Category Archives: Sales

Your UVP from a Competitive Viewpoint

What is your Unique Value Proposition? Why should your business have one? How can you develop your UVP?

These are basic questions that every successful business should be able to answer. But beyond the basics, what is the best way to review, refine and market your UVP over time and through change?

How Do You “Look” Online?

Probably the most interesting exercise I can recommend is to search for your UVP online and gauge the results. Do you see your business in the results? Do you see your competitors? Do you see opportunity?

Walk A Mile In Your Prospects Shoes

As you refine your searches to get the results you expect, do you look at your competitor’s home pages? What is your first impression? What is their core message? Do they all sound alike? Are they all making the same common error?

As you review your competitors, consider your customer perspective. Take this opportunity to view your competitors as your prospects see them, and then apply this perspective to learn how they see your company as well.

In one revealing test of this technique, I tried to research specific UVP information online for this article. And I found a disturbing trend. Eight out of ten search results served up pages which:

  1. didn’t offer anything useful about UVPs beyond what a typical business owner would already know, and ..
  2. interrupted my experience before I could get to the third sentence with an annoying pop-up

Needless to say, I gave up on the prospect of finding really useful information. But the one memorable search result was from a page that offered a short and fairly useful insight – then just left me hanging. This online version of the famous “walk away close” may or may not have been intentional, but it earned my respect for the author.

The point here is that many competitors were obviously operating from the same “playbook” of offering some information and then asking for a commitment in return.  Where they all failed was that what they offered did not have enough value to earn that commitment.

If you can capitalize on a mistake that almost all your competitors are making – well … that’s kind of like being handed the keys to the city. This should be rare, but it happens.

More likely, your apt to notice a less annoying trend, which we could call a “Common Value Proposition” (CVP). CVPs aren’t remarkably creative, nor do they appeal to a specific market niche or customer segment – they are strictly a mass appeal approach.

When a CVP gets worn out because all your competitors are using it, branding it, selling it and just generally beating it to death, there may be an opportunity to differentiate simply by NOT sounding like every other “X” in town (where X = your business type).

Use this opportunity to really stand out with a value proposition that isn’t so unique that it only appeals to a tiny market segment – just unique enough that you don’t sound exactly like the rest of the herd.

There are other ways to refine and articulate your company’s value proposition, both internally through it’s culture, and externally through marketing. But this online competitive review tip can be revealing and useful. And it’s easy enough to explain in a blog post  (with no annoying popups).

For more information about how we can develop and market your UVP online, give us a call at 850-766-2711.

Tallahassee Search Engine Marketing Success

Anatomy of a Successful Tallahassee Search Engine Marketing Campaign

Let’s look at some metrics from one of our top Tallahassee Search Engine Marketing (SEM) clients. Their success illustrates what one can expect in a well designed search marketing campaign.

First we’ll review their share of mobile vs. desktop search.

Tallahassee Search Engine Marketing
Mobile Search Exceeds Desktop Search

As with most campaigns today, mobile search exceeds desktop search. In some cases we see 60/40 mobile or higher, depending on certain factors. So it’s important to have responsive landing pages and call extensions. Call extensions are especially important if your lead generation strategy calls for it.

In the case above, our advertiser favors phone calls over web mail or email contact. Again this varies by business type and advertiser preference. Call extensions allow for mobile click-to-call, which is easily tracked by click type segmentation.

Mobile Search
Mobile Clicks to Call Can Have High Conversion Rates

This client receives about 12 mobile click-to-calls every month in addition to about 10-15 other non-mobile contact types (including non-mobile calls). These metrics translate to about one contact per business day, at a cost of about $300 per month.

If we break this down to a conversion average we get some pretty exciting results. At 24 qualified contact leads (conversions) divided by $300 our leads cost $12.50 each. Our Advertiser has a popular service and is competitive, so they close about 22% of these leads (they also know how to engage and sell).

Their profit margin is about $250 per sale on average. With 5 leads closed per month this equates to $1250 profit per month for a $300 investment. This gives us a 410% return on investment for search engine marketing. Again this is an actual local Tallahassee search engine marketing customer – one of our top three.

Factors That Increase Your SEM Success

Obviously there are a HUGE number of factors involved in building a successful campaign that gets the highest quality scores, best click-through rates, lowest cost per click and highest conversion rates. So what do our top three performing campaigns all have in common?

  1. We handle their web page development
  2. We handle their organic SEO (search engine optimization)
  3.  We handle their paid SEM (search engine marketing)

When one competent provider handles all three items above, your chances of a high ROI are much more likely. This is because each of these items is connected to one another. And optimum relevance is the binding connection.

We see plenty of poorly performing campaigns where the measure of success is number of clicks only. Low performing campaigns can easily generate lots of irrelevant and expensive clicks that never convert into a sale.  Most of the spam you receive with unsubstantiated claims and promises about SEO and SEM depend on cheap clicks that never convert.

We prefer not to bore visitors with industry jargon regarding our specific methodology and execution. But we do want to point out the increasing importance of mobile search. And we wanted to show you some actual success results. Here are some more. After all, this is what clients pay us for – world class results.

We understand that business owners don’t really have the time to focus on how exactly we do what we do – they are too busy handling the leads we generate for them. And we believe that’s the way it should be.

To schedule an onsite consultation, give us a call or drop us a line at 850.766.2711 or

A Value System – Truth Sells, Honesty Pays

Selling is an honorable Profession - ZigOver my many years of sales and sales management, I’ve noted a fairly common widespread trend. People tend to “get into sales” with a preconceived notion that it’s not an honorable job – they believe that the prime objective is “making lots of money, which is probably going to require deceptive tactics – all salespeople do it (they think), it just comes with the territory.”

The tendency even shows up in the semantics of our typical sales-speak, where conversations about “attacking” a segment (as though customers were enemies) is all too common.

I completely disagree with this long-held  newbie-notion that customers “need to be manipulated to be sold”. And while some people nowadays might consider the late Zig Ziglar dated or “corny”, I feel I’m in good company to agree with his comments on the subject:

Selling is an honorable profession. Sales professionals are held to a higher standard than other professionals. Why? Because salespeople are trained in the skills of persuading and influencing. Therefore, they must hold themselves to the highest ethical standards.

Unfortunately though, we live in an age where unethical behavior has been egregiously rewarded, especially on Wall Street (and elsewhere).  I suspect that leaves the wrong impression on many young professionals as they embark on their careers, but that model is becoming obsolete, and the world is changing again (though not soon enough for me).

It’s all about our VALUE SYSTEM. And while the leveraging of our debt-based fiat money system is far too complex a topic for me to go into here, it reflects upon our value systems elsewhere – in our personal lives, and in our professional lives – which brings me back to the subject at hand.

It’s easy for new salespeople to get lost in the popular notion of “deceiving customers to get them to do what you want them to do”, because they haven’t yet developed the power of persuasion yet.

Once that power is developed, if any form of conscience is their guide, they’ll be more than a little wary of abusing it. The repercussions can be life-changing.

And therein lies THE POWER OF TRUTH. There is no more powerful a tool of persuasion than the TRUTH, and part of that TRUTH is the knowledge that your company has a viable value proposition  (it better had – if not, get the heck out of there as fast as you can) that makes it the right choice for certain prospects in the marketplace.

Now, NO company can do all things for all people. So the job of the sales professional is to clearly understand what differentiates his or her company, and its products or services, from those viable competitors in the marketplace, who are also striving to carve out their niche.

And then … go forth and engage those prospects that your company “owns” by virtue of its value proposition’s particular relevance to their business model. Then look them in the eye and tell them the TRUTH, with all the conviction that understanding brings.

When you encounter that prospect who is “close” to being your company’s ideal prospect, but not quite the hands down candidate that your company truly owns, can YOU yourself add the extra value that makes doing business with your company the deciding vote?  if so, then tell THAT TRUTH, with the same conviction.

Why does the TRUTH work in a world where so much wealth has been created (in part)  by telling lies?

Just look at the success of social media, and see how the marketing concepts of the digital era sync up and align with this same over-arching sales truism of honesty and transparency.  Opening up a business’s online presence to the TRUE POWER of social media means being 100% vulnerable to the 100% transparency of an online customer relationship policy for all the world to see.

Showing how you treat customer interactions transparently, on a daily basis, is the TRUE POWER of social media, because it represents the unvarnished TRUTH about the character of your company. If your company deceives customers to make unearned sales as a standard operating policy, that customer regret is going to haunt you on social networks to the point of failure – such is the power of social. Those who fear it will avoid it, and lose the benefit as well.

But again, I mention our value system as the backbone of everything we do, and it affects social media as well.

Facebook for example has been the topic of much discussion online lately, as it’s value system projects the same skewed reward mechanisms that most Wall Street IPOs are enriched by today. It’s founders and early investors are the benefactors of a get rich quick scheme to “bait and switch” followers into paying for something that was once free – so that a few people can become immensely wealthy, disproportionately to the true valuation of the service.

That is to say that if Mark Zuckerberg was making about 300 grand a year and investors were making a decent return instead of “a killing”, we wouldn’t have our feeds throttled back to the extent that Facebook is nearly completely monetized now, with “Like Farms” springing up, and more and more people gradually using it today for the wrong reasons (self-aggrandizement, popularity contests) than the right ones (transparency and altruism).

Even the digital model of Facebook and others (give it away for free until you have so much satisfied user mass that charging for it yields a windfall profit) is being challenged by the UBER type model, leveraging user mass in a much more democratized, socially distributed way.

So there is always gravitational pull from the dark side of human nature that tempts us to take shortcuts for the easy rewards today – in sales and elsewhere – rather than making the long committment to the TRUTH, and it’s tendency to prevail.

That prevalence gradually causes people like me (and others) to become tired of Facebook’s increasingly self-serving premise, and drop off in interest and usage, until something more honest comes along.

It’s a fairly relevant analogy. The salesperson who is self-serving will likewise find their prospects becoming disinterested and “drop off in interest and usage” until someone more honest comes along.