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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

Many people wonder why marketing themselves is such a struggle. They experience marketing as hard and unpleasant. Is that simply the nature of self-marketing? Or can it be easier and more fun?

I've said many times that the essence of marketing is communication – the simple but powerful act of sharing ideas and possibilities with others. Whether you're writing articles, emails or web copy or talking to people in presentations or one-on-ones, there's one thing that is always true:

Effective marketing communication happens in the NOW.

That may seem obvious, but look to see where your thoughts and attention are when communicating. Most of us are everywhere else but in the NOW. 

Instead, we are in the past or in the future. 

We're in the past when we're thinking about how hard it is to write or communicate effectively. All our thoughts and feelings of not being good enough – or not being as good as others – tends to emerge. We may feel inadequate, believe we're not good communicators, or think we are not appreciated or accepted. 

We're in the future when we're thinking ahead of ourselves and imagining the results of our communication before we've even started. We may think we'll be misunderstood, rejected, or ridiculed. But no matter what we're thinking about, were are not in the NOW. 

When we are in the past or future we lose access to our natural intelligence and abilities. The dream-like images and thoughts of past and future floating about in our minds are like static, obscuring clear thinking and present-moment awareness. 

There is no flow; there is only a sense of resistance.

When you are in the NOW, things are different, very different.

My experience of communicating (writing and speaking) in the now is that I simply let the words come without effort. I don't judge whether they are right or wrong, let alone perfect. When writing, I know I can always go back and edit and fine-tune later. When speaking, I know I can just talk like I do when having a conversation with a friend. 

When I'm in the NOW, my marketing voice is authentic, clear and simple. 

Now this doesn't mean I don't prepare or think ahead about what I'm going to say. But I don't force that preparation. The only way to prepare is in the NOW as well. Before starting to write this I was reading in bed. I got up, and the idea for this article popped into my head. So I just let the ideas run and see where they took me. 

Half an hour later I was at my keyboard and finished the first draft an hour later. 

If communicating in the NOW is so effective and powerful, why are we so bad at it? Why do we seem to be so stuck in the past or the future? It's pretty obvious, isn't it? It's the conditioning of past experiences that have become habitual. This kind of thinking has worn a groove in the mind that's hard to escape. 

The only way to market ourselves in the NOW is by practicing being in the NOW. Here's a very simple but powerful exercise that can get you there.

First of all, don't try to be in the now all the time. It's impossible. Relax, you can do this a few seconds or a minute at a time throughout the day. Like exercise, the results tend to be accumulative.

1. Right now (as you're reading this) notice that you are already in the NOW. There is no past and future, only the present moment. You are reading this in the present moment and you are thinking in the present moment.

Just let this sink in slowly. There's nothing to figure out. You are in the present moment right now.  

2. Now notice what you are seeing, hearing and sensing right in this moment. Your computer screen, your desk, the window and the chair you're sitting on are all here right now. The background sounds are also all here right now. And the sensation of your back against the chair, your feet on the floor and any other body sensations are here and now. 

Let yourself be simply aware of what is happening right NOW. 

3. Don't' try to get anywhere or achieve any kind of state. In the now, notice the state you are in. You may be feeling anxious or happy, frustrated or calm. And all of these are noticed in the NOW.

Don't try to change anything or get anywhere. This is IT, right NOW! 

You might call this simple exercise "Aware-Here-Now." You don't even need to schedule a time to do this. You can just let it happen.  

When you notice that you are not in the now, when your mind is racing, or you're struggling, if you're judging or anything else that puts you in the past or future, stop for just a moment and practice Aware-Here-Now. Again, just for a few seconds or a minute.

Will this improve your marketing? Well, improved marketing comes from understanding certain principles and practicing them over time, just like anything else. But if you get more adept at being in the NOW, all of that becomes much easier. You'll get stuck less often; you'll enjoy marketing more. 

Imagine sitting down to write something and it's not so agonizing anymore because you are able to be NOW in the moment. Imagine other marketing activities that you usually resist or avoid and, instead, you jump in with a sense of adventure and openness, simply because you're not caught in past fears and future uncertainties. 

Now, before you go on to do anything else today, just take a moment to be Aware-Here-Now.

Cheers, Robert 

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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

As of today, I'm starting something new called "The Action Plan Marketing Community."

It's a way to provide my More Clients Subscribers with some useful resources and an opportunity to engage more with the conversation about attracting clients. 

You can access everything on this page:

The Action Plan Marketing Community. (see below)

Why am I doing this?

I've been sending out my eZine, More Clients since 1997. That's twenty years and hundreds and hundreds of articles about marketing for independent professionals.

The eZine has worked very well for me. For the past 20 years, it's helped me grow my e-list and in addition to sharing valuable ideas, I've successfully promoted various marketing products, programs and services.

What is missing for me is conversation and interaction 

The two key parts of the APM Community are the Facebook Forum where you can post questions, ask for feedback and discuss various approaches to marketing more effectively.

And the other part is the monthly Live Video Session where you can join me and several others via Zoom Video and explore ideas about the endless number of ways you can attract more clients. 

I've also included some samples from the More Clients Club

One of the most appreciated parts of the Club are the Expert Interviews. I've include three of the very best ones for you to explore. Timeless ideas that can impact your marketing effectiveness immediately. 

Plus a couple chapters from my Marketing Ball Book. Right now, the full book is only available to Club Members, but you'll get a lot out of these first two chapters on the game of marketing and marketing messages. It's stuff you can use every day in your business. 

Finally, a discount on the first month of Club Membership

The Club, now starting its 9th year, contains online courses, tutorials, expert interviews and over 100 hours of audio with interactive marketing coaching and instruction.

If you've never been a Club member, and even if you have been in the past, you can check out the Club for the first month for just $9 by using the coupon code on the APM Community page. 

That's all for today. Just go to the Action Plan Marketing Community and take advantage of these resources. This page will be posted indefinitely, so once you visit, make sure to bookmark it. 

Cheers, Robert 

P.S. Why no links to the Community Page on the Blog? Because you need to be a Community Member to access it. If you're already a subscriber, just check your email, and it you're not, simply sign up for the Community on this page and get immediate access to these resources. 

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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

Here we are on the cusp of a New Year and a new presidency.

Many people are nervous about both and many are also very excited about both. Will the rich get richer and the poor get poorer or are we at the dawn of a new age of prosperity? 

Frankly, I have no idea and neither does anyone else. We all have a lot of facts, a huge amount of speculation and more hopes and fears than anyone can remember. 

So I'm not going to comment on what "should" be. It will play out like everything ultimately does and we'll discover day-by-day as the drama unfolds. 

I can't even know how I'm going to react to events in the new year. I'll certainly have my opinions like everyone else, but that doesn't change anything, does it? Will I be horrified, intolerant, angry, smug, exhilarated or simply entertained?

I do know I'll be concerned about my family and about my business and financial situation. But I need to remember that there's ultimately no such thing as security. Remember the crash of 2008?

I do know the world will keep turning and business will continue as well. I know that there are hundreds of thousands of independent professionals who need to continue to attract more clients and make a difference and I know many of them will need help with that. 

I also know that when change happens, there are huge opportunities. This is not a time to sit back and do nothing, be fatalistic or complain about circumstances that will likely be disruptive (change is always disruptive).

No, this time is an opportunity to tap into our creativity and resourcefulness like never before. Our clients will likely be looking for new insights, tools and resources to give them an advantage and stay competitive.

I believe, more than ever, that independent professionals will seek communities of support. When disruptive change happens, we all need support, ideas, resources and encouragement to keep us on track and on our toes. We need to be tuned into these changes and take decisive action when required of us. 

Even if we don't know what the new year will bring, we still need to make plans for what services we want to deliver. We need to learn what our clients are looking for and find ways to give it to them. We need to prepare for change, not let us take it by surprise. 

But no matter what the new year may bring, I wish you a wonderful holiday season, and a wealth of growth and transformation. 

Cheers, Robert

P.S. I'll be on vacation between Christmas and New Year's, so the next More Clients will be on Tuesday, January 10th.

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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

Here's a scenario I imagined today...

It's twenty years from now, and I'm in my mid 80's. My granddaughter, Colette, now 24, is considering starting her own consulting practice. 

That might be rather young to become an independent professional, you'd think, but she's brilliant, a quick learner and bilingual. She graduated from university with honors and excelled in the field of cross cultural communication. 

Before she goes on to graduate school, she wants to spend some time in the real world, working with companies to test her thesis on "Cross Cultural Communication in a Growingly Diverse Workforce."

She takes me out to lunch on my 85th birthday and asks me the following question: "I know what I want to offer to companies, but I need to know more how to market to these companies. Since you're one of the world experts on this topic I thought you'd have some good advice. Can you help me?" 

I smiled broadly, wondering how I can condense the most important learnings about marketing I've absorbed over the past fifty years.

This is what I tell her: 

1. It's a lot easier, more effective and fun if you practice marketing your services as if you're playing a game.

A game is where you make one thing more important than any other thing and put your focus solely on that. The game is to simply discover how to get that one thing (new clients) with the least amount of time and effort. 

You don't think of getting what you want as a problem, a dire predicament or tiresome slog. You think of it as a challenging exploration. You try things, test things, add things and subtract things until you find strategies and tactics that work consistently. 

By the way, you don't have to invent everything you do to reach your goal. It isn't cheating to research, learn from others and get feedback. In fact, if you don't do these things, you severely limit yourself. One of my first questions in the game is, "Who else has done this successfully?"

2. Playing a game successfully takes careful study, planning, practice and execution. 

I've given clients, in similar situations, very detailed information for implementing a marketing strategy. Some succeed wildly; others barely got started. What do the successful ones do?

Those who succeed study the strategy closely and often examine additional information. Then they spend some time planning exactly how and when they will do it. They practice the strategy (a marketing message, phone call or presentation) until they feel comfortable with it. Finally, they roll it out and fine tune the strategy until it gets consistent results. 

Sound complicated? Well, it can be a fair amount of work, but this is what all successful professionals do. They don't wing it. They work at getting very good at it.

3. The essence of the marketing game is to build trust with prospective clients until they feel comfortable working with you. 

What few people realize is that, in many cases, trust can be established almost immediately. You can achieve this with: An authentic connection, relevant information, a good testimonial, or a sample of what you can do.

When trust is established, your goal is to increase trust by asking a prospective client to take the next step towards working with you. You might ask for a conversation, to attend a presentation (talk, webinar, etc), or a watch a video. But you must ask without manipulation or coercion. 

Ultimately, trust is built when you show sincere interest in someone. If you don't care about people and just want to sell them your services, they will meet your efforts with indifference or resistance.

4. Qualities such as perseverance, patience, listening, empathy and acceptance dramatically increase your chance of succeeding at the game. 

When I'm speaking to a prospective client, I'm not worried if they don't understand principles one through three yet; those can all be learned. But without these key qualities, people will find it very hard to become proficient at marketing.  

Those who don't persevere, give up too easily. Those who are impatient get frustrated, even angry. Those who don't listen will not learn what needs to be learned. Those who have little empathy will find it hard to build trust. And those who find it hard to accept things as they are will become complainers and victims.

Building these qualities takes the maturity that experience brings. Of course, few people are masters of these qualities. But they must be committed to practicing them. If they don't, success at marketing is going to be extraordinarily difficult.

I go through these points slowly and carefully with Colette as she listens with rapt attention, taking notes.

When I'm done, she says, "Well, Umja," (her pet name for me) that is a lot to learn and absorb. I hope I can remember it all."

I reply: "Not a problem, sweet one. Since you told me you wanted to talk to me about this over lunch, I went back to an article I wrote 20 years ago and printed it out for you."

I reach into my bag and handed this article to her. And I also give her a copy of my book, Marketing Ball, that I had published almost 30 years ago. 

"What's in this book is as relevant today as it was when I wrote it. Read it carefully and follow what it says, and I have no doubt you'll attract as many clients as you want."

Cheers, Robert

Here's a quick graphic of today's ezine/blog from Paula Hansen of Chart Magic. Check out her website and services

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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

Many years ago I remember applying to the Art Academy in San Francisco. I wanted to take some classes and improve my design skills. 

I was already designing business identities, brochures and fliers. I thought I was pretty good at it. My clients even paid me well. 

But the Art Academy rejected my application. It made me furious and resentful; every time I thought of the incident I fumed. 

Many things that seem like small things are actually big things. And one of those small/big things is…

Disapproval. 

Look, I admit it. I wanted approval. I wanted to belong, be admired, be noticed and accepted.

And I didn't just want it, I wanted it more than anything else. Disapproval meant I had been cast out, shunned, ridiculed and shamed. 

When the Art Academy rejected me, I felt awful. 

It hurt. It stung. 

And so whenever I faced the possibility of disapproval, or any kind of rejection, I tended to shy away. "Better to not get what I want than to get rejected and hurt," I thought.

There's nothing wrong with wanting something. It's the very first impulse in life, in fact – to want milk, to satisfy hunger. 

And wants expand from there. We want more things, we want to play, do exciting things and spend time with certain people. 

We most certainly didn't want the word, 'no.' We wanted an endless stream of 'yeses' to meet our every desire. And when we didn't get a yes, we threw a snit fit. 

But sometimes those snit fits backfired and we were punished. Our parents and teachers told us how to behave and how not to be selfish. Always wanting things, asking for things, was educated out of us.

But if we pressed our case, we sometimes got our way or always got our way. Perhaps we turned into an egotistical, narcissist bully. We all know what that looks like. 

But most of us learned how not to rock the boat and ask for too much. 

We learned how to play it safe and get what we wanted on the sly. We learned how to be creative and independent – to get some of the things we wanted without having a snit fit. 

So we started our own business and became excited that we could do what we wanted and exercise our independence. 

And then we discovered something unsettling. 

We learned that it was uncomfortable to ask for what we wanted from others. Very uncomfortable. 

It seemed difficult, sometimes impossible, to ask for meetings, for money, for commitment. And to follow up and ask a client to work with us? Forget about it. 

We wanted acceptance and approval. 

We experienced fear instead. Fear of making a mistake, of doing it wrong, of not being perfect and making a fool of ourselves. We didn't want rejection or disapproval; we wanted success.

But fear kept coming up, over and over and over. 

People don't fail because of the economy or a bad business plan or poor marketing skills. We can adapt to challenges, bounce back and improve our skills. 

No, most people fail because of fear. 

There are endless things we could have done. We could have asked, risked, said powerful things and taken bold action. But we didn't do them. Instead, our minds conjured imaginary consequences that were bigger than the possible rewards. 

What is the worst that could happen if you were rejected?

What is the worst that could happen if your article or presentation or website wasn't perfect?

What is the worst that could happen it you asked for an appointment?

What is the worst that could happen if you told a prospective client you wanted to work with them?

The most likely worst scenario for all these is that nothing would happen. 

That's about the worst. I promise you that nobody would send a hit man to take you out!

When the Art Academy rejected me, I went on to do other things. A few years later I was designing web sites. 

When prospective clients didn't work with me, I found other ways to attract clients. 

When someone couldn't afford to pay me, I found clients who could afford my services. 

And what enabled me to do all those things, despite the rejection?

It wasn't just one thing. It was a few things. 

I didn't have an alternative. I had to be successful in my own business or I'd have to work for someone else. That was not an option for me. 

I loved what I did, working with my clients and making a difference. I loved being independent and creative. 

I spent a lot of time studying how to get past rejection, how not to take it personally, how to let go and move on. I learned to live from reality, not from a negative fantasy.

It actually took me quite a while to get past the fear of rejection and disapproval. I struggled with it a lot.

But ultimately I became failure-proof. I now see every so-called failure as just another learning experience. 

And I believe this is something anyone can do if they want to succeed in their business and marketing.

It's something YOU can do. 

Cheers, Robert

I work with independent professionals to find their own authentic marketing voice and to attract more clients. Find out more here.

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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

I've been working with my client, Sarah Taylor, for a few months on her marketing. I don't usually mention the names of my clients, but I am today because I'll be pointing you to her website. 

Sarah works with companies to help them accommodate employees who are on the autism spectrum. 

Companies that hire people with autism are required to step up and provide assistance because autism is legally considered a disability. Common issues are behavior and communication styles that can make work very challenging. 

Sarah has worked very hard to set up her business, develop a marketing message, a web site and a marketing plan. She's smart, talented, and has worked in the field of autism for more than 20 years. 

But then she started hitting brick wall after brick wall. 

The first client she booked, cancelled the contract a few weeks before it was to start. A company that was having major communication issues with an autistic employee was not willing to do anything (except get very upset at him), yet failed to hire Sarah.

You might say that Sarah was having "success challenges" and in our meetings she was feeling very discouraged. After all, she had done all the right things, but people were not responding and the future of her business started to look bleak. 

In our meeting a couple weeks ago we had a different kind of conversation. 

I told her that doing more of what she was doing would not get her where she wanted to go. I explained that she needed to "shift success paradigms."  

The old success paradigm of working hard, being professional, and persisting until you see success can be useful.

But it's also terribly flawed. 

In the early days of my business, when I knew virtually nothing about business and marketing, I absorbed a lot of "success teachings" such as Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Brian Tracey and Anthony Robbins. I read lots of books and listened to tapes. 

The problem with this whole approach is that it's very mechanistic. If you do ABC actions, the approach says, you'll get XYZ results. But can often feel like an uphill push. 

And every time you don't get a client or fail to make enough money, you simply feel like crap and any self-worth you had goes right down the drain. 

What good is a success philosophy that always make you feel like you're failing? It's no wonder that the great majority of self-employed people give up before seeing any substantial success. 

So I told Sarah that she needed to shift her success paradigm from solely: "Work hard – Win/Lose" to, "Work – Serve/Contribute."

This is a much saner model of success. Your self-worth is not so tightly tied to personally winning or losing, but instead is based on making a difference to others. It is "other focused" instead of "self focused."

But does this really work? It seems that in all those success books many miss a very important element: Service.

In the famous book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill (published in 1937 and still in print), the word service is used 150 times, almost as many as success at 161. And the word plan trumps them both with 240 mentions. 

You might sum up this success paradigm as:

"Plan for success by serving others."

That's what Hill talks about throughout his book, but I had missed that essential message years ago. It took me many more years to understand and apply it with great results.

In our meeting two weeks after this conversation, Sarah's whole attitude and demeanor has shifted dramatically. The reminder that embracing the paradigm of service had her look at her business in a completely new way. 

She started to see that she could offer service through every conversation, every idea she shared and everything she wrote. And she was getting out there and feeling excited about her business again. 

I told her she could also use the same paradigm when approaching new prospective clients. It didn't have to be about winning or losing them, but a matter of discovering ways she could serve them.

Look at your current paradigm of marketing and doing business. Could it use an upgrade?

Please check out Sarah's website here: http://www.nextlevelasdconsult.com

Cheers, Robert

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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

This Saturday I called my youngest sister to wish her happy birthday. 

We spent some time catching up before the conversation drifted to the topic of her art business and how she felt bad that she procrastinated a lot, didn't have goals and overall wasn't a success. 

So, of course, being a coach, I started asking her questions.

"Is it really true you're not a success?" I asked her. "Yes, you don't make as much money as you'd like, but does that mean you're not a success?"

"Well, it feels like I'm not," she replied.

"Ok, well there are a lot of areas in your life; there's your relationship, health, friends, lifestyle, finances, a lot of things that make up your life, right?

"Yes, but…"

"Well, let's look at some of those things in your life." I continued. "You don't make a lot of money, perhaps, but your husband makes a good income and you were able to pay off your mortgage early. You pretty much have no debt. I wish I could say that! We have a second mortgage that won't be paid off for seven years.

"How about health?" I went on. "You hike, you ride your bike. You stay fit and you eat well. Sounds like you're pretty successful in that area of your life. I hardly exercise at all, in case you were wondering. 

"And how about your friends and social life? You know so many people and are well liked and highly regarded in the art community. Me? I'm more of a loner and have only a couple friends who live far away with whom I keep in touch with every month or so."

After talking about a few areas of her life that were measurably and inarguably more successful than those areas of my life, I asked her, "What's wrong with this picture?"

"From any objective measure, it seems like you're a whole lot more successful than I am!"

"Well, it still doesn't feel like it," she replied. "I'm such a perfectionist and if there's something in my life that doesn't meet my standards, I'm not happy."

"Exactly," I replied. "So it isn't what's actually happening that's the problem. It's how you're judging yourself about certain areas of your life, right?"

"I guess so."

"Essentially, you're saying to yourself, "Things should be different. I should be different. I should make more money."

"Well, yes, that's true, I should make more money!"

"But is that really true? That you should make more money? And is it true that if you make the money you're making now you're not successful?

"Do you see that these two things are not related? Things are exactly the way they are, right? Isn't everything in your life exactly the way it is?

"So what does what you say to yourself have anything to do with it?

"Let's look at this through an absurd example. You have five fingers on each hand, right? And what if you believed you should have six fingers on each hand? Every time you looked at your hand, you'd be upset that you didn't have six fingers.

"That's really no different than making $XXX per year and thinking you should be making $XXXX per year. 

She replied in an exasperated tone, "Well, then you're saying I should be complacent and not want anything more in my life. I shouldn't want more money, or other things in my life."

"Not really," I replied. "I'm just pointing out that when you impose the tyranny of shoulds on anything you currently have in your life, you suffer.

"What if it was impossible to think that you should have anything right in this moment other that what you have now?"

"Well, I guess I wouldn't be so stressed about it."

"Yes, and imagine if all the shoulds in your life simply disappeared? What would that be like?"

"Hmm," she replied, thoughtfully. "Well I guess I could just go for doing certain things I'm holding myself back from doing because I'm worried I won't succeed. But I also procrastinate all the time."

"You shouldn't procrastinate? Look, everyone procrastinates. The only problem is that you think you shouldn't procrastinate. Doesn't that just make you procrastinate more?"

"Yeah, the tyranny of shoulds. I'm starting to get it!"

"Yes, shoulds are tyrannical." I concluded. "They prevent you from just being who you are in the moment, enjoying the successes you do have. They stop your creativity and resourcefulness. And they can keep you feeling miserable and unsuccessful.

"When you clearly see how those shoulds dominate your life and only cost you grief, they won't hold on so tight anymore."

"So what should I do next?" she replied.

And then we just burst into laughter.

Cheers, Robert

Thanks for reading this blog post. Please feel to comment below. 

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I don't know about you, but since the results of the election I'm completely burned out with reading anything to do with politics. 

Like many others, the election has been my obsession for the past 18 months and I don't think the next 18 months are going to get any better. 

So instead of being buried in Huffington Post and Politico, I'm reading articles on Medium instead – and loving it. 

What kind of articles? Well, on just about anything. This includes social change, self-improvement, food, exercise, strategy development, communication techniques, marketing online and everything in-between. And yes, even politics. 

The great thing about most Medium articles is that they're personal, immediate, based on real-life experience and deeply-felt convictions and insights about life and work.

You could think of Medium as "Google for articles." It's also like a massive collection of quality blog posts in one central online community. 

And Medium can help you with your marketing as well.

On Medium, look up marketing in general or any specific marketing topic and you'll find a ton of interesting articles with useful ideas. 

And unlike searching for good articles on Google, which lead to someone's personal blog in various formats, the articles on Medium are all formatted in a reader-friendly style. 

And, of course, at the bottom of each article are suggestions and links to similar articles. 

You can tag articles to read later and follow those who write the articles you enjoy the most. 

Relaxing on the sofa, listening to jazz in the background and reading Medium articles on my iPad has been a wonderful way to spend my free time in the evening. 

Medium articles inform, inspire, excite and lead to new insights. 

But that's not all. 

It seems that in virtually every session I have with my clients these days, I'm talking about Medium and showing how it can work for them. 

I explain how they can use Medium as a simple online promotional too. It's as easy as writing a blog post – well, actually easier – because the formatting tools ensure that your article will look great. Just add a picture or graphic at the top and you're all set.

As of this week, my weekly articles will come to you via this eZine, will be posted on my blog and also posted on Medium. 

Why? Well, Medium gets a million visitors a day who are looking for articles on every conceivable subject – including articles about your field of expertise. 

This can bring you new readers that you can then point back to your website to learn more, opt-in to your report and email newsletter and then read other blog posts and content on your site.

Yes, it helps if you already have a decent website with good messaging and content, including a form to opt-in.  

It's easy and free to get started

On Sunday, I took a few hours to set up my Medium account, learn all the ins-and outs of how to post articles and even set up my own publication – "Attract More Clients" where I'll be posting my Medium articles. This is sort of like a private blog inside Medium. 

I also posted my first article: "Attracting High-End Clients" Check it out and see how good it looks (not to mention the great ideas it includes)!

And if you're moved to do so, please follow me and "heart" my article. 

If you're already writing articles, Medium is a no-brainer. If you're not writing articles, isn't it about time you started? 

For me, writing articles has been the key to my business success for almost 20 years. And now, with Medium I can even get more exposure for my business with virtually no extra effort. 

In any case, if you get the sense that I'm excited about Medium, I am! 

This article doesn't give you much how-to information, so I thought I'd include a few articles that you'll find very useful (some are on Medium). 

Marketing on Medium: How Does it Stack Up?

The Complete Guide to Medium for Marketers

Why Every Blog Post should be crossposted to LinkedIn and Medium

A Style Guide for Writing on Medium

How to write Medium Stories people will actually read

This will be enough to get you started. As you go, you'll find details and how-to tutorials in Medium to get you on track. 

See you on Medium!

Cheers, Robert

Please comment on this article on Medium.

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by Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

I'm disgusted with this election aren't you?

Since this is arriving on election day, I felt I had to make some kind of comment. 

Over the past year and a half (it feels like a decade) I've been somewhat addicted to following the election. And in preparing to write this ezine I found I was talking out loud to myself about what I'd write and how I'd say it. 

I guess I'm going a little batty. Can anyone relate? 

As I walked into my office this morning, I opened my email and noticed Alan Weiss's Monday Morning Memo in my in box and wondered if he'd said anything about the election.

After reading it, I quickly concluded that what he said was better than anything I could write, so I'm including it below in full. Thanks Alan for your calm and sane perspective. 

"We’ll be in Kyoto for the election, I’m happy to report. Odd fact: Much of the Republican leadership doesn’t support their candidate; there are charges of harassment against him; he hasn’t released his tax returns; he keeps shooting himself in the foot every time he speaks; he did not debate well; the media, in any election, lean heavily democratic in their coverage; the sitting President carried about 90% of the African-American vote and he’s actively campaigning; the Democrats have raised far more money. Yet, the polls show the election to be very close.

"What does that tell you?

"For those in the U.S. reading this who will be voting tomorrow, I want to support you in your efforts to do what you feel is proper and right. I want to emphasize that people who don't agree with you are neither stupid nor enemies, and that what we truly need are tolerance and collaboration.

"And I want to assure you that the principles of this great nation are so strong that we will carry on and prosper. In fact, this election will show us that the system is far greater than any one person."

© Alan Weiss, 2016 - Monday Morning Memo

Nicely said, Alan. So get out there and vote your conscience, and we can finally get on with our lives (like marketing your business, right?).

There was one video on the election that is really fun and shares similar sentiments. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Cheers, Robert

 

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By Robert Middleton – Action Plan Marketing

I hear the words, "You Be the Monster!" – in a tone of high-pitched glee from my 4 year old granddaughter, Colette, as I come through the door of her home. 

She's referring to her favorite game. She's the princess who hides in her castle (yes, an actual, big plastic castle that sits in the corner of her living room), while I play the monster who's chasing after her. 

With menacing growling sounds I reach into the castle window (never the door) while she cowers just out of my reach, screaming and giggling.  

This immense capacity for imaginative play seems to be inborn; when her little girlfriend came over for a party a couple weeks ago, she joined in the game with just as much glee. 

Where did our imaginations go?

Sooner or later, our imaginations are simply conditioned out of us. It's not that our creative ability has died. Instead, it's become submerged beneath our need to look good, do the right thing, be careful and not make mistakes. 

We often think that success and creative fun don't mix. 

Doing well at school, on the job, and as a business owner is a serious thing, right? That's what everyone told us, but it sure didn't work out for me. In the early years, growing my business was a real slog. 

Many years ago I re-conceived marketing as a game.

And I was determined to making winning that game (attracting lots of great clients) as fun as possible. 

When I gave talks about marketing, I acted a bit like a raving maniac. I made sure my audience laughed a lot and saw that marketing could be fun as well as effective.

When I got into online marketing I thought of my computer as my money-making slot machine. Instead of having the right pictures come up in a row, the game was to find the words that would trigger the best response. 

It was always both fun and challenging to design my web pages, emails, presentations and sales letters, and then see the new orders come pouring in. 

These days the most fun I have is working with my individual clients.

I think I have a pretty deep insight into what works and what doesn't, but I always try to communicate those insights in a lighthearted and sometimes absurdist way. 

When a client tells me they are afraid to reach out to a prospect, I ask them, "What is the worst that could happen? Will they send a hit man to take you out?" Never happened.

Why not just make that outreach a fun game? And when my clients do it that way, more often than not they're surprised at the warm reception they get.

Think your marketing needs to be perfect? When you get there, do you expect the skies to open, with a ray of heavenly light shining down upon you declaring, "Behold here is the One who can do no wrong."

Sure, it happened to Donald Trump, but don't hold your breath.

In my experience, you really can't get big marketing wins by grim determination. You're better off being a little outrageous, adopting a more playful and mischievous mindset.

I always know I'm on the right track when we spend considerable time laughing during our sessions. If we don't take ourselves so dreadfully seriously, we can co-create imaginative and effective marketing strategies. 

This saying by marketing genius, David Ogilvy, hits the nail on the head: "You can't bore people into doing business with you."

Any time Colette wants me to be her monster, I'll gladly oblige. But I won't be a perfect, paint-by-numbers monster. I will be a silly, slobbering one. Her wild and crazy giggles are worth it. 

When you can discover that crazy monster inside yourself, your clients will want to play with you as well. 

Want to laugh your way to more clients?

I've started with six new clients in the past few weeks, but still have a couple more spaces open. If you'd like to explore working with me, learn more here:

http://actionplan.com/mastery-sessions

Cheers, Robert

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Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has for 30 years, been helping Self-Employed Professionals attract more of their ideal clients.  He offers the online membership site, The More Clients Club, and individual coaching and consulting through his Marketing Action Coaching. If this is your first visit to the More Clients blog, make sure to get a copy of the Marketing Plan Workbook and join the Marketing Club Forum for free.