On Demand Advertising Solutions Blog

From the Blog: Digital Marketing Update, Weathering The Storms Of The Competition, Podcast #22

Few small business owners are thrilled when a competitor shows up and steal their thunder, much less their customers.

on-demand-advertising-solutions-newsletter-card-image1But competition is a way of life for any business owner.

From inventors to entrepreneurs, history is full of examples of others who have altered ideas to create new products, enhanced an already successful product or just flat out stole a patent or idea.

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The Ford Edsel

If an idea has merit–it will probably be copied or stolen at some point, so getting used to the competition is a by-product of success. Then again, some ideas will just plain flop (like the above Ford Edsel).

Need an affordable marketing partner to weather the storms of the competition, build web traffic, new prospects and profits?

Podcast #22 discusses three main ways your small business can stay ahead of the competition.

athelte running
Your small business survival may rest on one thing–the marketing platform.

Listen to all of our strictly audio podcasts here.

Enjoy our video podcast!

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Learn more about how our small business three-point strategy and services can grow your business–by scheduling a FREE CONSULTATION!

Weathering The Storms Of The Competition.
Podcast #22

Host: John D. Verlin

TRANSCRIPT:

Good afternoon to you. John Verlin with once again, another Digital Marketing Update from On Demand Advertising Solutions, podcast #22.

Today we’re going to talk about…and this is prompted by an email I got several weeks ago from a listener. His name is Don. And Don, I want to thank you for asking this question that prompted me to talk about all of this.

And by the way, if you do have questions or comments, feel free to email at jverlin1@yahoo.com. And will feature it perhaps on the podcast. And answer some of your questions.

The Storms of the Competition, is what I’m entitling this podcast. How to prevent or maintain your business in spite of the competitors. It changes, and storms crop up every ten or fifteen minutes you have a severe thunderstorm and a warning. And it could wipe out your business. Or wipe out anything if you’re not prepared.

So, consider this sort of a siren test, the weather sirens for your small business to prepare against the competition!

And I know a lot of small businesses will say, there is no competition. There is competition. The competition is what is in the mind of the prospect. And you many times can’t control it. So, if you think you’re safe, you’re not.

And just today, as an example, Amazon just bought Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion. Now, and this has been talked about all day long on Twitter and social media. Stocks have gone up and gone down. Things happen because of this.

But, you don’t this is going to be a game-changer for Walmart or any grocer in the country? You don’t think this is a storm that could wipe them out? Prices at Whole Foods could go down because of Amazon’s platform and delivery systems.

There’s a whole list of things we could talk about. This is a storm on behalf of Walmart and grocers that maybe they saw coming, maybe they didn’t.

This is kind of thing, that of course it’s going to be on a smaller scale for small business. But these are the things you may or may not anticipate. So, what can you do?

Well, there’s three key things I want to talk about. And again, when you think about price, like a lower price for like insurance? A good example of what I want to talk about is if you look at it or if you’ve seen on Twitter, at least I have been following them on Twitter, is Progressive Insurance.

With Flo—that’s their brand mascot. Flo—I like her, she’s funny. And that’s the purpose by the user—to get you to like her. So, here’s Flo and she’ll show up on Twitter. Maybe our price isn’t the lowest..we’re happy for you. You may have seen that with a couple of other competitors. Like when she’s in a beauty pageant—and she’s crying because she didn’t beat the price and that kind of stuff.

Well, Liberty Mutual…I saw this after Progressive started doing this with little ads on Twitter. Liberty Mutual now has “combine your insurance and save $761.” Or Progressive would say, “you could save up to $629” .

But that’s price. OK. Now that’s a problem, because you’re going to compete head-on with price. But, they’re consistently talking about their brand. In spite of price—and Progressive, I like the way they did it.

Well, maybe our price isn’t the lowest. But guess what? They’ve got a presence out there with a memorable message. And it’s funny. And I remember the beauty pageant. Flo is crying, she didn’t win. The other two women are waving, like they’re happy, they won. But they’re communicating their brand and message in spite of price.

And they’re even having fun with it. They admit that they might not always be number 1, but they’re consistently talking to prospects and customers by in this case, Twitter. That’s point number one. Consistently be talking to your customers and prospects is a way to fend off competition. Why? Well, think about it.

Maybe they are going to do something different. But if you’re consistently out there, and this is why next week I’m going to go over and more into this on the power of the blog. As a part of your marketing platform. Why you need one and why it’s so powerful. But you can shift your message because you have a consistent platform.

In this case, Progressive vs Liberty Mutual. You can consistently be talking to them. Building that brand relationship. That is huge for small businesses. Because, guess what? Most small businesses are lazy. They’re not going to be doing this.

This is what I tell prospects when I meet with them and I go through a powerpoint explaining step by step the marketing platform. Why all of this is important. And this is one big reason. So you won’t get run over by the competition when a storm erupts. If they do something you don’t expect, what are you going to do?

Well, you’ve got a pattern of consistently talking to your prospects and customers. You can now alter your message to shift when the competition does something. First point.

The second point: consistently provide or offer value. Again, you’ve got a message that you’re doing, on-going with prospects and customers through social media, advertising, however you’re doing it. Now you can shift and offer something. Maybe, now through June 30th you get something.

Whatever the offer is, is to counter your competition. And this is small business marketing. This is the way it is.

But with these platforms, you can build an on-going presence with the brand. And you can alter and shift it as needed. So, that’s point number two—consistently providing an offer or a value to compete, to stand out.

The third point; consistently stay top of mind. It goes hand in hand with the other two. Basically the fact—and I’m seeing these in talking about Liberty Mutual and Progressive—I see their posts everyday.

It’s got to a point now, I can tell you about them. I remember them and they’re in my mind now. Cause I’ve seen them everyday. They’re consistently keeping their brand in front of prospects.

So this is why this marketing platform and consistency is so important. If you’re a small business and you’re not doing this on a regular basis. Well, I don’t have the budget…how could you NOT do it? That’s my question.

Because you’re leaving yourself vulnerable. They only way to beat the competition is to stay one step ahead of them. I won’t go into it all now, but it’s the reason we recommend podcasts and video on your marketing platform with a blog, to have the edge…cutting edge, the latest stuff.

Now when artificial intelligence takes over, I guess that will be a whole other thing. I probably won’t be around to see it, and you may not either!

At any rate, those three things: consistently talk to your customers and prospects, make this a part of your marketing plan.

Consistently offer or provide more value to zig and zag with the competition. To prevent that storm from developing. And, as part of that, to answer your customers questions, needs or wants or any issues.

That will help you build brand loyalty with them. And finally, consistently staying top of mind.

Those three things are some really good ways to control those storms from the competition. To keep them at bay.

Because the things I’m suggesting to you that I found over the years, most small businesses don’t do. Again, I don’t want to be critical, but people are lazy.

They don’t want to make the effort or the investment. Do you have someone on your staff that handles your social media on a regular basis?

Everyday, each week of the year? If you don’t you should consider that. Or hire someone, freelance it or what ever you need. This is how important it is.

If it’s so important for a big company like Progressive to be on Twitter…maybe it’s important for small business too.

Because those platforms that are available level the playing field between huge corporations and small mom and pop businesses.

You can see what Steve Jobs said about what the web does, it’s a level playing field now.

Next week, I’m going to talk about why the blog is like nuclear fuel for your small business long term existence.

Nuclear fuel—that’s pretty big stuff. Why that blog will provide that for your small business long term existence. Be listening next week for that.

John Verlin’s my name, jverlin1@yahoo.com is my email.

Website: www.OnDemandAdvertisingSolutions.com is the web address to visit. Love to hear from you with questions, answers, your thought, whatever!

See you next week and tell your friends about these podcasts, share it with them. They just need one idea that may improve their business. We’ll look forward to talking to you next week.

All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas

Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017

Verlin Studios mock up sharp and smooth

From The Blog: Social Media-Tidbits on The Business Use of Twitter

How your business can use Twitter

Twitter is a social media site that allows users to “connect” and communicate in “real-time” their opinions, ideas, thoughts, etc.

Most business-related users on Twitter are learning about and interested in new products, services, experiences, etc. They can get immediate recommendations, suggestions, pricing from other Twitter followers of the given business.

Businesses can reach out and connect/communicate with current or new customers promotions, pricing, events, etc. It’s Twitter’s “immediacy” in a given business category that makes it appealing to small business owners. Here are some ways your business can leverage Twitter.

  • Discover what is going on in “real-time” in the Twittersphere.
    Twitter gives you the ability to see happenings in your business trade, events and even worldwide communications. Use Twitter search to check out conversations that show relevance to your small business where you can contribute and add value.
  • Small business can increase the “awareness” of their brand.
    Elevate your business and increase the power of your marketing efforts by using Twitter to consistently message with those who “follow” you.
  • Provide timely customer service
    The immediacy of Twitter makes it a great platform for customer service. In fact, 85% of SMB Twitter users said that it’s important that businesses provide customer support on Twitter (Twitter) You can respond quickly to customer questions/concerns and build long-term relationships with your base.
  • Connect with potential customers, brand advocates, and influencers
    Twitter allows you to follow and interact with people that are not a part of your personal network. This can establish new conversations and build valuable connections.
Social Media Logotype Background
Kiev, Ukraine – October 17, 2012 – A logotype collection of well-known social media brand’s printed on paper. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr, Myspace, Tumblr, Livejournal, Foursquare and more other logos.

 Below is re-printed from Twitter outlining the proper methods and definitions of their terminology. Small businesses should allocate an in-house social media person or outsource to a professional to get the most out of their efforts:

The building blocks of Twitter

You’ll need to understand the language and terminology used so that you’re able to interact with customers and engage in conversations seamlessly. Here are some definitions to get you started:

Basic Tweet
  1. Tweet

    A Tweet is a message posted on Twitter that can contain text, photos, links and videos.

  2. Reply

    Click ‘reply’ to respond to anyone’s Tweet. Replying to a Tweet is a way to show you’re listening and provide helpful answers.

  3. Retweet

    A Retweet is sharing a Tweet from someone else with your followers. Click the Retweet button to share the Tweet as is, or quote the Tweet to add a comment of your own.

  4. Like

    A like is a simple way to acknowledge a Tweet. It can also be useful to use as a bookmarking tool if you want to easily find a Tweet again. Tap the heart icon to like a Tweet and the author will see that you appreciate it.

  5. Hashtag

    A hashtag is any word, or phrase without spaces, beginning with the # symbol. People use hashtags to organize conversations and make it easier to find all content related to a given topic. Click on a hashtag to go directly to the search results for that term. Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

  6. Mention

    Bring a Tweet to another person’s attention by including their @username in your message. You could use it to ask someone a question, to thank them, or simply to highlight a piece of content.

    twitter capture b52

    Using Twitter in conjunction with other marketing platforms on a regular basis promoting your expertise will help your small business build a marketing platform that helps bring in prospects via your blog to your website.

    As more and more consumers use social media–this traditional media and social media presence will continue to grow in importance for the small business owner.

    We suggest a three-part strategy that combines the immediacy of Twitter to reach out to prospects on a regular basis.

    Learn more about our strategy and how it can successfully build your business using creative content and social media by contacting us for a free consultation with a special offer!

     

From the Blog: Digital Marketing Update, The Last Referral, Podcast #21

From a traditional sense, most small businesses thrive on getting referrals as their main source of new prospects and customers.

Nothing beats a friend “referring” you to a business that they enjoyed and had a good experience with.

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But the times, they are a change’in! In podcast #21, we’ll discuss several examples of how today’s new digital media conversations are replacing the old referral-type of network–and how small businesses can stay on top of this change–and profit from it!

Check out our strictly audio content here.

Staying ahead of the curve for small businesses all start with understanding the dynamics of our three-part strategy and how it can work for your small business!

Learn more about how our small business three-point strategy and services can grow your business–by scheduling a FREE CONSULTATION!

Enjoy our video podcast!

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The Last Referral, Podcast #21

By John D. Verlin

Transcript:

Good afternoon, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions, with another Digital Marketing Update, podcast #21.

I’m excited to talk with you today, about “The Last Referral”.

That’s what I’m titling this, because several experiences this week as to why this entire social media, digital marketing platform is so important for small business owners.

I think I can speak for those over fifty, for example (because I am over 50!). From the traditional media standpoint to the new digital media and content marketing standpoint…why this shift is so important. Based on several experiences I had this past week.

The reason I wanted to do this with a podcast, rather than just write it down in a blogpost, is because I wanted to tell a story.

That is what podcasting does great—just like old radio shows. I can tell you my story with emotion and passion. I’m excited about it because I can show some examples I just experienced that I want to share with you.

Why all of this is important for small business owners to grasp. To understand why you need to get a marketing platform for their small business if they don’t have one already. And work it on-going, and this is why.

Recently, I was given the name of an eye doctor. The one I had been going to retired. My girlfriend got the name of a doctor at a place I used to go to years ago.

She was going to have a cataract removed. So she met with the doctor, had the cataract removed. Everything worked great. Told me about a procedure I needed, so I went to the doctor. Same thing, worked great.

Now I’m going to him from another doctor I had been going to for four years. She had retired and I was due to find someone new anyway.

My point being, this is the traditional referral, how most of us grew up with. Somebody who referred somebody, who referred somebody. So this doctor just got two new patients through one woman who was satisfied with the work he did. That’s the traditional way of doing it.

Another experience I had this week was going to a Farmers Market. Went to a couple of booths, one woman made soaps, hand-made soaps. Didn’t have any kind of marketing. We were just talking to her, at all.

Not much to really speak of. A lot of these farmers market vendors go to a number of these throughout the year. They need to get people there to let them know they can buy there product. The problem is I’m guessing, they don’t have much advertising in the marketing. They may rely on the city or promoter to advertise the event.

Another vendor had a catering business. Rather an extensive catering business. I checked online and they didn’t have much of a presence. And I’m thinking how are they going to promote the fact that they’re here, other than social media.

Maybe direct mail. But if they don’t have a program to do that, other than their own on-going way to stay in touch with their customers from previous farmers markets,

They’re just relying on the traction and they just want a piece of it. But they can be proactive to gather their fans who have bought from them before. Whether it’s their mailing list, email list…or whatever, and let them know they’re going to be at this new farmers market.

A bank I had worked for in the past, had sold a location and moved to a different one. Unbeknownst to us, there were a group of about 8000 local residents who formed a group on Facebook. Started announcing the fact that the bank had been sold, they thought. The sign had come down.

Almost in real time. Suddenly, we’re having people coming in canceling their bank accounts, thinking the bank was sold and going under. Which wasn’t true at all. It was the opposite. It was actually updating another branch to be more online friendly because a lot of these people wanted to do their banking in drive through or online. And they were upgrading.

But it doesn’t matter, the damage had been done because it had gotten on a Facebook group page of about 8000 people. And word just spread like wildfire.

Now this is another type, the new type of referral. And that didn’t work in a good way. That caused image issues. People assumed something based on one person’s post. And it went on and on and replicated throughout the community because of Facebook.

Now this is where this new referral thing is now happening. If you own a small business and you’re not actively engaged on Facebook or Twitter, in general with your prospects and customers. This kind of behavior will be going on and you may not even know about it.

The positive side of this is that you can be proactive. By on-going posts, every week, every day. To build your followers, your likes and all this kind of stuff. Yea, it takes time. It’s a slow, boring process. If you want to call it that. But, you never know, when you get that one prospect that gives you a referral, like in my case traditionally—then suddenly you get new business. That’s how it works.

Another person put on their recently that they had gone to a Taco Bell, they left some stuff out of the order…they called the Taco Bell. They were told that when it was convenient to come back. They doubled their order for free and gave them a coupon. And they gave them a call out on Facebook saying “thank you so much Taco Bell for doing what you did.”

And now 8000 people including myself saw that. And I thought, wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff. They did the right thing, and they understood the value of social media neighborhood group, which has grown a couple of thousand new members over the past year or two.

So this is why I call it the last referral. It’s moving online to Facebook referrals A new coffee shop, well it’s not new, the coffee shop has been around a number of years, opened a new drive through facility. Posted a couple of pictures of their new drive through. It went to 12,000 people.

Not just through their Facebook page, but people referring through the chamber and organizations in the local community.

And suddenly, boom they have all of these people knowing about their opening a drive through. Again, that’s how referrals are happening now.

That’s why this is so critical that you have a social media presence, linked to a blog with content, engaging content, I call it. And that’s why we recommend podcasts like this one, because you can tell your story and expertise on-going, every week, year round. And post it and promote it.

People learn, they’re educated and they’re entertained. Probably in the next week or two, I’m going to throughout some impersonations I used to do, like Jerry Lewis, Truman Capote…that I used to do in radio. Just to entertain you and make you happy. To get you coming back!

So, the last referral, it’s changing. It’s going online. A lot of talk fast and furious, good, bad and ugly. And you can help shape that discussion with your referral program. By giving bounce-back items, like us on Facebook, thirty percent your next purchase. Whatever that is, continue and start a program if you haven’t. Tie-in a blog.

That’s what features your content. It’s the base, the part of the marketing platform that does that.

We’re going to talk more about this in the future, but I wanted to get this out to you real-time today, because I just experienced this.

And this is why it’s so important. A lot of small businesses they dabble with likes—and they say “yeah, videos are good…and they don’t want to mess with it.” You could be doing it right now. I’m doing it. Helping others do it.

It gets you on the cutting edge of marketing. That’s the key. And that’s the perception people will have about you.

This business, it could be a little repair shop. Fixing lawnmower engines and trimmers and whatever. My gosh, they’ve got a post and a podcast last week from an interview. Being interviewed about, tips on getting your lawnmower ready for this spring and summer. How to change your oil effectively, the type of oil to use. These types of things. You may think, well, that’s easy—everybody knows that. Well, they don’t know it.

And guess what, they’re going to tune-in. They need to know these tips. For crying out loud, I tuned in to a video on how to clean a cat’s teeth of all things. Because I had a cat that had a tooth pulled and I wanted to learn.

Come to find out, I basically just had to use a certain type of food. But I tuned in and checked an online vet.

If I’m wanting to know how to clean a cat’s teeth, imagine how many people maybe looking locally for someone that knows how to fix a lawnmower engine or change a blade.

That’s where this marketing platform can really benefit your business. You build it. It’s slow growth. But it gives you a base from which to operate.

John Verlin is my name. OnDemandAdvertisingSolutions.com is the website. You can get hold of me, email is jverlin1@yahoo.com.

We will see you next week. Love to hear from you if you have questions or comments. Have a great day!

All podcasts are produced by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas

Verlin Studios mock up sharp and smooth

Copyright 2017, John D. Verlin

From the Blog: Digital Marketing Update, Why We Recommend Video, Our Testing On Facebook Boost, Podcast #20

As a part of our three-part strategy for small business marketing, we recommend including video promotion on social media as an element in the mix of marketing bridge.

on-demand-advertising-solutions-newsletter-card-image1Specifically, animated videos that we create for our clients as they’re inexpensive, fun and memorable which equals, effective (at least in theory).

Today, in Digital Marketing Update, Podcast #20,  we set out to test our own promotional video’s of On Demand Advertising Solutions

Most of these are between thirty-five for fifty-five seconds in length. We know that attention spans on Facebook our quite short.

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“Post It On A Blog Or Just Call Us” animated video

But we anticipated that our target “small business owners/CEO’s” might take thirty seconds to see a video that automatically begins running on their Facebook newsfeed.

You can listen to our strictly audio podcasts here.

Enjoy the video podcast!

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We tested these over a three day period, May 30th-June 3, 2017. Our target again were “small business owners/CEO’s” in a 30 mile radius of Overland Park, Kansas (near our Gardner, Kansas studio.

We pitted “Opportunities Abound-An Engaged Marketing Platform” with “Post Them On A Blog And Just Call Us”.

Here they are below:

After a three day test, we found the cost-effectiveness startling. We also monitored how many “Facebook” referrals came in to our site from the video’s.

This, after all is our goal for prospects to see our site and view/listen to our videos and podcasts (to sample what we can do for their small business). 

We know that like any service business, these can be produced and promoted by small business owners…but we also know that not everyone has the time, experience and capabilities to do so on a regular basis.

Much like an accountant doing your taxes–this is our goal to be a freelance marketing compliment to their overall marketing and advertising function. Providing not just social media promotion on-going, but innovative content that builds SEO, unlike other firms.

That, to us equates with real value to build fresh content and creatively promote it. That seems to be a major element many small businesses are not doing to showcase their expertise to new prospects.

As you can see below, the “Opportunities Abound–An Engaged Marketing Platform” video reached 401 people in our target, costing just $.02 per 3-second video view.

The second video, “Post Them On A Blog And Just Call Us”, reached 39 people in our target costing $.05 per 3-second video view.

During that three day test, we had 333 people reached in our target, with 132 :03 video views and 22 Facebook referrals from this $15, investment. 

So, let’s just say the video’s produced approximately 20% new Facebook referrals to our website (or $.68 per referral). 

And this paid video content is really a bonus to using these video’s on our blog, Facebook page, etc.

Our goal really is to get 2 clients per year, investing $1000/month (a One Day Offer package of services that includes customer surveys, monthly emails, podcast & video content creation, social media promotion year-round).

facebook video ads screenshot, may 29-31

Obviously, if we continued with these videos compared with straight Facebook posts (and we have tested a number of them, which averaged $.50+ per click were the most efficient.

But they didn’t come close to the animated videos. Thus, why we recommend them as an overall part of a winning strategy along with podcasts (just like you’re listening to now).

Another reason we recommend animated videos (although we have done actual video’s as well), is the fact that you can tell a story in less than sixty seconds. It is also a simple story, so prospects can “get it” and have good recall, much like a short jingle.

Animated videos allow you to place them on your Facebook business page, Linkedin business page, etc–in full view of new prospects that refer from your posts and tweets, as such:

facebook video shot.JPG
Animated videos can be pinned to the top of social media sites for visitors to view as an audience is built from paid boosts, posts and tweets.

In essence–small businesses have the power of Hollywood and Radio star imaging (granted on a smaller scale) to use in promoting their brand. 

By combining both podcast and video usage, small business owners can tell their story in short time spans and make a series out of it–all the while being promoted on a daily basis.

Part of the reason clients hire us is that creative content can be difficult to create on a weekly if not daily basis. This aspect of idea creation plus the amount of time in which to create, produce and promote is what we specialize in and offer to our clients in a very cost-effective manner. 

Why We Recommend Video, Our Testing On Facebook.
Podcast #20

Host: John D. Verlin

TRANSCRIPT:

Good afternoon, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions and another Digital Marketing Update, Podcast #20.

For a number of months now, we’ve been talking about various content that we can run for your small business. One of the things that we really like…actually, we stumbled across it, is videos.

And not just any video as you and I might think, but animated videos. They’re, I saw a new one on this, on a different platform, it’s more like real-life humans dancing around and that kind of thing.

For a fairly sizable fee, they’ll put your logo, and things like that on it. One reason we like them to recommend to our clients to help build their business, is several things—and today’s podcast I’m actually going to be including on our blogpost where you’re listening to this.

A couple of the videos we actually tested on Facebook, and we boosted those. We tested them over a three day period, and I have some data to share with you.

I’ve also got a couple of screenshots to show you, of costs and things like that. Keep in mind, all of this, whether it’s podcasting, social media promotion, blogging, everything you do…TV ads, radio ads, print ads, email marketing. All that you do works together.

One of them doesn’t just hang out there and do everything. It all works together as a part of the marketing bridge for your business.

Everything from your business cards, to uniforms, the look you have, the style. All of this should be symmetric and work together.

So, when I share information with you about podcasting or videos—I’m trying to zero in on some of the most effective things your small business can do.

What we’re trying to do to not only build traffic to your website, engaging your customers with creative content. But it all works together on an on-going basis.

It doesn’t just happen and you forget about it in six months. It has to be consistent and relentless. And the reason is you’ve got competitors out there doing what you’re doing, coming up with ideas…watching you.

I put some posts out there showing a lion stalking almost in wait. And that’s really kind of what it’s like.

Competitors are nipping at the heels. You have to be proactive and relentless with a lot of this to keep ahead. Be on top of your industry. Constantly seeking new information. I just recently had some information I gave to a client last week.

It was a great infographic of the clients’ clientele. Somebody did a lot of work to put together. I was out there doing my thing for the client on social media and promotion and I came across this.

Those are the kinds of things, and I know a lot of owners don’t have a lot of time to do this…but that’s where the marketing people can step in to do research and keep you informed.

And really, with social media, I found it’s really cool…you’re getting a lot of the latest stuff sent to you. When you’re tracking everything for a client, for example to do promotion. So you’re seeing a lot of cutting edge stuff.

Articles, and things like that. It’s really important that you stay on top of that, because you can bet your competitors will be. You’ve got to stay a step ahead of them all the way.

That’s why I kind of zero in on what I feel is the most effective for small businesses that they can use. It’s sort of new. I’m finding that a lot of small business owners may be intimidated by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, social media promotion. Creating podcasts, videos, all of this.

Getting back to the Facebook testing we recently did. A couple of videos we tested are on this blogpost that you can look at. And what we found was, over three days, we found that the average video post, was about two to four cents per view.

Now Facebook has three-second views that they count as a view. Keep in mind, the shorter you can make a video, I usually try to make mine in thirty seconds, the better. It’s hard to do that.

I try to do mine between thirty to forty to fifty seconds. But the shorter you can do it, the better. Because when people are checking their feed, that video will automatically start—unless people have set their settings to prevent videos from running.

But it will just start going, and guess what—how many videos do you see out there on your Facebook page? Not a whole lot. So that’s why I feel this is very effective because you can target this.

Now I targeted CEO’s, small business owners, presidents—within a thirty-mile radius of my zip code area.

Knowing that these are the kind of people seeing this content—that’s all I cared about. So over three days, 332 people were reached, according to Facebook. About one-third, 132 viewed it for three-seconds or more. Now how many actually saw the whole video, I don’t know. They don’t tell you that. They just want your money. So they charge you for a view.

It was a $15 investment. But, on the back end of this thing—tracking on my website, I got 22 referrals over three days from Facebook. I’m going to say—there were some posts I put out there on Facebook as well. But I’m going to say just rounding numbers out-let’s say twenty percent, according to Facebook 132 that responded or did see it for at least three seconds. 22 of those who viewed it went to a page on my website. Which is what this is all about.

This is in addition to, in this case it was the videos as I didn’t do too many posts on Facebook on purpose. This is in addition to the posts that you or a marketing person does on a regular basis constantly. Because you’re gradually going to be building traffic.

So, how effective are these videos for Facebook in this case? Well, figure twenty percent of the people who viewed it—about $.68 per referral is what it costs to get those 22 people over three days. Guess what? I know that this is a building process. This whole branding/marketing thing doesn’t just happen.

The same thing when I was in radio. It takes time to build your brand. You need to be patient and you have to commit to it. Is it going to happen in two weeks? Six months? A year? You don’t know.

But I know based on the average cost of referral, that those videos were pretty darn good. In comparison to a typical boosted post, that I tested, they could be anywhere from $.50 to $2 or $3 if they didn’t score very well. People didn’t respond as well.

So you can kind of see the difference there. The effectiveness of video. Would you recommend them?

And this is a bonus folks! This is stuff that if you’re paying for it that’s great. But you can use these videos on your Facebook page. Pin them to the top of your Facebook feed. You have them on your blog. Each time we’ve done videos, we’ve put them on the clients blog, which again is more content for the search engines to see.

The animated videos have written content in them, and that is content that the Google search engine sees. That’s why we like the animated versions versus normal video. The place for “real” videos in my opinion is one or two things. They’re great for “how to” videos. You can post them on Vimeo and link them to your blog or Facebook page or your home page of your website.

However you want to do that. Keep in mind, those can be thirty minute videos. “How to Clean A Cat’s Teeth”, by a veterinarian which I actually did watch. It was fifteen or twenty minutes. It can be longer.

The good side is you can share your expertise with a real person doing it speaking directly to the customer. And they’re great. They all work together. The only difference I say…if you’re not attractive, that may be not a good thing! Whereas, an animated video doesn’t matter. They’re going to watch it.

But they will make suppositions. So if you’re a business owner that may not be attractive, I hate to be this blunt, it may not work well psychologically for customers or prospects first engagement with your website. If you are attractive, great. More power to you—that might work well.

I guess, the animated versions can be told shortly, quickly..not as much perceptional issues compared with actual customers, or owners talking. But, you can include that too. You can use them all—it’s your discretion as to how you want to use them.

But the animated—we grew up with cartoons. You think about all the little cartoon commercials you’ve seen over the years. I remember one for a heating and cooling company—in Kansas City that dates back to the ’50’s. I still remember the jingle and the little animated bird flying. They’re very memorable.

That’s pretty much what I wanted to share with you today. The test on Facebook, you can see the videos we tested here on the blogpost. You can try them yourself. But, when you create these—you can target key benefits, one at a time. Do a video on each one. It doesn’t have to be a big summary thing of all your benefits.

You can just break them down into little segments. A little minute or thirty second video. Animated videos. Test them on Facebook and constantly test with everything. Good marketers do. One thing may work great and you hate it. And the other one you thought would work well doesn’t. You just have to test.

Facebook posts, videos, testing. I had great results. I encourage you to consider to do that because they’re different. That’s one reason we recommend what we do and how we do it.

John Verlin is my name. jverlin1@yahoo.com is my email. Website: www.OnDemandAdvertisingSolutions.com.

We’ll see you next week when we’ll discuss some techniques I have found work well in not only promoting your videos, but podcasts and your website as well. Have a great day!

All podcasts produced by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas

Copyright, John D. Verlin, 2017

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From the Blog: Using A Mascot To Promote Your Small Business Brand

Everyone loves a baby picture or pet picture (at least, that was our rationale). They grab attention almost immediately.

Just look at all of the pet video’s on Facebook and you’ll soon realize that there’s marketing gold with our pets.

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One of the main things a small business marketer does is test concepts, creative ideas and methods. Not always what your gut tells you works.

But in the beginning of launching our small business marketing firm, we knew pretty much that featuring either of my Ragdoll cats would probably be a smart move.

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The world’s first bi-polar, two-headed cat. (Just kidding, they’re my Ragdolls, David & Jonathan).

Most businesses would be lucky to promote their logo to get memorable customer recognition. But many small businesses use pets, family members (kids) and such in their marketing and ads.

While not a fan of advertisers putting their inattentive kids in a TV commercial (too many times a novelty can get old), they can prove to be effective if used wisely.

Is having a small business mascot a good idea–or just something that mistakenly happens?

In the past, I’ve had clients that successfully did their own radio ads for many years–even though they sounded terrible. One client sounded like she was running out of breathe because she was so nervous–but people identified with her and it was one of her best.

And so it is with pets as mascots. As with any idea–it’s best to test. Pets can be a double-edged sword as well, in the event some prospects may hate dogs or cats–but the risk may be well worth it if used with discretion.

Particularly if used promoting your brand on social media. The images of the pet can be used to grab attention and highlight various aspects of your business–many times in creative fashion.

We first featured “Fluffy” in our fourth animated video promoting our three-part strategy for small business. In testing on Facebook, it scored very well so we thought we were on to something.

We began to experiment in promoting our strategy, podcasting, video and blogging platform services of our business.

We used the various pet pics sparingly throughout our social media posting schedule–and we did notice considerable improvement in likes, photo likes engagement.

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This post we named the “two-headed cat” post!

With most pet images–linking the copy to the image promoting the brand can be fun as well as effective as in these posts:

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Again, using with discretion over time I believe can be a good strategy. Maybe even mixing in other pics might prove effective as well–as they separate your business from the competition and are unique. Note this image of my mother in this post:

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It’s all a part of separating your business and standing out, being unique. Mascot images are a perfect match for today’s social media and video promotion because they are different and grab attention if used with discretion.

We use “Fluffy” as our moniker in on our Facebook business page (which stays consistent to be a brand identifier):

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So, for the future at least, we’ll continue to use Fluffy as a brand mascot as indeed he does provide, “a warm fuzzy” feeling!

Learn more about our strategy and services, and contact us for a free marketing consultation. 

From the Blog: Digital Marketing Update, Podcast #19, 4 Reasons Why Podcasting and Video Are The Future Of Small Business Customer Engagement and Marketing.

There are basically four reasons why I believe podcasting and video promotion are the future of small business customer engagement and marketing.

on-demand-advertising-solutions-newsletter-card-image1In podcast #19, I’ll discuss why I believe this–compared historically to how small business were marketed years ago, and what opportunities this affords today’s small businesses to grow their business.

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Today’s marketing channels are no longer a dream for small business owners to consistently engage their prospects and customers.

Listen to all of our strictly podcast audio here.

It all starts with our three-point strategy of creating and implementing content that highlights your expertise.

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Learn more about how our small business three-point strategy and services can grow your business–by scheduling a FREE CONSULTATION!

Now, enjoy today’s video podcast!

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4 Reasons Podcasting and Video Are The Future of Small Business Marketing.
Podcast #19

Host: John D. Verlin

TRANSCRIPT:

And a pleasant good afternoon to you, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions, with another Digital Marketing Update, podcast #19.

Today, I’m going to call it 4 reasons podcasts and video are the future of small business marketing. We could reverse that question and say, are they?

And I’m going to tell you why. Let’s consider thirty years ago. If you’re old enough to remember back then. If you had a small business, what you did to market back then.

Let’s say you had a jewelry store, in a shopping center, or strip mall type of thing. And you were going to have a grand opening. You might do a post card mailer. A letter or direct mail piece. A flyer. Inviting people to your grand opening.

And you might do that in an eight to ten mile trade area of your business. So, you have direct mail, you might take out a quarter page ad in the newspaper, which backed then they ruled. And in a majority of cities, they were the dominate media.

You probably spent good money to be listed in the Yellow Pages. I don’t know who many times I had clients put aside a good budget for the Yellow Pages. I’ve got to be listed in the Yellow Pages. Much like today, it would be like I’ve got to be listed on Yelp.

But back then, you had to be listed in the Yellow Pages to be considered a viable business among small business owners.

You had TV, you still have TV. You had radio, you still have radio. Cable was breaking into the scene back then. Cheap, very…a lot of cable channels. Very diverse. Questionable effectiveness because it was so diverse, where you’re reaching often enough. Even though it was cheap, cheap didn’t matter if you didn’t get anything back, so to speak.

So, those primarily are the options you had back then. And today, these are the four reasons I think podcasting and video will be the future of marketing for small business, at least for the for seeable future.

Because we know that virtual reality, automation, robotics—all of these things are coming into the fore.

But that will take some time to develop, just as everything else did over the last five to ten years.

Here’s four reasons why. We just talked about the typical media that small business had back then. Today, those platforms and channels have changed. I’m talking about Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.

These were things that were a dream, weren’t even thought of back then, that small businesses can use to pinpoint and target customers—of varied interests to connect with a communicate with them.

And the platform today are smartphones. Obviously you still have desktops, tablets. Didn’t have those years ago.

That’s changed everything for small business. Using those channels to communicate. Compared to the traditional thirty years ago.

Now, the second reason I believe that podcasts and video are the future of small business marketing are because of the nature of what they are and how they communicate.

They can engage customers and prospects…and they can do it with fun content. Video content even audio content can be creative and it can highlight your expertise. Five minutes, ten minutes…a half hour podcast.

Thirty minute video. Thirty second video. Thirty second podcast. You have a range of ways to communicate. Because of the ways in which you can communicate, you can engage people.

For example, I have a large scooter. I saw a new model—futuristic of a scooter, concept scooter, the other day it was on a Youtube video. Really cool. And they were showing what this was going to look like. And guess what? That piece of content got my interest. I showed it to several people. I’d even call to see if it’s available.

That’s because it caused me to be interested. It got my attention with a concept video, about a concept scooter that’s not even been built yet, but I’m interested.

They engaged me as a prospect, just because I happened to see it on the scooter website of what’s upcoming. That’s an example of how they’re engaging with a video—a prospect that could go out and buy it tomorrow.

So they’re using that to get people’s interest. The same thing could be said for small businesses today. By using podcasts and videos to connect with your customers.

The third reason I believe these are the future is that they’re accessible. Podcasts and videos, you can listen and watch at ten at night or three in the morning. Twenty-four, seven, this content is available.

And particularly when you’re talking about your expertise or your business. For example, looking at that video, I wanted to know more about it. It got my interest. Well, your prospects and customers want to know more about you.

You’ve got their attention because of your product or service, and they want to know more, so naturally you should tell them more.

To get them and engage to do business with you, as your competition is out there, walking around and stalking like a lion waiting to devour any customer they can.

So, doesn’t it make sense, that you have the capabilities today to further your brand, further your expertise by informing prospects and customers about what you do? And not everyone may be interested in a three quarter karat diamond and how it’s made.

But if you’re going to spend ten grand on one, you just might want to know, because they “feel” like they know you better once they see that or hear about it.

And that sure may beat the competition who’s not doing anything like that. So, it’s accessible twenty-four seven.

And finally, the fourth reason—these platforms and these engaged pieces of creative content, videos and podcasts, allow you to use them in a promotional capacity.

It allows you to keep your name in front of them, so it’s on-going, everyday. You don’t have to buy a radio ad ten times a day, that costs a fortune to get your name out there.

You can do this on a regular basis through social media, utilizing those videos and podcasts on posts to promote your blog. And you do that on a regular basis.

My question is, are you using podcasts and videos to share your expertise with your prospects and customers on a regular basis on a blog to tie people to lure them into your website?

That’s how you can build your business. It doesn’t happen overnight. But you’re not having “sales” every night either. So, you’re getting to use tools that thirty years ago were a pipe dream. And cost a lot of money to build a customer base.

And I know this because I worked with a radio background in announcing, writing commercials, producing them. And I did this for clients.

The very things I’m doing for clients today, and offering, podcasting, videos…blogging, social media, I did that for my clients thirty years ago in a round about way, because they were spending a lot of money to market themselves. And I found out what they did because I did it for them.

So that’s why I know this. And that’s why I’m telling you a podcast is a great way to highlight your expertise, cost-effectively. Posting it on a blog and promoting it with video and posts on different social media.

That’s what I call the marketing platform, that’s the basic thing. But these are four reasons why I believe this is the future of small business marketing. Because not all small businesses are doing this right now.

But they know, particularly with video that it’s the upcoming thing, but they’re just not doing it. My guess is they’re a little intimidated. They don’t know how to do it. They don’t want to take the time to do it or have the time to do it.

They’re going to delegate it to their son or daughter who are familiar with social media. But they may or may not take the time to do this everyday and connect on a regular basis.

It’s familiarity. If you got a memo from someone, you might say oh yeah, I kind of know that person. But if you got it everyday for a week, you would get to know them a little more. But if you got that for a month, you’d feel like you knew them. You might say I’ve seen that person, I know how that person is because you see that memo from them all the time.

It’s the same deal. Repetition. So those are the four reasons I believe podcasting and videos are the future of small business marketing because, again—all these platforms and channels have changed and accessible on a small phone that fits in your pocket.

It engages prospects and customers with creative content highlighting your expertise, answering questions, whatever your prospects or customers need.

It’s accessible twenty four seven, they can learn about you day or night. And they allow you to have a marketing platform with on-going promotions. To be able to keep your name out in front of your prospects and customers on a regular basis.

It’s all coming down to the customer experience.

And that’s why I believe at the end of the day, podcasting and videos are a way to create a full filled customer experience. Because they’re learning all of this and once they feel good about you, guess what? They’re going to do business with you.

So, if you’re not doing those, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about them. It’s what we do to help our clients, and I think it would be well worth your while because they’re cost-effective, and yet they give you a base from which to work from on all of your other marketing.

Direct mail you may be doing, email marketing, radio, TV ads, print, whatever—you can lead them back to your blog and your content to access your website to get to know you.

That’s what it’s all about.

jverlin1@yahoo.com is my email. John Verlin is my name.

Website is www.OnDemandAdvertisingSolutions.com.

Would love to hear from you. Next week we’re going to have another podcast—and I’m going to delve more into..well—you just tune in and find out!

Have a great day, we’ll see you next week.

All podcasts are produced by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas

Copyright, 2017, by John D. Verlin

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From the Blog: Digital Marketing Update, Five Key Reasons Your Small Business Needs A Marketing Platform, Podcast #18

There are five key reasons a small business needs a marketing platform.

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The new small business storefront.

I’m amazed in talking to small business owners how many either don’t have the money, time or awareness to build a marketing platform for their businesses.

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Why you need a small business marketing platform.

As you can see from the above infographic–the marketing platform is the nerve center for all advertising, marketing, prospect and customer engagement.

It’s the “entity” that you lead radio, TV, print, direct mail advertising to. All roads lead to the marketing platform.

These are what we do for our clients…but it all starts with our three-point strategy to determine your best approach and content.

You may also schedule a free consultation for us to best determine the most effective marketing platform for your business.

Listen to all of our strictly audio podcasts here.

Now, enjoy the video podcast!

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5 Key Reasons Your Small Business Needs A Marketing Platform:

Podcast #18

Host: John D. Verlin

TRANSCRIPT:

Good afternoon, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions, Digital Marketing Update, podcast #18.

I wanted to get right to it.

I wanted to talk to you today about the importance of a marketing platform for your small business. I know I brought this up before in a previous podcast, but I wanted to go into more detail today.

I was at a chamber coffee this morning talking to a young chiropractor. He was a member of a chiropractic team in the town I live in. We were actually kind of talking about this, and I went in and explained to him why this is so important.

They hired a marketing person. Plan to hire myself or someone to do their social media.

But, as we were talking about what elements make up this marketing platform, and his eyes kind of lit up. When I touched on some of this because he hadn’t really thought of it. He’s on their marketing board.And they weren’t even aware of it.

So, that’s why I want to go in to this. This is something I’m seeing quite a bit, to be honest with you.

Is a lack of understanding of the importance of a marketing platform for most small businesses.

They look at it like, not everybody, but I’m seeing this as an afterthought, a luxury. Ah, I can’t really afford this. It’s kind of a hassle. An afterthought.

So, five things you need to be aware of, of why a marketing platform is so critical to your business.

Imagine that we were out west, and there was an old saloon storefront. Facade. Like in an old western movie set.

And I come running out yelling at people, come on in. Check out our saloon! People come in and they go to the saloon. As they get closer, they realize there are no walls. And, there’s nothing in there!

It’s a facade! It’s a storefront movie set facade. There’s nothing there, except this frame. Well that’s kind of, maybe not a great analogy, but your online storefront is your website.

Now, whether you like it or not, that’s how people are perceiving businesses today. Think about your own experience. When you find a product in print, an email, TV, radio…whatever. You’re interested, what do you do? What’s the process?

It used to be ten or fifteen years ago, you’d get in your car, you might call them. Get in their car, go to the store and check it out. Do you do that today? Probably not.

My guess is, you’re going to grab your smartphone, and say, Hey, Siri—show me where I can get fifty percent off pizzas. Or the closest Pizza Hut.

Because I just saw their ad on TV.

And you can probably order it through your phone. You’re not going to get up and go to the Pizza Hut. Because of the conveniences today. The technology platform

And the same is true of a lot of services. You might end up going to that site. And what are you going to do when you get to that site? You’re going to check them out. Customer testimonials, services they offer. Products featured. Does it match what you thought?

All those sort of things. That’s the online storefront. That’s why a website is so important. And a quality website. It’s got to look good, because that’s your branding.

I talk about the marketing platform, in our three part strategy. But it’s your branding that you’re selling. The image you’re selling. This is why all of this is so important.

If you’re a small business, and you don’t have one, what are people going to do? What are they going to think? Those are the two things that you have to control.

Why do you have to do this? What’s your competition doing? Do you think they’re sitting on the sideline not doing this? Or haven’t considered it?

So, unless you’ve got a line of referrals…banging on the door to come in and give money to you. You need to consider a solid marketing platform.

So the first point, it’s your online storefront. This is how people are doing business today. It starts with searching most likely. Do that or keyword search and they want to check you out, is really what it comes down to.

The second feature of the marketing platform, is a blog. Well, we don’t have a blog. We don’t think it’s important. Well, it’s real important because it’s your sales people. Now again, go back to the saloon.

Let’s switch that to say a general store. A come out and yell, hey come here and check out these axes we have. Great for chopping wood! Blah, blah, blah. They come to the storefront and they see, through the window, beautiful axes, all lined up, all on display.

Beautiful items. Goods. Whatever. Now they want to go in the store. Because it matches what I described and they get to see the product. They see it.

Ok. Well, this is what a blog is. It’s the sales people bringing in the people with stuff you know have to show them.Yes, you have pages about who you are. But not real in-depth.

That’s where the blog comes in. They see one point after another of your content of expertise. And it usually could be, should be through an engaging medium. Like a video, a podcast.

And that’s why we recommend those two things. Because it’s engaging. It grabs your attention. It’s not just one-thousand words to read.

Not that that is not important. Because it is, because Google will search things. But you want to grab and sell them your service or your product. So the blog acts as a sales storefront.

Next point, number three. I’m going to call it—it provides for a resident place to direct media to. When I do an ad on Facebook, TV, print, radio, email marketing. What are you doing? You want to direct them somewhere. Where are you going to send them? Come by our storefront, here’s our address if you get a chance. It doesn’t do a very good job of selling if you just give them a business card.

But if you give them a website, they go visit that and then they can SEE. Yeah, check out blog #5. It’s talking about what you and I were just talking about out at the chamber coffee. Oh! Now they have a chance to be sold. Because they’re engaged in the content you’re offering them on your blog.

And again, they’re going to compare this to who? Your competition. See how this makes you stand out from the crowd? You have a mechanism to direct people through your advertising.

And outreach to them to come in to your storefront and SEE everything you’re all about…and tell your story.

That’s what this is. And how many small businesses don’t have a mechanism with which to tell their story?

Point number four, and this is real important from the search engine standpoint. It allows you to provide fresh content, each week, to highlight your expertise. With engaging content.

I call it engaging…i’m referring to podcasting, videos…things that cause people to want to watch or listen and experience…as opposed to just reading.

Ok? And this separates you again from your competition! Because the probably, may or may not be doing podcasts, or even know how to produce them or even want to produce them. Or even have the resources for them.

Or produce videos. SEE the difference? You’re doing something…yeah, it takes some work. But guess what? It’s permanent.

You just have to do it once a week, and it’s there on your skeletal platform…your marketing platform to constantly promote.

You’ve got meat, flesh and bones.

And the fifth reason, it provides on-going, keyword search relevance through Google search engines.

Not that a website won’t, yeah, you’ve got a lot of words on the website. Relevant words hopefully to what you’re promoting. But the blog extends all of that. Every week you’re adding content.

And you’re doing this so that you’re selling your prospects. But you’re also getting the back end deal here.

Google is searching it…and suddenly, when people type in keywords, you’re pages of the blog start to come up.

And all of this is relevant to what they’re looking for. It narrows it down in their mind of who they should do business with.

Because now, when they visit your storefront on the web, and see your blog and all of the content that you have…they become engaged with you.

Now they want to go. You’ve ignited some passion here of your knowledge and expertise!

Do you SEE the difference? And this is why it’s important to have a good, solid marketing platform. And on-going fresh content.

It’s an on-going thing to market yourself. You’re always selling. What was that line Alec Baldwin said in Glengerry, Glenross? Always be selling! Always be selling (closing)!

Nothing happens until someone sells something! Ok, so that’s why it’s so important to have a good marketing platform.

It’s on that infographic here on the blog. You can see how it all integrates together. And this is new.

This is the new way we’re doing business. It’s critical for small businesses to get this. And don’t just through it out there as an add-on. This is critical to selling yourself for future.

At any rate, I can be reached at jverlin1@yahoo.com.

Website: www.OnDemandAdvertisingSolutions.com.

Look forward to hearing from you! Email me questions if you have any. We’d love to hear from you.

Check out our website for samples of the content on the blog, videos, content that I’m talking about.

Have a great day, we’ll talk to you next week

From the Blog: Telling Your Unique Small Business Story, Cartoon Video #15

It’s not always telling your unique small business story in :60 or less. However, as our Cartoon video #15 shows–using podcasts on blogs and promoted with high-testing video’s on social media, can be very effective.

Particularly in differentiating your business from the competition.

We help small business owners stand out and increase their web traffic and SEO using these techniques. It all starts with a three-part strategy customizing content for each client.

Learn more about our three-part strategy and set up a free consultation to see how we might assist your business!

Enjoy the video!

From the Blog: Linkedin Article, Lessons I Learned On My Journey To Eagle Scout+

By John D. Verlin

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Four years ago, as I was packing to make a move after selling my home, I ran across an old Boy Scout shirt, with a burn mark on a area by the collar and on the sleeve.

The short sleeved shirt brought back a ton of boyhood memories–just as the burn mark did (was from a campfire spark–I promise).

From hiking/backpacking in Philmont Scout Ranch for two-weeks, the hours working on achieving Brotherhood Member of Order of the Arrow–one emblem stood out.

The cloth Eagle Scout badge hemmed on the front pocket still looked as silky smooth as it did 45 years ago when I received it.

It got me to thinking back when I joined Cub Scouts, then Webelos, then became an official Boy Scout.

From the peanut brittle candy sales (I won a Tensor desk lamp–thanks Kirk and my brother Ron for helping me!), to freezing cold tents collapsing in the overnight snow, to one merit badge after another…after another…

The journey began when I was in grade school at age 11. I remember going to Cub Scout meetings as our dad later became our Troop Leader or Scoutmaster. I remember receiving the Bobcat pin as my first badge in Cub Scouts and how proud I was to wear it.

I did a report in fourth grade on Tornadoes, Hurricanes and Blizzards (was given an 8×10 black and white picture of the Katherine Carpenter Tornado taken by a friend of my fathers only several miles away (April, 1966) and I used it in my report. I remember talking to Sandy Miller, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service who gave me several NWS brochures on tornadoes and hurricanes.

This experience helped me achieve the Weather merit badge and my life long love of weather (science fair weather station, teaching Weather at Camp Naish Nature Dept., etc).

The next year I did a report in fifth grade on the Atomic Bomb–and remember writing the Dept. of Energy receiving brochures about atomic energy, etc. That led to me getting a merit badge in Atomic Energy. Then on to a report in sixth grade on Apollo 11–which led to me writing NASA and receiving brochures as well. And you guessed it–Space Exploration merit badge.

Naturally–when visiting the Kennedy Space Center last fall I was like a kid in a candy store seeing the actual site of Cape Canaveral and the Saturn V rocket.

Thus began my love of science and eventually history as I began to accumulate more merit badges and rank. From Tenderfoot to Star, Life and then Eagle.

These experiences led me to consider today what are most boys age 12 or 13 doing with their lives? Playing soccer? Baseball? (I did both as well). Or video games? Hanging out?

Of course visiting Shiloh military battlefield or Springfield, Illinois and hiking the 20 mile Lincoln trail gave me a real appreciation for history with experiences that I would never have known if it weren’t for the Scouting program.

My last two summers in Boy Scouts, I taught at Camp Theodore Naish (who left his land in Edwardsville, Kansas to the Scouts after he died on the Lusitania) in the Nature Department. I taught Weather, Conservation of Natural Resources and Mammals merit badges. We had a nature building with snakes, rabbits, a de-scented skunk and a boa constrictor we called Victor.

I also was “tapped out” to be an ordeal member in Order of the Arrow. A Native American tradition of honoring their braves (Delaware basin, Lenni Lenape). I remember going through a day of “ordeal”. Camping out at night in a field with a blanket and groundcloth, working all day in the forest cutting down trees and digging mud/concrete out of a pool in 90 degree weather. Having very little food, etc.

All in the teaching of brotherhood, helping and loving one another. A year later, I received the Brotherhood Member of Order of the Arrow designation.

By teaching the last two summers of my Scouting experience at Camp Naish, I was able to achieve the Eagle Rank (of which my father achieved and my brother).

While I was fortunate enough to have a father that took interest in the Scouting program (he served as our Cubmaster and Scoutmaster)–it was one special moment that I still remember to this day and transformed my mind. It taught me important lessons I use to this day in business.

About the time I had received the Life rank (one below Eagle), I had to take Personal Fitness merit badge as a required merit badge towards Eagle.

I had to track for one month, push ups, sit ups, jumping rope, pull ups, etc. One of the requirements was walking a balance beam (which my father built with 2×4’s) forwards and backwards without falling off.

Simple enough. But my chubby self kept falling off. I didn’t have good balance. Years later, I was to learn that I had a hearing loss in each ear which could have affect equilibrium. But at the time–it was just hard. Plain frustration.

To a point, I remember being in our basement where everything was set up. I told my dad--“that’s it, I quit”!

I’ll never forget the look in his eye. Being brought up by his mother in the 1930’s and learning to play baseball (was scouted as a catcher by St. Louis Cardinals right before America entered WWII)…becoming a Seabee in WWII, getting an engineering degree at MU…becoming a project engineer as a career–all on his own. The idea that he faced his own Field of Dreams by going to college on the GI Bill and forsaking baseball to become an engineer.

But it was that look that he gave me as he pushed me up against the basement wall. I felt my right hand ball up into a fist! As he held me up against that wall…he pointed his finger at me and said, “Don’t you EVER say quit”! You get back up on that beam and finish!

I’ll never forget how mad I was at him. I wanted to haul off and hit him in the face! But gradually, I did find a way to finish.

I went on one more year getting merit badges–and then had to pass Lifesaving for my final merit badge to Eagle. At camp–I kept pulling my fellow scout, Paul Lundstrom in with a cross-chest tow, per the requirement I was attempting to pass.

Paul was tall and lean (still is at our 40 year reunion!), and kept sliding off my hip going underwater as I ferried him in. Unfortunately–camp ended and I didn’t pass.

That upcoming Fall–I took that requirement again with a Lifesaving merit badge counselor at my local high school pool. He was like 6-3 and 300 lbs! I FINALLY ferried him in moving about a centimeter every minute to pass.

Then Paul and I received our Eagles together at our Eagle Court of Honor presentation. Friends, relatives, the local Congressman all celebrated my achievement and told me that one day this will be an important accomplishment in my life.

I stayed in Scouting two more years after achieving Eagle and taught at Camp Naish–also gathering more merit badges. Besides receiving the Brotherhood Member in Order of the Arrow, I received bronze, silver and gold palms (for five additional merit badges each above Eagle). The fifteen additional merit badges I received by the time I was almost 16 barely fit on the front and backside of my Scout merit badge sash.

At the final dinner for our Troop. The Scoutmaster Arnold Waxman presented me with the final gold palm and announced that having achieved Eagle with three palms, made me the highest ranking Scout in the 27 year history of our troop!

During those five years in Scouting, I never really counted all the merit badges. I just kept doing–partly out of interest and the rest out of a feeling of accomplishment.

Looking back today–it was probably the proudest moment of my life–as my father’s been dead over 25 years now. He and my mother were proud of me.

After further checking with the national Scout council a number of years ago–I discovered that less than 5% of Scouts get Eagle–and less than 1/2 of 1% get Eagle with all three palms.

I think about many men I’ve met today or told me they never finished Scouting. Or wished they would have attained Eagle. For all those young men who have attained their Eagle rank, I salute you.

The lessons that journey teaches are the lessons many of us carry into our careers and our lives. Those lessons bring to fruition the discipline, perserverence, focus and determination to achieve. The twelve points of the Scout Law summarize those lessons perfectly:

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.

Our businesses, relationships and world would be a better place if we all upheld these twelve points and would make our journeys in life more meaningful!

Learn more about John D. Verlin here.

Learn more about On Demand Advertising Solutions and their three-point strategy for small business success here.

The above was originally posted on Linkedin May 15, 2017. Copyright John D. Verlin, 2017: https://www.linkedin.com/post/edit/lessons-i-learned-my-journey-eagle-scout-john-d-verlin

From the Blog: Digital Marketing Update Podcast #17, What If The Beatles Had Failed? Sir Paul McCartney’s Rules For Success!

PI recently watched a neat Youtube video that i’m going to link to for you to watch at your leisure–because it’s the subject of my podcast today.

on-demand-advertising-solutions-newsletter-card-image1It is a series of interviews by Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles fame about what they did to become successful.

It was put together by Evan Carmichael and promoted as “Sir Paul McCartney’s 10 Rules For Success”! Which I think is a great idea!

pauls success tips

I’m going to comment from my experience on each one of them in this podcast–but I do encourage you to watch the video, as it captures Paul’s actual answers in context how how the Beatles did it at each stage of their careers.

We work with small businesses to achieve their success by offering unique and innovative ways to engage their prospects and customers. It begins with a three-point strategy for success.

Learn more about how our small business three-point strategy and services can grow your business–by scheduling a FREE CONSULTATION!

Now, enjoy the video podcast!

digital-marketing-update-podcasts-john-v-square1-1-700-pixel-large
What If The Beatles Had Failed? Sir Paul McCartney’s 10 Steps To Success:
Podcast #17

Host: John D. Verlin

TRANSCRIPT:

Good afternoon John Verlin, On Demand Advertising Solutions, with another podcast, number 15 Digital Marketing Update.

I was going to talk about something else today, but I saw a video that’s really cool. And it dawned on me, what if the Beatles had never made it and they had failed?

I’m sure this has been talked about in the past. I mean the timing, creativity–all the things that they influenced, hair styles clothing music poetry photography. Arts, everything. An entire culture. Even to this day we see the influence. Even the teenagers today are becoming Beatle fans to some degree.

So, but it dawned on me from a business standpoint what would the world be different if they would have failed? What would have happened? How would the world be different if they had failed?

I happened to catch on YouTube a really cool video, you’ll see on the blog a little video link by Evan Carmichael. He put together, he calls it, “Sir Paul McCartney’s 10 Rules For Success”. And I think it’s a great idea. He put together video clips of interviews throughout the years, with Paul McCartney about what the Beatles did to be successful.

And it stands to reason, maybe we could learn something for small businesses, if we could do similar things that Paul McCartney and the Beatles did to be successful. Now obviously, timing—he couldn’t really plan that. The beginning of the ’60’s, everything changed after Elvis Presley and that kind of thing.

But here are the things he basically touches on, what they did to be successful.

The first thing he said was to “do it because you can’t help it”. Whatever your hobby is..their songwriting actually started out, according to Paul, as a hobby.

They had covered Little Richard, Chuck Berry, a number of the American black artists and Rhythm and Blues artists when they played the clubs in Hamburg,Germany.

The problem was everybody else is playing those songs. So, to stand out and be different, they would do “b” sides of certain songs, or to stand out—starting writing their own. So when they got up to play, nobody would be copying them. It would be unique and different and people would stay and listen.

So, it was a hobby for them originally. And he just said, “do it because you can’t help it”.

Whatever that passion is, and that’s true with your business. Maybe you started doing something on the side, you’re good at it. You found your talents. And you just do it because you’re passionate about it.

The second thing Paul said, and this was Evan Carmichael’s favorite, was “to be different”. You know we hear about a unique selling proposition, what value do you bring and that kind of thing to small business.

But Paul was saying, the Beatles were always a little more artsy than a typical band. John and Paul had gone to grammar school. John had also gone to art school.

Actually, George and Paul went to grammar school. John had gone to art school. And so they were going to be a little different in the form of being a little more artsy than other bands. And that made them different.

The haircuts, the collarless jackets, the way they dressed. They way they kidded around. The fun they had. Made them different than typical bands. They weren’t boring.

The other thing he says is to “find your drive”. What’s that thing that drives you? Whatever that is. Is it to get a new car? A new home? They would think about these things. And that would be a motivation. Maybe it’s deeper seated. A fear you had growing up. Or whatever—but find the drive and something that will keep you motivated.

The fourth thing he said was to take it a “step at a time”. Step by step. When they started out, maybe they had a number one hit. They would just keep doing these things. Obviously, luck played a part in all of that. You begin to get a feeling for who you are. What your business is so to speak. They would take it a step at a time.

Create one it. Turn around, do another one. Keep in mind, they’re still plodding ahead doing really what you’ve always have done. As a matter of fact, George Harrison was quoted when they interviewed him about this.

Well you know, did you change after success happened? He said no, but everybody else did.

They have been doing the same thing step by step for years and nothing happened. And then suddenly, it all happened. And I think that’s something we can look at too for small businesses. You keep doing what you’re doing and you don’t know when the right thing is going to happen.

And it may take a while. The fifth thing he said is just “get out and do it”. Just do what that passion is. There are so many books I’ve read, posts I’ve read that talk about the fear of failure. You are never going to know until you try. Yeah, it is a little scary.

But if you just get out and do it, you may be surprised at what you can do. And if you’re running a business right now you know everything that Paul’s talking about most likely.

You’ve experienced this. But again, you have to be consistent. Don’t give up. Stay at it.

The next thing Paul talked about is “fighting for yourself”. They were in reference to this talking about when the Beatles broke up. Paul had to sue the other three to get rights to all of the songs.

Not just the manager they had, but the entity was the other three as well. So he had to fight for himself. Obviously it was a painful breakup with the band. But sometimes you got to hang in there, go for it and fight for yourself.

The next thing he said was “produce what you like” A lot of times we think you’ve got to do a formula. You got it go with your gut I guess it’s the best way to describe it. Something that you like. You can’t please everybody.

You can kind of try. But most successful people, artists, musicians, businesses. Yeah, you may do marketing research, product research…whatever. But it all comes down to what are you really–what are you happy with?

What can you live with that you enjoy? And that really is the extension of your passion. Your idea.You know you’ve heard countless stories of Steve Jobs who was relentless in pursuing an idea for the mac and that sort of thing.

Not all of them are going to hit. If you do what you like you can be proud of that. You can stand back and say, you know, this is my passion. I achieved it. Maybe I tested it a whole lot. But I finally found something that worked.

And that really is what he’s getting at is that you do what you enjoy. The next step, number eight, is to “find a creative process”. What is that?

Do you get up everyday and write lists of ideas? Or, ways to improve your business. Whatever that is, find that process. Discover that and stick with that.

With he and John, one of them would come up with an idea and then and then the other one might play off that—and then suddenly another idea popped out of the whole thing. That wasn’t there to begin with. Like a third person. Brain-storming is good for that. But find that creative process.

That will keep things fresh and moving and may allow you to build upon something you had already come up with.

He finally talks about, the ninth one is to “have integrity”. They talked about this when Michael Jackson bought the Beatles catalog—about how did Paul feel.

He felt bad, particularly because Michael Jackson had allowed Revolution to be on a commercial. Paul was like, that really bothered him. Because they never sold out. They never allowed commercialization. Even though it was tempting to get a huge bunch of cash, and he said they had a lot of offers.

But they felt like they’d be selling out. And he never did that. And that’s the idea of keeping their integrity. Keeping their catalog within themselves and not selling out. So having integrity.

Obviously you have to live with yourself. You wake up the next day and have buyers remorse. Sellers remorse for something you maybe shouldn’t have done. Looking back you can’t say I had integrity for doing that.

And the last point Paul says is to “have fun”. Have a good time. Enjoy your business. Enjoy doing what you’re doing. Really that’s what brings you pleasure. That’s what brings you a total reward. Particularly after you’ve achieved success, money, whatever you want to label that as.

The fact you’re having fun. And that really I guess is what the entrepreneurial journey comes down to. Enjoying what you’re doing. And if you make money at it. So much the better.

John Verlin, On Demand Advertising Solutions. Contact me at jverlin1@yahoo.com. www.OnDemand AdvertisingSolutions.com is the website and if you have questions comment love to hear from you my number is 816-223-2105 and we’ll talk next week. Have a great day

All podcasts recorded at Verlin Studios, Gardner, Kansas.

Copyright John D. Verlin, 2017

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