Book Recommendation – Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking

It’s one of the oldest marketing strategies there is. We are talking about word of mouth marketing. What is it exactly? Basically, your product is so hot, that everyone is talking and sharing it wherever they go. This type of marketing has some companies using a minimum of marketing effort and netting millions of dollars while others are sending thousands down the drain for a product that hasn’t quite caught on yet. Word of Mouth Marketing is written by Andy Sernovitz, a marketing guru who understands how companies make such an easy method complicated.

If you give your customers what they want, they will make money for you. The tone is easy and fun with practical advice for any size company. Discover why people spread the good word about your product, the four rules of this type of marketing, the 5 Ts of word of mouth marketing and the ideas that will revamp your marketing strategy from here on out. Learn how to build trust into your business that means better customer feedback than ever before. Since this book is in Kindle edition, you could begin changing your business in less than sixty seconds.

Word of Mouth Marketing How Smart Companies Get People Talking

How to Become a Master Delegator

delegateDelegation is an important skill for any business owner to master, but it’s especially important for small business owners who have very little time and extra money to devote to bottlenecks, accidental duplication of efforts, and missed deadlines.

If you learn to delegate well, you’ll have more time to devote your energy to more important tasks, provide employment for another person, and (since it’s likely someone else can do the tasks better than you) make yourself look even more amazing due to the good choices you make.

Identify Blocks to Delegation – One of the first things to do is figure out what causes you to be fearful of delegation. Usually the reasons have to do with perfectionism, self-protection, lack of a workable system in place and being unsure of which tasks to delegate.

Set Up a Fail-Safe System – Before you even start delegating, it’s important to set up a system of some sort – like Basecamp or another online project management system. Keep in mind some of the people you outsource to may have their own system which you can use. This is especially true of online business managers or project managers.

Streamline Your Processes – Go through the processes you use to do the tasks now, and write them down so that you can figure out how to streamline the processes. However, do keep in mind that contractors are mostly concerned with deliverables, so this process is more for your benefit to find out what types of things you can delegate. An example would be repetitive tasks like email management.

Hire the Right People for the Job – When you know what tasks you want to outsource, it’s important to find the right people for the job or task. To get the most bang for your buck, choose someone to do it who likes doing it, wants to do it, and considers it their expertise. In other words, don’t expect to hire someone who can do everything perfectly. Hire several people to do one or two things each perfectly.

Give Clear Instructions – Provide the contractor with the requirements, deadlines, scope of authority, purpose, goals and objectives, potential problems, and tools available to them (if any are needed such as passwords and sign-on information).

Ask for Feedback – Open up the communication by asking the contractor if they have any questions based on your instructions. That way they won’t be worried about asking anything even if it’s “stupid.” The worst thing you can do is criticize a contractor for asking a question. And of course, you need to get back to them quickly with your answers.

Focus on Deliverables – In many cases, contractors want you to focus more on deadlines and deliverables than too many details. How they get something done should not be as important as the result of what they got done.

Give Constructive Feedback – As often as is practicable give feedback to your contractors. This is especially true if you would like something done differently than what they turned in but you still want to keep working with the person. Give the feedback by giving compliments on what is good, then what could be better, and finally something good again to help build up the confidence of the contractor.

Allow for Mistakes – The fact is, no one is perfect and contractors will sometimes misunderstand directions. As long as something isn’t blatant such as constant missed deadlines, poor quality of work and so forth, sometimes people make mistakes. If your contractors are afraid of making mistakes, sometimes it will stifle their creativity. So be open to new ideas and potential mistakes, while also being clear on your expectations.

Finally, the best way to become a master delegator is to let go and just do it. Start with something small such as outsourcing your email customer service, eBook writing, report writing, blog post writing, article writing, social media marketing, and graphic design for projects. Write a list of everything that needs to be done to launch one of your products and try to outsource as much of as you can to see how it comes together. The more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it.

Which Social Media Sites Will Give Me the Biggest ROI?

Which-Social-Media-Sites-Will-Give-Me-the-Biggest-ROIGuest Post by Kathi Kruse

Social Media ROI may seem elusive but there are specific steps you can take to leverage the medium without going broke.

Marketing to generate leads for any business today requires a holistic approach that includes SEO, content (blog), Social Media and Social advertising. It’s difficult to know where to concentrate your resources but it bears close attention due to the investment it takes to succeed.

Now that Social Media marketing has gone mainstream…

Many business owners are left wondering which sites will give them the biggest ROI. The simple answer to that question is…whichever sites your customers are on.

However, true Social Media ROI is not that simple.

You must know your audience well to know where they spend their time. You must know your audience in order to engage them and convert them into customers.

Social Media sites are channels, just like radio or TV channels. Marketing campaigns are run on the channels where your ideal customers spend their time. Content is developed and published on those sites (just as it would be on traditional channels) and in return, people engage with your business.

But this is only a portion of your overall quest for Social Media ROI.

The only true way to establish and achieve Social Media ROI is with a solid marketing system.

A solid marketing plan will outline clear objectives, goals, a budget, a timeframe and trackable metrics. Your system’s goals could look something like these:

  • Increase Facebook likes by 1,000 in 30 days.
  • Improve Facebook page engagement by 20% within the next 6 months.
  • Generate traffic to our site and collect 500 new blog subscribers in the next 90 days.
  • Convert Facebook fans into customers by leveraging a budget of $500/month for social advertising.
  • Grow our Twitter following by 1,000 users in the next 90 days.
  • Develop and implement a solid content strategy that includes our employees’ participation in blog posts to increase visibility and reach with search engines.

I’ve always been a person who likes to think things through and create a plan with a system that brings me the best results for the time, money and effort I put into it. Many businesses simply hip-shoot their way onto Social Media, perhaps misunderstanding that since it’s free, they should participate. Here’s a little secret: Nothing is free.

People use Social Media sites to check in with friends, connect with their network, and share relevant opinions about the products and services they use. Your business needs to be there to listen, answer questions and nurture the sales process with those most likely to buy from you.

Below is a breakdown of the most popular Social Media sites. This is a bird’s eye view but it will give you a starting point from which to plan your quest for Social Media ROI:

social-media-roi-comparison

Which Social Media sites give you the biggest ROI?

  • If you’re new and only have budget for one site, start with Facebook. It’s the biggest and offers the most opportunity.
  • Facebook also offers established businesses many opportunities, especially with Facebook ads. The ability to target those most likely to buy from you makes Facebook an obvious choice when you’re looking for the biggest Social Media ROI.
  • Twitter is great if your target audience likes to consume information on the go in 140 characters. It’s also an outstanding way to prospect by leveraging Twitter’s advanced search and industry-related hashtags.
  • Instagram is ideal for showing another side of your brand – perhaps the fun-loving, not-so-serious side of your business. However, the images you share need to be hi-quality to stand out. I can’t tell you how many businesses share images that are just so sad.
  • Pinterest is great for reaching women. In the car business, 85% of vehicle purchases are influenced by women so develop a content strategy that speaks to them.
  • Google Plus is a great platform for engaging with niche groups of people. The Circles tool allows you to tailor content to specific groups. Google Plus is also ideal for sharing your blog posts and gaining authority with search.
  • LinkedIn is the ultimate platform for your salespeople to develop a referral network and prospect for new customers. With LinkedIn Premium, your salespeople can leverage advanced search to locate those they want to connect with. Example: many car manufacturers have financing programs through large companies. Your salespeople can search for employees within those companies to prospect with.

Social Media ROI is clearly where your focus should be. Start with a solid marketing plan, a proven system, and identify your ideal audience before you begin any online marketing.

Goals and objectives provide a starting point from which to measure. During the lifecycle of your campaigns, track and analyze your results. When it’s time, you tie your results back to your goals. That’s true Social Media ROI.

 

391ae6095d4f3071074185b826183f91Kathi Kruse, Founder CEO at Kruse Control Inc.

Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”. Her Kruse Control Blog is the leading Automotive Social Media blog in the US.

Book Recommendation – Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done

It’s time for another meeting. As a business owner, you know that you’d rather eat nails than hold a meeting. Employees probably feel the same. Most meetings are nothing more than a break in the day or a chance to catch a few winks. Instead of a snore fest, learn how to turn that precious time into the place everyone wants to be.

In a traditional meeting, one person talks and the rest are forced to listen. What if your business meeting was more engaging? People interact with others who can assist with current tasks. Ideas are batted around. Participants get some work done in the midst of hearing you out instead of simply watching you. the principles presented in the book, “Let’s Stop Meeting Like This” are designed to revamp your presentation from how you greet your staff to presenting material, to linking employees together to the wrap-up at the end. No one will be sleeping at your next meeting after implementing the methods here.

Let’s Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done

5 Powerful Mindset Success Strategies 

mindsetBuilding a business is a fantastic and challenging experience. You can wake up exhilarated to begin your day and go to bed feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. The key to success is to maintain a positive, yes you can do it, mindset.

5 keys to help you create and sustain
a positive mindset

Easier said than done, right? Here are 5 keys to help you create and sustain a positive mindset so you attain the success you desire.

1. Surround yourself with successful and positive people. The influence people have over our own personal energy is amazing. Moods and attitudes are so easily spread – think about how much of a difference a simple smile from a stranger can make for your day and then magnify it 1000 times to demonstrate the power of positive and successful friends, family and associates. When you have people around you who inspire you, believe in you and want you to succeed, there’s no room for doubts and even when they creep up, they’re quickly swept away.

2. Create a mantra or an affirmation. Repeating positive affirmations has been shown to get people through tough times and to actually help them truly believe what they’re saying.

For example, “I am building a powerful and profitable business.” Many of the most esteemed business professionals have used the same affirmation strategy to attain their success. To find the right affirmations for you, consider writing a quick list of your doubts, insecurities and complaints. These can then be quickly turned into affirmations.

For example, if you write that you’re always feeling disorganized then your affirmation would be, “I am organized and in control.” Repeat your affirmations several times a day and feel the power of positive thinking.

3. Capture negative thoughts. We all have negative thoughts from time to time, however, negative thoughts and emotions can derail us and prevent us from achieving all we desire. Of course catching those negative thoughts takes practice and persistence. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts or having negative emotions, find a trigger to turn them around. The affirmations mentioned above are a great way to turn the negative into the positive. You can also find quick pick me ups like a favorite song, a walk outside in the fresh air, or some exercise to help improve your mood.

4. Set goals/intentions and then be willing to let it go. The law of attraction says that we attract what we focus on the most. However, desperation, needing your business to be a success, sends mixed messages and a lot of negativity into the universe. Set your goals and intentions and then let them go. A certain amount of faith in yourself and in the power of attraction is necessary. Give it a try.

5. Be grateful. Gratitude is perhaps the single most powerful and positive tool for success. When you’re grateful for all of the wonderful things and people in your life the challenges you face seem significantly less important and are more easily dealt with.

Consider keeping a gratitude journal and make a practice of entering into it daily. That way, when you’re facing challenges a quick peek at all the amazing things in your life will make you feel as if you can tackle anything. Additionally, an attitude of gratitude helps you maintain a positive perspective and to face challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles.

Success is within your reach and with the right mindset you can accomplish anything you set your sights on. Embrace these five powerful mind success strategies and you’ll build a better business and live a happier, more satisfying life.

How’s Your Vision?

visionEvery business needs a vision. A vision is like the big daydream you have in the middle of the afternoon after paying all your bills. It’s about sitting on the balcony of your beachside resort room watching the sunset while working from your laptop. It’s the fanciful but possible potential of your business dreams. It’s not going to happen today, but if you reach for the stars, and work toward it, it could happen.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

* What is your USP? – This is about your products and services now.
* What is in your mission statement? – This is about what you will do for your customers, how and why.
* What is your five-year vision – Where you will be, and how you’ll get there.

Use this information to figure out where you’ll be in five years from now or ten years from now. That is your business vision.

Example:

Acme VA Services will be the top grossing, premier virtual administrative providers in North America by providing reliable, consistent and knowledgeable administrative and author services to six-figure e-book authors.

Once you write a business vision, use it to take action, create a strategy, and formulate tactics to actually reach your vision. Use the vision to motivate yourself, employees and contractors. You know how they say to dress for the part you want? Well, it’s the same with your business vision. If you have the vision to be the top-selling Kindle e-book seller, then you need to act like you already are and do the things it takes to make it a reality.

Maybe money isn’t the most important thing to you. Maybe something else is important to you. If that’s the case, this should show up in your business vision as well. What’s right for one business might not be right for another. Perhaps you want to be able to donate millions of dollars to charity by giving away 10 percent of your profit each year. If that’s the case, and your dream, write it down.

Your vision can include dreams about:

* Finances – This could be about supporting yourself, your family, retirement or supporting employees, contractors, or a community.

* Reputation – This might be about the business’s reputation with customers, employees, contractors and other interested parties.

* Quality – Your vision could be to provide the best of whatever it is that you make.

* Value – You want to give your customers valuable information, products and services.

* Growth – You may plan to double your business in two years, quadruple in five and so forth.

* Passion – You show your customers how much you and your employees (contractors) love doing what it is that you do.

* Charity – You want to be able to donate to and help charities.

* Sustainability – You care about environmental issues or other long-term issues.

* Service Oriented – You care about doing service for others.

* Community Minded – You want to help your community, be it local or within your industry.

You can include any number of other issues that you find important within your business vision. Not everyone is in business only to make money. After all, this is about a vision that you have and it’s personal to you and it’s about your path in the world and with your business.

Five Tips for Creating a Positive First Impression

first-impressionWhether you work from home or work in an office, sometimes you have to conquer the dreaded business meeting. The best way to do well at any business meeting or event is to focus on creating a positive first impression.

1. Research the Audience

Every meeting usually has a specific audience that will go to that meeting. If it’s a more universal type meeting, research the people that you want to connect with. Know some facts about them and how they got their start. They’ll be impressed that you took the time to get to know them before meeting them.

2. Dress Appropriately

Find out what type of clothing people will be wearing to the meeting or event. The more you can fit in due to your mode of dress, the more people will remember you in a positive way. Dress for the position you want is a good refrain, but be careful about the “power” suit or appearing too high above your audience because you want them to remember you, not fear you.

3. Be First

When it comes time to introduce yourself, the person who puts their hand out first and states their name and gives their 30-second introduction is the person who holds the power in the meeting. You should also be first to introduce the person you just met to others as they approach. This makes you seem very important and people will remember you more due to your kindness.

4. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Most people are a little nervous at events or meetings but if you ask each person you meet open-ended questions about themselves and their business, they will be put at ease. And oddly, the more people get to talk about themselves, the more they will remember you. An open-ended question is one that must be answered with a sentence instead of a yes or no answer.

5. Listen Actively

As you meet people and ask those questions, truly listen for their answers. Repeat back to them their name and the things they say in your own words, then ask them good follow-up questions. This will make you seem like the most interesting person at the meeting or event because you are actually listening. And as you repeat things back to the person you’re conversing with, it will also help you remember more about each person that you connect with.

One final way to create a positive first impression is by what happens after the meeting. Always follow up with those whom you met. Use the information on the business cards you collected, or find them online, and connect with them in a new way. Send them a thank you card, or cut out an article and send it to them, or find a creative way to connect with them outside of the meeting. This will make you a truly memorable connection for them.