Boost your Business with Effective Testimonials

Some of the most effective marketing doesn’t come from you at all. It comes from your past customers.

Given the insurgence of Social Media Marketing a lot of us are fast becoming word-of-mouth businesses! One way to give your marketing efforts a push up the ladder is to encourage satisfied clients to sing your praises to people they know. To achieve results, remember these two key factors:

1. You must ask them for the favor. Don’t assume that satisfied clients will automatically mention you to others with similar needs.
2. You need to make it easy for them to act on your request. If it’s a testimonial you are looking for, give them the questions you’d like them to address in it, give them a print or online form, and make it so concise an activity they can do it in 5 minutes or less.

Web Worker Daily has a short, excellent primer on the features of an effective testimonial, how to ask for them, and how to use them most effectively. Here's a few of their insights:
  • What makes a great testimonial? They give details, cut out the sugar and help answer prospects’ objections.
  • Be specific. Good testimonials don’t stop at “They did a great job” or “The product made a difference in my life.” They explain why the service did a good job or how the product made a difference.
  • Be believable. Sugary and fake-sounding testimonials tend to lead to mistrust. To make a testimonial sound as credible as possible, include details like full name, business name, web address of the business and a photo. Video testimonials add more credibility. After all, would you give a fake video testimonial?
  • Make sure the testimonial answers common concerns. When prospects consider your product or service, what barriers stand in the way of their buying from you? Testimonials that erase potential objections are incredibly useful.

Read more about what makes for good testimonials at

Heck, I hope we don't freakin' offend!

I'm laughing out loud today at all the hoo hah about the use of the word "frikkin" in a SNL skit that went awry when one of the actors accidentally said the authentic "F" word by mistake. I especially like the Chicago Tribune Daywatch email I received this morning, the subject line of which read "I'm not a Fan of Frikkin". The article, by Eric Zorn in his Change of Subject Column made me smile, as he admitted while he's not a fan of other "f-isms" he IS a fan of the F-Word in general, unless it is around children or on the airwaves. The article is here. I respect his point of view and would like to bring about some conversation from you, our loyal Freakin' Genius Marketing fans. Please tweet as you see fit, FB the question to friends...and DO Freakin' comment below! :)

The Freakin' Word: Spotlight on Genius in Action

The Freakin’ Word's Lori Gertz interviews Doug Hein, Co-Owner located in Lakemoor IL

BK specializes in all powersport parts and accessories, both new and used, from winter sports to summer boating.

FGM: Doug, you are quite a web saavy marketer. Can you tell us what came first, your brick and mortar business or your dot com? If it was your dot com, have your distribution channels changed any since moving into a fancy new and improved location? (yes, I read your blog!) If it was your brick and mortar, when did you start your accompanying web “business”?

DH: Our dot com came first. I had been selling on eBay for a few years before my partner, Mike Missak, and I started Bk Boat n Ebay was the easiest and quickest way to get a hold of customers. With eBay, you don't have to go searching for customers, millions of them search for you. It was the perfect venue for us to try our new powersports parts business idea. Once we knew that we had something and parts were selling very well, we decided to expand the business and go full time.

We started the business with $2000 ($1000 from each of us) and were VERY careful with how we spent our money. We let the business grow at its own pace rather than forcing it. We worked with what we had, which included our personal garages and some borrowed space at a friend's marina. When it made sense to get a retail location to increase our storage space, we made the move into brick and mortar.

Ebay was our bread and butter and we knew that. Anything we could sell through our brick and mortar would be gravy. The brick and mortar actually made us more reputable. There are deals that we land now that we would have NEVER been able to do in my driveway.

With a brick and mortar, we are able to be part of the community and have become a destination for people. We still sell 90% of our items on eBay and have a quick moving, fast paced attitude, that comes along with selling on eBay, but we also have a local side that is very appealing to our customers.

FGM: Tell us how you use your blog to drive traffic to your site. On that note, tell us how you utilize social media (twitter, facebook, Linkedin and YouTube) to market your business. Do you find that conversations by your customers are started there about you and your products and services?

DH: We have always been a part of social media. We each had personal pages on Myspace and started a Bk page on that site to begin with. When Facebook came out of the smoke it blew Myspace out of the water I made the move to the largest Social media site out there. Mike had already beat me and made the move earlier than I had, but once we both took the Facebook stage.....we owned it!

Word of mouth has gotten so out of hand it's outrageous! It used to be that one farmer would tell another farmer who would tell some old man who would tell his wife who would tell her friend....then the whole town would know. Now, I can update my Twitter and 400 people will know. My Twitter updates my Facebook where another 300 people see it. Those people comment, I comment back and THEIR 500 friends see it. If I post that I am having a grilled cheese for lunch, hundreds of people could know that before I am even done with my sandwich.

The internet is a great place to spread the word. I have a lot of customers that are friends of mine on facebook. I do a lot of business on Craigslist and exchange a lot of emails. I dumped all my gmail contacts into my facebook to see if any of the people that I had contacted about parts were on facebook. There were quite a few! I asked them all to be my friend and most of them replied with, "Who are you?"LOL. Fair enough. Once I explained that we exchanged emails about a certain snowmobile or part, many of them accepted my Facebook friendship.

With the use of my Blackberry, I can upload a picture of a boat or snowmobile as soon as it hits the shop. I usually have someone asking for parts from it within 10 minutes of that picture hitting Facebook.

Now, not all of those comments or connections land a dollar, but it builds a relationship. I am not "selling" this stuff to people, this is stuff that people "buy" from us. If you don't need it, I am not forcing you! We have become "the guy" in the statement....."I got a guy". That is the basis of our Social Media plan. We show what we do here, we share it with people, and we have fun doing so. All of these sites make you more accessable too. If you can't get a hold of me on the phone, you can get me in email, a forum, AIM, Facebook, Twitter, or a YouTube comment.

FGM: I met you through a link a mutual business associate and friend posted on Facebook, but I found a sassy viral blog you have created. Can you tell us about it?

DH: AAAhhh yes......the couch. is brought to you by The Couch is a 8 foot blue couch that I take on little adventures and then blog about it. I started the couch site as just a fun way to spend my spare time. It started at the doors of the Bk Boat n Sleds shop, then went around to other businesses that I knew the owners of. I was going to use that as a base so I could get some attention and those owners would share it with their friends...

FGM: Ah, sort of like the old Flex Shampoo commercial...

DH: YES. and then their friend’s friends would share it, etc etc, building more traffic for the site. Well, more and more business owners wanted the couch to come by because it was getting so much attention. I was happy to do so because A) I was able to network as we sat on the couch for the pic, and B) it is an 8 foot rolling billboard for yah, I will bring it over.

FGM: I love this concept. It’s up there with the Travelocity traveling gnome. Can you share with readers how the traveling couch got to be so viral? Was it purely word of mouth? Does word of mouth also correlate to your business success as well?

DH: Word of mouth is HUGE with both the couch and The couch is unique in that it allows us to share and experience some “down home fun” with other people. The couch is almost it's own entity. And, trust me, I am just as suprised and thrilled about the couch as everyone else is.

The feelings that you have when you see the couch are the same that I have. "What the heck? Why is that couch here? That's a great idea! This is so much fun!" I have all of those thoughts too when we are out with the couch. The only difference is that it is my couch.

The cool thing with the couch is that the place or business that we are visiting promotes that the couch is coming too. So now we are not the only ones spreading the word, the business or event that we are featuring on the blog is also promoting themselves....ON the couch!

When we got to Camp Bow Wow in Mchenry, Il we learned that the owner, had made fliers and sent hundreds of emails out on her mailing list about the couch's arrival. We went to the Thirsty Troll Brew Fest in Mt. Horeb Wisconsin and learned that we had been mentioned in 2 newspaper articles the week before! It just goes to show you how very powerful word of mouth is!

FGM: As you mentioned, I love that you post where the couch will be, with dates and locations for those “groupies” that follow you/it. Do you have followers on your blog that attend events just to be photographed on Doug’s Couch?

DH: I have some real "serious" fans of the couch. I take it to a lot of local events that a lot of my friends attend also and one of the first questions is.."Did you bring the couch?" I can't say that the couch has attained the status of having Groupies just Someday maybe, but not yet. has become a cool viral marketing tool. People wouldn't give a hoot if I was tweeting or posting “ went to the fish market today”. If instead, that blog entry or tweet was about me taking this ratty couch to the market and the guy that guts the fish sat with me ON DOUGSCOUCH.....thats a little more interesting!

The couch allows us to get your attention with something and in the meantime get the name "" out there. If you look at the couch, you can't miss the 'Bk Boats' written across the backrest. A very common question is..."What's Bk Boats?" and BAM....captive audience. You don't get that attention with a shirt or bumper sticker.

FGM: Do you have any hints for readers who want to tackle becoming “authentic” through the use of a blog and/or social media but just don’t know where to start?

DH: As dumb as it sounds, and we have all heard it before, just be yourself. That’s the best part of the internet. You can be as creative, serious, funny, or boring as you want AND THERE IS AN AUDIENCE!

I mean, I just got interviewed by YOU, FREAKIN' GENIUS MARKETING about an ugly old couch with spray paint on it that I drag around and take pictures with.

If you take it for what it is, it is a stupid idea. But it has become so much more than that. It is all about attention and doing something different. If you have an idea or a passion that you want to try....TRY IT! When I started the couch blog, I thought that no one would read it....and I was right. I dropped a link to it on a couple forums that I was a part of, I linked it on Craigslist, I added it in my email signatures and now I get about 45-100 hits a day. If you sit there and try to 'think' of a great idea, you will never have one. You need to just DO it and go with it.

If you have the passion and love for something, others will feel that and be drawn to that vibe. There will always be those people that don't understand why you do what you do or think that you are doing it wrong. Don't focus on those people. The people that DO get what you are doing and LOVE being a part of your blog or site are the ones that will give you the confidence to continue. Bottom line is to just start with something you like and the rest will follow. Blogspot is free and easy to use. When I first started.... I didn't know how to "Blog"....but now I guess I am a Blogger....go figure! lol

Social Media 101: Whose Program Comes First? The Franchisor or the Franchisee?

Note to reader: Freakin’ Genius Marketing and its sister company have multiple franchise clients weighing the social media marketing decision at this very minute. Social media marketing changes the whole game for multi-location, diverse ownership businesses. This is an article reprinted from this month’s (September ’09) Franchise Times addressing just this struggle.

By Gini Dietrich

Managing the differences between corporate and franchisee branding has been a struggle in the franchise industry. Ensuring each business owner maintains individuality and local appeal, while representing the greater whole, is a full-time job for any franchisor.

Now enter social media. The battle to achieve consistency still exists—only now the messages are pushed onto Facebook walls, Twitter streams and LinkedIn updates for everyone to read and interpret for themselves. Because the level of attention placed on companies and their business models has increased exponentially during the past year, it’s important to prepare for social media early and develop a plan.

In a survey conducted in July 2009 by Franchise Business Review, 72 percent of franchisors stated they are using social media and that 70 percent of their franchisees are, as well. But only 20 percent of those folks use social media for professional use.

Saving Face

There are many reasons to introduce your company to social media before your franchisees beat you to it. You may even be a franchisee trying to convince your franchisor to participate. By getting a head start on the game, you have the opportunity to develop consistent messaging, user names, and support groups that represent your company as a whole, not the individual franchisees. You also get to educate reluctant franchisees about the strong business possibilities social media offers and help them implement strategies into their current business model. Most importantly, you position your franchise as an industry thought leader, bringing new ideas and innovation to your business.

Below are some tactical steps you can take to bring your franchise on board with social media before franchisees do it themselves:

• Develop a set of standards franchisees should follow when starting their social media participation. For example, they should all use the same logos and colors, be involved in relevant groups and post appropriate pictures.
• Build a social media toolkit, featuring strategies on how franchisees can connect and engage with current customers and foster relationships with new customers through specific social networking sites.
• Create daily content on behalf of the corporate brand to engage all networks connected to both the corporate and individual Web sites.
• Build initial profiles and pages for every franchisee and create accounts, allowing the corporate page to automatically populate franchisee pages with company social media campaigns, including promotions, contests, and discounts.
• Remember when KFC offered its new chicken for free on one day? Local franchisees didn’t know about the offer and weren’t prepared for the masses of customers on that day. Most had to turn people away, which makes for angry customers and upset franchisees. If you have a “free” day your communication firm is promoting via traditional PR and social media, your franchisees need to know about it and be prepared for it so let them know via the traditional channels, as well as by updating their social networks.
• Make it clear you aren’t policing: The focus is on ways to use social media to promote the individual locations, rather than ways to avoid embarrassment. Make that clear to new franchisees by helping them create their networks and stress you won’t be policing.
• Provide a list of blogs they need to read. Have them subscribe via RSS for efficiency’s sake.

Finally, encourage them to subscribe to other blogs and explore their interests.
Impress upon them the importance of social media: Consistently discuss the value of social media. Use case studies of success at the franchisor level and use the Intranet and franchisee calls to share best practices and case studies with one another.

This may seem like a lot of work—you may even worry franchisees won’t be willing to jump on the bandwagon—but your efforts will pay off as your branding illustrates the same concepts, your consumer messages remain consistent, and new customers start running to your door.

Branding existing franchisees

Now you may be thinking, “But my franchisees are already on social networks, representing individual units and regions, and creating inconsistent messages. It’s too late for a corporate plan. What do I do now?”

It’s never too late for a corporate communication plan—especially when it comes to social media. You just have to change your focus. Instead of walking franchisees through the beginning stages of social media, such as creating a Facebook page, and signing on to Twitter, you can direct more of your efforts toward creating strategic messages and illustrating direct businesses successes.
One situation you should not take lightly is working with your franchisees to transform their personal social media pages to incorporated company-wide information and branding. As Paul Segreto, president and CEO, FranchisEssentials says, “It’s always best to convince rather than demand.”

If you convince franchisees that consistent branding and messaging are the best ways for everyone to succeed as a whole, instead of demand they follow new corporate policy, you will find much more success, while keeping motivation high.

Another option is to offer a financial contribution, aiming to motivate franchisees into adopting new social media strategies. While the price to activate and maintain social media accounts is very cheap, the monetary incentive helps ease franchisee tensions as they agree to relinquish their personal pages. This option also ensures the parent company owns and operates one brand identity.

Most importantly, don’t get discouraged. Use the technology to develop new relationships with potential franchisees, foster relationships with customers, recruit talent, and create brand loyalty through engagement. It’s about finding new ways to connect and communicate with people. And it’s fun. So have fun doing it!

Sustainable Marketing!

Nearly seven in 10 Americans (67%) agree that "even in tough economic times, it is important to purchase products with social and environmental benefits", and half(51%) say they are "willing to pay more" for them.* Source- BBMB Conscious Consumer Report

That's a pretty compelling reason to pump up your green efforts, especially in the face of the current economy. Going green could actually be the catalyst to finding a whole new target market you may not have been reaching with your existing marketing tactics.

Going green can create efficiencies you never dreamed of, downsized line items as they pertain to energy costs, overhead and the like. There is no question that green efforts can also be positioned to differentiate you from your competitor who may not be practicing such earth-friendly ideologies in their business.

As for attracting new customers, it's got a big hook! Just look at the numbers. 67% of Americans recognize sustainability as being an important factor in their reason behind purchases. Also, as you seek to increase loyalty in a tough market, a lot of big brands have found that there is a huge WIN factor in showing customers that green is good for them. (Examples include SunChips new 100% compostable packaging, Walmart's initiative for Roll backs on Eco-friendly products,as well as their private label brands).

Saving the planet and producing results while weathering a most challenging economy can be what green marketing is all about to your company. Take a look at what you can do to be green and then tell everyone about your commitment to the planet. You will be amazed at the response!

E-maily Post: Do's and Don'ts of Email Design

So, you've decided it's time! Whether you are undertaking an email campaign to drive traffic to your website and generate leads, build brand loyalty or obtain new customers, I say, good for you! Email Marketing is an incredibly effective medium to be successful at all of these goals.

Freakin' Genius Marketing is regularly retained to develop email campaigns from design to execution, but if you are a DIY'er or just trying it on for size, here are a few important tips to avoid the "water" hazards on the course to reaching and making an impression on your recipients.

1. Let your Brand Shine Through!

When your readers open your email, your brand should be clearly visible at first glance. Make sure your template includes your logo and tagline if you have one. If you don't, consider creating one. Brand recognition will make your email subscribers more apt to open and read your emails going forward. Synchronize the colors and fonts with your website, too. Keep it all consistent so your readers get used to seeing what comes from you looking a certain way. It fosters a relationship which is the foundation of all successful sales efforts.

2. Let them jump ship if they want to!

Opting out must be clear and easy. Losing subscribers isn't a warm fuzzy, but giving them the option to opt-out is one key to fostering that relationship I talked about in the last paragraph. It also reduces the risk of having them report you as SPAM (You definitely don’t want to get blacklisted, as a newbie or otherwise). Other alternatives such as an opt-out page, giving your subscriber the opportunity to receive your mailings 1X a month or quarterly instead of more often. Now, instead of losing your subscriber completely, you can still relay a message to them at their preferred frequency.

3. Write it right!

Don't waste time on fluff. Don't bury the lead. Get to the good stuff right away. Include a call to action or a link to a call to action. Don't send out communication that doesn't go anywhere. Your frequency and length should have an inverse relationship. Short and often! Or, if you are sending a monthly email, like a newsletter, make sure it is chock full of value-added information as opposed to having a goal of multiple lengthy articles to keep them engaged.

4. Don't leave anyone out!

An often overlooked aspect when designing an email is making sure there is an option of reading the email in basic HTML or alternative formats. This is imperative because if the email is unreadable (as is often the case on a mobile device) you risk losing them as a subscriber. Additionally, they won't be able to click on links or buy anything from your website. On that note, links are also important as they help to engage the audience, drive traffic to your website, and promote click-throughs (which is most often the analytic you will follow to estimate success of the campaign).

5. Be Consistent!

This sets expectations for the future and allows your reader to easily navigate your emails out of familiarity. They will know where to look to be able to find promotions, articles or favorite sections they've come to expect. Keep your emails clean and easy to read. This can be done by using white spaces between paragraphs, table borders, graphics, columns and sections to compartmentalize materials. No reverse type either. Maintaining a high contrast between font and background colors allows your words to pop from the screen, but reverse type doesn't translate well to screen viewing and certainly not to printing.

A good email design goes a long way! Test Test Test until you have something that you get the results from. The more you test, the easier it will become to create an email that represents you and your company in the best possible way.

If you follow these simple techniques, you will find that it will help optimize your open and click-through rates, reduce SPAM reports, and help you build your customer base. If you would like more help in designing or executing your email campaigns, contact Freakin’ Genius Marketing by emailing us at info@freakingeniusmarketing.

Just Skip It!

My 4 year old skips everywhere. It confounds me how in one moment she can be screaming bloody murder with the water works on full steam and the next moment she can be bounding for the next activity, at the height of a joyful prance. I guess this is the definition of true resilience.

It’s not as if it’s harnessed in any way….it’s so natural that it just sort of falls out of her. So, when I, like the smarty pants that I am, try to mimic it, subscribing to the fact that it will manifest the same resilience in my world, well….I just look like damn foolish.

I guess the whole thing has me looking at resistance a little bit differently. This came to me as I was running this morning, as I’m dedicated to do 3 times a week no matter what! Don’t think that commitment to running wasn’t initially met without resistance either, because it was. It’s not easy finding that time for myself in a busy day, but what I’ve found is that the hour I dedicate to running, thinking without interruption, praying, and writing in my brain makes me about 100X more productive the other 18 hours of my generally non-stop work-filled days.

So, I was running today, which I do with no Ipod, no Iphone, no distraction or friend to chat with, and no expectations and suddenly I found myself attuned to the smell of the late season clover, sound of the secadas, the wind in the leaves as it swept over the miles I could see, the birds chirping, the geese wings flapping above, the bees buzzing to my right, my sneakers as they hit the gravel at an even pace, my breath- all was synergistic. Like a puzzle, it all fit into a nice neat package of a fully realized moment in time.

Then, from out of nowhere a motor revved, a plane flew overhead, and it was an assault to that moment. I couldn’t help to think, because this is what this hour for, about how analogous this was to my business day. All that noise, but such important messages in each succinct piece. Competition of individual messages to be heard in a noisy world, that when listened to, in an attuned moment make complete sense. As a runner, in that moment I could hear it all, including the assault. But in the same moment, I was able to assess the assault, tune it out, and continue my momentum. Of course, just when I thought I had it all under control, I rounded the corner of a steepened hill and I was nearly rendered breathless when met with a wind that would barrel me full force for what would be another mile

It was in this resistance that my mind took me to my work. Ah, I thought, this wind is the negative self speak my clients have when they come to me with viable ideas and no self confidence to implement them. This wind bespeaks of naysayers and competitors trying to knock pricing into a commodity mode. This wind is trying to slow me down until my momentum merely becomes a race in time for a motionless end to my success at mental clarity. But then it came to me, my daughter…prancing along like a pony. Just Skip, the little voice inside my head prodded!

So I did.

And as I skipped, the wind that had been rushing against me fueled my prance and I found I was moving faster instead of slower. As I skipped, I began to giggle and then laugh forgetting entirely that I had been out of breath from the previous 4 miles. What a fool I must have looked like, I mused, at which point I decided to pull out all the stops and put my arms out like an airplane and zoom my way through the last half mile of the trail. When I skipped and zoomed into the parking lot, where I generally show up looking haggard albeit with an unparalleled mental clarity, I arrived joyful…feeling like I could take on another 5 miles. Well, almost. Most importantly I had this revelation about resistance, and how if you take it on like a wrestler in the ring, it can be USED as a piece of the puzzle to get you to your goal. So the next time you feel like you just can’t go that last mile, just approach it differently. What’s there to lose? And man oh man, there’s way too much to gain not to try. So, when you are next faced with resistance either from a colleague or a prospect, just skip!

Note to reader: As a practice, my business is fueled by experience. The anecdotes I often share with clients and seminar attendees have often been the moment of revelation for me or someone I work with. Associative learning is a wonderful strategy to understand new concepts in a rapidly changing world. Learning by anecdote and metaphor enables a level of understanding one might otherwise never get if forced to learn a new language and skill set.

Jumpin' on the Email Marketing Bandwagon

Ok, so you’ve decided to jump on the email marketing bandwagon. Where do you begin? With design and content quandaries, deliverability, recipient overload, bounce rates, and consumer distaste there are so many choices that if made wrong, will negatively impact click-throughs, read rates and unsubscribes.

Marketing services agencies like Freakin’ Genius Marketing can handle all aspects of your email efforts from design to execution, all while providing analytics to help increase your lead and success rate, however, if you choose to go the DIY route, you will be deluged in options and resource providers.

Below is a great 3rd party list of turnkey email providers that will not only serve as the foundation for your email campaigns, but will also house your databases safely.

Evaluate your needs and assess a number of them before making a choice. If you are html saavy or have a programmer on staff you may not have to utilize a resource like this. However, if you are looking for a bevy of templates for newsletters, e-post cards, announcements, emails, vmails, etc. then you should make sure that the templates offered by the service provider in question meets your needs. If the providers offer a free trial, give it a test spin…upload a test list and experiment with the design tools. Make sure there is a spam test and run it against your design to make sure you will be cleared.

Using a top notch service provider is imperative to your emails getting through and not ending up on a recipient ISP’s blacklist. This takes some undoing and will seriously affect your delivery rates.

Questions? Overwhelmed? Call Freakin’ Genius Marketing and we can help you create an annual campaign effort from design to implementation.

Top 50 Email Marketing Service Providers and Resources

Source: Website Magazine’s 50 Top rankings are a measure of a website’s popularity. Ranks are calculated using a proprietary statistical methodology of average daily unique visitors and page views over a specified period of time. The site with the highest combination of factors and variables is ranked in the first position.

23. M,

ROI darn it! It's all about your Return on Investment when it comes to marketing!

So...your budgets are shrinking and so is your lead generation. How do you stay visible affordably? How do you know what trigger will work to get customers shopping you again? How do you direct any money towards marketing when you have no idea how it will fare for you?

The key to knowing the answers to all of these questions is to establish a goal ROI (Return on Investment) and identify (in advance!) what your results need to be in order to make the marketing pay for itself. Direct mail is a fantastic tool to accomplish this because it is affordable, scaleable, testable, and measurable with the right foundation in place. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you build your marketing on the right foundation.

  • Know your Budget! Don’t invest a red cent until you know what you have to spend and what you need to make from it.

  • Hit the Bullseye! Mail out a highly targeted and personalized Call to Action to a known database of predetermined target prospects.

  • Try different messages and TEST TEST TEST! Divide your mailings into manageable sizes so you can assess the variables including format, offer and message. Once you find a winner based on conversion, use it as your control mailing in your next cycle of marketing.

  • Change the Channel! Integrating your message and offering it through multiple channels will enable you to reach a larger share of your marketplace. Cross market your direct mail through your website and send your mail recipient a special offer when they visit your website.

  • More More More! Increase your frequency of mailing. The magic number is 17 times a year…every 21 days you want to be in the mailbox. Studies show it can take up to 8 attempts to encourage interest in your product.

  • It’s so Clear, you can see it from the North Pole! Don’t bury your lead! Make sure your message and call to action are CLEAR!

  • Eeeny Meeny Miney Moe! Should it go in an envelope, is it a natural self mailer, or should it be in a flat package? Refer back to your budget and your goals when considering this. Think of your target market too…is it going to an office or a residence? TEST TEST TEST.
  • Stamp out overspending! Minimize postage expenses by choosing the most efficient size for your mailer- including weight (paper stock), number of pages, dimensions, etc. Ask your mailer or local post office for advice in this area.

  • Think your design through! Brand and corporate awareness are key in being memorable and making that repetitive impression. By giving all your materials the same look and feel, you quickly build a sense of familiarity with your audience! Variable print technology gives you the opportunity to deliver a branded message with a fully customized feel to the recipient.

  • No Fall Through the Crack Leads! Ok, so you got your piece out and now the leads are coming in. It’s critical to have an automated follow-up system to convert those leads into customers. Make sure you know what your plan is before you execute the campaign.

  • Measure it up! Set concrete goals of measurable success expectations before you execute the campaign. You can measure the number of responses, you can measure the number of sales, you can measure the number of visits to your website or the number of inquiries. Your measure of success is up to you and the options are enless. You set the criteria, but make sure you evaluate the success of the campaign based on a consistent measure.

When you figure out what works, you can repeat the techniques multiple times during the year against multiple target lists. The lead generation will be year round and the ROI rewards you reap will be bankable!

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Direct Marketing is Alive and Well!

How to Give em' a Hand (shake)!

After a few wimpy introductions, I've decided to take you to the very basics of social skills and perhaps give you a few laughs at the same time. How to Give a Great Handshake and How to Fist Bump are two humorous and engaging videos that do a fantastic job showing all the variations as well as the do's and don'ts of a strong handshake.

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What is Freakin' Genius Marketing?

Freakin' Genius Marketing is a strategic marketing services agency focused on teaching our clients how to use the appropriate combination of our marketing solutions to get the "who" and the "how" right. All that done, our clients can then focus on their core competence to get the "what" right. It's freakin' genius! Don't you agree?

What can Freakin' Genius Marketing do for me?

Provocative thought leadership helps businesses grow in an unstable economy. Freakin' Genius Marketing unravels the mystery to our clients’ business success complete with an in-depth plan of exactly how it will be executed. We don't just talk about it, we do it - with our clients, for our clients. As translators and excavators of human genius, we unleash the genius deep inside every client. Using these findings we develop a complete plan and solution(s) that will deliver the needed results by combining the appropriate mix of our direct marketing solutions. Brilliant, perhaps...Freakin' Genius most certainly!

Can Freakin' Genius Marketing help me with my social media quandaries?

Definitely! Whether you are confused about business applications for twitter, or curious about how to integrate your blog into your website, Freakin' Genius Marketing provides support and training and will help you integrate social media marketing into your marketing plan.

What is your "gut" potential?

Does it ever occur to you as you are about to make a business decision, or a statement to a customer or a non-sequitor remark on a phone call, that perhaps you shouldn’t? Some call it gut instinct, some call it intuition…but either way, it’s as if there’s someone sitting on your shoulder saying, “uh uh, wouldn’t do that….don’t think it’s prudent (if I can steal a Bush-ism of the HW variety)”. Often times, it’s really not so much about making the statement, but the value of not making the statement that your gut so naturally pulls at you about.

Saying too much in a meeting can often leave a potential customer or even a longtime customer feeling like your interaction was more of an opportunity for you to perform for them and not so much like you even cared to listen to them.

Those poignant moments when there are definitely things to be said, but the noise of your voice in the back of your brain says, “noooooooo” are often times of enlightenment in your professional relationships. That pause, or rethinking of how you want to position a thought or action shifts the whole dynamic often placing you in a very different position of strength and humility for that matter.

These growth opportunities are aplenty if you give your intuitive nature a chance to show you, and often times what results of them is a sense of control you would have lost had you gone in an alternative direction.

I love this zen-like approach to relating with oneself and others, whether professionally or personally. It also gives you the opportunity to really think out your second best response- which often times, is so much more valuable than the first.

Here are 8 great strategies to help you sharpen up your intuitive abilities:

1. Self-Appreciation
Intuition is your own higher perspective. Most everyone already knows that when you ignore intuition, the situation does not generally turn out so well. Allowing yourself to invite more of your intuition into your life is a powerful act of self-love. By embracing your intuition, you show compassion for yourself and make the choice to bring more positive outcomes into your life.

2. Listen To Your Body
Your intuitive messages can come in a number of forms. You may hear actual words, see a clear image, or have a deep inner knowingness. Your intuition may communicate with you in the form of hunches, insights, Aha! moments, a feeling, a sixth sense, or various types of body sensations. Set your intention to notice the many individual ways your intuition communicates with you.

3. Embrace Quietude
Intuition is initially often a quiet, gentle nudge. It generally does not shout loud enough to be heard over your stress, upset, frustration, anger, or judgement. Spending some quiet contemplative time each day is good way to strengthen your intuitive voice. Simply sit in a quiet place every day for about 1 to 20 minutes. Take a deep breath, and ask, "What is it I need to know?" or, "What will move me one step closer to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Then be open. Release your need to think, analyze, and know everything. The best information comes from the quiet guidance of your own intuition.

4. Sit With Your Problem
Try this experiment. When something is deeply troubling you, just sit with it. Don't do anything to logically fix or solve the problem. Instead, just sit, place your intention on allowing the best possible outcome, and breathe. See if you can step away from the negative thoughts circling with frenzy within your head. Your intuition sees many creative ways to bring about a goal or bring about a positive outcome to your situation. Your job is to stop fretting and stressing with the problem, and instead place your focus on being open to amazing new potentials. Make the decision to allow your intuition to get involved in your life.

5. Play Games With Your Intuition
Play fun little games with yourself that allow intuition to expand. For example, when standing in front of a bank of elevators, ask your intuition to "tell" you which elevator will reach your floor first. If you guess correctly, make a big deal of it. Notice how good you feel and breathe into that feeling. Let yourself know that you want more of this type of intuition that feels good. It doesn't matter if your correct guess was just a fluke or actually intuition. Your purpose is not to second guess, but to build up more of what you want. If you guessed incorrectly, just shrug it off. Let your intuition know that you may have ignored it in the past, but you are now ready to begin listening and taking action on its wisdom. Have some patience with yourself. Once you decide that you want more intuitive information in your life, it will begin showing up. Allow yourself to turn those initial little successes into avenues of greater intuition.

6. Ask Intuition Based Questions
Questioning is one of the best ways to develop stronger intuition and gain clarity and insight. When getting in touch with your intuitive self, ask questions that would lead you forward into positive solutions. Ask clearly formed questions that allow clear answers. For example, you might ask, "What is the next step I could take that would bring new energy and new passion?" Intuition can bring you down paths you hadn't considered. Intuition can show you new paths to try and new possibilities. Your intuition is infinitely inventive. When listening for your intuitive answers, remember that you may get your answers from a variety of sources including hunches, coincidences, feelings, words, or even physical sensations.

7. Follow Your Hunches
Once you get an intuitive idea, decide to take action. It doesn't have to be a huge life changing action, but you can take one small, comfortable step in the direction of your intuitive guidance. On a day-to-day basis, allow your intuition to play a bigger role in your life. If you have a sense to take a left turn instead of a right turn, follow through and go left. Your goal is to create a bond of trust between your logical self and your intuitive self.

8. Journal
Writing is a gateway to your intuition. Exploring with pen and paper allows a process to unfold of reconnecting with hidden aspects of your self. It helps you speak out, allowing ideas to become tangible words. It allows vague concepts to take shape in the safety of a journal. Writing is a power tool that allows what is often locked away inside to have access into the world. It allows you to feel into your physical body and connect with intuition, creativity, and imagination. Writing allows the time to find precisely the right words or the most powerful images to express your self. It takes fuzzy or confusing images and brings them into sharp focus. Writing is an easy way to gain insight from your intuition.

Intuition is your higher perspective and guidance. Since it is an aspect of you, it holds your best interests for creating a fulfilling and meaningful life both personally AND professionally. So what’s your quiet little voice been telling you lately? Listen, learn and find that your untapped gut potential is unlimited!