Sunday, February 28, 2010

Each month, The Farst Group provides valuable sales advice to help your business be as successful as you can imagine. Below is this month’s tip on what you can do TODAY to drive sales to new clients.

Find a niche and target the businesses or individuals in it
For example, suppose you’re a business attorney. Anyone can hire you, but when you deliberately choose a niche you are marketing your specialty to a specific group. The idea of this concept is to set your business apart from your competitors by being a specialist in a particular area and appealing to your prospects by providing a solution specific to their business. Your niche can change as often as you’d like, as long as you can truly provide expert service to the targets you choose. To ensure this technique is successful, below is a quick process you can use to get results fast.

1. Using a free online tool such as Reference USA (available at most libraries as well as on the library’s website), create a targeted mailing list. Reference USA allows you to enter very specific demographics to produce a mailing list that only contains businesses or individuals within your niche. Reference USA also provides names of many individuals within a company, as well as their job title, so you can be sure you’re reaching the proper person.

2. Create a flyer that targets your niche. It’s important that the flyer specifically addresses the business concerns of the niche you have chosen and how your company can provide a solution. This will ensure the reader understands why working with you is different than working with one of your competitors: You’re a specialist and you understand their business!

3. About a week after you mail the flyer, make follow-up calls to ensure the addressee received the flyer and ask if they have any questions or how you can help. Many people may not have seen it, or don’t remember it. That’s GREAT! Get their e-mail address and send it to them immediately!

4. It’s important that during this call you have a meaningful conversation with your prospect, so don’t try to sell anything. Remember, you’re an expert in their field so you can have a peer-to-peer discussion instead of a prospecting call.

5. Before you close the call, ask what your next step should be.

If you have questions about any of the steps listed above, be sure to contact us at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blogging For Kids Too?

I get asked this questions a lot – by companies, individuals, friends, and family. “I don’t have a company. Should I blog?” My answer every single time, reguardless who asks, is YES. I even think that children should start a blog. Now, before you crucify me, let me explain.Everyone blogs for a different reason. Companies blog to inprove search engine optimization, generate leads, corporate PR, and additional marketing. Individuals will blog for a various of reasons: voice an opinion, personal brand marketing, to vent, and others. One thing they all have in common – blogging is for adults only and around a particular topic. For example, Saving Every Day ( is all about saving money – discounts, coupons, and offers.

So back to my comment about children blogging. I believe everyone who has family or plans to have a family should start a blog. I have a friend that her mother died when she was still a baby. Except for stories from her family, she didn’t get to know her mother. Then, when she was 22, she was helping her grandmother clean the basement and found a stack of journals her mother had written starting in high school and all through college. Through these, she got an in-depth knowledge of her mother that still influences her today.This is why I started my own personal blog. I know I will not keep a written journal. Plus, actual paper journals break down over time and can be lost. My blog, on the other hand, will be around for virtually forever. Thus allowing me to influence not only my own children, but my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, and generations ahead.My personal blog is behind a password so only those I have given the password can read it. So it giving me free reign to post freely with personal content. I have also started blogs for my godchildren (I currently do not have children of my own) which are secured. This has improved their spelling, grammar, and funny enough, reading abilities too.

The hardest part of doing a journal blog is remembering to post! With the kids, we made it a weekly chore – like taking out the trash. Funny thing is that it is easier to get them to post then to actually take out the trash! I have freshness reminders to remind us to post every week. Also, I keep a list of topics on my phone when I think of something I want to blog, I jot it down.I look forward to reading everyone’s post now and in the future. What could you have posted when you were a teenager that now you may want to edit? Either way, I’ve started my life story for my generation. Have you?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blogging 101: Engage Your Audience

By definition, a blog is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. But how do you use this medium to really engage and connect with your readers, as well as attract new ones?
  1. Know your readership. It is important to keep track of those who subscribe to your blog, so that you are always aware of whom you are reaching when you make your posts. This will help you select relevant topics.
  2. Selecting topics: “Dig deep and make it sexy.” I have a client who uses this saying, and I love that she does. Sometimes when you write your blog post, the words will flow out of you, onto the screen and capture the attention of the reader very easily. But sometimes you have to research topics relating both to your business and the reader. When that is the case, look to the web and other media outlets to provide ideas that not only attract your attention, but move and stir you. If you know your readers, this will make it easier to decipher what will move and stir them, reinforcing why they read your posts, creating loyalty to your blog and your business because they feel connected.
  3. Post often, if not daily. A blog is different than a newsletter. Blogs are meant to be a medium for daily commentary. If you leave your blog unattended your reader will not be engaged. Your reader will most likely think you don’t take your blog seriously, and therefore they won’t take you or your brand seriously. If you don’t have the availability to write every day, you can “cherry pick;” meaning that you can share information from others that is relevant to your blog and readers, as long as you give proper credit to the original author.
  4. Ask questions. Everyone likes to be heard, so ask your readers thought provoking questions and encourage them to answer. It’s a nice touch if you involve yourself in the commenting as well. Not only can your blog can be a place where people go on the web for industry news and information, but a place to learn from your expertise and from other professionals as well by sharing thoughts, ideas and information. These comments can spark conversations that will lead you to even more interesting and relevant topics, as well as building a community around your blog.
  5. Change it up. Sure, you may find a good rhythm to your blog. You may be seeing lots of traffic, and even business growth due to your marketing efforts by way of your blog. But don’t get comfortable. Now, don’t fix what isn’t broken, but always be on the lookout for ways to improve, revamp and refresh: add video segments, make your blog more user friendly, create new visually stimulating art, ask for suggestions, hold a contest, poll your readers, interview relevant experts. It is important to occasionally make changes that will keep your blog fresh and interesting to your readers, as well as attract new readers.

Blogging is an easy medium to help you strengthen your brand. Use it effectively to stay in front of your customers, contacts and prospects, and it will create customer loyalty, help develop partnerships, establish you as an expert and improve your SEO, ultimately driving your business toward continued success.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blogging for Business

I was recently speaking at a sales and marketing summit and was asked why you should blog. My first response was, “Why not?” I received all the usual reasons – no time, too difficult, don’t know what to write about, and my favorite, “will it help my business?” The answer is YES! I believe everyone should have a blog – even if you are in the same industry! No two businesses are the same, even if they do the same service. What makes your business different? Why should I hire your company?

A blog gives you a public forum for you to tout your difference and actually explain them. You can “talk” about your competitive differences, your customers, YOUR COMPANY. And more importantly, a blog will actually help you drive more business. A study was done comparing over 1500 business – 795 had blogs. The results were overwhelming.

The companies that had blogs had 55% more visits to their website which translates to more prospects and opportunities for you. Those with blogs also had 97% more inbound links. This translates to more direct traffic and ranking higher in search engines like Google. Then the biggest difference was companies with blogs had 434% more indexed pages. This is the holy grail of search engine optimization. When Google indexes a page, it will then tie the key words to that web page.

For example, if you do a blog that talks about plumbing, pipes, and repairs. When Google indexes that page, it will tie the keywords used most on the site (plumbing, pipes, and repairs in this example) and will tie your website with those key words. Then someone that needs a plumber does a search on Google. Google will pull up the sites that have the keyword (plumber in this case) associated with their website the most.

There are many different tricks to help improve your search engine rankings. Many of them require coding or special programs. Blogging is an easy way to promote your business, increase your business, and improve search engine optimization. So again I ask, “Why not?”