Sklar Technology Partners - November 2020

NOVEMBER 2020

7462 Old Hickory Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111

www.sklartechnology.com

804-730-2628

WILL WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING SURVIVE COVID-19?

Your content needs to be great, so you shouldn’t be writing it yourself. I don’t care if you got an A on that essay you wrote in college. You’re running a business, which means you don’t have time to write enough to be good at it. Hire a professional to write your content. Do you think I write this whole newsletter myself? I have a business to run! I have a professional writer who helps me put together the content I use for my business. I don’t have to spend time writing anything myself, and I know it will get done well. Remember that good content doesn’t come cheap. If you want premium content, invest in a good freelance writer who knows your industry and your needs. 2. Develop strong lead magnets. If you aren’t already using lead magnets, you’re way behind in the game. Lead magnets are an effective way to build your list for digital marketing. We’re bombarded with a lot of information online, so it’s doubtful that someone will want to do business with you based on one Facebook ad. But if you can get someone to give you their email in exchange for a digital download or access to a valuable webinar, then you can get them into your drip marketing campaign. I launched a new lead marketing campaign in September and have been pretty happy with the results. I hosted an event to teach people how to migrate their business to the cloud and added several new names to my list. Like any marketing, developing a strong lead magnet takes time. You have to know what your prospects are looking for to get them to sign up. (Check out the article on Page 2 to learn more about creating a successful lead magnet.)

conversation. These are the people I call “joint ventures.” For me, these are people who sell phone systems, copiers, or internet circuits. They sell something tangentially related to my business, and their clients are likely to need data security services. Software developers are some of my best joint ventures. If someone needs new software, they certainly will need help protecting that data. These people recommend me to their customers, and in turn, I recommend them to mine. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. You need to have good relationships with your joint ventures and keep this network tight. I have a recurring notification on my calendar to remind me to call my joint ventures once a month and get lunch. I also send them newsletters and emails to stay top of mind with them. You need to nurture those relationships. Staying in touch with your network isn’t the only way you can improve your word-of-mouth marketing. A lot of the recommendations we get from friends and family come from the digital space. This means you need to get serious about your digital marketing strategies. Here are three things you need to be doing to thrive in the digital space: 1. Offer premium content. The internet is a crowded place. Anyone with a keyboard and a Wi-Fi connection can start a blog. There’s a lot of content online and, to put it nicely, most of it isn’t great. In digital marketing, prospects will form their opinion of you based on the quality of the content you offer. Is your blog full of useful resources, or is it all recycled clickbait? Are there typos in your Facebook ads? Are your email headlines so weak that they get sent straight to spam?

I’ve spent many years honing my marketing strategy. I pride myself on effective newsletters, know how to make Facebook ads work in my favor, and am constantly planning my next lead magnet.While there are many marketing channels I have control over, the best kind of marketing is something you can’t buy: word-of-mouth marketing. If someone needs to take their car into a repair shop and their friend recommends a mechanic, that’s the best advertising the mechanic could ever ask for. We’re probably going to trust our friend’s recommendation more than we trust any amount of research or advertising we encounter on our own. But what happens to word-of-mouth marketing when we aren’t spending as much time with our friends or family? End of an era? The COVID-19 pandemic has been a time of extended social distancing. I used to get a lot of recommendations from my friends at the gym — but I certainly haven’t been spending a lot of time at the gym now.We aren’t lingering at coffee shops or eating lunch with our coworkers in break rooms right now. Those casual recommendations people used to give out aren’t so common anymore. So, what can businesses do when the most powerful form of marketing just got harder to tap into? Personally, I don’t think word-of-mouth marketing has completely disappeared. As business owners, we need to pay more attention to where our best recommendations come from. For example, have you checked in on your influencers recently? How’s your network doing? I’m not talking about social media influencers — though if you have those, that’s a whole different

Security. Availability. Support. .................................................................................... 804-730-2628 • 1 A REFERRAL IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY. WHEN A CLIENT REFERS FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES TO US, IT REPRESENTS AN APPRECIATION OF A JOB WELL DONE. IF YOUR FRIENDS OR ASSOCIATES COULD BENEFIT FROM OUR SERVICES, I’D BE HONORED TO HAVE YOUR REFERRAL! Continued on Page 3 ...

In an ever-growing digital landscape, one disruptor in advertising and marketing stands out: direct mail. That’s right — classic print and paper mailers shipped directly to your customers’ doors are pushing beyond the noise to give consumers an outlet they actually pay attention to. It may be brash to endorse direct mail marketing on a newsletter that we directly mail to you , but your reading of this article should be proof enough: Direct mail works, and you need to try it. If you’re still not convinced, allow us to explain why this is a secret we just have to share. In a world where most of us work and attend meetings, classes, family gatherings, church meetings, and other get-togethers through our screens, don’t you want to be the voice that stands out and appears in their mailbox instead? We have screen fatigue, and people likely aren’t paying too much attention to the advertisements they have been seeing for months. In business, you have to change and develop new marketing tools. Experimenting with direct mail or special offers may cost you some money, but the returns could be well worth the investment and time spent in developing the route. As an entrepreneur, though, the only risks you can take are calculated ones. You have to be sure there will be some reward, no matter how small. Direct mail marketing is nothing new, yet it has been proven to work time and time again. Why? When you boil it down, direct mail marketing works because it’s based on an idea that has always stood the test of time in business: the power of relationships. In order to reel consumers into your brand, you need to reach them in diverse ways. Enter direct mail marketing. It disrupts the noise from your digital platforms while connecting with people in a real, personal way. Today’s consumer takes months before making a purchase. When your voice has been consistent, loud, and diverse, you’re more likely to stand out. And today’s target millennial audience is also looking at print and direct mail before making a purchase. In fact, more millennials learn of products through direct mail, even in a digitally focused world. The digital world is still very influential. We may be tired of staring at our screens, yet we find ourselves pulled to social media, streaming services, and blogs even after we log off work. Businesses need to have a diverse online presence, whether that’s on social media, a blog, or your website, but you don’t have to adhere to one platform over the other. In fact, it’s best if you use direct mail to disrupt your online campaigns and use your online campaigns to disrupt your paper marketing. Relationship marketing that directly targets your consumer works every time. Direct mail has always disrupted the flow of standard marketing, and if you’re focusing your efforts solely on the digital platform because of the pandemic, then you’re making a big mistake. Direct mail is one of the easiest ways to connect with your consumers and stand out while doing it. In a Digitally Focused World The Power of Direct Mail

The majority of people who visit your website, or see one of your ads online, will navigate away and never think about you again. Lead magnets are vital for making sure you can keep prospects in your marketing strategy. Unfortunately, the incentives most people use for their lead magnets are laughable at best. “Sign up for our newsletter!” or “Never miss a blog update!” are common strategies that never get much response. The secret to effective lead magnets lies in the offer. You want prospects to give you their name and email address for your list. What are you willing to give them in return? Growing your list is valuable to your business, so you can’t offer trash. You need to give away something precious. A great lead magnet offer from a landscaping company would be a guide to “10 Steps to Keep Your Lawn Green.” The guide should be legitimate, and those steps should work. They should be the same strategy the professional landscapers use for their customers. Likewise, an auto repair shop could offer a pre-trip safety checklist, while a data security company might give away a webinar on migrating data to the cloud. If the offer is something that someone is already willing to pay for, it’s a great lead magnet. When creating a lead magnet, many people are afraid to make their offer too valuable. “But if I give away my secrets, clients won’t need me,” they fear. If you have this fear, then you’re undervaluing your work. If you provide a valuable service, you shouldn’t have to worry about your clients being able to do it without you. Take the landscaping company, for example. Prospects who download the guide will appreciate the valuable information, but quickly realize they need help to achieve that beautiful green lawn. The average person doesn’t have time to do all 10 steps themselves. And if someone who downloads the guide can do it all themselves, that’s great for the landscaping business. When a neighbor compliments their lawn, the person who downloaded the lead magnet will talk up the landscaping business for providing such a great resource. Then the neighbor will download the guide, adding another email to their list. Or better yet, the neighbor will call the landscaping business directly because they don’t have time to do all 10 steps. To create a lead magnet, start by asking what you can’t afford to give away. Then turn that into a form that can be downloaded from the internet, put it behind a landing page, and start building your email list. Here’s Why Your Lead Magnets Don’t Work STOP OFFERING TRASH!

2 • www.sklartechnology.com .................................................................................... Security. Availability. Support. Want to learn how we produce our direct mail campaign? Just ask!

WANT TO STAY HEALTHY OVER THE HOLIDAYS? Start by Improving Your Mindset I n a few months, everyone will be talking about their New Year’s resolutions. Most of those resolutions will focus on losing weight or eating better. This is because our health tends to be the first thing to go during the holidays. But due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to stay healthy through the cold and flu season. Here are a few mindset changes you can adopt to stay healthy over the holidays: Celebrate the ‘good.’ Don’t punish the ‘bad.’ While big holiday celebrations might not be on the menu this year, all those holiday foods certainly are. There’s no sense in making yourself feel bad for enjoying a slice of pecan pie. Instead, focus on filling your plate with vegetables, fresh fruits, or healthy proteins before you move on to dessert. Punishing yourself for “being bad” is not a healthy relationship to have with food. Prioritize your healthy choices instead. minutes of yoga. During the holidays, it can be hard to find time to workout. While you should maintain your fitness routine as much as possible, recognize that a little exercise is better than nothing at all. Don’t skip a workout just because you don’t have time to hit the gym. There are some great 10-minute workouts available online to help you stay active during the hectic holidays. Make water your favorite drink. This could be year-round advice, but it’s incredibly important right now. Proper hydration helps keep your body healthy. Carry a water bottle around during the day and sip on that instead of a soda. You can still enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at Thanksgiving, but make a point to drink more water. Drinking two glasses of water before you start in on a holiday meal can also help keep you from overeating.

There are many things still out of our control, but you can control your mindset. Prioritize your health this holiday season.

Abandon the all-or-nothing mindset. Your usual workout might involve a 5-mile run or 60

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Luxurious Vegan Chocolate Mousse

3. Hire someone to oversee your digital marketing. Here’s another area where you need to bring in a professional. I don’t know which of my readers need to hear this, but you don’t have time to run your own marketing. Yes, you should be aware of your marketing plans and come up with new ideas for them. No one knows your company better than you do. But when it comes to the day-to-day details of digital marketing, it’s far more productive to let someone else handle the work. You have more important things to do than conduct SEO keyword research or respond to comments on your latest Facebook post. I’ll be upfront about this: being successful in digital marketing isn’t easy. Following these strategies will help you get started, but you’ll still need to figure out what works for your company. The same goes for building a network and connecting with joint ventures. When you first start, you’ll make a lot of mistakes. I know because I’ve made all of those mistakes myself. I’ve been doing this for many years. When it comes to marketing of any sort, I’m the guinea pig, and I’ve learned through trial and error. For every $10 I’ve spent, about 50 cents worked out. Mistakes are inevitable, but fear of making those mistakes shouldn’t stop you from getting started.

Making chocolate mousse with avocados may sound strange, but we promise it’s a match made in heaven! This sinfully delicious recipe is a great holiday treat. Ingredients • 4 oz vegan dark chocolate, chopped • 2 large avocados, pitted and skinned • 3 tbsp cocoa powder • 1/4 cup almond milk • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1–3 tsp maple syrup, to taste • Fresh berries, for garnish Directions 1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate. Heat in 15-second intervals, then stir and repeat until melted. Set aside to cool. 2. In a food processor or blender, combine the cooled chocolate and other ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding additional sweetener as desired. 3. Scoop into glasses and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Top with berries and serve!

The biggest mistake you can make is to never get started.

–Randy Sklar

Security. Availability. Support .................................................................................... 804-730-2628 • 3 Inspired by WellPlated.com

7462 Old Hickory Drive Mechanicsville, VA 23111 www.sklartechnology.com 804-730-2628

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Inside This Issue

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Using Word-of-Mouth Marketing During a Pandemic

Want to Stand Out in a Digital World? Focus Offline

Here’s Why Your Lead Magnets Don’t Work

3

Don’t Let the Holidays Ruin Your Health

Luxurious Vegan Chocolate Mousse

4

Top 5 Healthy Life Hacks to Have an Awesome Morning

Top 5 Healthy Life Hacks to Have an Awesome Morning

help you wake up, but they can also add some extra physical activity to your day.

Getting your day started with coffee isn’t always enough. Sometimes, you need to give yourself an extra boost, especially when you have little energy or trouble focusing. For an awesome start to your day, here are five tips to get you going right off the bat. Wake up 5 minutes early. What’s the power of five minutes? It can be more than you think. Spend this time doing simple breathing exercises or a quick meditation so you can get focused for the rest of the day. If that’s not your style, you can prepare a quick to-do list for your day ahead. Either way, it’s always nice to have a little extra time for yourself without losing too much sleep. Start with green tea, then coffee. A cup of coffee at 7 a.m. can leave you burned out by 10 a.m. Try swapping it with green tea for a more gentle wake-up call. After that, you can brew your favorite coffee to keep you going strong. This practice also might help you consume less caffeine overall! Take a quick morning walk — and have your meetings on the go. Morning meetings can make us want to fall asleep again. Don’t spend all of them sitting down if you don’t have to! Not only will morning walks

Write in your journal. Who says you have to journal

at the end of the day when you’re tired and ready to sleep? You can journal in the morning about what happened

yesterday and the things you’re looking forward to that day. Journaling can remind you of your daily goals and motivate you to stick to your commitments. Pack your lunch (or snacks!). Staying on track with your goals starts with having the energy to do them. Plan a healthy balance of fats, vegetables, carbohydrates, and proteins. This can be as simple as assembling dips, carrots, wraps, and salads each morning.

It’s time to try these tactics to jump-start your day! 4 • www.sklartechnology.com .................................................................................... Security. Availability. Support.

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