Friday, March 30, 2012

Mobile Marketing and Small Business

From the days of the bulky bag phones to small handheld mini computers, cell phones have taken marketing to a whole new level.

Mobile marketing is the fastest growing marketing method in existence today – with no signs of stopping or even slowing down and smart business owners and marketers are grabbing hold with both hands.

While big brand names have begun to slowly use this powerful marketing tool, small businesses are beginning to realize that they, too, can embrace mobile marketing and use it fully to their advantage.

Your customers and prospects are no longer forced to stay at home, chained to their desktop computers. They are on the go! If you want to reach them and make them aware of your presence, you’d better be ready to reach them in their cars, while they’re eating out, shopping or whatever. If you are still relying on your standard website and have yet to embrace mobile technology, you are leaving money on the table.

Contrary to what many misinformed business owners think – any business can use and benefit from mobile marketing. By using mobile technology for your marketing, PR, customer service and even sales promotions, you’re reaching your customers and prospects where they want and need to be reached.

While there are some business owners who are stuck in their “old school” mindset, many have evolved and are leveraging the power of mobile marketing. Have you? Chances are your competitors have…

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Are You Already Marketing On The Internet?

Take a moment to think about how you would really answer this question. If given enough thought just about any business owner who utilizes the Internet for any purpose will likely find that whether or not they intentionally organized an Internet marketing campaign, they may already be marketing their products and services on the Internet. This article will examine some subtle ways business owners may already be marketing their business on the Internet.

Do you have a website for your business? Business owners who answer yes to this question are already marketing their products or services online just by virtue of the fact that they have a website online. Having a live website means there is the potential for curious Internet users to access your website. You may not be actively promoting your website but you may still find that your website generates interest in your products despite the lack of promotional endeavors; this is a form of passive marketing.

Do you participate in message boards and include a link to your website in your signature? Again business owners who answer yes to this question are already marketing their website online. Savvy business owners realize the importance of participation in industry related message boards to create an interest in their products and services, establish themselves as knowledgeable about the industry and offer a link to their own website even if it is in the signature line of their posts. However, even business owners who do not realize this may already be inadvertently enjoying the benefits of Internet marketing which result from message board participation just by doing something they enjoy and may be doing as a form of leisure activity.

Do you include keywords which are relevant to your business in the content of your website? Business owners who answer yes to this question are also already marketing on the Internet by optimizing their website for these keywords. These search engine optimization (SEO) affects the websites whether or not they were even aware of the concept of keyword density and how it can help to SEO a website. Business owners will likely use certain words often depending on the type of products and services they offer just because it is natural and logical to do so. This tendency, however, can result in search engines boosting your website rankings for these particular keywords. The concept of SEO is much more involved and complex than simply using keywords frequently but business owners can gain some benefit just by naturally applying relevant keywords to their website.

Do you solicit feedback from your customers online? This is yet another example of how business owners may be accidentally marketing their business on the Internet. Most business owners realize the importance of soliciting feedback from customers for business purposes and business owners who offer products online might solicit feedback in the form of online surveys. Although the business owners may be doing this simply for a business purpose the fact that it is done online makes it fall into the category of Internet marketing.

We have already discussed several ways in which business owners may already be marketing online but what about business owners who want to have an increased online presence? Business owners who may already be marketing online accidentally may wish to launch a full scale Internet marketing campaign. The best way to do this is to hire a consultant with experience in Internet marketing to assist you in creating a campaign which is effective for your target audience.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

10 Best Tips to Write Effective Emails

Nowadays, we communicate more and more through email. We use Email communication to write something to friends, relatives, colleagues or clients. Whoever the recipient of your email, it is becoming very important that you write email effectively.  As you know, by writing effective email, you can save your time, other person’s time and you can win more trust & confidence from the other end.

Give Reply of Email As soon as Possible

More and more people contact each other through email. Even if they mention directly or not, they expect prompt responses. One of the study by Jupiter Research indicates that 35% of customers expect a reply within six hours, an additional 55% expect a response within 24 hours. Though many people focus on response time, content is just as important. The same study indicated that lack of a thorough response (45%) will cause on-line customers to view a company negatively when considering future purchases.

Learn the art of writing Email

Poorly crafted emails will generate additional emails back & forth, which potentially eating up more of your time. Worse, they can drive unnecessary calls to your most costly channel – your phone. And at that point, customers are bound to be angry and frustrated.

Here are some tips for writing email responses that are both thorough and appropriate:

1.         Format your response so that it’s easy to read on a screen. Do not write email using very long sentences, which are lengthy horizontally. Each line must be short. Ideally, write 5-6 words in each line only and not more than that.

2.         Make sure the subject line is concise and meaningful to the recipient…not just a generic “Response from Marketing Team” But also be careful that it doesn’t look like spam.

3.         Have one subject per paragraph. Mention this separately by blank lines, so that its easy to read and understand.

4.         Be brief. Use as few words as possible to convey your message. More is not better when it comes to email. An email is not perceived as an electronic letter.

5.         Use simple, declarative sentences. Write for a third or fourth grade audience, particularly if you’re creating templates that are sent automatically. You do not know the education level of your sender or the sender’s level of comfort with the English language.

6.         Be sensitive to the tone of the original email. If the sender is upset because of an error on
your part, acknowledge the error. Clearly state what you are doing to correct the situation.

7.         Make sure you answer all the questions posed in the original inquiry. A partial answer frustrates the sender and results in additional contacts. It also makes the company sending the response look inept.

8.         Make it clear what actions you will be taking next and when the writer can expect the next contact from you.

9.         Don’t ask for an order number/case number or any old information which you remember out of your mind only when one is included in the original email…sounds pretty basic, but sometimes people miss very obvious info in email.

10.       Don’t just tell the sender to go to your web site. In many cases, they have already been to
the web site and couldn’t find the answers they were looking for. If you want them to go back to the web site, provide a direct link to the exact information the reader needs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Keeping your eye on the Big Picture

We are constantly bombarded by sales messages every second of the day. Buy this. Do that. And quite often the next thing that comes around looks like the next big thing. It's so easy to get distracted off what you were doing and never quite finish it.

The only real method of preventing this is self-discipline. Make it a rule to complete what you started before going on to the next thing. If you are working in a day job, then this is even more vital, since your time is even more precious. I have tons of projects I am working on at any one time, so I'm not just talking out my hat.

I do leasing, selling, auctions which all lead to showings....lets not forget all the web work and social media...including all types of advertising and marketing for commercial real estate and auctioneering. Also farm for new listings of all type. It's a juggling act and sometimes it's so easy to just flit about and apparently do nothing. The only time I manage to get something done, is when I say to myself - right - that's it - I'm going to finish that now.

Keeping your eye on the big picture is key. What is your goal? The goal will align everything and all your activities should fall into place around it. It is like the guide to your daily life. When you wander off. Remember the goal you can get yourself on track again.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Remember to Sign Your Email

When you finish typing an email message, don’t forget to sign it.  In email language, that doesn’t mean simply typing your name.  The “signature block” contains a great deal more information. 

An email is a blank screen.  It contains none of the contact information found on traditional company letterhead or stationery.  So, you need to provide this information in the form of a signature block. 

Avoid the temptation to create a fancy banner with lots of symbols at the top of your email message.  Most of that fancy schmancy stuff doesn’t translate well from one email system to another.  It also creates huge files, which means the message takes forever to open.  Locking up a client’s email is not the best way to make a positive impression on him/her.

The best position for the signature block is at the end.  When creating your block, try to keep it to four lines.  In some cases, you may need more space.  Use caution, though, or the contact information may end up being longer than the body of the message.  To solve this, try putting multiple pieces of information on a line.  For example:  Marketing Director, ABC Meeting Planners.

In determining what to include—again think of your letterhead.  Provide your full name, title, company name, phone number, and email address.  You may also want to give your mailing address and fax number.  If you have a website, list that address, too.  Don’t miss an advertising opportunity. 

Why include all this contact information?  Maybe an important client wants to call you instead of replying via email.  Don’t make it difficult for him/her to find you.  Including your email address is not redundant.  Messages get forwarded, edited, etc.  The ultimate receiver may not have a clue who the original sender was. 

Almost daily, I receive requests from people for information, and they don’t tell me who they are or where they are.  Even after requesting a mailing address, the response often comes back with no company name.  Can you imagine mailing something to a 40-story office building that contains 150 businesses with the envelope addressed only to an individual?

If you work for a large company, such as a hotel or convention center, consider using a separate signature for internal messages, since your coworkers don’t need all those details.  You might provide your phone extension, in case there isn’t a company directory handy, and your department, if the receiver doesn’t know you. 

To keep you from having to re-type all this information with every message, newer email programs allow you to create standard signature blocks.  This feature is usually found under the “Options” or “Preferences” heading.  It automatically inserts the block at the bottom of your message.  You can create numerous signatures and use them for different types of emails.  If you use the same closing (Sincerely; Warmly; Regards) for all correspondence, you can save even more time by including it in your signature block.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Send messages that get read—and get results

Do your e-mails get the attention—and rapid response—they deserve? Here’s how to make sure people read and answer your messages while they’re still fresh:

• Grab them with your subject. The subject line should read like a compelling newspaper headline. One technique is to use the subject line to tell people what you want up front:  “Please come to the 3 p.m. meeting,” for example, or “Do you have the Jones file?”

• Limit yourself to one subject per message. Don’t overload readers with questions and data. Single-topic e-mails are easier to answer than lengthy essays or questionnaires.

• Ask for action. Tell the reader what you need him or her to do—present a report at the 3 o’clock meeting, or bring the Jones file to your office. Specify whether you want a response to your e-mail. If it’s not necessary, tell them.

• Be consistent. Tracking e-mails is easier when you keep the same subject line.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Three skills for better negotiation

Negotiating is a make-or-break skill, whether you’re a CEO in charge of a merger or a parent trying to sort out a sibling squabble.

Follow these tips to negotiate agreements productively and without stress:

• Keep an open mind. Brainstorm ideas. Listen to outlandish proposals. Entertain unusual possibilities. This will expand opportunities for agreement.

• Treat people fairly. When people feel you’re being fair with them, they’re more likely to make real commitments. If they think you’re trying to cheat them, they’ll walk away in a huff. You won’t get commitment unless the other party feels you’re sincerely trying to do what’s right.

• Listen actively. Don’t plan what you’re going to say while the other side is talking.  Pay attention to what they’re saying so you know where they’re coming from and what they really want. When your response makes it clear that you’ve really been listening, they’ll be more willing to listen to your proposals.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Google Person Finder – Your Link in Times of Worry

In the wake of yet another natural disaster, the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011 it seems worth mentioning and giving credit this month to Google for its Person Finder service.  First launched after the Haiti earthquake in January of last year, the service has since been deployed following the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and now to help those affected by the Japanese disaster.

Google’s Person Finder is an easy-to-use online tool that allows those who are looking for someone and those who have news of someone affected by a catastrophic incident to register their status.  In the immediate aftermath of events such as those in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan, traditional means of communication are often lost altogether, leaving friends and loved ones frantic for news.  In its Person Finder service, Google utilizes today’s technology to provide peace of mind to those who are anxious for feedback.

For each of the events for which Google has launched the Person Finder service, a new website address has been created, but in each case it can be found by typing “Google Person Finder” and the name of the city or country in which the disaster occurred into the Google search engine.  For anyone still awaiting news from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the English language version of the website can be found at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The New Facebook Profile – Are You Protecting Your Interests?

Regular users of Facebook can’t fail to have noticed the new-look profile page and the changes to some of the site’s features.  For jobseekers and those keen to maintain a professional online image, two of the most noteworthy changes are the loss of the bio beneath the profile picture and the appearance of the new block of five photographs at the top of the page.

In some ways the disappearance of the bio from the profile page isn’t such a great loss, as the About Me section can still be found under the Info tab and Facebook has now improved the way that users can display information about education and work.  Specific work projects and study classes can now be detailed, and there is even the option to tag other Facebook contacts that you are involved with professionally, which is a huge bonus if your colleagues are well-known in their field. 

The new photo section is more worrying, as this automatically displays the last five photos in which the site member was tagged, thus leaving users with little control over what appears.  If you go to Privacy Settings and then select “Edit your settings” under Apps and Websites at the foot of the page, however, you can then choose which information is accessible through your friends.  Just deselect “Photos and videos I’m tagged in” and you shouldn’t have to worry about inappropriate content appearing without your knowledge or consent.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How Video Marketing Works

How Video Marketing Works
In order to be a successful video marketer you need to know the basic principles of video marketing, and how it works.
They can be summarized in three important steps:
1.  Make a Video:
Before you can distribute a video, you need to have one.  Don’t worry, this really is not that hard to accomplish!  This website will show you how to make a video using software you already have.  You can even make a video without  a video camera or even a microphone.
2.  Submit Your Video to Multiple Video Websites:
You can make a video for YouTube or any number of other video sharing sites. This site will show you the best places to submit your videos for maximum exposure.  We will also cover how to optimize your video submissions, and automate this process if you wish.
3.  Receive Backlinks and Traffic as Your Video is Distributed Around the Net:
This last step is automatic.  Once you have your videos distributed, just sit back and reap the benefits.
To learn more about how to make a video and how video marketing works, be sure to check out each category of this site for valuable information and tools to maximize your efforts
Before you start cranking out videos, you need to consider what goes into a great video.
The main goal of this video series is to make sure that people find your video to be “worth watching”. Our second goal is to ensure that after they view the video, they will want to learn more about the topic and will click the link to your website (and hopefully buy something!)
In this video you will learn that not all videos need to be “spectacular” to be effective. The videos that you want to go viral you will need to spend more time on. The videos that you are using purely for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes don’t have to be award winning.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Do you ask the right question—and do so in the right way

You’ve got to grab their attention if you want people to listen. In her book Communication Counts (Wiley), media consultant Mary Civiello tells about a sales manager who wanted to introduce an incentive program. Salespeople could earn a bonus of $1,000 if they passed sales leads from customers over to a sales rep in a different division. Because the paperwork required to forward the lead took about 10 minutes to fill, the sales manager opened his presentation with a compelling point: “Who here would like to make $100 a minute?”

Who wouldn’t respond positively to a question like that?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One Man’s Motivator is Another Man’s Passion Killer

Motivation is essential if anything is to get done, but trying to motivate a team of workers can be one of the most difficult and frustrating issues for managers.  Where most go wrong, however, is by assuming that everyone is motivated by the same things, and usually that assumption is based on what the manager finds motivating.

While it can be all too easy to see a team as a single entity, it is of course made up of individuals of different ages and genders who come from different backgrounds are at different stages in their careers and whose personalities, experiences, circumstances, priorities and goals are all entirely unique.  Each one is driven by a different set of factors, but often the employees themselves don’t know what motivates them.  If a manager wants to be a successful motivator, therefore, it is up to him or her to learn what works for each individual specifically, and if that sounds like a tall order, then it is worth bearing in mind just how much more productive motivated employees are and just how much added value they bring.

Look at the evidence, note when individual staff members seem all fired up and what it was that made them feel that way and then use this information to replicate those attitudes.  Above all though, never resort to fear as a motivator – it might work in the short term but it is guaranteed to break down trust eventually.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why you should consider a flexible management style

 If you and your company haven’t adopted a flexible workplace, you might want to ask yourself why not. Previously a flexible workplace has been viewed as a perk to reward star performers or a way to help working parents manages the varied demands on their lives. But a new study “Business Impacts of Flexibility,” released by the Washington-based nonprofit Corporate Voices for Working Families, challenges that view of flexibility. In the study, 28 large American businesses report that flexibility is not just an accommodation, but also an important management tool that helps companies improve the bottom line.

As a matter of fact, the study reports that flexible workplaces can impact business outcomes in several ways. Here are four areas of business management that flexibility can impact positively:

• Talent management. Research shows that flexibility can help companies hold on to key talent. Flexibility saves millions of dollars for companies each year in preventing turnover of talent.

• Human capital output. Research shows that even small measures of flexibility in how and when work gets done creates greater job satisfaction, higher commitment and engagement—and lower levels of stress. These outcomes often translate into quality, innovation, customer-retention and shareholder value.

• Financial performance. Flexibility has been shown to increase financial performance and productivity.

• Lower rates of burnout. Employees who have access to flexibility tend to avoid burnout as opposed to those who do not have access to flexibility.

The bottom line is that flexibility is a powerful management tool, and it helps companies reach their goals.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Focus on leadership

Developing first-class management skills is obviously vital in the workplace and companies are often fairly generous in terms of internal and external management training courses.  Being a good manager, however, isn’t the same thing as being a good leader, and despite the fact that our ever-changing work environments call increasingly for the strong qualities of the latter, leadership is an area which is commonly overlooked in many organizations.

People usually tend to think of management and leadership as one and the same thing, when in fact there are several major and fundamental differences.  Firstly, management focuses on ensuring that existing standards, rules, policies and systems are being met or adhered to.  It speaks of using organization and planning to ‘control’ the activities of others.  Leadership, on the other hand, is concerned with bringing about change, not through ‘control’ but through ‘influence’, something which is vitally important when you consider how resistant most people are to accepting any type of change.

The second significant difference between management and leadership, therefore, comes down to the skills required for success in each area.  Excellent planning and organization skills might work well for the manager but they are not sufficient to change the hearts and minds of an audience which may at first be unwilling to look at alternatives.  An effective leader needs to be able to inspire and enthuse others so that they actively desire change and become keen followers along a new path. 

Sound leadership skills are highly valued in any organization but they are not reliant on hierarchy in the same way that management is.  You don’t have to be at the top of the tree or even be a manager to get yourself noticed as a strong leader, so whatever your role or position, any investment made in leadership training will always be a wise one.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Get workers’ brains ticking

Need something new?  Different?  Innovative? Here are four ways to charge workers’ creativity so they come up with more fanciful ideas:

• Brainwriting. Gather your employees. Have each person write down one idea, or solution, that he or she wants the group to consider. Then have individuals pass their idea to the next person, who adds his or her own thoughts and suggestions in writing. Continue until each person receives the paper on which he or she wrote the original idea. Then, as a group, explore and pick the best ideas.

• The worst idea. This technique helps employees overcome “creative performance anxiety.” Each person provides the worst possible idea to a given situation. Bad ideas get employees to see problems in a different way, thus paving the way to come up with breakthrough ideas.

• Mind excursions. Have each participant put him- or herself in the typical day of a target client or customer. Walking in the shoes of a customer helps employees identify feelings, situations, problems, and needs that can lead to new ideas and solutions.
• Great thinkers. This technique requires that participants put themselves in the mind of an innovative thinker, like Mozart or Marie Curie, or a superhero like Batman or Wonder Woman. Participants then approach a concept or problem from the thinker’s perspective. This can result in creative, innovative ideas.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are You Getting The Most From Your Ipod Music Downloads?

Gone are the days where downloading music was a hassle and a problem. With new types of connections, including USB cables and FireWire, it couldn’t be easier to keep your music up to date and download the latest hits in a simple and problem-free fashion. Apple offers their iTunes website, which provides an amazing selection of songs from every imaginable genre of music.

The iTunes store boasts over three and a half million songs to choose from, and there are also podcasts, TV shows, movies, audiobooks and even iPod games if you are looking for more than just iPod music downloads. The iTunes store features the major music labels as well as music by independent artists, and once you buy the song from the store it is yours to use and play as often as you choose. There is no subscription to the store, rather you pay on a per-use basis, rather than a flat subscription rate plus additional costs for songs once the limit is reached. For some people that download a consistent number of songs the subscription option may be more cost effective, but it is important to carefully monitor your downloads as well as track your usage to avoid going over your download limit and ending up with penalty or over-usage fees.

The iTunes store also offers a handy download manager that allows you to establish and pre-set the order of the songs that you have selected for downloading. This saves a lot of play list set-up time after the download is complete. Simply browse through the music by category, artist or song titles, select what you wish to download and hit the button. Once the music has been downloaded all that is required is to connect the iPod to the computer using the USB cable or the FireWire connection and synchronize your iPod with the computer. Most of the docking station and cradles that hold the iPod during this process already have batteries or are charging your iPod so you don’t need to worry about running your play time down while you are synching your iPod. Some iPods, such as the Shuffle, allow for random selections of songs to give a unique play list every time, and even allows the listener to hear new music while still staying within a particular genre or music style.

The manual that comes with any new or refurbished iPod provides detailed information on how to complete and troubleshoot any issues with iPod music downloads. In addition the Apple website has videos and tutorials for each specific iPod player, which makes iPod music downloads and downloading easy and simple.

Branding a Business Using Social Media

Branding a business using social media marketing might be a lot more important than the majority of people tend to think. A lot of people are now on social media networks and the majority of businesses are too. The majority gets started as quickly as possible and do not really think about what their real image is. This can be a big mistake, as even though these businesses are engaging with an audience, they are not engaging in the correct manner.

The first thing to ensure is that when a profile is setup on a social media website, that it looks professional. Do not go with the generic theme that the website offers, but try and add something that makes the page unique to your business. For instance on Twitter, you could add you branding as the background. On Face book, you could add your company logo to make your page look that bit more professional.

When logging into Facebook, you might notice that a lot of people have fan pages. A great idea would be to start one for your business. This will allow you to connect with hundreds of people on Facebook, without actually having to contact them directly. Over time, the chances are that people will actually come to you, so you won’t have to actively market the page if you do not want to. Try and make sure that the page name reflects the name of your business or website.

A lot of the times, many businesses are actually getting a lot of traffic to their pages. What they are not doing, is converting that traffic into consumers. A lot of people are looking for deals or something of interest. Offer people on social networks a reason to visit your website and potentially start being a paying consumer. This might mean offering free entry to a competition, it might mean offering a discount, whatever it takes to brand a business and get people to your website!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sell your way to success, whatever your field

No matter what your job is, or what industry you’re in, you have to be able to sell. You sell your products, your ideas, and your experience every day.

Here are some basic sales tips that will help you advance and prosper:

• Reject rejection. Even veteran salespeople dread the possibility of rejection. To counter this fear, keep reminding yourself that when prospects turn you down, they’re rejecting your ideas, or the product you sell, or even your company—not you. Never take rejection personally.

• Build rapport without wasting time. A common mistake many salespeople make is spending too much time “making friends” with the prospect. Though building rapport is useful and important, making friends doesn’t automatically translate to making sales. Save time by finding one thing you have in common with the prospect, and talk about that one thing for two minutes. Then, move on to your prospect’s needs. Prospects don’t want to waste time on chitchat any more than you do; most will be gratified to deal with someone who wants to get down to business.

• Don’t mail more pieces than you can follow up on. If your strategy is to mail promotional letters to prospects and then follow up with a phone call, watch how many pieces you mail. You’re better off mailing in small batches and following up each piece with a prompt phone call while the piece is fresh in prospects’ minds. Otherwise, you run the risk of your prospects forgetting what you mailed them by the time you reach them.

• Rate each of your prospects. Whenever you meet with prospects, assign them a rating based on three questions: 1) Do they have a motivation to buy? 2) Is there an urgency to buy now? and 3) Do they have the resources to buy? Put each prospect on a scale of 1 to 10, and spend a lot of time only with your highest-rated prospects. You’ll find that by rating prospects right off the bat, you can quickly disqualify people and move on before you waste a lot of their time and yours.