5 Ways to Finish Strong & Kick Ass in the New Year

How is it already the end of the year?

I think that thought every time the beginning of December rolls around. Well this year is not different, but this time I do not have that twinge of panic. Why? Because I have decided this year to incorporate some SMART planning into place.

What is SMART planning? Well check out see for yourself below.

(1) Specific
Be specific in your planning. The more specific you are the better you can map out the steps to accomplish your goals. This means that you need to be very clear on what you want and how you are going to get it. We often think by being general in our planning that it is more attainable, but it then become difficult to make the next thing happen.

 

(2) Measurable
When you can measure your progress, you will know what still needs to happen or where you might need to tweak things to improve your success. This applies to planning, marketing, social engagement and even your process in how you do what you do. There are tons of ways to measure…so many that it can make your head spin. So take it a step at a time to implement these so you can be sure you have the right fit. Here are some ideas:

HootSuite (Social Media)
Google Analytics (Social Media; Website)
Basecamp (Business Tasks & Goals)
Tello (Workflow)
Streak (CRM, Workflow, Business Tasks)

(3) Achievable
It is so important to be to achieve the goals that you set. So you need to then figure out what that means to you. When you begin, jot down anything and everything…don’t limit yourself. Then go back over it, refine it and set time tables that will be…(see #4)

(4) Realistic
Be realistic. It is easy to get excited and make all sorts of plans, but logic has to step in and help guide the way.

(5) Timely
As  you finalize your goals and plan ask yourself…is this a good use of my time and useful in moving me forward in my business? Kinds of seems common sense, but excitement for a certain project can cloud judgement…So let some time pass before you make the call on how timely things are.

So there you have it! These 5 ways of planning and handling my business has made a world of difference to helping me feel like I have my head screwed and the I can kick ass the New Year.

What’s the Difference Between a Facebook Business Page & a Personal Profile?

If you are on social media at all, then you almost definitely have a Facebook profile. And if you own a business, then you likely have a business page or at least you have thought about it getting one.

I am often asked, especially as clients are ramping up their visual storytelling, what is the difference between my Facebook Business Page and my Personal Profile?

Well they both have their place and you should manage them in their own way…but they are both being seen by potential clients.

Many people think that if they “lock” down their personal profile, that they have a bit of safety in posting more personal opinions and content. That their personal profile will not really impact their business page.

Well this could not be farther from the truth!

Whatever you put out there online is out there…all of it.

It is not just friends and family that will look at your personal profile. Current clients and potential ones will snoop and find out who you are. They will look at your business page and compare it. Why? Because people want to connect personally with those they choose to do business with.

So what does this mean? Well it means that as a business owner that is marketing online you need to be intentional about what you post anywhere online.

This does not mean that you can’t share personal things on your personal profile. You should do that…however you may want to hold back a bit on sharing pics that might not be in line with an image you would want your business associated with. Or maybe keep some of your stronger opinions for in person conversations.

Whatever you choose to do, just be mindful of what you put out there in the world wide interwebs.

Five Steps to Create a Solid USP

 

What is a USP?

A USP is a single sentence or phrase that captures your Unique Selling Proposition. It takes a bit of work to get to this piece of your marketing plan, but it VITAL to understanding the problem your business/organization is solving and what sets you apart from others in your community. A USP gives you a clear identity, lets you target your market and will help you with putting together a solid story. Successful USPs can be used as a company tagline and should be incorporated into all of your marketing activities.

Stand out in a crowd
What makes your company or organization unique

 

Step 1: Find Your Target?

You need to know who you are targeting. In this first step you need to be a specific and intentional in your wording.. For example, if you are a business coach with an expertise in fundraising, you may identify your target client as non-profits or community based organizations.

Step 2: What is Your Problem?

This is so IMPORTANT! Take some time and think from your prospective clients’ perspective. What problem or challenge do they face that your business can solve?

Step 3: Identify the Benefits

What are 3-5 of the biggest benefits a client gets from choosing to work with your company?What sets you apart from your competition? These benefits should explain why your services would be valuable to your prospective clients and what would compel them to choose you.

Step 4: Define Your Promise

A HUGE part of a USP is what you will promise to your clients, what are you going to do to solve their problems. This are active words.

Step 5: Put it all together

Now take all of the information you have written down and put it all together into one paragraph. There should be some recurring ideas and thoughts, so you’ll want to start merging statements and rewriting in a way that flows and makes sense.You want your final USP to be as specific and simple as possible.

Here are a few links to some great USP examples:

https://fizzle.co/sparkline/10-examples-of-killer-unique-selling-propositions-on-the-web

http://sales.about.com/od/leadgeneration/tp/Unique-Selling-Proposition-Examples.htm

http://imimpact.com/unique-selling-proposition-examples/

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Why Are Reviews on Social Media Important?

There are many ways that you can attract clients and more business, however what impression are you leaving with your digital thumbprint? Through your website, social media, local listings and digital content (more in future posts on these specifically) you can have quite a bit of control over the story you are telling. A key element you can leverage are the reviews on your social media.

There are many ways that you can attract clients and more business, however what impression are you leaving with your digital thumbprint? Through your website, social media, local listings and digital content (more in future posts on these specifically) you can have quite a bit of control over the story you are telling. A key element you can leverage are the reviews on your social media. Why not ask clients to share their experience. It is proven that prospects typically base their decision to use a business or give to an organization based on what others say in reviews. Think about how you make these types of decisions.

Below are a few step-by-step instructions for the top three social platforms.Take control of your branding and story, this can help you attract more clients and build a solid community of followers. In a later post we will explore reviews on your local listings.

Facebook Reviews
We will start with Facebook, one of simplest platforms to request reviews for. To get a link to send.

Don’t have a branded (or Vanity URL as they call it) click HERE for a how-to.

Facebook Reviews.JPG

Google Reviews
Google is an important one to keep tabs on. Why, well it’s Google and this is something that will pop up when someone searches your business. So kind of important!  Here are the official steps that Google provides to help you create a link for reviews:

google-id

LinkedIn
There is not a way to create or send a specific link that directly takes someone to recommend you on LinkedIn, but you can send them a link to your profile. Written recommendations are at found at the bottom of your profile. To encourage recommendations, send someone to your profile (use the public or serial ID URL) and ask them to scroll (or hit Ctrl+End) to go to the bottom to see your recommendations.

If you have not already, you should brand your LinkedIn URL so that your community can easily find you. Click HERE for a link on how to do that. If you have customized it, the link to your public profile is www.LinkedIn.com/in/YOURBRAND.

linked-in-branded-url

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Product Video | Corporate Commercial

You can tell the story of your product, services and company with a simple video. Make sure to keep it short and sweet. Here is a great sample of using intentional words and striking images to create a visual message.

 

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What Story Are You Telling Without Saying A Word?

You don’t have to hang around me long to know that I am a bit dramatic. I have been acting, dancing and performing since I was 4 years old. My mother put me in dance and acting to increase my confidence. Both of these crafts focus on how you present yourself and how to communicate with out words…to tell a story with out even saying anything.

These skills translate to everyday life. I think all too often we float through and are note aware of what we say with our body, our eyes and the energy we focus from ourselves. This blog post is an overview of a few key non-verbal elements (there are many more) to be in tuned to. I will be offering a workshop & webinar soon that I will to help give more application.

What are you saying with out speaking a word?

Body Energy
We all have energy that flows from our body, but it is how we channel this energy that tells the story. When you are in a situation at work, at home, under stress…what energy is flowing from you. It is a different way to look at things, but awareness of this can help you turn a situation around or elevate the mood of things.

Stance
How you simply stand gives a lot away about how you are feeling and the confidence you have.  A tight, closed down or twisted stance sends a message that you there is insecurity and that you are not as open. A wider stance communicates that you are rooted and thus signals confidence. The most strength lies in the “Power Pose” (think superman or wonder woman) to take charge of a situation (for yourself and to give those around you the cue that you are in charge).

Bubbles
We all have a bubble…some have the need for lots of space and others are very comfortable when someone gets into their bubble. I am a notorious hugger…which I am very aware of being very intentional. But just like the three little bears, there is a way to approach the “bubble” that is just right for a professional setting when you are networking or just meeting people. When you are a step to close while you are speaking this is a signal of control and dominance. When you are just a bit out of reach (to far away) you communicate that you are either insecure or uninterested. To find a distance that is just right will signals confidence and that you are sure of yourself, but takes into consideration the other person.

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Content is King: Create Your Own Meme

Part of this fun journey of blogging for 29 days is to provide some quick tips on how to create unique content to tell your story.

Original content is so important to have in your social media and digital marketing. Do you like those images with text…or better known as meme? You can easily create these with your own photos in a very simple way. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to creating fun, inspirational and informative content for your business.

Meme
Sample Seasonal Meme from Original Photography

First…Identify your Screen Capture Tool

PC = Snipping Tool

  • Locate Snipping Tool in Accessories (Start Menu Search) and Open
  • A communication window will appear
  • Click on arrow next to choose the type of snip you want. Rectangular Snip is best for memes
  • Once you have the item you would like to capture prepared, click “new”
  • Drag cursor over area you want to capture
  • Save as the image format you want

Mac = Command (⌘)-Shift-4

  • Press Command (⌘)-Shift-4. You’ll see that your cursor changes to a crosshair pointer
  • Move the crosshair pointer to where you want to start the screenshot
  • Drag to select an area. To adjust the area, hold Shift, Option, or the Space bar while you drag
  • When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. Or to cancel, press Escape (esc)
  •  Find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop

Second…Create Meme in a Word Doc

  • Open Word Doc
  • Go to Insert tab and select Picture…this will allow you to import the image
  • With image selected go to Format and click Wrap Text and select In Front of Text
  • Click on Insert tab and select Text Box…this will give you the option of which text box you want to use
  • Double click on Text Box content and then type the quote you want on your image
  • Make certain that Text Box is still selected and click on Home tab. Highlight the text you just added and format using all the Font formatting tools
  • Make certain that Text Box is still selected and click Format tab. This is where you will select Shape Fill (none) and Shape Outline (none)
  • With box selected drag the Text Box to where you want it on the image.
  • Use screen capture tool to capture and save as either a png or jpg

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Check…Check…Double Check | Quality Control in Your Marketing

Recently I received a letter in the mail from my health care provider. Well after a moment of reading and then re-reading this I laughed out loud so obnoxiously that everyone in the house wondered what the heck I was reading. Really? “Insert disease/condition”….well someone did not get their caffeine in before they hit print and sent this on its merry way. And excuse me, I have a few pounds to lose, but I am not pre-diabetic. After my initial shock, I was delighted to get this and knew right away that it would be a great sample of how in any and all marketing you must check…check…double check your work. Sure we are human, however quality control is so very important and a mistake like this can be costly. How you say? Well my health care provider had to send a letter out after this as a follow-up with an apology and an updated message. So double the postage $$ was spent on this “Research Study Opportunity”.

Ooops Quality Control

So what can we learn from this?

1 – Be certain to check your work yourself and whenever possible have another set of eyes take a look. I am a notorious miss-speller (yes that is not spelled correctly on purpose), so I try to always have extra help in that area.

2 – Quality control is important! It can cost you cold hard cash and possibly some credibility…or the embarrassment when you have to go back to fix things.

3 – To put your best foot forward make certain you are clear-headed and give yourself some time to work on, edit, step away and then come back for a final go over before you send things out into world.

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6 Key Strategies for Marketing Your Business

If you are a business owner, head up an organization or you are your own brand, marketing strategy is crucial to your success. Here are a few key strategies that will  help you to refine your marketing and find your biggest fans.

Know Your Story
The core of your story is your big WHY. This is the reason or reasons why you are doing what you do. What is the passion that drives you? How does your business change your life for the better? Who or what is your reason for all the long hours you put in? If you do not commuicate why you care…you cannot expect others to.

Story Book

Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
By identifying what sets you apart, you will be able to play to your strengths. So ask yourself what makes you unique and different from your competition? What is going to persuade someone to exchange money for a product or service….or contribute to your cause? A solid USP will give a certain focus to your marketing.

Establish Your Core Values
These are values that reflect the core principals of your business or organization. These are deeply held values that do not change over time. They are your inner voice and compass that help you reset, revive and keep you on course. It may not make sense why to write these out to start with, but is very powerful to have your values in writing. Don’t be afraid to post these where you can see them on a regular basis.

Focus on a Community Mindset
You don’t have to be a celebrity to have fans. If you focus on developing a community around your business or organization, you will shift how you market. This mindset is not about the hard sell…it is about starting a conversion, offering valuable content and becoming the “go-to” resource for in your industry. Who is your community….Hint: start with the people who you want to attract and work with.

Community

Incorporate A Personal Connection
When you open up and share personal experiences and perspectives, people are more inclined to hear what you have to say. It establishes authenticity, engages and makes you relatable. Whether you are in an industry where personal connection is second nature (like a wedding planner or fitness coach), or if this is a bit more difficult to navigate (like a CPA)…we all have personal experiences that are interesting to our community. So share them!

Communicate Your Expectations
Use your marketing to communicate what your customers, clients or supporters should expect from you. If you do not want to work weekends, then make certain to list your hours of operation and when people should expect to get a hold of you. If it takes two weeks for you to complete a task, market how thorough your process is. This will not only make for a happy user experience, it will also make for a more balance you!

 

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5 Effective Tips for Face-Time

There are many ways to connect with people, mostly today those are digital connections…but it is important to remember that meeting people face-to-face will help to establish real relationships. This means carving out some time that you can meet people in your community. A huge benefit to networking is that you will get to know other business owners (who provide services different or similar to yours) that you will feel comfortable referring people to if you need to. It will help to establish as a connected local business owner who your clients can turn to for information.

The best place to start is at the Chamber of Commerce, one of their main functions is to help local businesses. There are also several independent networking groups (both free and membership based) that work to meet different needs of the business community.

Have patience and find the group(s) that will be the best fit for you and give you the results you want. Ultimately you should be looking for other like-minded people who will want to give you client referrals and you in turn will want to do the same.

The Rules of Networking…5 Effective Tips for Face-Time

1. Networking is more than face-time at meetings. Just showing up and passing out cards at networking meetings is not effective. You need to spend intentional time getting to know about people, learning about their businesses and see how you can help each other out. A good place to connect is over a cup of coffee or tea in a relaxed setting.

 

2. Where you network matters. Make certain that the meeting, networking organization or event is a good fit and will give you what you are looking for. It is your time that you are spending and investing in networking (yes that has a $ value), so make it count. But do have some patience, it takes a bit of time to find a good match.

 

Networking

 

3. The most valuable people who you should include in your network are the ones who you have developed a relationship with and is comfortable enough to give you as a referral.

 

4. Make your networking count and connect with others. If you are shy or self-conscious, you need to find ways to conquer this so you can further your business, or you can hire someone who will be the face of your company in the community. There are times you will need to jump into conversations in order to make this happen, but this boldness will pay off in spades.

 

5. Know your story and message. Know your elevator speech. Speak clearly, concisely, and positively about what you do. Say only what you want your listeners to hear and remember.

 

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