David Brim on business, marketing & life.

Land More Customers presentation

Contributor: David Brim July 12, 2012

This past Tuesday I gave a webinar to a group of CEOs, marketing directors and economic development professionals. The webinar was hosted by the Florida Economic Gardening Institute. Here is a short summary that was used to promote the webinar:

So many people all around the world have great ideas, products and services. And

 yet some businesses do well, and some fail. What separates the businesses that starve from the businesses that feast?
For the answer, David Brim turns to another way people have been setting their feast table for hundreds of years: fishing. Landing a fish, just like landing a customer, requires strategy and know-how if you’re going to come home successful. During this webinar, David Brim explains his top recommendations on how to land the catch of the day through online marketing, SEO and social media.

Presented by: David Brim

Tuesday, July 10, 2012
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

The webinar went very well and the feedback was positive.

I’ve added the slides from the webinar below…

The idea of comparing marketing to fishing was one that I’ve had for several years. In 2010 I wrote a guest blog post on Copyblogger, one of the top 5 internet marketing blogs, and it was very well received (over 50 comments, 350+ twitter shares and 100 Facebook shares. After the feedback from the blog post I decided to write a book on the topic and am about 85% complete at the time of this blog post.

I hope you enjoy the presentation slides and illustrations. Keep an eye out for the book…I’ll be publishing a blog post announcing it when it’s ready.

Here is an image from the presentation that is embedded above.  I encourage you to click through and view the other slides in the presentation as well.

The webinar slides were published originally on the brand advance blog

*video of webinar added below on 7/16

I wish you all the best in your online marketing expedition!

Cheers,

David

Warning: Build your personal brand now, or you’ll regret it later

Contributor: David Brim March 6, 2011

February 17th I spoke at the University of Central Florida for their “Entrepreneurial Speaker Series” in front of an audience of 50-60 ambitious business students.  The topic was on marketing strategies for entrepreneurs….I decided to take a slightly different direction to help students from falling into a very common trap that can severely injure or even kill a professional career or start up’s chance of success.

The information I shared with the students I spoke with is relevant for many of my readers and others out there.  With that being said I thought I’d share it here as well.

First off a small back story to put everything in context…

Over the last six months or so I’ve given probably five different speeches/presentations, primarily to start-ups and second stage companies.  This actually included a talk at the Florida Technology Partnership event in Ft. Myers two days prior to my talk at UCF.  As I was in my hotel room in Ft Myers, after my speech to a group of CEOs and marketing executives, I had a thought….I’ve given essentially the same presentation the last five times or so that I’ve talked focused on marketing strategy, SEO, Social Media and branding.  Though this presentation was good I realized this information and delivery is perfect for those who already have companies and are trying to grow them, but will it add the same value to motivated college students.  Many of these college students aspire to be an entrepreneur, but don’t have a venture in mind let alone a product or service to market now.

What should I do…Should I give the same presentation or craft a new one.  My talk was scheduled for 1 hour and I altruistically always want to make sure my audience gets the most from my experiences and insight.

Unsure of how to approach it, especially with a  day and a half to go and lots of work to do at Brand Advance the next day…I decided to sleep on it and plan my attack on my drive back to Orlando from Ft. Myers (about 3-4 hours).

I started to go through a simple marketing exercise that I take my clients through at Brand Advance and thought about who I was trying to reach and influence….what are their problems, motivations, experiences, etc.  What can I offer to impact them the most and add the highest value.

In the case of students, learning new marketing tactics to grow brand awareness of a business isn’t as important and essential as learning how to market themselves…after all you are the only product you will have for the rest of your life.  If you can perfect marketing and building your personal brand through the process you will learn and understand how to market other brands as well.   Building brand you will continue to pay dividends and attract great opportunities into your life.

Personal branding is more important today than ever before.  Unemployment is extremely high, more people are graduating and more people are getting laid off from their jobs.

What does this mean?


It means that you have more competition for both obtaining a job, and growing your entrepreneurial ventures. What causes you to stand out and land that good job, find investment funding, gain experienced mentors, or align yourself with those who will be energized to work on your start up?

It’s your personal brand- made up of your credibility, past achievements, experiences, the way you carry yourself, who you associate with, and the knowledge you have in your respective field.

Here’s how I foresee many falling into the trap…

  1. A student graduates excited to get a job in their field
  2. Realize that unemployment is extremely high and get a job in an un-related field to pay the bills until they can find a better job, or launch their start-up.
  3. They end up working in that unrelated job for years, not building experiences and credibility in their respective field and not keeping educated on new trends and industry knowledge.
  4. When the market turns around in a few years an employer is going to hire either a fresh college grad that they can mold, or hire someone who was laid off in the field with industry specific experience.
  5. The college student working in an unrelated field to pay the bills will be stuck in a weird spot…they won’t have enough industry specific knowledge to get a relevant job or launch a viable start-up that solves a market need.
  6. They then are at a time to move on in their life and get married and have a kid at some point making it even harder to close the gap as others who get on the inside track in an industry so to speak.

So the question becomes….How do you solve this and avoid the trap?

Here’s my thoughts…

  1. Get Educated…I’m not talking about a school education, though in some fields like medical and education this is essential.  I’m talking about keeping up with industry trends and learning how others in your field are staying on top of their game.  School is great at teaching you how to learn or the basic fundamentals in a given area.  Truth be told many of the trends that can really help you can’t be taught in school because the teachers are too busy teaching older text book lessons to keep up with them.  Even if they did teach you something innovative or forward thinking they are also teaching everyone else.  You need to learn more than other students in your classes….remember you are competing with students graduating at schools all across the country as well as those experienced industry professionals who have lost their jobs.
  2. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants / Get Connected…It’s essential to begin developing relationships with influencers in your respective field.  These influencers can connect you to other influencers and if you’ve built your personal brand, have credibility and deliver good results this can be a continual never ending process.  You can meet potential business partners, employers, investors and much more.  Also- those who are more experienced in an industry also will be able to see trends that you may not that can assist you in developing new ventures.  Building your network of mentors is also another very wise thing to do.  They will have a personal interest in seeing you succeed and will be able to connect you to others in their network to assist with your endeavors.
  3. Flex your expertise / Build your brand awareness:  Once you’ve found innovative trends and can begin constructing your own thoughts on various industry topics begin flexing your expertise by starting a blog utilizing wordpress.org or blogger.com.  I also recommend identifying top bloggers in your field and build a relationship with them by commenting on their blog or talking with them on twitter…If possible see if you can become a guest writer for their blog, which in many cases will have thousands of readers.  I also would suggest finding online groups and physical networking groups (ex: Linkedin, Google/Yahoo Groups & Meetup) to join as well as answering industry related questions in Q&A sites like yahoo answers.  Revealing your expertise through blogging and online networking will work wonders…I have gotten clients from my blog, job offers, new venture opportunities, media coverage and much more.
  4. Leverage your successes: Often times people will achieve something that can differentiate them from their competitors, but will not put it out there.  It’s not bragging, it’s establishing credibility and showing your value.  Create an achievements page, it’s essentially an interactive resume.  It’s much more powerful than a regular resume because it can go more in depth, show pictures and even link off to other pages where you elaborate.
  5. Control your brand online or someone else will:  You ideally should want to own the page when someone types your name into Google with content that you want them to see.  Employers will search for you, potential business partners, customers, investors and many more.  This is a huge part of building your brand online.  You want it to be easy for others to find you and when they do you want their findings to represent how you want your brand to be perceived.Purchase your own domain name if you can get it, or some sort of variation.  This can be done at godaddy.com.  Get a wordpress blog up, which should take about 10 mins or so and start blogging!  Also be sure to watch what you post on Facebook as well as what others post.  Know your brand and what you are trying to convey and don’t do anything contradictory to that because it may end up online.  Everyone has smart phones with cameras and video recorders these days…Your slip could be the next viral sensation and really damage your brand.
  6. Launch a start up:  Once you’ve taken time to build your personal brand you should have connections and an understanding of trends occurring in the market place.  In my mind at this point it’s not a bad thing to start planning and getting your start up concept in motion.   Even if you fall flat on your face you’ll learn.  Don’t get discouraged entrepreneurship can have a lot of ups and downs, but more potential risk…more potential reward.  Note:  I would never recommend running up your credit cards and sinking all your money into a startup.  This kind of financial strain is never really a good idea unless you have some strong proof of concept.  Best case scenario….Your start up will be a success and you’ll create a job for yourself or better yet an asset that will make you millions.  At a minimum you can equip yourself with something to differentiate yourself from others in a job interview.  Working on a pet project and showing potential and traction is in my eyes much more impressive than a coffee grabbing internship, unrelated job, or high gpa.  It shows that you are a self starter, are resourceful, disciplined and can add the same value to another organization as well.By the way colleges are a great place to launch a business for a large variety of reasons.

Anyway I just looked at the clock and it’s 3:48 am…time flies when your in the zone.  Another thought on that note…be prepared to work long hours at times.  Launching a start up and building a personal brand, especially when working another job takes a lot of hours.  Don’t let your health suffer, but be prepared to put the time in.  It will eventually pay off.

Remember:  If it was easy everyone would be doing it!

I hope this post helped.  If you please share it with others in your network via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, delicious or Stumble Upon.

Good luck on your journey to success and watch out for the trap!

Let me know what you thought about the post in the comments below.

10 Local Marketing Tips to Drive Business Your Way

Contributor: David Brim January 14, 2011

Recently a business owner reached out to me for assistance in marketing his business in a local market.  After writing a response to his questions I thought that others would be able to benefit from the information that I shared with him so I decided to share it with my readers.

I need some help marketing my last two dance classes. Any suggestions on where and how to get the word out?

There are a number of ways that you can do this….

1) SEO: If you have a website optimize it for local keywords so that people can find you.  There are two main aspects of search engine optimization what happens on your website and what happens outside of your website.  The on page factors include your website’s code, content, urls, page titles, etc.  A website’s off page SEO is basically their link portfolio- how many sites are linking to you, what is the quality of the sites linking to you, etc.  Here is a previous post that I wrote regarding link building.  There are many different tactics, but this article will go over the basics.  https://davidbrim.com/seo-and-link-building-101

Also be sure you are listed on google places, yelp, etc and the other major local listing sites.  Check out www.getlisted.org

2) Facebook Ads: Advertise to your potential customers on Facebook.  You can select your target customers demographics, interests (including dance or dancing with the stars, etc), location and more.

3) Google Adwords: Similar to SEO, but pay for placement.  You basically bid on keywords and the combination of highest price and quality score (relevancy and authority in google’s eyes) will show first.  You only pay on a per click basis.  If going this route make sure you track your costs and the amount of sales generated to make sure your getting a return on investment.  You can also target your ads to a specific geographic area so you won’t be paying for those who are not in the right area to take advantage of your service.

4) Social Media: Use tracking tools like www.socialmention.com and monitter.com to see who is discussing dance related topics in a certain geographic area on twitter and facebook.  Viralheat.com is another good tool for monitoring social media conversations globally or locally, but that is a paid subscription based tool.Once they are found you can engage these users with various tactics to raise your brand’s visibility.

5) Craigslist & other Classified marketing sites: Post your service on craigslist in your city.  This is a very highly trafficked classified site and can be very effective.  Other popular classified marketing sites include: Back Page and Epage.

6) Referrals: Tap into your current client’s social circles of influence and ask them for referrals.  It’s also wise to have your current clients become a fan of your brand on facebook so your brand gets out to their friends.  Possibly offer an incentive of a free class or discount to those who refer other clients.

7) Direct mail & Traditional Marketing: We worked with a dance company and did a direct mail campaign to kick off their grand opening.  We had formal invitations developed and mailed them out to homes tax assessed at $350K+.  They had a great turn out, but direct mail can be very expensive.  Radio and TV are also options depending on your budget, but internet marketing will provide a more cost effective and measurable solution.

8) Give a free performance– Attract people in with a free show or performance.  Once they are there give them food and/or wine (if legal aged) which can be donated from sponsors.  While there have people offer a free lesson to those who attend and sign them up on the spot.

9) Local Coupon Sites like Groupon– The local daily/weekly coupon craze is going full blast.  Leading the charge is Groupon, however competitors like LivingSocial, Tippr, and Buywithme are all gaining traction.

10) Harness the power of Local Meetup and Facebook groups– Local online groups can be a very powerful way to raise awareness of your venture.  Visit www.meetup.com and do a search for your zipcode and a relevant keyword.  Also visit Facebook and do searches to find relevant groups and fan pages.  There are several ways to utilize these groups and pages.

  • First- you can simply participate in a popular local group- by sharing an insightful comment with a link to your website people will be intrigued to learn more and click through the link to learn more about your business.
  • Second- You can contact the group creator or page admin and ask them to send out a message to their audience.  This may cost some money, but will give your brand good viability if you can find the right group.
  • Finally- Start your own interest group.  If you have the time, it can be very valuable to start an online group around a topic of interest yourself.  You can network with people interested in this topic and if you ask intriguing questions and share thoughtful responses you will be perceived as an expert and someone a potential customer would want to hire.

I hope this helps!

If you have any additional questions let me know.

What do you guys think…Did I miss any anything?

If so feel free to comment.

All the best,

David

If Facebook Existed Years Ago…

Contributor: David Brim September 20, 2010

Have you ever thought what it would be like if Facebook existed years ago?

I recently came across this funny post on cafe mom…Well worth sharing!

Hope you get some laughs from it.

Enjoy!

Give Me 5 Minutes and I’ll Share with you a Solid Social Media Strategy that Works

Contributor: David Brim August 28, 2010

Are you a business owner who is wondering how you can get the most value out of social media?

So many business owners I speak to sign up for twitter and facebook with no real strategy.  They simply sign up because they have heard the buzz about these networks, or because someone said that they should.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with brands large and small helping them to effectively take advantage of social media.  If you give me 5 minutes and read this post I will share with you a solid social media strategy that I’ve used time and time again to help my client’s businesses grow.

Keep in mind there are many different social media strategies.  I’m simply sharing with you one that I’ve found to be effective.

That strategy is…. leveraging online influencers.

I define an online influencer as someone who has a great amount of respect, visibility and influence in their respective niche. This influencer could be a power user on twitter, a popular group administrator ( meetup, linkedin or facebook), premium blogger, top youtube vlogger, or simply someone with a lot of friends on a social network.

So how do you take advantage of this strategy and truly leverage online influencers?

Well lets start with the basics…

The cornerstone of any successful online marketing initiative is to first have a crystal clear understanding of those in your target audience.   This strategy is no different.

Every niche is unique in size, engagement levels, audience, etc.   Therefore there is no cookie cutter method to identify online influencers in your respective niche.

For example: The technology space on average has a greater interest and higher traffic than the scrapbooking/craft space.  Therefore the top influencers in the technology space will have significantly more eyeballs, subscribers or followers than those in the scrapbooking/craft niche.  Similarly you may notice that parenting blogs have significantly more engagement than extreme sports blogs.  Since this is the case, the criteria for determining an influencer in one market cannot be used in a different market because you cannot measure each on the same scale.

To begin implementing this strategy, spend some time establishing bench marks on influencers within the niche you are targeting.  Establish how many subscribers and comments a blog has.  Also look at how many unique visitors a site has using compete and the average traffic levels using alexa.  Finally look at the level of engagement and interaction the influencer has.  You want to connect with influencers who have meaningful interactions with their audience.

Here are some tools that I use to find various influencers:

  • To find top bloggers:  Technorati.com, AllTop.com, various blogger awards, blog networks, blog rolls of other top bloggers.
  • To find top users on twitter:  TwitterGrader.com, Klout.com, twellow.com, wefollow.com
  • To find top groups: Search for groups on linkedin, meetup, facebook

Below I’ve noted the main options available to you once you’ve found your online influencers…

  1. Observation: Utilize this tactic for market research purposes to keep up with customer, competitor and industry trends and intelligence. Observing your customers and competitors and seeing what topics people are interested, or what problems they are having can give your brand valuable insight into content ideas for your marketing materials or website.  You will also be able to see where the industry as a whole is going and be able to position your brand accordingly.
  2. Participation: Participate in the conversation to increase your brand’s visibility and helps you build a relationship with the influencer. You don’t want to go into the social setting and promote your product, however it’s wise to join in the conversation and share valuable insight to position you/and/or your brand as an expert in the field.  If people see that what you are sharing is valuable they will often be inspired to learn more about you, or your company.  This is applicable for twitter, blogs and virtually any other social media channel.
  3. Contribution: Become a guest writer for a popular blog or administrator for a group or forum.   This is a great option being that the blog or group already has an established audience that you can reach.  With this being the case it can be challenging to achieve this-there may be many others working to do the same thing.  The key with this option is that you really have to know what you’re talking about.  You have to be an expert in the field…If you are feel free to take a shot-email the blog or group owner and see what happens.    If you’re fortunate enough to achieve this- Reveal your expertise through quality content and interactions and you’ll often see great results.  There is also SEO benefits if you work your company link into or at the end of the article.

  4. Sponsored Conversations: Find influencers that are the most relevant to you and reach out to them to review your product or promote a product you offer. Make sure to disclose and follow all FTC guidelines.

    Keep in mind-many times these influencers will not make the plug for free. If this is the case you have to judge how much the plug is worth to you.   It all depends on the quality and size of the group or audience.  Once you’ve decided the value you can choose to compensate them by sending them a complementary product, gift card or paying them accordingly.  You can also offer them commission if their audience or group members purchase a product- this is a very favorable solution since no money is paid out until a sale occurs.  This is called affiliate marketing.  This requires some effort and programming to set up, but how it works is that each influencer would have their own unique tracking link.  When they share it with their audience and a sale happens they would be compensated.   The good thing about this tactic is that no money is paid until a sale happens- which means no up front investment for exposure to the influencers audience.

    Sponsored conversations can be utilized through influencers in virtually all online channels:

    1. Relevant Group creators (Meetup, LinkedIn, Facebook)
    2. Influential twitter users
    3. Highly Visible Bloggers
    4. Etc
  5. Advertising: Advertising is another option available to reach an influencer’s audience.  Ads are often purchased on a CPM (Cost per thousand impressions of your ad) or CPC (Cost per click). If utilizing facebook you can target by demographic, or add specific keywords related to your business when setting up your ad to reach those people interested in those topics.  You can also advertise using google’s content advertising network.  You can select the types of websites you’d like to advertise and pay on a CPC basis.  If you choose to utilize this tactic make sure that you measure and track everything- Number of clicks, click thru rate, CPC, which messaging and images are working best, cost per sale, etc.   Constantly work to refine and improve your conversion rates.  Advertising can get expensive and it is essential to keep your eye constantly on ROI.

Here are some additional action items available to you for several types of popular online influencers.

How to Leverage Twitter Power Users: Follow these twitter users and engage them in conversation to build relationships with those in your industry and become more aware of industry events and news.

Another valuable way to use these twitter influencers is to follow their followers. The people who follow these influencers are most likely interested in your industry (since these are the influencers in your industry). By following their followers you have a chance to gain visibility and connect with these people, which in turn may turn into champions, customers or facilitators of word-of-mouth marketing.

Generating Value from Online Groups : Join a number of  groups that are most applicable and participate in the conversation. Don’t sell, but simply participate in whatever conversation is occurring and by sharing insightful comments they will see what you do and if interested reach out to you.  Another strong way to utilize online groups is to reach out to the group owner or admin and have them send out a message to those in their group about your product or service (part of sponsored conversation tactic).

Taking Advantage of Popular Blogs: Build relationships with these bloggers by being a frequent commenter.  Each time you comment on these blogs you also generate a back link to your website which has SEO benefits.   Also, if you leave an insightful comment on a popular blog others will take notice and this will help increase your own credibility.    See what conversations are occurring ( what problems or interests) they are discussing and create content in the form of blog posts or videos to address it (linking back to the original source).  Reading industry blogs also keeps you on the cutting edge of advances and news within the industry.

One final tip….

One thing to remember is that typically if you are able to reach a member of your audience chances are they are connected to others within your target audience. The beauty about the web is that any one can be a publisher and share their experiences and thoughts with their social circle. Though the online influencers we discussed previously are the top influencers within a space that doesn’t mean that you should ignore other influencers. There is a term in marketing called the long tail. What the long tail essentially means is that there are several major influencers in each market, but if you are able to reach many smaller infleuncers this may equal out or surpass the value of any particular one infleuncers.

Assess your time availability and implement these tactics accordingly. Social media is a lot like working out and you need to set aside time to flex your expertise and social muscles. The more influencers you reach and leverage the better, but keep good form (quality) and if you have any questions seek out a good social media trainer. You don’t want to pull a muscle like these guys-Social Media gone wrong or these ones for that matter…Social media catastrophes.

An Experienced social media consultant can also help you to become an online influencer. This is a great goal, but takes time, hard work and guidance.

What do you think about leveraging online influencers?

Have you utilized any of these strategies…If so what results have you had?

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