So much is written about the digital sales and marketing process. You will find over 600 articles on our blog on the subject. Having grown Viral solutions into a a digital marketing agency that long surpassed 7 digits in revenue, many people want to know the latest digital marketing secret. We are commonly and repeatedly asked who writes our copy (we do), who does our SEO (we do), who creates our digital images (we do), who built our web site (we did), who implements our clients’ vision (we do), what 3rd party geek do you use for your wizardry (we don’t – they work here) etc. We do not have secrets! None! Zero! Zilch! Not a one!
At Viral Solutions we believe that the way you prospect, meet and greet or serve your digital community (online) should be the same as you would in person (offline).
We believe that the goals, beliefs and values of our clients and prospective clients should be in alignment with our own. This also holds true with the people who serve our clients as employees.
While there might be a full service marketing agency out there that is smarter than we are when it comes to picking the latest widget or gadget, we know that execution is more important than fluff and flash. As Gary Vaynerchuk advises, “Ideas are shit, execution is the game. Execute like the hare. Be patient like the tortoise.” We execute the vision with precision which is supported by a written strategy. Then we out work everybody for the betterment of the client – just like you would from within a corporate cubicle.
We believe the secret is to focus on people online, just as you do offline. You got it – we are proud to be old school smart and technical wizards. Here is a list of attributes, beliefs and values we hold dear:
- Ask Questions. Stephen Covey once wrote, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” We love to ask questions. People love to talk. However, too many people want to talk at you rather than listen to you. You must understand the needs, wants and desires of your customer’s customer first and foremost. How do you do that online? Ask questions!
- You are not the smartest person in the world. People often think that business leaders should be “the smartest person in the room.” After all, they’ve made it to the top — shouldn’t they be the best of the best? Shouldn’t everyone be required to do what they say? But this couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s worse is when leaders pretend to be the smartest person in the room, even though the team knows they’re not. You might overhear the chatter in the break room about that morning’s meeting or maybe a brave employee will deliver the bad news directly to you. Either way, it’s not a good feeling to know that people have lost faith in your leadership. We believe that true leaders draw on the talents of those around them in order to succeed.
- Love, Respect and Admire. This should be your fuel. Your drive to do the right thing and give advice that you would execute yourself comes from this emotion towards another human being, even if they are just a first name and email address. It’s easy for us to say that we help small business owners stay motivated and achieve their goals, but we truly mean it.
- Own it, Don’t Blame It. Our bodies react to stress in a very negative way. The best way to boil over with stress is to blame others rather than accept responsibility and move on. It is easy to point the finger and find fault in others. It is really difficult to look in that proverbial mirror and point at yourself. It is actually okay to be wrong.
- Sow Seeds of Thought. Farmers know that not all seeds they plant will germinate. For that reason they over seed on purpose. Planting seeds of thought and letting them settle in will produce a bumper crop of ideas to execute.
- Write it Down. In today’s digital world it is easy to get caught up in tracking your objectives in the same manor. However our brains absorb and retain more information if we involve the written word by hand – on paper. It might be your daily big three or big ten – but write them down and make that your daily execution plan.
- Tools of the Trade. In order to execute a plan you need a set of tools. We all have our favorites and just because yours are not theirs does not mean they won’t work! Our team believes the best tools work hand-in-hand. Dealing with multiple solution providers can become a mess, so make sure you select only the tools that you will be using the most. This strategy will optimize the bang for your buck and decrease your stress level.
- Say Yes First. Karen Hough once wrote in The Huffington Post, “When leaders exhibit improvisational behaviors (such as flexibility, positivity and humor) people connect with them. Leaders build trust with their teams when they are positive, and those teams in turn, engage and want to perform.” Even if you are presented with an impractical idea always say yes first, then list your rational reason why you do not feel confident in executing that idea.
- Say No More Often. Saying no can be therapeutic and force more refined ideas from your team. We are not proponents of saying no just to say no. We do believe too many leaders are afraid to say no. We like being upfront, candid and transparent. Saying no means more questions get asked.
- Surround Yourself with People Who are Kind and Respectful. When everybody in an organization believes somebody else is smarter than they are, they exude respect within a team. When you ask lots of questions you are appreciative of another opinion. When you take responsibility for your mistakes you rely on others to help fix them. When you sow seeds of thought you are open to ideas and execution plans that is returned as feedback. These are the attributes of kindness in a business setting.
- Do Not Be In a Rush. Every overnight success took longer than you think to come to fruition. Fast service is not always good. Cheap service is rarely fast. Quality is rarely cheap. Do what is right. Say no more often to rush jobs right after you say yes to the want.
- Get Dirty and be Grateful. We love problems that a client cannot seem to solve. We love to dig in an learn something new every day. Remember, we do not claim to be the smartest person every time and we love to say yes first. That means we love to blow brain cells and discover solution diamonds in a field of overwhelmed small businesses. However, we do not gloat. Be grateful for the opportunity to help.
- Step Foot on Their Turf. GoToMeeting and Skype are just a few of the tools we use to meet with clients. But nothing replaces hoping on a plane and spending thousands of dollars on travel just to put yourself in the life of a client. The executioner of the plan needs a personal life but no client relationship becomes more personal and respectful than one where visions are shared on the turf of the one in need.
- Work Hard and Be a Kid. When you aren’t the smartest person in the room you have to work harder and execute ideas in a systematic and methodical fashion. One which can be taught to your team. After all that is how you duplicate yourself which is how a successful business is built. With success comes opportunity to enjoy life. Get away and be a kid!
- Being Social Means there is a Real Person on the Other End. Success from digital marketing is not derived from collecting widgets that are tied to software. Success from digital marketing comes from remembering you are engaging a real person with a need. Quite frankly, they do not care about your solution until you prove you can deliver a solution that solves their problem in a cost effective and efficient manner which they can then execute.
The keys to success with digital marketing have always been the same as they were during the last century. Going digital just means you are expanding your reach, not canceling your values.
Thomas von Ahn
Chief Elephant Slayer for Viral Solutions LLC
“Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful
men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they
don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton