Alex Figliolia, Jr. Supports The Wounded Warriors Project

The Wounded Warriors Project is a non-profit organization that benefits injured U.S. veterans by helping them to recover and re-integrate into civilian life. It was founded in 2003 by John Melia, a wounded veteran who was injured while serving in Somalia in the early 1990s. He started out by filling backpacks with comfort items for patients at the Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Medical Center. The program grew under the United Spinal Association of New York and became a stand-alone program in 2005. The program currently focuses its efforts on veterans who were injured in military action after September 11, 2001. It offers an array of programs that target the mind, the body, economic empowerment, and social engagement.

Mind

Not all wounds are visible; many veterans return from war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other psychological problems resulting from their experiences and the difficulties of adjusting to civilian life. The Wounded Warriors Project offers peer-to-peer support programs, outdoor retreats, and professional counseling services to help veterans deal with mental health issues. The Combat Stress Recovery Program is a comprehensive program that seeks to support a veteran’s readjustment process by taking into consideration the warrior’s point of view.

Body

The Wounded Warriors Project offers physical health and wellness programs that are designed to aid recovery and rehabilitation. These programs include adaptive sports, fitness training, nutrition support, and mind/body wellness activities. One of the featured programs in this category is Soldier Ride, a four-day cycling event that provides adaptive bicycles for any type of injury.

Economic Empowerment

Finding employment opportunities can be a challenge for injured veterans because they may have been out of the workforce for awhile and/or their injuries may prevent them from doing the work they were previously qualified to do. The Wounded Warriors Project helps veterans get training and support if they can move into a new line of work. The program also facilitates government benefit programs that can keep unemployed veterans financially stable.

Engagement

The Wounded Warriors Project offers ongoing social support for veterans through alumni and family support groups along with advocacy on legislative issues. The Wounded Warriors Packs are gift-filled backpacks that communicate support to veterans in hospitals around the world. Alex Figliolia Jr. is a businessman and philanthropist who supports the Wounded Warriors Project in order to express appreciation for the sacrifices made by military service personnel.

Marketing – How Do You Know That Your Marketing Activities Are Successful?

When we market our services, we always expect that we’ll have hoards of new clients demanding to do business with us. While that’s a delightful fantasy, it’s very unlikely to happen. What can you expect to happen and how can you figure out why that is not happening. Here are some ideas about what you can expect of a successful marketing campaign to sell your services.

1. Interested prospects will have questions and want more information.

You’ll know that your marketing is successful when you’re getting interest and attention from prospects who need your services. They will have questions, and will request more information from you. Though they are far from sold, they now know that you provide the service they need, and you’re “on their radar”. If you are not getting interested prospects asking for more information, there’s a strong possibility that your marketing writing and website writing has not clearly delineated a target market and the specifics of their problems. Unless you target your marketing writing, there’s absolutely no reason why anyone would show interest. Look at this from their viewpoint. You have obviously not cared enough about the potential client’s needs or it would be obvious in your website writing.

2. Your target market will be introduced to your business and identify you as a potential service provider.

Among all possible candidates to provide the needed services, your business should come into sharp focus to your target market. Your business no longer seems to be one of many competitors for the prospect’s budget. The prospect has identified you as a serious contender. If you are not getting this reaction from your marketing activities, your marketing writing and website writing has not done a good enough job of laying out the benefits that your clients get. You want your target market to completely understand how their lives will benefit from working with you. You must demonstrate value through the words you use in your marketing materials.

3. You will end up in a series of situations where you must explain your business in a minute or so.

You can expect to need to be able to captivate the attention of your target market in fewer than 60 seconds. In order to have any possibility of selling your services, you must be prepared with an effective elevator speech (30-60 seconds) that “grabs” and holds, and provides an opportunity that lead to a more in-depth conversation. If you fumble and bumble when asked what your business does, you will appear to be an amateur. Prospects will cross you off their list of potential providers, and take their money and continue their search.

4. You’ll get calls, emails, or contacts from your website, with prospects asking to talk with you.

You’ll know that your marketing is successful when you are contacted by prospects wanting to speak to you about your services. They have read your marketing writing or website writing, and they are seriously interested. If you get these sorts of contacts, typically, it means that they have informed themselves about what your business does and are considering you as a provider. You are a contender for their business. If you are not having this happen, it means that your website writing and marketing writing have not given enough details about how your business works and how your services work. Prospects read what you have written and either don’t know enough to develop sincere interest, or aren’t excited about how you have described your business.

5. Your target market understands your business and knows how your services work.

When your marketing is successful, your target market feels that they understand your business and how it works. They feel well informed. They believe that they know enough to seriously consider working with you. They aren’t full of questions and concerns because your website writing and marketing writing have answered all that – as the prospect needs to know. They have a clear mental picture of what you do and don’t experience any major obstacles to working with you. If you are not having this result from your marketing activities, you must be sure that your description of your services is comprehensive and that your background information is compelling. Done correctly, your website writing and marketing writing demonstrates your competence, experience and training in such a way that prospects feel absolutely certain that you can deliver on the results they want.

If you don’t know how to recognize when your marketing activities are successful, you will be disappointed in your marketing results. You’ll have unrealistic expectations, and won’t recognize your real results. If you’re not experiencing these sorts of successes with your marketing activities, try incorporating these suggestions into your website writing and marketing writing.

Marketing – Aim For A Rich Target Market Where You Can Dominate

Selection of your target market is probably the most critical business decision you will make. Consider this choice carefully, and look for ways that you can position yourself and your business to dominate a rich market. For our purposes here, let’s define a rich market as one that is well-funded, has a crying need, and where you would have few competitors. Look for a market where you have some specialized combination of skills that uniquely qualifies your business to handle specific client needs. Because of this unique skill set, you have few or no competitors. The last part of the equation is that you address a crying need of a market who has both the money and the willingness to pay for services. They appreciate the value of what you provide and benefit richly from your services – and they are ready to buy NOW. Let’s look at some ideas for targeting such a market.

1. Look for a market that is made up of businesses or members who are already successful and thriving.

How can you add value? What can you offer them that would be guaranteed to boost their bottom line? Where do you see inefficiencies or bottlenecks in the way they operate? How can you tailor your services to that industry or group of individuals or businesses? Where do you have expertise that derives from previously working with this target market? What solutions can you create based on your deep knowledge of the problems they face?

2. Explore the advantages of specialized training.

Specialized training sometimes makes sense. Here are a few key factors to examine. How many local competitors will you have with that same specialized training? What is the demand for the specialized training? Will the training give you a distinct advantage over competitors? What is the investment of time and money required for the training and how long would it take to recoup those costs? Would the specialized training, combined with your own background, give you the unique and unbeatable combination of skills that would lead you to a dominant position in your market?

3. What crying need – that is not being addressed – do you observe in a market?

This is where your powers of observation can richly reward you. Every day, these opportunities are obvious to anyone who can “see”, but how often do we absorb this and stop and consider the possibilities? How many times have you thought, “Gee, they really need X”? Of those times, how many times have you written that idea down and did an in-depth exploration? Keep your powers of observation tuned in and follow up on these inspirations.

4. Be ahead of the trends.

Use those same observational skills to spot the trends that will drive market demand in the future. Figure out how you can fill these needs before anyone else does. Sure, there are likely to be copycats, but make your solution the best, most viable, and ultimately the only logical choice. Be ahead of the field, but be sure that your market will be able to understand your innovations.

5. Understand what your market needs and clearly communicate this to them.

Sometimes, your solution will address needs that your target market hasn’t yet even realized or acknowledged that they have. You must be able to communicate this to them in your marketing writing and website writing. You want them to recognize and own their situation and see you as the answer they only just realized that they need. Your marketing writing and website writing must be both sensitive and aware of potential client embarrassment. Be sure that the target market you choose is motivated to succeed and overcome any obstacles.

As you consider selecting a target market, aim for a rich one where you can dominate. There’s little point in choosing a market that is massively competitive where you won’t stand out as the obviously superior provider. Nor does it make a lot of business sense to target a struggling market. Position your business properly and use your marketing writing and website writing to dominate that rich market.

Marketing – How Do You Keep Yourself Motivated To Market When Results Are Scarce?

Marketing is the lifeblood of your service business. Without marketing, your business is unlikely to continue to exist. You must market to bring in new clients. Of course, marketing takes you away from time to perform the services you get paid for, so you may even consider it an annoying “waste of time”. You may even resent the necessity of marketing, and have a whole arsenal of avoidance techniques – even going so far as to do dreaded paperwork rather than marketing.

Let’s say, though that you have resigned yourself to the necessity of marketing. You accept it as a necessary activity. Maybe you’ve even gotten yourself convinced and committed to regular marketing. Now, how do you keep yourself motivated to continue to market, no matter what the results seem to be? Here are some ideas for how you can keep up your marketing motivation.

1. Remind yourself that marketing is both a long-term project and must be a necessary and consistent activity.

You can gripe and complain about this fact, but marketing is a constant in the life of your service business. You can’t expect to get results immediately, or if you only market occasionally. Marketing is a must and you must market regularly. It’s a long-term project and it’s unreasonable to think you’ll get new clients either quickly or from your every marketing activity you do. Marketing takes a while to gain momentum and the trust of your target market. Look at it as if you are building a strong foundation for your business, because, in effect, that is what you are doing.

2. Find marketing activities that you enjoy doing and have absolute certainty that you can stay committed to doing.

Don’t expect to succeed with your marketing by doing activities that you don’t enjoy. Choose those marketing activities that you like to do and that you are already good at. Don’t base your marketing plan on skills you dread using or are not accomplished at. You will be marketing long-term and unless you enjoy it, you will not be able to sustain the activity. In fact, if you choose your strongest skill where you are especially gifted as your major marketing activity, you’ll be the happiest and have the best chances to succeed.

3. Look for a way to create a support structure around your marketing activities.

Since marketing can, at times, feel like an isolating and disheartening activity, look for a way to create a support structure for your marketing. You might hire a marketing coach, or look for a marketing mastermind group. What you want is to associate yourself with others who are committed to the long-term project of marketing, understand what you are going through, and who are both knowledgeable and supportive when it comes to marketing. Create a place where you can get ideas, support and courage to continue your marketing efforts.

4. Expect inevitable disappointments, and plan for how you will deal with discouragement.

There will be times when you expend a great deal of effort and it seems that you get NOTHING in return. That may or may not be true. It could be that you have planted some seeds that will come to fruition in the future. In fact, that is very likely. It’s challenging to restrain yourself from digging up those seeds to see how they’re doing. However, figure out ways to cope when all your marketing effort doesn’t seem to be producing results. No, this does not mean drinking for solace. It means that you need a “marketing buddy” you can brainstorm with, a good hard workout, or a way to reinvigorate your commitment so that you can continue your marketing without interruption.

5. Have a policy that you will continue your marketing consistently – no matter what.

There are times in life where the only difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner gets back up from a disappointment one more time than the loser does. Build the “muscle” that keeps you in the marketing game – no matter what. Typically, when we persist that one more time, that’s the time when we experience a major breakthrough. This is a matter of exerting control over your emotions and performing no matter how you “feel”. Feelings are valuable indicators, but they don’t have to control your performance.

Commit to make marketing your business a habit, and you will find that you are having results in the form of new prospects and new clients. It’s a consistent process, and you must perform consistently. Use these few ideas to keep yourself motivated in marketing when it appears that your results are scarce.

Marketing – Ways To Assess Your Marketing Efforts When It Seems They’re Not Working

You’ve been marketing your service business like crazy, spending hours, weeks and months of concerted effort. Where is the new business? What’s wrong? Why isn’t it working? You’re getting disheartened, and you’re not sure what to do next. It seems like a waste of time, effort and expense to market so hard and not get any results. It’s time to sit back and assess your marketing efforts and see what you can learn. Here are some ideas about how to assess what you’ve been doing.

1. What non-revenue benefits have you derived from your marketing efforts?

Though you have not seen the hoped-for influx of new clients, what other benefits have you gotten from your marketing? This would be things like increasing brand awareness with your target market. Have you positioned your business so that you’re “top of mind” with your target market, so that when they are in need of your services, you’re the first business they think of? Have you improved your search engine rankings, or the risen in search results when someone searches your name on the Internet? Have you positioned yourself as an expert in your industry through publication of articles? What exactly have you gotten out of all your efforts when you are honest about it?

2. Are you unrealistically expecting short-term results from activities that produce long-term results?

Many marketing activities are long-term projects that are unlikely to produce immediate results. However, we’re like a child impatiently snatching the seed from the ground before it can even sprout. Because we have intense financial needs or waited to long to get serious about marketing, we think that if we don’t get instant increases in our business and revenue, we should quit that marketing effort and start another. You must set realistic expectations for your marketing efforts and think of it as required consistent activity.

3. Examine your target market and see if there are any ways that you need to change, re-target, or re-invent your target market.

Perhaps the problem is your choice of target market. Is your market specific enough? Does your market have a crying need for your services? Does your market have the budget for your services? Have you differentiated your business specifically enough so that your market can understand how you are better than your competitors? Is your target market big enough and clearly identifiable? What do you need to change about your target market so that they are a market ready, willing, and able to buy?

4. Do your marketing materials have the ability to convert interested prospects into ready-to-buy prospects?

Don’t go into lengthy and involved marketing campaigns when you don’t have effective marketing materials. “Lightweight” brochures don’t provide enough information so that your prospects can deeply understand your business. Meaningless platitudes about your great service and “say nothing” marketing phrases are not going to turn prospects into clients. Don’t invest heavily in marketing materials that will not convert prospects for you. Tell your target market what they need to know to buy. Demonstrate how you are the solution they have been looking for. Be sure when you engage in your marketing activities, that you have marketing materials that can close the deal for you.

5. Is there anything you’re not doing that you think you should be doing?

Often, in marketing, there are marketing activities that we avoid when we have the feeling we “should” be doing them. Take another look at these activities.What is it about them that makes you resist? Are they activities you hate to do? Do you prefer to spend your time and money elsewhere? Would you have to strengthen some skills – such as public speaking – to pursue them? What is it that gives you the feeling that you should be doing them? Do they feel like the right thing to do, or is it simply because others are doing them? See if you can get to a settled place about these activities. Go forward with them if you know that that’s the right course of action for you. If not, let them go.

It’s a natural and normal occurrence that an extended marketing effort produces uneasy feelings – especially when it seems that there are no results. It’s a time to step back and review what you’ve been doing. Assess your efforts and look for ways to fine tune your marketing. Make adjustments and get back in the marketing game.