Friday, June 30, 2006

The Value of Recognition: Association Awards

"Plaques on the wall don't translate into profits on the bottom line."

Very few things in business translate directly to the bottom line. Sales is the only direct impact - everything else is a cost that indirectly impacts the bottom line. However, plaques on the wall can pay off in a few indirect ways - all of them positive and we need more of that.

Why should business nominate, accept and in general participate in the annual chamber awards program?

Marketing is about sending messages, and winning an award definitely sends a message. The best marketing is when others talk about you like they do when you are nominated or receive an award. This has more credibility than advertising and is longer lasting. Many companies spend lots of money to create a credible image. Winning an award is very cost effective marketing.

When your company wins an award you feel good about your company, your product and yourself. And all of that helps the bottom line. Happy staff tends to translate into happy customers. In addition, companies who win awards tend to attract better employees.

When others in the community read and hear about successful companies in our backyard we feel good about our own futures and business endeavors. Contrast that with how we feel when we hear about layoffs and recessions. Curious. Why don't we have a word for the opposite of recessions?

Let's encourage people to celebrate the successful businesses in our community and encourage more. Success breeds success. Keep the fields fertile.

George Torok, co-author
Secrets of Power Marketing

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

RSS Feed – Soup Tins on a Waxed String

What is an RSS feed?

It is a simple way to send content from one website to another.

Closed Circuit TV
The concept is like a closed circuit TV that takes pictures from one room and displays it on a monitor in another room. This technology can be used in several ways: e.g. security and seminar room overflow (many university courses are delivered this way).

The content could be text, images, audio or video. Text is most common and audio is the next developing field.

There are three parts to the RSS feed - the sending site with the content, the connecting software, and the receiving site that displays the content.

Soup Tins on a Waxed String
It is modeled on the child’s old homemade telephone made of the two empty soup tins joined by a waxed string. One soup tin is the sending site, the other tin is the receiving site and the waxed string is the connection.

The websites at either end could be a regular website or a blog.

The connection is almost as simple as the waxed string. It is a copy of the feed page in an XML file. The receiving page simply looks at this XML (feed page and displays it or part of it on the receiving page). The software is the wax on the string that does the magic part.

Here is an example:

This blog has several RSS feed links at the right side of the main page. Click on any one and it takes you to the XML file for the particular style of feed. The simplest is XML.

On of the websites that receive an RSS feed from this blog is

This website is a good example of a website that is entirely composed of RSS feeds. Using RSS feeds on the receiving end is a great way to capture and display relevant content that changes often. The owner of this site chooses which feeds he will display. is a website that specializes in displaying financial and business information.

Marketing Point

Using RSS feeds is one more way of getting your message out. You can offer your site as a feed to get your message on other websites. You can also collect relevant information on your website from other sources for your clients.

Please feel free to use an RRS feed from this blog to send valuable content to your website.

George Torok, co-author
Secrets of Power Marketing

Monday, June 26, 2006

Market Yourself as The expert

As a small business how do you compete with the big guys and their big budget advertising campaign? The big guys don't read this magazine so we can share these low budget yet high-impact marketing secrets with you.

Use these tips to market yourself as the expert in your field:

Write tips sheets - for your clients, prospects and the media.
Write and publish articles in magazines, newsletters and newspapers.
Write letters to the editor expressing opinions, advice and clarification.
Publish your own newsletter.
Write a book - the best way to be seen as the expert.
Send out regular news releases.
Be interviewed by the press.
Sponsor a contest or award.
Make speeches to service clubs and associations.
Offer information seminars to prospects and clients.
Stay informed and leading edge on your area of expertise.
Offer your clients extra 'free advice from the expert'.
Earn designations and awards from your industry or trade associations.
Seek out the top experts in your field - know and get known by them.
Act, sound and feel like the expert you want to be - confidence is powerful.
Find a mentor you admire who can help you and make introductions.
Seek out leaders in other businesses to trade ideas and do joint promotions with - we judge you by who you hang around with.

Why market yourself as the expert? Clients come to you and you can charge more money.

Excerpted from the national bestseller, Secrets of Power Marketing.

George Torok, co-author
Secrets of Power Marketing

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


A mentor can help you cut years off your growth curve. They are more experienced in the business and willing to give you some of their time, advice and support. Mentors never do this for money. They see in you some potential and maybe a little bit of themselves. They want to help and you must be ready.

How to find a mentor?
Go to business functions, get known in your community, associations, and industry.Get in contact with potential mentors - send them notes. Call to meet for breakfast or coffee.

How to maintain a mentoring relationship?
Respect their time, advice and experience. Ask them probing questions and listen. Ask about the smartest things they ever did - then try to do them. Ask what they would do differently if starting over again.

Act on what you learned. Report back with the results even if they weren't great. At least you listened and tried. That's what they want to hear. Thank them for their help - and be sincere. Never waste their time. Give back to them - with your ideas, thoughts and help. The worst thing you can do to a mentor is ask for their advice - then ignore it.

George Torok, co-author
Secrets of Power Marketing

Monday, June 19, 2006

Did you market yourself today?

"If you build a better mouse trap - the world will beat a path to your door."

Do you still believe that?

Let's try another one. "Go to school, get a good job, and the company will look after you." The first statement is from Emerson - the second you may have heard from your parents. Both are no longer true. Don't blame your parents or Emerson for their dated wisdom - things change.

You still have to be good at what you do. But, in any career you choose today - you must learn 'the job' plus how to sell and market yourself.

Marketing is not selling. Marketing is everything you do - or don't do that helps you sell (or hinders you). You cannot 'not market'. Marketing is about sending messages and everything you do or don't do sends a message about you. The way you answer, or don't answer your phone sends a message. Send out a sloppy resume and that sends a message.

You can influence how others perceive you if you follow the Secrets of Power Marketing.

What you know and can do is not necessarily how others see you. What they perceive is a combination of their beliefs and your intended and unintended messages. You must be aware of all these messages and manage the perceptions.

Do you want to be seen as an expert? A good person? A thorough worker? A fun individual? An intellectual? Sensible? Analytical? Creative?

Use creative ways of sending your message. Here are some simple tips you can use. For more tips read - Secrets of Power Marketing - a refreshing guide to personal marketing for individuals who want to succeed.

Get involved in your community. Volunteer to work on a fund-raising campaign. Become a spokesperson for your club or association. The more the public sees your name the more 'they think they know you'. If they know you, they have a chance to like you and we would rather hire, promote, or recommend someone we like.

Build relationships with key decision makers. Send them a thank-you note when they did something to help you. Send a note of congratulations when they did something that deserves a compliment. Recommend a book that you think they would like. Clip and send them an article that might interest them, (maybe this one). Meet for coffee, breakfast or lunch.

Never stop marketing.

George Torok, co-author
Secrets of Power Marketing

© George Torok is co-author of the national bestseller, Secrets of Power Marketing. He delivers keynote speeches and training programs to help organizations grow. For more information call 800-304-1861 or visit to register for weekly tips.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Does your business have a blog yet?
If not, what are you waiting for?

What is a blog?
It is a specialized type of website. The word “blog” is composed of the two words “web log”. A blog is a website that is easy for non-programmers to update. The owner of the blog can update as often as she wants. Many blogs are updated as often as every day - some only once or twice a month. Blogging gained public notice in recent political campaigns and social protests. Why? Because these groups are more willing to engage new technology in their quests. Business is often the last group to get on board. Business blogging is catching on. Try not to be the last one on your block.

Why should a business owner have a blog?
It is another marketing channel you can use it to post tips, announcements and news about your business and industry. It is an efficient and effective way to stay in touch with your clients. It is a powerful way to put a more personal face on your business. Most blog posts are short and informal. Blogs can help boost your main website ranking because search engines like blogs better than traditional websites. Blogs are listed in the main search engines as well as blog directories. Blogs have tools that automatically submit to the search engines and directories every time you update it. The most popular blog – is owned by Google. One more bonus: you can have a blog for free.

What are you waiting for?

George Torok
George Torok Seminars

Monday, June 12, 2006

Build Relationships with Postcards

When you get a postcard in the mail how do you feel?

My guess is that you might feel curious at the least – “who sent me a postcard?”
You might feel excited – “Wow! I got a postcard.”

What do you do with it?
You will probably look at it before you open your other mail.
You will probably look at the picture side then turn it over to see who it’s from and what the message is.

If it is a souvenir postcard with a hand written message you will likely read it and feel good. If the postcard is from an exotic place and you like the photo or the sender you might even display the postcard. You might even tell others about the postcard that you got from Bora Bora.

Now think about that.

If a simple postcard can make you feel so good – why not send more postcards to your clients, hot prospects and associates? Imagine how it might make them feel when they think of you.

When I travel – on business or for pleasure - I send a few postcards to my contacts. It might be as few as 20 or as many as 200. It depends on the cache of the location and how much time I have. I sent 600 postcards from the Yukon. I can’t imagine how many I would send from Bora Bora.


Because people remember the postcards. It delights them. They tell others about my postcards. I stay on their mind. It has helped me get business. It has helped me get media coverage. It is a relationship builder. It helps them remember me and feel good about me.

Oh, and it doesn’t need to be from Bora Bora. Any postcard has the same effect. The last batch of postcards I sent was from Saint Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick.

George Torok, author
Secrets of Power Marketing

PS: Don’t write, “Wish you were here”. That is not true. Write a short upbeat message and sign your name clearly so they can read it. Otherwise the postcard was wasted.

PPS: Handwrite the address and your message. Preprinted labels kill the effect.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Two hours on the runway

What agony.
What boredom.
What a set of broken lies.

That is one way that it might turn out.

Or it could be a powerful marketing opportunity.

We landed late May 31, 2006 at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
It was an Air Canada Regional Jet. We spent more time on the runway than we spent in the air.

It wasn’t Air Canada’s fault. There had been a lightning storm and the whole airport was shut down. And frankly that was a lot more reassuring then a terrorist attack. So we weren’t worried – just bored and frustrated.

So how did Air Canada handle this opportunity?

Mediocre at best.

What did Air Canada do well?
We received several reports from the pilot about our status.
About one hour into our wait the flight attendant came around with water for everyone.
A couple announcements were made about connecting flights.

What did they do poorly?
It was difficult to clearly understand most of the pilot’s announcements.
Every promise of time was broken.
The flight attendant was mostly invisible during this time.
I am still not clear on what the problem was or why the possibility of lighting shuts a whole airport down. (I just want to understand.)

What might they have done differently?
The pilot could have given updates when the timeframe he stated was up – even if he didn’t have new information. We just want to be informed.
The flight attendant could have spent more time walking the aisle and talking to customers.
The airline could have sent every passenger a letter or short note apologizing for and explaining the inconvenience.

Could Air Canada have done even more?
Lots more.

I wonder, is their motto ‘It’s not our fault’?
Or ‘We’re no worse than the others’.

How many companies follow that customer service standard?

Don’t be part of the ‘Not-our-fault’ mob.

George Torok, co-author
Secrets of Power Marketing

Monday, June 05, 2006

Build Relationships

Build Relationships

Personal marketing makes it easier to sell, by building relationships nurtured on awareness, value and trust. Make your relationships more fruitful by making them personal. Use these powerful yet simple tips from the book, Secrets of Power Marketing; Canada's first guide to personal marketing for non-marketers.

Say thank you
Everyone wants to hear 'thank you'. The easiest way to say thank you is verbally - but the most powerful and memorable is with a hand written note. We receive so few hand written notes that we read them first and value them because we know you took the time to write it personally. Say thank you to your clients for the opportunity to work with them. Say thank you for considering you - even if they did not hire you. There are so many opportunities to say thank you; thanks for the lead, information, invitation, advice, idea, introduction, publishing your article,…

Say Congratulations
The cousin to 'thank you' is 'congratulations'. Congrats on becoming president of the association, getting the new job, appearing in the paper, completing a successful project, volunteering for a charity, winning the award, being nominated, expanding the business, opening a new office,.. This is a great way to make first contact with a prospect or key influencer.

Send postcards
Open your mail. What do you find? - bills, junk, flyers, post card. What do you read first? I read the post card to see whom it is from? When you travel, (on business or vacation), send post cards to your important clients and prospects. Keep your message simple and sign your full name clearly. Even when you don't travel use post cards to stay in touch, say thank you or congratulations. You could use postcards of a local attraction or print your own customized cards. I keep a supply of Canadian flag post cards handy.

Send books
Most receive and throw away a lot of business cards. But when we receive a book we keep it and put in on a shelf. We might even read it or at least glance at it. If you wrote a book give it away - it is your best brochure. If you have not yet written a book you can still give books as a gift. Give a book that supports your message or one that you know your prospect will love. Check with the authors - they might give you a deal if you buy a bunch.

Build relationships with your clients and prospects.

George Torok, co-author
Secrets of Power Marketing

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What makes you happy?

What makes you happy? Big things or little things?

That is the question Daniel Gilbert, Harvard University professor asked. He found that it is not the big things- like a multi-million dollar lottery win.

Gilbert concluded, “It is the little things – like being able to walk to work every day, or wearing painter pants or a single malt scotch at the end of the day.”

Bottom line – it’s not the big things that make you happy, it is the little things repeated over time. Little things repeated make you happy. That could be hearing a cheery good morning every day, admiring your garden every day or receiving regular positive feedback. If only more managers knew and did that with their staff.

The obverse is true. It is not the big tragedies that destroy you – it is the little things neglected over time. People recover from a terrible accident, death or disaster. Why? Because they receive enough compensating little positive things over time.

Learning Point:

What does that suggest to you as a marketer?

It is not the big things you do that attract your customers – it is the little things repeated over time.

What repels your customers? Not the big things – but the little things you do poorly.

Contact your customers and prospects repeatedly over time.

If you make a mistake – contact your customers and prospects repeatedly over time.

The more positive contacts you make – the more positive is your relationship.

Contrary to the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” – sweat the small stuff.

George Torok
Co-author Secrets of Power Marketing