Category Archives: prospecting

How to be Wildly Successful with Inbound Marketing

By Marcia Reece and Carol Naff

What an exhausting frenzy when business owners try to do everything to attract new clients and customers. They run all over town networking and meeting new people. They participate in trade shows and join organizations. They think they need to meet three new people each and every day. Regretfully, these tactics most often result in a very busy person failing to get the results they want.

Identify your niche

It is so important to identify tactics that work. Ask yourself these questions:

  •   Who is your audience?
  •   Who is in your niche?

When you know the answers to these questions, it is much easier to design the best marketing strategies to hit your mark leading to new business.

Key success strategies

Pick only one or two organizations, become involved, and build relationships. Key learning: it often takes multiple touches to earn their trust and their business. If you think you can attend an event just a couple of times and attract a client, think again. Yes, sometimes you find that perfect prospect the first time you attend a networking event. More often, you need to build a relationship of trust to earn their business.

Use inbound marketing to fill your funnel and reach successful goals.

So what is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is a technique for drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization.

Create engaging, enticing information, and content. No longer can we interrupt our prospective clients with mediocre content and sales messages they don’t care about.

Develop stories to inform and entertain and compel your prospect to take action to become a client. Stay in touch with the people you meet. Be sure to reach out to inform or compliment your prospects making sure some of your  “reach outs” have nothing to do with selling you or your business/service. It has been amazing to have someone contact me after two or more years saying they are ready to take their business to the next level.

LinkedIn remains the Goliath of all Social Media. This is the whopper of all Business Social Media to reach your ideal prospects. It always amazes me that LinkedIn wants you to connect with only people you know. Now, be serious. Would you attend a networking meeting and only talk to people you know? By using simple tactics, Marcia and Carol reached more than 4,500 connections on LinkedIn and growing every week. Marcia continued to implement our strategy for reaching this number and now has more than 9,700 followers. We have developed a system to secure more connections each and every day to help us reach our goals. If you are sitting at a low number of connections, you will only implement inbound marketing with very limited success.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is another very important part of inbound marketing. Just this past year, Carol worked with her client to improve her SEO. She has multiplied her business income from desperation to something beyond her imagination – from having contracts for only $1,000 in a typical month to having $15,000 under contract this month.

Many people often don’t think of speaking, teleclasses, and webinars as inbound marketing. You are missing the boat when you are in front of your audience and you cannot drive them to visit your website. If your website is dynamic, you know how to convert your audience to paying clients. If your website isn’t dynamic, take steps today to make it so; it’s way too valuable an asset to not have it working for you!

Best advice: Always have something to invite them to attend or offer something of real value for them to download from your website to engage them, i.e., an assessment or a great business tool. Surveys can be a fun way to learn more about your prospects but keep them short and weave some fun into them as well.

Who do you want to meet? What stops you from meeting those folks?

Many of our clients fret about meeting new people and taking first steps.  Some simple tips to start your relationship journey are as basic as it gets:

  • Smile – it’s simply the best way to put anyone at ease.
  • Act and behave in a friendly way – don’t go overboard and keep the walls down.
  • In early stages, let the other person do most of the talking – you’ll learn a lot. Instead of asking, “What do you do?” ask “Who do you want to meet?”
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You might feel their pinch and find unique and individual ways to help them achieve their goals.

These are truly easy strategies to implement and they work every time. Too many people miss the simple stuff!  Don’t over complicate the obvious.

These tactical steps work well with social media to drive inbound marketing. No one wants just a stock invitation. Take the extra time to review profiles and invite each person to join your network based on specific mutual interests and goals. The extra time spent in your research will return dividends as you get more and more contact engagement. Remember, It’s All About Them, so gear all your communication to and about them to achieve maximum results!

Once you’ve visualized your success, you need to take action and go after exactly what you want. You must act with persistence and enthusiasm.

Most of us are good “starters” but poor “finishers” of everything we begin. Often people easily give up at the first signs of defeat. There is no substitute for persistence. Marcia called her Wal-Mart buyer 46 mornings in a row before her call was taken. What if she had given up after 45 mornings?

Well-focused, timely marketing can make all the difference to your business. It’s understandable though to be overwhelmed with implementation because other business priorities get in the way and are important as well. This is why Marcia and Carol want to help business owners with their marketing needs. Let us know what your next step will be. Give us a call; we’ll be happy to discuss your marketing and help you take your business to new heights.


Carol Naff is a Professional Coach, a Certified Email Marketing Strategist, Visibility Coach, and expert in creative marketing and business development. She founded Mariner Company in 2000, a coaching and consulting business with more than 15 years prior experience in developing marketing strategies for creative business owners to get more clients and how to come in #1 in your job search. Follow my blog at Complete the business and job search assessment to help you identify what you need to succeed at

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Director also was the inventor of Gel-eez, the very first gel-filled wrist rest for keyboard and mouse users.  She founded Aspen Support Group in 1998 and uses her creative energies to help many dozen entrepreneurs and authors take their ideas to products and their products to the shelves of American Retailers.  Her books are available on Follow her blog at







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Is Free Really Free?

These days, everyone talks about free content. “Give it away!” they say, but does this really work?

Well, yes and no.

As with anything, there has to be a strategy.

I listened to an author friend of mine telling me about her morning run through her neighborhood. She noticed a number of garage sale signs . One of the signs had a sign beneath it that read: We have free stuff! As she ran, she passed that house and noticed they put all their free stuff in the “Free zone” and already, even at that early hour, hoards of people were migrating there. She passed the other garage sales which were doing OK, but not great. Clearly the one with the free stuff pulled more people, but did it actually sell more paid merchandise? Yes. She checked in with the sale after her run to find most of the good stuff gone. The homeowner said the free stuff went fast, but it wasn’t junk stuff, it was actually good enough to make the garage sale shopper feel like they got a real deal.

If it’s junk and it’s free, it doesn’t really matter.  What’s the lesson here? Free stuff can help you sell more of the paid merchandise, but you have to be careful, because some people just want freebies and that’s fine. But they are not your customers.

Here are some tips to help you maximize the use of free:

  1. Why free? The first question you should ask yourself is why are you doing this? If you aren’t sure, then free might not be right for you. Free content should be offered to help further your message, build a list, and get new people into your marketing funnel. If your model isn’t set up this way, maybe it should be. If you aren’t interested in this kind of a marketing model, then free probably isn’t your thing.
  2. Define how free can help: Figure out why you want to give free stuff. Getting clear about your model will help determine if a free product is even worth your time. If it is, then you need to figure out how it will help you. As an example, while Secrets of the Marriage Mouse was in the final editing, I wrote a companion workbook.  It’s nearly 200 pages of content and I give it away free at my live events when someone purchases Secrets of the Marriage Mouse.  Great value; you bet!  This pushes my book sales to around 82% of my audience.  Those are great numbers any way you look at them.  Why would I do this?  To build trust.  Trust and caring are important. Our free stuff builds our mailing list, yes, but it also builds trust.
  3. Make sure it’s really free: A lot of people have content that is purported to be free when it’s not really free. What I mean is that you get a sliver of it, not even a piece really worth mentioning, but the stuff you want is something you have to pay for. If you want to do free, make it free. Find something of value and give it to your customers.
  4. Make it something your end user wants: Make sure the free is something people want. If it isn’t you a) won’t bring in the right crowd of people (you’ll end up just getting the freebie hunters, and b) you won’t build your mailing list as fast. Virtually any electronic product is easy to create and deliver.
  5. Take names: You should never give free away without asking for an email address. I see people do this all the time; they have a ton of free stuff but never collect emails. If that’s the case, the freebies you are offering may be of great value to your end user but they won’t matter to your marketing. Get emails. You get something (their email) and give them something (the free stuff).
  6. Make it easy to get: Don’t make free difficult. What I mean is make it easy to get your free stuff. If people have to jump through hoops, they won’t do it and the free stuff won’t matter. Put your free stuff on your home page, or at least have a link to it. They sign up for your newsletter and they get your free stuff.  This is a pretty common tactic these days.  But when ask for their email, make it easy. A simple click or two is all it should take. Then, don’t ask for too much information. Ask for what you truly need.
  7. Call to action: Make sure that your free stuff has a call to action. You are collecting names and email addresses and building your list, that’s great. But what do you really want people to do? Define what you want them to do, and then include your call to action in the free stuff. Let’s face it, it’s a good piece – designed to help your reader – but it must also help you. It’s ok to promote your book on the last page, or encourage folks to do a consult with you if that’s what you offer. You can also offer specials and change these periodically in the giveaway.
  8. Follow up! The best kind of free stuff is, as I like to call it, the gift that keeps giving. Auto responders are a great system but often underutilized when it comes to marketing. If you are collecting names and then never contacting your prospects again, what’s the point? People need to be reminded, and reminded again. Now, you can also funnel folks into your newsletter as I mentioned earlier.
  9. Define what your market wants and then give it to them. No one knows your market like you do.

The real key here is that free stuff can work well for you in so many ways, but free stuff without a goal is just free. Great to get free stuff, right? But then how is all of this hard work going to pay off for you?  I can tell how and when my free offer works to increase my market and to increase my sales.

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at or on

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Nike is absolutely right. Just Do It!

Despite what we may think about the power and flood of information coming at us from a multitude of different places, there is still something we all crave: consistency.

We want it.

We need it.

We value it.

So Just Do It; right?

No matter what your platform, no matter how you send out your information, the importance of consistency can’t be overlooked. 

We all have so much coming at us all day long, but we do look at what resonates with us.  If you have your message targeted to your key audience, they will want to read what you have to say.  

If you’re sending to people who have no interest in your work, they hit the delete button.  This makes it critically important to know your audience and give them what they want.  Each and every time!  If you expect your favorite show to be on a certain channel at a certain time each day, you will stop what you are doing and tune in – regardless of how busy you are.  

We are creatures of habit. 

Keep your followers happy by giving them what they want when they expect to get it and they will continue to follow you and pass the word to their networks who are interested in what you have to say.    

The value of being consistent became very Real to me many years ago when I was trying to get Wal-Mart (when they had only 66 stores) to buy my product.  I called my buyer every morning, precisely at 9:00 a.m.  I did not call at 8:57 a.m. and I did not call at 9:02 a.m.  I called for 46 mornings in a row precisely at 9:00 a.m.  On the 46th morning, my buyer’s assistant told me my buyer would see me at 11:00 a.m. that day!!  Well, the rest is history and the consistency of that phone call started a chain of events that changed my life and grew my company to 72% worldwide market share … far beyond my wildest dreams.  

Those on the A-Team or the TCO Groups are learning about the value of consistency. I know consistency continues to make a difference in my world every day.

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at or on

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Sharing is Caring

Some people give up because they look at how far they have to go, instead of how far they have come. This sentiment describes my journey to try to become proficient on social media.

Just about the time I want to give up because of frustration, I look at how much I have learned and keep on keeping on.

Today I had the privilege to learn from Keith Renninston. He is gracious, giving, sharing, and caring…What more could any of us ask?

Keith has a broad reaching body of work. He was struggling as to how to build the entire body into “his brand”. We brainstormed several different approaches and I saw his light bulb come on.

What a joyous day! We came together each needing something that comes more naturally to the other. Our sharing atmosphere brought good progress for each of us.

That’s how I like life best. Thank you, Keith.

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