Your Business Story is Marketing

Your Business Story is Marketing

Your story is who you are, and the same holds true for your business.

The question is how much attention does your business dedicate to what is arguably its most powerful marketing?

Tell a True Story

Ann Handley, author of Everybody Writes says, “What matters now is telling a true story well.” The truth has a way of shining through, and that’s especially relevant for business marketing.

Embedded within your business story is the vision that inspired it, the mission that it is committed to today, and even subtle qualities like your core values. This is why the first pages of most employee manuals tell the story of the company’s beginnings.

For my business in particular, we wanted our staff to know how hard we worked to get our business off the ground. Even important was communicating that everyone’s true boss was the customer.

In this regard, our story was training for our team. Given that they were our ambassadors, that makes it marketing too.

Curate and Archive Your Stories

The story of your company’s beginnings is just one of many that helps everyone associated with your business understand how it got here, what it believes, and what differentiates it from others in the community or industry.

Vision and mission statements have value, but unlike stories, they are seldom memorable. Big brands like McDonalds and Coke have archivists on staff to preserve and manage the evolution of the brand story. Shouldn’t your business be doing the same?

Any business that is actively blogging has a goldmine of stories to work with, but for the most part they are buried in the archives. The solution is to take the best of the best and give them new life by organizing them into eBooks or tutorials.

For example, a series of existing blog posts could become a training program to help customers get more value from your products and services. Media that helps customers after the sale is valuable marketing.

Own Your Stories

Your business story is being told everyday by your staff and customers, not to mention others in the community that may or may not have had a favorable experience with it. Therefore, it’s vital to have a central website you own that tells the truth.

Copyblogger Media is a company that methodically aggregates its best blog content to create eBooks and tutorials for helping entrepreneurs. It’s a practice I am now undertaking, and its implementation just got easier with a new website building platform developed by Copyblogger.

The name of the platform is Rainmaker, and it promises to revolutionize Internet marketing for entrepreneurs.

One of the Rainmaker slogans is: “Media not marketing.” In other words, share stories that educate and inspire your community. That truthful media is what sells today. However, the challenge for building your media website has been the cost, lack of education, and technical skills for getting the job done – but no more!

Having already signed up with the Rainmaker platform, I can assure you that if you know how to blog or upload a video to YouTube, then you now have the skills to build a hosted WordPress website that is beautiful, mobile response, SEO optimized, has eCommerce capabilities, and is safe from hackers. They will even help you import your content from your current site.

I’m currently building a new site with Rainmaker that will offer lots of free content, and also virtual training for people to learn at their own pace. The plan is to roll it out over the coming months.

You can get the complete Rainmaker story here. Even if you don’t use their platform, take advantage of the free content to make your website a better marketing machine.

Are you planning to build a new website? We believe the New Rainmaker platform is the future for small business websites. That is why we are partnering with New Rainmaker to help businesses build their essential home o the web.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Micro-Business Economy: The Future of Social Media for Employers

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This Old New Business Podcast with Jeff Korhan

This is Episode 10 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

This episode is a powerful glimpse into the future of business and the role social media is going to play in it.

When I first learned about Laura’s story I reached out to her because there are not nearly enough case studies that show how social media works to increase sales, especially for traditional “brick and mortar” businesses.

What Laura has accomplished in just a few years is not only remarkable, her story provides insights into the sweeping effects social media savvy millenials will be bringing to employers.

Consumers are using social media to build relationships with people more than brands or businesses. Laura happens to be one employee that has successfully leveraged that possibility.

She firmly believes that regardless of the industry, buyers will expect to have a relationship with the people in a business BEFORE they consider doing business with that company.

It’s a sobering thought that may even be true today.

If you want to keep your business ahead of the competition, then you will want to soak in the wisdom Laura shares in this episode – and then take action with it.

Our Featured Guest: Laura Madison

Micro-Business Economy: The Future of Social Media for EmployersLaura Madison is an enormous Toyota enthusiast and a salesperson at Ressler Toyota.

Laura has created a thriving micro-business within that of her employer, and it is anchored around social media and her website: LauraDrives.com.

Originally from the East Coast, she now lives in beautiful Bozeman, Montana.

The Micro-Business Mindset is Empowering

Laura views her personal Laura Drives brand as a micro-business. It’s a healthy mindset that holds her accountable for her own future, which naturally leads to exploring any and all means for succeeding.

In the automobile industry, marketing brings in leads that are shared among the sales teams. This creates considerable downtime, which Laura decided to fill by building her own website to attract leads, and then using social media to drive traffic to it.

In an earlier episode of This Old New Business, John Jantsch, author of Ducttape Selling: Think Like a Marketer – Sell Like a Superstar shared this:

The one thing that any salesperson can do to help their customer is assuming responsibility for building digital marketing assets. While this involves additional work, it builds the value of his or her personal brand, along with that of the organization.”

This is precisely what Laura has done. To be perfectly honest, those of us that work in this space have been talking about this for a long time. That’s why it’s so exciting to now have a real example that proves it works!

And oh does it. In her three short years at Ressler Toyota, Laura’s monthly sales have progressively grown from 10, to 20, and are now approaching 30 cars per month. Not only that, her commitment to keeping in touch with over 600 customers has helped the dealership rise to the top of the customer satisfaction rankings in its region.

Hyperlocal Selling: What’s Old is New Again

You don’t need to be technology savvy or have a marketing degree to be successful with social media. More important is a basic understanding of business, the desire to help your customers, and a process for engaging with them in meaningful ways.

Laura’s true success secret is she loves selling Toyota automobiles and trucks. That enthusiasm is amplified across her social media channels. What happens next is why businesses fail to getting the ROI from their social media efforts that they expect.

One solution is live educational events. It’s a hyperlocal networking tactic that has always worked, but even more so these days, because people want to meet their social media friends in person. Thus, the live events Laura hosts and the dealership sponsors are a practical application for using social media to get people into the store.

Employees Today are Your Business Partners

While customers can have a relationship with a brand, when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses that relationship is always with a person within the business.

Therefore, the relationship between employers and employees is indeed a partnership. Smart businesses understand the most talented employees expect a workplace that offers resources and the freedom to use their talents to grow.

Retaining employees like Laura Madison these days means being progressive. There is risk and opportunity associated with that, but that collaborative environment tends to collectively makes everyone better. In this situation, that includes Toyota, Ressler Toyota, Laura Madison, and most importantly, the customers being served.

Kudos to Laura and Ressler Toyota for learning to embrace their respective strengths to grow together. Social media just happened to be an important component for making it happen.

When all is said and done, business is about relationships with customers, and that comes from a shared enthusiasm for doing it well.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Laura’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Keep learning! Read blogs, read books, watch what others are doing. It will keep the flame of creativity burning.

Her Favorite Productivity Tip –  Commit to whatever the task is for 15 minutes. If at the end of 15 minutes you decide you don’t want to do it anymore, at least you’ve invested time to gain the necessary momentum.

A Quote that has Inspired Laura’s Success – “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find treasure.” Alchemist, Paulo Coelho.

Laura’s interpretation: If your heart is in your work it becomes your treasure.

Key Take-Aways

  • UPDATE: If you listen to the audio you will learn Laura’s customers affectionately referred to her as Laura Toyota, so she adopted that as her personal brand over 3 years ago. Her recent publicity on a national level made some of  “the suits” at Toyota nervous and asked her to rebrand. Moving forward Laura Toyota is Laura Drives, so you can learn more about Laura at LauraDrives.com
  • You can also connect with Laura on Twitter at @LauraDrives

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How is your business helping your sales team build their personal micro-business? 

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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