Archive for Small Business Marketing Plan Bootcamp

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.

On the Matter of Words, Words Matter

Every year or so, I am reminded of the expression that words matter. Words matter in our personal relationships and words matter in how we build our business ties. Recently, I had a client who, in order to describe a competitor’s actions, used the term “it’s as if they were smoking crack.”

words matter in the dictionaryRed flag? Yes.  And an excellent learning moment as well. In our Small Business Marketing Plan bootcamp we sometimes include an entire section on “words that work in marketing.” I bet you can easily guess some of them: New, Free (except in the subject line of an email), Healthy, and Sale to list just a few.

With the help of a lot of friends, I thought I would compile an up to the minute list of phrases that are out there in the marketplace of ideas which are causing negative reactions.

Here is how I compiled the list

At 9:30 in the morning, I went onto my personal profile on Facebook and posted this: “Info needed for a blog: what phrases do you find most over used and trite? (Example…” It's like X, on steroids.”) Thanks, in advance!”

That’s it. Within 24 hours, I received over 80 responses from people who think that words matter.  I will give you the list, along with my comment.  Let’s go!

“We're committed to being transparent.” Use this and your audience will test you. I DO use this one. I WANT to be tested. Sharyn and I tell people all the time that we pull the curtains back, so though this gets used a lot, we are starting off with a phrase that can help you. Surprise!

“This lady did X… and you won't believe what happened next.” This is quite popular right now for online marketers to use. It's used to generate a lot of click throughs because people are curious what that lady did next.

words matter, to be honest

other ways to say To Be Honest

“In all honesty” along with “believe me.” Several people posted this one.  The phrase implies that if you have to tell people when to believe you, the rest of the time you are not telling the truth.

My friend Cristin Williams posted this: “It's pretty industry specific, but those “One call, that's all,” and “one click, that's it” phrases drive me bonkers. I think it started with one person, but now it's everywhere, with every lawyer, and it's just incredibly annoying.”   The other side of this is that if people have to click too many times, they will NOT click to buy.


words matter Lebron James

Lebron James

Any time someone is referred to as “the LeBron of” a different job, it's annoying. It's also not specific enough. Do we mean that he or she is a star? Or a leader? Or a household name? Or a diva? Or a philanthropist?  It could be anything, both positive AND negative. It's not just LeBron James, either. Any time you compare two people in entirely different fields, there is the possibility, unless it is specifically explained, that your words could be misunderstood. Similar to this one is “Legendary.”  Being good or even the best at something doesn't make you legendary. Not even close. In fact, most people of legend never existed.
even legendary words matter, Barney!

“X” is the new “y” doesn't work anymore, either. The minute Orange is the New Black became a television show, it was over.  Oh, and something being ‘over’ is over, too.

“Whatever” along with “just saying” are two of the most dismissive, negative terms you can use in your writing. Use them with a prospect and you will see how much words matter.

“Revolutionary” is overused, too. Everything isn't revolutionary, and most of the things that use the word aren't even all that impressive.

“Getting to the next level …” along with “Game changer, next level, or take your business to the next level.” Those got taken to a whole new level of negativity with the people who answered. I am guessing far too many business gurus (we, for the record, are NOT marketing gurus, we are marketing ORACLES) include it in their presentation and now next leveling is no longer a thing.

Having someone get “Thrown under the bus” is just plain overused. Figure out some other way to talk about getting stabbed in the back. Perhaps something from Hamlet when he stabs Claudius with the poisoned rapier and then forces him to drink from the poisoned goblet. That’s going a bit highbrow!

follow your dreams much“Follow Your Dream” is great on a poster or a facebook meme, but not in your writing.

“Cattywompus.” Someone added this and I just agreed. Besides, I never used it in a blog before so maybe I will get an SEO point or two.

“Patootie” as another word for butt is icky.

“Some people say…” is a just plain lazy way to make your point. Who are “some” or “everyone?” There are ways to do this properly, but I would suggest we chat about it first.  Head to and when we have our time scheduled, ask us about the NLP method.

“Literally” and “come with.”  These two literally come with ways to misuse them.

“Team player.” She is a team player. She goes to all the meetings our department has and takes notes. She never SAYS anything, but she is in the room.  If you are on a team, you are a player on the team. Unless you are the coach.  Then you are aware that there is “no I in team,” that “everyone’s opinion should count” (no, it shouldn’t), and that there is “no such thing as a stupid question” (my goodness, there IS).

“Hands on. Turn key.”  Nothing gets done if you do not put your hands on it in some way. Even if it is to tell your assistant to put his hands on it and turn the key.

words matter more than sliced bread“Best thing since sliced bread.” Seems to make this list every time. Has there been NOTHING better than sliced bread since bread was first sliced instead of torn apart in 1928? At the very minimum, I would go with air conditioning and microwave popcorn.

“That said…” When I hear someone say this, I always say “What did you say?” Try it. “For what it's worth,” it's a funny way to let them know they using a cliché.

“Basically.” This is a personal hatred for me. Basically, when people begin their explanation with basically, they are telling me that the rest of the story will not matter or that I am too dumb to understand the intricacies of their story. Or maybe I have it wrong and they are telling me that theirs is a simple story. Words matter.

My friend, Mark Shinn, shared this: Ok, this is mine: . . “I know, Right?” . . . Think about it . . . if you already know, why exactly are you asking for validation?

I can agree with that, Mark.  In other words: I know, right?

“Do you mind if I ask you a question?”…I'll usually respond with “you just did. Do you have another?” or something like that.

“Deja vu all over again.” was added a few times. I will probably add it again. Just say you had a feeling of déjà vu, but could not place it. Besides, isn't it redundant?!?

Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions in Sedona“”It is what it is”…”that ship sailed”…”so be it”  I didn’t realize it until Judy Cantu added these three in one post, but all of those drive me crazy. I would have to add that “missing the boat” would go along with the ship leaving the harbor.

Stand up comic, Sal Rodriguez, responded with “It’s in God’s hands.” What if you are communicating with someone who has had a falling out with the Deity or is not a believer? I think it would be better to substitute something about Nature. But not Mother Nature.

Another phrase that goes along with this one is “Getting Closure” which most every therapist loves to use when setting our schedule of visits to their office. When it comes to religion, words matter deeply so be aware.

Most folk do not use the word “LIKE” as a modifier in their writing, but when we speak, it’s like, so totally incorporated in our speech patterns, that like, we don’t notice it.

My skin crawled when I read Janet Pheiffer’s contribution: “Agree to disagree.”  Oh, so you are telling me that I am wrong and you are verbally patting me on my head and sending me to the Dunce corner?!?

One of my respondents added “‘Reach out to…’ makes me want to reach out and strangle that person!”   Wow, those are some strong feelings.

words matter...true story

don't be sad, be awesome

Several people said that AMAZING and AWESOME are overused. That’s sad because awesome is one of my favorite words. Another phrase I use all the time is “In other words” because it is an easy crutch for me to use when I want to teach something from a second or third point of view. And what follows is not better when I wrap up my soliloquy with “the bottom line is…” Didn’t I just get you there???

So “at the end of the day” words matter so I am asking you to be cognizant of the words you use.  Avoiding the cliché brings your written and oral communication “to another level” which is always a solid choice.

Three rules borrowed from the world of fashion

(because they came to mind so I will use them here)

  1. Dress better than the people you are on stage in front of. This includes being on stage in front of one new client. In this case, watch your language.
  2. Dress for Success. Use words without being lazy and falling back on tired phrases that everyone else is using.  You are different.  You are better.  Allow your communication to speak to it.
  3. Coco Chanel said “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” As we end, let’s change that to “Write shabbily and they lump you in with the crowd. Write impeccably and they will remember you.

words also matter to Coco ChannelWhen you would like help with crafting your messages, please give us a call at (800)705-4265.  Even better, jump onto our website and get scheduled into our calendar.

Shall we lighten the mood a bit?

George Carlin's soliloquy of trite phrases in advertising

With Gratitude To….

I would like to thank the following people who added phrases into this “words matter” blog.  I appreciate you all!

Butch Leiber, Cristin Williams, Jed Bauman, Jaelline Jaffe, Sharone Rosen, Bliss-Ann Herlihy, Mike Schenker, Joe Ivone, Geri Whaley, Deb Jones, Mary Nolan, Christine Dellosso, Mark Shinn, Lisa Miles, Cara Biradi, Judy Cantu, Dawn Duffy, Michael Capozzoli, Sal Rodriguez, Lori Ellison, Leighla Kelly-Altilio, Jeff Donovan, Jude Cormier, Bob Haywood, Linda Boyne Coneen, Mark Eisenberg, James Mercal, Nancy Kelel, Dennis Burnham, Dina Hubbard, Denise Schickel, Star Tomlinson, Lisa Riley, Holly Croft Rasey, Alane Wainwright, Marlea Evans, Janet Anderson, Barry Shapiro, Marie Robinson, Michelle Goldwater, Joy Kennel, Randy Gold, Kevin Hannah, Eric Floyd, Jeffrey Grimshaw, Portia Franklin, Cyndi Ridge Bergerhofer, Phil Clement, Gregg Fritchle, Janet Pheiffer, Bill Dehart, Joyce Parsons Doull,  Frances Gandy Walsh, Leslie Kapner, Jonathan Walters, Anna Marie Russo, Dave Braun and Mr. Wil Bowers.


How and Why to Write a Book in 8 Hours

“Our next guest is the author of….. “
“Trying to change your life? This next guest can help you do it. She is the author of the new book…. “
“Last night I read the most fascinating book and the author is our next guest.”
“She has been with us before, and is back with her 3rd book….”
“Here you go, self-helpers! Our guest today wrote the book on…. “

We hear this on radio and television shows all the time when the host is about to bring on an expert to share knowledge. That next guest could be you. Share your expertise, get the recognition and generate the revenue you desire to lead the life you deserve, once you write a book.

So first, we better get your book written.

Uh oh, I just read your mind and heard you think that you can’t write a book.
You don’t think you can write a book?

Here are the 3 reasons we hear from people just before we get them started writing their books, on why they think they cannot write a book:
1. I don’t have time.
2. I don’t know what to write about.
3. Why would anyone want to hear from me?

make time to write a bookTIME: We are not expecting you to stop everything you do, pull yourself up to your computer and write for hours at a time. We want to get in the habit of just 22 minutes a day. That’s less time than it takes to watch a comedy show on television, the very place you could end up!

If time is your excuse, let’s repurpose some of your other work. When you are blogging, consider writing in a style that is a bit more formal, that way you can pull together 50 blog posts, do some re-editing, and your book will be written. Those posts become chapters and they can be used over and over as social media content, bringing people to your website.

Want an even faster way to write a book?
Check out this video with our friend, Mitchell Levy of AHAthat:

write a book for Amazon

Just a Sample of Amazon Book Topics

TOPIC: You are the expert in your field. Let people know about it! I don’t write books about theology or geology or trigonometry. I write books about marketing and how to generate more business. Your books allow you the opportunity to show people that you are the AUTHORity on the subject. In fact, the first 6 letters in the word spell out AUTHOR (you saw that, right?!).

Several years ago, I had to see a cardiologist. While I waited for him in his office, I noticed that HIS name was on all the books. He WAS the expert and those books were the ultimate proof of his brilliance in the subject.

Why NOT you!

You are the expert that people want to hire. Let your words be shared.
Don’t take your hard work becoming an expert for granted. Not everyone has your skills.
Very few do, in fact.

Let’s talk about those competitors for just a moment. In the promotional product world, which I have been a part of since the 1980s, I know of very few of my esteemed competitors who had put words to paper. It is probably the same in your world. When those in my world, either promotional products or marketing, are asked for some company information, they send that 8 1/2” X 11” brochure sheet with the two folds, while I send them one of my books (sometimes encased in a Shock N Awe Kit). It clearly shows them that I am different. I want you to have the same unfair advantage that I do and set yourself apart as well.

Your writing is going to set you apart. It will enlarge the horizon and will go forth as a salesperson for you. Imagine having the door to your new client’s office opened for you by your book. It is there, waving you over the threshold into a new client’s office. It puts you into a position that others only wish they could be in. And you are already there because you took steps and took action.

People want to be introduced to people who can help them.
They have to either be an expert or hire one.
Your book acts as your door opener. It is your message.
It is how you will bring all your products to the public.
Your public.

Let’s get your book written! Call us at (800)705-4265 or check out the resources offered in the video above.