Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

It’s OFFICIAL. My first article on GalTime has hit the FRONT page and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this amazing network of women.

Head over there to check it out. Join the network and get involved in the forums. There’s some awesome advice from some savvy women and tips on how to save money as well.

You can read my article (College Sticker Shock) and get some helpful tips on how to save money on rising college tuition and expenses.

If you’re a parent of a college-bound teen, you might want to pre-order my Parents Countdown to College Toolkit and save 30% if you order EARLY. You will also find FREE college advice on my blog and website as well.

Congrats to the founders of GalTime and to every woman who is contributing and joining the wonderful network!


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I was speaking on the phone today with @galtime and @juliegoodale (that’s how you know you’re addicted to Twitter–you use Twitter names) about GALTIME and the  new website launch. In the course of the conversation, the topic of Twitter came up (since that’s where we all met) and how addicting it can become. My husband is constantly belittling my Twitter fascination and my Twitter friends. In his defense, he simply does not understand the benefits. Besides, we all know we can’t go a day without a good rationalization and mine today is: Twitter is good for business, therefore it’s a positive addiction. Moving on…

I forsee in the future counselor specific articles helping people cure addictions to social marketing. It’s easy to fall into the trap of living on the computer 24/7, so much so it affects your personal life and your work life. I just read an article by @paulwilson about tweets that can get you fired–comical with an underlying warning of truth. I can envision people who are so attached to their Facebook page that they rarely venture out of their home. The reality is that social websites can replace real-life relationships if you’re not careful. But, on the other hand they can foster real-life relationships if used properly.

Here’s how I look at it. In any area of our lives, we need to maintain a balance. Addictions are possible when you cross that line from balance to obsession. But I guarantee you that there will be social marketing addicts abounding in the near future. I’m just not one of them (as I’m heading back to Twitter to tweet about this article).

What about you? Have social websites replaced your real-life relationships? Are you trapped online by your “addiction”? Or do you have it all under control?

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This Sunday is Mother’s Day. My LEAST favorite Hallmark holiday. I’ve always dreaded it since my mother passed away over 20 years ago. The holiday always seemed so empty, even though my wonderful children always tried to make it special. Once your own mother is gone, there’s just a HUGE hole left in your heart. Those hugs are gone. Those long, late night talks are no more. Those wondeful surprise packages she used to send stopped arriving.

This year, I’m feeling a bit less melancholy; thanks to all the Twitter Love from so many Dads and other Moms encouraging one another. I’ve tried to explain Twitter to my family who refuses to embrace it. They roll their eyes every time I bring the subject up. But it truly is a community of some great people dishing out encouraging words on a daily basis.

Last night I got involved in a Moms Night Out(#MNO-09) sponsored by NewBaby.com and MomTV.com that surprisingly lifted my spirits. They were giving away TONS of prizes and making an exorbitant amount of moms happy: spa retreats, purses, educational tools for kids, and even website designs.  It wasn’t so much the giveaway that was refreshing. It was the fact that so many moms were joining together and pumping each other up.

Since my kids are grown, out of college and living away from me, I miss the commaraderie of other moms. I miss sharing parenting stories and getting some much needed advice from those who have walked the parenthood path before me. I miss giving advice to younger moms who are struggling with all kinds of dilemmas like potty training (@YBA) and teaching their daughters to drive (@MarsVA).

Feeling the Twitter love today that I’m sure will carry over to Mother’s Day. Thanks everyone for the early mood boost and for the great fun on Twitter!

What about you? Have you found some great Twitter moms? If so, share them with all of us here. I’m sure my readers would LOVE to feel the love as well!

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Today I’m killing two birds with one post. Shamelessly promoting my Twitter t-shirt design and talking about last night’s Twitter media blitz.

twitter-mousepadFirst things first. My Twitter design. It’s all in fun and it says it all, “Tweeting with my Peeps”. Simple but to the point. Designing logos for tshirts is something I enjoy doing because it taps into my creativity and allows me to share it with others.

Secondly, if you’ve been on Twitter at all, watched the news, or been online you know all about the contest this week involving Ashton Kutcher and CNN. I have to admit I got caught up in the hoopla. On the surface, it was a silly contest. But if you look below the surface it might have signaled the future of large scale communication. It put the regular Joe on the level of celebrity, being able to contribute to something that sent a message to mainstream media. With all of CNN’s resources and 24/7 coverage, they couldn’t get enough followers to beat Ashton and his Twitter based fan base: an interesting phenomena of social media.

What about you? Did you follow the race for the 1,000,000 followers? Do you think there is any social media significance to its outcome?

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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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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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