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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Social Media Marketing Gold Rush

Contribution by Mark Stebbins, Stebbins Media

Social media is the fastest-growing marketing channel in the world. Spendig on social media marketing in the U.S. will grow annually at a 34% compound rate through 2014, according to independent research firm, Forrester Research, Inc. By then, social media marketing will amount to a $3.1 billion industry, surpassing email marketing in terms of spending, Forrester said in a 2009 report.

• 67% of Twitter users who become followers of a brand are more likely to buy that brand’s products

• 60% of Facebook users who become a fan of a brand are more likely to recommend that brand to a friend

• 74% of consumers are influenced on buying decisions by fellow socializers after soliciting input via social media

From the Fortune 100 to small and medium businesses, marketers have industriously built out a social media presence in just a few years. The hyperactive growth of such companies as Facebook and Twitter has prompted many organizations to plant their flags on the social media landscape, without much planning as to how their marketing investments can be measured and effectively optimized. In fact, marketers cannot afford to wait to riddle out the details. Competitors are diving into social media, and evidence suggests strong payback for companies whose products enjoy positive reviews from social media users. Marketers that can persuade prospects and customers to join a company’s Facebook fan page also stand to gain.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Never Quit Before the Lesson is Learned

by Sheldon Singleton

Robert Kiyosaki author of the “Rich Dad Series” said “if you are going to quit, quit at the top of your game as a winner, then go to a bigger game”. Too many people quit as a loser at the bottom of their game.

Now, don’t lose your common sense when it comes to quitting something. If something isn’t working and you have given it 100% commitment and effort and have explored many different alternatives to make it work, then take the lesson you learned and go try something else.

Here’s the challenge. Most people lie to themselves and say they gave it all. Human beings have a capacity for creativity and we creatively lie to ourselves. Most of us don’t really give it an all out effort to make something work. We normally give it 5% or 10% or maybe 25% and then justify why it did not work because it makes you feel good. You know how you feel when you gave it all you got because when you finish, you have no guilt. The truth is we never give ourselves enough time and put in enough effort to see the results that we strive for.

In the book “Outliars” by Malcolm Gladwell, he talks about the 10,000 rule. He say’s to become outstandingly accomplished at anything, it takes about 10,000 hours of hard, focused, consistent work. If you worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, you will hit 10,000 hour mark after 5 years. That is 5 years, not 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or 1 year. Robert Kiyosaki says he gives himself 5 years to master a new skill. The challenge is that the average person never stays in the game long enough to become a master.

In business, Kiyosaki also says give yourself 5 years to learn new habits and unlearn old unproductive habits that hold us back.

He also said most people quit after their first mistake which is why they fail to learn. He said you must fail faster so you can learn faster and become more skilled. He said the only one that loses is people who are afraid to fail and quit. He said mistakes are priceless opportunities to learn essential lessons. If you don’t learn the lessons as time goes by, you don’t get any smarter.

Here is something I found in the book Failing forward, “Rules for Being Human”.

1. You will learn lessons.

2. There are no mistakes – only lessons.

3. A lesson is repeated until learned.

4. If you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder. (Pain is the way the universe get’s your attention).

5. You will know when you’ve learned a lesson when your actions have changed.

So the moral of the story is, mistakes are priceless, learn the lessons quickly and don’t quit. Focus on getting the 10,000 hour mark out of the way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Four Categories of FEAR

by Sheldon Singleton

Have you ever walked into a room at a networking event, started to talk to someone and they immediately started to try to sell you on their service and themselves within one minute of meeting you.

What was your reaction?

Were there good thoughts going through your mind and you wanted to be around them or did you want to RUN AWAY QUICKLY?

Why is this so? Hmmm.

What if you could know what fears are in a person’s head before you even walked into a networking event or sat down with a potential client? How valuable would that information be to you and what advantage would you have over your competition if you knew this information?

Remember this, all things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they know, like and trust. Whenever you meet anybody new, before you have established a relationship (Business and some of these can be personal) these fears will be racing through their mind. Try this on yourself.

Here are the Four Fear Categories

1. TRUST Fear

a. Fear of You (You a stranger to me.)

b. Fear of being lied to (I don’t know if you are telling me the truth.)

2. NEED Fear

a. Fear of Debt (Debt is a bad word. I lose my freedom when I go in bad debt.)

b. Fear of Losing Face (I don’t want to be embarrassment in front of loved ones or my friends.)

3. HELP Fear

a. Fear of making a mistake (I made mistakes in the past or I heard a story or I know someone who made a mistake.)

4. UNKNOWN Fears (I don’t understand what you do and it’s scary to me. I would rather do nothing or take it slow on something I know nothing or little about.)

Here are some other scary thoughts that are going through a person’s head when you first meet them.

1. I don’t know you.

2. I don’t know your reputation.

3. I don’t know your products.

4. I don’t know your industry.

5. I don’t know your company.

Wow! There is a lot of fears going through a person’s mind before you even approached them. They are looking at all strangers this way and it is nothing personal. It is the way we have been conditioned. No wonder people are afraid.

Now that you have this little known information, imagine how confident you will feel when you walk into a room in any situation and meet a new person. You already know what fears are on their mind, know how to respond to them, create immediate rapport because you responded to their fears in a very subtle manner and you know how to make someone feel comfortable around you and your friend “FASTER”.

Do you feel the power?!

Monday, June 27, 2011

3 Easy Tips to Get Users to Open and Read Your Emails

by: Eydie Stumpf

Follow these 3 easy tips to get users to open and read your email:

1) Asking a question gets your readers involved in your message because they automatically begin to answer the question in their minds. It generates curiosity because people want to find out the answer to the question. So, something like "Are you tired of not closing sales? Discover 3 secrets to closing all the sales you want" would automatically have your readers answering that question.

2) People love getting free tips and tricks, checklists and step by step instructions on how to do something. It's also smart to add a number, preferably an odd number. Researchers at Cornell University found that "odd numbers cause buyers momentary confusion. Confused, people fall back on associations. And people associate odd numbers with discounts. Hence, odd numbers in a listed price equal a discount". Go figure!

Try a subject line such as "How to effortlessly erase those fine lines and wrinkles in less than 7 days." I know I'd be interested!

3) Pump up your subject line with words like "simple" and "easy". In example No. 2 I used the word "effortlessly" - people like effortless! If your email suggests that what you are sharing will make your readers' day easier and simpler - they're going to open it up. Combine power words with odd numbers and you've got a winner.

Some other great power words are: Discover, learn, secrets of, do you, how to, imagine, protect, facts about, you, the truth about, and results. "Discover 3 secrets to boosting your energy in 7 days."

Stay away from: Amazing, revolutionary, great, all new, (when just "new" would suffice), guaranteed, FREE, and even special and important. These words will most definitely dump your email into the recipients spam folder. "Revolutionary new program guaranteed to increase your income 100% in 30 days"! Whew - that's a spam email if I ever saw one!

Basically, you want to solve your readers' problem. If you keep that in mind, and follow the tips I just gave you, then struggling with subject lines should become a thing of the past.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting to Kow your Networking Partners

Kelli C. Holmes

Once you have begun your journey of doing better, smarter business with Relationship Marketing, there will come a time when you need to take those relationships to the next level. You have worked on building relationships with your “Power Partners” and other members in your networking group and with the professionals in your local chamber of commerce, perhaps also a community service organization or in your own personal/social sphere. But do you really know them? Better question, do they really know you?

Getting together for a meeting once a week or once a month is good, but what would happen with your relationships if you invested the time to meet with your networking partners outside of the normal networking meeting, business mixer, committee or board meeting? At TEAM Referral Network we call these meetings “Coaching Sessions”.

“Coaching Sessions”

For your networking partners to refer business to you, they must first get to know who you are and what you have to offer. Meet for lunch or coffee with a different member of your group(s) each week. At this meeting, use the time so you can each share information about one another. Getting to know your networking partners will help you give more referrals and receive more and better referrals.

Here is a guideline to use when you get together:

  • Share information about who your clients are, where they live, work, etc.
  • Share with each other your background, education and any recognition/awards you’ve received.
  • Tell each other about your family life, hobbies and interests.
  • Talk about other organizations you participate in.
  • Exchange literature and/or selling tools.
  • Schedule a visit each others place of business.

Take the opportunity to make these “Coaching Sessions” part of your marketing plans for the next year. The investment of time will pay off in growth for your business!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Power Partners

By Kelli C. Holmes

Power Partners are business professionals who are in the same industry who want to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with each one striving to share referrals, ideas, clients and information with one another.

Who Are Your Top Power Partners?

Let’s think a minute - who do you refer your clients, your family, your friends to? People you know and trust! When does the opportunity to refer your clients to a Power Partner come about? When they need professional services that are related to your business. These professions are natural referral centers for you, they are in your “center of influence”. They are whom you want to develop a Power Partner relationship with.

Where Do You Find Power Partners?

Look in your PDA: follow your money, who do you give your business to. They are benefiting from you. You should be benefiting from them! Look to your “networks” whether it is a referral network, the Chamber of Commerce, a charity or service group, church, PTA, trade or social group, seek out the professionals that match your list of Power Partners.

What Do You Do With Power Partners Once You’ve Found Them?

Reach out to them. Contact them and tell them what you want to do. Ask to develop a Power Partner relationship with them, explain how mutually beneficial sharing referrals, ideas, information, and resources can be. If this is not the type of relationship they are willing to commit to, find someone else in their profession who is!

When To Utilize Your Power Partners ?

What are you hoping to gain from your relationships with your Power Partners? Referrals, ideas, information, resources, be prepared to first give these things. Send them business, share a great idea with them and let them know about information that can help their business. Once they see your efforts producing for them, they will strive to give back to you.

How Will Power Partners Impact Your Business?

Once you have established these important relationships you will start reaping the benefits of receiving referrals, ideas, information and clients from them. Because you will be giving to them as well, you are establishing relationships that will last for years. Relationship marketing with your Power Partners can definitely impact your bottom line.

Developing relationships with Power Partners will not only help you generate more and better business for you, it will also reward you with satisfying personal and professional relationships to continue to build upon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Business Mom's (Person's) Creed

Give Yourself Permission...

to that time out to take care of yourself for you are vital to your business and your family...
to not be perfect at EVERYTHING...
to do what you do best...
to delegate tasks that can and should be done by someone else...
to ask for help when you need it -in your business and in your family...
to take risk and to make courageous choices as it's the only way you can stretch and grow...
to use paper plates when necessary or to buy cupcakes for the school party instead of making them yourself...
to spend an afternoon just playing with your children...
to build a successful business that will leave a lasting legacy for your family...
to succeed far beyond your wildest dreams...
by Terilee Harrison