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Your Company
March 23, 2011

IN THIS ISSUE:

* Steve’s Field Note
* Tapa Palapa Radio Show Menu
* Resource – Coaching Rate Special
* Idea – “Again With The End!”
* Advisory Board – Spread the word!


Steve’s Field Note

Hello, Trailblazer!

As the Small Business Coaching course I’m taking comes to an end, including the two bonus marketing classes our instructor Master Coach Anne Durand graciously added for us, I’m starting another course. It’s also offered through MentorCoach. This one is Positive Psychology and Strategic Career Design (quite a mouthful) taught by Kim Kirmmse Toth.

For my business these two classes line up nicely. The new one will add to my skills and tools for helping people discover the kind of work that will match their gifts and talents and natural way of being, which for a lot of trailblazers becomes some variation of self-employment. The course I’ve just finished gave me additional skills for helping people design, start, and grow a small business. I’ll be ready to follow my clients as they move from career discovery to self-employment and business creation.

Fellow coach Francie Cooper and I changed the menu last week for our Tapa Palapa internet radio show. Since this month’s theme is “The Greater Good” we wanted to talk about the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan and encourage people to share information on organizations providing relief. This week we will finish our discussion about sharing your time, talent, and treasure, which means next week will be our first “Wild Card” show. We haven’t picked the topic for this “extra” show yet, the fifth of the month, because we’ve been having fun with all the possibilities.

The beginning of spring in north Texas means that warmer weather has already arrived, at least a few days at a time. Our dogs and our bird get to spend more time outside. Birdward the Quaker parrot is so happy he can spend more time outside in his portable cage that he tosses little bits of seeds and chopped fruits and vegetables from his bowls to the porch to share his celebration with the dogs.

Enjoy the scenery on the Twisting Road!


Tapa Palapa Radio Show

Tapa Palapa is a short weekly radio show, around 12 minutes per episode, available through the internet.

For March our menu theme is “Life Is Bigger Than You.” We are talking about improving the quality of our lives and the lives of others by serving the Greater Good.

* The Greater Good (March 1)
* Sharing your time (March 8 )
* Special episode: Japan (March 15)
* Sharing your talent and treasure (March 22)
* The 5th Tuesday will be a ‘wildcard’ episode (March 29)

In February our theme was “What’s Love got To Do With It?”
All four episodes of the show for February are now available. Enjoy the episodes in order. My co-host Francie Cooper is good at making sure the information is connected and flows from week to week.

Click here to stream or download the latest episode through iTunes or visit our website to stream or download the shows directly.


Coaching Rate Special

I am discounting the fee for my monthly extended coaching program by 50% for anyone willing to let me report our sessions – the amount of time, not the content – towards certification. This discount applies specifically to my program of four (4) extended sessions (50 minutes each) per month. Anyone who takes up my offer will be eligible for this discount for up to six (6) months of coaching.

The incentive for me to offer the discount is to coach and record a lot of hours. Wins all around!

Call me at (817) 416-8971 or e-mail me at Steve@SteveCoxsey.com for the details.


“Again With The End!”

I have a friendly warning for anyone who smokes. Steer clear of my wife. She’s a family practice doctor and she has a message for you: You really should quit.

Her mission started out benign enough. When she knew that a patient was a smoker she made sure she provided information on the health risks. Then she started hearing news reports claiming that doctors weren’t doing enough to get people to quit smoking. Yes, you and I and most other people probably understand it’s not up to doctors to get people to quit smoking. We know that nicotine addiction is tough to kick, and the health risks are well known, so it seems silly to say it’s the doctors’ responsibility to get people to quit.

But my wife heard the message – repeatedly – and dug her heels in. She wanted to be sure she had done her part. She started thinking what it would be like if someone actually didn’t know the risks, got sick, and then said, “I wish someone had told me.” She decided any patient who smoked needed to get all the information possible about health risks.

Then she really ramped things up. She realized that marketers say things repeatedly and relentlessly, understanding it takes a typical person several times of hearing a message before it sinks in. Now, every time a patient who smokes comes to see her, she’s going to say, “You really should quit smoking,” and she’s going to review some of the main reasons.

Like. a. drumbeat.

There are a couple of lessons in this tale, one for you and one for me. You’re welcome to share mine if it fits. The lesson for me is that, even if I’ve written and spoken about a topic before, I can bring it up again. And again. Especially if it’s important. And this one is important because I keep having to say it to a lot of people, apparently because it’s human nature to take off in the wrong direction.

That brings us to the lesson for you, the one that bears repeating: when marketing, start with your message. My wife knows what she wants to say, who she wants to say it to, and why it matters to her and to them. Since she has a message and an audience, she looks for every opportunity to share her message. That’s the way good communication flows: know your audience, develop the message for them first, and then find the right channels to deliver it to them.

A lot of us self-employed people do this completely backwards. We hear about a marketing channel and jump on it, then try to figure out what we’re going to say with it. We fall for the nonsense that this “latest and greatest” format for marketing will make the difference for our businesses. So we decide, for example, to use social media to market our businesses without considering our message or audience. Actually, a lot of us don’t even have a message and aren’t really clear about the audience. But we jump in and start posting on Facebook and Twitter, not sure how that will lead to more clients but expecting it should.

This confusion isn’t limited to social media marketing. We hear that e-mail newsletters are a great, low-cost way to market, so we start publishing one with no clear strategy for it (~sheepish grin~). We hear that people are getting great results sending postcards to prospects and clients so we sign up to send out postcards, with no clue what we’re going to say (I’ve resisted that one – so far).

We hear there’s an advertising packet that’s going out to thousands of households in our target area for less than the other advertising packet company is charging and think it’s a great deal, so we rush to meet next Thursday’s deadline to have our ad included. What will it say? We’re not sure, but we’ll come up with something… right? (Not mine this time; I’m drawing on a friend’s experience here)

Now it’s my turn to bang the drum. I have this saying that I keep, well, saying. It’s a question, actually, a guiding principle.

To what end?

What purpose does this serve? What’s the long-term goal? What outcome do you seek? Why in the world are you doing this?

Why?

You might be thinking, Again with the end! Enough already! Nope, it’s not enough, because plenty of use keep doing this, and that likely includes you. So I’m going to keep telling you to consider the specific purpose before you invest time or money in a marketing channel.

Please, oh please, oh please, ask this question before you choose any marketing activity. Wondering if you should set up a Twitter account for your business? To what end? What will its job be?

Thinking about making videos to promote your business? After all, YouTube is growing and everyone knows about it. No, wait! I’ve heard Vimeo is the place for serious businesses to go, since YouTube is for all sorts of silly amateurs playing around with personal videos. So maybe you should make videos and post them on Vimeo.

Well, should you? To what end? What job will you assign to your videos? How will you know if they’re effective?

When you start with the end in mind (give a nod to Stephen Covey) you start with a marketing plan. You start developing your marketing plan by crafting a compelling message that will show your audience why your business is the obvious solution to their problem. You learn where your audience “hangs out” so you know what channels of communication will put your message in front of them. You lay out the path for them to take, from first hearing about you, to buying something at a low price to try you out, to buying your big-ticket product or service.

You break the path into little steps, and you have a plan to walk people along one step at a time. Each marketing communication will ask them to take a step, which will most often be just the very next step. When you have a marketing plan, you know precisely what you’re trying to get people to do through each marketing activity. You’re leading them step by step until you walk them through the door.

Do you need to use social media? Do you need to send out postcards? Is an e-mail newsletter the answer to your marketing dilemma?

I don’t know! Who is your audience? What is your message? How can you best get them to hear you and take the next step?

Those are the questions to ask. If those questions lead you to choose postcards, send out postcards. If they lead you to videos, then film videos. But understand that if they don’t lead you to Twitter, you’re wasting your time if you set up a Twitter account and try to reverse engineer it into a marketing plan.

Start with your audience and develop your message, and then choose the right channels to communicate each step. And be prepared for the brazen truth this process reveals. You might think social media would be a fun, inexpensive way to reach your prospective customers, but you might find out the best way to communicate with them is through face-to-face meetings.

If that’s the case, don’t sit around twittering your thumbs. You’ll just be wasting time.


Advisory Board

That’s you. If you like what you read, please tell your family and friends. If you don’t like something, please tell me!

Thanks for Joining Me on the Journey,

Steve Coxsey

The Twisting Road Traveler is a publication of Twisting Road Media and Stephen Coxsey


Copyright (C) 2011 Stephen Coxsey and Twisting Road
* All rights reserved *

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