Archive for marketing assessment

Your 5 Part Year End Review

It’s time for all those office housekeeping and year end review activities, and here is a list from us for your marketing.

Here are 5 Parts of Your Business to Review

First is your Marketing Report Card. This part of your year end review will have you list everything you are doing to market your business and give it a letter grade. You can be as subjective or as ‘numbers based’ as you want. Here is an example of 3 things WE have done this year and how they were graded:

Seodona Referrals Club Sedona Referrals Club B+
Reason: We got enough promotional product business to cover our costs and marketing plan clients to make it profitable.

Encino Chamber of Commerce A
Reason: Hank has remained on the board of directors and as our ‘first chamber’ it always has a warm place in our hearts. Hank was also awarded as an honorary Lifetime Member in 2017.

Teaching at OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Insititue) D
Reason: Though it was fun, it generated zero business. Didn’t even put us in front of a lot of people. This will not be repeated because though we were able to try out a few new teaching methods, that is not worth the time invested.

Small Business Marketing Plan Bootcamp A
Reason: Generated more business and leads than all other marketing tools. We have 6 (maybe 7) bootcamps on the calendar for 2018. Gives us the best opportunity to educate the widest audience on how they must market their business.

Business (objective) plus the Feeling (subjective) are put together to come up with a grade. You should also grade each method based entirely on Dollars Generated.

Are you placing ads in a local newspaper? Did you generate at least 4 times the dollars for each dollar spent? If not, give it a C. If it did, then a B or greater.

Second, Review Your Supplier/Vendor Relationships and Contracts

In your year end review this is where you will look at your non-employee team.
Is your accountant responsive? How fast does she answer your phone calls?
Is your financial planner pro-active? Does he bring you financial ideas? Has he already looked at the tax bill and called to set a meeting?
Is your auto lease and all your other leases (equipment) up soon?
Is your web hosting agreement up to date?
Is your credit card processor still giving you the rate they promised? Is their service worth the fees? What ARE all those fees?
Is your office rental still serving you? Do you need to have a meeting with the building manager?

Is now finally the time you are going to hire the marketing coaches you and your company deserve? The kind of team that could double your business? Here is someone who did:

Third is to Update Your Emergency Program

2017 taught us all that we need a plan in place to deal with weather issues. But your year end review is more than worrying about weather. Not everyone has to worry about hurricanes or earthquakes, excess snow, or a truck running into a power pole which can all leave our business unable to function in our normal space. You need a printed binder of ‘what ifs’ that is copied to your entire management staff.

Where will employees work?
How will they check in?
How will you continue to pay your bills? Can you literally write checks without a computer?
There are a ton more questions we would ask here of clients, but you get the point: Walk through your office and ask a lot of WHAT IF THIS WERE NOT THERE?

We have a plan to run our entire Small Business Marketing Plan bootcamp without power. It would be more challenging, but we can do it.

This is also when you should review your Continuity Plan: how will your business function if your key employee is suddenly unable to work for any reason?

Fourth is your Digital Assets Review

So much of what we do is online and electronic that we need to check on them. Here is a checklist of what to check on:
* Are your sales funnels operating? Do you need to change the offers? Do you need to A/B test them?
* Is your website up to date? Does it still reflect your image?

We just decided to change our name (don’t do this twice in 15 months without professional assistance) to Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions so we need to phase out the Sedona Marketing moniker we put into place just two years ago. This meant that we had to change the landing page and video. Here are photos of the layout prior to the change (or click so you can see the difference).

Here is an important tip:  We just added the CLICK HERE starburst on each button because we found that people did not know to Click Here.   It was not obvious.  We made it obvious.

We will update our main sight next year, after fully launching The Small Business Marketing Plan, which, we decided in our year end review, would take priority.

What in your business needs priority attention?
* Have you done a recent internet search of you and your brand? Find any old phone numbers or addresses lurking on various websites?
* Are your URLs about to expire? We caught 3 for two clients in one week which would have essentially put them out of business.
* By the way, is all the information on your business card up to date? I had to send a box of our marketing books to someone running a silent auction and the address on his card was wrong. When it came back, wasting $40 in my shipping charges, he explained that he had changed it on his email signature but was just getting rid of the last few hundred business cards. His business is based on getting tiny details correct. I wonder what he misses when he is doing what he does. What if someone is sending him paperwork and has his card on their desk? What business is he losing?

Last is a Team Review

This part of your year end review does not mean to decide who stays and who goes, but getting input from your team. Get them into the constant mode of asking for feedback from your clients.
I can always tell when a restaurant is not doing this when I ask a server if I can speak to the manager. 90%+ of the time they think they are about to hear something bad and when I tell the manager something wonderful about our experience, there is almost a reaction of “What am I supposed to say? This is very unusual.”

The questions here are:
* How are we doing?
* What learning moments can we share with everyone?
* What are the three most important things we need to change in how we operate?
* How can we improve our training? Train your staff to be open to gathering information.

Prior to this meeting, you should have your business ‘secret shopped.’ We call clients all the time to see how the phone is answered and how our questions are answered. That is the first line of contact so it best be strong.

You’re probably thinking that your “Year End Review” could easily be a “Year Long Review.” You are thinking correctly! The more we are open to improving, the more we are coachable, the better our business will be in the short and long term.

Would you like help putting your year end review together?

Have you done the review and need help with the ‘What Now’ part of the process?

Is now the time to hire a marketing coach and hugely improve your sales and bottom line?
Call us: 800-705-4265.

Email us:

Get in touch with us through social media.

Or head to and take the short assessment and then click the link to get into our calendar. We are here to help and look forward to serving you.

Your Mid-Year Business Review

We just did a “second set of eyes” check up for a small business in our area. This made me think that, since we are at the half way mark of the year, this would be a good time to discuss our mid-year business review process.
Cheshire Cat's Mid-Year Business Review
Just like we used to get in school, let’s give our marketing tactics, employees, financial agencies, systems and ourselves a letter grade.

Marketing tactics:   This is a great time to write them down.  You may be surprised that you are doing more things than you think to market your business.  I have added our wheel chart on this blog for you to see (if you opt in here or below, we will send you a blank one to fill in for yourself).  Take the time to fill in all of your current marketing tactics (you may not need all the blanks this time, but over the years, you may find that you do need them all).  Every place you put ads.  Every place you volunteer.  All the different on line and off line tactics you use to market your business.

Our Mid-Year Business Review templateThe next step is to grade them using the traditional A through F (do you ever wonder what happened to E?).  This grade is completely subjective: Do you generate great relationships but few dollars?  I make no value judgement. Does it generate a lot of  referrals? How much time does it take from your month? Do you compare each with the number of dollars?

Do you know what your greatest source of new revenue is?

How often do you meet with each Employee?  What kind of feedback loop is in place? How do you let them know the results of their feedback? How do you reward them when you put their ideas into action? How do you course-correct with them?

For your staff in general, are there some you lean on for support or ask to do to much? Or too little?

Are your Financial people responsive? How responsive? Do they bring up possible challenges and solutions?Or are they purely reacting to what you ask them?

Don't Leave Your Mid-Year Business Review to chanceOne of the hardest things to do is change accountants, bookkeepers and financial planners. It takes a lot of time to train a new group, so quite often we will just let things slide. Sharyn and I know this one from personal experience.

The sad part of this is that though it is the hardest part of the company to make changes in, it is also one of the most very important ones.

We suggest that from time to time, you take a meeting with others in this field to see what they know and get recommendations.

Your Mid-Year Business Review should include your processesBy Systems, I mean all the ways you get things done:

  • When a client or prospect calls, how is the call routed and how soon is it answered?
  • How do you schedule work? We had one client who did the jobs that brought him the most profit first and was losing a lot of smaller clients that on a percentage basis had a larger profit.
  • How quickly do you send out invoices?
  • How do you collect and deposit money? An incredibly successful friend, Rickey Gelb, makes sure that money is deposited every day, no matter how large or little the amount is (yup, we do this, too).
  • How do you follow up? Do you use an electronic process? Are you using “rubber band marketing?”  Are you using a physical filing system? White board? SendOutCards greeting cards?
  • How do you schedule times to work with clients? We have a certain amount of time we speak to clients then we have to do some work, for example, design ads or social media pages.
  • What expenses take the most cash flow?
  • How does your company brainstorm and solve problems?
  • Once you brainstorm, what are you doing to make sure the majority of your time and effort go toward it?

WOW! That was a lot to cover, right?  The best way to remember to fix your systems are to remember a pneumonic device I learned a long time ago for the word SYSTEM. It stands for: Save Yourself Some Time, Effort and Money.

It all makes more sense now, right?

Lastly, let’s take a look at Ourselves.  This might be a hard one because we are working so many hours every month and we are the point people for so much of that gets done and does not get done.
Discussing Our Mid-Year Business Review on The Pulse
Here are a few questions:

  • Is your To Do list too long? Perhaps you need a NOW list and a TOTAL THINGS To Do list.
  • Check out things that never get done. Perhaps you need to delegate or outsource them?
  • Compare the amount of time you spend each week with non-income vs. income generating tasks. Be mindful of things like “I can design this ad for the Chamber of Commerce because I generate dollars other ways within The Chamber.”
  • Are you working with the kind of ideal clients you want to work with? The first thing we do with new clients who work with us is go through that decision making process.
  • What tasks get you unfocused? Or, you know, make you want to take a nap instead of doing the work?
  • Same thing with clients. Are there some to whom you should say good bye?
  • How are you being held accountable?

And finally…  Are there things that waste your time yet still garner your attention?

This exercise is difficult.  The good news is that as you go through it again and again, it will be easier. And think how incredible it will be to get rid of the weaknesses and inconsistent behaviors which can slow us all down.
We'll Help with Your Mid-Year Business Review
We would love to help you through the process.   If you go to and take the short assessment, you will be placed in to our calendar for a decisive 30 minute phone call where we can begin to get you on the correct path.

For clients, we schedule regular check ups on the health of their business, and you can get started just by being willing to change habits and some ways of operating, and thinking.

Best of luck to you always!

Marketing Automation is Great… With Oversight

One of the hottest buzzword phrases in our world is Marketing Automation.  Automate this, automate that – make your marketing work for you without having to touch it.

That is what most of the people selling automation systems want you to think: That Marketing Automation is the easiest thing in the world to do.

Guess what?  That isn’t completely true.

In order for marketing automation to work for you, you STILL have to do lots of work.

Think of it this way:  You can drive your car from Los Angeles, CA to Sedona, AZ to work with us. It will take you about 8 hours. If you walked, it would take you two weeks, if you rode a bike, two days. So, you have automated yourself to come work with us by using the car. It saved you lots of time and money. But you still had to drive the car. You had to steer it in the right direction.

Marketing automation is the same way.  You can set it up, but you still have to pay attention.

Here are two examples:

I use a marketing automation tool in my social media. It allows me to post to facebook and twitter while I am not in front of my computer. The best thing about the tool I use compared to all the others we have tested is that I can set up a post to go over and over. This is how I am able to share a link to some of my blog posts to come out once every 90 days or so. I wrote the blog once, shared it to our website (well, Sharyn did it), syndicated it to a lot of other sites (she did that too) and then I share it to my social media pages. Once it is published, I take the link, load it in to my social media app, and set it up to get posted automatically over and over again.

If you want to try it out, head to By the way, with full disclosure, if you begin to use it, I make about .50 a month.

The second example was what gave me the idea to write this blog about marketing automation in the first place. Last week, I went to the optometrist for an exam.

Here is a picture of my new glasses:

Hank Yuloff viewing marketing automation through new lenses

Hank's New Glasses?

This clinic uses a system to let me know that my appointment was coming up. It kept reminding me if I did not respond to the text confirming or cancelling my appointment. If you do not respond, you get a phone call.

The fun began after my appointment. 3 days later, I got two emails within minutes of each other. One asked me to fill out a survey as to how they did. The next one, uh oh, was telling me that I was overdue and needed to set an appointment.  .   I also got the same messages via text on my phone.

That second example was THE example of how and why you have to keep an eye on your marketing automation.  The clinic is looking bad because their marketing automation is not being paid attention to.

email marketing automation gone wrong

Marketing Automation can go wrong if you don't check on it

In addition to the social media tool I mentioned earlier, we use several other tools. Here is a description of a few.
SMS marketing automation gone wrong
We use another tool, a customer relationship manager (CRM) as part of an autoresponder, that allows us to send you messages, information, and offers. We can send them to different groups on our list.  All we have to do is make sure someone is entered into the correct groups when we put them in to the system. If we make a mistake or do not pay close attention, then the marketing automation tool is useless. By the way, using a an authoresponder to send out your mass emails is vital because you can see if the email was opened AND it gives the people you mail to an option to opt out, which avoids you being labeled as a spammer and lose your email privileges. Some of these CRMs are rather expensive, including the one we run OUR business with. There is one that we found, but are not using, called Active Campaign, which is only $10 a month (as of this writing), so you may want to try.

We use another tool to help potential clients decide if they want to work with us, and if we want to work with them.  If you want to see how that marketing automation tool works, head to and take the completely free marketing assessment.  You will notice that it puts you automatically in to our calendar where you get a free 30-minute evaluation of your marketing process with Sharyn and me on the phone. The system works automatically until we get on the phone. We all get a copy of the evaluation, too, which makes it easier for us to advise you.
SendOutCards is a great marketing automation tool
One more tool we use is SendOutCards. It is a personalized greeting card system that mails, using the United States Postal Service, a REAL GREETING CARD to our clients, potential clients and important people in our lives. When I meet someone, I have  created a “funnel” that mails people I meet a series of friendly notes over a period of months. If you want to try this one for free, on me, go to www. CardsByHank .com.

A lot of people we talk to keep telling us that they hear about Marketing Automation and are not sure what to do about using it. That it scares them. They say that all the technical computer stuff is hard to learn. It’s ok to feel that way, but don’t let that feeling make you not use any marketing automation tools. As you can see from the tools I have discussed, some of them are VERY easy to use and will help you build your business faster.

I mentioned our free marketing assessment above, so if you want some help in finding the right marketing automation tools which will work for you, fill in the short, 4 minute assessment and take a spot in our calendar.  Automatically.  You can also give us a call at 800-705-4265 with some questions.