Saturday, August 18, 2012

Your Business Media Hub


Did you know that the internet opens up your big chance for every business - whether you run a large corporations or a family business on Main Street, Anywhere, to present your business to customers wherever they be, either around the world or across the street if you sell to local customers.

You don't need a huge budget. You don't need a special degree. You don't even need to buy special tools. You just need to have an open mind and an attitude that puts the interests of the business over any personal inhibitions that you may have.

You do need to apply some resources to build your very own media hub.

You can add good content (information) to the internet by a range of means. First is your website. Then your social media platforms. This may be Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, and many others. You may use all of these or just some of these, depending on the type of business you conduct.

No matter if you are a B2B business, or a B2C business. The way you carry out your strategy may differ but the basic way to develop your own businesses public relations, news desk, customer contact point, and information service for your business remains the same.

Now isn't that exciting!





Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Story Your Business Has To Tell


Yes even the most 'boring' company has a story to tell, and online is the place to tell it.

Business owners often confuse what they sell with the limit of what there is to say about their  business. That's not true but it is widely held as a belief.

The issue is not one of a business that has no story it is an issue of a lack of a creative approach to seeing the business as a customer might, and taking for granted those things that the business owner knows so well, but customers don't know.

You can't get much more boring than flour. Right?

Here's what one flour producer managed to make of their story.


What's your story?

Understanding your story is great for developing interesting marketing to capture the essence of what you do and what customer love about your business. But the secondary benefit is sometimes the main benefit. Understanding the story you have to tell, lets you understand who you want to know your story and who will care about it. This is a marker for a great customer. And getting great customers and keeping them happy is what business is all about. Whether that is online or in the street.

How can you develop your story and integrate this with your operations and marketing?

Now this is simple, but that doesn't mean it is easy. You might need some help and that's okay too.

What will you do today to make a start?

 
 Related
Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website
  Quick And Dirty Business Review




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Great Question!

The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions. ~ Anthony Jay


Out of the blue today I found myself in the middle of someone else's blog. Paul Hassing writes a very nice blog over on MYOB and today the topic was on interview questions. You'll find that here .

Questions are funny things. Not all questions are equal when it comes to getting down to the nuts and bolts of why you asked the question in the first place!

So what makes a good question?

The first place to go when you want a good question to ask someone else - is yourself. What purpose is there in asking the question? What is it that you really want to know? What's important about this question? What will knowing the answer give you?

Critique Your Own Questions
  • What is the purpose of the questions I will ask at this interview?
  • What precisely am I looking to understand by asking these questions?
  • Does this question align with that purpose?
  • Does this question have a trap set in it?
  • Will this question put my candidate in a position where they have to guess what I want and just tell me what I want to hear?
  • Is there a better way to ask this question?
  • Is there a different question that would be more useful?
  • I really need to know the answer to this question because... (insert answer)
  • What's my objective means of measuring the responses to the questions that I ask?
How we ask questions and the quality of our questions is just one aspect. The next hurdle is in interpreting the answers that we receive.

When you ask questions that are not concrete with measurable, quantifiable, or verifiable answers then you are out in no-man's land without a compass. You have to translate that answer into something that is meaningful for you and that can leave a wide gap between what the person meant when they responded and what you thought they meant when you heard it.



Facebook Foolish

Which brings me to another issue that is more and more a factor in hiring and that is checking Facebook and social media platforms. In the same way, the information that may surface (leaving aside legalities and ethics) is subject to interpretation. Not everything that you see online is real or true and not every situation that looks bad on social platform, tells you anything about the ability of that person to show up and perform  in an excellent manner in the specific role for which they have applied.

Indeed, the worry is that many who are vetting the sites for this information may have little or no experience of the online environment and no knowledge of how to reasonably make judgment about work suitability or competency, based on irrelevant information from a completely different non working environment.

Over time we have been reminded that 'we don't know what we don't know'. Just as tricky, is separating what we assume we know, from what we just think we know.

Ask yourself if you really have done enough to know your questions are the best ones to get you the information you want to know and that this is information that you also need to know.  Make sure you are not asking a bunch of questions that don't further your purpose while failing to ask the questions that really do matter.




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What A Business Should Know About Social Media


"What should I know about social media marketing and Facebook and Twitter and all that?"

This is a great question! Unfortunately nobody asks it so I am putting it out there.

This is a great question because it starts at the beginning. Many times businesses have already put a website up on the web, maybe they have paddled around on Facebook and started to build their Friend list thinking that this is social marketing ... but not asked this question.

Basic Components For Getting Found Online

Website

It comes to many as a bit of a surprise that a website is a part of social media marketing for local business. I have to say ths seems to be a secret that many "Gurus" don't know either.

The sad reality is that most websites don't work very well.
And there are many things that can be adjusted slightly to make them work
better, without the need for a new website. Indeed, I've seen businesses
replace a website that wasn't effective with a new fancy website with all
the bells and whistles ... that is still not going to be effective.

It may be pretty - and still be useless.

An attractive website is a good thing, and you want your website to be attractive and show your business in a good light. But if nobody finds it, you've done your dough.  If people find it and there is nothing there for them to see that you really know what you're on about then you've wasted that chance to convert their click to your site to a sale.

"Whatever Google Wants ... Google Gets"
Search and how websites are selected by search engines is changing all the time. One constant that you can rely on is this. Google will  always want to see

1) Fresh content
2) Quality Content that is relevant for visitors searching for that topic.

This will never go out of fashion.

Your content needs to be verified that it is yours and original and that what it says was worth saying.

What is content?
Content is articles, blogs, images with good tagging, online discussions and more.

By integrating your effective website with your social media platforms you have the best chance of being found. In search engines - and in the local chit chat that happens online when people are looking for recommendations.

Customers look online now when they want to know about something. As a business owner your job is to give your business the best chance of owning your category in your local market. That means getting your act together and making sure your business is there where it counts.

Facebook
Facebook is not for every business and yet really there are few that can't benefit by having a presence on Facebook and building a local network.  I could probably think of a few but then I could probably give you a very good reason why even those businesses may find it useful. Sometimes those reasons are not obvious to the business owner.

Keep in mind Facebook's agenda is to build Facebook - not your business. You are renting a space there and paying with your time and you do not own that space. You can be evicted any time so remember to spend time on your website and keep that in good order and incorporate your social media profiles with your own property that is your website.

If Facebook goes belly-up - You don't.

Twitter
Twitter can be a great platform to use and you need to understand what it is - and what it isn't. For meeting new people in your local area it can be fantastic and a great way to keep in touch in a casual and sharing way.

Linkedin
For those business owners who think they are too Fine for being on Facebook, Linkedin could be your place of preference. Linkedin is not for pushing out ads it is for many things and connecting to people of influence that you want to meet is just one of them. There are many ways that Linkedin can be used. First and foremost ensure that you have completed your profile and that you look like you know what you are doing. This is where you establish your professional bona fides and this is critical as the first step. While there are many things you can do with Linkedin you need to look the part first. And never, NEVER use Linkedin to spammy sales letters to people in your network!

Blogging
For some the idea of blogging is just such a weird idea that it is beyond comprehension and impossible to consider doing. Well get over it, your blog is your key to keeping your website fresh and the quality content added regularly. Before you start you need to plan what kind of information and content you can use it for. You will be amazed at how much you can do with this blog and once you get into the swing of it, will wonder what you ever did before you had your business blog. This is the key to managing your business information that you want customers to know and to being able to post quality information to your social platforms. Without a blog - what are you going to post? What you had for breakfast? No seriously, nobody with any sense posts that kind of thing to social platforms.

The beauty of the blog for you is that you can package your expertise and reuse that in many different places and contexts. This is what I like to think of as Radical Laziness. Write it once - get to use it over and over. Also sometimes called Increased Productivity.

Your Traditional Marketing
Guess what? This is part of your social marketing too.
When you have a marketing strategy that works, your existing marketing will be aligned with what you are doing online and each of these will support and complement your business.

It's a wild ride but fun too.

And seeing your business become better-known in your market of choice is a great thing to know.

 Related
Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website
  Quick And Dirty Business Review






Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Monday, April 30, 2012

Your Career & Role Models



Young managers have a job that is sometimes not clear to them. That job is to drive their career and do whatever they need to do in order to progress. In a way that expresses their values and allows them to be congruent with those core values.

This is a personal challenge that we all face and seldom recognise as an obligation to our own future and should not be seen as the duty of others to further our career.

So how does a young manager (or anyone for that matter), learn about what they need to know to manage their career?

There are many issues that will relate to this but the one that I want to focus on right now is that of role models.

For a manager in a larger business, there may be supervisors and managers or directors above them to whom they report. Or there may be older people they manage that are particularly good at some aspect of what they do either at work or in the community.  Seek out people who display excellence in some manner or are in a role that you would like to have some day.

So how might you start? 

If you have several managers or directors of a business then you will have noticed that some have a special knack for some element of the business. It may not be apparent what that is, but the chances are that they have some ability that has put them where you might like to be in the future.  You may not know what that is until you have spent some quality time with them getting to know them and how they operate. What do they do and how did they come to that method of doing what they do?
What works well for them, or conversely, what's not working so well for them? Positive lessons and lessons of what doesn't work are all valuable and sometimes the context is all that makes the difference.

Make a list of directors or other business owners you admire
Arrange to meet them one on one for lunch and get to know them a little and see if they are open to help you get to understand them and how they have achieved their success.
Make notes of all that you learn and don't censor yourself about what's important. Patterns may only develop later as you look back so make a note of everything.
Record the sessions if you can. If not make notes immediately after the session.
.
Some things to look for when analyzing your sessions:

What beliefs does this person hold about life and business?
What values do they display in their dealings?
In what esteem are they held by others?
What led them to hold their beliefs?
 What advice do they have for someone starting out?
What would they do differently if they were starting now?
What would they do the same if they were starting now?

 Your Life Plan

As you collate your notes give thought to what you have learned as you set about planning your goals for your career and your life generally.

This is a valuable resource for you.
Make the most of it.

And let this inform your own values and describe your best path forward in your life.



Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus  Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Social Media For Business. Now Open



 Another week and another slew of nonsense has flashed past my eyes.

"I can't use Skype because it changes  my website."

No it doesn't. 

 "I have a local business so I don't need to have a webpage."

Yes you do.

" I am going to this expensive seminar to be a Social Media Superstar! so then I will know what to do online."

No you are going to this expensive seminar because that is a money maker for whoever is running it and it doesn't follow that you will have any idea what to do online when you get back to your business.

"I have a marketing plan ... it's in my head!"

That's not a marketing plan.

"I can't afford a decent website."
 What you pay is no indicator of what is useful when it comes to websites.
 
"My graphic designer does all my SEO"
 Abandon all hope.

 "I'll get my teenage daughter to do a Facebook page for me."
Great idea if you have no interest in your business.

"I don't know why I'd need a blog."
That's a good start.

"I'm a professional so social media is beneath me, *sniff*"
Hold on to your hat. Not all social media is cat photos on Facebook.

If you do want to know how to find your way around online then a seminar isn't going to cut it.  Seminars can be one way to learn about the landscape. It is a dismal way to learn how to expertly present your business online. 

The online world is not hard to learn about but it does take time. It requires a certain level of understanding of how things work online and how your business can fit within that space for best results. And it is a moveable feast. What worked last month may not work next week.   It requires you to know the difference between issues that affect results and issues that are bunkum. Believe me, I have the hours logged to know.

If you would like to learn how to do this stuff in your local business without 'paying the tuition' in hours and hard graft contact me. Here are some details on how you can get on top of this stuff and start having some fun and making it work for your business. Social Media Training For Local Business.

You won't be a Social Media Superstar... but you will know why that phrase and others like it,  should sound a warning bell.





Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Saturday, April 07, 2012

This Is What Collaboration Looks Like

Cover of Gotye's Somebody I Used To Know shows how well it can work when we put our heads together for mutual benefit. Watch the guy on the end!



How are your efforts at collaborating going? Is your team working like this right now?





Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Friday, March 16, 2012

It Comes Down To Communication

Effective communication takes effort both when speaking and listening
 "But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication. '
    ~ Abraham Maslow


 "It all comes back to communication, doesn't it."

This was the statement from a client recently, a young very savvy professional, manager of a local outpost of a business that's into a highly technical, engineering related field.

Marketing. Managing employees. Managing customers. Understanding which metrics in the system really matter. They all relate back in some way to communication. They can all be impacted - for good or bad - by communication.

It's quite surprising how often the things that are not working in a business, are suffering because of a breakdown in how we communicate. Communicated poorly by others, but sometimes how we communicate with ourselves.

 Know what you really want to know
We can spend enormous amounts of time collecting data on things that may or may not matter, before we have even asked ourselves the questions that really pinpoint and then articulate our true and deepest ambition we want to achieve. Instead we build sentences that sound impressive but don't really communicate the essential nub of what we want to know.

Take the case of a marketing plan. Many times I've heard people say they have a business plan or a marketing plan and it is this: "Create a high quality product and provide good service."  As fine as an ambition this may be, it is not a marketing plan. It is not a vision. It is certainly no business plan. It may be a value, and a commendable philosophy to work to, but it is not specific, has no action and no standard by which it can be measured.

It is a tag line at best and for some it might be called their mission statement. Is it useful? Probably not.

When identifying issues that are to be resolved, it is worth ensuring that there is an action that can be taken to fit with the instruction. Be specific and ensure that when this matter is resolved there is something to show that this is so. Something is now happening that didn't before the instruction, or something has ceased to happen since the instruction was given.

Say there was a problem with start times and employees being on time for work. A new instruction would clearly let everyone know the problem that is the issue, what action they would take to fix it, and management (and everyone else) can see when it has been successfully adopted.

The measurable clear change would be:
  • Employees are arriving on time for work, or
  • Employees have stopped arriving late for work.
Some areas to watch
Setting deadlines that are non specific.

"Two weeks" is not the same as a date.

If you want something done in two weeks, then go the little bit further and specify what date that will be.
EG. 3 May 2012

And further, specify what action if any, needs to be taken after that thing is completed, to advise others who have a vested interest.


Which actually describes a small process and one that can become a Good Habit. Good processes in a business mean everyone can do them, they are replicable and they save time and confusion. And they can improve productivity and consistency.

Small changes big improvement
Just this one tiny action spread across a workplace can have big impact. Suddenly things that have been dragging on for months and not being attended to are done, ticked off the work sheet and that's cleared one small bit of space and burden from the shoulders of however was to do that thing, and whoever was waiting for that thing to to be done. In some cases this will also enable a third person to act on their part of what comes next so it can be like a chain reaction sometimes. All good.

Specific language, to deliver a well-constructed instruction is a part of good communication. We can do this when we frame questions, too. So often we can fall into the habit of giving a vague instruction. The person who then has to carry out that duty, is not sure exactly what is required, how to do it or what priority it has.  This can be very stressful to that person, and frustrating for the person who issued the instruction, when it doesn't happen, or is done to a standard that was less than expected.


If you are giving instructions, ensure that you are clear in what you want to happen. If you are asking for information be clear what it is you want to know.

If you are receiving instructions and are not sure exactly what is expected of you or about some issue relation to that instruction, seek clarification. Ask. Don't just do what you assume is expected unless you are sure that is what was meant.

Can you identify an area where communications could be improved in your business or at home?

 Related:
Purpose before action
Customers wonder: "Why don't you know me?"
Are you right or wrong about what you think and how do you tell?
Love your customers and engage - try it with your staff too





Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Creative Kids Share A Special Message

 I've posted before about the opportunity that sending cards opens for businesses interested in nurtuing client relationships and there is no better way to send cards than by mail from your computer. It just makes sense.

So I was delighted to see this video that a friend also mad about greeting cards sent me on how these cards are being used in a school program in the US for kids to share their feelings with their family. This is a great example of how an idea can be used in many different contexts to bring great rewards and just generally help people be happy and express their gratitude to those who are important to them in some way. All too often the moment passes and we have said nothing, done nothing and inspired nobody.





Being able to send cards is great for us to do. Getting them is nice too. Empowering our kids to be able to make their own and express themselves using all their creativity is a stroke of genius.

I would love to see these being used by families to keep in touch with elderly grandparents and friends who may be isolated and would so appreciate something to hold and see that they are valued by those they care about.

Once you start to think about different ways that you could be using a card to bring a little joy to someone you know or a customer that needs a lift then the floodgates open with possibilities.

Do you have a favourite story of sending or receiving a card? Do please share your experience. I would have loved to have been able to use these to send my mother when she was alive.



Disclosure: I am an affiliate for this program and you can see how the program works to send cards via internet through regular mail here.

If you have any questions contact me and I'll be happy to help.




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Monday, February 20, 2012

Two Ways Your Website Works For You.

SEO is like putting a line in the water to go fishing.  Social Media can drive visitors to your website.


"If you're not online it's like you don't exist!"
 ~ Workshop attendee on business


Do you want potential customers to know about your business and find you?
If the answer is yes -
•    You need to understand these things.
•    You need to communicate these things in your actions.

Preliminary
•    Articulate who you are and what you do;
•    how you do it and
•    The reason that I (customer) want buy from you first.



Once you can articulate these things, then you need work out the best way to present this information online.You'll need good content written to communicate your core message and good layout to make it easy for visitors to your site to find the information they need and importantly - the key messages you want them to know about.

Two Ways Your Website Works For You

2 Methods – Passive and Active
Fishing – Search engine and people optimised. This can be set up and monitored over time but is essentially passive in that you 'bait your hook' and wait for the fish (customers) to find it.

Driving – Social marketing requires a business strategy.  This is more active and means that other activities online raise interest where customers can see and this has the effect of driving visitors to see your site who would never have found you otherwise.

Drivers (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc) send visitors (traffic) to your website to take action to engage with the business.

1    A system to convert visits into sales
2    A policy for Social Media use



Ongoing Maintenance    

Website – Needs Service Just Like Your Vehicles – Make Sure You Have A Web Mechanic! Some things that need to be altered will be behind the scenes - on your website in the background, not visible to you but very visible to the search engines. If you are not doing this yourself you need to make sure your web developer understands this critical function. Many don't.

Remember just like when you buy a mower – you mow the grass, yet it keeps on growing.  On the internet things change too so you must tend to your website and maintain it to keep good position as Google changes their algorithm and as other competitors improve their web performance!

Three Reasons We Go To A Website

It's been said, there are just 3 reasons people use the internet
•    To be entertained
•    To solve a problem
•    To research a product

Your content should always aim to accomplish at least one of these things for visitors to your site.

Your website needs basic functionality to do these things.
1    Be found by the people who can be customers
2    Address the things that interest them and let them know what they need to know to buy from you
3    The means and a way to buy from you that is clear and accessible.

Search Engine Friendly + People Friendly   
The best search engine optimisation ensures that the pages are optimal for people reading them too. There is no value in your site being found and then leaving visitors wanting information or lost in the site with no clear way to find the information they are seeking, or the site is not friendly to use and to buy from.




Checklist

1    Ensure that your website conforms to basic standards of quality in terms of layout, content and optimised for search engines, and for people to satisfy their reason for being there. NOTE – Many websites FAIL to do this!
2    Make available interesting content that relates to your product or service and showcases your expertise and ability to do what you say you can do –
a.    Basic page layout and content
b.    Your BLOG which allows you to add information easily and updated to satisfy customers unspoken questions and keep content fresh for Google (see point 1)
c.    Be present and available where your customers are spending time (EG. Facebook  as a BUSINESS page attached to your personal page, linked back to your WEBSITE)

3    Know what the marketplace thinks about your business and your competition –  that means research and that's a key component for getting good results on search and for your online reputation management.
4     A policy for social media use in your business sets guidelines and prepares employees ( and employers!)  to understand the guidelines and prepares the way for staff to help promote your business and not damage it.

Summing Up

The question is no longer whether business should be online.

Who owns the top position online that you want for what you do?
What can you improve now in your strategy for Fishing and Driving visits to your website?

Your business online is an integral part of your business. Be smart! Make everything you do in your business online and offline support and reinforce everything else you do within the business.
Your website - supports the business -  supports the website - supports the business.

 How do you find keeping up with changes to search?

 Related
Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website
  Quick And Dirty Business Review




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Thursday, February 09, 2012

A Business Valentine

 
February and all thoughts turn to Valentine's Day. Perhaps this is a way to avoid thinking about Christmas credit card bills that are arriving now. Either way and whether you subscribe to the whole notion of giving gifts and sweet words on this day it is as good an excuse as any to look to your customers and spread a little love.

Over on this blog there are a bunch of ideas for you to show you care and they make a good case with 10 Ways to Show Customers You Care: Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Small Business. That's a  good start but maybe a better way to make use of this is to set this as your marker for making this a priority for your business to remember to love the customers every day.  Instead of doing something just on this one day, think about using this as a way to step up and send somethng unexpected to customers every week. 


Imagine if you were to pick 30 customers every week and send them a card to wish them well. To tell them how much you appreciate their business and imagine if you did that 52 weeks of the year, that's just 1560 customers you have delighted in the year.  Now I have to tell you, you can't send that many cards out and not get a response. Some will come visit you again, some may call, you may see them or not but you can be guaranteed, that they are talking about you - in a good way.  They are telling friends. They are mentioning it to family.  They are thinking about you when they need to buy that thing again. No question about it. 


Test it out. Go to my card shop and sign up for under ten bucks a month + card and mailing and see what happens. Mail out a bunch every week for one month and test it for yourself.  If you need some ideas on how to word the cards or how to make them personal message me and I'll be happy to talk with you on some ideas for your business. No charge. This is not hard stuff this is the easy, easy way to start to show customers you are thinking about them and you appreciate them.  You know, the statistics show that most business is lost, not through bad service but by a perception by the customer that they are not valued by the business. This is basic stuff to do when marketing your business. Start with showing gratitude to the people who have already supported you and your family, and your business. 

Consider this my Valentine to you. 


And let me know what happens! 



 Related
Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website
  Quick And Dirty Business Review

 


Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pinterest - Are You There Yet?

 Just when I thought there I was reaching saturation point with social platforms along came word of Pinterest. To be fair I'd heard about it and ignored it for quite some time but for some reason I opened an account.

Why did I do that? Hmm. Well actually I thought I was a member and responded to someone who was looking for an invitation. As it turned out I registered and received an account within a few days.



 For now Pinterest is serving as a super fast way to scan things that might be of interest and I can see that with time the access to sites and special interest articles will increase and get better from a match point of view.

Fortunately, right now the marketers are largely staying away but that will change. Hopefully they will keep themselves nice and pot selectively.

Are you using Pinterest yet? Drop by and say Hi.

What do you like about it most?




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering
Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tips To Stop The Email Monster

 
I see a lot of articles come past on Twitter on 'how to get your inbox to zero' and wonder why anyone would bother - don't they have Gmail? I guess not. But really the big issue with email becoming a stressor in our life is not just the number of emails we receive. Sometimes it is the quality of the emails as much as it is the number.

It would be useful for businesses to spend some energy and effort in creating good protocols to teach employees to use for sending internal email. Having someone at the next desk email you and clutter up your inbox with something they could as easily asked you is just stupid. And happens all too often. If you do that - stop it. Get up and go ask. There's one less email and one less response to that email that you will have boomerang back to you.

Learn to filter your email so that you can easily locate emails from people who are likely to send important regular emails from those who send you cute pictures of cats and chain letters in oversize pink font. If you are using Gmail then this is less an issue as you can easily search for emails from that person. Here are some instructions for setting up rules in Outlook (that's how you filter the email - the rules 'tell' Outlook what to do with emails from people according to the rules you want to apply).

Start improving your email by getting better at the email that you send. Before sending just check through these elements before your email leaves your computer.

Email Checklist - Ask yourself...

Do you really need to send that email? Is there a better way to get that information by asking directly or making a call? Or do you already have that information available to you some other way? Remember when you send an unnecessary email you are adding to the clutter in their inbox, and probably adding more to your own with responses that will come.

Summarising the reason for the email in the header means that this email can be easily located again if need be by topic. It also makes it faster to see that the topic is not urgent, or is urgent (to you) and needs priority attention.

Getting clear in laying out the email - one topic per email stops the message being confused and other issues missed.  Have you included all you need for them to be able to take action? Double check and only send when you are confident that you have everything included that is needed. Ensure the attachment, if there is one, is attached and that it is a common file extension that they will be able to open. Commonly .TIFF files are not easy to open on the average computer and pictures are often easier to open for non technical people if they are .JPG or .PNG files. If you are sending photographs then compressing these makes for much easier email receipt.Compressing just makes the file size smaller so it 'weighs less' when it is being sent.

A common issue that I see from time-to-time is whole lists of people being copied with their email addresses showing. This is poor practice and exposes everyone on the list to spammers harvesting their email addresses. Sending via the BCC field means that they get the copy but without exposing their address.


Summary


  • Ask first - do I need to send this email or can I just ask directly?
  • Should I get this information by email so I have a hard copy of the answer (which may be copied to other applications to save time)
  • Have I summarised the subject in the Header so the recipient will know what this is about?
  • Have I restated any question that was asked to which I am replying so the recipient will know to which topic what my message relates?
  • Have I included all the information they need to respond?
  • Have I attached any files that need to go with the email?
  • Have I made it clear what the call to action is so that the recipient can understand and act?
  • Have I set the email out so as to make it easy to read and understand?
  • Have I confined this email to be about one topic only?
  • Is there a contact number for me on the email?
  • If no response is required, have I stated this on the email?
  • Have you only included copies to people who actually need to see this?
  • Are your copies being sent BCC?
 Most people are sensible with their email but occasionally we will find someone who repeatedly sends us emails that make no sense, or invariably result in a back-and-forth email relay to clarify a point that could have (should have) been clarified in the first email, or by phone. If you have a special person in your life who does this you may like to ask them to help you by sharing this checklist with them. A few kind words once may save you multiple episodes of wasted time throughout the year and those minutes add up!

Of course if you have business, then setting up a good procedure and training your staff in how to use email effectively will increase productivity, reduce unneccessary anxiety and mean a lot less wasted manhours on nonsense.





Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering
Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Introducing Google Search + Your World



Forget everything you knew or thought you knew about getting your business found online. Today is another day and everything has changed.  While SEO is still important the bar has been raised and if you want to be found then you best start paying attention to building your online presence across platforms and providing quality content targeted to your market.

While websites are still often very poorly constructed and virtually unfindable (and no this isn't just cheap websites - many are expensive very fancy designs and have lots of bells and whistles - just none that  help to get Google placing them well on search), the game has changed forever. If you want your business to be considered relevant - or to stay that way - then you must heed this and begin to do what it takes to be in this new marketplace.

"These days, any business that doesn't have a Web presence isn't taken seriously." - Morgan McKean, a consultant and writer who recommends "green" fashions, beauty products and home d├ęcor for women.

Official Word From Google

The Google Blog States: 

"We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. We began this transformation with Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features:

  1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page; 
  2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and, 
  3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community. 
Together, these features combine to create Search plus Your World. Search is simply better with your world in it, and we’re just getting started.'



Here's what some are already saying about this new update from Google...


"Regardless of how you do it this is the only kind of influence that is "future proof". Tech will come and go, searches will come and go, social sites will come and go... but when you have influence and a strong community or "tribe" around you it will allow you to continue to thrive!'
-Kimberly Castleberry more here

"Google+ isn’t the only thing Google does. YouTube, Blogger, Google Docs, Google Reader, etc… Google+ is the glue pulling all that together. Your social profile across all Google properties now have a singular home… Google+. Google+ however is not in the social networking business, they’re in the data business and Google+ is a method of joining all your different web interactions together. With the release of Search plus Your World we’re beginning to see how all if it ties together… and how it’s all related to the one thing Google has always been good at: search." - Paul Spoerry   more here

 See the full lowdown on the Google Blog


Start From Where You Are Now 

There has never been a better reason to review your online marketing. You don't build an online presence across social media platforms and good placement for your website overnight. You need to build that presence and make it get the message out that you want new customers and old to see and reinforce. Make that call today and get started.


See Also:
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness

Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.

How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online

Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website





Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering
Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Friday, January 06, 2012

Wisdom From American Pickers


Watching junk TV can reveal some real wisdom but you need to look for it and be able to spot it when it presents.


Here are some quotes from American Pickers that each of us should inscribe inside our brain and remember when we are struggling to get to the result that we want to achieve.









  1. Be where you can find that thing you want 
  2. Find out from the one who has it now, what they need to let you have it. 
  3. Ask them for it and be willing to pay the price that makes sense for you both.
  4. Ask the question.
 Do you have a TV program that has given you unexpected insight?





Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog