April 30, 2018

You Don't Know Jack About Social Media Until You've Worked With Experts

Last fall I remember feeling disappointed that I never seem to have much time for learning anymore. I was thinking the small business people taking my courses were smart to commit a half day a week to learn key marketing skills. I learn while I'm teaching, but it's not skills related to my business development.

Then in November, along came Anita Kirkbride with her plans for the Social Media Day Halifax 2018 Conference. While I knew enough about social media marketing to do a good job for my own business and help a couple of clients, I quickly discovered there's a whole lot I didn't know until I started working closely with Anita and Tina Capalbo on the Conference.

Since January I've been prodded to record video, participate in Facebook Live sessions, and learn things about Instagram and chatbots and ... too many other things to list here. Often I've been surprised at how much I don't know about social media - strategy, tactics, apps and tools, best practices, and how-to.

Now I'm caught up in the flurry of activity leading up to June 22nd and learning something new every day. I'm excited to realize how much depth there is in social media marketing and I can't wait to learn more.

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April 23, 2018

How To Give and Get Great Referrals

How about that feeling when a colleague sends you a new referral? Great, eh? Referrals are so much more than new business; they're also a sign of trust. That's why we need to treat our referrals with such care.

But what happens when you discover a referral isn't so good... or is downright wrong for you?

During the past few months, I've been on both ends of this interaction. It can be awkward for all three parties.

It comes down to expectations. The referrer sets certain expectations when they make the referral - and they can be about any number of things, including prices and turnaround time.

Unfortunately, the referrer may not know the business they are referring has changed their offering - so it no longer meets those expectations. Disappointment abounds.

How to receive good referrals: A good friend once told me how important it is to keep my potential referrers informed about changes in my business. Every couple of years, I've been in the habit of writing an email to these wonderful people to keep them updated. And also to ask about changes in their business. While doing this may seem all about you, your referrers will be glad for the specifics.

How to be a good referrer: Another way to avoid this uncomfortable situation is to inquire before making the referral. Contact the person you're referring and ask if they are taking on new customers and if they are still offering whatever you are referring them for. Also, find out about pricing if that matters.

In response to this article in my last newsletter, Jill Poulton, Transformational Leadership Coach, made this suggestion:
In terms of tips for referrals... I prefer to give and receive referrals that are a warm introduction by way of email. This better positions each of us to follow up, it builds trust and credibility with the person giving the referral, and gives the client and potential business some info to move forward on.
Whether we are the receiver of the referral or the one doing the referring, our reputation is at stake. A poor referral is worse than none at all.

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April 19, 2018

How Do You Know If What You're Doing Is Working?

blog growth

If you aren't looking at statistics at all, how do you know if your online marketing efforts are paying off? You don't need to have a complex Google Analytics set-up to keep an eye on trends. Yes, hard numbers are good to know but trends give you strategic information.

Anita Kirkbride and I used a similar chart to the one above when we presented at BlogJam 2015 - back then the top line was 9,000 pageviews per month instead of 20,000. I can tell you exactly what I changed at key points (at Anita's urging) which had a direct effect on my blog readership:
  • June 2011 - I started using social media.
  • September 2012 - I started blogging more and sharing posts more frequently on Twitter, in particular; results were obvious by December.
  • December 2013 - I started posting daily enewsletter tips on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • 2nd half of 2016 - I started posting daily newsletter tips on Google+.
I've tried lots of other tactics, too - some have contributed in little ways, others have gone by the wayside as ineffective. The thing is, I would not have known what worked unless I was watching the trend line. This same thing holds true for your website and your newsletter statistics, too.

Is what you're doing working for you? How do you know?

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April 13, 2018

Old Tech for New Content Ideas

File cards - yup, I've been walking around with a few in my purse, wrapped in an elastic band. File cards are fantastic for catching your great content ideas, and here's why:
  1. Small size - less space than a notebook and no bigger than a cell phone
  2. Entertainment - can keep you occupied while on the bus or waiting at a coffee shop
  3. Transportable - featherweight, fits in your back pocket
  4. Skins/cases are cheap - you can change the colour of the elastic band whenever you want
  5. Expandable - easy to add notes or do a quick outline
  6. Customizable - different colours, lined or unlined, different sizes, add star stickers to your best ideas
  7. Recyclable
Plus they enable creativity. When you're frustrated, throw them up in the air. Examine how they land to see unexpected connections. This is a tactic of Sue Grafton's private detective Kinsey Millhone... and it works for content, too.

April 6, 2018

Online Products Don't Sell Themselves

Of course, we all know this, don't we? Yet there is a multi-million dollar industry based on DIY marketing that somehow makes us forget this VERY IMPORTANT aspect of our business strategies. Or perhaps it makes us feel overconfident in our abilities to both sell and market our own products.

Being reminded of the work involved to prepare, and then sell and market an online product was my biggest takeaway (of many) from the day I spent with Frances Leary this week. I knew it, now I feel it... a refreshing dose of reality.

So, even though I'm capable of doing much of the "work" part of my project, I'm paying for expert help so I can stop talking about it and get it done.

Can I contain my inner control freak enough to let this happen? I'm determined.

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