Drew McLellan’s a 25+ year marketing agency veteran who lives for creating “a ha” moments for his clients, clients’ customers, peers and audiences across the land. Sadly, for his daughter, he attempts to do the same thing at home.
Over the years, Drew has lent his expertise to clients like Nabisco, IAMS pet foods, Kraft Foods, Meredith Publishing, Make-A-Wish, and others.
Drew is also one of the world’s top marketing and branding bloggers.
Recently he has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Business Week and Fortune’s Small Business. The Wall Street Journal calls him one of 10 bloggers that every entrepreneur should read.
In today's marketplace, a company's website is their first impression with prospects. It's a rare purchase today that doesn't begin with some sort of research or due diligence. And as consumers (both B2C and B2B) find themselves more time starved and more web savvy - the research tool of choice is often a Google search.
Long before they'll set an appointment for a consultation or walk into your retail establishment - they're scoping you out on the web. It makes sense then, that when it comes to your web presence you'd want to put your best foot forward, doesn't it?
And yet, if you spend any time on the web - you run into a lot of stale, outdated websites. We just launched a new website for a client and his comment was "phew, now I can actually give people our web address again." They'd ignored their website for so long - they literally weren't giving people the URL to avoid embarrassment.
When asked, companies say that they don't update their website because:
But letting a stale or static website be your first "how do" to potential customers is more costly than you might imagine.
If you've got dated copy or information (many websites make it pretty obvious they haven't been updated in years...their latest newsletter issue is from 2008 or the last bit of news in their newsroom is from three years ago) what you're saying to visitors is that you aren't so hot will follow up and attention to detail.
If your design is tough to navigate (you know...you just keep adding a page here or there, but there's no organizational structure) you are going to frustrate that potential customer before they can figure out if you have what they want to buy.
Cheaping out by letting your cousin, neighbor or other amateur build your website says that you aren't a successful business. You don't have to build the Taj Mahal of websites but you do want something that speaks to your professionalism and functions the way you want it to.
Are you wondering if your website is working as hard for you as it should? See how your site matches up with these stats.
Websites with blogs get 55% more traffic (Are you sharing your expertise and taking advantage of the organic SEO value of that effort?)
Companies who blog get 79% more followers on Twitter (How does your stale website encourage me to connect with you on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and other interactive spots?)
The #1 attribute people want is a websites that is easy to navigate so they can quickly find the exact information they want. They don't want to have to click 4 times or guess which heading the information is hiding behind.
People want contact information so they can call, write or drop by. This floors me but many companies do not include offline contact options to their web visitors.
Keep the distractions at a minimum. People want to be able to scan your page and figure out what's there and where to go next. If you pack every bit of space with information, you actually get in their way. Remember, your goal is not to tell them everything so they don't have to call. Your goal is to tell them enough to make them want to call.
Your website is your introduction to many of your potential customers Is it the way you want to be introduced or is it time to consider a re-do?
At the time of his retirement, Fran owned EVERY major quarterback record out there. Fran was known as The Scrambler because he was famous for being able to pivot and run around in the backfield, dodging defensive players and giving his teammates time to elude a defender or get open for a pass.
He was something to behold. Off the field, he was articulate, intelligent and called a "thinking quarterback."
I admired him on and off the field. He was a great role model. So no great surprise that when he retired, Fran successfully pursued other professional aspirations, including launching over 20 companies.
Being a scrambling quarterback was really the perfect training ground for Fran's entrepreneurial efforts. Whether you run a huge corporation or a one man hot dog cart - owning a business is about scrambling for opportunities, dodging disasters and looking down the field, hoping you see the perfect play that will advance your efforts.
Sadly, marketing is never the biggest guy chasing you down. Which is why so many business owners let their marketing slack off or erratically cycle in and out.
Marketing is creating the game plan before the game and then executing it. Sure, you call an audible now and then and change things up. But, you mostly follow the plan. When you plan/execute your marketing well, you can scramble after opportunities. But you don't wait until the need for marketing chases you.
Back in the 70s, during halftime and after every game (yes, even in the dead of MN winter), my neighborhood buddies and I would gather in our shared backyards to play a little football. So picture little Drew McLellan, out in the back yard, wearing his #10 Vikings jersey scrambling as I shouted that my teammate should go long. (Who doesn't love that play?).
Fast forward to today - and I'm excited to tell you that a much older Drew McLellan got to be a guest on Fran Tarkenton's radio show, aimed at entrepreneurs.
How cool is that? We talked about some of the challenges that business owners/leaders face when it comes to marketing, like:
Are you suffering from any of those mistakes? Are you so busy scrambling that you're applying the same philosophy to your marketing?
Create a marketing game plan and follow it. Leave the scrambling to other aspects of running your business.
Want to listen to Fran and I chatting about business? You can listen to the live broadcast of the show this Saturday (June 8th) at 8-10 am CT or 3-5 pm CT on Sirius 104. Or you can listen on demand at siriousxm.com. Get more details here on Fran's radio show page. Once I get the mp3 of the show, I'll add it to this post as well.
Mack Collier has hit a home run with his book Think Like A Rock Star* and I really want all of you to get his message.
As consumers get more jaded by traditional advertising and marketing that interrupts rather than connects - this book serves up the answer.
Why not be so good, create so much goodwill and treat your best customers like the super stars they are - all so you can unleash the word of mouth power of those best customers? We know that there's nothing more influential than word of mouth and that an endorsement from a trusted friend/source absolutely influences buying decisions. So who wouldn't want more of that for their business?
Author Mack Collier has studied how some of the world's best entertainers have inspired their fans to help grow their fan base, sell concert tickets and CDs/downloads and in general - create buzz that elevates the star's status and earning potential.
One of the reasons this is such a smart read is because it puts the marketing emphasis where it belongs - on existing customers (and even more so.... super engaged existing customers) rather than chasing prospects. Mack outlines many ways that rock stars connect with their fans, show their genuine gratitude and appreciation to their fans and inviting those fans to be their biggest advocates and evangelists.
You'll get all kinds of ideas of how you can make your business a rock star too. Your best customers will be as ready to give you a standing ovation as the examples in the book. One of the features of the book you'll find incredibly valuable is the Backstage Passes. These informational call out boxes give you very specific ways you can apply the examples to your own business. Like a little recipe card - they'll guide you step by step.
I highly recommend this book (click to buy on Amazon*)and the concepts in it. Mack models his theories well - read the book and become one of his fans!
You know, the annoying thing about clichés is that they're based in truth, even though that truth may be a bit worn in places. And lately I've been very aware of the idiom "the only constant is change" as it relates to business and especially to marketing.
Maybe it's always been this way and our parents and grandparents had to wrestle with constant change too, but it seems to me that the acceleration curve has gotten incredibly steep over the last 15 or 20 years.
For example, when I started my career, computers were certainly a part of the mix but we never showed a client a computer-generated layout. We'd take mock ups that were drawn in pencil and very rough. Today, we upload PDFs to our extranet and they look practically finished before we've even begun.
I get it...I'm the first one to espouse the convenience of our new way of doing business. I love that we can work with clients (and partners) from all over the world - digitally sharing files, ideas and collaborating.
So while I long for the showmanship of the old days, I do appreciate what we have today. But sometimes it also makes me a little tired to think about.
Here's our reality as business people. It's never done. No matter how successful your business is - it's in transition. Every day.
There's a new technology or a new consumer trend right around every corner. And to stay relevant and profitable, there's no hiding from them.
Today and tomorrow, I am leading a marketing workshop and one of the things we'll talk about is mobile and how quickly it became a key element in any marketing strategy. I know what I'll see. While some of them were anticipating this tsunami of a trend, others were either not ready for it or aren't looking forward to facing it.
So how do we keep up? How do we stay current and able to anticipate what the next change is going to be so we can get a running start?
Read. Do you know that most business leaders don't read anything more than their local newspaper? Are you kidding me? Turn off the TV and read a book a month. Find the top ten blogs in your field and subscribe to them. Find the most controversial, far out there publication or blog in your industry an subscribe to that too. It's better to anticipate too much than get blinded by something.
Attend. Trade show and professional development attendance has been dropping since the recession took a big bite out of everyone's travel budgets. It's time to put some money back on that line item. You need to go and listen to experts. You need to hang out with peers and share stories and resources.
Teach. One of the best ways to learn is to commit to teach others. Make sure your entire staff is ready for what's coming. More important, teach them how to recognize the trends and track them, so you don't have to be the only one doing it. If you know you have to conduct a class, even if it's an informal one, you're much more likely to keep sharp.
There are lots of ways to stay current but it all starts with the attitude of recognizing that it's a part of your job and it's one of the ways you keep your company relevant and profitable.
In our world...you either keep up or you quickly become irrelevant. Don't be the marketing pro who is still spouting off about the latest and greatest - from 5 years ago. Find a way to stay current and keep your clients/business there too.
I was recently contacted by a college student who asked if he could interview me for one of this classes. One of the questions he asked is one I get a lot, so I thought I'd share my answer with you here.
If you aspire to be in our business - I hope it helps. If you're already in the business - what did I miss?
What advice would you give to anyone who was aspiring to enter the field of advertising?
Yikes... there are lots of things to know but here are some of the biggies.
When I hire, I don't worry too much about the degree the person has or things like grade point averages. I can teach them about marketing but I can't make them honest or hard working.
I look for people who have a passion for helping other people. I hire people who volunteer their time, have a passion for a cause and instead of whining about it - do something about it.
I definitely want good writers, no matter what position they might fill. In today's business world, with email etc. - everyone needs to be able to communicate clearly and be well spoken, both in face-to-face encounters and in writing.
I also look for someone who gets that our business is not 9-5 and isn't going to freak out if they have to work late or over a weekend. Our business is very demanding and depending on what's going on with our clients, we can put in some incredibly long, grueling weeks.
I also want someone who is willing to do "grunt" work. In a small agency, everyone pitches in and does what it takes to get the job done. If I can stuff envelopes or whatever - so can they.
I want someone who is a self-starter, a lifelong learner, a reader, someone who is funny, ethical and someone who resonates with our company's core beliefs, which are: