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[BLUE] TIP: Email Prospecting

 Tips for Prospecting via Email

Your prospects are busy.  They don’t have time to read through lengthy emails, so they keep their finger on the delete key — just waiting for the opportunity to pounce on it. Here are seven tips to increase your email prospecting success.

Tip 1: Delete the Fluff

Re-read your email and look for any superlatives, exaggerated expressions or other fluff. Some serious offenders include: exciting, state-of-the-art, solution, partner, leading edge, passion, unique, one-stop-shop, unique, one-of-a-kind, etc.

Tip 2: Apply the KISS theory

Keep it simple, stupid. Your email needs to be less than 90 words.  Use two-sentence paragraphs so your email can be scanned quickly.  Stick with black fonts (no colors!) and never include more than one link or attachment.

Tip 3: Figure Out Their Pain Point

When researching your prospect’s company, industry or position, determine what their pain point is.  Everyone has one.  Figure it out, and then tell them how your relevant solution solves their problem.

Tip 4: Make It Timely

Identify key business events that may be impacting your prospect’s priorities and tie your message into that. Examples include moving into a new business office, merging with another company, recently announced management changes or new legislation that impacts your target.

Tip 5: Be Indispensable

Your product or service may be a commodity, but you’re not.  Focus on the ideas, insights and information you can share — especially the things that make you unique — that will help your prospect reach their goals.

Tip 6: Craft Enticing Subject Lines

Your subject line determines if your message gets read. Avoid sales hype and superlatives. Instead, focus on business issues such as: “Partnership opportunity for your upcoming trade show” or “Quick question re: your outsourcing talent.”

Tip 7: Launch a Campaign

It usually takes up to 12 touch points (via email and/or phone) over four-to-six weeks to create a solid email campaign. Each interaction should build off the previous one. Provide links to resources. Highlight the value of using your service vs. staying with the existing vendor. Give away a free eBook. Offer a complimentary consultation. There are many reasons to engage with your prospect, just make sure that when you do reach out repeatedly, each message in the campaign is relevant and adds value.

Live and Learn.

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[BLUE] TOOL: Click to Tweet

Have you seen those click-to-tweet buttons on websites (like the one below) and wondered how to get one for your site?  Fret no more.

Here’s the answer: Click-to-Tweet.

This software service is the best, easiest and simplest way to promote and advertise your stuff on Twitter.  As a matter of fact, Twi5.com (the one stop place for users searching for twitter apps) claims that “ClickToTweet can rightly be called the easiest twitter application to include retweet text in a link.”

As simple as 1-2-3 (literally).

All you have to do is visit the Click-To-Tweet website to complete these three easy steps:

First, you just need to write a compelling message (no more than 140 characters) that you would like your visitors to share in the box provided on the Click-to-Tweet website home page.

Click the “Generate” button to create a custom link that you can share on your website or social media channels.  Then, voilá — whoever clicks on the link will have the message automatically added to their Twitter status box, then they simply ‘click-to-tweet’!

Your visitors will love how easy it is to promote information to their followers, and you’ll love the added exposure. Why not take it for a spin by sharing a tweet now?

Just click on the button below and see how I’ve implemented this service on my site (because as you know, I only recommend things I use and love!)

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s free!

More Information:

WEBSITE: ClickToTweet.com


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[BLUE] TIP: Twitter Lead Gen

Do you want to turn your twitter followers into blog subscribers?  If so, this brilliant TIP I stumbled upon from Momekh of LifeETC is for you.

What is it?

When a twitter follower (or prospective twitter follower) visits your twitter profile page, they are more than likely going to check out your Twitter Bio.  Hopefully, if you’re a smart marketer, you’ve not only added a quick bio about yourself, but you’ve also included a link back to your website and/or blog.

Instead of sending them to your website home page, why not take advantage of this new connection opportunity by thanking those Twitter users for becoming part of your community?

You can do this by creating a Twitter-specific landing page on your website that is created for twitter followers only, offering them something special in return for their interest.  Be sure to give them a clear call to action about subscribing to your blog.

You can view our Resort Entrepreneur’s Twitter ‘thank-you’ page here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Nothing but a little bit of time.

 

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[BLUE] TOOL: LaunchRock

Do you need to set up a “Launching Soon!” web page to determine interest, spread the word and build your audience?

What is it?

LaunchRock is a web based application that helps you set up a social “launching soon” page in minutes, share your page and start gathering emails.

With LaunchRock, you can incentivize and reward users for telling others about your project — just use their built-in sharing tools.

Prior to launching your business, it’s important to love each and every single person who signs up.  These interested followers are the customers who are going to either pay your bills and sing your praises, or they are the ones who will move onto a competitor.

That’s why it’s important to find out who they are and then engage with them about your solution as you finish building out your solution.  LaunchRock helps you begin building a relationship with the customers you acquire through email.

LaunchRock is currently a free service, and if you create your account now, you will not be charged in the future for any of the current features.

In other words, LaunchRock helps you ‘Rock your Launch’!

What are the benefits?

1. Create a landing page in minutes

Start building your list in minutes with a custom landing page.

 

2. Promote your launch

Share announcements and news through LaunchRock’s Announcement Bar.

 

3. Get to know your users

Get useful information on user signups, site traffic, and demographics.

 

4. Spread the word socially

LaunchRock users are incentivized to share your project through social media.

 

5. Email your list

Build a relationship with the customers you acquire through LaunchRock.

 

6. Get featured

Your project can be featured on LaunchRock’s discovery network: Coming Soon.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

Free.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  LaunchRock

 

~ Connie Hammond ~



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[BLUE] TOOL: Brand Yourself



Do you really need a free and easy way to manage your online reputation, Google ranking and personal branding?

Yes, you do.

We were all taught that a firm handshake, professional attire and a strong resume were the necessary pillars of a good first impression. Unfortunately, this philosophy is no longer enough.

With the advent of social media, making an unforgettable first impression in-person is no longer the only thing you need to worry about.  Whether you like it or not, you’re being ‘googled’ by your friends, families and love interests as well as by the people who do business with you.

Brand Yourself is a great new tool that helps you control your personal brand online.

So, what does your online reputation say about you?

Search engines like Google are an incredibly important part of your reputation, but unless you know how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works — which most people don’t — or unless you have thousands of dollars to spend on a traditional online reputation company, there is nothing you can do about it.

Until now.

The founders at Brand Yourself decided to put the power of SEO and online reputation in everybody’s hands, regardless of how tech savvy or wealthy they might be.  Their goal was to make it as easy as possible to help anyone improve their own search results and online reputation.

Brand Yourself believes people should be able to control their own online reputation without spending thousands on an online reputation company.

The Difference

The problem with most Reputation Management services is that they’re focused on the reputation of businesses, not people, using the same model for both.  For the average person who’s just trying to improve the search results for their own name, it simply doesn’t make sense to pay a reputation service thousands of dollars.

Brand Yourself is the only product concentrated solely on helping individuals control the search results for their name.  They’ve cut out needless complexity and focused squarely on creating a simple, effective solution that’s easy for anybody to use.

Why Do I Like It?

I was actually blown away with how easy their user interface was.  When I signed up for my profile, I had to stop and take notes because it was so incredibly easy-to-follow. They walk you through, step by step, the different ways you can improve your rankings, starting with declaring whether or not your current Google search results are legit or not (positive or negative).

I love the simple online profile that you create which is easily shared with others or placed in an email signature (not to mention that the profile becomes another positive addition to your search results).

Also, the tool lets you submit links that you actually want people to find when searching for your name.

Finally, Brand Yourself helps you improve your search results the right way (no black hat tactics).  You can view their SEO philosophy here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Their basic features are 100% free and their premium features are incredibly affordable (just a few bucks a month).

More Information:

WEBSITE: BrandYourself.com

LEARN MORE ABOUT SEO:


Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLUE] TOOL: Smore Flyers

Do you need to get the word out about an upcoming event?  If so, you should know that the days of posting a flyer around your neighborhood are long gone.

What is it?

Meet your new event coordinator: Smore.  This online service helps you create amazing online pages that you’re proud to share.  Smore allows you to quickly and easily create beautifully designed flyers and publish them instantly online for all to see.

That’s right.  You can create beautiful web pages with NO coding background and  NO design experience.  Smore offers multiple event flyer templates to choose from and easy-to-follow directions.

The event flyer you create with Smore will look so professional that everyone will think you have a full-time designer on staff.

Check it out:

Why Do I Like It?

I like the drag and drop editing so you can arrange your content with ease.  You can embed text, images, videos, tweets, products and even reviews. Easily share your event flyer via social media. Smore offers multiple styles and themes that require NO installations.  And Smore flyers work flawlessly on your smartphone and tablet.

I tested it out last night on an event I’m planning for a client, and it’s awesome. In about 20 minutes, I had the flyer ready to go.  You can view the yoga retreat mockup I created here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Free.

My Example

I tested it out, so consider this tool (like all the tools I recommend) tried and true.  Check out the event flyer for a Maui yoga retreat I created on behalf of my brand building agency, Smiling Sherpas.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  Smore


Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLUE] TOOL: Google +

What is it?

If you’re not using Google Plus yet, you really should ask yourself why not?  Google + is a social media channel similar to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  By combining the best features of the top social media sites; Google Plus is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with.

And then some.

If you are going to get serious about building your brand via content writing and distribution, then building a Google + community must be part of your strategy for a myriad of reasons, one of which is its 90 million users.  (BTW: it took only 88 days for Google + to get to 50 million users…how’s that for growth?)

Furthermore, if you are time strapped and don’t want to start yet another social media channel, then my recommendation is cutting another one out (if you’re not truly engaged there) and choosing Google +.

Why Do I Like It?

It’s one of the best ways to build your brand and engage with all sorts of interesting users.

You can create circles made up of anyone from from industry thought-leaders to prospects…competitors to media…vendors to clients.  And then you can send them information ranging from product launches to company updates.  The best thing is that you’ll tap into incredible conversations.

Google+ is more than just another social media channel — it has been thoroughly integrated into Google’s other products: Google Docs, Chrome, Google Reader, Gmail, and YouTube, and Google + is the glue that holds them all together.

Search

One of the main reasons I like Google + moreso than other channels is the fact that their +1 functionality directly impacts search results.  So if your content is ‘plus-oned’ or interacted with in some way (for example, shared or commented on), then Google search takes that action as an indication that your content is meaningful and relevant.

Also, Google announced that they will give greater authority to Google Business Plus pages in their search results.

So what is the risk if you have no Google+ presence and your competition does?  You actually may lose existing search traffic going forward.  That’s scary.

And now, Google just announced Search, plus Your World, which is the merger of personalized search with social search, including the addition of relevant Google+ results.

In other words, building your community on Google+ may be one of the smartest thing you can do to improve your search rankings.  Why is that important?  Because people are searching for your product; they’ll either find you or your competitor at the top of that result when they do.

It shouldn’t be the be all, end all for your business (dependence on any social media channel for your business survival is too risky), but it should be part of your plan.

Google + is a channel made for building your brand, pure and simple.

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s free.

More Information:

WEBSITE:

Google +

HOW TO: 

Create a Business Plus Page

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[BLUE] TIP: 15 Ways To Gain Credibility

Promote your online business.

How Can You Look Like An Expert?

Many entrepreneurs need to be perceived as experts (or at least knowledgeable) in their respective fields in order to establish trust, attract and retain customers and build their community.

But what do you do when you’re still fairly green and trying to make a name for yourself in your industry?

Luckily, there are many options available to help you build your online and offline reputation. With a bit of effort and time, you can go from a little unknown entrepreneur to a highly respected, quoted, retweeted, reshared, befriended, oneplused industry leader.

First, it’s important to remember that integrity and credibility go hand in hand. It’s no use building a solid, credible reputation if you’re just going to throw that hard-earned reputation away by not exhibiting trustworthy behavior.

15 Things To Do Now

Here are 15 things to do that will set you apart from your competition and get the snowball rolling.

  1. Obtain client testimonials that discuss the benefits and results of working together. Be proactive by asking for client feedback / testimonials during (or shortly thereafter) your working relationship.
  2. Seek out speaking engagements. At a minimum, start attending relevant conferences, seminars, webinars, telesummits, etc. and be sure to follow-up with new contacts.
  3. Produce accurate, informative and well-composed content (ie. blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc.) that demonstrate your expertise and personality. A few examples include expert interviews, online training and product reviews.
  4. Create case studies or success stories that show how your expertise solved a problem by saving money, time or aggravation.
  5. Expose your content to other outlets for wider distribution (ie. write a guest column, be a guest on a podcast, send out press releases, etc.). Get to know your press contacts and position yourself as a commentator.
  6. Image is important. Make sure all online and offline elements (ranging from business cards and website development to post quality and grammar) exhibit professionalism as well as brand consistency. It is also wise to have an active presence on at least one social media site (ie. Facebook, twitter, google +, linked in, you tube, etc.) to demonstrate you’re not living in the dark ages.
  7. Write blog posts (or audio/video) on a regular basis to demonstrate you’re active in your industry and on top of the latest and greatest news and happenings.
  8. Create guides, tips and how-to’s that you can share with your target audience.
  9. Produce in-depth, thought leadership pieces about your industry and include your personal experiences, the problems you’ve faced and how you solved them, the tools and software you use for increased efficiency and why, etc.
  10. Connect people. If you know of a resource (not just people — places and things too) that will help solve a problem for a fellow community member, make an introduction or share it.
  11. Author (or co-author) an e-book.
  12. Initiate and comment on discussions on social media networks and on blogs. Ask and answer questions.
  13. Re-tweet or share articles/posts that will be of interest to your target audience.
  14. Seek to demonstrate your expertise and capabilities through your bio or about me page online.
  15. Last but not least, the most important thing you can do to establish yourself as an expert is to “act as-if.” If you don’t believe you’re an expert, no one else will. So start walking the walk and talking the talk.

What other ways do you think entrepreneurs can/should evidence their abilities?

Live and Learn.

Get the latest TIPs and TOOLs:

     

~ by Connie Hammond ~

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[BLUE] TIP: Create “Biz Dev Only” Days for Success

Promote your online business.Improve Your Marketing & Get More Clients

by Fabienne Fredrickson on August 3, 2011

It’s important to make time during your week to focus on Client Attraction and the marketing needed to get more clients.

While you’re clustering your client appointments, go just one step ahead. Cluster your days for maximum efficiency and create “Business Development Only” days.

The more I’ve worked on creating Business Development Only Days, the more successful I’ve become. It helps me be “in the flow” in terms of marketing ideas and action and helps me get more done to promote my business than simply trying to squeeze it in everyday. Doing this increased my revenue by 35% immediately.

Client example: A dental office I worked with to attract more patients was struggling to get any marketing done. The primary dentist was consistently busy working with patients and couldn’t focus on Client Attraction. Until we asked the office manager to schedule NO patients on Thursdays. At first, he resisted. “How will I make more money if I’m not working one day per week?” But very quickly, he realized that the time he now had to focus on marketing and business development, he was actually able to get the things done that attract clients.

He was finally able to create his extensive website, send out letters to the HR departments in the vicinity, track and reward frequent referral sources, host a launch party, among other things. All the essential and critical marketing elements to market his business effectively and get more clients.

Just ONE day per week has improved everything for this dental practice.

Your Client Attraction Assignment:

What day will you devote to Business Development Only? Once you figure it out, add it to your calendar for the rest of the year. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll get done, and will start seeing clients come in much more quickly.

 

About the author:

Fabienne Fredrickson, The Client Attraction Mentor, is founder of the Client Attraction System®, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to attract more clients, in record time…guaranteed. To get your F.R.E.E. Audio CD by mail and receive her weekly marketing & success mindset articles on attracting more high-paying clients and dramatically increasing your in.come, visit www.attractclients.com.

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CAUTION: Don’t Assume You Know Your Audience


Don’t do it.

When I launched Hire Me Aspen, I thought I had a pretty good handle on who my target audience was.

After all, I was targeting someone just like me.

The idea of my website arose out of a genuine concern about the economy and living in a resort town: “What would I do if I lost my work-from-anywhere corporate job and needed to freelance on the side to make extra money while I launched my business?”

Plus, there’s a frequently heard saying circulating around resort towns that goes something like: “When you live in a resort town, you either own three homes or work three jobs.”

So I knew there was a real possibility of my having to work side gigs to make it happen and stay where I loved.  And I knew this old adage proved my theory that there would be a definite need for my service.

(Mistake #1: Don’t base your market research on hypothetical sayings).

I was qualifed for a variety of side jobs, but getting a babysitter gig or something casual like that when you’re not 15 years old could prove challenging for a middle-aged corporate executive-turned-resort-entrepreneur.

I certainly had side-job skills, but how would I get the word out that I wanted to earn some extra money?  There wasn’t an efficient way for me to market my multitude of services (ie. writing, dog walking, personal assistant, etc.).

So with “me” in mind, I created Hire Me Aspen.

(Mistake #2: Thinking everyone thinks just like you do.)

Do Your Homework

It’s easy to jump right in, believing that there will be a hungry audience for your outstanding services.

You trick yourself into believing, “Hey, I’m a fairly normal person (in the scheme of things).  I’ve discovered a need that wasn’t being met.  I’m extraordinarily intelligent.  I’ve got what it takes.  I’m going for it.”

And with those misguided thoughts, you’re off and running.

Well, I’m here to tell you to slow your roll.  First things first.  You have to do some homework to get it right.

Start With Personas

So, what exactly is a persona?  The following description is paraphrased from wikipedia.

In marketing and user-centered design, personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior set that might use your website, brand or product in a similar way.

Personas are useful in considering the goals, desires, and limitations of your users and help guide decisions about your products and services.

A user persona is a representation of the goals and behavior of a real group of customers.  In most cases, personas are synthesized from data collected from interviews with users. They are captured in 1–2 page descriptions that include behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and environment, with a few fictional personal details to make the persona a realistic character. 

For each product, more than one persona is usually created, but one persona should always be the primary focus for marketing and design. 

Check out this article which also includes an example of a persona: How to Use the Power of Personas to Connect with Your Target Audiences.

Personas help you have clear and succinct understanding of who your target market is.  Personas help you decide which products, services and promotional materials you should be producing.  Personas help you develop meaningful and relevant content that drives sales.  Personas help you determine what content your audience would likely search for, subscribe to and share (in social media).

It’s also a good idea to market to someone’s potential (or who they want to be) vs. who they are right now.  When Marlboro launched their Marlboro Man marketing campaign, they were targeting cowboy wannabes.  The average Marlboro customer looked nothing like the man in the ads.

Having a deeper understanding of who that person is can be extremely helpful when formulating your business strategy.

Tell a story.

Are you a good storyteller?  If not, please learn.  Being able to articulate a user narrative is an important part of the business planning process.

I love listening to Stanford e-Corner podcasts whenever I can because I always learn something new about running my business.  Just the other day, I listened to Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square, share his thoughts on the power of user narratives in one of those podcasts.

“Your user narrative should read like a play,” says Jack.

You have to get into the mind of your customer to write your narrative.  They don’t have to be written in stone.  They just have to be written.  Consider them a work in progress which will continue to evolve and change over time as your company evolves and changes over time.

Here is another example of a narrative which demonstrates the detail and structure needed for it to be a thorough exercise.  It’s important to note what a narrative is not:

“I went to the store. I got some milk. I checked out and went home.”

In this brief example, there is a character and setting, but there is no conflict. The story seems to not go anywhere.

In other words, when composing your user narratives for your business, be sure to ask yourself about the challenges your customers face and how your products and services solve those challenges.

Bottom Line? Taking the time to write out (vs. think out) your user narratives is critical for reaching a truly targeted audience.  Otherwise, you’ll just be throwing darts with a blindfold on where your marketing efforts are concerned.

Live and Learn.

I’d love to hear your perspective!
Have you taken the time to write out your personas or user narratives? Or, are you a “wing it” kind of business owner?
Please share your comments below.
Click to Tweet

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[BLUE] TOOL: Join.Me Screen Sharing

What is it?

Join.Me is instant screen sharing.

Imagine you’re on a conference call and you’re trying to guide the person on the other end about what’s happening on your screen or trying ot explain how to navigate through a software program.

You can get your customers and community on the same page, when they’re not in the same room, instantly. You can review documents and designs. You can train staff or virtual assistants.  You can demo products or just show off.

In a nutshell, Join.Me is a ridiculously simple screen sharing tool for meetings on the fly. See screenshots below.

Other benefits include the ability to have up to 250 viewers at one time.  You also can share control of your screen.  It has multi-monitor capabilities, a chat feature, and you can send files with this program.

Or go pro (they have a 14 day free trial) and get these features: personal link and background, meeting scheduler, meeting lock, user management and international conference lines.

Why Do I Like It?

This is one of the easiest programs I’ve come across.  It really does allow you to share your screen…instantly.  And the people you want to share your screen with don’t need to download software or register which is an added bonus.  Just send a link to the intended audience and bam — they click on that link and can see your screen.

You can take a quick tour on their website or check out the screenshots below.

How Much Does It Cost?

Free.  Or the pro trial is $29/month or $299/year.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  Join.Me

COMPETITORS: GoToMeeting; AnyMeeting

SCREENSHOTS:

Home Screen: as you can see, it’s idiot proof with only two choices: SHARE or JOIN:

When you click on the “Share” orange arrow, your computer downloads the software in about 10 seconds, and then this screen appears indicating your screen is ready to be shared.

 

This moveable control box (explained below) sits on your screen, enabling you to manage the screen sharing process.

When you click on the “join.me/635-825-191” hyperlink, this pop up appears enabling you to copy/paste (great for chat) or send link by email.  Once the recipient clicks on the link, they can see your screen.  Again, the viewer doesn’t need to download anything — all they have to do is click the link.

Done.  It’s really that easy.  Love it!

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[BLUE] TOOL: Hootsuite

What is it?

HootSuite is a Social Media Dashboard.

Rather than being a social network, HootSuite allows you to connect to multiple social networks from one website, making your life easier.

It helps you use the social web to launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences and distribute targeted messages across multiple channels.

Using HootSuite’s unique social media dashboard, teams can  collaboratively schedule updates to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin,  WordPress and other social networks via web, desktop or mobile platforms  — plus track campaign results and industry trends to rapidly adjust tactics.

Why Do I Like It?

Because not only can I update all my social media sites in one fell swoop, but I can schedule them out which allows me to get out of the office or go on vacation and live the resort lifestyle.

What Is The Cost?

HootSuite offers Premium accounts (4 levels of Pro and an Enterprise tier) as well as a Free version with limited account and features. HootSuite for iPhone and Android currently costs $2.99 as well as a free Lite version for each platform.

The free version works just fine for me.

Who Are The Competitors?

The most well known competitors of HootSuite include TweetDeck and Seesmic.

More Information:

WEBSITE:  Hootsuite.com

Live and Learn.

~ Connie Hammond ~