Thursday, December 29, 2011

When Your Internet Presence Outlives You

In the past few years, several of my friends and business associates have passed away. From time to time, I get notices from LinkedIn or Facebook that I might know them or it’s their birthday. Although it brings a smile to my face to think of them, it also got me thinking that perhaps they didn’t let people know the necessary information to take their web sites and social media sites down in the unfortunate case of their death.

Today, a huge portion of business is done online, and the business’s web site will live on despite the death of the business owner. Small business owners, being self employed, often don’t have a plan in place for anyone to take over when they’re gone. An obvious problem could arise if part of that business includes generating income online. When they are selling products and use an automated payment option, some orders may be paid for but not filled. This could carry on until the website expires.

It’s a smart idea to create a list with your web site, web host, log-in information, passwords, e-mail accounts, internet services, and social media sites as well as contact information to any vendors or supplier, credit card companies, banks and other pertinent accounts. This information should be kept somewhere safe and a designated person should be able to access it upon your death. This person will then be able to notify the appropriate people, as well as take down your internet presence.

If your business is more complicated and has business heirs, a will and succession plan should be in place to ensure a smooth transition or wrap-up to the business. Any estate planner can give you more information on that.

What does this have to do with marketing? Nothing. It was just on my mind.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Out With the Old and In With the New!

There is no better time than the year end to do an overhaul of the marketing you have in place for your business. Below is a checklist of things you can do to give your business a fresh, new makeover for 2012:

1. A Marketing Strategy is a living document that changes monthly, weekly and even daily as your business evolves and adapts to your business environment. When was the last time you updated your plan? Don’t have a marketing strategy or business plan in place? Now is the time to create one. Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Marketing expert Sandy Barris discusses the value of creating a marketing plan in an interview from July 2010 at

2. Does your company have a memorable brand or logo? Or is your logo old and outdated? Do you need to enlist the help of a graphic designer to create something fresh and new that reflects your business. Diane Krueger, the Brand Identity Artist at Contagious: Cure for the Common reminds us that a company’s logo is the starting point of the entire corporate image.

3. Are your marketing materials consistent? Does your logo or brand carryover onto your business cards, brochures, website, blog, Facebook fan page, etc? Linda Kleist of Identity Graphic Design talks about the importance of consistent branding.

4. Are your social media sites up-to-date? When was the last time you updated your profiles and contact information on Linkedin, Facebook, etc? Is it time to post a more current photo? Are you getting the most from your social media efforts as you market yourself and your business? Marketing and social media expert, Beverly Cornell, covers the whole gamet of social media’s do and don’ts.

5. How long has it been since your website was updated? How many hits are you getting to the site? Not a lot? You might want to have a professional revise the content, adding key words that will get you found on search engines (SEO) such as Google. Kevin Van Dette, President of Affordable Website Specialists, talks about all this and more in his 2010 interview.

6. Do you currently have a blog? Is a blog right for you and your business? Are people reading or listening to your blog? Corey Perlman, author of "eBootCamp", describe blogging in concise and easy to understand language.

7. What are you doing to drive traffic to your website, blog or other social media sites? Do you send out an e-newsletter on a regular basis linking to your website? In a second interview, Corey Perlman gives tips on how to use e-newsletters as an effective marketing tool as well as a means of keeping yourself in front of customers and business associates.

8. How current is the information in your database? Over this past summer, I purged my database of the old and outdated contact information. I was shocked as to the extent of job changes, out of state moves, and businesses that had closed in the past year. You probably will be amazed too.

Have a Happy New Year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

How Do You Show Your Appreciation?

Traditionally the holiday season is a time of thanksgiving, commemorating the birth of Jesus and celebrating the miracle of Hanukkah. This time of year has also become synonymous with gift-giving to family, friends and business associates.

At a recent Lunch n’ Learn session, hosted by Lori Williams of Your Legal Resource, the topic of the program was on ways to show appreciation to your customers and clients. If you weren’t at the lunch, you missed a lot of valuable suggestions for showing gratitude to your business associates not only at the holidays but for year-round gifting as well. Read her blog post on the roundtable discussion at

Linda Anger, President of The Write Concept, ( ) told the group she makes it a point to learn as much as she can about her client or referral partner. “I get to know their likes, interests, taste in music, then customize a small gift such as a book or concert tickets to match their personality.” Since writing is her business, she takes pleasure in attaching a personalized, handwritten note along with the gift, thanking them for their business.

Here are some of the other suggestions for thoughtful gifts of appreciation:
  • Donations to a charity in the name of the person. Two suggestions are or
  • Bottle of wine from a local winery or beer from local brewery with your custom label on it

  • Gift card to Starbucks or other coffee or tea place

  • Gift card to restaurants

  • Deliver or send popcorn, bagels or coffee cakes, etc. to their office

  • Subscriptions to magazines

  • For many years, I’ve made it a point to meet with my clients and as many of my associates as I can between Thanksgiving and the year’s end and I bring them a little gift-wrapped package of homemade cookies. During the meetings I have in the summer months, I bring fresh or dried herbs or spices from my garden attached to a recipe card using that ingredient.

    How do you show appreciation to your clients and business associates at this time of year and all year round?

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    What About After the Tradeshow?

    Part 6 of 6
    What about after the trade show is over? The key to maximizing the experience is in the follow-up. How you do it is up to you. I’ve sent and received hand-written notes, emails, and letters.

    I’ve made phone calls telling the person I enjoyed our conversation so much that I wanted to continue it over coffee. Again, every trade show expert and successful participant will tell you, follow-up is the key in achieving after the show sales and success.

    Below is a sample follow-up letter:

    Dear John,

    Thank you . . . for the opportunity to talk with you at the West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce Business Expo yesterday. I know your time is valuable and I promise to never waste it. If I can help you or any of your clients in the area of credit repair, please do not hesitate to call on me to be of assistance to you.

    ABC Credit Solutions has the resources it takes to get results when it comes to fixing errors on the credit report. We do not claim to delete all negative credit information from the credit history. We can correct misinformation that, once removed, will assist in improving credit rating. In most cases, we can clear the discrepancies within a few days. Unlike our competitors, there is no monthly fee for the credit recovery service and the client does not pay until the service is complete.

    I look forward to the opportunity to work with you in the future. If you have any questions or concerns regarding credit recovery, please feel free to call me at (123) 456-7890.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Only One Chance For First Impression at Expos

    Part 5 of 6
    You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Same holds true when you are at the trade show. You only have a few seconds to attract someone to your booth. The following tips may seem obvious, but from my experience at the expos, they are often overlooked.

  • The people who are staffing your space should dress as they would for any other business situation. Their clothes and footwear should be appropriate, no jeans or tennis shoes, and be neat and wrinkle-free.

  • Staff should be approachable and friendly. Standing with arms crossed with a scowl on their face won’t make visitors feel welcome and will give the impression that you don’t even want to be there.

  • The purpose of being at the trade show is to gather leads and interact with the visitors to the event. That means that the staff isn’t on the cell phone, texting, “tweeting”, eating, conversing with other staff, or doing anything else but greeting visitors.

  • They should greet the visitor with a smile and a good solid handshake. Maintaining consistent eye contact shows you are interested in the visitor and what they have to say.

  • This isn’t a selling opportunity so staff should not sell your products or services to the attendees. Their job is to simply answer questions from the visitor and determine if they are a potential customer. You could have a card or form in the display that the visitor could fill out requesting a sales person to contact them after the show or the staff person could make note of the level of interest of the visitor on the back of one of their business cards.

  • Don’t let staff crowd your exhibit. Have them stand just outside its boundary or a bit in the aisle so as not to block the display.

    Next post: Show’s over. Now what do you do as follow-up?

  • Monday, November 7, 2011

    More Tips For Your Display at the Expo

    Part 4 of 6
    More tips to remember when building your display for a trade show or business expo:

  • Offering candy in a big bowl, in assorted kinds and colors, is another way to attract people to your display. While they are standing there picking out their favorites, you have a window of time to start a conversation.

  • Offer a show discount. Everyone loves a bargain. A third or half off the cost of the product or service is a good deal! Make it a limited time offer to insure a quicker response.

  • Prior to the event, let everyone in your current database know that you will be at the show. You can include an invitation for them to visit you at the event in your e-newsletter, on FaceBook, or in a separate emailing. Attach a free pass to the event if it is available. You can also let them know that you will be offering a special discount on your product or service at the show.

  • Make sure you talk to the show organizers a week before the event, even if you’ve done the show before. It’s always good to know what to expect or to confirm any needs you might have, such as a location with an electric outlet.

  • Ask the show organizers if there will be a raffle or door prize give-away to which you could contribute. It’s always a good thing to have your company name announced over the loud speaker for all to hear.

    Next Post: Trade Show Etiquette

    • Monday, October 31, 2011

      Making Your Exhibit Memorable

      Part 3 of 6
      Whether you are working with a large, corporate budget or are putting the display together with more limited funds, there are quite a few things you need to remember.

      • Make sure your company sign has big, readable letters. This is the first way you will grab people’s attention. It should be color coordinated to match your company’s logo or brand colors. If you set up the sign on top of the display or at eye-level of those passing by, it will be easily seen.

      • Have a plethora of marketing material such as business cards, brochures and flyers readily available on the table.

      • Does your company have a video or PowerPoint presentation it uses to show potential clients or one that is posted on your website? Why not set up a laptop computer in your display with the video or presentation running continuously?

      • Offer a door prize or incentive for stopping by your exhibit. Have a big bowl or container available to capture a business card from the visitor in order to enter them in the drawing for the prize. The card will have their name, address, telephone and email address on it. This information is golden as follow-up for future sales calls, adding to your emailing database, inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn or Facebook, or if you particularly enjoyed speaking with that person, setting up a future meeting to get better acquainted.

      • Make sure that the person(s) you have staffing your booth know your product inside and out. Friends are great to enlist as helpers, but they will be useless to you if they can’t answer the questions they will be asked by visitors.

      • You generally find promotional items, such as pens and post-it notes, as give-away items, preferably ones that have your company name or logo on them. Ideally, these “tchotchkes” would be related to your business in some way. For example, a computer repair company may offer screen cleaners that attach to a PC computer monitor. The user would have a functional item that has the name of your company in front of him daily. Who will be the first person he or she thinks of if they need some computer work done?

      Next Post: More tips on setting up a display at a trade show or business expo.

      Thursday, October 27, 2011

      Know Why You Are Exhibiting at the Trade Show

      Part 2 of 6
      Before you commit the time and expense to be a vendor at the trade show, first and foremost, you need to define why you are exhibiting and what you hope to accomplish. Are you there to get leads? To sell your product or service? To get noticed? All of the above?

      You will need to determine which type of trade show best serves your purpose. There are two kinds of trade shows. One is a vertical exhibitor show in which the majority of the participants focus their products or services toward a single market, function or industry. The second kind is a horizontal exhibitor show that contains a broad mix of companies that exhibit products or services from many different industries.

      It doesn’t matter which of the two kinds of shows you choose, the main attraction for participating in any expo is that it is the best way to get in front of a mass of people in a very short period of time. I’m rather sure that you will see more people there in one day than you could from making sales calls over several months.

      Some other compelling reasons for participating are:

    • You never know who will be at the show. Your product or service may be seen by distributors, franchisees, potential business partners, etc., or even catch the interest of the media

    • Using the opportunity as a way to test your marketing material

    • Using it to introduce or test new products or ideas for service

    • Creating an industry or community presence

    • Collecting leads for potential customers

    • Meeting and greeting people who might otherwise be unavailable to you

    • To support the organization holding the event

      Next post: How can you make your exhibit at a trade show memorable and effective?
    • Wednesday, October 26, 2011

      To Exhibit...Or Not to Exhibit? An Answer to the Trade Show Dilemma

      Part 1 of 6
      Business trade shows and expos provide wonderful exposure for you to promote your service or product. Almost all Chamber of Commerce and other networking organizations sponsor these marketing opportunities to their members. There is always a cost to exhibit at these events, and sometimes it can be a hefty fee.

      Frequently at an event I notice that over a third of the exhibitors don’t capitalize on the opportunity and frankly, I wonder why they spent the money to even be there.

      The most memorable space I saw was at a two-day Chamber of Commerce event this past August, held in conjunction with an outdoor summer festival, which guaranteed high traffic for the exhibitors. I wandered up to a table that had a fish bowl to drop cards in to win a door prize, and the really nice item, an oversized space heater, sitting on the table. That was it. The gentleman behind the table encouraged me to fill out a little pre-printed form for the drawing. It simply asked for my name and phone number.

      I asked him the name of his company, as there were no brochures, flyers or even business cards to identify the company or their product or service. He told me it was on the sign. The sign he was referring to was hanging in front of the table and was on an erasable message board that was smudged beyond recognition, as everyone who came up to the table leaned against it and blocked it from the view of people passing by.

      He animatedly started to go through his schpeil. I stopped him mid-sentence and told him that I was visiting all the other booths too and at his table, there was nothing to help me to remember the product he was so excited about. I explained that without something to take away from his exhibit, he missed the whole point of being there. But most obviously, the company didn’t put much thought into the display at all. . . . . or being remembered.

      Next post: Why are you going to be an exhibitor at a business expo in the first place?

      A New Chapter for M3 Blog & Two Floors Down Productions

      It’s rather obvious that my audio blog is still on hiatus. Larry Henry, owner of Two Floors Down Productions and producer of the audio portion of this blog, has moved on to bigger and better projects. This past spring, he got busy traveling as the radio announcer for the American LeMans Racing Series, in addition to his work with Ford Racing and Indy Racing. And now, as the ALMS racing season winds down, he decided to move with his family to Indiana.

      I wish him the best in his new adventures and thank him profusely for creating the Maurer Marketing Minutes. You probably don’t know that this blog was Larry’s idea. It started out as an exercise to assist me into easing back into my business life after taking a year off to regroup and recover from a personal crisis. It gave me focus and a mission and I will be forever grateful for his friendship. And, I’m happy to report, he did get some rather good business out of the deal as well!

      Larry will be hard to replace. But, until I find a new producer for recording the audio segments, I’ll share my thoughts (and enlist some guest bloggers) on self-promotion and marketing advice in the blog . . . . . and ssshhhhh …… maybe in an upcoming book.

      Monday, April 4, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #50-Sandra Maurer-Maurer Marketing & Media

      Maurer Marketing Minutes 50-Sandra Maurer-Maurer Marketing & Media
      Sandra casualHow does one celebrate their 50th radio blog post? Linda Kleist, of Identity Graphic Design, takes over the host chair of Maurer Marketing Minutes and interviews Sandra Maurer. We discuss my five-step process that I coach my clients through in creating a marketing strategy and then implementing the plan. I was able to reveal my extensive marketing and networking background and the niche I have found with published or soon-to-be published authors and baby boomers that are technology challenged.
      Thank you, Linda, for celebrating with us. You would make a great host of your own show! I can be reached at Linda can be reached at

      Friday, March 11, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #49-Corey Perlman-eBoot Camp--e-Newsletters

      Maurer Marketing Mintues-#49-Corey Perlman-eBoot Camp-eNewsletters
      Corey PerlmanIn the third interview of a three-part series, Corey Perlman, author of eBoot Camp, gives tips on how to use e-newsletters as an effective marketing tool as well as a means of keeping yourself in front of customers and business associates. He suggests that you keep the missive short, include links to other sites and make sure its full of valuable information. In addition, he recommends using a “sexy” subject line to grab attention and get the e-newsletter read. And above all, he said, it should be consistent. You can contact Corey through his website

      Wednesday, March 2, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #48-Corey Perlman-eBoot Camp-Blogging

      MMM-#48-Corey Perlman-eBoot Camp-Blogging

      Corey PerlmanIn the second of a three-part series, Corey Perlman, author of eBootCamp, describes blogging in concise and easy to understand language. He explains what a blog is and why you want to have one. One reason is that it’s a living, breathing webpage that allows you to post fresh content consistently. By updating your blog on a weekly or daily basis, Google and other search engines will pick up your content much quicker than before. And, of course, the more people who read or listen to your blog, the more influence and power you exert in your industry. But it’s not a simple process. You can contact Corey through his website

      Friday, February 18, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #47-Corey Perlman-eBoot Camp-Social Media

      Maurer Marketing Minutes-#47-Corey Perlman-eBoot Camp-Social Media
      Corey PerlmanIn the first of a three-part series, Corey Perlman, author of eBootCamp, a how-to guide for internet marketing, believes that social media could be described as “peer-to-peer” marketing. “Sites such as LinkedIn, FaceBook or Twitter should be used to engage and interact with your current and potential clients. Make your social media pages all about your customers and ask yourself, what can I give them today?” You can contact Corey through his website

      Tuesday, February 8, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #46-Bill Pirtle-The Savvy Business Owner’s Guide

      Maurer Marketing Minutes-#46-Bill Pirtle-The Savvy Business Owners Guide

      3e693b0Bill Pirtle, author of “Navigating Through the Risks of Credit Card Processing”, was asked to write an article to benefit readers of a publication in his industry. He determined from his own clientele that most of them weren't using social media simply because they didn't understand the technology. Bill wrote a very informative two-part article explaining social media and how to use it to promote your business and to set you up as an expert in your field. He asked a panel of “pros” to contribute to the article, including Terry Bean, Corey Perlman, Al Crawford, Michael Angelo Caruso, myself and others. Links to the articles: and

      Contact Bill at 734-272-6177 or

      Thursday, January 27, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #45-Doug Willett-Luna Tech Designs

      Maurer Marketing Minutes -#45-Doug Willett-Luna Tech Designs
      Doug-HeadshotsmallHave you ever wondered how 3-D Geo Web Development could benefit your business? Have you ever wondered what the heck that is? Doug Willett, President of Luna Tech Designs, tells why and how real-world viral tours of your business – or city – is becoming the trend in visual web marketing. This technology uses Google products such as Google Earth and Google Mapping and has numerous applications. Recently, Luna Tech Designs was called on by WDIV-TV to illustrate a “before” picture of Frank’s Furniture in Wayne after the terrible explosion and fire. Find out more about 3-D web marketing at or call Doug at 734-260-1069 or email

      Wednesday, January 19, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #44-Barry Demp-Demp Coaching-2011 Personal Goals

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #44-Barry Demp-Barry Demp Coaching-Personal Goals
      Barry DempIn part two of our two-part interview, Executive Coach Barry Demp gives me sound advice on setting my personal goals for 2011. Using his “10-Step Guide to Goal Setting”, he makes valuable suggestions on successfully achieving those goals starting with simply identifying the goals and rounding out the process with developing a social support network to partner with for accountability. Email Barry directly for the pdf copy of the 10-Steps at

      Barry Demp-Customizing your Network
      Barry Demp-Time Management

      Thursday, January 13, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #43-Barry Demp-Demp Coaching-Time Management

      Thu, 13 January 2011
      Maurer Marketing Minutes #43-Barry Demp-Barry Demp Coaching-Time Management
      Barry DempExecutive Coach Barry Demp returns to Maurer Marketing Minutes with time management strategies as we start the New Year. In part one of our two-part interview, Barry suggests numerous ways for more efficient and more effective uses of our time. The three page list of suggestions is available on his website (useful resources/articles).

      Barry Demp-Customizing your Network
      Barry Demp-Goal Setting

      Friday, January 7, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #42-Hena Husain-“Insights to Marketing & Getting Clients” #2

      podcastIconMaurer Marketing Minutes-#42-Hena Husain-Insights to Marketing and Getting Clients #2
      photo_Dr_Hena_HusainWhat happens if you aren’t achieving your goals? In part-two of our interview, hypnotherapist and author Hena Husain reveals emotional blocks to the subconscious mind that could be limiting our beliefs.  Her advice for 2011: We need to focus on our goals as if we have already achieved them. And keep the focus on what we want to achieve, not what we don’t have.  Contact her at her website or email her at or call 248-561-8159.

      Sunday, January 2, 2011

      Maurer Marketing Minutes #41-Hena Husain-“Insights to Marketing & Getting Clients” #1

      Maurer Marketing Mintues #41-Hena Husain-Insights to Marketing and Getting Clients #1
      photo_Dr_Hena_HusainWhy do most businesses fail? In this segment of our two-part interview, hypnotherapist and author Hena Husain pinpoints the reason as the lack of a structured and realistic marketing strategy. Hena reveals 10 questions to ask yourself as you set your business goals for 2011. Her book, "Insights to Marketing and Getting Clients", can be found on her website at or email her at or call 248-561-8159.