It’s the Customer, Stupid

What was the marketing lesson from the presidential campaign of 2016?

Let’s review.

Hillary Clinton’s main marketing message, or campaign slogan, was, “I’m with Her.”

Donald Trump’s main marketing message was “Make America Great Again.”

The Clinton campaign focused their message on their candidate.

In other words, “She’s a woman, we’ve never had a woman president, so vote for her.”

(Late in the campaign it morphed into “She’s not Trump,” Although they never put it in those words, it was clear her negative campaigning was focused on making Trump look bad, so she would appear better by comparison.)

The Trump campaign focused instead on the widespread feeling of discontent with the status quo. The idea that America, and her citizens, were in trouble and needed help.

In other words, “I feel your pain. I’m going to fix this mess.”

One campaign was “product focused.”

The other was “customer focused.”

Customer focus wins every time.

Think back to Bill Clinton’s theme. “It’s the economy, Stupid.”

That’s basically the same as Trump’s. “I feel your pain. I’m going to fix this mess.”

Bill Clinton focused on the widespread feeling of discontent with the status quo.

And who can forget Obama’s theme? “Hope and Change.”

“I will give you hope. I will make the change you need.”

Barack Obama focused on the widespread feeling of discontent with the status quo.

Both customer focused. Both winners.

If you want to counter with, “But Hillary got millions more votes than Trump did! Clearly she had the more effective message!”

I would argue that Trump got the votes that mattered, because he got more votes in the LOCATIONS that made a difference.

Trump’s campaign message was targeted to specific demographics in specific geographies.

He knew who, and WHERE, his “best customers” were. He crafted a message that resonated with them.

Clinton’s campaign message wasn’t targeted to any specific demographics, in any specific geographies.

It was basically, “We have the better product. Everybody should buy from us.”

Customer-centric marketing messages trump product-centric marketing messages. Every time.

How about your marketing? Does it talk about your product — or speak to your customers?

The January edition of The Internet Examiner explores this concept in more depth, complete with some exercises to help you craft a more customer centric marketing message for your local business.

In other words, it will help YOU with YOUR marketing.

It goes to press soon. Subscribe now.

Talk soon,



You know I’m looking out for you, right?

I just got an email this morning about a newly discovered vulnerability in the code that runs more than half the sites on the Interwebs.

This pertains specifically to WordPress sites, but ANY website that uses PHP scripting is potentially vulnerable.

So this may or may not affect you directly. And chances are it won’t, if the forces of good beat back the forces of evil.

But you should know about it just the same.

If you don’t manage your website personally, I recommend you forward this to the person who does.

Here’s the Executive Summary:

A researcher found a vulnerability in PHPMailer, a commonly used software script that sends email from web-connected servers.

The vulnerability allows this script to be run remotely without authorization. In other words, someone potentially could hack your site and start using your server to start sending spam, or worse, to send mail with virus attachments to your customers — or anyone else, for that matter.

If that happens, your site could be shut down by your web hosting company.

It could also mean an expensive repair job by an often hard-to-find uber-techie to wipe the malicious files from your server.

If you happen to be on a shared server, it potentially means your site could get shut down if someone else’s site on the same machine gets hacked, even if you do everything right!

What should you do?

As I write this, there are no known viruses or other malware currently exploiting this security hole, so there’s no reason to panic.

It’s safe to assume, however, that since this is now public knowledge, some a-hole out there is working feverishly to come up with something that WILL exploit it, as fast as their Cheetos-stained little fingers can type.

I can assure you that the WordPress community is also working feverishly, to come up with a fix for this vulnerability.

The advice offered by the good guys is to make sure your WordPress site is running the latest release of WordPress, and as soon as the next update comes out — which could be any day now — to update it again.

To make this easier on yourself (or your web admin), turn on the auto-update feature in your WordPress dashboard.

If your site is NOT built on WordPress, you should check to find out if it uses PHPMailer in any way, and if it does, confirm your server has the latest version of PHP and PHPMailer installed.

And, similarly, as soon as any updates are released for PHP and/or PHPMailer, be sure to install them.

For more details and links to the nitty-gritty details, go to the blog at

To get alerts like this emailed directly to your mailbox so you can stay ahead of the curve, subscribe to The Internet Examiner, your source of Online Marketing Intelligence for Local Business Owners.

Talk soon,


Absolutely CrAzY Marketing Strategy For 2017!

There’s a new “lazy client getting” strategy being promoted out on FaceSpace.

No, no, it’s not a strategy to get lazy clients —  it’s a strategy to get clients if you’re lazy.

I kid you not, people are actually charging money for the “details” on how to be lazy and still get clients, using nothing but Facebook.

What’s really crazy is I’m going to tell you how to do it right here, right now, for nuthin.

Ready? Here it is:

1) Have a blog. Post some stuff once in a while about your specialty.

2) Join one or more Facebook groups where your clients/customers hang out.

3) Participate in those groups. Offer helpful advice when people ask questions you can answer.

4) Be sure your FB profile links to your blog, so when people like your advice, and click on your profile, they can then click through to your website, where, one assumes, they can find out who you are, what you do, and of course, how to buy from you.

Pretty radical, huh?

Also known as “Common Sense Marketing 101.”

Try it yourself, see if it works.

It will, but you DO have to put some work in. It’s for lazy marketers, not do-nothing marketers. 🙂

For more marketing strategies for lazy and not-so-lazy local business owners — some common sense, and some not so common — subscribe to The Internet Examiner.

Talk soon,


Not too hot, not too cold — just write! 

If blogging is a part of your content marketing strategy — and it should be — you may be wondering how you can possibly come up with something to write about on a regular basis.

In particular, as a business owner, you may assume you need to write about news related to your company, products & services, location, staff, and so on.

And you may worry that such blogs would be boring to most readers.

And you’d be right about the second point — but wrong about the first.

I struggled with this myself, until one day I realized that I didn’t have to write about my business at all. I can write about anything, and tie it in with business with a simple transition.

When you look at it that way, the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few ideas to get the ol’ creative juices flowing!

Let’s assume you’re a music teacher for a moment. What might you blog about?

1) Your personal history
– tell a story about how you got started playing music, and the benefits you got from it
– tell a story about how you got started as a music teacher, and how much you love seeing your students catch on
– tell stories about going to some of your student’s first recitals, and how they made you feel
– tell about moving, either your home or your studio, and how that move affected your teaching schedule
– tell about your first large instrument purchase, like maybe your grand piano, and how that affected your instruction
– tell a story about meeting your future spouse/significant other, and how they have impacted your music/teaching/career

2) Teaching music
– tell a story about your first music student ever, how it went, what you’ve learned since
– tell about the first young child you taught, and the challenges you faced and overcame
– tell about the first elderly person you taught, and the challenges they presented that you overcame
– tell about the differences you’ve noticed between teaching children and adults, and how you’ve learned to adjust your methods
– tell about your best student ever, and how you helped him/her
– tell about your WORST student ever, and how you helped him/her
– tell how you feel about enriching the lives of families through music

Let’s assume you’re not a music teacher, but a dentist. Let’s see how the same list translates…

1D) Your personal history
– tell a story about how you first discovered an interest in dentistry, and how that changed your life
– tell a story about when you got started as a dentist, and how much you enjoy helping your patients
– tell a story about your first big success story with a patient, and how it made you feel
– tell about moving, either your home or your office, and how that move affected your life and your patients’ lives
– tell about your first large equipment purchase, like maybe your X-ray maching, and how that affected your practice

2D) Your practice
– tell about your first patient ever, how it went, what you’ve learned since
– tell about the first young child you treated, and the challenges you faced and overcame
– tell about the first elderly person you treated, and the challenges they presented that you overcame
– tell about the differences you’ve noticed between treating children and adults, and how you’ve learned to adjust
– tell about your best dental patient ever, and how you helped him/her
– tell about your WORST case ever, and how you helped him/her
– tell how you feel about improving people’s lives through dentistry

Get the picture? Doesn’t matter what you do, you can plug your profession right in. Just adjust as necessary.

Moving on…

3) Your daily life
– talk about your recent vacation, and how refreshed you are and ready to get back to work
– talk about your recent weekend excursion with family, and an epiphany you had there
– talk about the really crummy day you had recently, and how it affected your mindset
– talk about the really great day you had recently, and how it affected your mindset
– talk about the plans you’re making for next week, next month, next year, and how they may impact your business

4) Your online presence
– write about a testimonial that recently came in via Facebook, and how it made you feel
– write about a negative review on Google+ that recently came to your attention, and how you are addressing the issue
– write about a technical challenge you encountered while setting up or using Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram for the first time, and how you learned from it
– write about a fun graphic or new video recently added to your Facebook page, and invite readers to watch it
– write about the challenge of launching your website, how your business was doing at the time, your reasons for it, and what you have learned from it
– write about any recent changes made to your website, Facebook page, etc. — what was added/removed and why
– write about your plans to update your website, Facebook page, etc — and why you want to make those changes

And that’s just off the top of my head!

The truth is, you can take virtually anything that’s happened to you in the past, anything you’re doing now, anything you plan to do in the future — and turn it into a blog post.

And you can segue any blog post ideas directly back to your business with minimal effort, like so:
– what you learned and how it will affect your business
– what you expect to happen and how that will affect your business
– how you felt, and how you will change because of it
– the epiphany you got, and the new product or service that came from it
– how you heard something similar (or exactly the same) from a client/customer, and the connection you felt with them

You see? It’s easy! Have fun with it!

I’m writing even more about blogging in the Examiner. I recommend you read it.

Get it here —

Talk soon,


Stupid easy

Really quick tip today, but one you might say is so obvious, it’s stupid easy.

Yet hardly anyone ever does it.

Print this out and pin to the bulletin board near your desk, and do it tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that!

You ready for this?

If you’ve gotten a positive review recently, whether on Google My Business, Yelp, or even in a letter — post it on your Facebook page and then boost that sucker.

Why does this work?

1) It’s a positive review of your product, service, or company in general. This is the kind of thing YOU want out there, but it’s also the kind of thing your prospects want to know about you. They want proof that other people like your stuff.

2) It’s written by a customer, someone who isn’t associated with your business. People trust third party opinions more than they will ever believe anything you write about yourself.

3) You’re putting it on Facebook, where it’s easy to find, like, and share. And people will do just that.

Don’t edit it, post it verbatim. Link to the actual review so people can click through and read it for themselves, or if it came by mail, scan it in and post the image of the letter.

Boost your post with $10 or $20, and see if you don’t get some shares, or even another positive review.

If that happens, rinse and repeat.

Oh, and tweet your post, too. Like, duh!

Social sells. Know it. Use it.

Live it!

Want more about boosting your business using social media? Subscribe to the Examiner before it goes to press.

Got pure gold coming to you in January.

You can do that here —

Talk soon,