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Archive for March, 2009

me20Dan Schawbel’s book comes out this week: Me 2.0. He’s promoting the heck out of it himself and being interviewed in just about every print publication and in online media. Dan gets it. He understands that if you don’t promote yourself, your business will falter and fail. That’s the beauty behind social networking. Social sites like Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn give you the tools you need to brand yourself.

But here’s the glitch. What if you don’t know your brand? What if you can’t seem to decide how to sell yourself and promote your business, expertise, or product? Dan addresses that in his new book.

Some highlights from the book include:

  • A proven  4-step process for building a powerful brand (discover, create, communicate, maintain).
  • Tips on using social media tools for personal empowerment, confidence building, and professional networking in order to attract jobs directly to you, without applying!
  • Tested advice on how to create an online and offline presence for career protection and self-promotion.
  • Over 40 expert quotes from leaders including Don Tapscott, Guy Kawasaki, Penelope Trunk, and David Kirkpatrick of Fortune Magazine, among others.
  • More than 70 research reports, three personal case studies and examples to give you a broader perspective on the topic.

I’ll be picking up my copy and soaking it up. How about you? What do you think about personal branding? Is it crucial to your marketing strategy?

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Raving Fans

raving-fansBeing in business for yourself can be trying at times. You come into contact with all sorts of characters: the “Know it all”, the “I want to be in control”, the “I have no clue what I want”, the “Let me tell you how to do your job”, and my favorite, “I need your help, but I don’t want to pay you for it”.  I’ve learned over the years how to deal with these characters with respect and patience. After all, they ARE my customers. Right?

Recently, I’ve had dealings with “I have no clue what I want”. Let’ just say it’s been an absolute test of all the patience I could possibly muster. But it’s my job to determine what the customer wants and show them how I can help. The difficult part is trying to mesh the two together.

In the long run, these “trying” customers could be turned into RAVING FANS. The principles in Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles book are simple:

  1. Decide What You Want-You need to know what type of business you want to provide for your customers. Once you know what you want, you can move on to the second step.
  2. Discover What the Customer Wants-Find out what your customer wants and if you have to, alter your vision to meet those needs. Once the two visions have meshed, you’re ready for the most important step.
  3. Deliver Plus One-Be consistent with the services you provide and give them MORE than they asked for. This will create a RAVING FAN.

My very first customer proved this point. She is to this day a raving fan. She wrote me my first recommendation on LinkedIn. It’s been almost 15 years since we first started doing business together but by applying this principle, she continues to value my expertise and tell others about my services.

Have you ever had to deal with these types of customers? What are some of the proven methods you have used to maintain and grow your customer base?

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Today I’m attaching one of Perry Belcher’s videos about Twitter. It’s short but sweet!

Are you a Twitter snob? Do you know some of those? One that comes to mind for me is John Mayer. Do you know any others?

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facebookIt’s official. The Facebook interface is up and as expected, there are tons of complaints about the new format. People, on average, do not like change. They get used to routines and used to the way things look. It’s human nature and it’s difficult running a social networking site when you make a drastic change and disrupt the status quo.

According to an article posted by NewsFactor.com, a group has evolved requesting the “old” Facebook:

The growing backlash from Facebook users over the site’s new interface shows some of the consequences of disrupting people’s routines. More than 640,000 comments have filled the Vote on the New Facebook Layout application offered by the company, and many are resoundingly negative. And about 1.7 million Facebook users have joined Petition Against the New Facebook, a new user group. But, as large as these numbers are, they represent only a fraction of the site’s 175 million members.

I’ve seen the backlash on my Facebook page from many of my friends. It’s difficult to get used to change in any aspect of our lives. However, I do believe that once we all get used to the way things are now, we’ll be able to embrace it and accept that not all change is bad. Sometimes, change can open new doors and capabilities and in this case, grow the site, which will benefit all users in the long run.

If you’re interested, you can read the entire article here.

What about you? Do you like the new format? Here’s your chance to chime in!

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What inspires you? Is it words? Is it music? Is it art? Is it someone’s actions? Or is it all of the above?

Today, music is inspiring me. Most generally, the words from an Abba song are ringing in my head:

Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing

Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty

What would life be?

Without a song or a dance what are we?

So I say thank you for the music

For giving it to me.

Without a song and a dance, what are we? I love that line. Without music, there would be no inspiration to dream, to soar, to love, to live. Without music, what would we be?

Join the song!

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Years ago, you’d never catch anyone wearing an undershirt on the outside of their clothing. T-shirts were considered underwear. Today, the t-shirt has become a clothing staple, a fashion statement, and a billboard for our beliefs.

In the last election, t-shirts flew off the shelves. And since January 20, 2009, they have continued to be used to express support or disdain for the new President. Today I’ve found two t-shirts that express the views of both camps. Whichever camp you represent, there’s always a shirt out there to wear as a statement of your affiliation.

pro-obamaOn the left is my pick for a shirt supporting President Obama. It uses sarcasm to make a statement:

Obama-This time I want a smart President.

anti-obamaAnd on the right is my pick for a shirt expressing the opposite opinion, again with sarcasm:

Hitler gave great speeches too.

Whatever your political persuasion, there’s a shirt out there for you to express yourself!

Happy T-Shirt Trivia Day!

P.S. Check out my t-shirt shop: Designs for You. You might find just the shirt you’re looking for to “express yourself”!

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You want your blog to drive search traffic. But how?

search According to Chris Baggott of Compendium Blogware, “all search is driven by content and relevance”. Yesterday during a FREE webinar, Chris discussed the importance of driving traffic to your blog so that they can be converted from “searchers and strangers” to sales.

Chris made some great points throughout this webinar, but I was especially impressed with the questions he answered from those attending at the close of the presentation. He took the time to call prior to the webinar and ask how he might address any questions I might have.

Instead of highlighting the webinar presentation, I wanted to share the questions along with the answers here, in hopes they might help you as they did me.

How do you use a blog and a website simultaneously? Use the blog to lead the charge to the website. Since blog posts remain with key words and the content should change regularly, use the blog to put your business at the top of searches. Make sure your blog has a “call to action” (i.e. catalog, download, connect to products).

Why would someone read my blog and what kind of content should it contain? Remember that those who land on your blog land there because they have done a search with the key words you have used in your content. You want them to know you’re a credible authority on whatever they did a search for. Since the majority of all interactions begin with searches, it’s your chance, once they land there, to convert them.

What type of keywords should I be using? Start small. Carve out a few words and see if they work and how effective they are in driving traffic to your blog. The title of the blog itself should be targeting the key words.

What is the best way to integrate Twitter and blogging? Think of your blog as the social network hub. Use this to push out to Twitter and Facebook. But never forget that search is the primary objective.

Do you have to be a great writer to use a blog as a marketing tool? Most people don’t read, they skim and scan. It’s doesn’t take great writing. Talk to the people and tell them what they need to know.

What’s the difference between a blog and a website? Web pages are facts and figures. Blogs are stories. The more narrowly you tell that story, the more successful you will be.

And one last piece of advice from Chris:

Burn your thesaurus. Think about the words people use to find you and use those words in your copy.

Happy blogging!

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