Getting to Know Your Customers: Demographics and Psychographics

I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s become increasingly difficult to be heard amongst all the noise out there. Businesses large and small are competing for millions of potential customers that are searching for and engaging with content daily… and of course the green in their wallets.

In some cases, this struggle has created a divide between the haves and the have-nots where the playing field is seemingly tipped in favor of businesses that have large budgets, big marketing teams, and technical know-how.

As with anything, there’s a way around all of these disadvantages for new and small business owners who are seemingly at a disadvantage.

Start with the basics: getting to know who your customers are

I was at a workshop about 10 years ago listening to a marketing expert talk about advertising strategy for huge companies like Nissan. He asked a very interesting question: Read more

Slingshot Aerospace Website Redesign Phase I [A Look Before & After]

Another website has made it off of our launchpad!

We did it! Phase 1 of Slingshot Aerospace’s new website redesign has officially launched, and we’re pretty proud of it.

Slingshot Aerospace is a forward thinking company providing cutting edge solutions in geospatial analytics. So when they approached us to redesign their website to match the progressiveness of their company, we were up for the challenge!

Redesigning a website for an aerospace company.

Slingshot uses data gathered from remote sensing and ancillary data sources to solve everyday problems for businesses. The challenge for their previous website was that many of their potential clients weren’t able to ‘see’ the solution that Slingshot had for their business pain.

We needed to not only make the website attractive, but communicate the need for the product in a way that was easy to digest from the customer’s perspective. The end result was an attractive and mobile friendly website that both amaraREPS and Slingshot are excited about.

“amaraREPS went the extra mile to really understand what we are all about and the message we needed to convey with our website.The new site looks great!”  

Thomas Ashman,

Chief Product Officer, Slingshot Aerospace

One Small Step for Slingshot…

This launch marks Phase I of their redesign. The website will continue to evolve as their business evolves; they will have the ability to add SEO rich content, additional services, and much more over time.

We wish them luck as they lead the charge in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (aka solving the world’s problems).


For companies trying to illustrate a potentially complex or technical product via their website, we recommend starting with the following steps:

First, clarify the audience you’re targeting.

  • Slingshot Aerospace planned to use their website to attract customers, team members, and investors; they knew that their purpose and value had to be crystal clear to maximize their potential.

One way to do this is to make sure you have a comprehensive business plan that includes buyer personas and your strategy for funding and generating revenue.

Learn more about buyer personas as discussed in our CMO’s 10 Essentials of a Winning Marketing Strategy article.

Second, try explaining your product in the simplest terms possible.

  • We challenged them to create content that painted the picture of their products and services so that their target audience(s) could easily understand who they are and what they do. It wasn’t an easy task, but with our collaborative process, we were able to make it happen.

RESULT? We avoided complicating an already difficult subject.


Third, make sure you describe real life applications of your product versus just mentioning them.

  • For example… rather than just listing “Residential Property Intelligence,” the team at Slingshot Aerospace provided more clarity on the nature of their solution with descriptive bullet points.

Now, your everyday real estate insurance company, fraud investigator, or development firm understands the value of Slingshot’s solutions; solutions they may not have even known existed before.


To learn more about Slingshot Aerospace and the services they provide, visit their About Page, or contact them directly at 844-496-2200.

Business Planning for Transitional Aged Youth [Acknowledgement Credit]

We recently had the pleasure of working with Deena Saunders-Green, of Green Pines Media, who graciously mentioned amaraREPS in her newly released business planning workbook: Transitional Age Entrepreneurs. Deena, a graduate of California State University, has worked with at risk juveniles since her internship as a therapist in juvenile hall. Through her experience as a Southern California social worker and various other non-profit organizations, she was awakened to the disturbingly high rates of homelessness and lack of life skills among the youth she often served.

Transitional Age Entrepreneurs  is written specifically as a guide for young people who fall under the term “Transitional Aged Youth” (TAY) who would like to start a business, but need some guidance. This 100 page workbook is an especially extraordinary project, as the would-be entrepreneurs who fall under this category are considered to be high risk during a time when they are transitioning from foster or state care into society on their own (typically between the ages of 16-24). Young adults in this category are considered to be “at risk” because they are at an age where adolescents are normally faced with making several life-changing decisions. These could be things like getting ready for college, getting their first job, or moving out on their own. Because children in the foster care system, or those who have aged out may not have support and guidance of a typical family system, this makes an already stressful time even more challenging.


“I wanted to use indie publishing and podcasts to raise awareness about the challenges facing emancipated foster youth. The problem was, I knew nothing about starting a business. Social work taught me the value of collaboration, so instead of spending hours and hours on research, I sought business consultants with a proven track record. amaraREPS was the solution. They guided me through the process of building a solid business plan. They also made marketing much easier for me to understand.”

-Deena Saunders-Green, Green Pines Media


The publishing of Transitional Aged Entrepreneurs is just one of the ways Green Pines Media is raising awareness about the challenges facing transitional aged youth, with additional efforts in the form of speaking engagements on the subject.

amaraREPS is honored to have the opportunity to help Deena not only as an entrepreneur, but because she has dedicated her business to helping others. Because she has decided to help other young entrepreneurs, we’re doubly excited to be able to offer the unique and valuable expertise she has chosen to share with others. While this book is meant to serve transitional aged youth, I would also welcome you to share this with young folks who aspire to start their own businesses, as business planning is a crucial step in the entrepreneurial process.

The new workbook, as well as other publishings and information about Green Pines Media can be found on their website, . You may also find the workbook on Amazon. Supporting the book helps to further Green Pines Media’s efforts to support children transitioning out of foster care, so please… spread the word or share this workbook with a kid that has BIG dreams and BIG ideas. 🙂

Do Startups Need A Business Plan? | Quote

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The question that was asked was:

Do You Need a Business Plan to Start a Business?

Here was my full response:

You don’t need one to start a business necessarily. You can navigate entrepreneurship for quite a while without a business plan, especially if you aren’t looking for any capital.

There’s nothing preventing you from getting your first client, building an app and attracting users, or selling things on Etsy without a business plan.
But, the moment that you want to start treating your passion as a business and not a coincidental success, you’ll want to write up a plan. Even if you don’t need funding, a business plan acts as a roadmap to ensure that you have all of the components that you need in order to grow sustainably as far as team, execution, product/service mix, and marketing/sales strategy are concerned. Honestly, many a crisis could be averted if new business owners or hobbiepreneurs would go through the exercise of creating a business plan. There’s even more value in keeping it updated every year with new goals and targets, and making sure that your business and brand is still in alignment with your original mission, vision, and core values, and keeping up with how the industry is evolving versus getting blindsided by it later and trying to figure out how they got into that position.
And what are your thoughts? Do you think that a business plan is necessary in order to start a business?

3 Ways to Turn Your Pile of Business Cards into Profit (Automate)


How many times have you gone to a networking event, Meetup, or gathering of sorts and collected a pile of business cards that you never ended up doing anything with? You may have your own system that you try to remember to stick to when you have time, but we’re all CEO’s and/or sales people… and we have a long list of things that need to be done when magic windows of time open up. Making connections and following up is a key part of the sales process that seasoned sales professionals often neglect. Those that don’t do this crucial step are leaving money on the table, so to speak.

I’ve been in sales for about 13 years, and very few things have changed. The fact that your connections matter, and the more that you have of them – the better, have not. Unfortunately the tunnel vision of getting to the next sale and hitting your quota so that you can eat, often get in the way of sales folks consistently adhering to the tried and true best practices of the trade. Which means follow up and nurturing of business connections can go by the wayside.

Did you know that 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups.

And that’s crazy, right?

Because good business connections = referrals, which are people who are looking for what you provide and are in the market for it at the moment. How fortuitous!

Yet… once we make a sale or a few, we’re hunting for fresh meat when we have a pile of relationships sitting on our nightstands, underneath coffee cups, hidden between cracks and crevices. And good luck finding that business card when we remember that we met a guy at an event that does that thing that we need. Some of us have created mini leaning towers of business cards that fall over if the office door slams a little too hard. Well, from this day forward let’s commit to creating follow-up procedures, because what I’m about to show you will change the game when it comes to dealing with the struggles that sales people often go through when it comes to keeping their administrative houses in order. I’ve stumbled upon a tool that makes follow-up less overwhelming and circumvents manual entry and all of the other things that sales people hate about their jobs; however, are also necessary evils.  Oh yes, and we can ditch having piles of business cards that eventually take up precious real-estate in our work and live spaces.

Sales Follow-up Option #1: Send out a Mass Email


So, here’s what I do. Prior to a trade show or major networking event, I draft my follow-up messaging. What I used to do was have my assistant put all of my contact from the event into a spreadsheet, and then I would send out a super generic email to everyone to follow-up and hope that folks would respond and setup a meeting with me. Lazy, right? Impersonal. And was I shocked that I got very little, if any response? Nope. However, if you aren’t currently using a CRM, this level of follow-up is the least that you can do. Because having everything in a system that you can market and send super valuable content to later is a step that most sales people don’t do. I’d say about 10% of the people that received my message post-event responded, and I’d at least get one opportunity and sometimes a new client with my shoddy, half-baked attempt at continuing the conversation and keeping those relationships going after our initial encounter.

Sales Follow-up Option #2: Schedule Your Follow-up Sequence

So option one isn’t the worst, but it’s definitely not the most effective. I still encourage my clients to draft follow-up messaging before an event, or even a generic everyday follow-up script (telephone or email). This way, you can get right to it and not have to waste brain space trying to figure out how to approach the conversation. Also, with scripts you can manage consistency with your sales teams to ensure that they are all communicating properly and following the best practices that your company has set forth as standard in order to create the best results. This is often hard to manage, but at least this is a standard that you can hold your sales people to. In your follow-up sequence you want to draft your initial email, your email that you send out after a certain number of days if you don’t get a response, and another email that you use to close this round of follow-up.

In the initial message, you can keep it brief and to the point; although, I would make sure that you personalize the message with the recipient’s first name and maybe add a quick reference to a conversation that you have just so that they know that they aren’t receiving a templated response (because it’s 2017). Like… go Yankees! Or something similar like that. Don’t overthink it.

The second message in the sequence can just be a quick check-in if you didn’t get a response to your initial message. Determine how many days out you want to send this message (3-7 business days is a good option generally). Share something of value so that the message isn’t so self centered. Include a link to a piece of (preferably branded) content that is relevant to the conference or event, or helps solve the companies problem. Or even better, if you have a legit referral, that may help you get a more immediate response as well.

Message number three can be a nice message that ends the follow-up sequence that tells them that you are here when they are more available for a conversation.

You can typically set these templates up in your CRM or you can email them using a drip sequence with a your email service provider. The only problem with this is that you may not be able to add personalization to these messages. Another cumbersome option is to manually send these messages out by hand, and calendar the dates for which you need to complete the different steps of the follow-up sequence.

Sales Follow-up Option #3: Sales Automation

So… the star of the show is automating this entire process. I stumbled upon the most amazing CRM a little over a year ago, and I’ve implemented it in a half dozen sales teams varying from 1 person to 10+, and with 100% success. Sales people love it, and CEOs and management are able to actually manage their sales process, have accurate forecasting and reporting, and did I mention that sales people ACTUALLY use it? I’m not going to get into all of the cool features that it has. But I will show you how I use it to manage my sales follow-up.

Introducing: Hubspot CRM

So let me illustrate how this works in steps…

  1. I prepare my templates for follow-up, whether it is a general follow-up sequence or a post-event sequence of sorts.
  2. I enter them into my Hubspot Sequence Library
    CRM Sales Sequences
  3. Once I get a new contact or a business card, I enter them into the system. Recently, Hubspot released this handy new feature where you can take a picture of a business card  and it enters the information in so that you don’t have to type it all. You may have to make some edits, because of course it isn’t perfect, but it makes for speedy input of data.
  4. Once the information is in, I enter the contact into the sequence, and customize the messaging for the contact. I can do this simply and easily from my email by just pulling in the template. It helps to have the template as customized to the conference or event, or even to your general company voice so that you don’t have to make many edits, and you can just drop each contact into the sequence, and voila! You’re done!Hubspot CRM Sales SequencesThe sequence keeps going until the last email is sent, or the recipient responds. Cool, eh? I mean, all sorts of CRMs have fancy tricks, but this one is the easiest to setup and deploy that I’ve found. There is all sorts of advanced stuff that you can do with the Hubspot CRM, oh, and did I mention that it’s FREE?

The Hubspot CRM is FREE with one small caveat. There are some PRO features, and sequences is one of them. The fee is $50/user; however, if you are interested in a FREE demo and would like this feature for you or your team, we can get you a pretty sweet discount as we are an agency partner at Hubspot.

If you’re interested, please let us know.

In the meantime, use these tips to and start making your follow-ups a priority.



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