Please Don’t Buy!


One of the most important steps you have to take in order to attract ideal customers and grow your business is to actually know who those ideal customers are. That’s the first step that many understand. But there’s another, less understood and talked about step you should also consider, and it begins with a question:

What kind of customer should you repel?

That’s right. You need to figure out what types of customers you don’t want to attract and do business with. As counter intuitive as that sounds, it can be just as important as knowing who you want to attract.

The 80/20 rule tells us that in most businesses, 20% of the customers provide 80% of the profits. Knowing who you want to attract can help you greatly improve the odds of increasing the ratio.

At the same time, most businesses also have to deal with a percentage of customers who create the most headaches while providing little profit for the business. Knowing who you want to repel should help reduce the impact this group will have on you.

Knowing the types of customers you want to repel will have many side benefits besides simply increasing the bottom line. It will improve employee morale since coworkers will not have to deal with as many problem-causing customers each day. It will also allow you to spend more energy and resources on the customers who actually provide the most value and profits for your company.

Go through your existing customer list. Pick out the customers that provide the most headaches and the least profit for your company. Figuring out how to repel this type of customer could be as simple as raising prices enough to either make them not want to do business with you or, at the very least, make the pain of dealing with them more profitable and bearable.

The benefits of knowing what types of customers you don’t want can prove to be nearly as important as knowing who you would like as a client.

What’s Your Call to Action?

Call to action conent tips

Every marketing piece should have a call to action that helps direct the reader to the next step.

Whether you want them to click a link, download a file, or contact your business, here are a few tips to ensure your call to action gets noticed and utilized:

  • Keep it short and simple using action verbs, such as call, buy, register, donate, or subscribe.
  • Be specific about what you want readers to do. For example, if you want customers to contact you to set up an appointment, don’t just say “contact us.”
  • Make it easy for readers by using a direct shortcut link to your sign-up page or order form, versus sending them on a wild goose chase through your website.
  • Create urgency with a deadline such as “offer expires May 31” or “order now and get a free gift!”
  • Include a benefit for contacting you. Instead of saying “Download our whitepaper,” say “Expand your customer base with these 10 tips.”
  • Popularity sells. If your information is high demand, consider including the number of times a document has been downloaded.
  • Build trust by including customer logos or relevant testimonials near your call to action.
  • Provide your call to action multiple times throughout your website or marketing materials.
  • Size and location matter. Make sure your call to action is easily visible and prominently located so readers don’t miss it.

We’d love to help you create marketing materials that get noticed and increase sales. Check us out online for more creative ideas or to request a printing quote today!

Are You Doing Too Much?

are you doing too much

Once a business is established, it’s common practice to add products and services in the name of diversification and the desire for more profits. It’s a wise business move to choose products and services that will appeal to customers you’re already doing business with.

But what’s the point of diminishing returns? When does adding more products become less profitable or even start losing you money?

Lego is known for its beloved interlocking toy bricks. The company has been around since 1949. You and your children have probably built many fun projects using their colorful, iconic blocks.

As with many other successful brands, Lego decided to diversify. The Denmark-based company added games, movies, clothing lines, and six themed amusement parks (Legoland). Lego added many new colors to the primary colored bricks originally available. Costs were added at a much higher rate than new profits to pay for all this diversification.

The once very profitable company began bleeding red ink. A new CEO (Jorgen Vig Knudstrorp) was brought in to fix the problem. One of the first questions he asked was this: “What do we need to stop doing?”

Beginning in 2005, Lego sold the theme parks and whittled down half of the brick colors. They became more efficient and creative at doing what they were good at by concentrating on less rather than more. By the end of the same year, Lego was profitable again.

Sometimes the answer to doing more is to actually do less. Doing less frees up time and resources to concentrate on the key products and customers that bring you the bulk of your profits. If you have too many services or products, start considering what things you should stop doing, so you can focus instead on what really matters.

Content Marketing: An Age-Old Strategy that Still Works Today

Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Content marketing has become one of the buzzwords in the business marketing world. Many claim this is a new way to market. That is not correct. Providing valuable content to lure prospects and visitors has been around for a while. The distribution channels for this content may have expanded recently, but the strategy has been around for many years.

One case in point involves a tiny electronics firm in Seattle. The company opened in 1954 as Magnolia Stationers and Camera Shop in the Magnolia Village shopping district of Seattle. The owner, Len Tweten, loved music, which eventually led him to move the business into the world of high-fidelity audio. This transition over time also prompted a business name change to Magnolia Hi-Fi.

High-quality products and commitment to service were just a part of the overall plan to grow the business. Being a small business with no real marketing plan or budget, Magnolia Hi-Fi decided the best way to differentiate itself was to educate prospects with valuable information about the Hi-Fi world. To do this, the company introduced stereo buyer’s guides (over 30 years ago), which provided educational content and answers to commonly asked questions on buying audio equipment.

The buyer’s guides set Magnolia Hi-Fi apart from the competition. They also positioned the company as leaders and experts in their field in the eyes of their audience.

Did this content marketing plan work?

The tiny store grew into a small chain, which was acquired by Best Buy in December of 2000… for $87 million! In 2004, the Magnolia brand was incorporated into Best Buy as a store-within-a-store, known as Magnolia Home Theatre.

Content marketing works. It works best when you use multiple channels to distribute and share your content (print and digital work in perfect tandem for this strategy). Creating valuable content your prospects are looking for takes some work and resources. But don’t overlook the rewards that can come from that work. It may not net you $87 million, but it can prove to be nearly as valuable.

You can read more of the details behind this remarkable story here.

The One Radio Station You Should Tune To

PCF-The One Radio Station

There’s a radio station you may have never heard of, but it’s one you need to tune into each and every day if you really want to grow your business. It’s called WIIFM, and it stands for “What’s In It For Me.”

Yes, this is a fictional radio station, and yes, it’s a bit cheeky, but the message is one you can’t ignore. Your customers are being bombarded with messages every single day. The only messages that will register are those which adhere to the WIIFM principles.

You must clearly spell out what’s in it for them, or your listener will quickly tune you out.

Here’s a good quote to remember from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales:

“It’s actually surprising how many people don’t follow this simple guideline of courtesy. I often get long, tedious emails from people explaining to me in great detail how I can help them and how great it would be for them if I would work on their project, or endorse it, etc. But they fail to consider my context. Why should I care, and even if I do care, why should I act on this rather than any of a thousand other things?”

This is what your prospects and customers are thinking every time you broadcast your messages. So recall this quote when you sit down to create your message, whether in print, web, social media, or any other communication channel.

Are You A Little Bit Country or Rock n’ Roll?

To understand what your prospects want to listen to or what they regard as important to them, you need to speak with and understand your customers. Pick up the phone, conduct surveys, go visit your customers, and take them out to lunch or coffee. There are many ways to find answers to this very important question.

Rome Was Not Built In One Day

Pablo Picasso painted over 5,000 drawings and images that very few people cared about at the time. But during the same period, he also created masterpieces that the world loves to this day. Don’t expect to find answers the first time you visit a client. Keep asking, probing, and analyzing your findings until the answer becomes crystal clear.

Seth Says

If you’re not attracting the right prospects to your business or converting them into customers, selling products, or building a strong brand in your community, it may be because you’re not clearly stating what’s important to your audience. Seth Godin said it best:

“Ten years later and the ego pendulum has clearly swung in the direction of the virus. That’s what we brag about and what is too often measured. How many eyeballs are passing by is a useless measure. All that matters is how many people want to hear from you tomorrow. Don’t try to convert strangers into customers. It’s ineffective and wasteful. Instead, focus on turning those momentary strangers into people eager to hear from you again and again.”

Favorite Station

Building and growing a lasting business brand takes a little work. Attracting audiences that care about what you have to say comes down to providing value for the type of audience you want to attract. You now know how to find out what they care about. Take those findings and craft the type of messages your listening audience will never want to tune out. When you do that, your channel will become one of the coveted favorite stations of your listening audience.PCF-The One Radio Station

Are You the One?

Are you in control of your life, or does it feel like life is tossing you around like a boat in a storm?

Only one person in a hundred may look ahead, picture in their mind what they want, and set a plan to work toward their goals. The other ninety-nine may think about what they aspire to, but that vision will quickly fade, as they consider all the reasons why they can’t make their dreams a reality. So they settle for what life throws their way. That’s why life for the ninety-nine feels out of control and chaotic.

In order to go from the ninety-nine to the one, you must answer three important questions:

    1. What do you really, really want out of life?
    2. What is your plan to get there?
    3. What is your next step?

All three of these are critical steps to get off the out-of-control merry-go-round and take control of your destiny.

Some people will take the first step and stop. Some will even go to step two. But very few get to step three. The people in the “one percent” group take step three and continue on until their goals are achieved.

Ninety-nine people will read this and believe they knew all of this already. Yet they still won’t do anything about it. One will take action.

Life throws challenges in everyone’s paths. The ones who are not easily discouraged and remain resilient because they believe in their dreams are the people who end up as the one in a hundred.

Which are you?

Be a Real Partner

two business men meeting

Business used to be much simpler. The formula for success was to provide value, convenience, and great customer service, which in turn led to referrals that became new clients. This tried and true cycle kept the business world moving forward.

Somewhere along the way, however, the rules seem to have changed, and the apple cart has been upset.

To win business today, you must provide more than value and customer service.

Change is an inevitable part of life and must be dealt with. Change can lead to transformations in which we are active and willing participants, or change can occur despite our best efforts to stop it. In these cases, the outcomes are not necessarily in our power.

An important part of transformation and evolution is to learn from the past. This is a great time to review the past year and make decisions about changes that need to be made for a successful new year.

Reflections On the Past Year

Was 2012 a success for you? If not, where did things go wrong?

— Did you have enough sales opportunities?

— Were you presenting the right solutions for your prospects?

— Did you learn enough about your clients and their needs in order to implement the right solutions for your clients?

There are no right answers here, just honest introspection.

Resolutions For the New Year

To make changes for a successful 2013:

— Know what goals your clients have for their businesses.

— Help them achieve their goals with the solutions you have to offer.

To be as successful as you would like to be in the new year, you need to accomplish one important task: look for ways to make your clients achieve their goals. When you can do that, you have aligned their goals with yours. You have become a true partner in their success. This can go a long way in making your new year the best ever.

The Right Mindset


Many people start off the new year with high hopes and aspirations for a successful future. They dutifully set goals, make plans, state their objectives, and promise themselves that this time they’ll really stick with it.

But sometimes life gets in the way and throws a curve ball (or two or three!), diverting our eyes from our path just long enough to derail the whole plan.

If you have plans this year to ramp up your business and want to really see it all the way through, there’s one thing that can help you stick with the agenda even when things seem to be going sideways.

Solve their pain.

If you can remember that one phrase and make it a theme for your entire year, you’ll be much closer to achieving all of your goals than you have ever been.

Your customers, prospects, and even your friends and family have some kind of pain. They’re all either actively or unknowingly searching for someone to help them cure their problems. Your task should be to find out what these ills are and then help provide solutions. You’ll become the one they always look forward to hearing from because you care about them.

The late Zig Ziglar once said: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” It’s somewhat ironic that achieving goals in your life and business requires a mind shift change from “me first” to thinking about what’s in the best interest of other people.

So as you set your sights on having the best year of your life, remember to always strive to be the one that presents answers to problems and puts the best interests of others before your own. If you can master these skills, you’ll never be without a friend and will achieve more goals than you ever have before.

It’s 11:30. Are You Ready?

Deadline Lessons from Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live (SNL) producer Lorne Michaels once said, “I say it every week: We don’t go on because we’re ready. We go on because it’s 11:30.” He went on to say that being “ready” is a state of mind, one you can condition yourself to overcome with regular deadlines.

SNL is a long-running late-night live television sketch comedy created by Lorne Michaels. The live aspect of the show requires an absolute commitment to being ready to go on air at 11:30 eastern time every Saturday. It’s a hard deadline. No excuses can be accepted or tolerated. The show begins with a topical sketch, at the end of which someone breaks from the skit and shouts: “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

But before the show airs each Saturday night, an entire week’s worth of preparation has gone into making that episode a reality. Monday starts with a production meeting where ideas for the following week’s skits are pitched. On Tuesday, the ideas chosen are turned into skits, and on Wednesday they’re reviewed to pick the best ones to move forward.

On Thursday, the skits are tweaked and adjusted as needed. The winning skits are rehearsed on Friday and then once more before a live audience on Saturday at 8 PM before the actual live performance at 11:30.

Whatever project you’re creating — whether large and elaborate or small and simple — you likely follow a similar process. Your ideas are put on paper, the best survive, an action plan to move forward is chosen, and deadlines are given. Everything is ready, so then why do some ideas and projects never get done?

Over-thinking, doubt, procrastination, and perfectionism are the enemies of deadlines. Each one can play the role of devil’s advocate in your head to delay and destroy deadlines.

The cure might be to learn from SNL and Lorne Michaels. Take imperfect action when necessary. When you delay, nothing can move forward. You can always correct course and improvise as you move toward your goals, but nothing can happen unless you make that leap of faith to take the first steps.

SNL has aired some 730 episodes since its debut and began its 38th season this year, making it one of the longest-running network television programs in the United States. It has produced countless stars, created immense wealth for the creators, and entertained several generations of audiences over the years. The live aspect of the show creates a certain drama that most other shows lack. Some of the jokes fall flat, and there are unexpected surprises in many shows that had not been rehearsed. But the actors improvise as needed, and the show always goes on.

SNL doesn’t go on air at 11:30 every Saturday evening because they are ready. It goes on because it’s 11:30. You may never be “ready” enough if you don’t commit to a deadline to go live. Set aside your fears and worries. Time is wasting, and you may never get another chance to go live again.

Loyalty Marketing… or We HEART You!

Customer loyalty programs are an easy and effective way to keep customers coming back to your business. Here are a few tips to help you create a loyalty program with a simple yet important goal: rewarding repeat customers.

Offer custom-printed punch cards or stamp cards for customers who frequent your business. A simple reward (such as “buy five car washes, get the sixth free”) may be enough to keep customers from visiting your competition down the street.

Utilize the back side of your loyalty-marketing promotions to advertise upcoming events, highlight exclusive offers, share helpful tips, and more.

Celebrate! Be sure to recognize customer birthdays, holidays, and even the date your customer joined your loyalty club.

Provide loyalty club members with special coupons for free upgrades, such as “upgrade to a premium deluxe XYZ for the same price as our standard XYZ.”

Reward customers who buy ahead. For example, if you own a repair shop, you might offer a year-long package of oil changes for a discounted rate. Not only will the customer be happy to save money, but you can ensure the customer will return to your business all year long.

Invite loyal customers to join a review panel group, and offer free products or services in exchange for their valuable feedback and input on how to improve your business.

Develop creative ways to show your company’s reciprocal loyalty to customers. Send “thank you” campaigns, for example, with exclusive discounts or promotions.

Give us a call if we can help you create loyalty program marketing materials your customers will love!

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