality instead of on purpose? Can your customers sense it, feel it and experience it both online and especially offline?
#2 – They Understand Networking
Networking is the lifeblood of your business. Yes, advertising and online marketing is vital to your success. But, nothing yields a higher ROI and return customers than referrals.
Many businesses understand the principles of networking offline, yet few are still very good at it or even do it.
I don’t mean the kind of networking where you go to a local event that is called networking and everyone is trying to sell each other.
That’s not networking, that’s marketing and selling and it doesn’t work.
Real networking is when you are learning about a few potential partners and finding ways to help them grow their business.
If you find the right referral partners and people to network with they will in turn start doing the same for you.
Networking develops business friendships that go beyond just referrals. It’s an investment in relationships and business.
You can and ought to do the same thing online. After reading a blogger or connecting with someone on social media engage with them. Over time they will let their life leak out in bits. Let them know they are on your mind.
Better yet, if it’s someone you’re interesting in networking with email them and let them know. Get on the phone or Skype and find a way to bring them value.
Over time and in turn you may develop a very good friend who is as interested in your future as you are in theirs.
Your prospects are much more willing to do business with someone they don’t know and haven’t experienced when they are referral or see the relationships that you have throughout the community or industry you are in.
#3 – They Know How to Find Strategic Partners
For those of you who read my blog, listen to my podcast, follow me on social media or watch my videos you know that I teach constantly about the need to network online and offline.
That means finding people who serve the same audience you do but in a different way and engage with them.
Learn about them and what’s important to them and then strive to help them. You can’t help someone you don’t know and vice versa.
Business is and has always been built around relationships.
Strategic partners aren’t just referral partners. This relationship goes beyond that to helping one another, advising one another and then building a community around one another.
Before you know it you have a spider web of strategic partners that are benefiting one another and a depth you have probably never experienced before.
Sometimes you give something away free to a partner so that in their experience with you they know better how to refer people to you and / or make recommendations that will help your business.
How do you find strategic partners?
Perhaps it’s through a local chamber of commerce or if you’re online via relationships with bloggers you are interested in partnering with. Maybe you are willing to be even more intentional and start looking for those who serve the same audience you do but in a different way and start reaching out to them.
Are you taking the time to cultivate an environment where networking is vital to your success?
#4 – They are Willing Collaborators
Collaboration is a mindset and most business owners struggle in this area. To collaborate means giving something up.
Collaboration is the new economy.
The reality is you are giving up business if you are hoarding and not collaborating. Fear is the controlling interest in your business and that’s a recipe for failure.
Collaboration means you are making meaningful strides to network and provide value to others.
Collaboration makes “it” about others and not yourself.
Want a list of some of the best collaborators I’ve met online? Here they are:
These three internet marketers epitomize what it means to network. They are constantly sharing others on social media, in their blogs, and through video.
Adrienne is a relationship and networking machine. She is a natural and works diligently to connect with new bloggers and bloggers who need what she offers. Why? Because that’s her audience. But instead of trying to sell people she brings them real and lasting value and friendship that ultimately attracts those who want to buy her.
Donna and Ryan have both made videos promoting little old me and the first time it happened I was floored.
It was an immediate sense of loyalty on my part towards them.
They can write garbage for now on and I’ll read it and support them. Well, maybe not garbage but what they did is open the doors of relationship where if I sense they may have an issue I can chat with them.
Like Adrienne, they work hard at building relationships and trust online.
I’ve been blessed by these three who consistently for a year now have played a big role in some of my thinking and how I go about networking online.
Through collaboration they have become friends and partners at different levels in my business.
You need that for your business. No one can do this alone online!
That’s the big lie, isn’t it?
We all start alone, but we can’t stay alone. No business can.
Not even Interstate Batteries. This massive corporation has partners and tentacles everywhere they can because they know they need others to help them grow their business.
Do you have collaborators in your life and business?
#5 – They Take Smart Risks
Business without some risk is not a business. There is no such thing in business as playing it safe. In fact, what I’ve asked in the previous four points for you to consider may be really risky for you.
You may feel vulnerable, insecure and lack trust; all for very legitimate reasons.
It can be a risk to allow someone into your world only to have a personal issue in 12 months or 5 years from now and these people that were once partners are now smearing your name online or offline.
It happens. It has happened to me and it will probably happen to you at some point.
Will people take liberties with the truth? Sure they will.
But should that stop you?
Business is risky. You make money and you lose money or even friends along the journey.
You may make some big mistakes that hurt.
But, nothing is so bad you can’t learn from the experiences and overcome them. It requires honesty and humility with yourself and with others.
Again, another truth is you will have to develop some thick skin in business. So what if someone doesn’t like you, agree with you or talks about you? So what if you lose money or possessions.
Many have gone bankrupt and come back to be even more successful than ever!
You can feel sorry for yourself and quit or you can endure, learn and improve.
The key is that you should do what I didn’t several years ago when I was forced by my own mistakes to learn how to be smart about who I put myself around.
Don’t be afraid of the 99% of the things that will likely never happen. Instead, overcome your fear and go after what you want and need to get where you want to go.
Take a few risks, it’s not the end of the world or your life.
What do you think about risk? If you have an experience where you overcame an obstacle please share it in the comments section below.
#6 – They Understand That Learning is the Key to Growth and Success
How often are you investing in yourself and your business?
Our society, business and technology is changing too fast. If you are doing in six months the same things you are doing today you will be on the road to failure.
Especially in internet marketing.
Allow me to say, please, that you cannot give up your right and responsibility to learn and know what is happening in technology to a third party company.
Here is why:
- Technology is changing so fast that an industry could disappear and you weren’t ready for it. That could have a detrimental effect upon your business. SEO, Social Media, Web Design and Development are all under attack from artificial intelligence that could change the game completely within 5 years.
- Your vendor could go out of business for other reasons or fail to deliver. Then what? How much money and time have you invested in something you don’t have a clue about?
- You may be aware of a trend or opportunity your vendor is not that you can leverage to help your business.
- They only have your best interest at heart to a degree. Let’s be honest about that. You are not their only client. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about you but it does mean they are not your full time employee or co-owner in your company. Being realistic with this helps a lot.
Remember, it’s your job to know your business and your customers. It’s your web designer’s, SEO vendors, social media vendors, etc., job to know your business.
They will get their information from you in order to help your business and they can only help your business to the degree that you’ve helped yourself.
They can’t possibly be expected to know what you know.
Can they give advice and direction?
But they can only give it based on what you have to share with them.
Let me ask; each day, week, month and year are you devoting time for you and your team to:
- Read websites about areas that are important to your business like industry journals, marketing websites and blogs, etc.
- Attend business workshops and seminars
- Attend conferences, conventions or expos
- Register for free or paid webinars
- Bring in a weekly, monthly or quarterly trainer, consultant or coach?
Or, are you making excuses about the lack of time and priority?
It’s okay if you are, but at least be honest with yourself about it so that when things go wrong you can be honest about where the problems are at so that you can fix them.
In today’s world knowledge and learning is power. It’s not the degree or certificate that hangs on the wall that’s important anymore. It’s gaining the skill of adaptive learning.
#7 – They have a Plan
Businesses that are successful rarely wing it. However, they do have plans that are flexible. How do you develop a plan?
Well, that’s where I will steer you to my “Begin Here” page. On it will share practically how gaining clarity and focus will steer you in the direction of developing the right plan for your business.
Without clarity around what business you are “really” in and fully understanding your business through the tangible values you offer your customers, the specific problems you solve and who you specifically solve them for; you are just wandering in the desert hoping to find some water (aka money).
Internet marketing without a plan is your biggest threat for failure.
Right now I’m developing a webinar titled “The 5 Step Formula to Attract Your Audience Online, Increase Revenue and Position Your Business for Success!” and the amount of work is staggering.
Coming up with the content that is interesting, relevant, compelling and data driven is intense. But what I gleaned through the process is even changing my business in a positive way as I think through how to help my webinar attendees.
The process has taken eight days so far:
- Who is the webinar designed for, i.e. the target audience?
- Research and data to support the title and call to action.
- What is the flow of the webinar?
- What slides have to be created?
- What marketing and promotion has to be done to reach the audience?
- Who will I partner with for promotion?
- What is the specific follow-up plan?
- What can people buy? Should they buy something?
I’m not even getting into the course I’m creating on Udemy right now. But the thought is the same.
While the detail is important, if I don’t understand the internet and how it works for business; if I don’t have clarity around my business and if I don’t therefore have the ability to focus then I will never execute well with purpose.
I will be doing nothing more that shooting arrows without a target.
- Do you have a plan?
- Do you know what you’re messaging on your website?
- Do you know who you’re messaging to?
- Do you know how to appeal to them without talking about yourself?
- Do you have a blog? Need a blog? Should you blog? Why would you blog?
- Why are you on Facebook?
- What about Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any other social media site?
- Who do I create partnerships with and how do you collaborate for your business?
There is so much to consider and think about.
Yet, so many of us are just doing, doing, doing without knowing why or for whom we are doing when it comes to internet marketing.
As I shared in this article “The Shift – The Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing” many of us are still treating the internet like a mass marketing tool because we know everyone is hanging out here.
Yet, the internet is not a mass marketing tool. There is so much data available to us that we can harness the power of the web to attract those who are able, willing and ready to buy from us.
The problem is that the majority of us are not ready for our prospects or what comes with that growth.
How do I know that’s true?
Because you haven’t done the work to attract them.
Your website likely says nothing, means nothing and helps no one. Your blog may be nothing more than company newsletters that talk about how great you are doing, last quarter’s sales numbers or your current sales and promotions.
You may have the ability to drive massive amounts of traffic to your site with very qualified opportunities from the right audience who is able, willing and ready to buy from you.
If your marketing online is going to work, you’re going to have to change the way you think.
In a short time Grant impressed me deeply yesterday and re-enforced for me why Interstate Battery is such a great company.
They not only in some capacity live up to the seven principles I’ve mentioned they have also gone above and beyond for just one customer who had a problem who is now ready to tell the world.
Are your customers online and offline experiencing a reason to buy from you that is compelling, inspiring or interesting?
Here is one idea I want to leave you with you.
As I talked with Grant yesterday it dawned on me; don’t leave all your marketing online. Marketing and sales in the end is and always has been about people.
Can you communicate and share your tangible values and are you passionate about helping people so much that you can find a way to talk with someone in the grocery store line, while waiting for a ride at the amusement park this summer, or while your local business owner is helping you solve a problem you have?
You never know the opportunities that are going to come your way.
And, if you are in or around Lancaster, PA and you ever need a battery for ANYTHING, visit Grant’s store on Oregon Pike. He’s a fantastic person and he’ll make you feel like he’s more than just someone who you are buying a battery from.
Remember, while people may buy something from you it’s because of YOU that they choose to give their hard earned money to your business.
Do you want to learn The 5 Step Formula to Attract Your Audience Online, Increase Revenue and Position Your Business for Success!?
If so, click on the image below and get on my email list. I’ll be sending the email announcement out shortly about what you can expect, what you’ll learn and why you should attend.
Do you have a thought, idea or comment you would like to share? If so, leave it below and let’s talk about it. I hope to hear from you!!!!