Gear Up To Pare Down

January 4, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

What one action could have a real impact on your business for the next few months? Define and begin that action, and prepare to reap profits.

Too simple? Simple makes sense.

If you have difficulty narrowing a myriad of projects to one goal, welcome to reality.

I participate in a mastermind group that tackles reality with a theme. Each participant develops the wording to focus their actions for the year. For example:

  • Transcend What Is and Invent The New
  • New Me
  • Heart Vision, Intuitive Momentum

The theme offers a solution to multiple projects because, like an umbrella, it embraces all. Scheduling determines priorities.

Although every person has the same amount of time in one day, some get far more done than others. I’m convinced productive people know exactly what they need to do.

The steps look like this:

  1. Establish a theme
  2. Define goals
  3. Break goals into realistic steps, i.e., what will I concentrate on this month?
  4. Take monthly goals or concentrations and divide them into weekly ones
  5. Each week, for example, list the top 10 goals for the week
  6. For each weekly goal, list the steps or tactics that must be taken
  7. Define a realistic amount of time for each tactic
  8. Physically schedule tactics on your calendar

A calendar facilitates reality. If you have realistically estimated the time involved and marked it on your calendar, it’s simple to see if you are over-committing. I, for one, frequently list far too many projects for the time allotted if I fail to visually map out the tasks on a calendar.

One of my most important projects for first quarter 2012 is paring my 198-page ebook, “The Six Week Marketing Master Plan” to Four Weeks.

  • Step one is to revise the 45-day table of contents (toc) outline to a new 30-day outline.

My TOC outline is due on/before next Tuesday. I estimate it could take as long as three to four hours to complete. My calendar has time blocked for completion of this task.

  • Step two, the copy portion of the project gets more complicated.  Working from the toc outline I plan to complete all content rewrites prior to February 15. I will then and submit the new product to a graphic designer for finalization.
  • Step three, the finalization of the project will be complete on/before March 15, 2012.

I determined one action – the rewrite of this ebook – could significantly impact my business in the next few months. I added accountability to my own project with a promise to copy someone else on my toc outline due next Tuesday. Then, I published my own deadlines here for the world to see.

It’s simple, this effort of gearing up to pare down.

What one action could have a real impact on your business for the next few months?

What’s stopping you from taking action?

Ultimate Blog Challenge Nets ProfitMeister Posts About Marketing Master Plan

October 3, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

ProfitMeister, a DIY smart marketing strategies blog founded by Mary Ellen Merrigan, joined October’s Ultimate Blog Challenge.

The Ultimate Blog Challenge, hosted by Michele Scism and Michelle Shaeffer, offers accountability and a learning opportunity for those wanting to increase their blog power.

Challenge participants post 31 times during the month, working with other bloggers to increase readers and traffic. There is a 100 word minimum on each post. (NOTE: The Ultimate Blog Challenge is free. The requirement is 31 times during the month, not specifically one time per day, so if you want to accept  the challenge, go for it!)

October’s Profitmeister posts will focus on the corresponding topic of the day from the Smart Marketing Master Plan E-Book, produced earlier this year.

The Smart Marketing series has also been accepted as a marketing certificate series for UNMCE, University of New Mexico Continuing Education.

In a series of six three-hour classes class members will develop a master marketing plan for their business. A step-by-step workbook accompanies each week’s presentation. Each section costs $89 and runs from 6pm – 9pm on Mondays. Attendance is limited to 16.

Smart Marketing Series – UNM Continuing Education

55611 Smart Marketing 1: Assess, Differentiate and Audit Your Firm’s Status – October 25, 2010
55612 Smart Marketing 2: Define Your Target, Develop Content Strategy – November 1, 2010
55613 Smart Marketing 3: Review Competitors, Develop Keywords – November 15, 2010
55614 Smart Marketing 4: Select and implement social media tactics – November 22, 2010
55615 Smart Marketing 5: Collateral and other content specifics – December 6, 2010
55616: Smart Marketing 6: Strategic ways to tie your plan together – December 13, 2010

The Ultimate Challenge Blog Postings will follow the topics as outlined for the marketing class series, thus serving as an additional resource for the class.

About Mary Ellen Merrigan

Mary Ellen Merrigan has developed successful, sales-building D.I.Y. (Do it Yourself) smart marketing strategies for a wide range of clients and promotes the benefits of combining traditional and social media. She is the author of “The Six Week Master Marketing Plan: An hour a day to take your business to the next level,” available online. Freelance graphics designer Maria G. Nozza of Design and Thrive collaborated with Mary Ellen to produce a content-packed e-book that encompasses marketing today. Maria specializes in visual graphics and continues to study web marketing. Take your business to a new level with a marketing action plan.

Six-Week Marketing Plan E-Book Launches Online

May 9, 2010 by · Comments Off on Six-Week Marketing Plan E-Book Launches Online 

Simplify marketing with “The Six-Week Marketing Master Plan: an easy, step-by step action plan to boost your business in one hour per day,” published this April by Mary Ellen Merrigan and Maria G. Nozza.

The 157-page e-book, now available online, serves small business owners with no marketing department, service providers, coaches and consultants.

A series of questions and exercises guides participants through the experience offering an all-in-one guide to marketing. As users complete the program they produce a solid foundation for their own visibility program.

The master plan idea began as an outline for one client. Then, as Mary Ellen collaborated with Maria on a website revision, the two challenged each other to walk their talk. The two made a 45-day pact to work on their business.

Discussions with other clients developed into a beta test.

“The book almost wrote itself,” Merrigan said. Every Monday I delivered the next week’s assignments to my beta group of ten.”

“This is a 360-degree view of a firm. It can be a daunting experience, overwhelming even, to consider on your own,” Merrigan continued. “Realistically, 6WMMP solidifies everything and lets you streamline your communication.”

Within 45 days working just one hour per day, participants have a complete plan for their business. The guide helps them assess their current efforts, evaluate specifics, list to do’s and set immediate goals.

Designer Maria G. Nozza made the user experience easier with a visual presentation to support the user. High-impact visuals, easy-to-follow directions, and a consistent presentation make this workbook appealing.

Feedback has been gratifying. One experienced entrepreneur printed the workbook and now uses it for a reference. Others mention the opportunity to concentrate on one facet of the business at a time.

Chapters include:

Week One, “Getting Started,” concentrates on overview, offering a template for evaluating current marketing efforts. This module supports existing businesses as well as startups.

Week Two, “Find Your Audience and Seek Them Out,” offers an in-depth look at target marketing as participants research and reach for their potential customers.

Week Three, “Find Your Competitors and Your Keywords,” begins to define the nuances separating a business from others with flagship content.

Week Four, “Social Media,” concentrates on incorporating social strategies into a marketing plan, exploring tips on bios, “about my company” paragraphs, email signatures and more.

Week Five, “Develop Content Plan,” helps participants outline promotional collateral as well as media to showcase on the website.

Week Six, “Strategic Marketing,” discusses promotional strategies, editorial calendars and long-range strategic solutions. A one-page marketing plan incorporates the previous week’s work into a marketing visual for the future.

The final three days in the Six Week Marketing Master Plan include a review of accomplishments, challenges and an implementation schedule.

Each week of the effort builds on the previous work. By the end of the 45 day period, an entrepreneur will review every aspect of his plan from branding and visual image to aspects of search engine optimization including keywords and backlinks.

“We wanted to make it easier for solopreneurs,” Merrigan said. “They really can do it themselves, thanks to the plan.”

The Six Week Marketing Master Plan sells for $69.95 and can be purchased from http://www.sixweekmarketingplan.com.

Additional offerings including video as well as teleseminars will be forthcoming from the Merrigan-Nozza duo.

Tips Booklet Accents Communication for Service-based Businesses

April 21, 2010 by · Comments Off on Tips Booklet Accents Communication for Service-based Businesses 

Fourteen experts collaborated to publish Communicating for Profit – 70 Tips for Coaches, Consultants, and Service-based Businesses, a tips booklet launched this month.

Mary Ellen Merrigan, one of the participants, offers Simplify Marketing in Five Easy Steps. She plans to use the booklet as a bonus product for her consulting practice.

In discussing the booklet, she emphasized the importance of bite-sized information for solopreneurs in particular.

“Most service-based businesses live in overwhelm. The urgencies of day-to-day deadlines prevent them from concentrating on the important, long-term development issues. A harried person will read one tip; tackling an entire book takes too much of a commitment.”

 “Communicating for Profit offers realistic ideas,” Mary Ellen adds. “If you feel stuck, read one of these tips and act. You’ll move.”

From improving a website to leveraging case-studies, writing faster to making each phone call count, the Tips Booklet offers suggestions anyone can leverage to profit.

In true social media style, Mary Ellen discovered the booklet opportunity through a LinkedIn message from fellow participant Casey Hibbard, a case-study expert. Hibbard, author of Stories That Sell, first collaborated with Mary Ellen in a 10-year anniversary project for the Santa Fe Business Incubator.

The booklet, published by Paulette Ensign, Founder of Tips Products International, The Booklet Queen, includes the following experts from across the US plus Canada and Australia:

Denise Clancey, Teledirect Partners   – Make each telephone call count 

Thomas G. Crane, Crane Consulting  – Leaders get what they coach to – not hope for

Philippa Gamse, CMC Total ‘Net Value, Inc.  – Web strategies that win  

Daphne Gray-Grant, The Publication Coach  – How to write faster            

Samantha Hartley, Enlightened Marketing – Enlightened marketing grows your brand                    

Casey Hibbard, Compelling Cases – Selling with customer success stories        

George C. Huang, M.D. Freedompreneur Coaching – Paid introductory sessions that sell                           

Helena Kaufman, Express Lane Writing & Speaking – Use the 5Ws to organize your communication success

Barbara McNichol, Barbara McNichol Editorial – Write persuasively                  

Sarah Mitchell, Global Copywriting – Successful lead nurturing strategies   

Mary Ellen Merrigan, Merrigan Group LLC  Simplify marketing in five easy steps

Linda Claire Puig, Claire Communications – Newsletters: The #1 marketing tool                      

Keri Stewart, Keri Stewart  – Increase your bottom line with assessments

Trudy Van Buskirk, Smallbizbuilder  – Overcoming perceived or real barriers in business

Contact Mary Ellen via email (Maryellen at Merrigan Group dot com ) to get your copy of Tips Booklet, to purchase printed copies of this booklet as a customized promotional tool for marketing your own business, or license the downloadable version for other promotional applications.

E-course Leverages Elements of Customer Loyalty

July 2, 2009 by · Comments Off on E-course Leverages Elements of Customer Loyalty 

ladder“Ladders take you step-by-step to a destination. I talk about ‘loyalty ladders’ for two reasons: 1.) Loyalty, like rings on a ladder, leads you to the goal of keeping your customers, and 2.) A broken rung causes needless problems. Your loyalty plan is as strong as its weakest rung.”

Mary Ellen Merrigan specializes in creating loyal customers. Combining her passion for entrepreneurship with a love for teaching, she launches an e-course, “Seven Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back for More.”

Every four days for one month subscribers receive an article about creating customer loyalty. An eighth “bonus” article includes the nice element: the benefits of thank you.

Each mini course offers a loyalty element, a get-started step and food for thought. Together, the seven elements – newsletters, website, postcards, e-mail, surveys, blog, online media room – work to build your current customer base and help you attract new clients.

A related presentation, “Customer Loyalty; How to Create it and How to Keep it,” discusses why ‘satisfied’ customers can leave you in a heartbeat. The Think LOCAL! Lunch club is open to members of AIBA on Wednesday, July 8,2009.

About the Author:

Mary Ellen  is president of Connecting Point Communications and founder of ProfitMeister. She has developed successful D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) smart marketing strategies for a wide range of clients and promotes the benefits of combining traditional and online media. Join Mary Ellen at www.ProfitMeister.com/blog/, Facebook or Twitter to learn how you can create customer loyalty and attract new clients.

Special Report About Online Media Rooms Posts on ProfitMeister Website

January 1, 2009 by · Comments Off on Special Report About Online Media Rooms Posts on ProfitMeister Website 

A Special Report, Tell the World! Step by Step to Publicity: The Starter Kit for Adding an Online Media Room, Press Room or News Center to Your Website, is now available in the resource section of ProfitMeister. Mary Ellen researched and wrote Tell the World in response to positive feedback as a result of presenting more than 10 Online Media Room Seminars.

The report emphasizes the ease of building an online media room and controlling your own publicity. While thousands of options exist for promoting your business, this one involves ideas you can implement that will work 24/7 on the Internet. 

A 14-page document, Tell the World! contains examples of fact sheets, bio sketches, and news release calendars from projects produced by Connecting Point Communications during the past few months.

“Carpenters use the same basic tools – hammer, saw and nails – to produce dramatically different results. The same is true with Online Media Rooms. Use these three starter pieces and begin a more interactive communication with your prospects, customers, and potentially, the media,” Mary Ellen said.

Seminar participants frequently mention Mary Ellen’s easy-to-understand-style and practical information. One participant, Joan E Brugnone of Huggs and Friends said, “Very well presented especially to a media dummy.” Comments from other attendees include:

 “I heard you speak about online media rooms at the Mile Hi Church Business Honoring Spirituality group last week.  It was a great talk and I was inspired to set one up for the non-profit that I run (www.LifeSparkNow.org). I have created a fact sheet and I already have a couple of press releases.” Sandy Priester, www.LifeSparkNow.org

“Very good simple ideas that are easy to incorporate right now.” Miriam Ortiz y Pino, Professional Organizer http://www.morethanorganized.net/

“Presented key concepts of online media room and described its benefits. Presented “how-to” in a clear, non-threatening manner.” Sharon Steely, Sr. Graphic Designer, UNM (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM)

“Mary Ellen’s program was clear and easy to follow. It was inspiring and practical.” Susan Zimmerman, artist

“Made me aware of where the info should be: new rules. High-priced advice and results at a bargain price!” Lawrence Kohlman, Owner, Kohlman Health

Keep abreast of all Special Reports from ProfitMeister.com by signing up for the free monthly newsletter. Access Tell the World! pdf now.

New Book Offers Marketing and Branding ‘How To’

July 21, 2008 by · Comments Off on New Book Offers Marketing and Branding ‘How To’ 

bm-cover2a8aNEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
DATE: July 21, 2008

New Book Offers Marketing and Branding ‘How To’
Local Author Mary Ellen Merrigan Weighs in on Timeless Topic

Albuquerque, NM — Business owners struggling with marketing and branding have a new reference tool for their efforts in a Guide book that discusses an internal approach to messaging.

Local marketing and publicity specialist, Mary Ellen Merrigan, collaborated with eight other coaches to publish “A Guide to Getting it: Branding and Marketing Mastery,” available for $14.95 at amazon.com.

Everything is marketing,” Mary Ellen states. “Entrepreneurs can build their brand faster as a result of the ideas, stories and tools from business coaches who’ve been there.

Mary Ellen addresses loyalty in her chapter, The Evolution of Loyalty: Five Steps to Branding. “You build on self-knowledge and authenticity and then add platform identity, brand communication and client care to get to the five steps,” she said. She presents a Loyalty Audit on her website www.profitmeister.com and peppers her seminars with tales of loyalty gone right and wrong.

The theme of branding as an inside-out job repeats throughout the book. Each expert maintains that in a world of marketing noise or hype, authenticity differentiates the businessperson’s signature message from clones and wannabes. A forward note from editor, Marilyn Schwader promises: “Apply the lessons here and you will build your business in an authentic, inspired way.

Branding and Marketing Mastery is the tenth in a series of Guide books edited by life and business coaches and published by Schwader. For more information, see www.clarityofvision.com/guide.

Chapters and authors included in this book:

  • Creating a Visionary and Focused Marketing Strategy by Marilyn Schwader
  • Mass Appeal Equals No Appeal: Discovering Your Niche Market by Cheri Alguire
  • Attracting Baby Boomer Women to Your Business by Jane Lee Williams
  • Branding: The Soul of Your Business by Judy Winslow
  • Authentic Branding by Dawn Andrews
  • The Evolution of Loyalty: Five Steps to Branding by Mary Ellen Merrigan
  • The 7 Marketing Archetypes and How to Deal With Them by Dr. Miriam Reiss
  • Networking: The Insider’s Guide to Finding and Leveraging Your Best Opportunities by Kim Lysik Di Santi
  • Quantum Marketing by Jille Bartolome

About Connecting Point Communications:

Mary Ellen Merrigan formed Connecting Point Communications (http://www.myconnectingpoint.com) to help entrepreneurs combine traditional and online media for snap, crackle and pop in communications. For more than 20 years.

Mary Ellen worked in the competitive arena of radio advertising and directed sales teams in business communications. Her experience “herding cats” and her background in media sales, management and training provide an eclectic perspective for business positioning.

In addition to tending two cats, Mary Ellen beads, needlepoints, publishes a monthly newsletter, ProfitMeister, and maintains a blog about all things marketing at http://www.profitmeister.com.