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5 Things Business Owners Should Be Doing During the Coronavirus Shutdown

Strategic Activities Rule!

While the government may have shutdown a lot of businesses, there are still ways to keep your business alive and kicking.  If your business has slowed down, it’s a good to invest the time back into your own business.  Here’s a few activities worth mentioning that can help put your business on track to not just survive, but thrive through all this!

ONE | Now is the perfect time for a strategic marketing review

  • Reassess your marketing messages. Use the extra time to analyze your message in light of the current situation. The last thing you want to do, is continue your same marketing message and sound “tone deaf” to your audience.
  • Review your social media content. Is there anything mentioned that might sound out of place right now? If so, fix it before its published.
  • Review your website content. Is your main message still appropriate right now? How might you update it to better catch the attention of your audience? How might your call to actions be improved? What advice can you offer to help your customers right now?
  • Review your content strategy.Assess your buyer’s journey. Reassess their emotional state. Are there any content pieces that need to be updated? Are there any new content ideas you need to add in light of the current situation?
  • Review your email strategy. Review your autoresponder email sequences and update as appropriate for today’s environment. This is critical if you have autoresponders that you haven’t reviewed in several months.
Stay Connected

TWO | Reach out to your past and current customers.

This is not a time to shrink back, isolate, or stop any business development efforts. Quite the contrary, you should be focus on reaching out even more!  There are several ways to do this.  Keep in mind you’re not in selling mode. You don’t want to sell anything. Take this time to reach out, make a connection, and see how you can help.

  • By phone. People who are not used to working from home or have been laid off recently, will appreciate a friend call.
  • By email. Write a friendly email letting your past and current customers know you’re thinking of them. Ask if there’s anything you can do to help them.
  • By direct mail. Plan a direct mail package. Write a letter, include a helpful promotional or branded item, such as an eye glass clothe, computer screen cleaning clothe, letter opener or a
Check In

THREE | Reach out to your referral partners.

Before you reach out, do a little planning. List out all your products and services and identify which one would best serve your referral partner or their audience. Then when you speak to them you can mention you are offering a finder’s fee for any referrals needing your XYZ service.  This is a great way to stay in touch and plant seeds for the future business. You never know who your referral partners might know that need your product/service.

Brainstorm with others

FOUR | Review your product offerings.

Now is a good time to look at your products and services.  Are there any other products you could create that would help address the new problems people are facing right now?  Are there any skills or knowledge you have that could be turned into an instructional product you could offer at as a low-ticket item? Are there people wanting to learn something from you that would benefit from a group coaching or mastermind program?

Reallocate

FIVE | Reallocate your budget.

Look at your budget. Perhaps there are things you are no longer spending money on, such as live events, specific advertising at live events, travel, hotel, car rental, etc. How might you reallocate those dollars to make better use of them right now? Could you shift your travel budget into digital marketing, online ads, and content creation efforts? How might that grow your business while you’re stuck at home?

Elizabeth Marks

You’ve just discovered five strategic activities you could be working on to strengthen your business during a difficult period. Which one will you work on first?

Call or email me when you want help with any of these activities.

6 Things I learned at #smmw20 for Using Social Media for Your Business

On a recent trip to San Diego, California for the 8th annual Social Media Marketing World conference, I learned several tips for improving how to use social media for your business.

It’s About Community

Brian Fanzo, a digital strategist, says “the future of business is community.”  It’s really about storytelling to begin a following of people who are interested in what you say. Then you build a community of like-minded people by…

  • Be a passionate person
  • Inspire others through a shared purpose
  • Motivate people to create and collaborate
  • Leverage individual’s passion.

Things to consider measuring

Stop looking at your engagement stats and start looking at true connections. Who’s repeatedly viewing your content? Who’s sharing about your brand message? What offline interactions have you had? How many multiple connections/touches from the same person have you had?

Creating Connection

Pat Flynn, Podcaster shared ways to get people to connect with you. He shared how to he built connection into his book, Will It Fly, to get readers to engage on a deeply level.  It’s the same in social media. Every interaction on social media should be enhancing or encouraging the person to take the next step of deeper access to you.

Encouraging Collaboration

Marcus Sheridan, a pool making business owner, was a keynote speaker. He shared the power of story telling and engaging with your audience to bring them into the storytelling process by asking questions. His method is this:

  • Ask a question to get audience engaged in a dialog with you.
  • Tell a story to help the audience imagine themselves in the story.
  • The results – this is the payoff you get by listening.
  • The Challenge – this is the action you want them to take next.

Building Your Brand

Jasmine Star, photographer, strategist, and owner of Social Curator agency shared how to build a brand that thrives on Instagram. She told everyone that a brand is an experience. So, in what ways can you create experiences for your audience?  Read the entire session recap here.

Using the Right Words

Mike Kim, of CopyProof, talked about how to write persuasive copy in a voice that’s unmistakably yours. He shared his ideas on the 3 identities of a brand (Verbal, Visual, Value). “Marketing isn’t about closing the sale, but about opening a relationship.” If you’re still developing your brand consider these three questions:

  • What pisses you off? This stirs passion within you.
  • What breaks your heart? This is how compassion grows.
  • What is the BIG problem you solve? This is your business.

When you incorporate all three into your brand messaging you become unmistakably unique. You share this brand through the visuals and words you use.  You can read the recap I wrote for Mike’s session here.

Using Video to Reach Your Goals

Goldie Chan, the “Oprah of LinkedIn” and top LinkedIn Voice for Social Media, shared how to build an unstoppable brand with LinkedIn video. “Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video” (Insivia).  “LinkedIn video gets 3x engagement compared to text posts” (Foundation, Inc). Get clear about the four objectives for using video on any social platform. 

  • Brand awareness
  • Amplify a product launch
  • Thought leadership
  • Targeted series

Once you identify your top objective, create content focused on that topic to drive engagement and interaction with your audience.  The recap of Goldie’s session can be found here.

Go create better, deeper, collaborative relationships with your audience on social media. There is no better time to get started.

How to Leverage LinkedIn Video to Grow Your Brand – Recap

Learn from Goldie Chan, LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Media (Video) and the “Oprah of LinkedIn.” Goldie goes over the best ways to define, attract and deliver to your perfect audience and customer/client base. Discover both organic video and LinkedIn live-streaming tactics that get you to the top of the feed and dominating your industry vertical.

Do you have a LinkedIn Account? If so, that means you can do LinkedIn Video.

Know what you want to do with video before you jump in and start doing video on LinkedIn.

She’s been in all the beta groups of LinkedIn. She has 7 million views, 750+ daily videos and written content. 60K people are following her on LinkedIn.

She loves to tell stories.

Goldie Chan is the youngest women of color in the Producer’s Guild.

Because she is a teacher, she told the audience there will be homework at the end.

Of 610+ Million members, only 3Million members are creating content. There’s some much land grab that can be done.

That means LinkedIn doesn’t have a barrier to entry.

Why we love video

The number is going even higher due to short form content on TikTok.

Whatever content you’re creating, consider video because it sticks with the users better.

She shared her first “hater” video.

LinkedIn is not Facebook. Of course! It’s a different ecosystem. Most people go on LinkedIn to look for jobs or clients.

LinkedIn beta on video was just 3 years ago.  But consider YouTube that’s been around a lot longer.

The rules have not been set yet.

This graph is completely made up. The beginning is real. The rest is a bunch of guesses. Still very few active creators. Those who post more than once a week.

The competition is not very big.

LinkedIn Live is in beta format. You have to apply.  Everyone can join if you apply. Keep applying. They are looking that your persistent.

Out of 610 Million people, less than 1,000 are live streaming and short form content are the future.

Respond to other people’s comments always.

Having a singular focus with one subject on your live stream. 5 minutes to 4 hours (max) should be focused on one subject.  10 to 15 minutes to start. Once you have an audience, 25 to 35 minutes is the sweet spot.

You can livestream on multiple platforms is amazing. Yes, you have to use 3rd party app for that.

Brand Awareness for B2B companies

If no one is listening to you, you don’t have a brand.

What’s your audience like? Where do they hang out online? What do they read? What are they interested in?

Engaging with the audience. Having a targeted market. Not selling to 12 years, but C-Level audience with a large budget.

Is your target audience on LinkedIn? If not, go to another session.

Amplify Product Launch

The best thing for B2C is NOT brand awareness.  Should focus on a launch for a specific subset of your targeted audience.

Brand awareness will not be effective over time for B2C.

Hashtags are being used now.  You don’t know how many people are seeing the hashtag. Better metrics are views and comments.

Thought Leadership

Show credibility. You are someone who is known for being the top provider in your industry.

You want to be known as the best for your specific area in marketing. Show you’re an incredible people and have incredible amount of knowledge.

She shared her tactics on building a personal brand because this is her area of expertise.

Each video showed she knew what she was talking about.

Fun content won’t help you get a job or client. Show yourself smart in your field.

Targeted series

Very focused series of content.  Daily Goldie was a daily show for 2 solid years. Understand where your focus is. This is where you can own two hashtags on LinkedIn.  One hashtag is made up #yournamespeaks. The other one is real that every one else is using #personalbranding.

Type in an example in the search bar to see if anyone is searching for it.

Huge spike in people wanting to learn about NASA.

5 Best Tips

Know your audience. Become the best in your space. It’s more helpful. Become the best person for your demographic. Know who you want to speak to before you open your mouth.

Consistency is the key. Use themed dates and regular posting. Hang in there even when it’s no longer fun.  Make daily videos.  She did it for 2 years.

Pick a day of the week and own it. Create content once a week to start.  Make 4 pieces of content each month.

LinkedIn is not Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. Use appropriate captions.

When you create content use common sense. Every post is tied to you. This could impare your job or career moves if not done well.

Don’t ignore other platforms. Don’t shoot videos for YouTube and drop them in LinkedIn.  You need to create content tailored to the platform.

Link to your LinkedIn videos on other platforms.

Link your videos to your product pages by put the link in the comments.

Is there an optimal style to use on LinkedIn?  NO!

Make it work for mobile devices.

Be attractive framing. Don’t use extreme closeups.

LinkedIn Stories – it’s like Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook stories.

It’s short form vertical content. They have been trying this out for targeted audiences, such as Real Estate Agents in the Dallas area.

Homework

Halloween of 2018, Peter dressed up as Goldie Chan and thanked her and all video creators.

Create 1 video, write an optimized caption, upload video on mobile or desktop to personal page or brand page, and tag Goldie Chan.

LinkedIn Learning Goldie teaches many courses.

https://www.LinkedIn.com/Learning/instructors/Goldie-Chan

Be empowered to create a LinkedIn Video today!

Lead Generation B2B: Necessary or Not?

There are many forms of Lead Generation for B2B. Organic search, paid search, advertising, blogging, social medial, content marketing, email marketing, direct mail, cold calling, appointment setters, database marketing…should I go on?

No matter what method of lead generation you choose for your B2B business the fact remains…Content is a critical component.

The goal with any tactic is to build your internal list of email addresses by getting as many names as possible on your mailing list.  But it’s not as easy as collecting a bunch of business cards, entering them into your “system” and sending emails. Not with the GDPR law now in effect.

This new law makes it more difficult to marketing to your mailing list. You need to ensure the people on your mailing list, actually requested information from you. Gone are the days when you got a someone’s business card and added them to your list. That’s a big No-No.

The best way to ensure you’re compliant with GDPR is to gather names and emails by offering something of value that people want.  This is done by offering potential prospects valuable content, special reports, discount offers or free trials in exchange for their email address. This allows you to send the information they requested.

But just because you have an email address doesn’t mean all of those names are really true prospects.

For example, say you offer a free widget to those who opt in. They are on your list just because of the free widget and have no real interest in what you can do for them.

However, if potential prospects click to opt in for a special report or another offer, then they may have an interest in the topic of the report they opted in for.

 Lead Generation Sales Funnel

Lead Nurturing

That’s where lead nurturing comes in. Lead Nurturing is different from lead generation because you want to identify the true prospects from just those that signed up for whatever free thing you offered.

Staying in contact with the potential prospects over a period of time by providing valuable content, newsworthy updates, or other special offers through email is a great way to determine whether they have further interest in what you offer.

If they continue to respond to various offers you send, there’s a good chance they might turn into paying customers.  The goal in lead nurturing is to get your prospect to take action.

This where email marketing shines through. With a well thought out plan, you can guide your prospects through a series of emails that will “convert” them into a paying customer via the call-to-action within the emails.

 Call-to-Action

That action could be as simple as asking them to visit your website for more details about your company. Or asking them to sign up for a free trial. There are many possibilities.

The diagram below shows some of the possibilities. At the top of the sales funnel, tactics like email, landing pages, newsletter, direct mail, web site, sell sheets, blog and articles are used to collect names for a mailing list. These are primary lead generators.

Lead generation B2B sales funnel activities

Over time different informative or educational offers are used in the email marketing to the mailing list. These materials are classified as lead nurturing type because it is content job to help the prospect solve a problem, satisfy a need, or achieve a goal.

You can see the bottom of the sales funnel is when the prospect becomes a customer by buying your product or service.

 Keep in Contact

Throughout the process, another purpose is to stay in touch with prospects so they begin to know, like, and trust you. When they are ready to buy, they will check out your store or site to buy what you offer. All because you offered them great content and you were looking out for their best interests.

Remember your prospects are looking for a way to solve a problem, satisfy a need, or achieve a goal.

They are on the search for anything to help them with those things.

Email Marketing Customer Cycl

That’s where lead generation B2B comes in to play.

Educational material, webinars, special reports, and other offers can be effective ways to help your prospect reach a place of decision.  All of these are used in a series of emails designed to peak the prospect’s curiosity and cause them to take action.

By providing helpful pieces of content to answer questions, point to solutions, and guide them in their buying decision process, you set yourself up as an expert. This builds your reputation and brand because you seem like someone who knows and cares about what a prospect might be facing.

Save Time

As a result, I can write all the content for you, which can save you time and effort.

In conclusion, allow me to help you plan a marketing campaign. I’ll help you identify a way to measure the success before you start. Let me develop the right lead generation b2b tactics for your business. I’ll write lead nurturing emails causing your prospects to take action. Then, we’ll measure the results so you’ll know for sure you made the right choice.

Finally, let me help you save time and money by hiring me for Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing emails. Find out how to get started by contacting me.


 

How to Get More Referrals

Karim Wahba

Karim Wahba, of Realty One Group and President of Christian Business Partners Irvine, spoke today about how to get more referrals.  Drawing on his years of real estate and networking experience, Karim, shared eight ideas for you to implement in your business to increase your referrals

By a show of hands, Karim asked, how many of us business owners are in sales? We all raised our hands. That’s right every business owner is also a salesperson. We may not want to call ourselves that, but we are.

And how do you get business today? What’s working for you?

  • Events
  • Word of mouth
  • LinkedIn
  • Networking

What activities have you tried that you didn’t like? Cold calling and knocking on doors. Exactly, no one likes to do these activities.

At this point, the audience was ready to hear something that actually worked. Karim did not disappoint.

1. Every business owner needs a CRM. It may not have to be a fancy one. Even something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet with name, phone number, and last date contacted would be better than nothing.

2. Send a physical item of value once a month. Things like a tax tip sheet or an educational piece on how to protect yourself from identification theft work well.  Karim usually mails these tips out the second week of the month because most people get a lot of bills the first week of the month.

3. Email something of value two weeks after the physical mailing. Use the same principle here and share something helpful.

4. Call your contacts at least once a quarter. The purpose of the call is NOT to sell anything. Just use it to touch base with your contact. Ask about how they are doing? How is life? The goal is to reconnect.

5. Send a personal note. Karim uses personal notes in two ways. Anytime he receives a referral from one of his contacts, he will send a handwritten thank you note to them. This is a physical note, so remember that’s sent via regular post office mail. The second way he uses personal notes is to send a special birthday greeting one week before the actual birthday date.  Then he follows up with a phone call on the birth date.

6. Personalize Your Social Media. Karim suggested sharing personal stuff on your social media channels because people connect with people. The more real you are, the higher chance people will want to connect with you. Always posting about your work is boring. So post a few personal topics or photos to show your human side. Of course, you should share work-related stuff. In this case, Karim shares a video on a market update the 1st week of the month. On the 3rd week of the month, he shares a random video that might be offering a tip. Lastly, Karim suggested you tag your friends or colleagues when you post a video.

7. Schedule a “Pop by” twice a year. Karim likes to do this on Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving. Each time he gives a small gift. For example, for Mother’s Day, he buys a $5 gift, to deliver to all the mothers on his contact list. For Thanksgiving, he has a baker friend who creates delicious desserts, so he delivers a yummy treat just before the holiday. This helps his contacts think about him when they are dining together with their families over the holidays.

8. Lastly, host a Client Appreciation Event. The purpose of the event is to say “Thank You” to current and past clients, have fun and help clients meet a lot of new people.  Karim’s last event was at a bowling alley at The District. His clients and their families all attended and got to know each other. They all had a blast.

Remember, the key to getting referrals is in the follow-up.  So you just read about 8 ways to creatively follow up with your contacts. So which are you going to implement in your business?

If you’d like to join us for the next informative speaker, we meet every Tuesday morning at IHOP 18542 MacArthur Blvd in Irvine, California 92618 from 8:15 am to 9:33 am.

Please check out our Facebook Page to see who’s scheduled next.

If you need help coming up with follow up ideas for your business, contact me. I’d be happy to brainstorm with you.

How to Build Your Network in LinkedIn

In today’s digitally connected world, it is critical you know how to reach out to others and build lasting relationships.  LinkedIn is, by far, the best platform for business people to find other business people.

Why should I grow my professional network?

You’ve heard that saying “It’s not what you know but who you know,” right? Well, I offer a small twist on that saying…”It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you that matters.” I’ve certainly found this to true. After all, marketing is about letting people know who you are and how you can help.

As I’ve experienced much success with LinkedIn in my own business, I thought it was about time to share what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you benefit from the 7-step process for growing your professional network.

Step 1: Identify Who You Want to Reach

 

Step 2: Research Profile

  • Click on the person’s picture to go to their profile
    1. Scan their profile looking for any common ground.
      1. Articles shared or liked
      2. Past experience
      3. Education
      4. Skill
      5. People they know
      6. Groups they are in
      7. Volunteer or causes
      8. Accomplishments

2. Find one thing you have in common.

Step 3: Personalize Invite

  • A sample message might look like…
    1. “Hi, Name, as we’re both women in marketing and belong to AMA-OC group, want to connect to grow both our professional networks?”
  • Almost 100% connect rate
  • LinkedIn Help tells you how to personalize your invitation at https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/topics/6096/6097/46662
  • Hint: If using a cellphone, don’t click Connect Button! This will send a generic request. Click the three dots in the upper right corner or the down arrow next to the Connect button to personalize the invite.

Step 4: Follow Up in LinkedIn

  • After they accept your connection request…
  • Send a message like the following:
    1. “Hi, Name, thanks for connecting I’d like to know more about you and your business. Let’s chat <link to calendar>”
    2. Note: Use app like https://calendly.com or https://acuityscheduling.com/
  • 5% – 10% meeting rate

Step 5: Share Content Relevant to Your Audience

  • Someone else’s connect
  • Meeting recap
  • Helpful tips
  • Anyone connected to you will see post in their news feed.
  • This helps keep you top of mind in your prospect.

Step 6: Follow Up after 1 on 1 call with an Email

  • Recap your conversation
  • Ask them to connect on social media with you
  • Send one or two days after you meet

Step 7: One week later, send a thank you email

  • Thank them again for the initial call
  • Remind them what you do and who you help
  • Ask for a face to face meeting <link to calendar>

If you’d like a professional review of your LinkedIn Profile with suggestions on how to improve, contact me at https://calendly.com/elizabeth-marks/quick-15-minute-call .

A Continual Supply of Useful Information through a Blog

Problogger.com wrote a post on What’s a Blog. Read it here: https://problogger.com/what-is-a-blog/

Benefits of a Blog

Blogs have multiple benefits for you and your potential clients. Sharing useful information in your blog is one of the best ways to reach your potential clients. And build your credibility. Your reputation grows. You rank better in search engines because of the constant stream of new content published to your blog.

Your target audience has access to useful and helpful content. When the time comes to make a purchase your potential clients will think of all the useful content you’ve provided in the past.

Blogs have another purpose too. By studying the comments made on your blog, you can reap valuable insight as to what your clients are thinking, what bothers them, what they are really looking for, etc. You might say a blog is a built-in marketing focus group at your disposable.

Example of a Good Blog

Qlik.com blog provides a pleasing appeal with three column format, showing off the latest content and offering other helpful resources on the right. As an added bonus, they even tell the reader how long it will take to read the post.

That’s great news for those who like to skim through content or don’t have much time to read long-winded posts. In addition to the time it takes to read the blog post, they make the content easily shareable. The key is sharing useful information in your blog. This is to your advantage as well. If readers like your content they will want to share it, so make it easy for them to do just that!

FIGURE 9 QLIK’S BLOG

Do you have a blog setup but don’t know what to share on your blog?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to Social Media to engage with them.

Connect with Your Ideal Clients on Social Media Today

The internet has made it easy to connect with your potential customers.  Now connecting is just a click away. You can stay in direct contact with your customers through social media.  But you might be wondering which social media platform should you be on?

SmartInsights.com publishes a report each year to monitor social media platforms.  Maybe some of their charts may help you determine that.  Let’s look at a few.

Which social platform is the most popular?

I’ll give you one guess. Yes, it’s Facebook of course.

FIGURE 1  SOCIAL MEDIA RANKED

What’s the frequency of use on each social platform?

Looks like most users access their social networks daily.

FIGURE 2 FREQUENCY OF SOCIAL MEDIA

What is the average age of user on each social platform?

It looks like the 16 to 24 group and 35 to 44 group have the largest percentage across all social networks.

FIGURE 3 DEMOGRAPHICS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

 

So now you know which platform is the most popular. And how much time the average user spends on that platform. And the average age of the user by platform.

Does this help you figure out which platform may work for your business?

As you can see from the last chart above, there are many different Social Media platforms out there. And new social platforms are emerging every day.  Don’t let this discourage you!

This doesn’t mean you need to be present on all of them.  You just need to be on the one your clients are on most of the time!

When you’ve found the right social media platform for your business, prominently displaying your company’s social media networks will help your customers find you and engage with you.

Let’s look at three companies who prominently display their social network links on their websites in different ways.

Board.com appears to be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube as shown in the picture below.

FIGURE 4 BOARD SOCIAL MEDIA

Qlik prefers the social icons to represent their social network profiles as seen on the left in below picture.

FIGURE 5 QLIK SOCIAL MEDIA

GoodData displays its icons in the footer as well.

FIGURE 6 GOODDATA SOCIAL MEDIA

What Social Networks are you on? Are you sharing your Social Network links on your website?

Need help figuring out where to share your Social Network links?

Contact me today to get moving in the right direction.

Looking for other ways to connect with your audience? Check out how to use User Groups to engage.

Build Repeat Customers through User Groups

User groups are primarily for existing customers. However, having a user group will help prospective customers feel they will have the necessary methods of support should they need it.

Benefits of User Groups

  • Creates a sense of belonging which enables loyalty.
  • Direct communication with actual users of your product helps with product development of new products.
  • An ongoing source of feedback for marketing purposes.
  • A resource to provide better customer service.

These are but a few of the benefits of having a user group community for your clients.

Successful Examples

Let’s look a few of the leaders in business intelligence industry to see how they use user groups.

Oracle provides a number of User Groups and Communities promising the user will be heard when they get involved.

FIGURE 1 ORACLE USER GROUPS

Alteryx allows users to locate user groups by area and posts upcoming Alteryx User Group meetings.

FIGURE 2 ALTERYX USER GROUP MEETINGS

Do you offer a user group community to your customers?

Need help sharing user group community updates on your website? Contact me at

Contact me to see how I can help you communicate to your target audience.

For another way to build thought leadership check out Special Reports.

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