Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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#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

5 Basic Steps to Secure Paid Sponsorship for your Radio Show (or other multi-media series)

Step 1:

  • Plan your series. This is “Step one” for a reason. Sponsorship is not about dollars and cents, entirely. It’s about lending your (brand) name to trusted sources that will represent your company in a favorable light in association with a specific work. Plan your series before asking anyone to support it with their (brand) name or dollars.

For example: If you host a weekly show/series, and are seeking monthly sponsors, plan at least 3 months ahead. Today is June 2. Start with your July series. List the show/discussion/presentation topics, intended reference points (guiding principles to that frame your perspective and/or objective for the presentation), planned guest speakers, and other information that is specific and compelling.

  • Combine this information into a simple but attractive “sponsorship kit” that can be easily shared with your prospects. Don’t attempt to answer every likely question your prospects may have in this simple overview. Address the formal basics (including actual staring point pricing) and plan to negotiate (if applicable) in follow-up conversation.

Step 2, Part I:

  • Contact your prospective guest speakers/resident experts. Have a standard process by which guests are invited. Require confirmation of their participation at least two weeks from broadcast date and secure their materials/information for marketing the event. Be prepared to share this process with your sponsors to assure them of programming plans.

Step 2, Part II:

  • Contact (secure) your sponsors. Use your one page “sponsorship kit” (BlogTalkRadio offers a nice template to get your started. Check it out here.)  This step has several “mini-steps” and will require a concentrated effort. Let me know if you need help effectively mobilizing your marketing team of 1 to 100.

Step 3:

  • Advertise your series. This is an important element to your sponsors. Be prepared to discuss and implement a sound marketing/advertising strategy. In this capacity you are acting in the stead of your sponsors, ensuring that they are well-represented in affiliation with your show and that their sponsorship/involvement is made known to a large, but targeted, audience.

Step 4:

  • Host your show. There is no backing out now. Plan to proceed no matter what challenges you face. Develop and confirm back-up plans for all areas of “show management.”

Step 5:

  • Report. Depending on your topic and platform, your follow-up “report” may be delivered in any number of ways. Find one or several that fit your purpose and use it, well. Your ‘follow-up”/ “recap” will benefit: 1) your audience, 2) your sponsors (mention them with thanks and point audience to them for specific resources and services), and 3) your marketing.

…….WIN/WIN/WIN….. 🙂ThankYou_SPonsors

Sidenote:

Quality counts. Take the time to develop your presentation with an authentic voice your own and practice your delivery. Early commitments of sponsorship may come based more on pre-existing relationships (This is good! Check out some basics for effective marketing, ) than immediately measurable ROI (Return on Investment) indicators of ROI but in order to keep them and expand your pool (profits) you’ll have to deliver a consistent and quality product.

Have questions? Need help? HireAlexis™ (contact me)

“Better Brainstorming: Use the Six Thinking Hats”

Article shared in it’s entirety from “The Start Up Daily” (http://thestartupdaily.com/)

Volume 285
02/02/2012

Better Brainstorming: Use the Six Thinking Hats

The Six Thinking Hats method, also known as parallel thinking, is an approach to idea generation and decision making that allows a group to fully explore all sides of a problem.

It is based on the premise that the mind has distinct modes of thinking, and that when you are engaged in one mode, you become desensitized and dismissive of stimuli that is better matched to one of the other modes. Mismatched stimuli lead to confusion and missed opportunities, and is often the result of team members reverting to the mode of thinking they are most comfortable with.

Parallel Thinking Minimizes Confusion and Removes Ego from the Brainstorming Process

Unlike traditional group discussions, where each member takes opposing and often argumentative positions, parallel thinking allows the group to look at each side of a problem together. The result is a more complete and balanced view of the situation, where the best solutions often become obvious to everyone without the bruised egos.

The colored hats are a metaphor. They serve as a helpful reminder of the current mode of thinking that the group is exploring together.

  • White Hat Objective, stick to the facts
  • Red Hat Emotional, intuitive
  • Black Hat Cautious, the devil’s advocate
  • Yellow Hat Optimistic, look at the bright side
  • Green Hat Creativity, growth, and new ideas
  • Blue Hat Organizing, thinking about thinking

Scared Money?

Have you heard the expression: “scared money, don’t make money”? Aside from the broken English…this is true.

Even in the poker dictionary (referenced because of the “strategy”  involved with success in both poker and business), the term “scared money” has to do with a player whose lack of confidence allows him/her to be bullied out of their winnings.

In today’s economy, we have an upsurge of professionals who are moving out of corporate America and into their own home offices for various reasons.  Ideally, this new framework will allow  a peaceful existence where every honest and skilled business person will flourish.  However, as with any grouping of people, we  must contend with the “wolves” and “sheep” among the bunch.  Figuratively speaking, wolves will prey, sheep will be preyed upon, and those in the middle will be shadowed by the dust cloud of poor business management and the resulting “scared money” practices that will lurch forward by those who’ve been prey upon.

This means that in order to be successful, you have to understand your strength and exhibit your confidence in both your services and your business management savvy….or else fall victim to those who(maliciously or not) place your payment very low on their priority list.

Unfortunately, this happens most often when a project was informally launched (no contract), has already been completed, and the “promise” of more work (for you, from the client) has been conversationally introduced to the realm of your decision making.

Here’s the bottom line as I see it: Work without pay is called volunteering.

Volunteering is a GREAT thing and sincere pro-bono work within your field of expertise can materialize into significant and well-suited paid opportunities. I advocate and encourage such community-focused and strategic steps when it comes to growing your business and increasing your professional skill/experience-based value.

The key is make you volunteer work, clear…and your paid work, even more so.

At all costs, formalize your contractual work with written agreements that highlight payment and deliverable requirements; and be sure to manage your invoicing with a process that is transparent and unbiased. Good clients will see this as a “plus”, appreciate your professionalism, and recognize that the documentation protects them, too. (Clients reluctant to do so, warrant a “side-eye” … see my previous post on recognizing good client potential)

That said, once you have secured the contract, provided the project, and sent a timely invoice and report.  Get paid.

Resist the inclination to be fearful or lackadaisical in collecting payments for the sake of hoping to “earn” more business. Remember that successful business operations are facilitated with shared respect by all parties.   You may have to “work it out” by being communicative and open to slightly adjusted payment arrangements, but by all means… have the conversation, provide the documentation, and insist upon due payment.

Here is an article from USA Today on cutting costs resulting from deadbeat clients you might enjoy.

Feedback, testimonies, and tips are always welcome.

Until next time…..

Angry Birds Therapy: Make Your Session Count

I held out as long as I could (though I’m still not sure why my abstinence campaign meant so much to me…), but, it’s official.  I am hereby proudly and fully engaged with the Angry Birds phenomenon. Everyone in my household has at least one item of Angry Bird paraphernalia and yes, I look forward to what I call, my “Angry Bird Therapy” sessions…thank you very much.

(So what?……)

Well, here’s the deal…even during my down time, my executive and entrepreneurial mind are always working.  I’ve gleaned lessons (or reminders) and inspiration from a handful of the best “time-management” games like Diner Dash 2, Virtual City, Supermarket Mania…and a few others that we can talk about another day.

…From my “Angry Bird Therapy” sessions, this is what I’d share:

Rise (Early) and Shine In Your Business

Lesson 1:  The Early Bird Gets The Worm.  That’s kinda straight forward, right?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t most of the course intro videos show the birds getting ready for “business” in front of a rising sun?   If I’m mistaken, it’s ok because the lesson/reminder still stands.  If you are “asleep at the wheel” (figuratively speaking), your business is suffering.  Wake up and pay attention. Preventative, corrective, and proactive measures are waiting…

Focus (Zoom In) On Certain Project Areas and Consider A Strategy

Lesson 2: Haste Makes Waste. As the esteemed Coach John Wooden once counseled: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” When approaching a project allow (or require) yourself to survey the scene, analyze the challenge, measure your inventory of resources and evaluate any limitations you’re faced with.  Yes, you could attack the game board (or your project) with reckless abandon, slinging birds (or your time, money, and talent) at a complex structure of pigs, bricks, and wood (your challenge) and hope for the best. Or you could zoom out (gain big picture perspective by asking questions and “looking around”), zoom in (SWOT analysis), look at all of the birds you have access to and their order in line (these would be your project limitations), and then PLAN the best approach.

Lesson 3: Understand the “delayed and secondary reaction” effect….and keep trying. (Okay so maybe that’s lessons 3 and 4…but I’m trying to wrap it up so you can get back to your game.)  So, here we go, last “one”: How many times have we held our breath hoping that a virtual gust of wind would blow through and that the last pig would go ahead and roll off the ledge into a cloud of smoke and points? Tell the truth, you’ve even shaken your screen once or twice hoping to make a difference, haven’t you?

....Wait fooor it.....

In either case, sometimes that pig rolls and we win…and sometimes it doesn’t.  My definition of the “delayed reaction effect” comes into play here because sometimes you just have to wait and see.  You’ve planned and executed the best way you know how.  So the only thing left to do is see where the chips (or pigs, in this case) will fall.  Good luck.

The “secondary reaction effect” is when (whether on purpose or by mistake) you hit on something that creates a domino effect that works in your favor.  Both in “Angry Birds Therapy” and “real life”, these positive chain reactions can make a surprising impact on your full project plan.  Embrace them and look forward to completing the now “simplified” challenge or moving on to the next.

Finally, as for the “keep trying”…well, what can I say.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Game on, Compadres …

By the way, if you’re really in touch with your inner Angry Bird, you’ll appreciate this video.  Which bird are you?

At the Head of the Class? Go To Another Room…

There is something to be learned in all scenarios, but when we are honest about our current status, we can usually admit that we tend to seek “surroundings” that are comfortable and in which we feel appreciated for the value we offer.

The key is to remember that there are always “greater and lesser persons” than ourselves.  If we truly desire to become “greater”, we must choose also to surround ourselves with people who challenge our ways of thinking and doing…so that we fine tune and improve what we bring to the table, as well.

Here’s a good message from Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote and Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner.  Enjoy!