May 20, 2019

There's an Email Battle Brewing


Email bots are coming. Now, your reaction might be "Ugh!" but mine was, "Yay!" And that's part of the challenge.

Here's another part: they are heaven-sent for spammers. Yes, that deserves an "Ugh!"

What I'm excited about are all the possibilities for improving productivity in our daily routines. As a simple example, I'm currently running an email bot to help me memorize a list of items. It "uses a spaced repetition algorithm to bring some piece of information to (my) attention at the optimum interval for memorization."

This coming battle between productivity and bad marketing practices will be epic. It will likely cause the reinvention of email communication. This new technology has such endless possibilities to improve our work (and our lives) but it's already being exploited by spammers. We won't be able to ignore its coming.

Email bots can chop through firewalls and other security measures, improving deliverability for emails that people want to receive. Of course, they'll also work for emails we don't want. Governments and internet security organizations will work to combat this threat - creating a drain on global resources.

In the midst of the battle, the truly wonderful opportunities for improving our productivity may get buried and lost. This battle will be polarizing. I know which side of the fence I'm on.

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May 16, 2019

BE the Rabbit Hole


You know when you've been online for a while - scrolling, reading, tapping - and then realize the time? We may feel good (because we learned something), bad (because something pushed a hot button), or indifferent (what level on HayDay?). Regardless, we still think of these times as getting lost down a rabbit hole.

According to Wikipedia, "Down the rabbit hole" is a metaphor for an entry into the unknown, the disorienting or the mentally deranging, from Alice in Wonderland. Those words may be a bit extreme for our online adventures but the sentiment holds.

In class this week, we were reviewing the homework assignment which was to research and sign up for relevant newsletters. One participant said she kept ending up down rabbit holes. Then she looked up and said, "I guess we really want to BE the rabbit hole, right?" Thank you, Cecelia, for that insight!

Content marketing is something I've been preaching about since before it was called that. I've talked and written about it from every direction I think of... but never like this. Yes, the goal is to be the rabbit hole that people get lost in. (We just don't want them feeling deranged afterward.)

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May 10, 2019

What's Your Value Proposition? Really.


The words that make my heart sing are only sometimes the same words that make my potential clients' hearts sing. And I've learned that I can be quite wrong about what I think is the value I bring to each relationship. For instance, nagging can be a competitive advantage... but I certainly never planned to be a nagger.

Part of starting and growing any business is defining our 'value proposition'. Talk about trying to hit a moving target! The longer you're in business and developing your expertise, the more different types of value you'll have to draw on... and offer to others. A big inventory of value propositions!

What little pieces of feedback (formal or subtle) do you receive every day that can help to shape a new value proposition based on people's needs... instead of what you think? What problems do your customers and prospects wish you could solve for them? I'm going to start an inventory... will you join me in this experiment?

My first thought was to use a spreadsheet - I can hear snickers from the peanut gallery. Instead, I'm following Meryl Cook's advice and starting a journal. The question I'll ask myself at the end of each day will be: "I delivered value today - what kind of value and how did it feel?" Maybe your question will be different but connecting to feelings is an important part (something else I know thanks to Meryl).

Sidenote: The term 'value proposition' reminds me of my old corporate days and far removed from small business. A few years ago, a prospect emailed to ask what my value proposition was. My first thought was, do I want to work with someone who asks in that way? (He did become a client but only for a short time.) As much as I dislike the term, it's absolutely appropriate here so please don't hold it against me on my blog ;)

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May 4, 2019

Blogging and Strategic Planning Shake Hands Over a Template


Can you agree that's a subject line you don't see every day? Yet it describes something that happens frequently in small business - the mingling of ideas, processes and tools.

One of the templates in my Quick and Easy Content Creation workbook is called "The Laws". I was delighted to recently discover that Megann Willson of Panoptika Inc. used this template to write an article about strategic planning. In essence, she used "The Laws" template as an outlining tool to create a useful strategic planning article that is sort of like a template for success for me - and you - and all her readers. (Thanks Megann!)

Read Megann's article on LinkedIn here.

Download the Quick and Easy Content Creation workbook with "The Laws" plus 9 more templates here.

What "laws" will you write about?

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