Project vs. Retainer Outsource Marketing: Why the Decision is a Piece Of Cake
Who doesn't love good cake?  It tastes great, smells wonderful, can be absolutely beautiful and is the center piece of many celebrations. All you need is a good recipe, good ingredients and a decent baker.

If you were to taste each of the cake ingredients on their own, most would  be downright awful. A poor recipe can leave you with a cake that is flat, dry, dense or in many other ways unpleasant.

So why so much talk about cake, no it's not the mid-afternoon need of a pick-me-up.  It's that marketing is very similar to that of baking a cake. Marketing components do not function as well individually as they do when implemented together under a single strategy. 

As you move forward with any marketing plan consider how outsourcing marketing to a company with full oversight differs from outsourcing each piece ad hoc. 
Is Your Business Hiding in Plain Site?
I get it, marketing is frustrating.  It's not fast, it can be unpredictable and even with modern analytics it can be difficult to measure.

What I can tell you is that if you don't put together a marketing strategy, you are as good as hiding.  If your website isn't mobile friendly and optimized, it can been like finding a needle in a haystack on Google.  Yes, people can type your business name in, but what if people don't know your name or they misspell your business name? Then what?
How a Little Box of Cookies is Creating Our Next Generation of Businesswomen
It's week three of the Girl Scout cookies sales season.  It's hard to miss these little girls, decked out in sashes and aprons outside of your local supermarket, drug store or restaurant.  What you may not see is all that goes on behind the scenes of this truly entrepreneurial experience.

My daughter is a third generation Girl Scout. The tradition of selling Girl Scout cookies dates back to 1917 (for the organization, not my three generations) and cookie sales has been many girls' first experience in business, sales, marketing and entrepreneurship.  Few organizations have stood the test of time like Girls Scout cookie sales. 

Here are the amazing skills each girl learns as part of being a Girl Scout...
I'm pretty, I'm popular and other lies in business
Do you remember the most popular girl in high school?  She wasn't necessarily the prettiest, the most athletic or the smartest, but she was the one who told everyone that she was popular.  She walked around with her head held high and commanded attention.

Business can be much like high school in that those who are most successful, are often the very people who show confidence and tell others of their success.
How to get your blog noticed

How to get your blog noticed

Jan 26, 2016 Written by
Last week I wrote a blog about blogging; I know that sounds slightly ironic.  After speaking with a few people who read the blog , the one question I kept  receiving was, "How do I use this blog to help me generate leads?"  After you have spent your valuable time working on a blog, that you feel will be helpful to your audience, you need post that article in a place that will get read by your intended audience.

If you read last week's blog, you know that your blogs should be more informational and not a sales pitch.  Go with the 80/20 rule on informational vs. sales blog.  Add some personality, keep the word count at a reasonable level, make the blog readable and blog consistently.  You can find more about blogging here.

For this article, I'm going to assume you load your blog to your website.  It's not only a great component of your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, it's the place you want to drive traffic (assuming you have a good website).  It's the website that will do your sales pitch, not the blog.

The blog is written and posted, now let's get the word out...
The Key to Gaining Loyal Customers
I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about customer service.  She is buying a new home and needed to speak with her bank.  She called the bank's automated line and listened for seven minutes of bank promotions only to get a message that said that the customer service number (for her particular issue) had changed.  And so the process began again as she called the bank's new number and listened to minutes of promotions, departments selections, just to be put in a waiting cue.

The two of us listening to this story, just shook our head in agreement as we had both left this particular banking instruction in the past.

I don't believe customer service is dead, but it is a rarity. Sometimes it is the little things that count.  My mom has been buying all her makeup and skincare from the same person in Dallas for ten years. Not unusual, except for the fact that she lives in Kansas and makes it to Dallas only twice a year.

Another friend recently made several 45 minute trips to a store for a particular product.  If you ask her why, it's because the boutique sent her a personal note when she stopped in the first time and they were out of the product she was wanting to buy. They invited her back for a visit and thanked her for stopping in. Guess what she did just that, found the item on her second visit and told our entire Saturday running/breakfast group. Several ladies in the group left breakfast to head over to the store. You know the drive was never necessary, she could have just went online, but the personal touch made the difference.

While bad service drives us away, good service makes us so loyal that we'll keep coming back, even if it means being inconvenienced.

Most business owners want to have great customer service, after-all keeping a customer is less costly than getting a new one, and referrals are golden.  

Here are a few things as business 
owners we can do to improve customer service, and maintain loyal customers.

Why Stealing in Business is a Good Thing
With over 6 billion people in this world it appears that originality is dead.  It seems impossible to even come up with a new idea that has not been thought of before? Not only are business concepts being copied, music is being 'sampled' from great songs of the past. Is it possible to set ourselves apart and is that important?

In Peter Thiel's book, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, he states,  “ZERO TO ONE EVERY MOMENT IN BUSINESS happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”

I believe there is a way to both copy and learn at the same time. Sampling ideas of great entrepreneurs may be one of the biggest things impacting entrepreneurs today.

Here is how it is being done:
5 Steps to Successful Blogging

5 Steps to Successful Blogging

Jan 20, 2016 Written by
People are going to say what they will about your company or brand, or worse not talk about it at all.  Why not guide the conversation?  Blogging is a great way to start a conversation with your target audience, share helpful information and stay top of mind with your audience.

If you're going to go to the effort, why not make the effort count and write a blog that gets attention?

Here are some helpful tips to create a blog that doesn't suck.
I Quit

I Quit

Jan 18, 2016 Written by
We are barely through the first month of the new year and I quit. That's right, before I get too far into the new year, I quit and you should join me.  The key to living your best year and accomplishing your greatest goals is in saying, "I quit."

More and more I am convinced that success is not only based on what you do, but also  powerfully connected with what you don't do. So to break through the barriers of success and joy we must courageously quit!

Quitting is not a negative thing. It is an essential part of success. This is the year we stop living an inch deep and a mile wide. This is the year we go narrow and deep and set the foundation for the years ahead.

Here are 5 things I will quit doing and you should join:
How to generate leads on LinkedIn without advertising
Ironically, I started my career in the ad business, but have spent much of my marketing career identifying ways to increase credible sales leads without paying for advertising. When I began Marketing Eye Dallas over a year ago, I had the backing of a strong international brand. Unfortunately, the Marketing Eye International name was virtually unknown in my region and my client base started from scratch.  Since it takes time to build a name, network, referrals and  online presence, I started building my business through LinkedIn. 

Here are a few things I have learned in the last year as I have grown my connections x100, built a solid base, and landed some terrific accounts.
3 Ways to Get Noticed on LinkedIn
Where can you find 400 million business professionals at your fingertips?  The answer is LinkedIn and they are adding two members per second. Over a quarter of those individuals are right here in the US.  We know that LinkedIn is a great place to connect, but how do you stand out in a mass of professionals?  
How to Find True Happiness: The Balance of Work and Time
There are many great things about being an entrepreneur... and a few not so great things.  One of the biggest challenges I find is getting away for a real vacation. I'm not talking about the trip where you bring along your laptop take conference calls and try to squeeze in family time.  I'm talking about really disconnecting from your business.  With my previous business I waited five years to take a full no-computer vacation.  No surprise it was great, not only for me, but also for my staff.

It becomes a win-win for everyone when you disconnect. For your employees it shows a level of trust that you are confident enough that they can keep the business running while you are away. You get to finally unwind.  As an entrepreneur, even when you are not working , you are working, you just keeping thinking of what you can do next.  Vacations that exclude being connected to electronics can really give you time to connect with family and friends.
Why you should skip your resolution this year
Every year I buy myself a new journal to keep notes from my client meetings, business ideas and new technologies I'm planning to adopt.  There is something about a blank book full of opportunities and ideas to be noted and recorded that excites me.  What does the future hold and what will the journal say in December 2016 about the past year?

As I start my journal this year, rather than starting with resolutions and goals on page one, I'm going to begin with the last page.  Writing what has been achieved, writing what the year looked like, rather than writing what the year will look like. Here is my final chapter of an amazing 2016...
Why The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs Will Blow You Away
I recently had the privilege of speaking to middle school students on Career Day about entrepreneurship.  I was pleasantly surprised by my experience and I left the presentation with a positive feeling about future generations. Amazingly, when the principal ask the school how many knew what they wanted to become, over half raised their hand.  I was blown away by the level of self-awareness these kids possessed.

It may sound far-fetched that 11 to 14 year olds know what they want to do ten years from now, but many do.  Now, I realize most will change their minds, after all they are kids, and as adults many of us are still changing our minds. But, to have the confidence in your plans to say "Yes, I do know what I want to do." when you're that young is huge.
How to Train for Success Like A Badass
This Sunday, I completed my second half-marathon.  Not bad considering this fall I was running two businesses, selling one, growing the other, raising two teens and training for a half marathon with a few injuries.  It's a  lot on a person's plate, but manageable if you train like a Badass.

What comes to your mind when you hear that someone just completed a marathon? Do you think I can do that, I've done that or why would anyone want to do that. Well, that's pretty much the same response I get when I tell people I'm an entrepreneur. 

As I spent the last few months training for the Dallas [Half] Marathon, I was reminded by how similar it is to growing my business.  Both take self-motivation, dedication, a goal and a plan to reach that goal.  They both take a Badass attitude.

No matter if you're training for a foot race or business success, here are 10 things you should do to increase your likelihood of success.
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