Marketing Tip #10 | How to Identify a Qualified Lead

How to Identify a Qualified Lead

  In Marketing Tip #9 we discussed the difference between prospects and leads.

Marketing and networking, whether it be traditional or online via your website and social media, attracts prospects. When someone first visits your website, calls, emails, or approaches you online or at a networking event, he is a prospect but not necessarily a qualified lead.

You will be more efficient and save time and money if you learn to group those prospects who can’t/won’t end up being customers and may only want free information and advice into the Prospect category. Those who met your custom lead criteria become your Qualified Leads and are actually worth pursuing and spending time and effort trying to convert.

How can you identify a Qualified Lead?

Develop a quick 4-question survey to evaluate prospects. Click here for a template to get you started. 

If you implement a quick analysis survey before accepting coffee or lunch meetings or entering into lengthy phone calls or email exchanges, you may find that, while you are spending less time on fewer leads, you are able to close more business.  And won’t that be wonderful?

This is the second in a series on prospects vs. leads. Click here to read Are You Wasting Your Time on Prospects?

Promotion Idea: 31+ Unique March Holidays

You’ve mailed out discounts, offered repeat customers free services or products, and now you feel stuck. How do you reach new people and keep your current customers coming back? Relax. We have something you can try. Holidays.

You may be saying to yourself, “What? That doesn’t make sense!” But it does. Use traditional holidays or create new holidays to offer your customers coupons and discounts. Both can give customers a good ol’ laugh and you a reason to connect. The result? Customer satisfaction and business growth. Win. Win.

Here are some examples:

  • March 2 is National Dress in Blue Day. Give customers the ability to wear blue, snap a picture, and submit it for 5% off their next order.
  • The blues got you down? Try March 14 instead. Pi Day opens up the communication lines with your customers as you can share and swap pie recipes or offer “berry good deals.”
  • Don’t have a sweet tooth? Don’t fret! March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. Use this to your advantage to create a holiday geared towards your industry or ask your customers what holiday they would create.

Here are some existing holidays to use as idea starters:

Month-long celebrations

Red Cross Month

Employee Spirit Month

International Ideas Month

National Frozen Food Month

Holiday Weeks

National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week (March 1-7)

Universal Women’s Week (March 8-14)

National Spring Fever Week (March 18-24)

Daily Holidays

1 – National Pig Day

2 – National Dress In Blue Day

3 – What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs? Day

4 – Cadbury Chocolates Birthday (debut 1824)

5 – Namesake Day

6 – Michalangelo’s Birthday (1475)

7 – National Be Heard Day

8 – Organize Your Home Office Day

9 – Panic Day

10 – First Telephone Message (Sent 1876)

11 – Daylight Savings

12 – Napping Day

13 – K-9 Veterans Day

14 – Pi Day

15 – Absolutely Incredible Kid Day

16 – Freedom of Information Day

17 – St. Patrick’s Day

18 – Awkward Moments Day

19 – Let’s Laugh Day

20 – First Day of Spring

21 – National Common Courtesy Day

22 – As Young As You Feel Day

23 – World Turtle Day

24 – National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

25 – Pecan Day

26 – Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

27 – Quirky Country Music Song Title Day

28 – Memorial Day

29 – National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

30 – I am in Control Day

31 – Earth Hour – 8:30 PM

The possibilities created by using holidays as a marketing theme are endless. Turn each day into your own, and keep your customers coming back for more. Come back next month for some April holidays that will have you hopping to new heights!

Marketing Tip #9 | Are You Wasting Time on Prospects?

Are you wasting your time on prospects?

There is a fine line between wasting time with a prospect and spending quality time pursuing a lead. Understanding the difference will save you time and money.

Think back to math class where you learned that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.  In much the same way, all leads are prospects, but not all prospects are leads.

A lead is only a lead if it is qualified. To be qualified, a lead must be the right kind of client or customer for your business. In addition to having a need for your product or service, a qualified lead fits your business model and is able — from both an authority and budget perspective — to purchase your offering.

How many coffee meetings or phone conversations have you accepted hoping they would turn into business when, instead, they turned out to be a waste of your time?

This is the first in a series on prospects vs. leads. Learn how to identify qualified leads in Marketing Tip #10 in early March. Additional free Marketing Tips are available by clicking here.

Marketing Tip #8 | What does your email address say about you?

Whether you realize it or not, you have an online identity – and an online reputation.

Even if you have not registered on many of the social media sites, the email address you use already says a lot about you. Does your email address reflect who you are? Is your name part of your email address? Should it be? It depends on you and the image you want to portray.

If you plan to use email and social media for personal reasons, it’s okay to use your pet’s name or hobby as part of your online identity. The more professional the reasons for your foray into social media, the more professional your email address and online identity should be.

If you are trying to find a job or using social media for business purposes, an email address that includes your name like congers up a much more professional image than

If you have a work email address, you’ll need to decide if you want to use it for your social media endeavors. A word of caution: since you will not be employed at your current job forever, before you leave the company, you will need to change your email address on sites you want to access afterward. This could be a hassle.

Click here to learn more in our blog posting “Who Do you want to be online?”

Marketing Tip #7 | Creating a Winning Brand

Creating a Winning Brand

The success of a small business relies, in part, on the company’s ability to create a winning brand. In order to be successful, you must create a memorable reputation — and part of that reputation lies in your ability to successfully brand your company, products and services.

The idea of branding is not new. Branding dates back to 2000 B.C. when inscriptions on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs indicate that cattle were branded. What has changed is how you create a winning brand in today’s online-intense marketplace.

Successful companies create strong brands around colors, images, logos, shapes, slogans and taglines.

Coca-Cola has been called the world’s most iconic beverage.  The company consistently and very deliberately, uses their trademark red, the distinctive Coke glass bottle figure, their script logo, and targeted slogans.  Below is one of their latest videos. When I posted this, the video was less than 2 hours old and had 306 views.  It will be interesting to see how many views it has when you read this.

Free Branding Assessment Tool

Coke’s consistent branding has resulted in a strong consumer following. You can do the same with your branding.

To learn how to brand your products, services and company as consistently as Coke, start with a quick branding assessment. Click here to download Reciprocate’s free branding assessment tool. You’ll also receive an exclusive offer to receive a free company branding of your Constant Contact emails. But hurry, the Constant Contact branding offer expires Feb. 29, 2012.

Marketing Tip #6 | Marketing to your Customers’ Pain Points

How to Market to your Customers’
Pain Points

Once you have identified the Pain Points, you can identify the solutions available from your product/service.

In your marketing messages, reinforce that you understand what your customers really need. Illustrate or demonstrate their pain point and how your product/service can take away their pain. Clearly define the Pain Point that your product/service is addressing.

When you market your products or service directly to solve those pain points, your customers will respond.

To help keep your marketing efforts focused, create a Customer Pain Point Analysis document. Click here for a Customer Pain Point Analysis template.

This is the third in a series of Marketing Tips on Pain Points. Click below to read previous posts:

Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

What small business can learn from chocolate

Business can learn a lot from chocolate


  • Some customers will pay more for the prestige of owning/using your product/service (Godiva).
  • Some customers will buy the cheapest version available (generic chocolate-flavored baking chips) because quality just don’t matter to them, because a premium price point is higher than anticipated, or because that is what they can afford or chose to afford. 


  • Sometimes it’s how you package your products and services that encourages purchases. (How many colors of M&Ms can you think of? Trust me, the green ones taste just like the red ones!)
  • Sometimes it’s how you bundle your offerings (individual Cadbury eggs or a 3-pack). Encourage “add-on” purchases by making it easy for customers to buy more without having to think.

Creative Marketing

  • The Milk Chocolate Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand
    Use a tagline that will emphasizes your Unique Selling Point (USP) and is memorable. 
  • Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t
    Know your audience and adapt your marketing message and product/service offerings to the media — postings appropriate for your business Facebook wall probably shouldn’t be used as LinkedIn updates
  • Gimme a break…Gimme a break…Break me off a piece of that…
    Make your brand more than just a product or service. Tell your audience how your product can transform their lives and attitudes, if only for a moment.

What have you learned from chocolate?

Promotion Idea: 29+ Unique February Holidays

Marketing can be scary for some. It means planning and putting yourself and your business out there. Don’t fret! Marketing can be fun! Try this technique to bring in a few customers and a few more laughs. Unique and wacky holidays can create a marketing strategy to keep your customers coming back for more. Take these days for example:

February 4 is Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. Create a poll to find out what ice cream your customers like best! Or, better yet, hide an ice cream flavor somewhere on your website. Customers who find the flavor can enter it as a coupon code and save 5 percent.

If ice cream is too cold of an approach for you, turn February 12 into your own Grammy Awards Ceremony, presenting your customers with $5 off their next purchase.

If the Grammys don’t have you running down the red carpet, For Pete’s Sake Day is a great time to have customers share their favorite verbal phrases of frustration (appropriate for all ears of course!)

Here are more unique February holidays:

Month-long celebrations

Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month

International Expect Success Month

Pull Your Sofa Off The Wall Month

Holiday Weeks

Freelance Writers Appreciation Week (Feb. 6-12)

Random Acts of Kindness Week (Feb. 13-19)

National Entrepreneurship Week (Feb. 18-25)

Daily Holidays

1 – Change Your Password Day (declared by Gizmodo)

2 – Groundhog Day

3 – Wear Red Day

4 – Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

5 – Super Bowl XLVI

6 – Pay a Compliment Day

7 – Ballet Day

8 – Laugh and Get Rich Day

9 – Read In the Bathtub Day

10 – Umbrella Day

11 – Be Electrific Day

12 – Grammy Awards Ceremony

13 – Get a Different Name Day

14 – Valentine’s Day

15 – National Gum Drop Day

16 – Do A Grouch A Favor Day

17 – World Human Spirit Day

18 – Thumb Appreciation Day

19 – Chocolate Mint Day

20 – President’s Day

21 – Mardi Gras

22 – World Thinking Day

23 – Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day

24 – National Tortilla Chip Day

25 – International Sword Swallower’s Day

26 – For Pete’s Sake Day

27 – International Polar Bear Day

28 – Floral Design Day

29 – Leap Year Day

While we have listed some holidays to get started, feel free to create your own. Or, check out the previous calendars Reciprocate has provided. Make sure to do some quick research on your holidays though. From year to year, some holidays change dates. Regardless of your methods to marketing, creativity and a little fun can take you and your business a long way!

Marketing Tip #5 | Identifying Customers’ Pain Points

How to ID Your Customers’ Pain Points

Try to understand your customer in terms of the Pain Points they are experiencing. Learn to recognize these Pain Points by asking questions and listening. Here are a few ideas:

  • Imagine a day in the life of your customer
    What problem does your product or service address?
  • Ask current customers about their lifestyles and goals
    How do they perceive themselves?
  • Ask customers what motivates them – and what doesn’t.
    Find out what the customer really needs
  • What is the true source of pain?
    Sometimes, you’ll need to read between the lines and listen past the immediate requests
  • Who sees the most value in having that pain removed?
    These will be your best customers
  • Who will ultimately pay for a solution?
    The end user of your product/service is not always the one who pays i.e. child/parent or pet/owner

Example Pain Points

Imagine you own a restaurant. You might be addressing not only a customer’s Pain Point and need for nutrition but also the Pain Point for a place to gather with friends without having to clean the house, a place to watch sports on multiple screens, somewhere to escape from work or home, or a place to celebrate. And the type of food you offer – healthy, inexpensive, ethnic – also might address your customers’ Pain Points.

This is the second in a series of Marketing Tips on Pain Points. Click here to read Understanding Pain Points. Additional posts, including a Customer Pain Point Analysis Template, will be posted in the next few weeks.  Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

Marketing Tip #4 | Understanding Pain Points

Understanding Pain Points

Do you understand why your customers buy your product or service?  I mean really understand what makes them buy?

Nothing motivates a person quite like pain.

While that might sound harsh, one of the best ways to increase sales is to identify your customers’ Pain Points and then position your company to deliver solutions that relieve these issues.

Customers with a burning need for something – their Pain Point – are highly motivated to alleviate this pain by buying what you have to offer.

What Pain Points do your customers have?  Sample Pain Points include:

  • time pressure
  • social pressure
  • work pressure
  • family pressure

Pain Point Solutions

  • Do you provide fast service?
  • A status symbol?
  • An efficient way to do business?
  • A solution for a busy parent?
This is the first in a series of Marketing Tips on Pain Points. Additional posts, including a Customer Pain Point Analysis Template, will be posted in the next few weeks.  Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.
Receive Marketing Tips for FREE

Marketing Tip #2 | Check Your Online Reputation

Check your Online Reputation

Do you know what others are finding when they look for you and your company on the internet? Do you know what is really out there?

To check your online reputation, Google your name, your company name, your product name, your industry, and your competition.

You can easily discover your online reputation by clicking on all the links you find. Are you pleased with what you read?

  • Claim company listings on directory and review sites. Add information and your logo.
  •  If you find negative reviews, address them immediately by positively responding using your real name. Don’t ever create false reviews.

Here’s a link to a Google Search Results template to help you track your online reputation.

If you would like help turning around a negative online reputation, contact Reciprocate LLC today for a free consultation.

Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

Receive Marketing Tips for FREE

Marketing Tip #1 | Create a Monthly Marketing Calendar

Create a Monthly Marketing Calendar

Choose one marketing theme for each month in a year. Then feature the theme on your website, in social media postings and in all your monthly marketing efforts.

The themes will also give you new points for discussion at networking events and a reason to approach prospects throughout the year.

Here’s a link to a Monthly Marketing Calendar template to get you started.

Need an idea for a theme? Check out the Reciprocate blog postings featuring unique holidays.

Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Receive Marketing Tips for FREE


How to Create a Marketing Myth Guaranteed to Increase Sales

Marketing doesn’t have to be hard — or time consuming — and can even be fun. Here’s a simple way to use a modern twist on mythology that is guaranteed to increase sales whether you are a B2B or B2C.

Marketing Mythology

Create a mythological character, MTC (MyTypicalCustomer), based on your target market. Artist talent is not required; you can even use an online photo of an anonymous person. As you create MTC,  answer these questions to help you determine what is important to MTC and why MTC is your target customer.

  • What does MTC look like?
  • Do you have several MTCs — male, female, different ages  or even different education levels?
  • What does MTC do for a living?
  • Does MTC work/study in the city, suburbs, at home?
  • How does MTC spend his/her spare time?
  • Does MTC have any hobbies?
  • What is MTC’s family life like? Does he have kids? Aging parents?
  • Where does MTC live? Does he live in the city, suburbs or rural area? On a farm, in a mansion, or in an apartment?
  • Does MTC recycle or place high importance on green companies and products?
  • What pets does MTC have?
  • Does MTC donate to charities? Which ones?
  • Is MTC tech savvy?  How much time does he spend on the computer each day?
  • Does MTC own a smartphone or mobile device? What apps does he use the most?
  • Is MTC active on Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter?
  • What problem does MTC have that your products or services can help solve?
  • What words does MTC use when looking for the solution to this problem?
    These become the keywords you should use everywhere online — on your website, in your social media profiles and posts, and in directory listings.

Now that you have created your Mythological Marketing character, keep MTC with you. Hang MTC on your office wall. Attach MTC to your monitor. Use MTC as your screensaver or wallpaper.  Throughout the day, ask yourself these questions:

  • wwMTCt? (What Would MyTypicalCustomer Think?)
  • Would MTC be moved to action by your decision or bored by your message?
  • Create calls to action that will inspire MTC to pick up the phone/email/purchase your product or service.
There, as easy as that, you’ve created a Marketing Myth guaranteed to increase sales.  By keeping MTC top of mind when making business decisions, you will find that your business becomes more focused on your target customer and your sales will increase.

We’d love to see your MTC creations. Please share them on our Facebook page

Promotion Idea: 31+ Unique January Holidays

Looking for a new marketing strategy to put you ahead of your competition? Finding new ways to bring in customers can be tricky. Try out this fun marketing strategy and see what fun it brings!

Using bizarre holidays can catch the eye of your future customers. It can also keep your current customers coming back for more!

On January 4th, Trivia Day, have fun trivia questions that lead your customers through your website, hunting for answers and reward them with 10% off their next purchase.

If trivia isn’t your game, try January 14th, Dress Up Your Pet Day. Post a photo of your pet dressed up and encourage your customers to send in pictures of their pets! Don’t have a pet? No problem! Change it to January 15th and use National Hat Day as an excuse to post a picture of yourself in a wacky hat. Once again, this is another great way to get your customers involved as they can post pictures of themselves in wacky hats as well!

Don’t forget to take advantage of Get to Know Your Customers Day on January 19th!

Month-long Celebrations

International Creativity Month

International New Year’s Resolutions Month For Businesses

Holiday Weeks

Someday we’ll Laugh about This Week (Jan. 2-8)

Home Office Safety and Security Week (Jan. 8-14)

Clean Out Your Inbox Week (Jan. 23-27)

Daily Holidays

1 – New Year’s Day

2 – Tournament of Roses Parade Day

3 – Drinking Straw Day

4 – Trivia Day

5 – Elvis’ Birthday Celebration Begins

6 – Three Kings Day

7 – International Programmers’ Day

8 – Show and Tell Day at Work

9 – National Clean Off Your Desk Day

10 – National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

11 – Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day

12 – National Pharmacist Day

13 – Friday The 13th

14 – Dress up Your Pet Day

15 – National Hat Day

16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

17 – Kid Inventors Day

18 – Winnie the Pooh Day

19 – Get to Know Your Customers Day

20 – Penguin Awareness Day

21 – National Hugging Day

22 – Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day

23 – National Pie Day

24 – National Compliment Day

25 – Macintosh Computer Day

26 – National Peanut Brittle Day

27 – Punch the Clock Day

28 – Fun at Work Day

29 – National Puzzle Day

30 – National Inane (not a typo!) Answering Message Day

31 – Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Take these wacky holidays or even create your own! The marketing possibilities are endless. Just be creative and keep your customers wanting more!

Page 3 of 512345