2009 | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 2

Yearly Archives: 2009

Attention! Get Featured In My Upcoming Book

I’m writing a book right now for Wiley called “Attention: This Book Will Make You Money”. The book will be in bookstores by July 2010. The idea is that while anyone can get attention, only a few businesses and brands know how to turn that attention into revenue (sales, leads or publicity).

Have you done that? Know someone else who’s done that? Got some ideas to share or stories to tell?

Submit them here and you might be featured in my book! Please don’t submit them in the comments below. Use the form here.

Gratitude Blogging is a Road to Success

“How do you know you’ve built a community? When one person is listening.” – Gary Vaynerchuk – Crush It.

Me with Gary VaynerchukGratitude Bloggers. Do you know any? Who are they and what makes them a Gratitude Blogger? I define Gratitude Bloggers as people who care about their community by giving the community incredible amounts of content, help, information, motivation and inspiration for free on a consistent basis. Gratitude Bloggers care about the conversation and know that they may be the catalyst but do no have to be the focus. Gratitude bloggers consistently shift the focus from themselves to others in their community, they promote a spirit of collaboration. They are known for shining a spotlight on someone in the community who is doing things right. Here are a few people that I consider Gratitude Bloggers.

Gary Vaynerchuk is certainly a Gratitude Blogger. I had the opportunity last week to see Gary Vaynerchuk at a small bookstore in Madison, CT. Before Gary took the stage he was in his car responding to tweets and e-mails and a myraid of other things that he does to engage his audience. He even saw one of my tweets about the talk and he retweeted it. Gary was introduced as being motivated by his humble roots. When Gary took the stage he said that it was not so much his humble roots that motivated him because, when he took a good hard look at it he was “completely driven by gratitude”. For a guy who gives away an obscene amount of content many wondered why anyone would buy his book. Gary says that he made more money on bets that his book would hit the New York Times Best Seller’s list than he did on his advance from the publisher. Why is that? How did Gary know that his book would be a New York Times Best Seller? Gratitude.

What do I mean that he knew it would do well based on Gratitude? Here is my personal experience in helping Gary’s book Crush It make it to the New York Times Best Sellers List. I watch Gary’s Wine Library TV and catch his TV appearances and also subscribe to Gary Vaynerchuk.com. I get his message all the time and in many free forms. He even posts all of his keynotes on his blog. So why would I buy his book if I could pretty much get his entire message for free online? To express my gratitude for all of that free content and all of Gary’s hard work. That is why I would buy his book not once but four times. I purchased three copies for gifts, one for a family member, one for a friend and one to give to my readers. The fourth one I bought for my myself on my Kindle (which Gary Signed for me). I think my experience is very close to many other people and this is why the book did so well. Gary understands this, he understands the importance of Gratitude.

When you give your best stuff away and provide value to your readers then they know that you care. To be a Gratitude Blogger you need to do this consistently over time. Gratitude blogging is in it for the long haul and it is hard work. It is staying up to 2:00am to respond to every e-mail, comment and forum message. It is engaging your community where they are and by doing this you bring that community closer to where you are. It is seeking out new people and new ideas. I was reading a post the other day by Chris Brogan (I also consider him a Gratitude Blogger) and in his post A Crash Course in Comments he states that he is the #1 commenter on his blog. That rang so true to me personally because I respond to every single comment that comes in to my blog. My blog has nearly 16,000 comments and I know that at least 8,000 of them are mine. Why? Because I care that people take the time to leave me a comment. And as Gary says in Crush It, “If someone takes the time to reach out to you, it’s your obligation to reciprocate.”

Why do I respond to every single comment? The first thing I do every morning when I go to my e-mail is I check for comments on my blog and I respond to them. It takes a little while but it is one of the most worthwhile things I can do each day. Responding to comments does a few important things:

  • Responding to comments shows that you care about your readers
  • Responding to comments furthers conversation and communication
  • Responding to comments validates each person who takes their time to read your words
  • Responding to comments gives you the opportunity to express gratitude to your readers

Responding to comments is just one of the key actions of a Gratitude Blogger. Gratitude Bloggers are also known for solving problems and directing readers and followers to useful information. I think of our host, Jim Kukral, when I think of a Gratitude Blogger who solves problems. Jim has dozens of free resources that you can use to help improve your blogging. From the $7.95 Marketing Plan to the Online Video Toolkit, Jim gives away such great information totally free. Jim is also very giving with his time as well. Gratitude blogging at the core is all about showing how much you care. When you show people that you care and you prove it with validation, information and conversation then you’ll be on your way to becoming a blogger people are grateful to have around.

My friend Ed Gerety is new to blogging but he is in no way new to Gratitude. Ed is a youth motivational speaker and one of his core messages is of Gratitude. I would expect big things coming from Ed over the next year as he builds his blog and expands his community online. He just posted a video about Gratitude on his blog Ed Gerety’s Dream Big Blog that I think explains very much the core of what it is to express true Gratitude.

How will you work to become a Gratitude Blogger? Do you have a differing opinion, I would love to talk about it.

About the author: Andrew Bennett aka BenSpark is a husband, father, blogger, photographer, wired kayaker and an old school Transformers fan. He takes a photo every day and blogs about it on BenSpark.com. You can follow BenSpark on Twitter.

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Change Gears?

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that you can’t “see” things until you’re ready to see them. Many people who follow the paranormal agree with this attitude saying that once they decided that they were ready to see ghosts, then they started to show up. The same seems to be true for everything else in our lives.

So are you ready to “see” a change in your career?

You might not be, and that’s fine, you’re just not ready, and you may never be.

I’ve seen this theme many times in my life. Currently as I have begun to get in shape. I was finally ready to do it. Previously when I wanted to quit smoking… I was ready to do it.

This is why most people’s resolutions fail miserably. You can’t force something you don’t want to do in your heart. It will always fail.

Instead, decide that you’re ready to do it, then do it. Doers get what they want…

Need some motivation? Try my free 5DayBootcamp.com.

How To Avoid Slacking Off This Holiday Season

The Holidays are here. What are your plans? Are you going to slack off and have a good time until Jan 2nd, or are you going to kick it into high gear and be ahead of the game at the start of the new year?

It’s your choice. I like to give this same warm holiday message, errr, lecture, to you every year at this time.

Don’t be a slacker!

Look, the holidays are a great time to have fun with your family and friends and to relax a little bit. But not at the expense of losing months of productivity. Simply put, in today’s fast-paced Web environment, you cannot afford to take two months off. You can’t. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the big slack-off this holiday season.

Go to Work on Black Friday
I know you want to take the day after Thanksgiving off and do your Black Friday shopping. But let me tell you, Black Friday is probably the best day of the year to go into work. The traffic is light, the parking is wide open, and nobody is calling you to distract you. You can get a lot accomplished on this day if you try. I like to clean my office from top to bottom, then rearrange the furniture.

Stay on Schedule
Don’t deviate your schedule in any way. Once you get off track you’re on a free-fall into the abyss of slack.

The Days Between Christmas and New Years Eve Aren’t Vacation Days
Nothing else to say here. Those are work days to me. Not days to sit around and eat leftovers.

Set a Plan Now!
Give yourself a few deadlines right now for Jan 1 and get them done! Deadlines keep up motivated and on track. Accountability!

What tips do you have for getting things done during the holidays? Please share them in the comments.

Are You Cool?

I’m not buying it. Watch the video below of employees dancing at a Microsoft store. As if they’re working in a Johnny Rockets or something. See that video here.

Me thinks they’re trying too hard, don’t you? Why must brands like Microsoft try to be what they’re not. You are either cool, or you’re not. It’s ok to not be the cool one people. In fact, I like MS a lot because they’re the uncool ones. Only when they try to pretend they are that they annoy me.

I’m not cool. I’m kind of a dork. I relish in the uncoolness of myself and it works for me. Because I’m myself…

As I wrote in 07 for MarketingProfs

You can’t just be cool, you either are, or you aren’t.

Your brand is what it is. Don’t force something and end up looking like the dork in the corner trying too hard to hang with the popular kids.

3 Ways to Suck the Life Out of Your Brand

This is a guest post from David Brier. His information is below. If you’d like to submit a guest post, click here.

jfk_bradThere’s a problem in the world of business today, a problem that impacts every brand, every day. It’s something businesses notice without really understanding what it is. Or how to overcome it.

The Source of Your Troubles
So much money is wastefully spent generating little if any awareness with messages that blend in rather than stand out. Simply put, it’s getting harder to be heard in a world that’s just too busy to listen.

You deserve a brand and a message that connects with your audience, catapulting your brand from commodity status to a must-have.

Is the answer to cut back? Yes and no.

Cutting back on the stupid useless missteps, yes. This includes confusing content with channels of communication (in other words, social media is not a strategy anymore than having a TV commercial is. More on that in another article.)

But cutting back on a well conceived branding and marketing plan with spunk that goes for the gold? A resounding no. Like the business guru Peter Drucker stated, “You can’t shrink your way to greatness.”

Brand Intervention
The first place to start is by recognizing the “signs” that will lead one down the road to branding hell—the ideas and fool-hardy notions that literally will suck the life out of your brand.

In no particular order, here they are.

1. When in Doubt, Do What the “Big Boys” Are Doing
2. Be Professional, Not Magical (In Other Words, Don’t Shoot for Moon When You’ve Got Swiss Cheese in the Frig)
3. Doing Something Original Will Backfire

When in Doubt, Do What the “Big Boys” Are Doing
Creating a brand is about creating something that will stand out and be recognized for its differences. To copy what the leaders in your industry are doing will only serve to remind prospective customers about them, not you and your unique attributes.

What to do? List out what the leaders are doing and then isolate what you can offer that they aren’t offering. Something that may be more of a niche, or a better way to deliver a similar product, or a better designed user experience.

Be Professional, Not Magical
This is the ultimate trap: focusing on being professional, proper and corporate. In some schools of thought, those words “proper” and “corporate” are dirty words and liabilities. Take a page from Sir Richard Branson of Virgin: Be bold and dare to do something magical. Or like Seth Godin would put it: Be remarkable.

What to do? Establish what is the average, usual and acceptable. Then figure out how to raise the bar. You can even ask yourself what Seth Godin, Richard Branson or Steve Jobs might say or do in your particular industry.

Doing Something Original Will Backfire
Whoever said this was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Did you ever realize that what we take for granted today as ordinary and usual started out as an original idea?

  • The Eiffel Tower was laughed at and criticized when construction was complete, yet is now one of France’s most revered landmarks.
  • The Beatles were rejected by the Decca record label (since guitar music was “on its way out”) before changing the world of music (and music sales) forever.
  • Apple broke all the rules with their unique gallery-like retail stores to become the most profitable destination in the retail world.
  • This list can be expanded to everything from fire, to toilet paper to the invention of electricity and the phone.

What to do? Brainstorm with some friends who bring new viewpoints to what you want to solve, and very likely some originality will surely surface. Initially some of it may sound crazy, but so did the idea of transporting one’s voice over a distance as touted by Alexander Graham Bell.

When Golden Rules Should Be Traded in for Cash
So anytime anyone suggests you follow some of the above “golden rules,” doing the opposite might be your best strategy yet.

About the author: David Brier is Chief Gravity Defyer of DBD International and the author of branding bible for those sick and tired of average results: Defying Gravity and Rising Above the Noise. You can follow David on twitter here.

This Is Why I Love Affiliate Marketing

I was working out today and when I came back I checked my email and saw this.

Dear jim kukral,

new sale / lead was registered by our affiliate program.

Sale details:
Total cost: 164.00
Commission from this sale: 54.12

I made $54.12 during my workout, for doing nothing. When I teach students about this, it blows them away. This is what good affiliate marketing can do for you. These are the kinds of things that happen multiple times a day for me because I put the right pieces in place to drive visitors to content that includes my affiliate links.

Make high-quality, problem-solving content and give it away for free as an eBook, or in an email list or whatever, and put your affiliate links inside of that content. And watch as you earn commissions over and over while you sleep. Literally.

This is what you’ll learn how to do when you visit the Affiliate Summit event.

Passion

The other day I posted about how to do a successful Webinar. One of the things we didn’t have time to cover in that podcast was passion, and how important it is for you to show it in your voice.

I do an enormous amount of online teaching as well as teleseminars, podcasts, Webinars, videos and online teaching for the University of San Francisco Online. If there’s one thing I pride myself on is my passion for the topic at hand, and specifically how I convey it through my voice when I’m speaking. On stage in person too.

When I’m talking to someone on a class who’s all the way on the other side of the world, I have to make sure they can feel my passion through my voice. Believe me, it resonates if done right. Students and prospective clients can literally feel it in the tone of my voice, and because of that, I come off as someone they’re more likely to listen to closely, and someone who isn’t just trying to sell them something.

You’re passionate about something. I know you are. What is it? Why aren’t you taking that passion and communicating it to your audience in a way that they can literally feel it oozing out of you? You can’t do that in text. Why not try podcasting, or Webinars, or teleseminars or video?

Here’s a good example of a Webinar I did this week. It’s about a half hour long. See if you can feel the passion in my voice.

Prfessor Jim Demo from Josh Walsh on Vimeo.

If done right, passion resonates as more than a sales pitch, it’s a belief. It starts with you, and ends with your new customer. Get it, and get it now.

Greed=Failure

If you’re going to charge more for your product/service, then you better make sure you deliver more. I’m constantly amazed by how greedy business owners can be. They work so hard to build up a brand that people love, and when the first sign of success hits them, they scale back and raise prices and make their product not as good. That’s pure greed.

Here’s a tip. You can raise prices, fine. But you can’t scale back quality at the same time.

Restaurants do this all the time. My family used to frequent Boston Market all the time as a Friday night dinner spot. But the franchise decided to both raise the prices, and cut portions… all at once. So you tell me. Why in the world would I continue to eat there? I don’t.

Look at the businesses in your neighborhood who have lasted for 20+ years or longer. Those are the ones who realize that once you build a brand and find success, you can raise your pricing here and there, but you absolutely can’t lessen the quality of the product you serve.

Are you guilty of this? If so, you’re not going to be in business very long. The rules is this: If you raise prices, make sure you raise quality or quantity as well. This is true in any online or offline business. It’s the classic upsell and downsell argument.

For example, if I offered you coaching services at $50/month. Then a month later reduced that price to $25 to all new people. The people that paid $50 are going to pissed off, assuming I’m selling the same coaching product.

Now, if when I reduced the price, I also reduced the features… well then, that’s not the same is it? It works the same way when you raise the price.

So if I raise the price, I should add features. Your customer will continue to trust you if this is the way you practice. Otherwise, they’re going to feel like you cheated them.

Long-term success comes from consistency and fairness to your customer.

Webinars

I just wrapped up a podcast with friend Greg Friese about Webinars. If you are at all interested in using Webinars to close more business or train or educate a group of people, a Webinar is for you. Download here.

More specifically, you will learn:

  • What software options to use for Webinars
  • How to promote your Webinar
  • How to use a Webinar for training, sales and education
  • Other fantastic tips and tricks both Greg and I use

This is one of the most informative podcasts I’ve ever done on a niche topic. Please let me know what you think, and share any tips you have in the comments.