Category Archives: Consulting Tips

UN-subcribes: A Bittersweet Symphony

 

bittersweetUn-subscribes used to sting… a lot.  Okay, so they still do… a little.  Yet we all know with growth comes some “pain”. The key is to make it worth the trip. While you’re at it, try to look on the bright side…..

Here are 3 good reasons to look forward to getting unsubscribes:

  1. You are actually using your list. The only way that I have ever seen to not get an unsubscribe is to never send an email. If you are not going to use the list why go to the time and effort to build it. So congratulate yourself!
  2. fast-ways-get-get-subscribers-to-unsubscribeSomeone is opening your email. To unsubscribe they had to at least open the email and click the unsubscribe link. The good thing is that your headline worked and got them to open your email. Your headline is doing its job.
  3. You’ve been reminded. Not everyone is going to like you or your writing style. Those that don’t will unsubscribe. The good thing though is that if they don’t care for your style you will never build a relationship with them. If you can’t build a relationship with them they will most likely never buy from you. So each unsubscribe will make your list more targeted to people who actually like your style and are more likely to respond favorably to your offers that meet their needs.

So now you have three good reasons to no longer dread seeing that people have decided to unsubscribe from your list. Rejoice in the fact that you are actually making your list stronger and more profitable for you in the longer run.

(Need a little more? Motivate with music: The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony)

bittersweet symphony

GOOD LUCK!

IMG_0821-1By the way, my name is Alexis J. Smith. I am a Certified ConstantContact Core Solutions Provider and Licensed GetClientsNow! Effective Marketing Coach. I’d be happy to help you further customize and implement an effective e-marketing campaign. HireAlexis, when you’re ready!

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Organizing an Effective Home Office: Insights of Trial and Error

For starters, my ideal – which is to “keep it simple,” may apply here more than anywhere else. Your choice to operate out of a “home office” is somewhat a major life decision. Your work space (whether it’s a private office or a corner in your living room) must be an area conducive to mental and physical comfort, or you’ll find that “work stress” can easily become “life stress”. This is counter-productive and totally the opposite of why you chose a home-based business in the first place, right?

That said, your home office space may not be “spa retreat-ish” but you should have a comfortable and supportive chair, a flat workspace for your needs, good lighting, and system to keep it and the rest of your space organized.

Here is what works for me:

DESK:

I have a simple desk. On it I have my computer, my phone, small set of family (motivational) photos, and a modest-sized “catch all” that has a few compartments for pens, highlights, emery boards, chapstick (…yes, just the essentials) and a calculator. Right next to my desk I have an all-in-one printer that sits on top of a double drawer rolling filing cabinet. In the cabinet I keep the files and supplies that I use on a semi-regular basis, such as, printer ink, my stationery/folders, current client resources, a file for my receipts, all personal correspondence, paper, folders, etc.

RECEIPTS:

Now for the receipts’ file. I keep it monthly. At the beginning of the month, I simply replace the file with the new month’s file. That way, at tax time, I don’t have to go through a whole year’s receipts and divide it up. It’s already separated.

MAIL:

My method probably won’t work for all, but this is what I do: I leave it where it is. My local postal carrier is likely not a big fan of this method, but again…it’s what I do. My home office has the luxury of an outdoor, locked mailbox. Mail goes in and stays there until I am ready to retrieve it…. and “process” it. The same is true for my business mailing address. I have a PO Box that holds my mail until I am ready for it. Because most of my personal and professional business is handled electronically, I don’t worry much about missing something that is time-sensitive. Even paper invitations tend to be preceded by a text or evite. The point is to “control” what you can and the rate and time at which (junk) mail enters your organized space – is totally up to you. When you do check your mail, sit with it, sort it based on recipient and /or required follow-up action, shred it, and move on.  (Similar advice applies to your Email inbox, but we’ll cover that later.)

“DAYTIMER”:

Yes, a handheld NOTEBOOK (not an e-device). Your “Daytimer” can have a space for all your business cards, appointment cards, and go a long way to help you stay organized – if you use it. Here is one that is part of a complete organizing/goal-management system. I found it somewhat randomly online, but I’ve used mine since the start of the new year and bought one for my teen daughter – who is aiming to better organize her time so that she can squeeze in a part time job. We both find it useful.

3-RING BINDERS:

(or a Desktop Filing System) Yes, again with the “old school methods” – but this is one of my favorites. I do a lot of research for clients and also have a lot of e-mails that I need to print and save. I use paper that already has the wholes punched for insertion into a 3 ring binder. I will print out important research, client e-mails I need to save, work that I’ve done so I can review it later, etc., on this paper and then put it into the proper binders. I have a binder for all active clients, including HireAlexis. You would be amazed how clearer things are in a binder than tossed in a file cabinet. For my business it works tremendously.

(You knew that with all these “dos” – a “don’t” was coming, right?)

Okay , here it goes:

No Piling of Anything Allowed. This is one of those habits that can be so easy to get into – I speak from experience! But I stop myself now because I know it will just be brushed off to the side and forgotten. Too often I miss something important and regret the piling blunder again. You will be amazed how much more organized you will feel if you just don’t do this one thing. And time yourself. You think you are too busy, but it takes seconds and how long does it take to look for that missing document.

Lastly, opinions vary on when to review your checklist for optimal efficiency, so here’s my advice:

  1. Start your morning early. Finding quiet early morning time for divine communion, or mediation, works wonders. As you conclude this time, make a list of what you desire to accomplish today.This process will likely include a reflection on yesterday’s list. Move and prioritize tasks and errands, as necessary.
  2. Keep your list handy all day. This will help you evaluate your ability to answer those “quick requests” that come up all day and motivate you to “finish up” when you are tempted to treat yourself to an extra break.
  3. Clean your station, and check your list again, at the end of the day. This may seem a final step in a monumental project until you get caught up, but – when it’s done, reward yourself daily by spending a few minutes to regain that great feeling of accomplish and day’s work well done.
  4. Rinse (yourself) and repeat daily.

#Coupon, #Content, or #Contest? (Tips on Deals and Promotions)

Tips for Offering “Deals and Promotions”

1) Set An Objective (Specific tasks related to selling products or promoting a cause)
  • Business to Customer    -> Offer Discount or Coupon Code
  • Business to Business      -> Offer Exclusive Content (White Paper)
  • Business to Non-Profit  -> Consider Running a Contest
2) Select the Right Offer
  • Seeking Revenue?           -> Try a Trackbable Coupon
  • Increasing Awareness?  -> Use a Fan Promotion on Facebook
Digital-Marketers-Take-Notice-Promotions-Discounts-and-Deals-Drive-Third-of-All-Annual-SMB-Sales-300x2303) Distribute, Promote, and Share
  • Use All Tools Available to You and Encourage Sharing
  • Every (re)Tweet, Share, Email or Blog Post is an Opportunity
  • Send Thank you Messages and Surveys, where appropriate
4) Check the Results (ConstantContact, my favorite tool, makes this really easy!)
  • Did the offer/promotion meet its objective?
  • Why? (high response from existing customers? strong referrals? well-timed offer? etc)
  • Why not? (failed to reach audience? wrong/no audience targeted? unrealistic expectations? etc)
  • Look for things to do better, either way.
  • Who took advantage of the offer? (Perfect audience for next offer and feedback requests)
5) Do It Again!
  • Try to plan a series and stick with it.
  • Include a common theme related to your campaign objective but vary the delivery (coupon first, then content, end with contest…?)
  • Encourage sharing, be original (geared toward client needs), and watch your stats for what works and what doesn’t
GOOD LUCK!

IMG_0821-1By the way, my name is Alexis J. Smith. I am a Certified ConstantContact Core Solutions Provider and Licensed GetClientsNow! Effective Marketing Coach. I’d be happy to help you further customize and implement an effective e-marketing campaign.  HireAlexis, when you’re ready!

CTCT_Certified_420x105

Why Friends and Family Do (and don’t) Support Your Business

my_morning_blog_631435I am happy and humbled to agree with writer, Gerard Kersey as he discusses the reasons why some businesses don’t receive the support and promotion of friends and family, they feel they deserve. (Read: “Why Won’t My Family and Friends Do More to Help My Business?” via the HuffPost.)

Like, Mr. Kersey, my friends and family have been very supportive of my business aspirations.  Even when (I’m sure) my amateur “management” styles tested the patience of those who were there in the very beginning… they were still there. Since then and continuing, the Lord has blessed me and my business with a strong support system and I am so very grateful.

In return, I strive to be a professional that my friends and family can be proud to promote. I work and train hard to be good at what I do.  I have materials (a web site, LinkedIN profile, and a Facebook page, for starters) that reflect me as a professional (so that they can point to them without hesitation), but I don’t hound them or their “network.” Also, I do my best to be readily available to them (or their referrals), whenever my expertise or assistance is needed.  It’s funny – but as I write, I wonder how many of my family members know exactly what I do. Since I’m 8 years into the “solo-preneur” game, they’d probably have a good idea, but the more important factor is that they know – any referral made to “HireAlexis” is one that can be trusted for its integrity.

What more can you ask for?

Now Is A Great Time to Check Your List

Direct-Mktng-ListAcq-StatWhether you’re a bookshop, a not-for-profit arts organization, a consultant, or an accountant, you need a steady stream of business, referrals, or responses from the people that keep your doors open. That starts with staying in regular communication with your audience.

When you build an ongoing dialogue, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. They look forward to hearing from you. You’ll stay top of mind with them. As a result, they’ll become more loyal, spend more on your products and services, donate more frequently, and be more likely to refer you to their friends or colleagues.

Sounds great, right? The easiest, most effective way to build that dialogue is with email marketing. And that’s why it’s so important for small businesses and nonprofits to have and grow a contact list. Download this guide from ConstantContact, start your FREE Trial, and HireAlexis to get you started with a FREE 30 minute consultation and digital flyer*.

*Offer expires 3/31/2015. Restrictions apply on digital flyer. No purchase necessary.

10 WAYS TO GET CLIENTS IN 10 MINUTES

The following is one of many great resources from GetClientsNow!(TM):

“Does it seem like you can never find the time to market for more clients? It’s hard to find open hours in the middle of a busy week. But not every marketing task requires big chunks of time. Here are ten productive things you can do to get more clients when you have just ten minutes.

1. Place a call. Which of your past clients have been totally happy with your work over the past couple of years? Think of one you haven’t been in touch with recently. Call to see how he or she is doing. When your fans are reminded of your good work, new projects and referrals often ensue.

2. Send an email. Who has referred you the best client over the last year? Send an email to express your continuing thanks. Showing your appreciation to referral sources frequently results in more referrals.

3. Make a date. Think of a prospect or referral source you have always wanted to know better. Contact that person and make a date to have coffee or chat by phone. Informal conversations deepen relationships and build trust.

4. Expand your network. Log on to your social media channel of choice, and choose a colleague you think of as well-connected. View that friend’s connections. Send connection requests, or follow, every one of those people you recognize. More people in your network means more potential prospects.

5. Review your image. Browse through your website or social media profile with a critical eye. View each section as if you were someone visiting for the first time. Note any areas you think could improve and schedule time to make some changes. First impressions make a difference to surfing prospects.

6. Examine your contacts. Scan your contact database seeking anyone who might be a prospect that you haven’t made contact with in the last 30 days. Reach out to that person with a personal call or note. People who already know you are more likely to become clients than new, cold contacts.

7. Send an article. What’s the last article you read that might be helpful to some of your prospects? Email them with a link to it or mail them a copy. When prospects perceive you as a helpful resource, you gain their confidence.

8. Follow up a meeting. What was the last meeting you attended where you collected business cards? Did you follow up with those people? Find the stack of cards and send one or two a nice-to-meet-you note. Repeated contact helps people to remember you.

9. Touch your network. Visit your favorite social network and peruse recent posts by the prospects and referral sources you’re connected to. Post some likes and replies about what they’re saying. Relationships build when communication is two-way.

10. Find a referral partner. Think of occupations who naturally come in contact with your ideal clients. Then consider who you already know in any of those occupations. Send a quick note to suggest you talk about becoming referral sources for each other.

Marketing projects don’t have to consume your whole day. You can chip away at them a bit at a time, whenever you have a few moments. Keep this list handy on your smartphone or by your computer. The next time you’ve got ten minutes to kill, use it to find clients instead.”

Copyright © 2012, C.J. Hayden

 

Your “Secret” to New Year Resolution Success

The “secret” to success with your New Year resolutions is …… START NOW.
(You are probably already considering the things you want to do and change in 2013…am I right?)

startWell, by deciding now and waiting until later to get started, you are building on a foundation of procrastination…and setting yourself up for further delays in the achievement of your goals.

The key is to start now! “Striking while the iron is hot” – so to speak – by constructing a plan that will start immediately to (at least gradually) build to direct daily and weekly ACTIONS that will promote your goal achievement.

Here are some quick tips to help you on your way…

1) Start now – Plan your reward. Few things motivate like the promise of a reward. What’s even better?!? You can offer yourself a reward for even the “smallest” of accomplishments. Start now and consider how you will reward yourself TODAY for getting started.

2) Start now – Write it down, draw a picture, “pin” an interest…something. Take the proactive step of making your goal real by creating a visual impression of your “finish line” and anything you want and need to make it a reality.

3) Start now – Handle your business. This might mean waking up little earlier, taking shorter breaks during the day, or getting to bed a little later. (I advise against planning for all three at once…can you say “burn out”?!?). Identifying time is key component in your success. You can’t “make” time (we all have the same 24 hours a day), but you can prioritize your time. This may mean letting something go for a season, but you can strike a balance. Aligning your goals and action plans with the support of a good Coach can really help with this. (I’m accepting new coaching clients, by the way. Feel free to contact me, if you’re interested.)

4) Start now – Consider ways to track and measure your progress. Some measurements will be basic math. Others may be more subjective – but NO LESS VALUABLE or measurable. Say, you have a personal resolution to get healthier. You can track weight loss and muscle gain with scales that give you direct quantifiable results of your work. However, your success with your goal to get more rest and take time to indulge in mental health activities will only be measured by how you feel—which is unique and subjective – but measurable, nonetheless. Likewise, a professional goal to become a “better speaker” can very well be facilitated by specific action steps, with the results being numerically measured (increased # of booked speaking engagements, evaluation scores, or  number of closed sales after presentations) and/or subjectively assessed (“I feel more comfortable speaking about my products or services than I did a month ago.”)

5) Start now – Encourage yourself. Starting the journey toward a new venture, a changed habit, or simply a renewed focus, can be daunting, but is almost always worth the effort. No matter the final outcome, you grow stronger, smarter, and more confident from the effort you apply.

6) START NOW!

Best Wishes for a strong finish of 2012 and A productive launch into 2013,

Alexis